Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Romanian Friends Visit

Talk about a BFF going above & beyond: my friend, Amy, is originally from east Texas but has lived in Romania for almost 14 years now. (She went over as a missionary, met & married a Romanian man, and now lives there to raise their family.) She gets to come back to the US about once a year...and she took the time and money to come visit *me* first here in south Georgia for a few days before heading to TX! That's a big deal, y'all.

They had come once before when we lived outside Chicago just over two years ago. It was so neat to see how much all four kids (her two, Eli - now 6 & Alec - almost 3) had grown. :-) To battle jet lag, they tried to get on our schedule right away. We had a little girl time (I Gelished her nails with "June Bride" :-)) and she (& Alec) came to one of my Zumba classes! We took them to eat at Cafe 230, Riverfront Barbeque, & Swirl Frozen Yogurt, and we all schlepped my kids to dance & baseball practice. On Tuesday, we took them to both the RiverQuarium and Chehaw zoo:

Perfectly Will (mid-faux-baseball swing) & Annelise (cutie pose) :-D


Will, Eli, Annelise, & Alec

Annelise, Eli, Will, & Alec

Alec, Will, Annelise, & Eli hanging with the gators at Chehaw

Amy & me

What animal excited us most? The wild grey rat snake that was actually in its natural outdoor habitat on the rail of the bear exhibit! :-D (It was a *REAL* snake - you know, as opposed to the ones behind glass in the reptile house that...aren't as real? :-P)

Wingspans!

All of us on the lemur bridge

I feel very blessed to have friends who would make this effort to visit! (...And am still praying the rest of their trip goes more smoothly than their first few flights! ;-) Extra shout-out to BFF, Laura, who rode with me Sunday to the airport, so I wouldn't have to go alone at night! We need more adventures... :-D)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

George Washington Onstage

My offspring + stage time = teary mama!!! I was absolutely bursting with pride Friday over being the mother of George Washington in the Lee County Primary "I Love America" program! Apparently he was such a big hit on the 100th Day that they asked him to reprise the roll in front of the entire school, the mayor, sheriff, state representatives, etc. for their big patriotic show. It.Was.Precious. (You can pick out Will in all of the clips: front row center onstage in the white wig.)

They started the program with the entire school singing "Grand Old Flag" - seeing all those children waving & singing together actually choked me up:


Will's George Washington spiel:


They sang four or five more songs before closing; Will said he likes this "Oh, I Love America" one:


SO VERY PROUD:

Our First & Last Presidents: George Washington & Barack Obama (a.k.a. Will & his best friend on his bus, Joshua :-))

After the program, I went back to Will's classroom with him to get his backpack, and I got to see his MOST excellent handwriting specimen EVER!!! [Truly, this kid has the worst handwriting in history. It is ATROCIOUS!!!] But after seeing this (given, it *is* a 2nd draft) both his teacher & I agreed he can't slide by with crappy penmanship, anymore:

This 2nd page makes me giggle. :-P I *LOVE* the way kids remember facts:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent-O-Rama

I did not grow up celebrating/practicing Lent in my childhood church; but I do think it's OK [nay, good!] to take positive things from other Christian denominations and incorporate them into your life, if they bring more focus on Christ and help you remember Him. :-)

I don't believe Lent should be about the stuff you give up or using it as a second chance for already-failed New Year's resolutions. Mark Sandlin's "Don't Get Caught In The Lent Trap" articulates this so well: "Assess what is getting between you and your relationship with God. (Here's a hint: it is much less likely to be your desire for sweets and much more likely to be your desire to keep up with the Joneses; it is much less likely to be the glass of red wine you have at dinner and much more likely to be the attitude you have towards those who are not like you or disagree with you). Give up something that really gets in the way of your relationship with God."

My Lenten focus is not giving up sweets for 40 days; it's on making positive strides that will strengthen my relationship with God that will not end just b/c it's Easter. [Totally NOT judging those who choose to give up something in that fashion, b/c it's NOT about the thing - it's about the heart behind it! :-)] What about giving up "my thing" for 40 days is going to extend beyond Easter? That's the litmus test for my heart re: whether it's a surface ritual I'm doing b/c church says it's a good idea or whether it's going to be something deep & lasting. :-) I keep thinking, myself, stuff like angry words, temper tantrums, negativity, rude sarcasm, etc. would mean more to give up than Starbucks. I'd start going back to Sbux - happily so, as my reward for being "so faithful" - on April 9th, if I chose that as "my thing". Sure, I'd miss it in March, but how would my heart for God be changed on April 9th? Even if I donated my Lenten Sbux money to the needy - which would be awesome for that short time! - I wouldn't keep it up beyond, and I'd just feel good about those past 40 days, you know? There's got to be a deeper component than just "the thing".

So yeah, my Lent isn't about hanging on for a 40-day challenge, after which I go back to life as it is today. I want to keep learning and going deeper with God, and I want that to last. :-)

For years now, I have enjoyed the free daily devotional "Journey to the Cross" during Lent (same group that does "Following the Star" at Advent :-)) and will continue to focus on it this year, as well.

I've also come across some great ideas for Lent with the kids! I don't know how ambitious we'll(I'll) be - not that they're hard, it's just consistency has never been my strong suit :-P - but I still wanted to share:

I'm thinking about doing the jellybean jars one mom suggested on Dannah Gresh's (Secret Keeper Girl) FB where my kids will earn jellybeans for good deeds. Then on Easter, when their jellybean jars are still lacking, we will fill them to the brim with white jellybeans, representing Christ's grace, which we can never earn. We are also going to make our Resurrection Rolls on Easter. I adore the Almsgiving sticker crosses and the Crown of Thorns that Amanda blogged about, and I'm considering Janna's red dots.

What about y'all?

Closing with a Lenten prayer from Sir Francis Drake, 16th century:
Disturb us, O Lord
when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, O Lord
when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life
when, having fallen in love with time,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.
Stir us, O Lord
to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas
where storms show Thy mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes
and invited the brave to follow.
Amen.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Theatrics + Family + Food = Quick NC Weekend

We had a fast family visit this last weekend in NC. It had been planned since last summer: w/o telling me why exactly, my mom asked if we could be in Charlotte the next February 18th, that it related to a potential Christmas present, so she needed to know yay or nay back then. I am SO GLAD we live close enough (6½ hrs now instead of 10-13!) that we could "yay" that proposal! Months later on December 25th, we opened tickets to the Broadway tour of Spamalot for this last Saturday night. Perfection: this was a show that the guys truly enjoyed, and going to the theatre has always been important to me & my mom. Growing up, we had season tickets (5th row center = to.die.for!) to all of the Broadway tours that came through Charlotte; so I was always up on the current theatre scene. We also went on several NYC Broadway trips, packing in four or five shows in a Thursday-Sunday stint! :-D The last decade, however, brought moving away, kids, other financial priorities...and with those, a sad theatre drought. Our last NYC theatre trip was TWELVE YEARS ago, and honestly, my last Broadway tour show may have been...ummm...ten? [Omigosh - seriously?! The girl who BREATHED musical theatre from eight years old through college... :'( I do keep up with some theatre news and never miss the Tonys, but this has been a different season of life. Not that I won't go back to it one day, but I finished my last musical six months before I got pregnant with Will; standard rehearsal schedules, Sun-Thurs or Mon-Fri from at least 7-10 PM, just do NOT jive with young family life - or at least what I WANT MY young family life to be. Do I miss performing? YES, but that's why I loved singing on our churches' praise teams so much! It totally filled that stage-and-performing-with-a-purpose-shaped hole.]

Holy digression... ANYWAY, suffice it to say, it's been a long time since this thespian and her mama have gotten to go to a musical together! :-D

We drove up Friday evening and spent Saturday trying to see as much family as possible. JB & Hershel had "guy time" while my mom, the kids, & I drove to my hometown (~45 min now from my parents) to pick up my Grandmommy (who turns 100 in just two months!) and her sister, Aunt Frances, and take them to my brother & his wife's house for the cousins to play a few minutes:
[Cousins: with my brother & SIL's son, Matthew]

We then moved the family caravan over to R&R Barbeque, where my dearest BFF Wendy & her son Alex met us for lunch. [It never feels like there's enough time, you know? It doesn't matter if you've just got time for one meal together or two weeks to work with...] Will was THE cutest: he took my debit to pay the bill and even signed for it (with my winking approval to the cashier. ;-))

After getting all family back to their respective abodes, we had to hit my beloved Costco & Trader Joe's (my two favorites that don't exist in SW Georgia) for massive stock-ups: Kirkland Diet Green Tea, Trader Joe's Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina, Multigrain Baking Mix (hello, double waffle iron!), Frosted Shredded Bite Size Wheats (basically MiniWheats, but indescribably BETTER), etc.

After family and grocery gratification, the day would have been classified as a satisfying success...but then we had our whole dreamy theatre evening! The kids stayed with a neighborhood sitter while we four adults went out like we used to! We got reservations at Emeril's newest restaurant - in Charlotte, literally beside the theatre! - called e2 emeril's eatery. Y'all know what foodies JB & I are, so we were in heaven!!! I *never* order off a menu in the "suggested" way - not out of rebellion, but b/c #1 - I am CHEAP, and #2 - I want lots of different tastes, not one huge entrée. I usually prefer the starters and sides to any over-priced hunk of meat, so I'll often order a side for my appetizer with a starter (& another side, if I desire) for my main course. Saturday, I had the side portion of the Corn Risotto to start, followed by the "Fried Ashley Farms Chicken Thigh on a housemade “Old Mill” buckwheat waffle with slaw & sorghum molasses" starter as my entrée, along with an irresistible side of Israeli Couscous. I am dying for that couscous dressing recipe!!! The vinaigrette was so nicely balanced, and it had pine nuts, currants, artichoke hearts, & finely diced tomato. Pure heaven...

And back to where this post started, the show was great! It felt wonderful to be back close to the stage (not as good as singing ON that stage, but still ;-)) and we all really got into it. It was just a dreamy time from start to finish! I am so very blessed...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Milestones & Blessing

* We officially landed in south Georgia one year ago yesterday! ♥
* Our van hit 100,000 miles yesterday on the way to pick up Annelise at school! (Will it last another 6 years?)
* Will's 1st time ever on a pitching machine at baseball last night - and he DID make some connections!
* Something clicked for Annelise at dance re: cartwheels this week - from paltry (slightly better than me :-P) to perfectly straight legs in one class! She wants me to put one on YouTube... :-D

[I think this was #232 of the day! Notice how she lines right back up for #233-323? :-D]

End of Day Blessing: May God remove every hindrance that keeps you from knowing His love in a way that changes you. May He change every circumstance that sends a lying message to you. May He highlight every trial He's using to train you into a warrior. And may He remind you that all of heaven is on your side. You are very close to His heart. Sleep well. ~Sisters In Christ

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Back into the Swing

We're instantly back into the swing of baseball life! We had our first practice with our new team Monday evening:
[One-on-one sunset swing coaching]

Our new team is the Brewers...and *this* is what happens the second you give this team-spirit-obsessed mom a new focus + 3 minutes with google and photoshop: custom logo! :-D

There's one kid from Will's last team; everyone else is new to us...much like this exact time last year! One year ago this week, the kids & I moved down to meet JB (who was already working here while we had waited for the movers.) Being a super-experienced moving mom, I had researched the area & activities before the job was even officially his [I can tell you all about potential lives that didn't pan out in Phoenix, Miami, & Greenville, SC, as well :-P] and made sure that we didn't miss out on the baseball sign-ups, even from 15 hours away! There's no better way to get acclimated than to make sure your kids have something (dance, sports, etc.) to jump immediately into - an activity where you get to hang around & know other parents (unlike school) and find out their recommendations for this & that (churches, doctors, etc.) while your kids are making new friends of their own during a constructive activity they enjoy. Win/win/win. We missed try-outs last year, b/c we hadn't moved, yet, but they still let us in for t-ball. :-) We also missed the first two practices (which really were last night & tonight a year ago) b/c our plane didn't get in until late that Tuesday night; but while we lived in a hotel for a few days waiting on the movers to get down here with our stuff, we still made it over to the sports store and got Will to his first practice that Thursday! What a happy week of memories and now a happy week of new baseball! LOVE being back in the swing of it all!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Silhouette Monogrammed Rain Boots

My dear crafty friend, Karen, put this bee in my bonnet almost a year and a half ago, and it's FINALLY come to fruition: monogrammed wellies!


Of course, I used my Silhouette, and I chose the Harrington font. (Also toyed with Chocolate Box & Bewitched, just for something other than my beloved-but-overused Monogram KK.)

Annelise's old snow boots up north were textured & wouldn't accept a decal, and we got so little rain here this summer ("exceptional drought" - as bad as the drought scale gets) I didn't make it a priority. Grandma & Grandpa Blake got her these perfect wellies this Christmas, though, and I was thrilled to pieces to finally make my little obsession come true! :-D

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Baseball Tryout

We braved the coldest morning (49°! :-O) of the year Saturday for Will's baseball tryout. He's out of t-ball now and moving up to machine/player pitch. (We've heard it'll be machine pitch first half of the season, player pitch second half?) Not sure why they had them hit off a tee for this league (Dixie Pee Wee - 7 & 8 yr olds) to try out, but whatever:


Just being there for half an hour got me SO EXCITED to get back into full swing! Baseball is LIFE around here, and it was the way we acclimated this time last year - our first big friend group, getting advice, feeling instantly included. Will was one of the first players to try out, and even though it was FREEEEEEZING, I was actually bummed to get to leave so quickly, b/c I'd found my little group of friends. :-) If it weren't for Annelise's poor cheeks breaking out, I would've delayed. :-P Ridiculously happy for baseball THREE OR FOUR DAYS A WEEK to ramp up! I can't wait to find out what team he's on, so I can make Annelise's team spirit hair bows. ;-)

Shoe've GOT to Be Kidding Me...

I've mentioned before how hard Will is on his shoes, but this year is getting out of control... I praised Sears' KidVantage program when I got to replace Will's now-toe-holey school sneakers for free a mere two months after buying them. Those replacements wore out exactly two MORE months later. Shoe've got to be kidding me. *Sigh* We were in NC for Christmas, so I bought a quick pair of Swiss Gear hikers at Target and planned on doing the Sears KidVantage exchange when we got back to Georgia. JUST BARELY OVER ONE MONTH after buying the Target shoes - before I even got around to going back to Sears - his whole foot came out the front!!!
Shoe've got to be kidding me.

At our local Sears, I wanted to cry when they said they've "now just done away with KidVantage." Shoe've GOT to be kidding me! (But have they really? Then why are those links still active on the Sears site? Must investigate further...) They *were* very nice, though, and DID honor the exchange "for this last time."
[New on left, old on right]

Will is pleading for a pair of Heelys - you know, with the roller skate wheels in the sole. I think he would actually do really well in them, but [I'm sure] they aren't allowed at school, so I told him if he kept this last [KidVantage] pair of sneakers nice with NO HOLES until the end of the school year (May 23rd), we'd get serious about Heelys for the summer. I also said if he ripped these up before spring break (1st week of April) that he would have to use his allowance to buy another pair, b/c while I know he's naturally rough on them, this is OUT OF CONTROL, and I do believe he can help to a degree by picking up his feet & paying better attention. We'll see what happens...

PS - I'm open to *any* shoe recommendations for rough-and-tumble boys! I wish I could find steel sneakers...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Delish Dish: Tomato Kibbe-Wat

I've stumbled upon a delicious dish that's ended up evoking some great memories! I *LOVE* trying exotic & ethnic cuisine. Several years ago, my British BFF Hayley & I went out for an Ethiopian feast. Scooping up the food with injera (spongy flatbread) was wonderful; my favorite dishes were vegetarian wats - split peas & lentils cooked with berbere sauce. It was a great experience I've never forgotten! Another dish that I fell in love with around that same time is Mediterranean Tomato Kibbe - essentially bulgar (cracked wheat) cooked in tomatoes & spices. Both have similar textures - thicker than a stew, but spoonable.

I talked this fall about my love affair with Trader Joe's 17 Bean & Barley Soup. I stocked up with literally 10 bags at Christmas, and I've been making it just as I described:
*(quick-)soak 1 bag Trader Joe's 17 Bean & Barley Soup (or ANY bean soup, really)
*drain & rinse
*put in pot with 2 cans diced tomatoes & 2 cups chicken stock, as well as garlic (fresh or ground), onion (sautéed or powder), and Mrs. Dash Italian Blend - all to taste
*simmer

...until I decided the other day to also dump some bulgar (cracked wheat) into the pot, as well! (How much? Ummm, I dunno. I just dumped. More than 1/2 but maybe not a full cup? It doesn't really matter. :-)) I left it all to simmer, and when I checked back, I was thrilled! It was no longer a soup - the bulgar wheat had absorbed the tomato juice & chicken stock to puff up like rice. It was totally kibbe/wat consistency, and with the two main components of each - bulgar and split peas & lentils - along with the tomato, stock, & spices, it's a flavor profile made in heaven.


This stuff is amazing, cheap to make, and SO healthy! Full of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, & minerals, while having just minuscule amounts of fat & sugar. The bulgar creates almost a creamy texture, very much like risotto. It's divine.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pinteresting Humor

I'm not into email forwards or filling up FB with "funny sayings", but I admit I *have* been moved to shouting "YES!!!" out loud when completely alone by a few pinned on Pinterest. Sharing the love...

I am oh-so-happy to share that I've been turned on quite a bit lately! ♥

;-)

The sociology geek in me finds this (click to see bigger) absolutely fascinating:

OMIGOSH - ME, TOO!!!

I really dislike cats. (Maybe that's why this prank is even more hysterical? It invoked my beloved "Missing Missy" a bit. ;-)) I was *crying* laughing the first few times I read this, (and I reallyreallyreally want to do it to my brother!!!)

Weekend Pics

Our Super Bowl pre-feast: broccoli cheese bites (recipe at the end of that post) and a football fruit tray with raspberries, cantaloupe, mango, & blueberries! Talk about eating the rainbow:
We even stayed healthy for dinner during the game, with my Southern Chicken Chili. Mmmmm...

Annelise & her baby, Flamingo, (she named her :-P) matched for church Sunday morning:
She acted like this was the most special thing EVAH!!! :-D

I gave Bonnie a thrill: carte blanche w/ the freshly-emptied dog food bag!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gelish: Oocha Coocha Bing Bang Bam & June Bride

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a glitter queen, and whenever I have a glitter nail polish, I don't want a few flecks as a top coat. I want it to look like a glitter bomb went off on my nails! Solid sparkle, nothing else underneath.

Enter two of my Gelish Christmas presents! (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!)

I went crazier (as I usually do) on my toes with the Gelish Aurora Magic EFX color "Oocha Coocha Bing Bang Bam" - a surprisingly solid teal glitter. The Aurora Magic EFX line was advertised as glittery thin coats, perfect for layering over regular colors to amp them up:
I also have the purple color in this collection - "Ali Baba's Sim Sala Bam" - which I adore; but that one does need 3 full layers by itself, while I was excited at how solid this was at two coats:
It's kind of a big deal, b/c this color looks almost *EXACTLY* like my & mom's favorite summer toenail polish from...like 12 years ago??? Revlon's Aqua Blast. We drove to every drugstore and grocery with beauty supplies for 5 days (of our 7-day vacay) at the beach that summer to get our paws on it...and it WAS absolutely worth it. ;-) This is the closest I've seen to the same teal, and this one is even better b/c #1 - it's got actual glitter in it, instead of just being a frost, and #2 - it's GELISH!!! No chips, even in the pool this summer. :-D

I then Gelished my fingers with "June Bride", a light pink micro glitter with larger holographic circle glitter:
I cannot tell you how excited I am by this!!! I achieved this level of glitter bomb with only TWO layers! And since it's a glitter, the brush strokes are effortless (as opposed to a solid color, where you can sometimes see the streaks in your strokes.) The pink is almost neutral, so it is very subtle from a distance; but up close? BOOM! Sparkle-rama, and I am especially in love with the larger holographic glitter circles that reflect tiny rainbows. Joyous!

Saturday Magic

My life is pure magic...
*Slept in until 9 AM.
*Woken by precious children.
*Awesome husband worked out.
*All went out to brunch. One of my sweet Zumba students waited on us. Best freshly-made blueberry bagel ever.
*Pork loin roast into crockpot for pulled pork dinner.
*All went to the baseball field for Will to practice (while I lounged in the sun & Annelise played in her make-up box! :-))
*All went to Swirl frozen yogurt after ball, and I freaked with joy: they have boba (bubble tea bubbles!!!) now as a topping; when I asked if they'll start serving bubble tea, he said they're looking into it!!! [There is NO bubble tea in SW Georgia, which saddens me greatly.] Suggested Lollicup (mmmm...fave brand) to them.
*Came home & played outside with Annelise & Bonnie. She rode her bike with B:
*We(she) set up chairs, her make-up box, baby cradle, princess Tervis, etc., and I cuddled her babies & Bonnie while she continued to do bike shows:
*She kept bringing back yellow flowers from the edge of the woods; I *knew* they were Carolina Jasmine (like we grew all over our fence gate outside Atlanta. ♥)
*Found the shovel in the garage, went into the woods, pulled up a few vines from the roots, took them around to our backyard, & planted them in the empty bed alongside our pool! Praying they take root, again, & grow!
*Discovered a crazy huge ant hill on far end of pool bed, exchanged shovel for ant killer in garage, & took the ant colony out.
*Still couldn't bear to go back inside, so Annelise, Bonnie, & I hung out in the backyard and on the bridge over our lake.
*Finally inside, kids Wii-ed upstairs, Daddy napped & I worked on my nails downstairs.
*Watched DVRed Who Do You Think You Are? (love that show!) while I Gelished my toes "Oocha Coocha Bing Bang Bam" (teal glitter)
*Dinner: pulled pork from crockpot, steamed haricot vert (thin French green beans), and brown rice & quinoa
*Showers for me & kids while my FABULOUS husband ♥ loaded & started the dishwasher!
*Kid bedtime - adorable brother & sister having impromptu sleepover in their sleeping bags on Will's floor :-P
*Gelished my fingernails "June Bride" (light pink micro glitter with larger holographic circle glitter)
*Hanging out with my Love & my dog, opened laptop to type this, and excited to see what magic tomorrow has in store: we're having our own healthy-but-delicious-food Super Bowl celebration. :-)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thank You, General!

Happy Groundhog Day, y'all! For the last half decade, I've had a sick dread/hopeful relationship with Feb. 2nd: I would desperately hang onto anything - even a ridiculous rodent - to give me extra hope that snow would sooner leave our forecast. But now, move over Punxsutawney Phil: we are finally back under the jurisdiction of the Honorable General Beauregard Lee, Ph.D!
[This very morning, courtesy AJC]

Beau did NOT see his shadow today, while Phil did; so suffice it to say, I am THRILLED to be back in Georgia!!! Beau lives at the Yellow River Game Ranch, which is where JB & I took Will to celebrate his first birthday! (We lived very close by 2002-2006.)

To top off today's good news for the South, right here at our local south GA zoo, Asante, an African meerkat, also failed to see his shadow:
so this family is in complete celebration mode! :-D Happy early spring, and also don't forget about Candlemas, taking the time to focus on more light (through Christ & longer days) coming into our world!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tested, Honored, Drilled, Enticed, Underwhelmed, Creeped Out, & Touched by an Angel

Fasten your seatbelts, y'all. I've got a ton of random things to share... (& I mean REEEEEEALLY random!)

* The Zumba instructor I was filling in for (whose class I usually take Friday mornings) showed up - SURPRISE! - to watch me teach her class Friday evening. I think many people would have been extra nervous & freaked out...but I went into audition-mode and rocked it! It really felt good to do my best & get her thumbs-up. :-)

* At my regular Tuesday Zumba class this week, the mother of one of the girls I got licensed with came! She lives here (her daughter whom I learned with lives in Savannah) and I was so honored to have her! As soon as my friend saw on FB that my class was up & running, she gave her mom all the details. I think it says a lot that she thought I was a good enough instructor to be trusted with her mama! :-)

* Today I went to my least favorite place for my least favorite thing: dental fillings. But trying to find positives - my appointment was bumped from noon to 9 AM, so less waiting; and I talked them into doing all the fillings today instead of making me come back for another round.
The anesthetic shots make me shaky & make my heart race...
I emerged 3 hours and 8 shots later (par for the course) - yay for teeth of powder. Guess who could only have a protein smoothie for lunch? (1 scoop vanilla protein powder, frozen strawberries, pineapple, & mango, and enough water for the VitaMix to blend it :-)) Oh, but it gets better: I get to go back, again, tomorrow with Annelise for her first fillings. Welcome to the poor dental gene pool for this family's women, Pumpkin. (At least what we lack in strong teeth, we make up for in stunning brain power!!! :-D) I pray this doesn't change her tune on the dentist - she LOVES going, like it's a reward.

* This afternoon when we got back into the car after picking up Annelise from dance, the whole thing smelled like PIZZA! None of us had had pizza today, there was no pizza in the car at any point earlier in the day, and we weren't parked anywhere near a pizza place. From WHERE did the mystery pizza scent come?!?! [And will it still be there in the morning?] (We *did* have to stop at Publix on the way home, though, to get a pizza for dinner! :-P)

* I watched two movies. The first was the movie version of Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil. I usually love watching the movie after reading the book (extra time with the characters!)...but not this one. It was just different enough that I was distracted by the discrepancies, :-/ (although I *can* appreciate watching it, if you have no idea what Savannah looks like. The locations were right on.) Read the book, instead!

* The other movie I had DVRed & purposely put off watching for over a week...just because I was kind of nervous about it: Drew Peterson: Untouchable I remember when the news story first broke on the Today show, and I never dreamed in a million years that we'd ever have a personal connection. Bolingbrook is right beside Naperville, where we lived in IL...and Stacy Peterson's pastor was also OUR pastor and became one of our dearest BFFs. (If you saw the movie, they combined the "characters" of the pastor who married Stacy & Drew with our BFF into just one guy to simplify for the viewers; he's not really a 70-something priest - he's a hip 30-something guy with the most wonderful family EVER! We miss them SO MUCH! And yes, he was the one Stacy confided in right before she "went missing".) So yeah, I was creeped out to watch this, knowing that our BFF *LIVED* all this a year before we even showed up. And then I was actually singing with his wife on May 7, 2009 when Drew was finally arrested & we got the news, so that's how I was filled in. It's sickening that "crazy Drew" gets the focus & attention for this movie, but I hope it does convey to people with no knowledge of the events how awful he is, that it will bring justice for Kathleen & Stacy back to the media forefront a bit, and that it will also keep raising awareness for domestic violence. Our pastor BFF blogged about that here and here.

* From one pastor to another... I had the weirdest dream Tuesday. Let me preface this by saying (in faith! with no jinxing possible!) that life is so great right now! I have less inner turmoil than I've had in...um...perhaps EVER. Which is why I don't really get my dream; but I'm still so glad it happened. I dreamed that I looked up from whatever I was working on and saw Pastor Moore from our beloved MI church. [He baptized our children; he was so genuine & kind; and it was a year ago last weekend that he went in for tests b/c he was feeling run down...which ended up showing he had an advanced, aggressive blood cancer; he passed away several weeks later, the week after we moved in here.] I looked at him, and I *KNEW* he was an angel; I knew he had passed away, but I didn't want to let this opportunity slip by, so I smiled & said, "What are you doing here?" He said with a big grin, "I just wanted to give you a hug! You need this hug!" It was a GREAT hug!!! And then I woke up. Confused, b/c life isn't so bad right now that I need that kind of tangible angelic reassurance, but so grateful that I got it anyway!!! The last thing I ever said to him in real life in person was that I was giving out hugs... I feel blessed.