Category Archives: family

Poppy

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Poppy

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Six months ago, our Great Dane died. I took the loss harder than I thought I would. Some months later, I realized I had learned some very important things from Cornbread and I wanted another chance to be a better dog parent.

The first few times out to look didn’t go so well. Somebody inevitably left in tears. Or with a shrug of the shoulders and a, “we’ll eventually find the right one..”

On Memorial Day, we went to visit a new puppy. She and her brothers had been rescued by our local vet, when the mom was hit by a car. She had little black eyes and a cute little face. She’s got little white socks and a white streak on her face. If she was a boy, she’d definitely be Harry Potter. She was the smallest of the siblings and I liked her right away. She seemed spunky and sweet. My brother said she looked like “a little s**t,” (and he was mostly right) but I was smitten. She’s a lab/border collie mix. Our vet says she shouldn’t be as big as a full lab; that she’ll likely stay on the smaller side.

It’s been about six weeks with her and she’s made herself right at home with our little crowd. We named her Poppy Calypso. Poppy, because it’s the traditional flower of remembrance for Memorial Day. I wanted to honor that day AND remember what we learned with Cornbread. When I inevitably get frustrated at the irritating puppy phase, or feel a bit overwhelmed at having another baby in the house, I remember. The Calypso is what Coach came up with for a name “in case we ever wanted another baby and it turned out to be a girl.” I told him the puppy was as close as we were ever getting to THAT, thankyouverymuch.

She’s good with the kids, playful, and (mostly) house-trained (as long as we’re paying attention). She throws herself at the door when she wants to come back in like she’s running from the zombie apocalypse, and you can count on her to start whining to get out of her crate at 6am-SHARP. But, she’s funny. She loves to fetch, and she’s gentle with the kids. Doc is conquering her fear of her and I’m really proud of the progress she’s making.

I’m glad we got her. I’m glad I’m getting a second chance. I hope Cornbread is proud.

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Heaven

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In 2005, when I lived a different life, I wrote about my vision of Heaven. It’s changed a bit since then.

white house with green shuttersHeaven still looks like smalltown USA. I can still see my house with the hardwood floors, screen doors and gerber daisies. It’s white, with green shutters. It’s early summer. 

picnicIn my daydream of heaven, the kids are all still kids. They are chasing lightening bugs in the yard (so, I guess there have to be bugs in heaven after all). Riley has just come back from fishing with my grandfather. My great-grandmother, grandmother and mother are showing me (again) how to make peach fritters and the house smells of peaches and summer. Matt is (what else) playing in the yard with Asher and Emory and Madison is reading on the porch swing. Cookie is working on whatever “honey do” list (I’m sure) my mother gave him; smiling all the time (because that’s just who he is. <3) My brother and his family and my sister and her family are there, too, of course. They walked down the road for dinner.

 

Most importantly, we’ll all be together. For always.

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Oh child.

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Have you met my two-year old? She’s a mess.

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She is an artist. And, there is no telling what her next canvas will be. 

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She can love her big sister and yell at her. At the same time.

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You can never REALLY tell what she’s planning, but you can see the beginnings of a young mastermind at work.

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She doesn’t cower at her dad. That look and tone of voice that is especially effective at withering even the toughest 17 year old soccer player fails to elicit a response from this little pixie. Except to eat another cheeto. Loudly.

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I’m pretty sure she runs the house. And we are her hostages.

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And just when you think you’ll never get a moment’s peace and when, oh, WHEN can you put her to bed so you can get five minutes of quiet and MAYBE go to the bathroom by yourself, you capture this moment. And you fall in love all over again.

And you have the undeniable urge to to wake her up so you can see her smile at you. Laugh. Yell. Pout. Do it all over again.

She’s a tyrant. But she’s mine.

From my Mother

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It is a fire in your belly that drives you through the long hard endless hours that seem to evaporate when you get illusively closer…closer…closer to the set goal that helps move the machine that promises to serve children…build children…encourage children…bring the hearts and minds of children into the light of promise… It is afire in your belly that drives you to AN OCCASIONAL twelve hour day followed by then rest and working your program so you are strong and encouraged and equipped in your heart and mind—living in the light of promise. I love you my girl and I am SO PROUD OF YOU! NOW….you’ve had your twelve hours….work the program and make sure and rest up! Love, Mom

 

That is, quite possibly, the coolest thing my mother has ever said to me.

In This House

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Goal-setting tonight with the family was fantastic!  But I get ahead of myself.  First, let me tell you how I almost set the house on fire.  Not really, I made meatloaf.  The juices bubble, bubble, boil and trouble and (yes, I know it’s double, double, toil and trouble…I’m trying to be clever) actually bubbled over a little bit.  Well, that got the oven to smoking and then that made the whole house smoky and the smoke alarm went off.  As my mother always said, that’s how you know dinner’s ready. 

All in all, it was a pretty good meatloaf – if you don’t mind yours a little charred.  *giggle*

Ok…on to goals. 

We stuck a big piece of paper on the wall and divided it into two vertical sections.  The left side was for goals; activities and things we’d like to accomplish this year.  The right side is an adaptation of the My One Word project where you list all the characteristics you’d like to have then you choose one of those words on which to focus your efforts for the next year.  We adapted it to list the type of family we’d like to be.  We’ll leave our list posted a few days then come back to it mid-week and decide on our one word. 

Then, as our conversation continued, we split the One Word side into half and drew three smaller boxes below for individual goals (goals specific to one person).  We also wanted to remind ourselves of our family core value: LOVE.  L-Listen | O-Overlook | V-Value | E-Encourage.  Thanks to our beloved pastor, Charlie Robinson, for such a beautiful acrostic. 

2012 is going to be a great year! 

Happy New Year, friends.  What are YOU focusing on in 2012?

ps. Incidentally, if you are interested in trying out our worksheet, help yourself to the PDF.  Enjoy!

Christmas is over – thank goodness!

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*whew* Thank goodness that’s over! 

Christmas IS my favorite time of year.  It is an amazing opportunity to rest, recharge and reconnect with family and friends.  It is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior.  It is a time to enjoy good food, the cutest decorations of the year and PRESENTS!  *giggle*  (sorry, channeling my inner 9-year old)

Monday we go back to work; the kids are back Wednesday.  On one hand, I’m ready to go back.  The kids are getting stir crazy with only boring mommy & daddy for entertainment.  And mommy needs something to do all day but pick up KIX cereal and bananas off the floor. 

On the other hand, I love being home.  This is the only time of year I see so much of everybody.  During our regularly scheduled craziness, there just isn’t time to sit on the couch and watch a movie together, or play a playstation game together unless we schedule it. 

Munchkin is sitting on the couch, practicing her cursive in a notebook.  She’s ready to go back too.  She’s excited and curious to meet her new math/homeroom teacher.  She’s been reading like a true crazy-viller. 

Princess Crybaby is currently wearing her coat.  Not that we’re leaving; she just wants to wear it.  She’s got her cup in her hand and she’s dragging her ride-on whateveritscalled around.  We should have gotten her a wagon. 

Coach is playing his online game.  He’s like a level 75 super-hunter.  I am a wimpy little level 22 (almost 23). 

And yours truly is sitting on the couch, touching her blog for the first time since…well, before Christmas.

So, while I’m glad the cooking, endless cleaning (because you never know who’s coming over) and wrapping and cleaning up presents is over, it’s been simply heavenly to rest and recharge. 

Tonight is New Year’s Eve.  As a family, we are setting goals tonight.  Wellness, family time, and whatever else we think of.  More on that later. 

For now, toodles!

Pole Position

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I can remember that game – Pole Position – my brother and I played it all the time!  (he almost always won)  It was a cool racing game before racing games were cool.  haha  The point of the game, of course, was to maneuver your car into first place and win.  You did this by racing around corners at badly animated speeds.  (well, bad compared to now)

Looking ahead to this week, I can already see an exhausted me at the end of it.  We’ve come to the part of the year where we have something almost every night; sometimes two or three things.  It’s pole position – just in real life; with better graphics, no music and people instead of cars – maneuvering around obstacles and insane curves (schedules), trying to get to the finish line (friday night).

Monday night, I have my standing meeting for the bond.  (and there is a board meeting but I can’t go to both)  Wednesday after school is Munchkin’s dentist appointment. Thursday before work is an appointment I’m looking forward to.  Thursday afternoon is the egg stuffing party for our staff easter egg roll.  This weekend already has plans rolling too.

We are less than a month from early voting.  This rush of information has been good practice and helped me really hone my time-management and organizational skills.  I’ve always had the ability and I really good at pulling off the impossible (most of the time) but I’ve certainly been able to put that ability on the test track with this bond to where it is an all-the-time endeavor, rather than a project-based focus.

Even though it’s crazy busy, life is really good.  I made an appointment at the end of May for an all-girl day with Munchkin before school is out.  We’ll go to lunch (anybody know a fru-fru place open on Saturdays, in Temple?), haircuts and new nail polish at the salon then, the day I’ve been promising for going on five years – I’m going to let M get her ears pierced.  That way, she’ll be a few weeks into the routine before she goes to her dad’s house for the summer.  We’ll be a week from summer break (I told her she could get them the summer before third grade).  It will be our special day.  I will probably cry.  (because I’m a sap like that)

I’ve got to get her registered for summer arts camp at the CAC before too long and find somewhere for Princess Crybaby to be during the summer since her daycare is through the school district and it’s only during the school year.

Also on my Munchkin list – she is asking about baptism so we’re going to make an appointment for her to sit down with Brother Andy (our pastor) to talk about what baptism is and why it’s important.  Then we’ll know she’s really ready.

*whew* I’m going to be ready for a vacation or something after May 14.  Hold on, folks – here comes another corner!

Earth, Wind & Fire (no, not the disco band)

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Munchkin is a great kid.  As my mother says, she is a very, very, very bright child in an itty, bitty body.  That’s a lot of brilliance to contain in one little package.  Like capturing the wind.  You can contain it, but it is very, very hard to make it sit still.

That reminds me of how, when my brother and I were still living at home, Mother used to describe us as we might be found in nature.  Brother is light – he fills a room with his presence – he is impossible to miss.  He chases away shadows just by being there and warms cold spots.  People, like moths, are drawn to his light – it radiates from him. 

I am fire.  Raw energy that causes forward motion.  Fire is impressive by it’s power and beauty but can be very, very dangerous if left untended.  In my family, my temper is legendary in its ability to flare up, seemingly out of nowhere and be gone again, just as fast.  Fire also has the ability to draw people in.  Fire gives warmth and protection when harnessed. 

If my brother was light and I am fire, Munchkin is wind and Princess Crybaby is water (so far as I can tell).  Let me explain:

Munchkin is wind.  Wind is constant motion.  Wind carries songs and wishes.  Wind powers turbines and creates electricity.  It sustains life.  Wind can be terribly destructive if your structures aren’t built (and reinforced) solidly.  Wind will mess up your hair, blow your dress up and ruin your umbrella on a rainy day.  But, it brings joy because you need it to fly a kite, or sail in a sailboat. 

Princess Crybaby is water.  Water is the giver of life.  We are made of water and without it our lives would end.  Water, like wind, has its own song.  From a babbling brook, to the mighty oceans, people choose to be near water – for many reasons.  Water is flexible but never mistake it’s adaptability for tameability.  You can dam up water but beware its power and the potential for catastrophe if the dam breaks.  Very quickly, a little bit of rain can overrun a stream and run a car off the road (as we are constantly reminded during flash flooding seasons). 

Coach is light.  Because I admire my brother so much, it is understandable I would marry a man who shares many of the same qualities as he.

While any one of these things has the power to destroy, we need (and want) all of them around because of the benefits they bring us. 

What describes you: Wind, Fire, Light, Water (or something else)?

Only Thursday…Really?

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*whew* It’s been one of THOSE weeks. Work has been all media. It’s a good thing I like that stuff or it would have been a horrible week.

Princess Crybaby is doing very well. We had her 2 month appointment yesterday and she’s at the 75th percentile in length (at what point does it become height – when they are vertical? LOL) at 24 inches and the 90th percentile in weight at 12 pounds 13 ounces. Nobody is worried she’s not eating enough.

She showed off for the doctor too, smiling and laughing and watching him and trying to “talk” to him. She was all grins until it was time for the shots. God, I hate those. The first shot obviously made her cry but the second and third shots hit her like a ton of bricks and she howled. Pure outrage and disbelief that we, her beloved Mommy and Daddy, would inflict (or allow another to inflict) such pain upon her. HOW. COULD. WE?!

Munchkin followed suit and kicked up a royal fuss about her flu mist – she’s gotten one every year since Pre-K but you’d have thought we were coming at her with this:

*sigh*

Have I mentioned if she changes her mind and decides she wants to be an actress, I fully expect to see THIS:

Ok… it’s time to get out of here for the day.  I’m beat, Crybaby was fussy at lunch and Munchkin’s dad and fiance are on their way from Austin for a weekend with Munchkin. 

Later, gators.

Barnaby

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So there is a frog in our yard and Matt has named him Barnaby.  The frog hangs out on the porch which, with a two month old puppy who eats everything, seems very brave (or stupid – it IS a frog, afterall).

Last night, as we pulled back into the driveway, Matt screeches to a stop; scaring me to death. All the sudden, he jumps out of the car, clapping and shooing a frog, obviously Barnaby, out of the way.  Now all frogs are Barnaby and must be protected from harm.

LOL

end of the road in sight

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Like it or not, little Stowaway, your arrival is imminent.  I know you might have it in your stubborn little brain that you can choose to stay in there forever but that’s just not so.  I’d love to see you before next Thursday but next Thursday IS the day when we will see you. 

We have a doctor’s appointment today and I am hopeful that we will have made enough progress to go across the street.  Coach doesn’t think so (I think he just says that b/c he wants to win the bet) and Munchkin is kind of hoping you’ll wait now so she can bring home the new puppy.  I’m tired of the waiting but I’m even more tired of wondering when it will happen. 

Yesterday was a great day – completely exhausting, but great.  We changed our back to school event from a convocation to a professional development conference.  SO much more relevant and I think the teachers got a lot out of it.  I did a session on social networking and how it can be dangerous to your professional reputation.  Hopefully, it was informative. 

I will post pictures of the baby dog tonight, unless we’re having a baby.  🙂

just checking!

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Braxton-Hicks aren’t new in this pregnancy (33 weeks) but Sunday they took a definitely more enthusiastic tone and threw in a little pelvic pressure and the ability to take my breath away. 

When they continued yesterday morning, I decided it couldn’t hurt to call and talk to the OB nurse.  Of course, she recommended I come in and get checked.  Two hours and half a roll of paper later, nothing is happening and they are, after all, just B-H. 

Surely as I sit here, though, had I NOT gone in, it would be true labor and then we’d have a real crisis. 

I know it’s better safe than sorry and I’m glad nothing is happening (I’m ready to meet this little critter but not this week) but sheesh, it’s like taking your car in when it’s making a horrible noise but dang it if it will make that noise when you get it to the mechanic… 

On the up-side, we did get to hear our little soccer star’s beautiful heartbeat and, when they hooked her up to the fetal monitor, we were treated to the sounds of her rambunctious movement – something to go with the alien-esque contortions of my stomach! 

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On another note, the house is set to be ready a little earlier than we’d originally thought so we are going to start moving in NEXT week!  I’m SO excited!  I’m so ready to get things settled and set up for the Stowaway and I really wanted to have Munchkin’s stuff all set up for her too when she comes home.  I wasn’t really happy about things still being in semi-transition when Munchkin comes home but didn’t think we really had a lot of options because of the timing of the new house.  PIctures to come – as soon as we can get inside the house to take pictures, I’ll post them!

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One more thing – I still can’t post many details but suffice it to say something for which we’ve been praying seems to be on the verge of happening.  My brother and I have been so concerned about Mom’s health this last year (couple of years actually) and even her doctor has warned her about the amount of stress she lives with.  It seems like there may be another option for her that will still allow her to use her gift (teaching children about life through theatre) and not be subjected to the same set of circumstances that has put her in the hospital two years in a row.  But enough on that now. 

Since I came home early yesterday to rest after the excitement of the morning (well, not exciting per se, more like the “omgosh, could I be in labor NOW?!?!” reaction and subsequent exhaustion), I’m going in early today.  Later, gators! *grin*

Sleeping by the door

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For some reason, Oscar the cat (the one I suspected of hiding my fancy moving list) has taken to sleeping by the front door and I don’t know why.  There are no shoes over there.  This cat has a shoe fetish.  If there is a pair of shoes, you can bet Oscar has laid on them.  He’s like a mother chicken, waiting for her little shoe-lings to hatch. 

Seriously, he is a darling cat (even if he has destroyed the carpet).  I got Oscar when he was six weeks old.  I knew he was the one for me when he stood up on his little toes, stuck all his baby fur out and hissed at me with as much ferocity as an animal that could fit in a Starbucks cup could muster.  Then he ran up into the wheel well of a friend’s car – thinking we couldn’t reach him there.  He was going to be a perfect friend for my 9-month old diva cat, Kali. 

Kali is a petite calico.  She is the runt of the only litter her mother, also named Kali, had before she died.  Momma Kali was a lanky, grey striped shelter cat I picked up when we had to put our dachshund, Trixie, down after she hurt her back.  Momma Kali got out of the house one night when the kittens were about 3 weeks old and was hit by a car.  She made it back up into the driveway before she died and that’s where I found her.  I resolved, then and there, to never let another whiskered child (cat) of mine be an outside cat – it’s too dangerous for them and they are no match for a car. 

I managed to keep 3 of the 6 kittens alive and kept the littlest, a calico with her mother’s eyes.  I named her Kali.  She’s been with me 13 years and she is still my diva cat.  She will not accept she is not my eldest child and has never quite gotten over the indignity of being “replaced” by a human child.  Wonder what she’ll do with the Stowaway…  (I won’t tell her about the great Dane puppy we are planning to adopt this fall – that might just send her over the edge.)

By the time she was about 9 months old, I was a senior in college and she was by herself all day – she needed a friend.  In comes Oscar.  It was loathing at first sight.  She was practically an adult, MOTHER, and how could you bring a baby in here who has to be taught everything all over again?  (if cat’s could suck their teeth, she would have done it)

Within a few months, though, Kali & Oscar were dear friends.  Even had two litters of kittens together before I decided we’d had enough romance in our house, thank you very much. 

Fast forward 12 years.  Oscar and Kali are an old married couple.  They have their favorite food bowls and don’t spoon anymore when they nap.  They are fiercely competitive for my attention (Kali is SUCH a hater) and completely indifferent to Munchkin (thus the impending addition of the dog).  Kali will kiss (groom) Oscar and then, in a heartbeat, hiss and smack him as she runs off – leaving a very baffled (and somewhat henpecked) Oscar.  Oscar is a wonderful singer but is terribly shy so you’ll probably never get to experience it.  Kali will steal food from your hand/plate/countertop if you are foolish enough to get it within her reach while Oscar smugly sits on the floor, looking up at you with an oh-so-innocent “Mommy Dearest, may I please have a bite of the delectable little morsel in your lovely hand?” 

In the musical Cats, Bustopher Jones is a fat cat and I imagine the song very much takes after my darling Oscar (except that the show predates him).  He has never been thin.  Until now.  Well, thin isn’t a good word.  Thin enough that, for the first time in his life, I can feel the bones in his shoulders and back.  I don’t know if it’s just that he’s getting old (hey, aren’t we all) or if there is something wrong with him that I don’t really want to know about. 

I don’t really know what I’ll do without the kitties when they go to Heaven.  (yes, I think they will be there)  They have been with me most of my adult life.  They are my constant companions.  They know all my secrets.  Kali knows when I don’t feel well and will cling to me as if to say, “I know my being near makes you feel better.”  (and it does!)

I’m so glad God created kitties.  They are funny, outrageous, darling, exasperating and infuriating.  Dogs are great and I do enjoy them and am looking forward to the Dane puppy.  But I am, and always will be, a cat person.

clock watching

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I start my new schedule at work today: 10am-3pm.  It’s a little odd, considering I’ve never worked half-time before.  It will take a little adjusting to until I have children at home again. 

With Munchkin in Jersey for the summer and the Stowaway still in the slow cooker, I don’t really have anything to do first thing in the morning.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I am NOT complaining!  Au contraire, I think it will be really nice to have a few extra hours to get around and straighten things up and work on the endless packing project before we move.  And then, to have the afternoons to spend with Coach, who is enjoying his summer by recording every scrap of futbol he can find on television.

I made my official Moving To Do list this week and I’m going to tape it to the front door so everytime we go past it, we’ll see what’s left to be done.  It will keep me on track and give Coach some things to do during his day when I’m at work.  *wink*

I feel rather helpless knowing I’m so pregnant and can’t really pick up heavy stuff, or do a lot of, well, ANYTHING.  The logistics of doing a lot of bending are just absurd at this point.  It’s not that I can’t see my shoes, I just can’t reach them.  Not without huffing and puffing and feeling like, surely, I’m folding the Stowaway in half which, I’m sure, she doesn’t appreciate one iota.

I’m FINISHED with all my scrapbooking endeavors for a while – our engagement, bridal and wedding albums should be delivered today and I ordered the Disney album last night so it should be here late next week.  I am so excited to see the albums!  I am really enjoying learning about digital scrapbooking and plan to do a lot more of it. 

Now that we have a good family camera again, I can get picaboo and smilebox transferred over to the house computer.  My next project is to do another album for Munchkin and then, in September, I’ll do our family pictures Andrea Crosswhite will come down and take.  She’s our “family photographer.”  She took Coach and my engagement, bridal and wedding pictures so we thought she’d be perfect to take pictures of our family – from now on. 

Well, my friends, I’m going to enjoy the last 30 minutes of morning before I need to start getting ready for work by making a cup of coffee and taking all the artwork off the walls.  You know, that’s my least favorite part of moving.  Bare walls are lonely walls to me.  That, and packing away my books.  Not being able to see all the wonderful spines and be reminded of the stories whenever I pass by is a little sad.  *laugh*  I’m a dork.  Yes, I know. 

Have a happy day!

ps. if you’ve joined us from fb, please leave me a reply and say, “howdy!”

A little preview *happysigh*

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I love going over to my in-laws’ house.  They are such sweet people and I consider myself super lucky to have them.  As if scoring Coach wasn’t great enough (he really is the greatest thing since sliced cheese and chick-fil-a waffle fries), he came with a pair of parents who are a delight. 

So, we try to go over there at least once a week just to visit.  We don’t always get over there during the school year but we’ve been pretty regular lately.  *laugh* 

We have a little added bonus for visiting – the Little Man.  Coach’s sister had her second little boy around Mother’s Day and he is a snuggle bunny.  I love holding him.  He’s got that new baby smell and it is exactly what all these pregnancy hormones need.  Who needs to eat when you can hold the Little Man? 

I love babies – always have.  Since becoming a mommy, though, I know how hard it is to break one so they aren’t scary anymore.  *laugh*  Since the Little Man was born, I can’t hardly keep my hands off of him.  I’m a complete hog with him.  Coach laughs and asks if he’ll ever be able to hold the Stowaway once she gets here.  I tell him, sure, I’ll have to go to the bathroom and shower every once in a while.  (just kidding, honey)

I think my fixation on the Little Man is two-fold.  First, I’m VERY pregnant and can’t hardly stand waiting until our little one gets here so holding the Little Man is a nice way to top off my happy mommy endorphins.  There is just something about holding a snuggly little baby that smells so sweet that makes all the achy joints, stretched and itchy skin and lower back ache go away for a little while. 

Second, had Riley survived, he and the Little Man would have been born about the same time; within a few weeks of eachother, actually.  Now, I don’t think about Riley everytime I hold the Little Man.  I look forward to holding the Stowaway and know that Riley is in Heaven, fishing with Paw-Paw. 

I have plenty of love for all these babies.  We were remarking last night how neat it will be that the Little Man and the Stowaway will be so close in age and will get to grow up together. 

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Speaking of previews, I had to laugh at 3:30 this morning when I was awake, trying to get comfortable.  I realized that the Stowaway was also awake, kicking around happily in there.  I told Coach to expect to see that time of day again.  *laugh* 

Normally, I can fall back to sleep in 20-30 minutes but I could not get back to sleep.  My left hip hurt terribly and I could not find a comfortable way back to sleep.  I finally moved out to the couch around 4:30 and fell back to sleep around 5.  *sigh* 

I could hug my Asst Supt of HR for coming up with the 10-3 work schedule idea.  Not having to be up and at’em at 6:30 this morning would have been delightful.  And, if I’m going to be this uncomfortable the last 7 weeks of my pregnancy, starting July 1 (new fiscal year) is going to be an amazing blessing (thanks Boss!). 

*yawn*

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

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Today is my mother’s birthday.  She is an original cowgirl.  She’s weathered hard times and seen her share of loss but she is resiliant and a survivor and manages to stay beautiful in the midst of it all. 

She is a storyteller, a director, a teacher, a player, a designer and a clown.  She knows enough about the computer to be really, REALLY dangerous and her fascination with Sims Castaway is hilarious. 

She has a wonderful imagination and her creations WILL delight even the most grown-up of grown-ups. 

She CAN cook (even though she doesn’t really like to) and her humpty-dumpties are my very favorite breakfast on earth. 

She is fun to hang out with and just do nothing.  She is fun to run around with and she’s very good at providing and “out.” 

She has been my counselor, therapist, personal maseusse, principal and friend. 

She never wavered in her commitment to raise us to know the Lord.

She never buckled when the pressure to “just let siblings be siblings” crept into our house and threatened the relationship between my brother and me. 

She avoids conflict but is fierce in a fight. 

She endured a bout with Death and lived to tell about it.  Eight years ago, she had radical surgery to save her life.  The treatment alone nearly ended it.  That was such a hard time for us.  I could not be near her and I felt, for many years after, I had abandoned her. 

She is a terrific Nana.  She loves her grandgirl, Munchkin, and the feelings are definitely mutual.  She delights in hearing about our plans and dreams for the Stowaway and is waiting with breathless anticipation for her arrival. 

She is a fabulous teacher.  I have watched her reach down into the abyss of a child’s wounded heart and draw out joy.  I have seen her stand in the gap for children with no allies.  I have seen her battle dragons in defense of a struggling child.  I have watched her create a masterpiece out of nothing but what some would call scraps.  Her greatest gift and legacy are the children who have been indelibly changed by her work. 

I love my mother.  I think she is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever known.  Her beauty is a light that radiates from her. 

Happy Birthday, Mommy. 

Disney – for posterity

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Here are my thoughts – wrap/up on our Disney trip.  This way, I can come back here and look it up the next time we plan a vacation to Florida.

Disney was PERFECT!  Munchkin had a blast and we had a great time too!  Dad is totally hooked and wants to go back next year – even with The Stowaway not being quite a year old.  We figure that’s why God created strollers and slings.  LOL

Our itinerary:

Sunday afternoon we got into Orlando about 2:30.  We went ahead and checked in to the hotel and went to Animal Kingdom.  The park was near deserted b/c it was so late in the day.  We got a head start on her autographs and she got to ride a nearly empty Kilimanjaro Safari, right up front and get LOTS of extra attention b/c she was one of the only children on the ride.  She REALLY loved it. 

Monday – Epcot – Munchkin’s Princess Breakfast in Norway was FABULOUS – SO glad we did it there instead of @ Magic Kingdom.  Talked to another mom that evening who was disappointed with MK’s Princess Breakfast b/c it was so crowded – she said it was very rushed.  We saw all five of the princesses and they stopped to visit, sign autographs and take pictures with Munchkin.  IT was VERY fun (although it’s the most I’ve EVER paid for eggs and bacon!!)  I think the World Showcase was Dad’s favorite – hands down.  I think the next time we go, we want to spend an entire day in the WS; I started to run out of energy by Japan.  We finished at Epcot (because mommy’s legs were about to fall off) around 3 o’clock.  We went back to the hotel and got into the pool.  That made me feel a LOT better.  We got dressed and rode over to Magic Kingdom to grab ride schedules for the next day (so I could plan) and rode a ferry over to Wilderness Lodge to have dinner at Whispering Canyon Café “I NEED KETCHUP!” – LOL – it was hilarious!  We were EXHAUSTED at the end of Monday. 

Tuesday – Magic Kingdom – Got there in time to open the park with the extra magic hour – Munchkin loved the teacups, Dumbo, Peter Pan (pretty sure this was her favorite), Small World…She hated Haunted Mansion but loved Tom Sawyer’s island.  I have a hilarious picture Dad took of her shooting at Indians.  LOL  We all LOVED Philharmagic.  Love what they’ve done with Pirates of the Caribbean but hated Carousel of Progress (what happened to “this is the best time OF YOUR LIFE!”).  Munchkin LOVED Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland but HATED Stitch’s Great Escape – the total darkness and bursts of air at her head scared her to death.  She actually cried.  I felt awful for her but she recovered pretty quickly.  She really enjoyed the people mover but we had to constantly reassure her when we went through the building where Space Mountain is that we WEREN’T about to ride a roller coaster.  LOL  Rode the resort buses back to the hotel (riding the ferry or monorail to the transportation center THEN walking to the car was for the birds!) and rested a little while.  After we cooled down again in the pool, we went back to MK for dinner and more rides.  We went to dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern, caught a bit of the Spectromagic parade on the way to Buzz Lightyear (I totally set Dad up on Buzz Lightyear – I knew the secret to a really high score from my reading – we played mommy/Munchkin vs. daddy).  Ended the day with fireworks – we were trying to leave the park but got stuck in the crowd so we just stood and enjoyed the show – I’m so glad we did – Munchkin loved them and I cried!  The tourguide Mike site recommended against going to MK on Tuesday but we didn’t have another full day to do it because of the princess breakfast Monday so we just elbowed our way through the crowds all day.  This put one small dent in the day b/c there were a few things Munchkin decided to skip b/c she was hot and didn’t want to stand in line (a notable example: she picked seeing the princesses AGAIN over the fairies b/c the line for fairies was twice as long.  Consequently, we never saw Tink L)  Riding the buses back and forth earlier in the day paid off when we left that night – we were on the second row going home!  J

Wednesday – Animal Kingdom – By unanimous family vote, we skipped Disney Hollywood Studios in favor of going back to AK and picking up all the stuff we missed Sunday because we got into town so late in the day.  Really, all she missed at Hollywood were a few more character autographs – she wasn’t going to ride the Tower of Terror or the Aerosmith Roller Coaster and we weren’t really all that interested in the American Idol or High School Musical shows.  In a few more years, she’ll be older and will (maybe) be more interested in the faster rides.  So, we went back to AK and were there to open the park.  Munchkin was the first in line to see Lilo & Stitch, we rode the Safari ride again (a definite favorite) and walked through Maharajah Jungle (WOW!), rode the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch and ate lunch at a really fun “Dino” diner in Dinoland.  We hit the road back to Texas about 3pm. 

Some things we’ll do differently next trip:

  • Plan to stop on the way – Dad thought he was going to be able to drive straight through but with NOTHING but trees to look at after Louisiana, he was too tired and we had to try and find something at 1am.  On the way home, we figured out where we’d be around 10pm and found a really nice (and brand new) Country Inn & Suites.  Best night of sleep I had the entire trip!
  • Know in advance that I-10 is EXCRUCIATINGLY boring.  LOL
  • Plan a whole day for the World Showcase; maybe we can split the first part of Epcot with Hollywood Studios next time and give world Showcase a full day.  Then, Animal Kingdom gets its own day and Magic Kingdom gets a VERY full day.
  • Upgrade meal plan to include more snacks and counter service meals.  We ran out of these and ended up buying our lunch and snacks the last day.  (not a big deal, but now that we know how it works, we might as well use it)
  • Definitely keep staying on property – the perks were the same at the $82/night All Star as they are at the Grand Floridian.  I do think next time we are going to try and stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge (I know it’s three times as expensive per night but since AK was our favorite of the three parks, I think Munchkin would dig seeing the animals outside the hotel room).  That one and the Wilderness Lodge look really neat (that’s where we ate Monday night and it sure was neat to be across the lake from MK).  
  • Stay longer than four days/three nights – that way, we don’t have to rush and can go back and catch extra stuff (like the fairies!). 
  • Keep driving – find a grocery store before we leave Florida to restock snacks and water – we ran out and ended up spending on food on the way home (we spend NOTHING on food the way there).  The drive is pretty boring but it’s smooth sailing once you get out of Texas (lots of stopping and starting in the little towns after Bryan).  
  • Don’t try and leave the afternoon after graduation – it made for a VERY long day and we (Dad & I) started the vacation tired.  Get up before God the next morning and leave – that way, we’ve got MOST of the trip out of the way before (if) we stop.

 All in all, I am VERY pleased with the trip.  Munchkin slept from Orlando to (almost) Pensacola on the way home – she was one VERY tired little girl! 

I’m going to make some photo books of our trip – 500 pictures is a lot to go through!

a good weekend…when’s the next one?

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Vacation prep was the theme of our weekend.  A little last-minute shopping and organizing and laundry (which will continue through the week). 

I can’t wait to be away a few days.  Just the three of us (well, four, if you count the stowaway).  No school.  No work.  Just Mickey Mouse.  *smile*

The stowaway is doing some funny wiggling today.  It’s like she’s shimmying through my abdomen.  Not the usual pokes or kicks, either. 

Have I mentioned how impatient I’m getting for August?  I just about can’t stand it.  I want to see her little face and talk to her and play with her and…UGH!  LOL

Down and Out

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This baby is pushing in ways that are amazingly uncomfortable.  Doesn’t she realize I have an entire torso where she can spread out?  Apparently not, if this OMGosh tight stomach is any indicator. 

I called the 3D/4D ultrasound place today.  I can’t wait to see this baby’s face.  I was a total non-believer until I saw the video and pictures from SIL’s 4D.  Oh, WOW, you could see his little face and, in that moment, I knew we wanted one when our turn came around. 

I have no idea why but Munchkin has been tearful all afternoon.  *sigh*  I don’t know how to help her cheer up.  She had a good day at school and that’s great.  She was very excited about her work today which is a first in a while.  She’s a brilliant child and I love hearing about how she learns. 

Munchkin is standing over my shoulder, talking to me about her favorite websites and I can smell the meatloaf in the oven.  20 minutes left on the timer and I still have to come up with sides.  I’m thinking mashed potatoes and some kind of beans…or maybe corn.  corn and potatoes and meatloaf is always a good combination. 

I guess I’ll get back to being mommy and get ready for dinner. 

Maybe another post later, after bedtime.

Holy Jalapenos!

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Whoo, the heartburn with this pregnancy is fierce!  All day, I feel like I swallowed an entire jar of jalapenos.  It doesn’t stop me from craving Mexican food, of course.  LOL

Things here are good.  21 weeks have gone by; working toward August. 

Baby doc yesterday; this little girl is going to be a soccer player; we just know it.  She likes to kick the dopplar.  She just kicked me, as I typed this. 

The neatest part about this week is that she’s getting big enough I can start to feel the difference between shifting in her sleep and active moving and kicking. 

She’s an opinionated little thing (I have NO idea where she gets that), loves being really active at night and has NO problem letting me know when she’s ready for more Mexican food. 

I cannot wait to meet my little spitfire.  If she is anything like her father, though, her fire will be a slow simmer – lots of heat, just not outright flames like her mother. 

If you can’t tell, I’m excited.  And, now that we talked Munchkin into the idea of a little sister versus a little brother (go figure), she’s excited too.  (aside: At one point during our shopping, she finally leaned over to me and said, “mom, girls clothes are way cuter than boys clothes.”  At that point, I knew we’d won her over.)

I mentioned to mother that we’d like to have at least 3 children; maybe 4 (total).  She told me 4 was a bunch of kids but (and who would have EVER guessed I’d say this), it’s really in my heart to have a bunch of kids running around.  I think it’ll be fun.  Exhausting, expensive and exasperating (just working those E-words) but FUN!

My friend, Sarah, seems to have the mothering a small herd figured out.  While I have NO desire to go the home-birth au naturel route to delivery, I think her spunky approach to parenting is AWESOME. 

Ah, 12:36 rolls around and my Outlook reminds me I’m expected at ANOTHER meeting in 20 minutes.  *sigh*

Have I mentioned I’m going part time at work this summer?
Have I mentioned I am uber-excited about it?

gross

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I reached a whole new low today.  Or, it could be seen as a triumph because I didn’t wreck the car while I was trying not to puke.  *sigh*

Maybe it was left over disgust at the game last night.  Boy, what a disappointment.  The boys just stopped fighting for it.  We should have won that game. 

On a funny note, at half time (score was 0-0 and it had been a thrilling first half), Coach Monsen (athletic director) called me and asked how my blood pressure was holding up.  *laugh*  I’d tell Matt but he’s not in a mood to receive it with any sense of humor.  He takes a loss so hard.  I wish there was something I could do to encourage him but this is one of those things he’s just got to work through.  It’s what makes him such a great coach. 

Well, I’d better get at it.  Several piles on my desk screaming at me this morning.  *sigh*

only tuesday…really?

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It’s been a full week already and it’s only Tuesday!  It feels like I’m trying to compress about three days into each day.  I know that’s because I’m trying to get as much done before I go out of town for my conference but gee willakers!!  (yes, I really said that)

Life is good.  Other than feeling like a seasick monkey every morning (ok, I don’t know about the monkey part but seasick is definitely right), I’m feeling great and really looking forward to our next doctor’s appointment. 

Soccer season is going well.  The boys have won all but one district game. 

Family life is good.  I can’t WAIT to get out of our apartment.  When we moved in, they were nice and quiet.  Not so much any more.  And, I’m tired of carpet and climbing stairs and having no storage space and a galley kitchen not fit for somebody who cooks and…. well, you get the picture.

Well, I’m off to another meeting.

only tuesday…really?

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It’s been a full week already and it’s only Tuesday!  It feels like I’m trying to compress about three days into each day.  I know that’s because I’m trying to get as much done before I go out of town for my conference but gee willakers!!  (yes, I really said that)

Life is good.  Other than feeling like a seasick monkey every morning (ok, I don’t know about the monkey part but seasick is definitely right), I’m feeling great and really looking forward to our next doctor’s appointment. 

Soccer season is going well.  The boys have won all but one district game. 

Family life is good.  I can’t WAIT to get out of our apartment.  When we moved in, they were nice and quiet.  Not so much any more.  And, I’m tired of carpet and climbing stairs and having no storage space and a galley kitchen not fit for somebody who cooks and…. well, you get the picture.

Well, I’m off to another meeting.

projects

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So, I’m working on a project.  A forty-week (give or take) long project.  I’m 10 weeks and 4 days along and so far so good.  Ok, enough subtlety…I’m pregnant! 

Of course, I’m delighted.  I feel great.  SO much different than last time.

When the baby is born, I will drop to part time at work.  I’m delighted.  Really, it’s the best of both worlds.  I’ll get a little grown-up time (and income) AND I’ll be there for the vast majority of Baby’s days. 

Munchkin is thrilled. 

We had our new OB two weeks ago and the baby was wiggling on the screen – what a joy!  Everything looks really good, says the doc, so we are very optimistic that we’ll get to meet our new little boy or girl in September. 

*laugh* 

Yes, I said September.  Does this sound familiar?  Munchkin’s birthday is the 6th and my due date is the 3rd.  Gotta love summer pregnancies.  (well, at least I know what to expect!)

In other family news, we’re going to Disney World when school is out, before Munchkin leaves for her dad’s house.  I am so excited, I hardly know how to act.  LOL  I’ve got my travel books and munchkin and I poured over maps today when I went to her school for lunch.  I can’t wait!

It’s raining.  I need a nap.  I’m jealous of the cats who, undoubtedly, are curled up on my soft bed or on my soft couches, sleeping.  Lazy fluffballs, those two. 

Have a lovely Monday afternoon, y’all.

projects

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So, I’m working on a project.  A forty-week (give or take) long project.  I’m 10 weeks and 4 days along and so far so good.  Ok, enough subtlety…I’m pregnant! 

Of course, I’m delighted.  I feel great.  SO much different than last time.

When the baby is born, I will drop to part time at work.  I’m delighted.  Really, it’s the best of both worlds.  I’ll get a little grown-up time (and income) AND I’ll be there for the vast majority of Baby’s days. 

Munchkin is thrilled. 

We had our new OB two weeks ago and the baby was wiggling on the screen – what a joy!  Everything looks really good, says the doc, so we are very optimistic that we’ll get to meet our new little boy or girl in September. 

*laugh* 

Yes, I said September.  Does this sound familiar?  Munchkin’s birthday is the 6th and my due date is the 3rd.  Gotta love summer pregnancies.  (well, at least I know what to expect!)

In other family news, we’re going to Disney World when school is out, before Munchkin leaves for her dad’s house.  I am so excited, I hardly know how to act.  LOL  I’ve got my travel books and munchkin and I poured over maps today when I went to her school for lunch.  I can’t wait!

It’s raining.  I need a nap.  I’m jealous of the cats who, undoubtedly, are curled up on my soft bed or on my soft couches, sleeping.  Lazy fluffballs, those two. 

Have a lovely Monday afternoon, y’all.

when a pink butterfly is actually a wake-up call.

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Tonight, in the mall, we passed by a man, dressed as a clown, selling balloon animals and flowers.  We were on our way to Santa so I told Munchkin we’d come back on the way out.  WE went to see Santa, secured our annual cute (but overpriced) pictures with the jolly Elf and headed back.  Wanting to be true to my word, we stopped at the balloon man and Munchkin began to look at the different choices. 

Initially, she chose a little black mouse.  I second-guessed her and asked if she wouldn’t rather pick a different color so he could draw on it too.  She ended up choosing a pink butterfly; something totally different from her original choice.  The man with the balloons looked me dead in the eye and said, “in my experience, when they are able to make a sound decision, it is best to back away and let them.  After all, one of these days she’ll bring home a boy you don’t like.” 

I was a little put off by a man, dressed as a clown, handing out unsolicited parenting advice. 

She took her pink butterfly and we moved on in the mall.  I think she held it about 10 seconds before handing it to us to hold.  Just like that, this little thing she’d been so excited about before was relegated to a forgotten thing in a bag.  I think it’s still in the car. 

So, here I am, at 3:30am feeling convicted about what the man said and wondering at what point decisions like picking the “right” balloon animal became so important as to merit input from her mother. 

Looking at this event, while minor and probably gone from Munchkin’s consciousness, it echoes other events and times when my “help” may have been more of a hindrance than good.  It may be a bit of a parents’ prerogative to be heavy-handed from time to time but tonight smacked of that type of helicopter parenting I despise. 

Did I hurt Munchkin tonight with my meddling?  No, of course not.  It was a two dollar balloon butterfly.  But, could my meddling hurt Munchkin in the long run if I do not establish more consistent boundaries for my guidance – quite possibly.  We certainly see the spoiled, helpless, nearing-adult children at the high school who are direct results of heavy-handed “mommy knows best” parenting. 

Lord, forgive me for straying too close to a type of parent I don’t want to be.  Forgive me for butting in on a decision that should have been Munchkin’s alone.  Help me set consistent expectations for Munchkin, give her the right tools and God-centered guidance and then back away so she can make her own decisions.  Help me have discernment to know when she needs my input and when she can make choices on her own.  Thank you for people bold enough to admonish a total stranger.  Amen.

So, what are my expectations for Munchkin? 

  1. Be safe at all times. (thanks Mom)
  2. Do your very best at school.
  3. Be respectful of adults.
  4. Be kind to others.

How will I help her meet those expectations?

  1. Keep up my commitment to previewing what she watches on TV to make sure it’s giving her messages that are consistent with our expectations for her behavior.  While the Disney channel shows she has begun watching are entertaining and G-rated, I don’t know if they reinforce the messages we are trying to send.  I will talk to Munchkin and those shows will be off the playlist for a while.
  2. Renew my commitment to spending quality time with Munchkin every day; reading, playing, and just spending time with the coolest kid in the world.
  3. Create an environment where it is safe to make bad decisions, learn from them and make good decisions the next time.
  4. Let myself off the hook because I’m still learning too and am bound to make mistakes. 

cold, rainy, dreary

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It’s cold and soggy and COLD.  LOL

Actually, it’s really NOT that cold – it’s just wet so it feels colder.  Still, it would be a good night for a fire but, of course, I ran out of logs for the fire this weekend and didn’t pick any up so….. no fire tonight. 

My hair hurts.  It’s been in a bun most of the afternoon and the weight is beginning to pull a little.  how odd – my hair hasn’t been long enough for that in a very long time. 

A lot of Christmas shopping is already finished so I feel a certain sense of satisfaction.  I also know, though, that I’ll continue to to “graze” (shop) right up until the big day.  I still have to shop for Matt and my mother and my secret family member (not tellin’), a gift for the office xmas thing and my mentee. 

Still not sure if we’re doing the whole Christmas card thing this year.  I’d really like to but gosh I am still working on thank you notes from the wedding!  YIKES!  I swear I’ll get all of them done over the holiday – we just haven’t had a spare moment.  *sigh* 

I guess we’ll be doing well to get a christmas card done…  Maybe we’ll do those little picture cards from wal-mart.  Hmmm.. We have to take a picture for the soccer program – maybe we can double up and do Christmas too – it’ll just be an outfit change…  LOL

Family.  Gotta love it.

WOW! Post

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Read THIS POST by my friend, Sarah, on Weekly Family Meetings, then come back over here.  Definitely worth a read for moms and dads. 

 

Coach & I remarked LAST NIGHT how frazzled we feel.  We constantly run 600 miles per hour and in 1000 different directions.  With football and school for him, Munchkin’s gymnastics and now her part in the THS play and my involvement in the show at the Civic theater, we’ve noticed a sharp decline in the amount of quality time we’re spending together as a family. 

This is a critical time for our family because we are still all adjusting to this wonderful new family thing and those opportunities to spend time together and just “be” together are really important.  While I’m greatly enjoying the show at TCT (I can do so few), it sucks up a lot of my time.  The good news is the show will open in three weeks, run for two weekends and be finished.  I won’t do another one for at least another year so my nightly time drain will be gone.

fridaynightgirl

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I have laughed more in the past months than, maybe, in my entire life.  Life is happy.  Life is good. 

I’m reading a crazy book called Good Omens.  It’s by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett.  It’s taking simply FOREVER to get through.  I mean, sheesh – I bought it two weeks ago and I’m STILL not finished.  I think that means I am just not into it.  I’m ready to be finished with it so I can move on.  I have a new book that I want to dig in to. 

Hey, I can add a poll?  How cool is that?!  Ok, a poll. 

Ok, that was random.  *laugh*  dinnertime!