Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best Day Ever. Part I.

Dean is back in the United States.


That is of course until the day he actually arrives HOME. Which will be in the next few days.

I actually don't have words to describe how I am feeling, but its basically completely awesome.

I love you, baby. Come Home!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

What a Day

Today was quite a day.

We started out this morning early. Because my children seem to have an uncanny sense of the days that I am not working and insist on refusing to allow me to sleep in. Not even a wink. Of course on the days I DO work they have to get practically dragged out of bed. How do they know when to be zombies at 6 a.m. or when to be bright eyed and bushy tailed at 5:30 a.m.? I don't know, but if you ever figure it out please let me know so I can make it stop.

So, we got up very early today, since I am off. And watched some cartoons. But as I attempted to catch a few extra winks on the couch Hannah found a small, plastic mound of peas from her toy food stuffs and began licking it and saying "HMMMMM! PEAS! Peas Mama! HMMMMMM!" which very quickly lead to "More peas please, mama, pease please pleeeeeeaaassseee" My response to this was "Hannah, you can't possibly want peas. Its barely 6 in the morning." to which her polite response was "PEAS!! MORE! PEAS! PLEASE!" Fine. Fine. I made some peas. And she ate two entire bowls.

Around 11:30 we started making preparations for the Big Game. The Army Navy football game, of course. This is the first year we have ever watched it, but we really got in to the spirit. Everyone put on one of Dean's PT shirts, except for Hannah who had a smaller shirt that used to belong to Eden, and we all cheered "GO ARMY!!" right up to the point that the game started and the Navy promptly began kicking our trash. But at least our guys had REALLY cool looking uniforms to wear as they were soundly defeated. Cause you know, looking good is always important. Especially if you are really bad at football.

Then about half way through the game we had another major event in our household. Jude lost his first tooth!! He had been wiggling it when he turned to look at me and said "Mommy, I think its about to come out!" except his mouth was full of blood because in fact the tooth had already made its way to the floor. I said "Jude, I think it already did come out" and still with a mouth full of blood he says "REALLY?!?!" I found it on the carpet while Eden ran to the bathroom to get some toilet paper to stop the bleeding. It was all very exciting, and Jude immediately wanted to call people and share his big news.

After our sad defeat and exciting unexpected tooth-loss we had nothing left to do with our day but play. Hannah decided the View Finder was the most awesome toy of all time ever created, and also found she quite enjoyed sitting in a cloth bin talking to herself. But she didn't want me to take her picture while doing so. Oh, to be two years old. And theres a few other funny photos. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Big Little Girl

Hannah Rebekah turned Two Years Old on November 30th.

When I think of Hannah as an infant, the first image that comes in to my mind is that of her Daddy holding her for the first time at the hospital. Rocking her gently back and forth, whispering to her quietly that he loved her. Its one of those moments in time that is perfectly frozen in my memory. She was such a tiny, perfect, little baby, barely over 5 pounds, but from moment one she owned our hearts.

And she knew it too.

Her big brothers were so absolutely adoring and attentive, and to this day that has not lessened. They were, and still are, quick to tell me if she needs something and quicker to tell me if they think I am doing something wrong. They always want to love and hug and kiss her, which sometimes she tolerates and other times she does not, but they keep trying anyways. They always want to make her smile and laugh, and she gives them some good laughs in return. Watching the three of them together is the greatest joy of my life.

Trying to put in to words what this little girl means to me is nearly impossible, there is so much in my heart. When she came in to being she brought with her a force that shaped our little family, all of our love for her binding us tightly together, no longer a "step" family or a "blended" family, just quite simply a family. Her family.

Hannah is strong-willed, tender-hearted and tempermental. She likes Alligators, sparkly dresses, playing in the dirt, dancing in front of the mirror and washing her hands. She knows all her shapes, including "crescent" and "hexagon", which never ceases to amaze me. Her favorite thing in the world is her Daddy Doll, who goes everywhere with us. She can speak in sentences and knows all kinds of big fancy words but still insists on calling her sippy cup "ah-kum" for reasons no one has yet been able to discern. Just because shes Hannah. She is bright, beautiful and endlessly entertaining. And so very, very loved.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Birthday in Absence

This is a cake. And yes, it is shaped like a turkey. Why? An excellent question.

Allow me to explain.

Today is Dean's 29th birthday.

29 years ago this day was Thanksgiving Day. So his mother, as a tradition, has always baked him this "turkey cake" in remembrance of that year when she did not get to eat any Thanksgiving dinner because she was busy. You know, at the hospital.

So now, as his wife, the ritual of baking this cake has passed to me. Dean is still in Afghanistan, obviously, but in our 4 years of marriage the boys have come to also expect the turkey cake this time of year. So I told them that even with Dean away we would celebrate his birthday by making a "practice" cake, and then we could bake him another one when he got home. The reason for this was twofold: One-Who doesn't like to eat cake? and Two-I really did need the practice. This freakin' cake is COMPLICATED.

In case you can't tell from the picture, the frosting is applied in tiny swirly dots all over the cake in various colors. This takes the patience of a saint, which I clearly am not. When my mother in law makes this cake it is beautiful, all the dots are uniform in size and shape, and in neat little rows. But she has had 28 years of practice, so I can't really expect to compete. Plus I had to do said icing application with a crying toddler (who had spent the morning in the ER due to an ear infection that just won't quit) on my hip. So I was using the icing applicator with one hand and bouncing and rocking Hannah with the other.


When Mary came in and saw the state of things in the kitchen I said to her "Just imagine 20 something years ago your mom was doing this with YOU on her hip!" which made us both laugh. Then she took Hannah out to the little house for a few minutes so I could use both hands for a bit. That didn't last terribly long, so then Mary stepped in and finished the icing so we wouldn't be eating a turkey that looked half-plucked. It was a learning experience, but it turned out pretty good anyways.

Then we sang a quick Happy Birthday to Dean and had cake and ice cream in his honor.

Happy Birthday, baby. I love you.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Waiting is difficult.

Whether its waiting for your human to throw the gosh-darn ball already so you can chase it at lightspeed until you crash head first in to the fence or waiting for your husband to come home from a 15 month deployment, the waiting part will most likely drive you crazy. If you fall in to the first category you can jump up and down and bark and run in circles. If you fall in to the second category you probably have trouble eating and sleeping, along with spending prolonged periods of time counting and recounting the days left on the calendar. None of these activities actually help the anticipated event occur any faster, but in either case you just can't help yourself.

We have entered in to the count-down-to-home stretch at our house. I've been saying for awhile now that we were going to make a paper chain to count down, but we have yet to do it. Its not that I don't WANT to, I think I'm just still in shock that its actually TIME to do it. I had better get with the program soon though or our paper chain is going to be less of a chain and more of a small belt. Christmas for once will take a backseat as the major event of the year in my young children's lives as they eagerly await the arrival of a man not in red, but in digital print cammo. Even Hannah seems to have caught on somewhat that something big is about to happen as she will periodically exclaim "Daddy? Back? Airplane?" Jude's class had a circle time activity where each child took a turn saying "I am Thankful for...." as the teacher wrote their list on the board. What was Jude most Thankful for? His Stepdad. Eden has taken it upon himself to constantly reinforce the schedule to us all repeatedly stating "Well, don't forget, Dean MIGHT be home on THIS day or he might be home on THIS day, or maybe somewhere between the two. But either way Christmas won't come till he's here" They want to talk about it every morning before school and every night before bed.

The excitement level around here is definitely escalating. Hopefully we won't all need chemical sedation by the time the big day actually arrives.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes. We. Can.

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

Its the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

Its the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

Its the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

Its been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and hes fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nations promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nations next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy thats coming with us to the White House. And while shes no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what youve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didnt start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generations apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didnt do this just to win an election and I know you didnt do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how theyll make the mortgage, or pay their doctors bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who wont agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government cant solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way its been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, its that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one thats on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. Shes a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldnt vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that shes seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we cant, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when womens voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we cant, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Little Black Boots

Today I took Hannah out shopping. Its gotten cold and the boys really needed some long-sleeved winter type stuff. Hannah needed some new shoes. She has only one pair, they are white and pink sneakers, and we bought them over the summer in NJ while visiting Grandparents. Hannah, as we all know, doesn't grow very fast. So it wasn't so much that she had out-grown the shoes she had as it was that they were all scuffed up and the velcro didn't fasten anymore due to the fact that she fastens and unfastens them approximately ten thousand times per day.

So we get the boys clothes and then head over to PayLess. The nice man there measures her teeny tiny feet and points me in the right direction to find teeny tiny shoes. I'm looking around and they have some really cute little sneakers in various shades of white and pink and purple with sparklies. Hannah is walking around my legs, seemingly not paying much attention.

And then she sees them.


"What baby-girl?"


And there in fact on the shelf right at her eye level were a small pair of black, shiny, zip-up boots.

Black.Shiny. Zip-up. Boots.

"Do you want to try on the boots, Hannah?"

"EEEEEEEEEEEEKKKK!" And she plops to the floor on her bottom and tugs at her shoes "Shoes! off!!"

The boots go on and I have to admit they are basically the cutest thing I have ever seen in my entire life. She stands up and prances over to the nearest full-length mirror with the biggest smile on her face.

"Boots, mama! Baby boots!"

She bends down trying to examine the boots reflection as closely as possible. She shrieks and giggles and runs up and down the isle in a boot-induced hysteria.

I let her walk around for a good while in the boots and then tried to coerce her in to trying on some sneakers as well. Its a No-Go. The boots were not coming off. The nice man in the store cut the tags off so we could pay for the boots without causing Hannah to have a complete meltdown. I bought her some sneakers anyways, he said I could bring them back if they didn't fit. Of course, right now she is napping.

With her boots on.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Day on the Farm

This is a "Corn Pool."

I have never in my life beheld so much corn in one sitting. This large blue tub of corn was one of three such tubs, and it became the highlight of our adventure to the Pumpkin Patch. Move aside, Pumpkins, we've got Corn to play in.

It was a really beautiful fall day, a bit windy, cool but not cold. I had made everyone bring jackets but we ended up leaving them in the car. The first thing the kids did was play in a little Hay Maze, and the first thing Eden did was complain that the walls were not high enough. However, after several minutes in the maze and still unable to find his way out he came to realize that the height of the walls did not matter nearly as much as his own height. And since he was still not tall enough to see the maze's master floor plan he still could not easily find his way through in spite of the wall's short stature. Jude, being ever present in his Jude-ness, tried for about two minutes and then promptly jumped a couple bales of hay, ran out the exit and exclaimed with hands held high "I did it!" Hannah meandered back and forth on the first straight path entry way to the maze and seemed happy enough to have found her way back out the entrance with her Daddy Doll in tow.

You can see Jude here in the bottom corner preparing to jump the wall....

After the Maze we saw a sheep dog and his handler herding some sheep. It was really, really cool. This dog was amazing. The man had some sort of tiny whistle and he made all these random sounds with it and the dog responded instantly to whatever the calls meant. Clearly he knew the definition of each tiny chirp from his master, and those sheep clearly knew the dog meant business and did not want to be anywhere near him. He never barked or growled, but he would lower his body or raise it up and look at the sheep different ways and they would move. We were told the dog was not allowed to bite the sheep. He could bite the cows, but not the sheep. Sorry, Cows.
After the little dog show we went to the above mentioned Corn Pools. The pools had only two rules:



Personally, I love Rule #2. I mean you just know some genius at some point decided to bury their head in the corn and it probaly wasn't as much fun as they imagined it would be. And now its one of only two pool rules.

The boys dove right in, while Hannah sat off to the side grasping tiny handfuls of corn shrieking delightedly and exlaiming "COOOOORRRNNN!!!" The boys dove and dug and "swam" and swished and stomped, while Hannah sat and picked up the corn and dropped the corn and picked up the corn and dropped the corn and dropped the corn....for a good 30 to 40 minutes. Eden handed his glasses to me at some point, afraid they would fall off or get broken in the corn-melee.

Daddy got to play in the corn too.

After a long while a gentleman came up and said we could go on the hayride in about ten minutes. So we started extricating ourselves from the corn, shaking it out of our shoes and pants and shirts and hair, and made our way to the hayride. Hannah was not impressed with the hay and immeditely stated she wanted "Out! NO! COOOORRRNNNN!" but then we were on our way and she was ok. Unfortunately, about 5 minutes in to the ride I realized Eden's glasses were no longer on my head. I dug around in my bag hoping I had absentmindedly placed them there after getting out of the corn, but they were no where to be found. When we got to the pumpkin patch Eden and I walked back to the corn pools and searched, but found nothing. Then Aunt Mary went and looked again even walking part way down the path the hayride had gone. Nothing. We picked out a couple pumpkins and had our picture taken, but Hannah was crying because she wanted to carry the pumpkin herself. And mean old mommy wouldn't let her. Because it weighed more than Hannah did and would crush her. But she still thought I was a terrible Mommy and she cried angrily for a good five minutes about it.

We put the pumpkins in the car and went back to the corn pools one last time. Aunt Mary stayed with the boys and I took Hannah walking around making one last-ditch effort to find the glasses. Nothing but defeat. I give my name and number to a lady who works on the farm, but I am certain they will not be found. At least not in one piece. The boys are still jumping around in the corn, Hannah is playing happily, when I look down and see a out of the corn. I reach down, pinch it between my two fingers and somehow, amazingly, insanely and miraculously, pull Eden's glasses out. In all honesty, I still can't believe it. They were bent a little from being buried, but I straightened them out and gave them to Eden who was just like "Oh. Cool." and went back to playing.

After that minor miracle, we went and got some soda and then saw all the animals. There were small horses, which Hannah called Cows, a little cow, which Hannah called Cows, and some mommy and baby sheep, which Hannah called cows. Jude was most fascinated by the mommy sheep and the baby sheep she was feeding. "Look, Mommy! They're drinking its milk!!" Then we saw some goats, and Hannah told them "Be Quiet!" and "Behave!" Then we saw some ducks. Hannah put her tiny fingers on the ducks' cage and they bit her, which she found to be hilarious so she did it over and over. They didn't hurt her, I think they thought she was trying to feed them, but I tried it and you could definitely feel a pinch from their beaks. She didn't seem to care in the slightest though, she just laughed and quack quack quacked at them and stuck her fingers in anyways. On our way out we saw chickens and more chickens and then lots and lots of chickens. And then some pigeons. I would have taken pictures but my camera battery died.

So it was a lovely day. But my heart just felt that little tug of sadness anyways that Dean wasn't here to share it with us. I know he will be home soon, but its just not soon enough. I could hear him laughing at Hannah, and the things he might say or do with the boys in the corn pool. He would have had a blast.

Next year he will.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pudah's Prayer

Today turned out to be wonderfully amazingly awesome.

First of all, the car was in the shop. It had been there since yesterday, but around 1130 it was fixed and I could go get it. This is where I am grateful for really awesome friends I can just call up. Yesterday I had to call Allison to come and retreive Hannah and myself from said car place because the car guys realized it was going to take them a BIT longer then they initally expected to fix the problem. Allison came and got us, no problem, and we had a really nice lunch on the way home. Plus I got to see her cutest of all preggo tummy which was fun. Then today I had to get back to the car place, and I called Penny. She managed to help me out in between needing to run errands and picking up her own child from daycare. But shes awesome like that, and I was really happy to see her and talk even if it was only for a ten minute drive.

So we go to get the car, and the poor car guys who had give me a price quote estimating that it would take approximately 1 1/2 hours to fix ended up spending more like 5 or 6 hours on my car. But yesterday they had told me they would honor the original quote anyways. I talked to Dean about it, and we both felt this was unfair. I wasn't sure about paying for a whole 6 hours since I was sure they had stopped to help other customers etc during this time frame, but I also thought they deserved more than being paid for just one hour of work. When I spoke to the manager on the phone after he said the car was ready I told him I just wanted to be fair, and I had no problem with paying for 2 or 3 hours of labor cost. He seemed stunned. He sort of chuckled at me and said "Well....Okay." When I actually picked up the car and paid for it he said they decided to charge me 2 1/2 hours. I asked if he was sure that was alright, if that was enough. He shook his head at me and smiled "I don't think anyone has ever said that before. Most people wanna fight you and just say Thats not the price you quoted me!" I told him again I just wanted to be fair, and he said "Its alright, dear, this will be just fine." I told him we would be back again soon because my van needs new brake pads or something. Its tough to find a car guy you can trust, you know? But I think after this he will remember me and he will be happy to have us for return customers.

Then, in more awesomeness, I came home and Hannah and I took a nap. It was 2 hours of complete perfection.

Then the boys got off the bus asking for friends to come over. So we went to the grocery store really fast, and then called Brad (Eden's friend) and Taylor (Jude's friend) to come over. Taylor has asked me almost every time I have seen him either in the morning at the bus stop or getting off the bus if he could please please PLEASE come to our house, so he was really excited to come over. Taylor and his 3 sisters live with their grandma. I am not privy to the entire story, but what I do know is their mom and dad are not around at all. So, his grandma brought him over and one of his big sisters had come along for the ride. Her name is Amber and she was in Eden's class when we first moved here. Amber is a rough and tough wild child, who likes to talk about playing in the woods and climbing trees back when she lived with her mom. I could see in her face that she wanted to play, so I asked "Can she stay and play too?" Her grandma seemed suprised, she didn't want me overwhelmed with kids, but I said I didn't mind. I asked Amber if she wanted to stay and she answered sort of cooly "Well, I don't really care" but I could see she was actually very happy.

Eden, Brad and Amber got right in to a big game. Something to do with swords and dragons and monsters and magic, I couldn't follow all the rules. It was complicated. Jude and Taylor soon joined in, bringing their walkie talkies, and we all ended up outside on the front lawn for over an hour. They ran and shouted and rolled around in the grass and played their little hearts out. Hannah watched them delighted, and occasionally ventured out in the grass as well to grab a sword or shout at someone. But really she was most happy just to watch. It was a really beautiful afternoon, the air was crisp and cool and it smelled like fresh cut grass. This of course was most likely due to the fact that my wonderful 13 year old neighbor had just cut our grass a couple hours prior. The whole scene made me feel so grateful for my life, so much love for my children, and inspired by a day that brought me a sense of people's true goodness. When it was time for everyone to go home I got hugs from all the visitors and my own children came inside with rosy cheeks, big smiles, and grass in their hair. It doesn't get much better than that.

Tonight as we got ready for bed Jude asked if he could say a prayer. It went like this:

"Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for our day. Thank you for all that we Have. And for all that we Love. Please bless Dean to be safe in Afghanistan. And thank you for our food. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

I think that says it all.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Moment

This morning I was driving in my car after mailing some stuff at the post office. I got to a red light only to realize that at the next light which was not very far away I needed to be in the other lane to turn right.

I looked over and the driver next to me was an elderly African-American woman in a big van. I assessed the situation and decided I could definitely pass her and change lanes before the next light. So my light turned green and I sped up, turned on my blinker, and quickly changed lanes. At the next light, I turn right and so does she.

We come up to the next light and she pulls up in the lane next to me and honks her horn. I'm thinking, Oh crap, this lady is going to yell at me for cutting her off.....but I look over and she has this BIG smile on her face and she is pointing at the back of my car and waving and smiling. It took me half a second, but then I realized she was mouthing something and my face lit up. "OBAMA?!?!" I shouted even though I'm sure she couldn't hear me, and she threw her hands up in the air in a big "WAHOOOO!" sign and mouthed several more times "Obama! Obama!" So I threw my hands up in the air too, and we had a mini-celebration for about 10 seconds at the stoplight. It was an awesome moment. Then the light changed and as she drove off I saw that she also had an Obama bumper sticker, along with a mix of Army, Retired Army, Support Our Troops etc stickers all over the back of her car just like some you see on mine. So it turned out we shared more then just our love for Obama, which gave my heart warm-fuzzies.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Peoples' kids who smell like cigarette smoke make me sad.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Learning Curve

I have been back at work now for almost 2 months, and I am finally starting to feel like a nurse. Which is really neat for me, and also probably a reeeeaaallly good thing for my patients. I feel more confident in what I am doing, and they feel more confidence in me as a result. The weird thing is, I worked for 5 months previously on a Mother/Baby floor and I never had this feeling. I went to work and cared for new moms and their babies, but it never felt like I was accomplishing much. I KNEW about being a Mom, I KNEW about caring for babies, and showing new parents how to swaddle their newborn just wasn't requiring much brain power on my part. Its not what one would call a high-skills area and I certainly didn't feel like I was using my hard-earned 4 year degree to its full potential.

But things on a med/surg/oncology floor are very, very different. In the last two months I have (finally!) learned how to start IVs. I've changed dressings on wounds that were ranging from fresh out of surgery to rotten-full-of-maggots. I've seen all kinds of drains and wound vacs and colostomys and illeostomys and amputations and abrasions and staples and sutures. I've had patients from their early 20s to over 90 in all sizes and shapes and colors.

But the patients who have already found a special place in my heart are our cancer patients. To see them and their families, battling an illness of their body's betrayal at the most fundamental level, alternating between optimism and despair, anger and love, frustation and determination is both inspiring and humbling. A few weeks ago I was caring for this wonderful woman, whos family was always by her side tending to her every need, who in the midst of her own extreme suffering could still crack a joke and make everyone smile. I went in to the medication room to draw up some pain medicine for her and I just started to cry, I was so overwhelmed by her struggle. The cancer was killing her, and the treatment for it was only making her remaining time miserable. But she had no choice, you see, because she has young children. Who need her. Who she has to fight for even if the doctor says the odds aren't good. I had seen her youngest daughter for the first time in the hallway just moments before, and she stopped me in my tracks. "You look JUST like your mother," I said. "Thanks", she said with a big smile, "My mom is beautiful."

My preceptor came in the room behind me and asked me what was wrong. Like a child, all I could manage to get out with my sobs was a very simple "Its just not FAIR." She gave me a big hug and told me "Now I KNOW you are going to be a great nurse, because you care this much." She let me cry for a minute and then she roughly rubbed my shoulders, told me to pull it back together, and go do whatever I could for my patient. And that would have to be good enough.

A few of the patients I have cared for in my short time on this floor have already died. Not through any fault of ours, the cancer just couldn't be beaten. The learning curve here is steep. But I am learning how to cope. Someone asked me yesterday if I though I would "get used to it". I hope I never do. Because I do believe that the only thing I can give these amazing individuals that will make any real difference is my honest compassion and caring.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Why Barack Obama is a Jedi

Tonight was our weekly "Movie Night". Once a week I take the kids to blockbuster, the boys take turns choosing the movie, we order pizza and spend a couple hours together. Tonight it was Jude's turn, and he selected "The Return of the Jedi". This is one of my favorite movies for a lot of reasons, the main one being that Harrison Ford is my favorite actor and he is still smokin' hot in this movie. But that's besides the point.

So we are near the end of the movie, where the rebels are trying to get in to the little outpost to destroy in and bring down the Death Star's energy field(Disclaimer: I promise I am not a nerd, please hear this out) Luke has gone and turned himself in and is now sitting in front of the Emperor being taunted about the fact that his friends are basically walking in to a trap and cannot succeed against the enormous enemy force that will be there to greet them.

At this point my sister in law, Mary, makes a comment that this sort of reminds her of the current Presidential campaign. The large, controlling, evil empire in the hands of a few individuals desperately clinging to power for power's sake at the expense of everyone around them versus the small, seemingly insignificant rebel alliance, facing long odds but willing to take a chance knowing that they are the last hope for freedom and justice in the galaxy.

"Plus," I say, "The Emperor does kinda look like John McCain."

This makes my nine year old laugh hysterically.

So naturally Luke Skywalker becomes Barack Obama. Young, determined, energetic, charismatic (insert any good adjectives here) and possessed with internal strength, natural ability, and desire to do good. All necessary things when one is going about the business of saving the universe. Or in our case, just the United States of America. In this last big scene Skywalker says repeatedly that he does not want to fight, that he believes there is good in everyone, that he will not turn to the dark side. He is not there to destroy anyone, he only wants to bring them along with him in to a better, brighter, more peaceful future. Obama wants to discuss the real issues, not Palin's pregnant daughter. He wants fairness and equality, and a government governed by people who care about those less fortunate then themselves. He wants to promote science, education, advancement and alternatives instead of "same old same old, and who cares if it kills the planet because we will all be dead by then anyways!" policies. He's fighting this fight because he has to, not because he wants to. Which makes him a Jedi in my book. (Ok, now I am a nerd)

Joe Biden then can be our ever favorite Han Solo. Older, with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and street smarts to boot. He's charming and brave with a tendency to put his foot in his mouth. But we love him anyways. Biden, that is. Well, and Han Solo but everyone loves Han Solo so that goes without saying.

Sarah Palin won the dubious distinction of becoming Darth Vader. No, not because I think she is evil. Which she is. (Warning to my Conservative friends: Stop Reading Now. I even HAVE conservative friends?) She is Darth Vader for the one simple fact that Vader is the Emperor's ultimate undoing. The difference of course here is that Vader makes a conscious choice to toss the Emperor over the railing in to the blue-fiery-pit-of-death-thing, while Palin on the other hand I think will rather accidentally and slowly nudge McCain over that precipitous ledge with her incoherent speeches. In fact the upcoming VP debate could actually be the defining ledge-tumbling moment.

As seemingly minor characters in this drama we also nominated the Religious Right to be the Storm Troopers. Unable to think outside the box, they can't stray from the pack, but they can blindly follow orders quite well. They are a well organized, well trained force that strikes fear in to the heart of many and then uses that fear to control them. To counter this of course there is a positive force: The Ewoks. Small, furry, feisty, smart. At first glance they certainly don't appear to be any real threat. But they were the one variable the bad guys hadn't seen coming and they tipped the scales allowing the rebels to proceed to victory. We don't have Ewoks in our fine country, but we do have college students. Lots and lots of them. And in this monumental, historical election, in this defining make-or-break moment, they will stand up and demand change. Or at the very least they might hit someone in the head with a sling-shot rock. You know, whatever they gotta do to get their point across. That point is this: Its time for a new generation to be in control. Because I personally do not believe our country can survive 4 more years of this shit.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oops. (Or: In Case You Didn't Know, Melted Plastic Stinks)


I did this.

See, heres what happened. I was trying to be a good mother and boil the tops for Hannah's sippy cups since they had been back and forth to daycare and thus could be declared hazardous objects of biological warfare. I put them in a pan full of water, turned on the stove, and went about my business starting the laundry and other motherly-type duties. Then the phone rang. And it was Dean!! Naturally when Dean calls the rest of the world comes to a screeching halt, I usually go to my room and lay on my bed while we chat.

We had probably been talking ten or fifteen minutes when I very suddenly remembered there was something on the stove.

I ran out to the kitchen only to be greeted by a large cloud of billowing black smoke. The water had all boiled away and the tops were now seconds from bursting in to flames. I grabbed the pan and stuck it in the sink and turned the water on and I think I said something like "Oh shit I almost caught the kitchen on fire!!" All Dean heard was "fire" and he was saying "DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER IS?!?!" Which, I did not. But luckily nothing was actually on fire, there was just tons of smoke. I opened the back door and the window above the sink to let it out, I couldn't use the over-the-stove hood thing because sadly it is approximately 100 years old and doesn't work.

So the major crisis of burning the house down was narrowly averted. Whew. The kitchen still stinks though. Theres nothing quite like the stench of freshly melted plastic. Today I have to go out and buy new sippy cups. And a new pan.

And maybe I should find out where I keep the fire extinguisher.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

A Happy Hair Day

Lately, I have become increasingly frustrated with my hair. I'm back at trying to grow it out, but its at that akward point where theres basically nothing to be done with it. And I hate it. And its evil. Which makes me want to chop it all off. However, my very sweet husband is basically begging me not to, and since hes in Afghanistan its the least I can do for him to not cut my hair.

Instead I have begun investing in a series of scarf/headband thingys in an attempt to make my hair at least appear decent. Or if it won't appear decent it will be too covered up for anyone to notice.

Yesterday I had on this sparkly scarf thing and my hair was all messy and cool looking and I was awfully proud of myself so I took a photo. Ta-Da! Happy Hair Day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Ok so this one time, I wrote this really long, funny, clever, witty blog post.

And then my husband called.

And instead of clicking save I accidentally deleted the entire thing.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

New Views for Jude


Today Jude got glasses. And quite frankly, he was beyond thrilled about it.

The last few months I have noticed he seemed to want to sit practically on top of the TV when watching it. He also squinted a lot and complained of headaches on occasion. All big fat clues pointing us straight to the eye doctor, but with everything else going on it got pushed to the back of my mind and the bottom of my to-do list. But, today was Early Release day from school, and I decided to take advantage of it. I got him a same day appointment and right after school off we went. We took Eden to play at Sammy's, which upset Jude quite a bit since he had been made to sit through Eden's eye doctor appointment last year. Its hard to explain to a second born child why their older sibling frequently gets to do things that seem unfair, but I tried my best. "When Eden had to see the eye doctor you were too young to be left at a friend's house." to which he replied "I could've stayed at Sammy's too!" to which I replied "We didn't KNOW Sammy then" to which he replied "But we COULD HAVE known him!" So I gave up and just agreed that it was unfair, but thats how it was going to be anyways.

The eye doctor turned out to be a very young lady with a very big smile who made Jude feel extremely comfortable. She let him push the buttons to make his chair go up and down, and she really explained all the steps of what she was doing as best she could. She was very patient with his wiggly-ness, and very complimentary of his attempts to cooperate. When it was all said and done, the conclusion was that yes in fact he did need glasses, he has astigmatism, and one eye is worse than the other. I'm pretty sure she said the left eye was worse, but it was difficult to hear her at that point because Hannah was yelling at me to get more "wash wash" out of the dispenser on the wall.

Then we went and picked out some frames. This took all of 5 minutes because Jude actually doesn't care much what goes on his face. Unlike Eden who labored over the decision for a good 45 minutes, Jude was fine with any frame I put on him so long as it meant we could go home. It came down to two pairs I liked, and he chose the silver ones over the browner ones. Then in another stroke of good fortune they had the lenses in stock and said it would be a mere 15 minute wait to get the glasses put together! Hooray! Jude was very excited and very proud when he finally got to put on his new glasses. His mouth dropped open and he exclaimed "Oh WOW! Everythings got COLORS!"

He was really happy to get home and use his glasses to watch cartoons. Which he can now see from the couch.
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Monday, September 01, 2008

September 1

Its official.

Its September.

This month marks one year since Dean left home to go to Ft. Riley in order to train for this deployment.

One entire Year. And the really funny part is...we aren't even done yet! Oh wait, thats not funny at all. Although I do remember very distinctly last September thinking that THIS September would never come. And now here we are. So that counts for something. Still, its strange to think I haven't lived with my husband for 12 months, and still have 3 to 4 months to go depending on whether or not you count this month since its already started, or if you count December which is when he will be home but probably not to till the end. In my head of course I like to calculate the time whichever way makes it seem shortest. This means I don't count either September (cause its started already) OR December (cause I will see him before that month ends). So that just leaves October and November to really get through. Trust me, in my Army Wife Brain it alllllll makes sense.

Now please excuse me while I go eat a big ol' bowl of Chocolate Trinity ice cream(from Publix! its the best ice cream ever!) to celebrate this milestone of sorts. I made it to September.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Judah Pudah

Jude turned six years old yesterday.


Thats half way to twelve. Or 1/3 of the way to 18.


Ok. I am calm again.

From the very beginning, and I do mean the VERY beginning, Jude was nothing like his brother. When I was pregnant with Jude I threw up 3 or 4 times a day for the first 12weeks (with Eden I threw up 3 or 4 times TOTAL EVER). With Jude I craved hot wings and ceasar salad (with Eden all I wanted was chocolate anything). As my tummy grew, Jude would most often find a nice spot in my ribs to place his feet. If I tried to push on him to get him to adjust his position he would literally PUSH BACK as hard as he could as if to say "Thanks for the suggestion, Mom, but I am comfortable right where I am."

After he was born, he didn't really do the whole sleeping thing. He cried a lot, he puked even more. I know the term is "spit up" but trust me, if you had seen what came out of that kid's mouth you would call it puke too. And it was projectile puke, capable of traveling several feet across a room or completely saturating my clothing to the point where if it happened and we were out somewhere we just had to go home to change.

Once he started smiling and laughing though he was a total charmer. And most of all he loved to make his big brother laugh. Jude was a very busy baby, and learned to crawl early, mostly so he could chase Eden around the house. Eden used to have to tell me "Mommy, I have to go potty!" and I would have to hold on to Jude and say "Ok, go! Run!" and Eden would run to the bathroom as fast as he could. The second I put Jude down he was off like a shot after him shouting "EEE-DAH!! EEE-DAH!" He would crawl over to the door and put his little tiny hands under the crack, unable to bear the seperation from his favorite person in all the world. He would lie on his tummy with his fingers under the door and say "eeedah, eedah" until Eden came out.

One of my favorite things Jude used to say was when he was around 2 years old. If you asked him to do something, or told him to stop doing something, he would reply as if he didn't understand and say "Whaa you say? Mama, Whaa you say?" Around this same time he also had horrific, full blown tantrums of the lying-kicking-and-screaming-on-the-floor variety. They were quite a scene to behold, and left me completely baffled as Eden had never had a tantrum in his life. In fact, most mornings Jude woke up screaming. The only way to make it stop was to get him a sippy cup of chocolate milk (mixed only by Mommy, unless you wanted to hear screams of "MOMMY DO IT MOMMY DO IT!!!!!), set him on the couch, and put on a cartoon. It became our morning ritual for quite a long time. He also found his own clever ways to try to get out of going to bed, like sticking his leg out between the bars of his crib all the way up to his thigh till it became tightly wedged, and then shouting for help. This was completely intentional, and scared the crap out of me every single time because I was convinced that one day I would not be able to un-wedge his leg. But I knew he was doing it to get attention, so I just had to go in, get him unstuck, lay him back down, and leave again without talking to him. If I said anything it was just "Jude, No." Some nights I would only have to go through this once, but most nights it was three or four times before he finally went to sleep.

But despite all that, he is still at heart just the sweetest, most loving child. In the early weeks of my pregnancy with Hannah, before the boys even knew, I was driving with Jude in the car one day and he was sitting in the back sitting talking quietly to himself. I said "Hey Jude, what are you doing?" and he replied "I'm talkin' to my baby sister." I was so shocked. I said "Well, you don't have a baby sister.." and he said "I'm just PRETENDING, Mommy!" After Hannah was born he was constantly wanting to hug her and hold her and poke her face with his fingers. He is loving, but not really gentle. Even now, with both Eden and Hannah, I have to remind Jude sometimes that hugs shouldn't hurt. But hes just so excited to love people, and to show it with all of his might. To the extreme. Which is really how he does everything.

So here he is now, a big six year old boy. Who always makes everyone smile.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fortune Cookie Failure


This is the ACTUAL fortune I received out of an ACTUAL fortune cookie at dinner last night.

Does this even count as a fortune? It sounds more like a command to me. "GO TO THE GYM! BAAAH!" Thats what it should have said. At least that would have been more interesting. Plus "improving" my exercise routine implies that I already HAVE some sort of excercise routine in place which I could improve upon. This however is not the case. Although a couple of months ago I went to a local gym for a free trial week and seriously considered joining....but, uhm...then I didn't. So, maybe thats what its talking about. Or maybe its just a lame cookie.

Can I get another fortune please?
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Thursday, August 14, 2008


Eden turned Nine years old on the 13th of this month.

There are not enough ways to say how much I love this little boy who is quickly becoming a little man. His birth absolutely and completely altered my life, in ways I could not have anticipated and in ways that I still cannot fully comprehend. I am grateful every. single. day. that I have been fortunate enough to be his mother and I know for a fact that I have learned just as much from him as he has ever learned from me, if not more.

When I look back and think about the day he was born, I am flooded with so many emotions. Being a "teenage mom" is a condition that seems to follow you no matter how many years pass. Seeing the look on my friends faces when they came to visit me in the hospital, the shock and awkwardness of our 18 year old selves around this tiny, pink person who symbolized by his presence the uncrossable divide between their reality and mine. Holding him and feeling the deepest kind of love mixed with the deepest sense of "oh-dear-god-what-have-I-done". The mixture of what I had lost with what I had gained, the certainty that I knew nothing combined with the certainty that I must not fail, the feeling that I must be dreaming conflicting with the undeniable reality of dirty diapers and feedings around the clock.

Luckily for me, he was the best baby anyone could ask for. Eden cried only when absolutely necessary, he woke up happy, spent most of his time content, and seemed endlessly patient with me as I bumbled about trying to figure out this whole mothering thing. He still is. He always wanted to be held and cuddled, he smiled early, talked early, and never learned to crawl because we never put him down. He did however master the art of butt-scooching in order to get around a bit before he decided at about 14 months that it was time to start walking. Eden always did things his own way in his own time, and when he was done with something he was DONE. One day he was simply done breastfeeding at about 10 months, another day he was done co-sleeping and never slept in my bed again (unless he had a bad dream as he got older, of course!), the same went for his sippy cup and his crib. Done and done, just like that all of the sudden. When hes ready and its time, things happen. When hes not ready and its not time, I assure you things will not. Thats just how it goes with him.

In the years since he has acquired both a younger brother and a younger sister. He is an outstanding big brother, patient and helpful, playful and creative, loving and kind. He has a tendency towards bossiness, but what kind of big brother would he be if he didn't? He knows how he is supposed to treat his siblings, and when he falls short the person who is hardest on him is himself. He is always quick to comfort when they are in need, encourage when they are down, and give hugs and kisses just because. I know how much he loves them, and they know it too. Its a beautiful thing to see.

Yesterday we were able to go out to dinner for his birthday, just him and me. Special mommy time is hard to come by these days. We talked and laughed, planned Halloween costumes and Dean's homecoming. He even ate almost his entire dinner and he proclaimed his hamburger to be "the best burger I have EVER eaten! I especially love the salty crusty bits!" Afterwards we went to Toys R Us to spend some birthday card money, and it was nice to just be able to walk the isles giving him the time to really examine his toy options and make a selection at his leisure. Returning home we had cookie cake and ice cream with everyone else. It was a wonderful evening.

Here are a couple photos, Eden at 10 days old and Eden today.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

First Days (Or: "Incentivising")


Ok so Monday was just about the biggest day EVER in our household. Everyone was having a First Day.

The boys had their first day back at school. Jude is now a Kindergartener and Eden is a 4th grader. Which my brain cannot fully comprehend or acknowledge. But, anyways, here they are being awesomely cute and adorable.

They apparently have really nice teachers. I wouldn't know though because I haven't MET them, since the teachers were not yet assigned at orientation and then on Monday I had my first day back at work.

Luckily, their Grandma is in town visiting to help us get through our big week, so she took them in and took their photos. That made me very happy. They both had really good days, liked their teachers, and their classmates. The only major glitch was in the afternoon. Grandma went to meet them off the bus.....and only Eden came off. Where is Jude? No one seems to know. So she tells the bus driver there is supposed to be one more and they start radioing around trying to find him. His teacher had for some reason thought he was a car-rider and put him in the wrong line so he missed the bus. She realized her mistake and tried to call me, but I was in orientation and the number that came up on my phone was apparently her personal cell phone which was clearly a number I did not recognize so I did not bother leaving my class to answer. Now if she had called from the SCHOOL I would have known it was something IMPORTANT and left to answer the call....but, whatever. The bus driver finally talked to someone at the school and verified he was there, with his teacher, so Grandma took Hannah and Eden to fetch Jude who was sitting perfectly happily in his room waiting to be retrieved. Believe it or not, a similar incident occured with Eden on his first day of Kindergarten....he was placed on the WRONG bus. Thats another story, but I think my kids must have some weird first day bus karma or something.

Last but certainly not least on the list of significant events was Hannah's first day at daycare!! Here we are getting ready to leave.

Don't we look excited? Ok HERE is Hannah being excited....

So cute!! The drop off went pretty well, mostly because I think she was completely shocked that I was actually leaving her. She didn't know what was going on or what to expect so she just kind of went "Mama?? MAMA?!?!" and then I closed the door. I didn't hear any blood curdling screams afterwards so I think she was ok. She cried on and off during the day, but then Grandma picked her up around 11:30 and all was right with the world again.

My first day of orientation was boring beyond description since I went thru the EXACT same orientation last summer for the exact same hospital, and they have the exact same speakers with the exact same topics and the exact same videos with the exact same slides.....yeah, you get the picture. There was even the same really nice older lady who was talking about benefits and such, who repeatedly used the word "incentivising", as in "Ya'll can see where such programs as our employee tuition reimbursement program is real incentivising to some folks who are lookin' to advance their careers." I've decided it is a word I am going to start trying to work in to my daily conversations, cause its just plain funny. And yes, it was the most interesting part of the entire day for me.

I came home to tired but happy children, who all gave me hugs and kisses. I asked Hannah "Did you have a good day at school?" and she replied "NNNNNOO!" But she said it with a big smile so it couldn't have been all that bad.

Heres all of us together in the morning. Just cause we are cute. Hannah is much more interested in her "bucket" as she calls it(which is actually an M&M dispenser) then having her photo taken.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Stupid frickin' Fences! Frick!

My fences.....I am telling you they are suicidal. Or something. Perhaps they are just unlucky, I really don't know. But big things like TREES keep frickin' falling on them and making a big frickin' mess.

As you can plainly see from the photo above, yet another section of our fencing has met a sad end at the hands of a large piece of wood falling from the sky. A storm rolled through this afternoon, there were several very loud cracks of thunder near our house. And at some point this tree limb fell down. On the fence. Which created a very large hole.

We have a dog. His name is Mac. He is a good dog and we love him to bits, and he loves going out in the back yard. This is normally not an issue when the fence is intact. But now, it is broken and Mac was sad. There was no way that we could leave it, obviously, because he could run away. So as soon as the storm was over I drove to Lowe's and tried to buy something that would be cheap and adequately cover the gap. This is what I came up with....

Stop laughing.

I was going for functional not beautiful. Clearly.

I got a few stares while at Lowes, I must have looked a bit out of place wandering around the large stacks of wood and particle board and whatever other large pieces of building materials are sold there. No one who WORKED there actually offered to help me but I did get several offers from men in tattered work shirts, dusty blue jeans and work boots. One of these nice guys even held the lattice for me while I went to get my car, and then loaded it in to the back for me as well. Maybe its because I was having such a good hair day.

I don't know if Dean will be pleased with my Mrs. Fix-It skills, but I did my best in order to keep the dog safe for now. Recently the roof around the chimney was leaking (I know, right?!?!Come ON house, keep it together!!) and had to be repaired, and the very nice gentlmen who did a very nice job on it will apparently be getting another phone call from me very soon.

Stupid frickin' fence.