Friday, July 30, 2010

Freaking Out Over Fall

I feel incredibly restless, and I think it's b/c we have so many balls up in the air.

We still don't know which Montessori we're sending Annelise to, yet. The one I initially thought might be best (& great location - close to all of my shopping errands) may not offer half-day preschool this year. The director said he would let me know when they make a decision "around the end of this week"; with the economy here so bad, their 2 half-day programs haven't been filling, so they may only offer 1 full-day program.

I'm also waiting to hear back from Splitz. I took my dance résumé by this week, (& dealt with not-the-most-gracious lady, whom I hope doesn't color my application with her attitude!) I'm not sure when I should expect to hear something; she commented: "The director will decide *if she wants* to contact you after reviewing this..." so who knows? I've prayed about it, so if it's meant to be, it will. No matter what, I would still like for Annelise to take classes there, b/c it is by far the cheapest way for her to get to do both dance & gymnastics. (And since she has an interest in gymnastics, I really want her to try before she's old enough to get nervous. I never tried until I was older, and I was terrified to throw my body over my head. To this day, I'm scared to do a cartwheel...and so jealous of those who can with ease! ;-))

But that leaves more up in the air, b/c since I don't know if Annelise will be in a morning or afternoon preschool class, I don't know which Splitz class I can sign her up for, yet, either. (And I'm afraid they're filling up!) If she's in school afternoons, she'll do the Tuesday AM class. If she's in school mornings, she'll do the Wednesday afternoon. There's one 4:30 PM option, but ideally, I'd love her to do this while Will is in school, so there's one less bored person waiting around on her, you know? Plus, we don't know what day he'll have soccer practice or if flag football & cheerleading practice will be before their Saturday games or during the week.

Yep - Will's playing soccer *AND* flag football, and Annelise is going to cheer!!! This is the ONLY aspect of our fall that we've gotten solidified. (Thank the Lord!!! That's what I was stressed over last week. :-P) Naperville has an amazing youth football & cheer program that we were DEVASTATED to leave. I couldn't find anything remotely comparable here, until we found flag. It's not ideal, b/c it's flag, but Will wanted to do SOMETHING football soooo badly, and Annelise was all set to cheer, so this is our option for that. The soccer here is strong, which is exciting! (Although, like everything else activity-wise, it's more expensive! Baffling! Parks & Rec here offers nothing; everything is privately run = $$$$$ :-( Not cool.)

I'm sure some of y'all are thinking, "Omigosh - your kids are only 4 & 6-in-a-week! They don't need to do all that stuff!" THEY *WANT* TO! (Esp. since they've been out of school with virtually no activities since April 14th!!!) Not all kids are into activities, but Will & Sis thrive on them, and I get that, b/c I was the exact same way. (I know y'all are shocked! ;-)) They're each doing two things outside of school: Will - soccer & flag, Sis - Splitz & cheer. I don't think that's's just making me crazy until I have it all locked down in a sweet schedule!!! ;-)

More up in the air: we still need to coordinate & book our Charleston vacay for October, b/c I just discovered the place we usually stay is already booked, (EEK! But I did find a few other virtually-the-same options,) and we don't register Will for 1st Grade here until mid-August. Everyone on FB is posting about buying school supplies, and I want to buy our school supplies so bad I can hardly stand it :-P ...but we don't know what either one needs, yet, so more on hold.

I am NOT a very patient waiter.


I like for the order of things to be set ASAP. I'm not a strict scheduler - I'm actually very go-with-the-flow - but I am a big "routiner". I need a routine that is our standard. I don't mind adjusting it here & there, but I want the basic routine that I can plan around in place.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gratituesday: Preserving Memories

It's Gratituesday, and I am so thankful for my pictures. It's no secret that I am obsessed with documenting our lives. I come by it honestly - my dad was a photographer, and I was even the editor of my high school year book. (Digiscrapping these pages is exactly the same! I think I would have been an amazing magazine layout designer...) Not only is it a really fun hobby for me, but I'm also thankful for getting to share my pages with our friends and family, most of whom live nowhere near us. I feel like with each page I share, I'm keeping us connected. (Same thing with this blog!) Since we move around so much, I feel like my digiscrapping brings us a little continuity.

I'm also thankful for the wonderful start we've had since moving here last month. The hot summer has really set my mood on the best path, and JB being home more often has been a major answer to prayer!

Here's what we've been up to:

(Want to share more thanks? Join Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bountiful Birthday Blessings

My birthday Friday & bday weekend has just been so full of wonderful things! The love started early on Thursday when I got Godiva chocolate in the mail from my BFF, Wendy.
We've shared a Godiva bond since...8th grade, I believe? It is our quintessential way to say, "I love you, sis!" It's never really a surprise, but ALWAYS a blessing!!! :-)

Thursday night JB wanted to start celebrating early, so we went out to - where else??? - Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner & trivia. ;-) Super praise for not having to prepare dinner! :-P (Actually, I haven't made more than a couple protein shakes for breakfast since lunch on Thursday! YAY!!!)

Friday, we met our BFFs, Tina & her kids Jason & Jocelyn, at Splitz Gymnastics for open gym. J&J are some of Sis & Will's BEST friends, and this was the first time they've gotten to see each other since we moved back here. The looks on all four of their faces at being reunited was a precious gift in and of itself! Annelise has always wanted to try gymnastics, and seeing her excitement filled me up! I'm a dancer - I know nothing about gymnastics (outside of watching Make It Or Break It & the Olympics) - and I admit that I have been a bit intimidated by her desire; but this place has *me* excited: they also have a dance academy, so she could actually take a class here that is half gymnastics, half dance combo. Win/win! On the way out after open gym, I saw a lady at the front desk who looked to be in charge, and just on a total whim, I decided to say something. I told her about my teaching background; she looked at me slightly stunned & said, "We just lost one of our dance teachers last week!" :-O Win/win/win?!

Can you believe that?! I took an application, and I don't know if the dance director already has someone else in mind (the lady I spoke to was the gymnastics director) but I'm going to drop back by with my résumé tomorrow. Isn't that nuts?! God ALWAYS shows up! I wasn't really looking for a dance job or even sure I *wanted* to teach here. (99% of dance studios here are competition, which isn't what I do - Splitz has competition gymnastics, but basic dance; the other studio I'd found that wasn't competition is crazy expensive (I was freaking out thinking of the cost there for Annelise) & has no need for teachers; I was also uncomfortable committing to a studio through June when we don't know how long we're going to be here, but Splitz runs in 2-month sessions.) After MAJORLY STRESSING about the cost of extracurricular activities (more on that in an upcoming post), maybe I'll have Annelise covered for everything she wants to try with this, on top of keeping my dance résumé current. I don't want to get *too* excited, b/c who knows...but it would be ideal...

We left Splitz and drove across the adjacent shopping center to eat lunch back at our old fave family restaurant from when we last lived here, Ginger. Ginger is the ONLY area place that has my beloved bubble tea!!! (If I teach at Splitz, I will STILL gain weight being so close to Ginger all the time!!! :-D Mmmmm, almond honey milk tea...) Tina, J, & J made me feel like a princess: they brought me a tiara, lip gloss, & a singing candle for my bday lunch!
At the end of the meal, I actually received a DOUBLE fortune cookie! Not 2 fortunes, but 2 COOKIES wrapped around each other! Neither Tina nor I had seen one before, (and let me tell you - I have been through oodles of fortune cookies in my life!)

We took it as an extra cool bday sign. :-)

All day Friday, it was CRAZY hot & humid here - it actually felt like being home in the South! - and we had quite a few big thunderstorms - my idea of heaven. I lovelovelove storms!!!

When we got home from lunch, my Redskins platter was delivered on the porch - YAY! - and the kids played while I sat down at the computer for a bit. I was bowled over by the Facebook love - I got over 100 heartfelt "Happy Birthday!"s, and that just felt sooo good!

Friday night, we went for dessert at Guernsey Farms Dairy ice cream parlor. Now, growing up with the Cabarrus Creamery & even working there one summer in high school, I am *very* picky about my ice cream. Oh, I'll eat about any kind I can get my hands on ;-) but I certainly wouldn't rave about 99.999% of it. This was as close to the Creamery as I've ever had! (Of course, it makes sense why - they make it themselves fresh with milk from their own dairy, too.) I even got mine for free, b/c it was my bday! (And I didn't have to produce my license, b/c I was still wearing my tiara; no, I didn't take it off all day. Are you kidding? I would NEVER let go of an opportunity to be crowned in public!!! :-D)

Saturday, we spent the day checking out a few area malls, and we came across Just Baked. I had been craving cupcakes for weeks, (my own fault for watching too much Cupcake Wars and DC Cupcakes on TV!) and my bday weekend justified the purchase:

S'mores & Pumpkin Pie are by far my faves. (They didn't have The Big Oink, Sweet Potato, or Toasted Almond - hopefully next time?) I was afraid to try the Red Velvet, b/c NO ONE makes it like my mama, so I didn't want to go there. (This isn't a Southern bakery, y'all. :-P ;-)) I didn't get as much malt flavor in the chocolate malt or cherry in the black forest chocolate cakes as I would've liked (hi, I'm a food critic :-D) but I don't want to complain - SUCH a delicious purchase (that I'm still savoring today & will tomorrow, too!)

We then met my in-laws for a birthday dinner for me last night, and it was honestly the most lovely time!!! (For anyone who knows their recent business: doing GREAT!!!! Truly wonderful to see!!!!!) We had an awesome time chatting, and they showered me with the most THOUGHTFUL gifts ever!!! A Buffalo Wild Wings gift card, a Redskins 24oz. Tervis Tumbler with lid, a red "Hey Y'all" Paula Deen apron from The Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah, and a bag of one of my fave snacks: Cashew Clusters with Almonds & Pumpkin Seeds! I felt so very blessed. Esp. when they've had other things on their plate, for them to still think of me like that? It was just such a happy, meaningful evening!

Today: I took a step to join the praise team here back at our old/new church. That's been perhaps the hardest part of this move - leaving NCC. I feel like I left a huge chunk of my heart there, and a good portion of that was singing on Sunday mornings with Jon to lead worship. (Another big slice was being the coordinator of my MOPS group; I'm going to be back on steering here this fall in my old/new group, again, which is great...but again, different now... Perhaps more on this down the road...)

So, yes: a VERY EVENTFUL birthday & weekend full of lots of happy happenings! :-) I feel SUPER blessed!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


It's a week of presents! My birthday is FRIDAY, and I want to celebrate!!!

I have lusted after this ceramic Redskins platter for almost two years.
It's been on my Amazon wishlist, and I've periodically clicked on it, just to visit & wish ever since. It's been priced from $50-$60, too much for me to actually pull the trigger myself. (I know, I know - how could I ever put a price on my beloved Redskins, right?!?! ;-)) Well, I found it from a different seller on closeout for $20 on Monday, and that was it! I had more than that much left in my gift balance from my last coinstar drop, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! :-D

I'm not just thinking of myself, though. I've had a thing for Matilda Jane knot dresses for a few years. These things are amazing - they last FOREVER: Annelise's is 18 month-size, and she still wears it. At 2 years, it was a longer dress; at 3 years, it was a shorter dress; this summer, it's a long swing top over leggings; and I know she'll still be able to wear this *18 MONTH* dress next summer as a swing top, as well. (The adjustable knot straps are the key!) Matilda Jane isn't cheap, (these knot dresses are $50 - although certainly worth it for the amount of wear!) but my dear friend Emily (whom I originally turned onto the brand) alerted me to 65% OFF yesterday! It *nevernevernever* goes on sale!!! This was meant to be: the only size they had left in the only knot dress I liked was a 6 - the size I would logically buy next for Annelise. (She wears 4's & 5's now, but MJ goes 2-4-6-8, and I wouldn't buy small.) Grand total? $17.15!!! The pictures look so "peasant-style" and don't do them a bit of justice. They are so vibrant and look like "princess play dresses" - I always think of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty prancing through a meadow. :-) They're also wearable year-round: put on a turtleneck & thick leggings in the winter, bare shoulders in summer. So Sissy will now officially have her 2nd Matilda Jane:

(BTW: I don't sell it or get kickbacks :-P - I just like these knot dresses!)

Finally, my SUPERAWESOMEWONDERFULBEST husband has ordered me the most perfect bday present in the world! (I already know, b/c he wanted to make sure it was right, since it's personalized & non-returnable. ;-)) I love yellow gold over silver, and there is NOTHING ON EARTH that I wouldn't want monogrammed. (I'm a Southerner, after all!!! :-D Even my minivan is monogrammed!) I give you an example of my new Jennifer Zeuner necklace:

(Of course, mine is sBs!) Be still my heart!!! THANK YOU, HONEY!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

And HAPPY BDAY TO ME!!!!! :-)

(Can the party last all week? Any one want to come celebrate???)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Devotional Thoughts

What would happen if we took the same amount of time preparing our hearts [to love others, live excellently, & do good] as we do getting dressed & ready before we go out into the world every day?

Re: Psalm 30:1-5 - Remember no matter what pit you may be in, no matter what sadness has draped itself over you, there is a God who loves you and can lift you up, dress you in dancing clothes, and remind you that you are precious.

Lord, continue to change my heart so that my life invites others to dance. With hope, I thank you.

Re: Psalm 5:1-8 - Have you ever been looking for direction, wrestling with what to do next? The psalmist too seeks discernment and calls on God to show the way. Devote yourself to the loving God that protects, loves and leads us. For God surely knows the promise of your life and wants you to share your purpose with all creation. ~Jacob Bolton

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.
~Helen H. Lemmel

You, O God, are never surprised by the paths I take. Thank you for the grace and mercy you give when I don’t deserve it. Today may your conversation to me and through me bless and build someone up. May I worship you with a song in my head even if my lips don’t get it out. Amen.

Each and every one of us is made new by the overpowering love of Christ. The labels that get slapped on us – gone. We are reminded once again of who we are and sent out to tell others of this good news. Sometimes home is the most difficult place to talk about how we have changed. Our bad habits and ingrained patterns aren’t easy to change. But if that demon-possessed guy in Luke 8:34-39 could be changed by Christ, certainly we won’t be the exception! ~Kerri Peterson-Davis

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tooth Two & Crowning Glory

Guess who lost his second tooth?
Will was super excited. He actually pulled it out himself (ick!) because he swore it was ready. (It really was super loose.) He was thrilled to show everyone today on the last day (sniff, sniff) of science camp. Here he is with his new extra-wide bottom gap and the space station he made this morning. :-)

And now that science camp is over (again: sniffle, sniffle! 7.5 more weeks until school starts - heaven help us! :-P) I announce that the crowning glory of *my* week was finishing my book!
Everyone keeps asking me if it was good, and I'm just going to stop not giving myself any credit as a "real leisure reader". Yes - I loved it! Her Ya-Ya books are my most favorite, but even as a stand-alone book with a completely different cast of characters, I still loved this one, too. I love the Southern setting, Southern culture, and family. Until Rebecca Wells writes another book, maybe (this is a BIG MAYBE, people! Y'all know I'd rather be writing here or on FB! ;-)) I'll look into Fannie Flagg.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Toasted Marshmallows & Sweater Dresses

Whoa - what an autumnal title, and that's definitely NOT where I'm going! But it's what's going on with us:

Have y'all seen the Campfire Giant Roasters marshmallows? They. Are. HUGE. Of course my family could not simply walk past the bag at the store...and I *may* have been the first one to grab it! But marshmallows have really been on my mind. I saw a Spike Mendelsohn (a la Top Chef) recipe for Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes and have been obsessing ever since. Join me:

4 Servings, Prep 10 min, Cook 10 min
One 1-pound bag jumbo marshmallows
2 cups milk
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 tablespoon sour cream (optional, if you don't like things *so* sweet)
1.Preheat the broiler. On a foil-lined baking sheet, place half of the marshmallows in a single layer; broil until charred, 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Place the remaining marshmallows on the sheet and roast just until toasted, 2 minutes; let cool.
2.In a blender, mix the milk, ice cream, sour cream and charred marshmallows. Serve topped with the toasted marshmallows.

Ever since I was little, I've always liked toasting marshmallows over the stove, too. It's perfect, b/c I do NOT like mine charred black (ICK!) but I like them perfectly puffed to a delicate light brown all the way around - easily achieved over the stove = controlled, even heat. I always pull off the toasted layer, eat that, then re-toast what's left on my skewer, over & over until the very last bite is completely melted. Mmmmmmmm... And these GIANT marshmallows are perfect beyond words for this! One marshmallow can satisfy me!

As if I weren't on a big enough marshmallow kick, Will came home from science camp with a recipe for a homemade solar oven (made from a pizza box) in which to make Solar S'Mores. Too cute!

Now, why am I amped about sweater dresses in the middle of my precious summer? Well, fall clothes are now taking over the racks, and Costco has Heartstrings sweater dresses! I *lovelovelove* sweater dresses for Annelise, and Heartstrings is an extremely nice boutique brand. Their direct ones for this fall are $68-$72 each (shhhhyeah, right!) but Costco has them for $17.99 = yes, please!!! How gorgeous is our pumpkin pie?!

My mom called & alerted me to the new Heartstrings presence, so I sped over to Costco. I love that even though we're 11 hours & 650 miles apart, we can still find a way to shop together!!! "Which one do you like best?" "Should you get this one & I get that one?" I miss my mommy SO MUCH, but a "joint" Costco run always makes me smile! :-)

Additional randomness:

I made the mistake of sniffing the "scent of the month" candles at Bed Bath & Beyond this week, and - Colonial Candle's "On the Beach" transported me right to where I want to be forever... I think I'm channeling one of my Naperville BFFs, Brandi, b/c she always talks about relaxing by lighting a soothing candle, and that's exactly what I did! :-) (It didn't magically send me to the beach, but it *was* nice. ;-))

I finally gave in & joined Groupon. I was surprised that they have offered so many deals out here in the suburbs, since it kind of sounded like an in-the-city thing, so I'm excited! They seem to have lots of cheap date-night deal ideas, so YAY! Join up, people!

Speaking of deals, if you like Einstein Bros. Bagels, this is good for July.

I *am* actually reading my book this week, so go me! I'm on page 300-something of 400. Very proud of me. :-P

I digiscrapped going to my cousin's dance recital & seeing Grandmommy right be we left NC last month:

Now I've got to get cracking on life since we moved here...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Science Camp & Calla Lily Ponder

Will & Annelise get a big surprise this week: they're getting to go to science camp! Why a surprise? My BFF who had to move back to England paid for her kids to go this week; it's completely nonrefundable, even under these extenuating circumstances, and since our kids are the exact same ages, she told me to have my children take the place of hers. I *hate* the reason why we get to do this, but I am oh so grateful!!! With our weird move, we haven't had school-esque hours since April 13th - we're at 3 months of summer vacay so far with 2 whole MORE to go (b/c MI doesn't go back to school until SEPT 7TH!) and it had drained me more than I realized until I dropped them off this morning. It is doing us ALL a world of good! Both of my children *lovelovelove* going to school - they need this week even more than I do!

Annelise has two mini classes:
Arctic Fun: How long does it take to melt ice in the sun? Make ice sculptures, churn ice cream, and be an Arctic scientist. Round out the class with animals from the North Pole.
Giants of the Earth: Study the really big ones – dinosaurs, pterodactyls, sharks and whales. Make your own fossils, solve a dinosaur mystery, measure a whale and more!

Will has a Junior Explorer class called Preparing for Blast Off! His week day-by-day:
Blazing Gases: Listen to the life story of a star and meet members Red Giant, White Dwarf, and our sun, too. Discover a zoo in the sky by playing connect the dots with the stars. Can you make stars twinkle? Can you count the stars? Enjoy a sun soufflé.
Dropping In or Revolving Around: Find out about our moon and make your own craters. Create an incredible edible eclipse. Make your own spinner planet to discover day, night and seasons.
Everything Out There: When does a comet have a tail? Meet Ceres and other asteroids big and small. Watch out! Make a bombarding asteroid! Meteor showers round out this day of fun.
Creating a Day in Space: Get in touch with your creative side. Create mission control, spacesuits and helmets in preparation for blast-off on Friday. Who else will we meet?
Preparing for Blast-Off: What does it take to live in space? Combat weightlessness while eating, sleeping and playing. Make a space game and prepare space food to use on your outer space journey. On Friday at 11:30 am, invite visitors from Earth (your parents) to blast off into our universe of fun.

My goal for the week? Read a book. WHAT?! *ME?!* The girl who hasn't read a novel since last October? (Yes, I hate leisure reading - I'd rather be on FB, blogging, or digiscrapping for fun.) The only book series I've ever truly been captured by are the Ya-Ya books by Rebecca Wells, and it just so happens that she wrote a new book last summer. It's not a Ya-Ya book, but it's still set in the South with her writing style; so when the kids were going nuts checking out books last week at the library, I looked for this one on a whim myself. JB was shocked that I came home with something for me ;-) and it's due before the end of the month, so now I actually have to read it! [Browse inside here.]

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Southern Flair Magazine Inspiration & First Bday Gift

I sat down with my periodical stack and came away with these inspirations:

If (NO! *WHEN*!!!!) we get to move back to the Carolinas (when this would be just a short drive away - I wouldn't go out of my way for it) this treehouse/canoe adventure would be as close as I'd come to voluntarily camping. I think it looks whimsical! (I've paid my camping dues - I camped out in several of the national parks in Kenya - Samburu, Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara - for two weeks when I went on safari, and the summer before Davidson I did a week-long hiking/canoe trip along the Appalachian Trail called Odyssey. They were awesome experiences, but I'm all about beds & indoor plumbing now. ;-))

If anyone wanted to give us this house, I'd take it. ;-)
Although, I think *this* may be our ultimate dream house. (Holy floor plan!!!) Or any of these with above ground basements. JB *has* to have a basement, esp. in our forever dream home. :-)

Southern Living recipes that sounded good to me: Barbecue-Topped Griddle Cakes, Fig-Glazed Burgers, Tomato-and-Corn Pizza, Fresh Corn-and-Asiago Cheese Bread Pudding, Heirloom Tomatoes with Fresh Peaches, Goat Cheese, & Pecans, several chicken salads, and Grown-up Banana Pudding Ice Cream - can you tell that I am the queen of salty/sweet dishes?!

I don't get too many catalogues anymore, (good, b/c I never buy anything out of them!!!) but Restoration Hardware Baby & Child showed up in the mail yesterday. Before I chucked it, I flipped through and froze on this layout:
I want the *one* thing in the pic that they don't sell: the dress form in the corner! How adorable would that look in Annelise's room?!?! Perfectly girly, and it could display her latest (or fave) recital costume or special dress! I feel myself starting to obsess...

I got my first bday present this morning (~2 weeks early ;-)) - a free Sephora Collection Beautiful Eyes Kit as my 2010 Beauty Insider Birthday Gift. The kit includes Mascara Lash Plumper, eyeshadow in shade Aspen Summit, and eye liner in shade Silver Green.

Last year, the free bday gift was a gloss trio:

And the year before that, vanilla cake bath & shower bubbles:

It's a really awesome free bday present every year!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lifting Spirits & Missing Missy

My husband's family isn't as comfortable as I am (well, quite possibly *no one* is! ;-)) with sharing their personal business; so respecting their privacy, I don't want to share details, but we have been dealing with a medical emergency since Wednesday. (For any of you close to them, you know they'll fill you in when they're ready.) I do ask, though, for you to send up prayers of comfort, peace, and understanding.

My poor husband is pretty drained from being a family rock, (which he does awesomely,) so the kids & I baked him his FAVORITE cake today: Boston Creme Pie (2 layers of vanilla cake filled with vanilla pudding and topped with chocolate ganache - crazy proud of my fresh ganache today! :-)) It totally lifted his spirits!!! And baking it lifted the kids' & mine, too - as if it weren't bad enough with the medical thing and that our BFF's here had to move back to England on Sunday, our new next-door neighbors whom the kids have played with almost everyday for the last month moved away to Phoenix today, too. They're really not used to being left like this; we're always the ones doing the leaving, you know?

So I'm trying to find lots of happy little things for us to acknowledge, like Dark Chocolate Açai with Blueberry candy pieces that were on sample at Costco - sweet heaven!!! And yesterday, Will actually won a shirt at the library for his book report last week - bursting with pride! (He won't take it off.)

One more bit of spirit-lifting joy: my mom sent me the funniest email I've read in AGES yesterday. I've read it about eight times, and I still laugh until I cry every.single.time. It's funny no matter who you are, (but it's a whole new level of hysterical if you've ever done any kind of design work for someone else!) Please enjoy David Thorne's wickedly fabulous:


From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 9.15am
To: David Thorne

Subject: Poster

I opened the screen door yesterday and my cat got out and has been missing since then so I was wondering if you are not to busy you could make a poster for me. It has to be A4 and I will photocopy it and put it around my suburb this afternoon.

This is the only photo of her I have she answers to the name Missy and is black and white and about 8 months old. missing on Harper street and my phone number.
Thanks Shan.


From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 9.26am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,
That is shocking news. Luckily I was sitting down when I read your email and not half way up a ladder or tree. How are you holding up? I am surprised you managed to attend work at all what with thinking about Missy out there cold, frightened and alone... possibly lying on the side of the road, her back legs squashed by a vehicle, calling out "Shannon, where are you?"
Although I have two clients expecting completed work this afternoon, I will, of course, drop everything and do whatever it takes to facilitate the speedy return of Missy.
Regards, David.

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 9.37am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Poster

yeah ok thanks. I know you dont like cats but I am really worried about mine. I have to leave at 1pm today.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.17am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,
I never said I don't like cats. Once, having been invited to a party, I went clothes shopping beforehand and bought a pair of expensive G-Star boots. They were two sizes too small but I wanted them so badly I figured I could just wear them without socks and cut my toenails very short. As the party was only a few blocks from my place, I decided to walk. After the first block, I lost all feeling in my feet. Arriving at the party, I stumbled into a guy named Steven, spilling Malibu & coke onto his white Wham 'Choose Life' t-shirt, and he punched me. An hour or so after the incident, Steven sat down in a chair already occupied by a cat. The surprised cat clawed and snarled causing Steven to leap out of the chair, slip on a rug and strike his forehead onto the corner of a speaker; resulting in a two inch open gash. In its shock, the cat also defecated, leaving Steven with a wet brown stain down the back of his beige cargo pants. I liked that cat.
Attached poster as requested.
Regards, David.

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.24am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

yeah thats not what I was looking for at all. it looks like a movie and how come the photo of Missy is so small?

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.28am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,
It's a design thing. The cat is lost in the negative space.
Regards, David.

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.33am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Thats just stupid. Can you do it properly please? I am extremely emotional over this and was up all night in tears. you seem to think it is funny. Can you make the photo bigger please and fix the text and do it in colour please. Thanks.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.46am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,
Having worked with designers for a few years now, I would have assumed you understood, despite our vague suggestions otherwise, we do not welcome constructive criticism. I don't come downstairs and tell you how to send text messages, log onto Facebook and look out of the window. I am willing to overlook this faux pas due to you no doubt being preoccupied with thoughts of Missy attempting to make her way home across busy intersections or being trapped in a drain as it slowly fills with water. I spent three days down a well once but that was just for fun.
I have amended and attached the poster as per your instructions.
Regards, David.

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 10.59am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

This is worse than the other one. can you make it so it shows the whole photo of Missy and delete the stupid text that says missing missy off it? I just want it to say lost.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.14am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.21am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poster

yeah can you do the poster or not? I just want a photo and the word lost and the telephone number and when and where she was lost and her name. Not like a movie poster or anything stupid. I have to leave early today. If it was your cat I would help you. Thanks.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.32am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Awww

Dear Shannon,
I don't have a cat. I once agreed to look after a friend's cat for a week but after he dropped it off at my apartment and explained the concept of kitty litter, I kept the cat in a closed cardboard box in the shed and forgot about it. If I wanted to feed something and clean faeces, I wouldn't have put my mother in that home after her stroke. A week later, when my friend came to collect his cat, I pretended that I was not home and mailed the box to him. Apparently I failed to put enough stamps on the package and he had to collect it from the post office and pay eighteen dollars. He still goes on about that sometimes, people need to learn to let go.
I have attached the amended version of your poster as per your detailed instructions.
Regards, David.

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.47am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Awww

Thats not my cat. where did you get that picture from? That cat is orange. I gave you a photo of my cat.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 11.58am
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Awww

I know, but that one is cute. As Missy has quite possibly met any one of several violent ends, it is possible you might get a better cat out of this. If anybody calls and says "I haven't seen your orange cat but I did find a black and white one with its hind legs run over by a car, do you want it?" you can politely decline and save yourself a costly veterinarian bill.
I knew someone who had a basset hound that had its hind legs removed after an accident and it had to walk around with one of those little buggies with wheels. If it had been my dog I would have asked for all its legs to be removed and replaced with wheels and had a remote control installed. I could charge neighbourhood kids for rides and enter it in races. If I did the same with a horse I could drive it to work. I would call it Steven.
Regards, David.

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.07pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Awww

Please just use the photo I gave you.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.22pm
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.34pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

I didnt say there was a reward. I dont have $2000 dollars. What did you even put that there for? Apart from that it is perfect can you please remove the reward bit. Thanks Shan.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.42pm
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.51pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

Can you just please take the reward bit off altogether? I have to leave in ten minutes and I still have to make photocopies of it.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 12.56pm
To: Shannon Walkley
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww  

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 1.03pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awww

Fine. That will have to do.

Copyright © David Thorne 2010 All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kid Speak & Hot Mama

Re: choosing a dinner spot Sunday night
Me: Don't get your heart set on it.
Will: I'm not. My brain is sitting on it!

Re: her big toe, which has a big blister on it from the pool
Annelise: It looks like a tomato that has been all crushed.

My poor grape tomato-toed girl!

Now, JB thinks I'm being mean, (sorry, Honey!) but I cannot help reveling in being a "hardcore" weather bad @$$ up here for once!!! I may be a big baby in the snow, but I am laughing my derrière off at everyone *freaking out* here over the heat. It's only been over 90°F for 3 measly days - PUH-LEEZE! I finally get to say, "Oh, this is nothing!!!" ;-) There is also no humidity here whatsoever - like 36% this afternoon! It is the funniest thing - there were two other fams at the pool today (instead of 15!) b/c "it's too hot to be at the pool." Warmth is apparently such a rare phenomenon, they don't know that is exactly where you're supposed to be! :-D (On the flipside, I wore pants to the kids' swimming lessons last Tuesday, b/c it was 69°F - much too chilly for my thin blood to consider getting in with the wind. :-P) It is just so nice to finally get to say, "This isn't bad enough to complain about," like everyone likes to tell me all winter long. As my brilliant friend Julie noted: "Hot weather does not cause your car to slide uncontrollably down an icy hill. Or form 9-foot icicles on your gutters. And there is plenty of bread and milk all over the city." Blue sky & hot sunshine don't leave you homebound or depressed, either. ;-) I am LOVING this weather!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Dreamy & Nightmarish

To say I've had the best and worst 4th of July weekend ever would be an understatement. Saturday morning was dreamy!!! We woke up and went to the 4th of July parade in our new downtown - so well done! I can't help but get teary every single time the veterans march by, and I get all cheerleader-jumpy when I hear a drumline. ;-) The revolutionary-era fife & drum corps was A.MAZ.ING!!!

And of course, Will & Annelise got several POUNDS of candy. I exaggerate not. I just cannot get over how much candy they throw out (& WHY! Isn't the grand spectacle of the parade enough?!) up here at every single parade. It's easily as much (although almost all Dum-Dums & Tootsie Rolls - not quality chocolate bars) as they get on Halloween. (I know how to get rid of it, though. The first fit they throw or major fight? It's gone as the consequence...and surely that won't be very long. ;-) Then I'll hide it in the top of the pantry, & it will become part of what *we* give out on Halloween. Yeah, I recycle like that! :-P) We do so love parades, though. They are one of our family's favorite occasions!

After the parade, we came home & went swimming in our neighborhood pool. It was surprisingly quiet, which was refreshing, and after we had splashed our hearts out, we went to our new fave local pizzeria (with all-you-can-eat FREE soft breadsticks!!!) for a late lunch. It was just a perfectly fabulous morning. We could not have scheduled anything better down to the minute.

After lunch, I went by myself over to my BFF's house to help her pack up her entire life, so she & her sons (the exact same ages as my children) could move back to England on 4 days notice. Crushing. Heart-wrenching. Just...awful. Just a week ago, we were planning play dates & girl's nights; she planned on her entire foreseeable future being here, in that house. And now they're gone.

I took all the wedding pictures off the walls and packed them away for the boys, so nothing would "happen" to them. As I was wrapping them up, the older son who is 3 days younger than Will came in; he asked if Will was here and then what day he could come over & play. I tried so hard not to cry, knowing they'd be gone in 24 hours. The younger son who is two weeks younger than Sis wanted me to sit with him while his mom went to look for their passports, so she could check them in early online. I asked if he was excited for his big airplane ride the next day? He said yes! (Whew!) ...And then he said, "Daddy doesn't want to live with us anymore." Sweet Lord. I actually felt my innards seize up. God gave me the grace to respond, "Well, that is just the silliest thing I have ever heard!" He agreed & said something else to the same effect. I managed to vocalize, "Well, that is just not a good choice! I'm am so happy you have your mommy, b/c she will always make wonderful choices with you!" He repeated me right as she walked back in the room. She asked, "What did he say?" I replied, "He said his mommy makes the best choices." And we both cried...

I stayed & helped pack until just after 11 PM Saturday night, (came home & snuggled JB as close as I could on the couch before bed,) and then brought my kids over to say goodbye & play while we loaded them up for the airport Sunday morning.

The little ones killed me. Annelise & her son were both born two weeks apart right after we had each moved here. (This was the last time we moved here.) We nursed these babies together while we chatted at our (now also closed) fave Coffee Lounge as the "older" (they weren't quite 2, yet!) boys played at a playgroup there.

It all feels so surreal... She was my best constant here. (I have another MI BFF who is just as precious to me & whom I've known for over a decade - well before we ever lived here; but she does freelance work, has gone back to school, & is super busy.) This girl was always, always available, even more than I was. She was more excited than anyone in the world that we were moving back last month, and she genuinely loved life here. Even when I mourned for the South, she asked, "You don't just love it here?" :-P B/c she did. I was so looking forward to having them for Thanksgiving, again, this year. (We did the two years we were here last, b/c they're British - they didn't know much about it or have fam here, so it was perfect for them to spend with us!) Not only do I ache for everything that she trusted & loved in her life being ripped to shreds, but I have lost *my* reliable pillar here, too.

After we said goodbye yesterday, the rollercoaster shot back up to the heights. We had a delish lunch with JB to regroup and headed out to his parents' house to spend a little time with them and JB's brother & his fam. Will rocked backyard baseball, and Annelise was *THE CUTEST* when she filled two buckets with the hose, dragged them over to her lounge chair, and plopped her feet in each one: she was "having a pedicure"!!!! (I can't wait to get that pic! :-))

So I had the best & worst holiday weekend ever. I am heartsick, and I'm happy that JB loves us and truly cares. My eyes sting. From crying & from chlorine.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Reading & Cheerwine Krispy Kremes

I'm still swimming in a bit of an emotional overload, but I feel oddly steady through it, so...yay? Definitely praise God! I'm still heartbroken for my BFF whose life is upside down & gutted that she has to leave. I'm going to go over tomorrow afternoon & evening to help her pack, and I told her I/we could help take her & the kids to the airport Sunday, too. :'(

I'm thankful for the awesome weather, but I feel bad that we didn't make it to the pool today. We spent a couple hours at the library, though, and I am so proud of my kids! They enjoyed storytime, and then we registered them for their very first official library summer reading program. (Did y'all do these growing up? I remember them vividly!) We checked out 19 books the other day, brought back 14 today, and checked out 28 more!!! (We were at 13 new ones until we found the youth nonfiction area with all the books on snakes, sharks, & lemurs.) They have to "read" (be read & follow, although Will can read some) 20 books to get their first prize and 20 for their second. At this rate, we'll be done next week. :-P (I know we had to read 100 when I was little. I always got excited when I found a picture book or one I had already seen on Reading Rainbow to help me go faster! HA! Sidebar: my two fave RR episodes ever - Gila Monsters Meet You At the Airport and Hill of Fire. Royally freaking out that I just found those episodes online!!!) The kids also "wrote" (dictated to me) their first book reports! The summer reading program has a weekly prize drawing for everyone who also writes book reports on things they read. Will did two, and Annelise did one, so they'll be in a drawing Tuesday for gift certificates to Paradise Park. They told me their favorite parts, how they made them feel, their least favorite parts, and why they were for each book.

I'm missing some of my friends, but I'm also reveling in a major ego boost. Someone told one of my friends that I am "easy on the eyes and always pleasant". *blush* I will live on that all week!!! Words of affirmation is my biggest love language. (What's yours?)

I am insanely jealous of everyone at home in NC eating the new limited-edition Cheerwine Krispy Kremes

which are only in grocery stores there this July. I know we can't go back home until October, and I am absolutely obsessing over how to get me some to taste! One friend from high school on FB said she'd ship me some, and my mom said she'd bring some for Will's bday, although they'll be a bit stale by then...

Finally, I'm relieved to have discovered the source of the foul stench in our new pantry that I just unpacked 3 weeks ago: the Yukon Golds I bought last week rotted. Ick...but glad it wasn't anything worse! It smelled so bad, I don't even have words. I was really freaking out, b/c I had just put up everything in there fresh when we moved in, so I was scared it had to be an expired animal, (although we had no other evidence to suggest such.) I was pretty relieved to find the rotting potatoes, although JB was heartbroken! (He loves them taters! ;-))

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Reeling...But God is Here

I have been on an emotional rollercoaster this week. I was happily nostaglic & thinking about what marriage means. I was sad & loney, with VBS being over and my few friends here unavailable to get together. I was super scared about bringing up some changes with someone close to me. Through it all, though, God was very present. He prompted two old friends to call me (& for me to answer! I *NEVER EVER EVER* talk on the phone! Email, text, or FB, please,) when I needed to hear from them, and He prompted me 3 times to stop putting it off & be honest when I needed to be. Although I was scared, He even delivered a confirmation that I did the right thing; this just happened to be my email devotional for this morning:

Proverbs 27:5-6 (New Living Translation)
5 An open rebuke
          is better than hidden love!
6 Wounds from a sincere friend
          are better than many kisses from an enemy

(And I didn't even say anything that harsh! ;-))

After all that weighing on me, I got a call today from a BFF here (one of very, very few.) Her husband is filing for divorce, and she & her kids are moving home (thousands of miles away) THIS SUNDAY.


Jaw-dropping blindside... (For her to a degree, as well.)

I understand her wanting to go home 100%...but I'm stunned. I can't believe we just came back, and now she'll be gone. I'm praying for them, and I know God will show up, again...but yeah, still reeling... (And SOOOOOOOOO GLAD JB is home tonight!!!)