Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve

Jeff had to work Christmas Eve, which stunk, but I made up my mind that Braeden and I would have a rockin' good day, just the two of us. The night before, B helped me pick up the house so that I wouldn't spend all day Friday fretting over it. Just before bedtime, I put Mulled Cider in my brand-new slow cooker (thanks, Mom & Dad - the thing is fabulous!), so that we woke to a deliciously spicy aroma Christmas Eve morning.

We started the day with waffles and the Charlie Brown Christmas specials. Braeden was given the uber-important task of taping down the presents I wrapped for his cousins. We took turns playing video games on the XBox for a while, then I threw a casserole in the oven. While that cooked, Braeden helped me mix up a batch of Peanut Butter Cookies.

Next on the agenda was the highly anticipating Decorating of the Gingerbread Village. Santa kindly consented to let Braeden open this particular gift early so he could play with it Christmas Eve. We also made a special trip out to buy extra candy to make the village more colorful.

First, we laid out all the ingredients on saucers:

Then I mixed up the icing (such messy stuff, that!) and started to piece together the houses. Braeden's job was to decorate them however he pleased, and he did a wonderful job.  

We wrapped up the evening with Jim Carrey's version of A Christmas Carol (a bit frightening at first, Braeden said - but I convinced him to watch it all with me, and thankfully he did not have nightmares!) I got so tickled at him - he was worried about the time. We kept up with NORAD's tracking of Santa off and on all evening, and Braeden feared that Santa wouldn't come if he didn't go to bed soon - but I couldn't get him to go to sleep once he went to bed! Finally I crawled in bed with him (fully clothed, with an alarm set in case I crashed myself), and waited for him to drift off into Sugarplum Land. The moment he quit fidgeting, he zonked, finally leaving me time to get presents under the tree and tidy up the house for Christmas Day.

To be continued...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treating

I hate being so busy that I miss the good stuff. :( I have a test Monday so I didn't get to take B trick-or-treating. Thankfully, Peepop stepped up and took over for me. Instead of buying two costumes (one for school and one for trick-or-treating), I insisted that Braeden choose a mask-less alter ego. Somehow we convinced him that a cop would be perfect (it helped that he already had the blue button-up and black pants), and all I had to do was find him accesssories. Of course, that warranted a trip to Toys R Us, which is always a plus in Bebo's book.

The school party was a hoot, too. I could not believe how much candy he came home with!

Note to self: Christmas bags should be filled with novelty items instead of candy!

Must get some sleep now. Happy Hallowe'en!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October Update

I figured since it's been more than a month since my last post, I should maybe oughta give an update. All three of my readers are probably hanging on the edge of their seats. 0_o

School is the predominant insanity in my life, so I'll start there.

Holy crap.

I knew from watching Jeff go through this program that third semester would be tough... but I didn't know the sheer volume of work would leave me seriously considering some sort of anti-anxiety meds. No kidding. I'm such an anal-retentive overachiever that I think everything has to be perfect, and so nursing school is driving me nuts. I'm not perfect. I'm not even close. My clinical skills leave a lot to be desired, and I'm having to work so hard to keep my classroom grades up to what I think they should be. It's stress like nothing I've ever experienced before. That business degree was a cakewalk compared to nursing.

But ... (cue cheesy disco music) I ... I will survive ...

Moving on to lighter matters...

Braeden is flourishing. Excelling. Blossoming. Hmm... what other words can I use? We were so excited to hear such good things about his teacher, but I never dreamed he'd be doing this well. The school sent home a letter last week inviting him to be in what amounts to a Gifted & Talented program (though they don't call it that anymore; I suppose it's too politically incorrect a term). He was chomping at the bit to start, and Jeff & I were so pleased that he's been considered. So what if it turns out not to be a good fit for him? I know he's doing well and working hard and that's what matters.

It's not just this new program, though. Turns out he is also a very good reader. I wish you could hear him. He reads with such expression; it's just not common in 7-year-olds. (Yes, I'm biased. Everybody else says the same thing about him.) In fact, his teacher says that the kids in his class love to listen to him read, and even try to mimic his reading style. Tickles me to death - what could be better for him than a love of books?

Even better, his teacher told Jeff this past week that the kids adore Braeden. She said he's kind and sweet to everyone.

Be still, my beating heart.

Seriously, folks - that is the thing that we have tried to drill into his head about school. We want him to do his best and work hard, but what matters most is that he is honest, hard-working, and kind to others. I gotta admit - I was a goober growing up, and never won any popularity contests. To hear Bebo tell it, nobody ever plays with him. Turns out that's not exactly the case, and while I don't necessarily want him to be the coolest kid in school, I also would like to spare him the misery of being the un-coolest. If he grows up to be that person that everybody loves because he loves them right back - well, that's just fine with me.

One more piece of news. Buddy, our sweet old dog, never came home. We don't know what happened to him, but it's safe to assume by this point that he's gone on to doggy heaven. Oscar, our most recent canine acquisition, is not working out so well. He's too hyper to be loving and destroys everything he touches. I really don't know what we're going to do about him. Part of me thinks it's just a puppy phase that he'll eventually grow out of, but we've had a dog before that only got worse the older she got, so I'm not holding my breath.

Anyway... we have talked for some time about what kind of dog we would get when Buddy died. We had been leaning toward a golden retriever, but weren't sure we could handle the expense involved. Those dogs ain't cheap.

Enter Jeff's dad.

The man knows everybody in his town. Never met a stranger, ever. One day he ran into a lady who told him that she had a retriever that she couldn't really care for any longer and didn't know what to do with him. To make a long story short, Jeff is in West Virginia tonight, picking up our new dog. (That she gave to us. For free.)

Here's what I know about him. He's got papers (and still has his testicles, so we might do a little breeding). He's two years old, is a strawberry-blonde color, and is very, very affectionate. John picked him up and he rested his head on John's shoulder in the Jeep most of the way home. His name is Phoenix, though we're considering just calling him Nick for short. Jeff has reserved naming rights, since Braeden or I have named all our other pets.

I am so excited about this dog. I have missed Buddy terribly. He was the best dog I've ever had, and a near-constant companion for me. It seems lonely, not having him hanging out in the office with me while I work. I really hope Nick will be that companion for me. Besides, I think he'll be wonderful for Braeden.

Jeff is bringing him home tomorrow. I'll post pics soon. And since it's late and this post is plenty long enough, I'm going to sign off for now. 'Night!

Monday, August 30, 2010


More cards!

This one was quick & easy - I stamped with SU!'s Baroque Motif swirl, added the sentiment, and embossed. A quick punch with a Martha Stewart border punch and a ribbon and I was finished!

The color is bad on the next two, but they are basically the same concept. I used Basic Grey rubons and some paper from an ancient black-and-white paper pad. And I dragged out the Cuttlebug - again!

The only thing different here is the ribbon and the sentiment. I used SU!'s scallop oval punch and a paper piercer to gussy up the edge a bit.

I made this one for Jeff. Another CB embossing folder, more ribbon, a scrap of striped paper, a CB diecut, and SU!'s Birthday Wishes stamp, colored with the SU! markers was all I needed. It wasn't difficult, though I'm not sure how manly it was!

This last one did not photograph well at all - that's actually purple, and the black is not that washed out. The stamp is from SU!'s Twick or Tweet set. Are you surprised to see more embossing? lol  Oh, I also used my Martha Stewart score board to add the embossed border on the edge of the card. That is quite possible the best $20 I have spent on scrapbooking supplies - the time it saves scoring cards, the "neatness" factor, and the ability to do some cool scoring lines like I did here make it totally worth the moolah!

Monday, August 23, 2010

One Stamp, Seven Ways (and Counting)

Stampin' Up! makes this gorgeous background stamp called Bella Toile. I may not be the girliest person you will ever meet, but I looooove toile prints. They're so lovely and elegant, but dressed up right, they can be cute and fun, too. I decided to see how many different things I could do with the same background stamp. My office is a disaster to prove my efforts, too! Here's my first seven - and I'm sure there will be more to follow!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

7th Birthday Letter & Scrapbook Page

Every year I write Braeden a birthday letter. This year, I'm five months late. Oops.Can I be excused, given how wild the last year has been?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

More Cards

I've had great fun making cards lately. There is less of a mental block than when I try to paper scrap; perhaps it's because I don't have to worry about destroying a photo if I mess up. I really needed to be doing a million other things, but I can't seem to quit playing. :)

This is a card I made for my niece. I lurve it. Stamping, embossing, stickers, ribbon - mucho fun, this one. Plus it's nice to make a girly card every now and then.

This was for my nephew. I printed the dinosaur, did more embossing (lately I cannot get away from my Cuttlebug), a lot of distressing, and dragged out some letter stickers that I'd been hoarding for ages.

On to more serious stuff... I saw an interesting tutorial on making "patent leather" paper. It involved a whole lot of embossing powder and an embossing folder. It sorta worked... the lines were more cracked than raised, but I kind of like the look. Not sure I'll do it again, though. It's a lot of effort for a little bit of paper.

Last one... possibly my favorite. I was playing around with the Watercolor Trio stamp set from Stampin' Up. I wanted to use it for a card and had a complete mental block as to what to do with it. Tomorrow I'm going to mass produce some in a watercolor version for church, but I truly love this black-and-white one I made for my own use. Black-and-white can be so romantic and elegant and even sexy that I gravitate toward it quite often. (Notice I used another Cuttlebug folder. They just add so much subtle dimension!)

That's all the cards for now. Braeden and I went for the last round of school shopping. I bought him two pair of shoes and some clothes for the year. Gotta take advantage of Tennessee's tax-free weekend, you know. We had a good time; I let him pick his shoes and he chose these crazy Skechers that light up neon green. He loved them. "Mommy," he said, "I am going to be so cool in these shoes!" How could I have possibly said no to that? :)

Tomorrow is church, then Monday is Braeden's first day of school. As soon as I drop him off, I'm picking up a rental car and taking my car to the shop to get it fixed from its encounter with Grandma. Then I'm off to Chattanooga to run several errands before (hopefully) making it home in time to pick up B from school. Gonna be a busy day, and I am totally looking forward to it.

'Night, y'all.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

End-of-Summer Project Rush

Summer vacation is fast winding down, and I find myself scrambling to get everything done before the craziness of the school year begins. May I share?

First, my dad's birthday card. He turned 62 this year, and though I've never ever teased him about his age, I decided I would this time. The inside reads "Who knew the senior citizen discount could look so good?"

Second, I am trying to get as much of Braeden's 1st grade book done as possible. I'm literally a full year behind! His kindergarten album came in a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn't be happier with how nice it looks. As it turned out, the pages did not need to be complicated; in fact, with the 8x8 format, simple looked better. This is a good thing, because I don't have to give it too much thought. My color scheme is set with green and purple, and I'm using the same fonts and calendar elements as I did for the kindergarten album. Easy-peasy! And yes, I do scrap such mundane things as school supply lists. :)

Moving on to the second grade... Tuesday night we met his teacher, Mrs. Parsons. Every single person we have talked to has fallen all over themselves to tell us how wonderful she is. Jeff & I were so impressed with how organized she was; Braeden surprised us both by remembering almost everything she said about things that would happen this coming year. (He did get a few details wrong, though - she told us there would be homework everyday but Friday, and Bebo thought she meant only Friday. The look on his face was priceless when I explained that he was a little confused!) Anyhoo, the color scheme for this year is a sky blue and royal purple combo. I like it, and I'm crossing my fingers that I can manage to keep it up as the year progresses. With a little luck, I can print a book with both first and second grade pics sometime next summer. (By the way, purple is their school color, which is why I always use it. And if you're wondering, the fonts are Learning Curve and Print Clearly, both of which can be found at

One more thing for now - my kitties. Jeff has taken to calling Sizz "Big Kitty," but the kittens are not so small anymore. It's actually time to get them neutered, at which point I expect them to explode in size and quickly catch up to Sizz. Incidentally, they are still trying to nurse poor old Sizzle! (You did know that Sizz is a dude, right? So are the kittens. Yeah. Who knew - cats have gender issues?)

And that, I suppose, is all for today. More to come soon, I hope. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cricut Projects

On my last trip to Mom's, I got an upgrade! Bye-bye, Baby Bug, hello, Cricut Expression! (My old Cricut only cut 6x12; the new one cuts up to 12x24. It's a die-cut machine. If you're confused, look it up. lol) Anyway, I've had fun playing with it and thought I'd post a few of my recent projects. (Okay, really I'm just posting because Mom said it's been too long since I added a new post.)

This is my latest project. I make cards for church, and they have to be pretty simple. I used the new-ish Preserves cartridge. It has so much potential! (Also, as a side note, it turns out that lightly inking the edges of the die cuts make a huge difference in the appearance.)

I made this for my friend Aimee's new baby. I didn't have an especially good excuse to buy the Robotz cartridge, but I also couldn't help myself. It's just that cute.

More Robotz. See what I mean about cute???

Speaking of cute, how is this for the squeeee factor? I think we are going to use these designs in the nursery at church - though I'm just going to pencil it on the wall and paint it in rather than cutting it out with the Cricut. They come from the Create A Critter cartridge. Complete preciousness.

And finally, a card that generated a lot of giggles with my friend Lauren. I didn't make it for any particular reason besides wanting to play with the new Sugar and Spice Cricut Lite cartridge. I was determined to use that bookplate, and the friendship rub-on was the only thing that fit. This prompted Lauren to ask if my friendship was like a fungus, to which I said yes, it is. Kind of like athlete's foot. You think you've gotten rid of it but it just keeps coming back. :)

Check It Out!!

Click here to view this photo book larger

Books, Part 2

Continuing with yesterday's train of thought...

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
Yes. I read the entire series. It took about 3 days. (Jeff made fun of me for "inhaling" my books. I told him to stick it where the sun don't shine.) Ahem. Where was I? Oh. Percy Jackson. The books were touted on the cover as the "next Harry Potter." Not quite. Imagine plopping all the Greek and Roman deities in modern-day America. Now imagine that they all had kids with humans. Now imagine that these kids (known as "demigods") have their own special abilities and only they can truly save the world, blah blah blah. Okay, perhaps I'm being a bit harsh. The series really is pretty enjoyable. It's nowhere near as enthralling as Harry Potter, but still worth a read. The real fun of the books is the modernizing of mythology - the "what if" factor is nicely done. Even Jeff is reading them - though it's taking him a lot longer than three days. :)
Score: 4 of 5

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
This was also recommended by my friend Lauren. She's one for two at this point. Can't say I enjoyed this all that much. The book consists of mostly true tales of Savannah, Georgia during the eighties. Technically, the tale revolves around a murder, but there are so many side stories that are not really related that it's distracting. I kept thinking that all of the side characters would eventually tie together, but that didn't happen at all. Why it landed on the bestseller list, I'm not quite sure. Why it stayed on the list for 216 weeks, I couldn't begin to tell you. Interestingly enough, the black drag queen in the story, Lady Chablis, actually portrayed herself in the 1997 movie. Not that I'll be rushing to Netflix to watch it, though.
Score: 1.5 of 5

Also on my list of reads is an array of crime/mystery novels my dad had collected from various airports on business trips. I won't even bother listing them - they weren't bad books, per se, so long as you were not interested in literary value and just needed mind-numbing entertainment for a while. I've also plowed through a few Christian romance-type novels, none of which got me all that excited, either. Don't write off the genre, though - there are some truly good ones out there.

Right now I'm reading The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. I'll post a review on it later, but I will say that 50 pages in I am completely hooked.

That's all for now. Go read something!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I relish the opportunity to read. Since I am generally the type who can't put a book down once I start (though I really am working to get better about it), I don't read much when school is in session. One priority of the summer, among all the other things that I let go, was to read as much as possible.

I've done just that. I'm proud of myself, though, because I haven't read only thriller/mystery or romance novels. Yes, I've read a few of them, but I've tried to expand my horizons and read tomes that the "experts" consider "classic." (insert mild sarcasm here - such a categorization is rather subjective, don't you think?)

Here is a sampling of what I've read. Likely I've forgotten a few, and some I won't admit to reading. :)

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
I was once assigned to read this book. I think it was for a scholarship application my senior year. I picked up the book from the library and never read it. Fifteen years later, I saw it on the cheap rack at the bookstore and decided to try again. I hadn't the slightest idea about the plot of the book, and was wildly surprised. Rand paints a picture of a world gone mad, but gone mad under the guise of the so-called "greater good." In an attempt to give equal opportunity to everyone, America and Europe manage to drive themselves into utter economic death. It's a fascinating book, and well worth the read. Given the current political climate, it is also a disturbing picture of where we are headed. There is, however, a great deal of foul language and sexual content that, while somewhat necessary to the plot, could have been toned down considerably. It made me glad I hadn't read it in high school. My parents would have been mortified.
Score: 4 of 5

1984 by Orson Wells
Another classic that I'd escaped reading in my high school and college years, this proved to be even more disturbing than Atlas. (Incidentally, I read them back-to-back and fretted for days afterward.) I was surprised to see how many of our catchphrases came from that book. Ever heard the term "thought police?" It came from 1984. While I can't say I enjoyed the book, I do consider it one that everyone should read. If we ever get to the point that intelligence and thinking for oneself is considered evil, then we have long passed the point of being in serious trouble. Though it's an older book, it is not hard to read. At times, though, it becomes tedious and even boring.
Score: 4 of 5

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I can't say enough good things about this book. It was recommended to me by my friend, Lauren, and I am so glad I took her advice. It is the story of a mysterious but famous author nearing death who asks a young woman to write her biography. I have read few stories that were so cleverly crafted. The twists and turns keep you guessing with every page, and even the ending leaves you wondering exactly what happened. I don't want to reveal any more for the risk of spoiling it, but do read this book. It's easily one of the best I've ever read.
Score: 5 of 5

More reviews to come...

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Disastrous Effects of Sudden Increased Fiber Consumption on the Digestive System

Ain't say nuttin' more 'bout than the title.

Moving on. :)

I grilled last night... made a marinade that had me prancing around the grill singing "I am the grill goddess! I am the grill goddess!"

Oh, yeah. It was that good!

And easy, too - just 2/3 c. lime juice, 1/4 c. honey, 2 tbsp. EVOO, and 1 tbsp. chipotle chili powder. Whisk it together. Use half the mixture to marinate (I did chicken, but I think pork would be yummy, too), a fourth to baste, and the remaining fourth can be used as a salad dressing or dipping sauce.

It is fabulous. Can't wait to dig into leftovers. (If you're interested, I also posted it on my food blog.

In other news, I find myself in desperate need of a nap. I am quite convinced that a conspiracy is afoot to keep me from sleeping at night - there's always a dog barking, or a strange noise, or a nightmare to wake me up. I am unbearably tired... but must keep going.... must keep going...

Speaking of dogs, our new mutt arrived. He's a lovely creature that I suspect to be an English Golden Retriever mix. He needs training, though. He's nearly big enough to put his paws on my shoulders when he jumps, and oh, does he love to jump! I called the vet today and discovered that they do a discount on vaccines for multiple animals, so I might get crazy and bring in both dogs, the cat, and our two kittens.

Then again, maybe not... that would probably qualify as a suicide mission. Can't imagine how I'd get them all in the car, much less out of it without losing one!

Back to work now. Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Lately it seems like my house is a revolving door for critters. Early this year Lucy appeared. Sometime in April, we got Fritz and Spazz. Somewhere in between there, a pitiful stray that we named Hans (but never got a picture of) hung out for a while... until Lucy died, that is. Then he went on his way. Today, my friend Lauren gave us her precious retriever mix, Oscar. Her little girl always called him "Soccer," though, and Soccer may be what sticks.

He's gorgeous... from the neck down, he looks every inch the part of a golden retriever. In the face, though, he looks like Buddy's negative. Except that he's the only dog I've ever seen with eyelashes.

I like Oscar/Soccer. A lot. Since I'm not going to tether him down, I hope he stays. He's a sweetie.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Snow Day, Scrapped

I know you didn't think I'd let a snow day go by without taking pictures and scrapping at least two pages about it! (You did know that, right?) So what if I'm four months late? :)

The Pastor's Ass

I lifted this from a friend:

The Pastor entered his donkey in a race and it won. The Pastor was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the race again and it won again.

The local paper read: PASTOR'S ASS OUT FRONT.

The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the Pastor not to enter the donkey in another race.

The next day the local paper headline read: BISHOP SCRATCHES PASTOR'S ASS.

This was too much for the Bishop so he ordered the Pastor to get rid of the donkey. The Pastor decided to give it to a Nun in a nearby convent.

The local paper, hearing of the news, posted the following headline the next day: NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN.

The Bishop fainted. He informed the Nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey so she sold it to a farmer for $10.

The next day the paper read: NUN SELLS ASS FOR $10.

This was too much for the Bishop so he ordered the Nun to buy back the donkey and lead it to the plains where it could run wild.

The next day the headlines read: NUN ANNOUNCES HER ASS IS WILD AND FREE.

The Bishop was buried the next day.

The moral of the story is this: Being concerned about public opinion can bring you much grief and misery -- even shorten your life. So be yourself and enjoy life. Stop worrying about everyone else's ass and you'll be a lot happier and live longer!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


A long time ago I observed that people who did not go to college had a tendency to drag out the styles of their high school years a little too long. In the  late nineties, I saw it in the form of bangs teased six inches above the head and jeans that were pegged tight enough at the ankles to cut off circulation. Yes, I am willing to admit that I once did the same thing, but I also had enough sense to quit. (Though some part of me still wishes for big hair to come back in vogue - it looked good on me. I don't miss the amount of time it took to accomplish the look, though.)

I will also admit that I don't have much of a sense of style today, either. I mostly wear solid-colored short-sleeve shirts and jeans or capris. Boring, I know - but I digress. I'm not sure why college seemed to be the defining factor, but it seems that inevitably those who are holding on to long-buried fashion trends didn't make the journey into the hallowed halls of higher education.

Why do we tend to live in the past? It seems that lately I've been stuck in the nineties; reminiscing about high school and college days, thinking of old friends, big mistakes, and fun times. I've spent a few hours lately updating my playlist with songs that flood my head with random memories, and I'm not ashamed to admit I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

It seems that every song has its own memory attached; One Headlight reminds me of a particularly bad date during my college years. Shine brings back Friday and Saturday nights cruising the strip with the radio cranked up as loud as it would go. When I hear Whomp, There It Is, I inevitably remember a rainy day riding back from a band trip to Indianapolis (was it the state football championships?) with the entire band hollering along. Informer takes me back to the physics class spent outside shooting off model rockets; the teacher used mine for a demo, shot it straight into a power line, and I wound up losing points because it didn't go far enough. Some kid in a blue Iroc-Z drove by about that time, thumping out Informer from speakers that he obviously felt the need to show off.

I loved Color Me Badd, but didn't dare buy a CD because I knew my parents would throw it out since every other song title had the word "sex" in it. My college roommie and I would clean our dorm to Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill, cranked up loud enough to motivate us to actually do the work. I used to laugh hysterically to the line "pissing the night away" in Tubthumping, because at first I didn't know that "pissing" could mean also mean drinking. More Than Words was the anthem of my first summer at Bible camp. I think they must have played Brown-Eyed Girl at least a dozen times at our senior banquet.

Funny how music can take you back. Over the last few years, I've quit listening to the new stuff. It doesn't hold the same appeal that it used to. I'm just not a fan of the hip-hop, synthesized, unoriginal stuff. Granted, not all of my nineties stuff was much better, but today's music just doesn't do it for me anymore. I am much more likely to listen to talk radio, or the nineties station that I can only pick up for about ten minutes when I cross the Georgia state line on I-24.

Maybe it's because life was simpler then... or was it? I suppose I've really just traded one set of complications for another, and even though retrospect tells me that the problems of yesterday are far less serious than the ones I have today, it never seemed so at the time, not in my limited experience. Even so, when I find myself buried in bills and work and death and sorrow, I wish, just for a moment, I could backtrack to the days when homework and boyfriends were the biggest concern, and Def Leppard and Sheryl Crow strained from the radio.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Last Day of the First Grade

I blinked and it had passed. One day he was trotting proudly into school, showing off his cool new "pack-pack" and clutching a box of Kleenex, the next he was loading up in my car, a sticky, sweaty mess from playing all, sans one front tooth.

He made such incredible strides this year - from not reading much of anything to starting his first chapter book tonight, from counting to adding two-digit numbers, and from not spelling anything to not missing a single word - ever. I somewhat wish his confidence level had gone up a bit more than it did, but I'm still quite proud of how much he's been able to do.

It's been a tough year. The first semester all three of us were in school and money was really tight. Between lack of time and lack of funds, I felt like a rotten mama. Then when Jeff graduated and I shifted into second semester with its tougher classes and my workload at my job suddenly pushed me into fifty-hour workweeks, I thought I'd lose my mind. At one point Braeden asked why I didn't have time to play with him anymore. It broke my heart.

I got out of school two weeks ago, only to get very, very sick - sick enough to finally spend most of Thursday night in the emergency room with a ridiculously fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, and complete inability to catch my breath. Two breathing treatments, a shot of an antibiotic, a couple of pills, and goodness knows how many dollar later, I went home. Oh, and my car's been broken down since I got out of school - just got it back Friday. So between being sick enough to be unable to walk across the house without gasping for air and not having a car to go anywhere, it's been a miserable two weeks. Not how I wanted to spend my first two weeks out of school.

Thankfully, today I felt a little better. And since Jeff was working, I decided (rather spontaneously) when I picked up Braeden that we would have a night out together. We went home for a quick potty break, then headed out to Chattanooga to see Shrek Ever After and get dinner. I figured I could handle walking through the parking lot if I got to sit down for an hour and a half to rest. :) The movie was pretty good, and I tolerated the 3D glasses without a monstrous headache. Then I took Braeden to Kanpai, where he oohed and aahed and clapped with delight at the show our very good chef put on for us. I figured since I was two-for-oh, we might as well go to the bookstore. I picked up 1984, Atlas Shrugged, Wicked, and a couple of books for Braeden, then plopped myself in one of the leather chairs to rest (again) while Bebo played at the train table.

It was a good day. I'm feeling better, even though it'll be a few more days before I'm totally back to normal. School is out for all of us, at least for a couple of months. And I thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend time with my little man, watching him giggle at the movie, cheer on our waiter, and read the first two chapters out of his new book on the way home.

Yup. Life is pretty good.

Friday, May 21, 2010


A couple of months ago I posted about the sweet Husky mix who adopted us. Sadly, we came home from a trip to Mom's to find that she had died. I miss her terribly. She wrapped us around her little paw so quickly. Thankfully, Jeff found her around the back of the house, so Braeden didn't have to see her swollen body. I can't get the image out of my head, and I'm so grateful that he doesn't have to worry about it.

It was all confusing to Bebo. He'd been exposed to death, but not the death of someone close. Every day he used to tell me "I love you and Daddy and Spazz and Fritz and Sizz and Buddy and Lucy more than anything else in this world." Now my sweet girl - the only other female DNA in our household - has left us.

I still halfway expect her to run up to me when I come home. Maybe, as Bebo asked, our pets really will go to heaven with us. I think I'd like that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Yay! I scrapped! I've been trying for several days, but I guess it's been so long that I nearly forgot how. Hopefully this is a good start...

And for the story behind the pictureless page - ever answer those silly surveys that meander through Facebook, Myspace, or email? I thought it would make for a fun random snapshot of me today, and since I rather enjoy doing pages without pictures, it seemed like a good idea. :)