November 30, 2006
Day 30: Coat Shopping
It is finally day 30 of the National Blog Posting Month. I've actually done it, in spite of being in Florida, using dial-up for over a week and spending a few days at a hotel with spotty internet.
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If my comments from the last couple weeks are any indication, I've bored everyone to death and you've all passed into the abyss of the internets. Which means I'm typing into this window, and no eyes other than my own will see these words. Ah, oh well.
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This past month, until the last week, I've been forced to think about writing a bit more. While I have failed miserably at churning out anything thoughtful or witty, I feel like I really accomplished something I didn't think I could by posting each day of an entire month. I realize that if I ever want to be serious about writing, I have to have ideas before I sit at the keyboard. I must have some time where I can clear my mind and not have distractions... I'm a long way away from writing seriously, but that is okay. It's not really something I aspire to these days anyway.
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Today, though, I embark on the exciting mission of shopping for winter coats. I have never purchased a winter coat, unless you count trying on one or two when my parents bought them for me when I was a kid. I don't quite know where to start. I don't know what price range to look in or what type of coat my children will need. As for myself, I am just as clueless, though I know I'd like something that looks good, but is functional in cold weather. Wish me luck.
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November 29, 2006
Day 29
It's definitely the cold and flu season. I've picked up a bug and am feeling blech.
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I still can't believe in 4 days, Husband will be starting a job in Baltimore. We keep hearing wonderful things, though. Columbia is even listed as the fourth best place to live in America. Maybe we should look there?
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Do you know anything about Baltimore?
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November 28, 2006
Free Beer and Wings
A great end to a nice and exhausting day at Disney. A hotel that believes in giving away beer and wings to its guests.
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We had a great time today at Anim*l Kingdom, though it is definitely not on the top of our list of parks to revisit. It was a great and leisurely day, compared to when we go to the others.
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Silly Sally fell asleep on the bus back to the hotel, in spite of being crammed in among strangers. Incredibly sweet, seeing her sleeping on her sisters lap once the bus emptied.
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We're going to fit in some Christmas display gazing this evening at some of the area hotels. But for now, I'm going back to my dinner - did I mention that there's free beer and wings here?!
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Day 28. Almost done.
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November 27, 2006
Poor Baby
The past few days have been odd for my littlest one. On Thanksgiving Day, she complained that her eye was hurting and she didn't eat much. As a matter of fact, even the lure of dessert did not change her appetite. While our family gathered round the table to break bread and feast together, Silly Sally chose to lay on the couch in the next room. She and her sister went across the street to get some m0trin (bad mommy, I didn't pack any), and after she had some, she perked up a little.
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Friday, she apparently woke with a headache, so more m0trin. When she woke me Saturday morning early, clutching her head and crying, I knew I needed to take her to a doctor. Even though she was burning up early in the morning, the doctor determined the fever was a fluke and the headache was likely a migraine. The strep test came back negative and we are waiting for the lab confirmation. Until then, we are just monitoring her temperature and thankfully, she didn't have a headache today (well, that is, not until she banged her head on the coffee table).
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So, we're crossing our fingers in the hopes that we will head to Orlando as planned and play tourist. We're looking forward to some time checking out the holiday displays in some of the Disney hotels and we hope to see some friends of ours, but understand that the wife may not be up for a visit [she had a miscarriage yesterday at just over 12 weeks - it was a rough day and I haven't talked to them today, so I'm just praying that she is not blaming herself].
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Sorry this is not terribly exciting - I'm burnt out and I just need a break.
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Day 27.
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Three more to go.
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I can do it.
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November 26, 2006
49 Things About My Mom
1. She is the middle child.
2. She has a big brother and a little sister.
3. She works hard.
4. She calls my daughters, "my girls".
5. She once let someone believe that her granddaughter was her own baby.
6. She was a "baby" when I was born.
7. She and my Dad had no idea what they were doing.
8. But they tried their best.
9. She has had a lot of bad stuff happen in her life.
10. She's still going, though.
11. I'm proud of her.
12. When I was a kid, she had a "plant room" in our house.
13. She had the greenest thumb of anyone I've ever known.
14. She used to make the best Christmas cookies.
15. I remember she used to give them to everyone as gifts.
16. She used to give me quarters to play pinball at the deli where she worked.
17. I was there a lot - and got really good at pinball.
18. She used to take me to see bands at fairs.
19. I think she had a thing for guys in bands.
20. We used to go camping.
21. And boating.
22. She loves to go fishing.
23. I learned to love it too.
24. She's a fantastic cook.
25. One of the best I know.
26. I miss her - we live so far away.
27. She has two dachshunds.
28. She calls them "baby" and claims they are my brothers.
29. She's a little bit crazy.
30. She makes everyone laugh.
31. She's kind of a goofball.
32. I thought of her the other day when I was dancing to the muzak in the Dollar Tree.
33. She spoils me and my family - Husband calls her Santa.
34. I loved helping her clean the house when I was a kid - we'd sing along with a record and dance around.
35. I even started doing it with my own daughters.
36. We can't wait for her to come visit.
37. And spend Christmas with us.
38. She had a heart attack 4 years ago.
39. I was terrified as we drove home early from vacation.
40. I painted her toenails when she was in the hospital.
41. It was probably the only time I've ever touched her feet.
42. She has Popeye knees.
43. My grandpa used to make fun of her skinny legs.
44. Even though his were pretty much identical, only hairy.
45. She adored him anyway.
46. She recently began taking care of her aunt with Alzheimer's on the weekends.
47. I'm proud of her for helping, even though she doesn't have to.
48. Today is her birthday!
49. She probably tells people she's 43. [which would have made her 12 when I was born, which she wasn't]
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November 25, 2006
Things Could Always Be Worse
Yesterday, as my friend and I were returning from our madhouse shopping trip, there were vehicles stopped right in the road - two cars in one direction and a moving truck in the other direction. We couldn't get by and started looking to see what was the cause. We looked over to the sidewalk and saw a couple people, one a neighbor, performing CPR on a man on the sidewalk. Because my friend is an RN, I insisted we stop. She didn't want to, "my certification is lapsed and I technically shouldn't be performing CPR". I insisted, knowing our neighbor probably didn't know what she was doing.
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I was right. The two administering weren't doing it correctly, so my friend offered her help. Our neighbor suggested that someone go to the gate, to keep it open for the ambulance, so I jumped in my van and drove off. On my way (a 20 second drive), it occurred to me not to pray for the man's well-being, but for peace for his family and for his welcome to the other side. I did not have any reason to know he'd been dead a number of minutes and that no amount of help would revive him. After letting the ambulance in, I went back to the area and saw my friend giving compressions as a different neighbor gave the breaths. I stood away, just praying that all would be well, still praying mostly for the loved ones of this man. At one point, I stepped behind (as if my feet moved on their own, as I did not want to be anywhere near his body or interfere in any way) the crying woman, who turned out to be his wife.
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They were an unexpected couple, interracial, she younger than he. He rough-looking, long gray hair in a braided ponytail, she strong, beautiful. They have a 6 year old daughter and he was taking her for a walk when he collapsed. The daughter ran home to get her mom.
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I stood behind the wife and, with my hand on her shoulder, I prayed. Her mother was standing beside her, visiting for Thanksgiving. I prayed silently at first for this woman, that her family would surround her and be with her and her daughter (and other children?). As I prayed, she slumped and I put my hands under her elbows as she fell to the ground, bringing me with her. I was on my knees behind her, and as she leaned back into me, I put my arms around her. This woman, I'd never met. She moved in just as I moved out, we were never neighbors, never friends. And here, on a sunny Friday morning, her day became Black. She clutched at my arms, kissed my hand, and I held her.
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The police asked her questions and before she got in the car to be taken to the hospital, she turned to me and hugged me. She thanked me and asked God to bless me. And all I could think was this woman had hope that when she arrived at the hospital, the doctors would tell her her husband would be okay. I hugged her back tightly and whispered a blessing, unable to keep the tears from my eyes.
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On this Black Friday, after starting my day early for shopping, I was reminded that going to Baltimore with my husband is something that I should be grateful to do. I pray for the woman and her daughter. The beautiful day was deceiving, as it stole away their protector, their love, their life as they knew it.
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God Bless them.
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November 24, 2006
Black Friday
I'm up at 2:20 am. Can't sleep. We're at friends' home and in a short hour, I'll be heading out to participate in the craziness that is Black Friday. I have no idea why I'm doing this, other than she asked and I've been doing this ridiculous thing for the last 5 years. But today, I really have no reason, since there aren't any deals that I need to get at such an early hour. As a matter of fact, we're practically done with our gift buying.
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I guess it's just an excuse to hang out with my friend that I've missed so much since moving.
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Have a great day. Hopefully I'll get a few great deals and then come back to take a nap. :)
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November 23, 2006
Happy Thanksgiving
I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
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My family is together.
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My husband has a good job.
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God leads us to friends everywhere we go.
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My kids are precious.
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My marriage.
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My relationship with my brother is renewing.
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I've gotten to spend a few months with one of the best friends I've ever had.
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Husband's grandmother did not suffer long before meeting her husband on the other side today.
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Did I mention that I am surrounded by family?
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God Bless you this Thanksgiving.
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I hope you find your list long and your belly full.
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November 22, 2006
When it Rains, It Pours
Last weekend, I received a birthday card in the mail from my grandma in Ohio. Funny thing is, my birthday is in September and she mailed the card just a couple days after my birthday. I realized I'd been remiss in keeping in good touch with some people and my grandma didn't even know that we'd moved to Georgia.
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It turns out she had good reason for sending my card a couple days late - she was diagnosed in August with cancer. She's been on a rollercoaster of doctor appointments and they can't remove the cancer until her blood pressure comes down -and well, nothing is helping with that. So, the cancer remains - and keeps growing. It's quite a quagmire and I'm very worried for her. I don't think she feels it's time to go, she's still pretty young in her 70s. Papa died last year. I hope I'll be permitted to be part of the family again....
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In the evening, the phone rang at my IL's (where we're staying in FL) and Husband's grandmother in Baltimore is back in the hospital. She broke her hip a couple weeks ago and she was in a rehab facility. Yesterday, something alerted them to an issue and they put a tube through her nose and into her stomach, discovering her stomach was full of blood. They found a mass the size of a grapefruit and waited overnight for test results. The news this morning is grim: They want to remove her colon, oh, and by the way, her kidneys are also failing, so she should go on dialysis. The kids all agree that it's time to let her go and be with her husband, who passed just a few short months ago. Later this morning, another call: the doctors don't expect her to live til the weekend.
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And my father-in-law has an appointment next week to have a defibrillator implanted in his heart. And he does not want to miss his mother's funeral, so he's talking about postponing his own procedure.
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To say my family is stressed out at this time is an understatement. But we are together. And we know that God will work it all out.
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The message in all of this? There is never enough time.
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November 21, 2006
Baltimore, Here We Come!
It's official and I'm having a mini-meltdown. I do not want to move, yet there is no other appealing choice. Urgh.
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I'm trying to remember all the positive things I came up with when we were going to be moving to Baltimore back in the spring. I'm really trying to have a positive attitude about this, but I'm finding that all I want to do is throw a temper tantrum. It's absolutely ridiculous. I don't know if I've ever in my life thrown a temper tantrum.
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I don't want to live where it's cold half the year, I don't want to live where snow sticks to the ground. I am not crazy about the idea of living in an area with ridiculously high crime. Not to mention the distance to our parents and grandparents in Florida. Oh, and the fact that we just moved, less than 5 months ago.
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But there are good things too. Obviously, in such a big city, there is a lot to do. Plus, a huge bonus is that Husband has a number of extended family members in the outlying areas. His Dad grew up there and his brother and a sister are still there, along with his ailing mother and a few cousins. We'll be a short distance from DC, which means incredible museums just a train ride away. History, culture. Different than what you can get in rural Georgia - or even west-central Florida.
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But the snow. Wow. I'm so not looking forward to that. People think I should be fine with it, since I grew up in Northeastern Ohio. But, people, as soon as I was old enough to get the hell out, I did - and out from under snow, no less, since I moved in December to the Sunshine State.
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Got any pointers for this thin-blooded Florida girl?
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November 20, 2006
Christmas Tagging
1. What was your most memorable Christmas like? The Christmas memory that sticks in my head the most is 1993, my Dad and baby brother playing with empty tubes from the wrapping paper. Probably the happiest I've ever seen my Dad.
2. What was the best gift you ever received as a child? Lite Brite. I loved it!
3. What is your favorite cookie/candy to make at Christmastime? Magic Cookie Bars - they make me think of my mom making them when I was a kid.
4. What does Christmas mean to you? A time to celebrate Christ's birth - I love church during Advent and Christmas! and lots of time with family and friends.
5. What are your plans this year? My mom will come for the weekend of Christmas and then in-laws will come Christmas Day. Hopefully, we'll get to see some friends too.
6. What kinds of gifts do your kids desire? American Girl dolls, My Little Pony
7. Which ornament that you own is the most special and why? It's not one that I put on my tree, because I have it out year round - it's a part of the American flag that was presented to our family at my Dad's funeral.
8. Does your tree have a decorated theme ~ or is it mix matched? The ornaments are mostly angels, we have burgundy and gold bows and added white and red poinsettia blossoms last year, white lights, gold beads.
9. Do you do anything special on Christmas Eve? We go to mass and this year may go to a friend's house.
10. When do you start your Christmas shopping? In the summer, usually. I'd start earlier, but I usually forget where the gifts are hidden.
11. What is your opinion of the Christmas season in general? I love it. I love saying Merry Christmas for a month!
12. What do you love about Christmas? Traditions and time with friends and family.
13. What traditions do you hold that you do every year? see this post.
14. When do you open presents? Christmas Eve? Christmas morning? usually one on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning.
15. What was the best gift you received as an adult?
My KitchenAid mixer
16. What is your favorite Christmas song? For sentimental reasons: Silent Night.
17. Do you watch special movies and shows during Christmas? Must watch all the kids' tv specials: Frosty, Rudolph, Charlie Brown - we have hot cocoa with the kids while we watch them.
18. Do you send out Christmas cards or family letters? usually cards, this year I will add a letter since we've moved and are going to move again so soon.
19. Do you have a special breakfast or meal on Christmas day? I usually make a breakfast casserole and we have muffins and fruit. I'll also make dinner this year.
20. Do you decorate your whole house or just the living room area? We'll probably just do the living room area this year, since I don't necessarily want to get everything out to have to put it away by myself (Husband will be gone right after Christmas, likely).
21. Do you decorate the outside of your house with lights? Not usually, but I wanted to this year. Maybe one or two trees?
22. Do you exchange gifts with your friends? Very few.
23. Do you have a sad Christmas memory? 1983, my Dad driving us home after Christmas Eve with his extended family - our first Christmas morning without our Dad was just hours away. I cried the whole way home - I didn't want him to drop us off and leave.
24. Do you sing in a cantata or sing Christmas specials? What is a cantata? I am pretty sure since I don't know what it is that I don't sing in one. My sister-in-law was in The Charleston Christmas Special for a few years before she moved to the west coast, which doesn't really count as me, but that's as close as I'm going to get - being in the audience.
25. Does your church have Christmas services? Of course!
26. Do you do anything to celebrate Jesus? We have an advent wreath and an advent calendar and we have special prayers for when we light the wreath. We also have a creche and wait til Christmas to put Jesus in the stable.
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I can't remember where I got this list from, if you do it, let me know so I can come by and read your answers. I'm leaving later to drive to the Sunshine State, so I'll catch you in a day or two.
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November 19, 2006
If you were a box of sweaters.... *edited*
Where might you be?
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I have just spent half an hour looking in the same places three times for a couple of plastic totes with my "winter" clothes - long sleeve shirts and sweaters, plus a wool jacket.
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I am fairly certain I have seen them since moving here, but I cannot seem to locate them tonight, as I am trying to get packed for a week away from home.
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Urgh!
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**Updated to Add: I found them! In the closet of the spare room. Getting on the road now, only 2 hours late today. haha!**
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Geography Club
The girls are in a Geography Club with some other kids from the local homeschool group.
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It's fantastic - once a month, we get together and each family (each child, for families with older kids) presents a short report about a country. After all the reports are presented, we have lunch, a sampling of foods from each country. Thanks to Nino's cheesy help [bad pun, I know], I was able to make arroz con queso. It was a hit - almost every kid had a second helping!
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The last two months, we did South American countries. In October, we shared a country with another family, since my girls are preK and 2nd grade. This month, because that other family is out of town, the girls and I did the research on Bolivia on our own. The girls had a great time finding pictures of the crops grown in the country and pictures of the patron saints. We read about some basic history, and talked about how poor the country is and what kind of work some of them do. Bookworm labeled a map and Silly Sally colored the flag. Bookworm dictated her report, while I typed it for easy reading. It was really fun to do this project together. They pasted all their pictures along with the map and flag onto a cardboard display.
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I was getting a little emotional, watching how confidently Bookworm read the report in front of the other kids. Sally kept dropping the display of their cut out pictures, but in general, they did a great job. I was feeling particularly proud of my girls as they went back to their seats.
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As Sally sat down, she looked at me and, with an incredulous expression, said, "That was TERRIBLE!"
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November 18, 2006
Saturday Morning
Cop-out post here.
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Maybe I'll be by later with something better, but for now, I wanted to post to say that trip preparations are underway and I may not be back online today.
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The van is done! And I have to get it within an hour and I'm so not even ready for my day to start.
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Plus, I'm getting excited about helping plan a family reunion vacation next summer. The dates are being determined and I'm going to look into rental houses on the beach. Woot!
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Have a fabulous Saturday!
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November 17, 2006
It's Friday.... It feels like Fried Day
Why on earth would someone steal a kitchen garbage can and a laundry hamper from my curbside? These are items we use for recycling. The recycling truck left these items at the curb (as they usually do) and when I returned from the grocery store (30 minutes later), gone.
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What could this person possibly need my trash cans for? Are they desperate for their own recycling system???? Come on, folks.
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This is the kinda day I'm having. Thank goodness it's more than half over.
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November 16, 2006
First Date
On this day, 9 years ago, I was being surreptitiously dropped off at my apartment the morning after a first date. Yep, the morning after. So, I guess you could say that the date lasted all night, into the morning.
And no, we didn’t do that. I swear.
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Actually, the date started off oddly enough. He picked me up at my apartment and on the way to the restaurant (by the beach, natch), he drove like an immature goof, swerving intentionally within our travel lane. It was ba-ad. I was not impressed. We arrived at the restaurant without further incident, only to find that hey! it is not a great idea to show up to the nicest restaurant at the beach without reservations on a Saturday evening. The wait was going to be 2 hours or something crazy like that.
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Apologetically, he grabbed my hand and dragged me back onto the sidewalk, where we started walking briskly away, him trying to reassure me something would work out up the street. (Admittedly, at this point, I’m thinking this guy isn’t as slick as he thinks he is.) We walk into the lobby of The Clearwater Beach Hotel* and he approached the host stand. He was told that there is a table available in the lounge, as long as we're willing to vacate it before 8 pm (nearly 2 hours away). You can imagine what the table might be like if someone has reservations for the specific table...
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Romantic. A tiny table in a small corner partially hidden by the fireplace hearth, in an elegant lounge, paneled with beautiful wood and lit almost entirely by candelight.
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We had an incredible dinner (the finest, most expensive meal I’d had in my life up to that point) complete with wine and dessert. We (probably I) talked the entire time, no awkward silences, a genuinely nice time. He had impeccable manners at the restaurant, which did surprise me. After dessert, he asked if I’d like to take a walk on the beach. Cheesy, I know, but I didn’t really want the date to end at that point.
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So, as we walked, he kind of jaunted ahead and flung his arms wide and burst into song. I seriously about died. I realized with a start - this guy is not straight. He is not straight. It was as if a lightbulb went off in my head - it explained his earlier immaturity - he was trying too hard to act like a "guy".
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After we walked the beach and headed back to the car, he invited me back to his apartment to watch a movie. I, of course, was convinced at this point that he’s gay, what with all the show tunes he sang on our walk, so I accepted the offer of the movie. I figured, typical me to like a boy who’s not going to like me back because he likes boys - but we'll be great friends and shopping buddies. We arrived at his apartment and I was further convinced of his, um, orientation. There was artwork on the walls, everything was neat and immaculate and clean. Oh, and let’s not forget the bigger-than-life-size poster of Prince on his bedroom wall.
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Um, yeah. This was not the typical apartment of a single 22 year-old boy.
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So, we sat next to one another on his tiny leather loveseat (he didn’t have another couch) and watched the movie. What movie you ask? Why, Snow White, of course. Tell me that you are not also wondering how I managed to end up on a date with a boy who sings show tunes on the beach and owns Snow White, just try to tell me you don’t believe at this point what I was thinking then. Yeah, that’s what I thought.
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Through the entire movie, no touching, not even holding hands, some talking, but not much, we were watching Snow White. Afterwards, we’re chatting and he asked if he can kiss me. I said sure, because hey, I’m nothing if not easy. Just kidding, sort of.
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Anyway, he kissed me - and wow! What lips. Wow. And then we’re making out. And well, let me just tell you - hmmm. A few times I said, "I really should be getting home.." And we’d start kissing again... He picked me up and carried me into the bedroom and ran my arm and shoulder into the doorframe. Ouch! Come to think of it, I wonder if my jacked up shoulder is in some way due to what happened then. Anyway, we lay on the bed, kissing and um, you know, running our hands on each other’s backs. He started tugging at my clothes and I said no. I said maybe he should take me home and he said he doesn’t want me to go. I told him that my clothes are staying on. And he said okay, but please stay. So I did. We slept in his bed, falling asleep talking to one another and softly stroking arms and backs.
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In the morning, I was horrified that I had spent the night with him. What was I thinking? On a first date? And isn’t he gay?
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When he dropped me off, my neighbor was out smoking and she had seen me off the night before, so she knew I had spent the night. Oh, it was embarrassing. But, definitely the most interesting first date I'd had.
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That boy - the one who sang show tunes on the beach and with the Prince poster on his bedroom wall - he ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. The Prince poster is rolled up and packed away, but the show tunes continue and now he's teaching them to our daughters.
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*The Clearwater Beach Hotel went on to become a very special place for us. Without knowing it was the location of our first date, Husband’s mother planned a luncheon there for after our courthouse wedding, 51 weeks after we met. It was also the site of our first date (for my birthday) after the birth of our first daughter and brunch with the family on my first official Mother’s Day. Sadly, the historic hotel was torn down last year to make way for a luxury resort and condominium complex.
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November 15, 2006
WFMW: Christmas Edition
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We have several traditions for Christmas that we have maintained over the years, in spite of our many moves. The weekend of Thanksgiving, we try to get the tree up and the house decorated, the Christmas cds are placed next to and loaded into the changer, our favorite songs playing almost daily for the next 5-6 weeks. A pot is placed on the stove where I make "real" hot chocolate. A smaller pot is placed to simmer with "The scent of Christmas". I send out over 100 cards each year and each year I swear I will pare down the list next year, based on how many cards we receive. But I just can't seem to make myself do it. I know I don't hear from many in my extended family, but I still care about them and I figure a couple dollars to send them a card with a picture of my girls is a small price to pay to let them know they are in my thoughts.
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Each year on the Feast of St. Nicholas (December 6), we give the girls a small gift - each year it's been an angel ornament for the tree. Usually, they are personalized with their name and the year. The first few were pewter ornaments from Things Remembered. One year, Husband and I painted angels at a local pottery shop. The girls love hanging their angels on the tree and, one day, they will each have a box of angels to start their own Christmas tree.
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We always try to go to mass on Christmas Eve evening, so we have the entirety of Christmas Day to spend with family. When we lived near our parents, we'd have my mom and stepdad over in the afternoon Christmas Eve (before mass) and then we'd spend part of Christmas Day (late morning through lunch) with Husband's parents. Last year, we invited my mom to join us for mass and then spend the night with us. It was nice and comfortable to include her in our other Christmas traditions and she even spent most of the day with us Christmas Day. The girls loved having her with us when they opened their gifts from Santa and we just really enjoyed sharing the family time with her - we even commented that we should have invited her and my stepdad in years past.
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This year will be different, since we live farther away, but we're hoping my mom will come up and spend the days leading up to Christmas with us. Husband's parents are planning to come Christmas Day, so it will be not quite the same, but we're looking forward to sticking to most of our traditions.
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Christmas traditions, Works for Me.
For more Christmas Tips, please check out Shannon over at Rocks In My Dryer.

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Vacation
What would you do?
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Husband is taking the week off after Thanksgiving (his first time off in a year). Of course, we'll be in Florida for Thanksgiving and while there, we'll visit friends and he'll play a round of golf and, of course, spend time with our family.
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We'd like to come home and have a day or two to cross things off the TO DO list, particularly "Put up the tree" and "decorate". I know, not much of a vacation, but it'll be nice to spend time together. And we do have plans to take a holiday tour of homes in one of the historic cities nearby.
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We'd like to take at least a couple days and use them like a real vacation. Should we go someplace we've never been (i.e. a small city on the coast) or should we hit the old standby and go to Orlando?
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November 14, 2006
Thanksgiving Prep
Since we will be heading to Florida for Thanksgiving and I want to be able to help my MIL get as much ready for the big day as possible, I thought I'd try to make ahead what I can and transport it.
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What kinds of things do you think I could make 4-5 days ahead and take down in a cooler?
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I was thinking dough for the rolls (and freeze individual roll-size portions), but what else?
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And if you're cooking in someone else's kitchen, what are the gadgets you own that you wish you'd remembered to bring to make the prep go faster?
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November 13, 2006
Heat
I like being able to wear jeans and long sleeves every day, but turning on the heat? I thought I was looking forward to winter - eh, notsomuch.
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Dry skin
Warm air blowing from the vents
blowing dust up my nose (guess I better dust!)
frizzy hair
the desire to curl into the chair with a blanket and a book and a mug of something hot to drink, thus rending me completely unable to accomplish anything in a timely manner
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Cold weather.... I don't like wearing socks, yet am forced to keep them on my feet during days like today. I guess it could be worse... I remember mornings when my hair would freeze into curl-cicles as I waited for the school bus. Maybe I knew then that I was destined to make The Sunshine State my home? Only now I'm in Georgia, which still has near-perfect weather when you average the year. But.... we'll know later this week if we're moving to where it snows.
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Oy.
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November 12, 2006
Hotel Stay
Eyes dry, crackly...
Head cottony, achy...
Shoulders stooped, rounded...
Jaw slack, droopy...
My body the day after a night in a hotel room with my teeth-grinding, sleep-whining daughter...
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Next time we should choose the Staybridge Suites. The fancy bed at the Crowne Plaza was no use to me last night.
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November 10, 2006
Veterans Day, 2006
On this Veteran's Day, I feel a new appreciation for those who are serving or who have served our country in the armed services. I don't know if it is that I've met and gotten to know several families with at least one parent in service, or if it is the state of affairs just really making me feel compassionately for those witnessing (and putting themselves in the midst of) the danger firsthand. At any rate, something earlier this week spurred me to contact my first cousin, who is currently deployed.
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He and I have never really been close, as we lived in different states growing up and I was older by 7 years, so we never really enjoyed the same types of things when we did see each other at holidays. He was married right after boot camp to his high school sweetheart and they had a baby the next spring. His wife has been fantastic at keeping in touch (puts me to shame, really) and sending pictures of their children and letting everyone know when my cousin is coming home or shipping out. Few times over the years have I been in contact with my cousin himself, it's usually just chats or emails with his wife.
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But for some reason, this week, I felt it was important to contact him directly. I wasn't really thinking that Veteran's Day was this weekend. It just occurred to me that I'd never really told him that I was proud of him for serving our country. And he really should hear that from me. So, I wrote to him. I was incredibly touched by what he wrote back and one of the things he said just bowled me over - now, I'm even more proud of him than I could have imagined. He has really grown into quite a man.
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"It will long be the day that I will accept thanks for being in the armed services. I admire the fact that I am doing the job, but I really don’t feel thanks are deserved. I find it something of a responsibility not only to myself but to the people of America as a whole to be in the military, though I do appreciate the sentiment. Just know that I do it for everyone I love and care about, you and your family included, and that I will continue to do it for as long as it suits, and that even when I finally leave the service, I will never regret the days I spent in them [sic]."
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God Bless our Troops on this Veteran's Day. And take a moment to thank someone you know who has served our country.
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Free Association Friday
The word: Moving

Done it 4 times in 3 years.

Not something that I really enjoy doing, but I can find the good each time and have been able to settle in and really like each place eventually - some more quickly than others.

Getting better at unpacking every time.

Also getting better at getting settled quickly and connecting to the community right away.

Is it going to be 5 times in 3 1/2 years?

No official word yet. We're hoping to know today.
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November 09, 2006
Limbo - the Story of My Life
Why is it that just as we are at peace with a decision about geography and Husband’s job, we are slammed with other issues? Issues that make us question our decision and whether or not we should make a different decision. We want to stay here, but the job issue is too big an issue. So, we make a different decision. One that will change everything. Our community, our distance from our parents, ...everything.
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This decision has been difficult for us and one we’ve begged God to lead us in a different direction. Yet, here He is, continuing to tell us to make this move. The details aren’t worked out yet and let’s face it, we know things change quickly, so perhaps I’m upset about this over nothing right now.
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I’d like to be out of limbo, but I’d appreciate if I could stay here afterwards. But I just don’t think that’s going to happen. To have to move again, less than 6 months after moving here just makes me feel ill.
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We’re off to geography club.
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November 08, 2006
Be Back Tomorrow
My head is pounding and has been for two days.
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My van is in the shop and I'd really like to zip around in the brand spanking new car that's sitting in my driveway (way to go, rental company! They didn't have a car for me, though I had a reservation. They drove us home with the promise that they'd deliver a car within a few hours. Not only did they deliver a car to me, but it had only 15 miles on it - they purchased it yesterday! It's nothing fancy, but it's zippy, especially after driving a minivan. :)
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Anyway, we have a lot of schoolwork to do today and a report to do on Bolivia.
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I'll bring out some more interesting thoughts tomorrow. Maybe.
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November 07, 2006
I Miss My Dad
Mary, from Owlhaven, gives a Golden Keyboard Award each week. This week's topic was "Who do you miss the most?"
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Since I am scrambling for things to write about this month, I thought I'd use her topic for an entry. Let's face it, I miss lots of people.
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In beginning this entry, I think of all the possible subjects for my post: my Dad, my grandparents, my brothers in Ohio, my mom or in-laws who live in Florida, my Step-dad, old friends, my sister-in-law and her husband, newer friends that we moved away from too soon, the girl I used to be....
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And it occured to me that more than anyone, it really is my Dad that I miss most. I suppose it is mostly because my Dad was the center of my world when I was growing up. A great big personality, with an even more boisterous laugh and love of life, he was the joy of everyone who knew him. He had this ability to make everyone feel completely at ease, that they were the sole focus of his attention. He was definitely a people-person and everyone believed they were his best friend, and many felt he was definitely the best friend they had.
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I miss my Dad because he died when I was 18. He wasn't around when I really became an adult, when I met my husband, became a mother, morphed into the woman I am today. I'm not sure if he can see me now, or if he watches over my children, I like to think so. But it would be incredible to watch a football game with him in my living room, sharing the fun with my husband and my girls.
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I know without a doubt that my Dad would have loved Husband - I know they would have become close friends. And he'd have romped on the floor with my girls just the way he did with my brothers and me. It isn't the big things that I miss, but I would love to be able to share my family with my Dad. I hope he'd be proud of the wife and mother I've become. I have had uncountable times when I just wanted to share a hug and a laugh with my Dad.
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I miss him.
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November 06, 2006
8 Years
8 years ago today, I married the man of my dreams.
I don't think I really realized that at the time.
I'm pretty sure I had no idea what I was doing.
God really worked out the details, since we were young and hadn't a clue.
2 beautiful girls.
6 homes.
5 cities.
2 states.
What an adventure.
I have a feeling it's still only just begun.
I look forward to every day with you, Husband.
Thank you for choosing me.
I love you.
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Insomnia
Argh! It's almost 2 am and the piano tuner is coming at 8!! I can't sleep and it's making me crazy.
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November 05, 2006
Sunday Morning*
Have you ever noticed that the kids drag a bit more on Sunday mornings? They don't brush their teeth or hair until you're walking out the door, they don't have their shoes on, even after being reminded 16 times to be ready to go...
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When there is a meeting before church, the rushing increases.
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Until one day, the rush results in a wrecked van, with hundreds (thousands?) of dollars in damages.
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Next time, remember it's better to arrive late and safe - and with a fully intact vehicle.
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Thank goodness there are reminders all during mass to forgive one another as you'd want to be forgiven.
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Have a blessed day.
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*My friend Nino posted an entry with the same title. Her post was way funnier than mine. [Mine wasn't funny at all, yathink?] Hi, back atcha, Nino!
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November 04, 2006
Friends
Kindred spirits make the best friends...
Friends don't lie to you or wrongly accuse you
They accept you as you are
They offer support and encouragement
Friends hold your hand when you're going through it
There is never judgement, no matter how stupid you act
There is often forgiveness
A friend believes in you, especially when you don't believe in yourself
Friendship isn't always easy
But it is almost always worth the work
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I am incredibly blessed with a handful of amazing friends - more, actually, than I think the average person has in a lifetime. I've had some disappointments when I've put (a lot of) effort into a friendship, only to have to watch the person's back as she walks away from me. Thankfully, those friends only number 2. Not too bad for 31 years. Other times, a friendship has drifted and eventually fizzled, nothing more than two people not really needing one another anymore and no longer sharing the same bond as before.
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The old Michael W. Smith song comes to mind when I think of my closest friends - and those friends who I've kept in touch with through the years in spite of distance and differences. I have found that when both friends have faith in their lives, the friendship is often there, even in absences. Call it God, call it stability, call it strength of character, whichever you want. But I know the friends I have are incredible blessings from God, Himself. And I know without a doubt that I am always trying to do and say the right thing - the true thing - without compromising who I am as a person or as a child of God. Do I slip on occasion? Sure, I'm a sinner by nature. But I must always get back to trying.
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For those of you who are my friends, I just want to say THANK YOU. My life is richer for you being in it.
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November 03, 2006
Gifts
We've been feeling called lately to give more. One of us interprets that to mean we should give even more financially to our church and other "charitable" commitments. The other is interpreting that we give more of ourselves. That we serve others.
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Those who know Husband and me can probably figure out which is interpreting what. When we lived in Florida, we were both involved in different ministries and one ministry we were both involved in. We thrive when we are in service to others. We feel a fullness of our faith as we give to others in a small way to mirror what God has so graciously given us.
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So, our compromise is that we have scheduled financial gifts and we are going to give financially to others in a way that makes us both a little uncomfortable - for Husband, it will be opening our home to another family regularly for dinner; for me, it will be preparing something a bit more challenging to make the invited family feel special and welcome. I figure this is a good way to teach our kids about giving to others, and in the process we will be building friendships and community with those around us - something that I find ever more important the longer we spend our lives away from our families.
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I look forward to cooking for families with many children and inviting them to have a "night off" by cooking and cleaning for all of them.
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It's small, but I know I'd appreciate my family all the more after spending more time with others (and having the work to feed that many more mouths!). Plus, who doesn't like having a reason to make a good dinner and crack open a bottle or two of wine?
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In what ways can you give more of yourself to others? Do you think if you did, you would find more happiness in your own life? Or do you feel all gived out by serving your children and husband?
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[Congratulations to Kelly, on the birth of her daughter - likely right as I am posting this entry. We love you, Kelly! May you have a joyful first meeting with Haley and may you have a speedy recovery from your c-section.]
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November 02, 2006
Trick-or-Treating 2006
I tried yesterday to post pictures of the girls in their costumes, but blogger seemed to be rejecting the cuteness. I'm going to post them through photobucket for your viewing pleasure.
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Susan from Narn1a:
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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Belle:
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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We had over 165 kids for trick-or-treating and the neighbors were wonderful to invite the girls (and Husband) along on their hayride-treating-fest around the neighborhood. Evidence supports that there are not even close to one hundred kids that live in our neighborhood, so we're wondering where they all came from....
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November 01, 2006
Back
I'm back from Florida. We had a nice, mostly relaxing time with family and actually got more than a few days of schoolwork done in our time there.
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The wedding Saturday was exactly what I presume most weddings are like - my friend, the bride, was stunning and looked exactly like a princess; her parents were quick to hug me and her mom exclaimed how happy she was to see me; an old girlfriend of my brother's said she knew exactly who I was (in spite of not seeing me in 13+ years and the fact that I look absolutely nothing like I did when I was in high school - but it was kind of her to say I look just like me); I was dragged to the "Norton" table, where I was surprised to see many parents of former school-mates. It was especially nice to see the mother of two friends that I've recently been in contact with; I had a fun time chatting with the bride's brother, who has grown up quite nicely - we have some fun memories from my senior year and were surprised how much the dancing at the wedding reminded us how silly we all were in high school. It was lovely. And I'm so glad we went. I was honored to be included in my friend's special day.
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It was nice to visit with some of our family while in town. I reconnected with a friend and I'm hoping the reconnection sticks, though I'm already doubting it since she hasn't returned my calls in 4 days. C'est la vie. I tried.
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It was wonderful listening to the early morning camping trips the girls took with Poppop. Spending a day with the great-grandparents and then lunching with them on the way home. It was just a really nice week. The girls obviously needed it - they loved spending time with their grandparents and I can't tell you how it hurts my heart that the hundreds of miles prevent us from allowing them more time together.
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But, we're back and we're trying to find our routine again. And hooray! We've actually been to mass every morning this week. Does my soul good.
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I hope you all had a safe night last night and your little angels had a great time. We had a Susan from Narn1a and a Belle. They were precious.
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Until next time, God Bless you.
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