Friday, September 30, 2011

The Traditional Half

(To see how our Half Birthday Tradition started, click HERE)

See why we don't always spend big bucks on presents, ESPECIALLY half birthday presents. Check out that smile from a dollar store gift!?

True to Half Birthday Tradition, Drew had a half wrapped dollar store present, a half chocolate cake, with a half a candle and we sang half of 'Happy Birthday' to him. Drew, the musician serenaded himself with the second half.

This next picture has no caption except an answer to the recently asked question, "Does Drew ever wear clothes?"
The answer is NO, not if he is at home. And even for me, a lover of laundry, don't you think an arm is much easier to clean up than a shirt sleeve?

Happy Half Birthday Dewer!!!!

Two and A HALF.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Son, A Goat

I have nothing to say! These poor lighting photos say it all.
Thank goodness my kids know how to use a camera...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Free for the Hungry

Apparently the annual Scouting Food Drive that supplies the local food pantry each spring, has already run out of food. So the LDS church chose Saturday for some community and neighborhood food drives. For whatever reasons, the announcement of this particular food drive touched my heart more than any others, and I donated more generously than I typically do.

Upon seeing the ready-to-be-carried-outside-food by my front door on Friday night, Luke asked who we give it to and how it actually gets to the 'hungry people who need it.' I briefly explained how a food pantry works. Luke (remember here), ever the 'free stuff' kind of kid asked, "Well what if people don't really need it, but they go there because it is free."

With emotion in my voice, I explained to Luke that it really isn't the same as collecting free stuff passed out at a county fair, a vendor show, or a ball game. I tried to explain to him a little about pride, poverty and genuine needs. He left the conversation satisfied that the local food pantry probably wasn't being taken advantage of.

Saturday morning I had Ellie and Joshua do their best to drag the heavy cans out to the curb, with Joshua a little perplexed wondering exactly why we were putting food on the sidewalk, and Ellie doing her best to explain the process to him.
An hour or so after we set it out on the curb, it was gone. To which I heard Ellie announce to Joshua, "Looks like somebody who is hungry and needed it came by and got it."

I didn't explain the full food drive process to her. I didn't take the time to tell her that in fact it could well have been (non-hungry) Megan that picked up our donation as part of the youth involved in gathering it up.

My children all got the gist of the food drive.
It is for hungry people who need it.

We have never lined up at a food pantry or collected food from somebody's curb.
Contrary to Joshua's frequent declarations of, "I'm starving!", my children have never experienced hunger.
We are truly blessed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

'The Man' Solo

Dear Grandma and Grandpa in Washington DC-

My family hopes by the time you return next Spring, I will be past the 'Praise to the Man' phase. I sing it non-stop. If I'm not singing it, I want someone else singing it, or I want it playing on the CD, or I want Luke practicing it on the piano. Furthermore, my mother hopes by next spring I will be potty trained, like clothing, and be able to pronounce words. Nonetheless my singing is quite entertaining, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Please be patient while the camera is turned the wrong way for the first twenty seconds. And please look past the fact that I look a little white trashish wearing a camo diaper (courtesy of a Huggies promo Nana couldn't pass up), and an art project on my tummy (courtesy of unattended markers). It is actually a very endearing short video of me singing, 'The Man'.

Quite amazing really that for someone who really can't speak well, I can sing!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Opposites Attract

I'm not much of a music radio listener, most often I am in the car with my two little boys, and the CD with Primary songs on it is always demanded. (by Drew!) If I am driving in the car with Mike, I prefer conversation, and the few lucky times I am driving alone, I favor talk radio.

Except on Saturday mornings when I drive to the temple for my early (early) morning shift. The talk radio stations are infomercials and so I find myself switching around music stations until I find a song I can tolerate.

One of the things (among many) that I find endearing about Mike is when he will spontaneously call me during the day to tell me he just heard a song on the radio and thought about me. (He spends a fair amount of time driving during the days.) It isn't always a spontaneous phone call, sometimes it is just a passing comment later that evening. It always makes me smile, and warms my heart a little, even though sometimes the songs he thinks of me during aren't always sappy and complimentary!

Most often it is country songs that Mike listens to. As I previously said, I don't listen to too many music radio stations, but early last Saturday morning as I flipped around the radio stations, a country song caught my ear. I felt like Mike! As a man's country twang sang out, the words screamed, "Mike and Tiffany" and if it hadn't have been 5:17am, I surely would have called Mike to tell him I was thinking about him.

Instead I waited until I returned home and walked into the kitchen and found my fabulous husband completely re-organizing and cleaning our pantry from top to bottom, to tell him:

You'll be my soft and sweet
I'll be your strong and steady
You'll be my glass of wine
I'll be your shot of whiskey
You'll be my sunny day
I'll be your shade tree
You'll be my honeysuckle
I'll be your honey bee

Mike and I are about as opposite as they come. He likes the kitchen pantry organized, I can make do with the consequence of five kids in and out of the pantry daily, and somehow still find what I need. I like to worry, Mike likes to be ever the optimist. I allow my voice to raise, Mike keeps his voice firm and steady. I remove my glass of water from the bedside table each morning, Mike is content with a collection of glasses by the side of his bed. I like to eat out, Mike is content with a cheese tortilla from home. Mike likes to always find humor, more often I like seriousness.  I like to talk and talk, Mike is content to sit and listen. Our differences could go on and on.

BUT, it all works for us.
And even though I may be more of the 'shade tree' in our marriage than 'a sunny day'. A shade tree and a sunny day are each loved, needed, appreciated and necessary, at the right times.

I heart my husband.
Big time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pick A Chore

Around here, we aren't afraid to try new family systems every now and then. Some last for just a little while, some last for a lot longer. But for a couple of summers now AND all through last school year we had a 'Pick A Chore' System. When school started this school year, I decided to try something new.

There was public outcry!!!
Okay, well that is a slight exaggeration.
Just a couple of kids requested it back.

I guess they like taking the risk that even though they may get one of the not so desired chores, they may quite possibly pick out one of the sticks that says, "Lucky you-no chore" or "Hug Mom and tell her you love her."

Somehow, knowing they could have chosen the 'lucky you' or 'hug mom' stick makes the tasks seem so much more bearable than simply the same old chore every day.

My friend over at Power of Moms, asked me to make a video of some of our family systems and submit it for the site. We decided to make a video of our S---Y Cent Program/Store, but I CAN NOT believe how many attempts it took to make the video. It was an absolute nightmare. We had a screaming toddler, a belligerent grade-schooler and a pre-schooler picking (and eating) boogers. ALL ON CAMERA!

My pride prevented me from sending in that video, so Luke and I attempted a simple video with just one child. (Except Drew still insisted on being heard in the background...)

If you can believe it. This is the child that pleaded and begged for the Pick A Chore System return and here he is on video telling me he doesn't like it????!!!!! I was pretty mad when I turned off  the camera, but considering I was on my 3,487th try to get a decent family system video, I was not going to do it over. Even if I could have staged it all very nicely. It is what it is. It is our reality. (Luke's off-camera reply when I asked him why he said he doesn't like it, "Mom, what kid does like chores?")

Oh well. We now have a permanent record of our Pick A Chore System. It works well for us, even though we did begin doing 'same old chores every day' last month. It's a new family system this school year, and I'm thinking my kids are hoping it's one of those systems that won't last...

Oh, and by the way, Mike just recently came up with a grand idea for a new family system, that we are going to implement during our Saturday Cleaning Hour. It has something to do with toy money, a list of chores, and an auction. We'll see how it goes...

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Blue Flower

Recently I spent a day attempting to catch up from the events of an extremely busy weekend, plus the myriad of regular routine tasks that fill up a day. After putting Drew down for his afternoon nap, I unashamedly put Joshua in front of the television with a small bowl of candy to guarantee me at least a few minutes of uninterrupted time.

It didn't last long. (I try so hard to get my kids attention span to at least last an entire television show, but it never does!) So then I brought him a bowl of crackers to tempt him for a few more minutes. He wasn't really interested (in the show, of course he was interested in the crackers!).

At this point I was hoping Joshua would soon fall asleep before I depleted the pantry in a vain attempt to complete one more task. Instead, as I passed by my bedroom with a pile of laundry in my hand, it wasn't a sleepy face I saw, it was a forlorn face of a child who needed some attention.

Knowing full well the temperatures outside were hovering right around my favorite numbers on a thermometer, I realized some things could wait and I announced, "Let's go play outside on the swings."

Joshua has an infectious smile. There is just something about his smile that spreads from ear to ear and lights up his eyes, and almost always a small sound escapes his lips. His reaction to my swing suggestion was all of that and more.

After several minutes playing on the swings, Joshua opted to ride his bike and suggested, "You sit and watch me and read your book."

My mind wandered to the novel on the side of my bed that I'd started the previous week and hadn't picked up since. The usual guilt-free thoughts of 'I'm spending one-on-one-time even if I'm reading a book' were dispelled in a second as I was slapped in the face with one simple thought.

How many more times will I push Joshua on a swing? How many more times will it just be me and him on a sunny, fall day with nothing to do but just be together?

You know all those 'firsts' we celebrate -- yet the 'lasts' gradually fade into the routines and progressions of life with barely a notice. (Which really is just as well, most 'lasts' would be far too heartbreaking to acknowledge.)

I couldn't help but think back to pushing Luke on a swing, or watching Megan ride her bike, or even spending a quiet afternoon alone with just Ellie while others were napping or at school. Did I know when I was doing those things, they were the last time?

Before I could change my mind, I told Joshua today I wouldn't be reading my book. I was just going to watch him. And watch him I did. So many times I started to stand up and go inside and grab a camera. I wanted to capture everything about the way Joshua was acting, the way he looked, and the way he played. Anna Quindlen's oft-used quote kept going through my mind,

"But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6,4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.  I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."

I was doing. I wasn't getting anything done, but I was basking in the simple act of doing; watching Joshua play. Even the temptation of a permanent photo memory wasn't enough to pull me away.

I watched Joshua practice his bike skids, I watched him talk to himself as his imagination went full speed, I watched him turn at the sounds of a nearby lawn mower, I just watched him be an active, four year old boy and my heart felt full.

After a while the outside toys no longer held his interest, and after disappearing briefly, Joshua returned outside with a notebook and three crayons. Pulling a chair into the shade, he sat, quietly focused. All the while I just stared at him, wishing I would be able to remember the perfection of this moment later during Joshua's not so perfect moments.

Shocked that this moment could get any more perfect, I heard Joshua ask in a somewhat dazed, quiet voice,
"Can I draw you a brue fower?"

"Of course", I replied.

Once in a while, I get something right. Once in a while, I remember to prioritize what truly matters. Laundry and dinner preparations waited, while I lived in the moment.  I treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. It was just me, my little boy, and a blue flower.

A perfect afternoon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Elephants and Fairies

I'm not a huge fan of the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, or even Santa Claus.

Even though all of the above dutifully visit our home at the appointed times, I much prefer birthdays. No having to make sure all of the children fall asleep quite as swiftly and quite as deeply...

Perhaps my lack of unconditional love and acceptance for these much adored visitors is a result of a little run-in Megan had with a few of Santa's helpers, back when she was five years old.

Combine Megan's run-in with the fact my mother frequently told me as a child that when I walked, it sounded like a herd of elephants were in the house. Don't forget to throw in the question Mike without fail asks, when he on occasion serves as a security guard in our upstairs hallway, "Do you have to be so loud?"

Do you get what I'm trying to say here?

Let me put it a different way.

I was THRILLED that I was three thousand miles away last spring when Ellie lost her first tooth. Okay, well I did shed a tear that I missed out on seeing the gaping hole right away, and I did lose a little bit of sleep worrying about the wrong person falling asleep too swiftly and too deeply... But for the most part, I was content that my elephant sounding feet and my apparent loudness, were far, far away from that tooth and pillow.

I know, I know, I still have years of faithful visits from some of our culture's most acclaimed people. And I've come to accept all that. I have guesstimated about how many more evenings elephants and sleeping children have to co-exist, and I have accepted it.

But oh no!
Now I have a daughter, who is in the middle of a 'Fairy Phase'.
A 'Fairy Phase' you ask?

A Fairy Phase!!!!!!!!

Ellie has a little friend, who leaves all sorts of notes and letters under her pillow for a fairy.
Ellie decided if her friend was good enough for fairy visits, she must be too.

I keep reminding myself of my near-constant vacillation of wanting my children to grow up quickly and wanting them to stay young forever.  I keep reminding myself of all the tender essays I've written about how much I love the little things. I keep reminding myself of how quickly time is passing.
But none of those things are working. I want the Fairy Phase to END!!

I'll make great homemade birthday cakes, I'll throw fabulous parties, I'll do treasure hunts after school, I'll make half birthday cakes, heck I'll even 'magic' fruit snacks from my shirt sleeve, but FAIRIES visiting our home on any random night?

At least Ellie is learning patience. You see, at her friend's house the fairy writes back the same night. At our house, sometimes it takes the fairy a couple of weeks days to answer such questions as 'Dear Fairy, Do you like your job? Love Ellie"

At least the fairies eventually come.
But it would sure help if they knew about the note in a more timely manner...

(Yesterday evening, Ellie came running down the stairs very excited as she told me about a  "Dear Fairy-do you like your job? Love Ellie" note that had been under her pillow "for a lot of days." The fairy must have found the question endearing, because instead of writing on the opposite side like usual, the fairy took the note with her. Hopefully the note will one day magically return and find it's proper place on the scrapbook page.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Listen, Listen, She's Calling to You"

I remember as a child going up to London with a dear family friend, 'Auntie Sue' to see Mary Poppins at a movie theater. Before the film, we got a 'take-away' from McDonalds and unfortunately, when my brother, Matthew unwrapped his hamburger, it was not the plain hamburger he had ordered.

Now if you knew my brother, there was no scraping ketchup, pickles, and mustard off and eating it anyways. The hamburger was deemed inedible.

Fortunately, there was a tramp (homeless man--do they still call them tramps in England?) close by, and my brother kindly offered his hamburger to him. The tramp graciously accepted it.

Last weekend, my girls and I saw the Broadway version of Mary Poppins. As Mary Poppins guided Michael and Jane Banks through the streets of London, imparting all sorts of wisdom and niceties, I couldn't help but think how proud Mary Poppins would have been of my brother's actions, just minutes before we were introduced to her on the big screen almost thirty years ago.

Then I remembered Mary Poppins isn't exactly real.
But oh boy are the messages of her story real.

Families, kindness, love, time with each other, fresh starts, compassion, temporary needs, change of heart. That story is filled with all sorts of gems that our society is in such desperate need of.

Not only did I leave the theater with a renewed love for Mary Poppins' character, I left with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my little family, and the time we choose to spend just being together.

Mary Poppins will always be a favorite of mine, from her magic to her kindness-she has something we all need more of.

What does it matter if Mary Poppins is make-believe? Her message isn't.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Learning Together

While in the midst of organizing the recent Power of Moms Couples Retreat, a fellow Power of Moms Board Member asked, "Is your husband really into this kind of stuff?" ('Stuff' meaning hanging out at a Retreat, not deliberate parenting!) My reply was no, not really, but he was going to support me. I ventured to guess that the vast majority of men that would be attending with my husband, were going pretty much for the same reasons. . .  for their wives.

I now have a little more confidence in the following guess . . .

I would guess most of the men that attended last Saturday, enjoyed themselves and would attend another one in a heartbeat. Those men participated every bit as much as the women! What a wonderful day spent with parents together learning from and teaching each other. I got all teared up at the end of the day when I realized that the group of people at the Retreat, represented 158 children. From newborns to adults-that is 158 children with parents that are trying their best to parent deliberately.

And oh what a supportive (and wise) husband I have. Mike has such great insights and abilities into making all the great ideas I want to implement, somehow work for our family.
What a thrill to have spent the day with him. Mike has been so supportive of my involvement with The Power of Moms, and it was wonderful to have him get to know more personally some of the people I spend so much time talking about. It certainly wasn't easy getting that many parents together for a Saturday. Think of all those friends, family members, and neighbors that provided babysitting, shuttling, sports cheering, and meals for 158 children on a busy Fall Saturday. But all the logistics of the attendees, and the logistics of the organizers fell into place beautifully.

As Mike and I participated in a lunch discussion with some truly top-notch parents, I couldn't help but wish we could get parents the world over gathered together in such a way--learning and growing together.
What a great day!
(Saren Loosli and April Perry-The Power of Moms co-founders, and a couple of my dear friends.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Still Remembering

(Photo sent from my mother-in-law with the caption, "Don't miss this stunning view across the river where many tall office buildings in Arlington are draped with flags honoring 9/11")

As the anniversary of September 11, 2001 has been approaching, my two oldest children have talked repeatedly of the event. With information gleaned from a grade-school,'Children's Weekly Reader News' Luke has been sharing all sorts of information (and opinions) about that historic day. And just as Megan's jr high principal hoped in a school wide parent email, Megan of course came home and discussed her thoughts and feelings following the 9-11 assembly they had on Friday.

I complain too much sometimes about my children talking way too much and non-stop, but the last couple of days, we have had some great conversations about that dreadful day. My children ask if we are going to watch the same online video we watched last year, or the year before, or look at some still photographs, or read a news story together.  We probably will.

One of the articles in Luke's little magazine starts out, "Ask any adult what they were doing on the morning of September 11th, 2001 and they can likely tell you..." Of course my children take that literally (because silence is an anomaly around here), and asked me. Even though I think we share these same stories every year, it is our little family's way of trying our best not to forget.

Megan, though just shy of her 3rd birthday on that fall day almost ten years ago, recalls tidbits of that day with absolute clarity and accuracy. She clearly remembers the 'broken buildings', and I tenderly remind her of her bedtime prayer the evening of September 11, 2001.
 "Please bless the broken buildings and the people that cried and died."

(Megan, September 2001)

Luke, six weeks shy of birth at the time, loves his little 'personal' connection to the day.... And so as the magazine suggests, I can (and will) likely tell you...

On September 11, 2001, I was just waking up, and as was habit back then, I turned on the Today Show to begin my day with Matt Lauer and Katie Couric. Of course immediately, I knew something was terribly wrong, and almost simultaneously, my brother Casey called to tell me the news. I quickly ran into our adjoining home office to tell Mike to come and watch. One of the towers collapsed as I hopped in the shower to make it on time to a doctor's appointment.

I had had a routine ultrasound almost two months previously, but between the combination of Luke's hand close to his mouth, and a prominent upper lip, the doctors were slightly concerned he may have a cleft lip and wanted me to have another ultrasound. I really never thought twice or felt a twinge of worry about Luke's lip, what I did feel a little concern over was whether or not he was still the little boy I wanted. (I wanted a boy so much, I had some kind of weird paranoia that he would turn into a girl.)

I remember laying on the ultrasound table while the technician covered my stomach in goop, discussing the tragic events of the morning. Another clinic worker came in and announced to us that a plane just went down in a Pennsylvania field. Probably in a state of shock and grief at the uncertainty and newness of such enormous tragedy, (not to mention pregnancy hormones) I (embarrassed to admit now) turned to the ultrasound tech and said, "Please just tell me my baby still has all the boy parts."

I still have the ultrasound photo with a little arrow that says, "STILL a boy."

I laugh and smile at this memory now, but as I shared with Megan last night, the news story that showed 'Babies of 9/11' ten years later, I cried. Babies that were born within weeks and months of Luke that don't know their dads.

It's all just plain sad.
Even ten years later.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mediocrity at It's Finest

You know it is mediocre parenting when you...
  • tell your child to pull a pair of shorts out of the dirty clothes basket to wear
  • put your child in front of the television with a bowl of candy to afford you just a little time to accomplish a task
  • kiss your child goodbye and then with a hand on their back push them towards the bus steps
  • repeatedly respond to your toddlers demands to put syrup in every single square of the waffle and as the toddler whines when the syrup evaporates and he thinks it never got in the hole in the first place you pour more
  • know your child has shirked a responsibility and you pretend you haven't noticed
  • repeatedly ignore the toddler's request for 'holdies' because darn it, it is almost noon and the breakfast dishes are still out
  • when one child chases another threatening to throw a toy at them, instead of intervening you simply tell the victimized child to run faster
  • place more importance on the recently cleaned carpet than a child's feelings
  • have family prayer while driving in the car because as soon as it pulls into the garage you want everyone separated, in their beds and out of your sight
  • laugh and take a picture of your toddler wearing size 3-6 month pajamas instead of saving him from his sister's wrath
  • tell your child "DO NOT TALK TO US" unless the computer she is doing her homework on catches fire or her cough causes her to quit breathing 
  • after shaking off the crumbs, you put the plates the kids use back in the cupboard instead of the dishwasher
  • secretly wish you had powers to make your children disappear for just a few hours
  • don't find any hospitality in you when the goat and rabbit have joined us for dinner and are being fed from non-animal dishes
  • in a moment of frustration you toss a favorite pair of flip-flops in the garbage that belong to a child who owns (and leaves out) far too many pairs of shoes, and you don't feel the least bit guilty about it
  • when you're fixing breakfast and you mutter to yourself how much you dislike fixing breakfasts, packing lunches, doing hair, etc. and then come to think of it, you can't help but wonder what part of the day exactly you do like?
Some days are mediocre. Thank heavens they all aren't!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Director

I was completely supportive of Mike last January, when he offered our home to the ward (church) choir director as the weekly location for choir practice. But I had NO IDEA it would mean pencils everywhere.

Our musical son, has spent one too many weeks staring at the choir director's hands waving in air as he leads the choir.

Doesn't matter if it is a weed from a hay field:
His breakfast spoon:
Or a Lego piece:
But most often Drew favors pencils. They are easy to find, and we have plenty of them.
And I find them EVERYWHERE.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Seventy Six or Not

Today at church, a lady visiting mentioned she was there to witness her seventy sixth great-grandchild's baby blessing. That's right folks, 76.

I can't remember anything else she said after that, as I was mentally calculating how many children and/or grandchildren she had first, to produce that many great-grandchildren. Perhaps in preparation of our extended family party after church, I began to further calculate if seventy six great-grandchildren would be attainable for my in-laws.

There are currently seventeen grandchildren on Mike's side of the family, and I assume there will still be a few more. Seventy six great-grandkids is really not that far off from a reality.

With the exception of two of those seventeen that live across the country, the rest of the grand-kids live pretty close by each other. Yet I'm embarrassed to tell you how long it had been since we were all together until tonight.

As Mike often spells instead of says-

Why do we allow ourselves to get too busy for family?

I think about the great-grandmother today, with a posterity of seventy six plus and counting.
I think about my in-laws with a posterity (counting kids, in-law kids, and grandchildren) of twenty seven and counting.
Everyone (minus six), together tonight talking and laughing and visiting. It hasn't always been this way, and I wouldn't have always said it...
But what a great group to be a part of.

"Can Hank come when the cousins come? You know he's part of our family now, Mom."

(Joshua and Caleb)
If Hank's allowed at a family party, apparently Daisy is too. Even if the rabbit owner is sick and wearing her pajamas.
Someone had one too many cupcakes!
Ending with seventy six great-grand-kids or not, ya gotta love what there is.
And I do.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hooray for BFFs

It's pretty sad that for how often my BFF and I still get together, we rarely have any photos of us in the last few years. Now years 1990-1997, we each have ALBUMS full of us in dumb poses, or at random places, or doing the immature things we did for so much of our high school and college lives...
This photo, although taken in 2009 on Melanie's birthday would not have been much different if it had been taken last week on her birthday. You see she wears the same green dress every year on her birthday (that she bought while shopping together on her birthday back in who knows when? 2005 maybe?). Absolute kudos to her that she can fit into it year after year--owed to her absolute dedication in running, biking, or swimming every day.

Forget the dress, forget her birthday--what a wonderful friend to have.
Wednesday for example--she took my two little boys at 8:55am and didn't return them to me until 3:30pm.

Besides a quick hair appointment thrown in there, I got caught up on all sorts of stuff that has been sitting in my inbox or on my to-do list for far too long.

Love, love, LOVE BFF's.

And who couldn't love our kids too...
(I just came upon this photo a couple of weeks ago--Brandon and Megan--Fall 2000)

Three more years and these cuties will be in high school together...


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