Saturday, July 26, 2008

All Gussied Up

While visiting my aunt Nancy last week, she took us to a lovely little tea room close to her house. What fun we had. Aunt Nancy loves "gussy-ing up" so we went full gussy. Hats, jewelry and everything. Chloe LOVED it! Here are some pictures of us and the tea room.

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I had to take that picture. Do you see those little Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls up on top of that shelf? So cute. I love vintage!!!

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I love all the cookbooks in this kitchen. The owner of the tea room was kind enough to let us look through her kitchen. Her tea room is in an old house built in the 1850's. Ohhhh...the vintageness of it all. It was beautiful. I got alot of ideas for when Miss K and I open up our own tea room someday. (big dreams of ours)

Well, I am off now to maybe hit a few yard sales with my sister-in-law. Then we are having a big family "to-do" tonight. A little sad without James, but we will have fun nonetheless. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Playing Princess

I just adore it when little girls dress up. I love to see them acting so daintily, hours after chasing the dog through the mud. Its fascinating to watch the little princesses unfold and reveal their inner beings. Girl #1 (my sister's eldest) loves to play dress-up so, while we were staying at their house last week, she took the opportunity to dress Chloe up as a princess. You should have seen the transformation in my little girl. (who is already a very sweet little girl)

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She pranced around the room, holding her hands carefully up at chin height (or chest height) She swayed gently back and forth to hear the swish of her "gown". She instantly became a little lady. It was so much fun. Now I know for SURE that we will be having a dress up party for her fourth birthday next spring. How can I not after seeing how much she adored it this past week?

In other news, my Mother took us to an art festival yesterday in which she entered some of her work. I love my mother's work. I took a picture of her next to her "clothesline art". This is original work that remains unframed so the cost to the public is much cheaper. They also must be smaller works and priced under $50. I told my mother that there was one painting of hers that I really liked and if it doesn't sell this weekend, I will buy it from her. She suggested that I can buy a print of it for cheaper but I want the original. When (if) I buy it, I will show it to you all. It really is beautiful.

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While at the art festival, Chloe experienced a bit of art on her own level.

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The children's section allowed her to "color" her own picture with braille stencils and crayons. These stencils are not like regular stencils. They have bumps on them that are the image and you place it under your paper and color over them with the side of the crayon. It was pretty cool. I think I would like to find some of these to keep in Chloe's "busy box" back home. It is a neat idea. She had a ball and her very artistic grandmother helped her along with it.

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Yesterday afternoon Grandpa informed us that the cherries behind the parsonage here were ripe and ready to pick. We chose a bucket (plastic container) and headed out back to pick cherries. Grandpa reached the branch and pulled it down to our level so we could pick cherries to our content without having to reach way up high.

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As usual, Chloe ate more than she picked. She nonchalantly stated over and over, "I like cherries." I guess its good. Cherries are healthy for you.

Well, now. I am off to pack up and head out to a wedding this afternoon. A lady I used to babysit for when I was a girl is getting married today. I am so glad I get to be here for the wedding. She and her new husband will be speaking at my father's church next Sunday and I get to hear them. They are missionaries in Africa so this should be very interesting. I hope you all have a blessed Sunday. Remember...God loves you unconditionally and there is NOTHING you can do that would remove that love from around you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Precious Memories

The past few weeks have been filled to the brim with precious memories, both for myself and for Chloe. That is, if she will even be able to remember at the age of 3...I remember things from that age so it could happen. James, on the other hand, can't even remember our highschool teacher's names. Its now a matter of who's memory little Chloe will inherit.

Anyways, back to what I would like her to remember. Her cousins. Chloe has been blessed with some of the cutest cousins there ever were. Check this out.

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If I thought Chloe posing for the camera was cute, Chloe posing with Girl 2 was even cuter. My sister and I bought them each a pair of sunglasses the other day while shopping and they absolutely love them.

Last Friday I stayed the night with James brother and his family. We had a wonderful time. This is the brother who bakes the world's best pizza. (if you remember a couple of months ago, I posted about it when he taught us to make this pizza on quarry tiles in the oven) He baked pizza for my parents and I on Friday night. Afterwards, we headed over to his new house to roast marshmallows and eat smore's over a fire pit in the backyard. Chloe ate the marshmallows like they were going out of style. The older kids were poking the marshmallows onto sticks to roast them over the fire pit. Chloe copied them and poked the marshmallows onto a stick and then popped it into her mouth, skipping the whole roasting step. For some reason, she thought they had to be poked onto the stick in order to eat them.

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I believe she had 3 marshmallows in her mouth in the above photo.

Nephew N (James brother's youngest boy) went shopping one morning. It was adorable. He carried a plastic shopping bag around on one arm and a play cell phone in the other. He would chatter up a storm of unintelligible words.

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The thing I suppose Chloe will remember most regarding this trip is all the "parks" her cousins have, right in thier own back yards. She thinks this is the greatest idea. Everytime she sees the swingsets out the window, she shouts "Park! Park!"

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I wish Chloe could have a park in her own backyard at home but the garden is so small it would be impossible. Oh well...maybe our next house.

I had the privilege of teaching my neice to sew yo-yo's last night. She did fairly well considering. She thrived with that attention and it made me wish we lived closer so I could spend more time with my neices and nephews.

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Yesterday was special for us. Very special. We got to visit and have tea with a very special friend. She is actually the mother of a dear, dear friend of mine. You all may remember my mentioning of my dear friend from junior high and high school, Mary? She is now living as a missionary in Africa. Well, I was able to spend a few hours with her mother yesterday. She took us to tea at a lovely little tea room and we talked and chatted the whole time. It was so special. Chloe enjoyed herself immensly.

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The ladies in the tea room made special little sandwiches and things for Chloe. They also brought out a smaller teacup for Chloe to drink her white tea from. (milk)

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Last week I took my very first kayak ride ever. Boy, this thing was fun. A little difficult to steer but fun none-the-less. My brother brought his kayaks to my father's house while we went boating around the lake and I was able to use the little kayak my nephew used. I was swimming in the water and so had to climb aboard the kayak from behind and pretty much underneath the kayak. My brother didn't think I would be able to because he can't do it and he said it was the hardest way to get into a kayak. I guess you are supposed to get in them from the shore or a dock and not while swimming in the middle of the lake. I must have looked a sight while trying to climb in because everyone was laughing behind me, but I managed just fine. I didn't even scrape my legs to shreds.

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Well, I had better get off this computer so we can shower and get ready to bake some cookies with Girl 2 this morning. Girl 1 and Boy are at Vacation Bible School today so that leaves us with Chloe and Girl 2, who are only 3 months apart in age. This gives them time to bond together which doesn't happen when the other siblings are around. I hope you all have a beautiful day. Go out and make some precious memories of your own today.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Perfectly Packable Plane Project

While fingering the fabrics in my scrap tote back home, I dug deeper and deeper into the giant tote and found a delightful treasure in the very bottom. Yo-yo's. I have not seen them in years. My mother had a scrap craft book she let me browse through as a teenager and I saw a yo-yo baby blanket and decided that I wanted to make one for myself. My mother taught me how to cut the circles and sew them together. That faze lasted for approximately 50 yo-yo's and the ziplock baggie slowly made its way to the bottom of the scrap tote to oblivion.

When I found it, I immediately thought "plane ride project". I packed it into my carry on and worked on them a bit on the plane ride. As I was stitching, I knew it was the perfect plane project because I didn't need any scissors. The only items neccessary are circles (which are cut out beforehand from scrap fabric) and a needle and thread. I cut the thread with my teeth which is why I don't need scissors.

Well, while at my mother's house last week, she let me finger through her scrap tote and I cut out a ton more circles to make a ton more yo-yo's.

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And my current yo-yo pile.

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I've been working on them in the evenings and whenever I have a few minutes with nothing to do. (like when I am waiting on the pages to load on this dial-up internet) My darling mother even gave me the original book that the idea came from because I loved it so much. I can't wait to make some of the projects from it with my scraps when I get home.

I looked up the baby yo-yo quilt and it said I would need 250 yo-yo's for that size. The pile above contains approximately 100. I guess I need about 1,000 of these suckers to make a full size quilt. Hmmm...wonder if I will ever finish the thing...

Well, I am off now to visit a friend and have a lovely cup of tea in a tea room here in town. This tea room was not in existence when I lived here so I am a litte excited to see it. I'll try to remember to take pictures to show you all. Have a lovely day.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fishing and Fourth Stuff

I'll start with the Fourth stuff for you in this blog post. Seems a good enough place to start.

We had a lovely fourth of July, although the weather forecast claimed it would be otherwise. Upon waking Friday morning, we learned that thundershowers, rain and hail...possibly snow were headed our way for the evening. Ugg. Not what you wanna hear when you have plans to go swimming at the lake with a picnic supper and a blanket to sit on while watching the firework display.

We prayed.

We went anyways. The sun was shining and so we figured if it rained, we would have our umbrellas with us to protect us. If it hailed, we would run for cover under the trees. If it thunderstormed then the Lord would have to protect us. Besides, we thought, the lightening would more than likely hit one of the boats sitting on the water before it would hit us.

Nothing but a bit of a breeze happened. Of course, this breeze was enough to send us shivering to our blanket and towels for the remainder of the evening. Ahhh...but what fun we had. Let me show you.

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Now for the fishing pictures. We caught one fish last week. I need to buy a fishing license so I can fish and maybe catch enough to eat. I am hoping if I ask my Daddy, he will take me early one morning and we can fish, just the two of us. That would be so much fun. I miss having my one-on-one time with my Daddy like I used to have when I was a girl. I am a Daddy's girl.

Anyways, here are some pictures of our fishing fun.

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So...umm....ya. That's a picture of ME with a fishing pole and NO LICENSE! (Ummm...don't tell anyone, okay?) Hey! I was casting the line for Chloe, all right?

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Chloe begged to carry the fish and she really did love doing so, but she sent out a few squeals whenever the fish hit her legs as she was swinging it along to the car. Poor thing...fish are such slimy little boogers. Would I carry it for her? Nah. I washed her legs off before I put her to bed that night.

Well, now. I am off to do a bit of sewing before its time for me to cook supper.(lasagne) One of my brothers is coming over with his family for dinner, a boat ride, some leftover fireworks and some smores. Its going to be a fantastic evening. I would like to get some yo-yo's sewn up though. I haven't had much time for anything crafty since I've been here so I have a little itch in my fingers. I will have to show you the fabulous suprise my mother and I made yesterday for my sister tomorrow. (we also made one for myself so I can match) I can't wait to show you.

Have a glorious afternoon and evening. Its a beautiful day!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

Thank goodness we didn't actually have to row this boat, although there were a couple of times I thought we might. (and there are oars under the bow) Last week, Daddy was proud to take us around the lake on his little boat. He paid $100 for this wooden boat and fixed it up, not knowing if it was completely seaworthy or not. Well, lo and behold, it was and they have enjoyed it many times around their little lake.

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This boat cruises around the lake at turtle speed which suits me just fine. (it also suits Chloe as well) She can walk around the boat without me worrying of her falling over the edge. She can also DRIVE the boat.

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Yes, she actually DROVE the boat. For a whole ten minutes. (you can imagine the speed of the boat if a toddler could drive it for ten minutes around a small, 15ft deep lake) Ten minutes was the length of her attention span for driving which, given her usual attention span lengths, was quite long.

Here is a picture of my Daddy driving the boat.

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You can see that we were cruising at top speed here. (shown by Daddy's foot up on the dashboard. Had we been going at a more leisurely pace, he probably would've had two feet up, but at such high speeds of possibly 2 mph, one foot was all he would risk)

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I think my Daddy is pretty clever. (what girl doesn't think her Daddy is the best?) He got car seats from the local "pull and save" and put them in his boat. The driver seat is a car's driver seat and check out the seats for the rest of us.

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Of course, the ancient motor roars so loudly you can't hear anything, so we are more apt to sit on the lawn chairs in the middle of the boat. I love my Daddy and I love his boat. We had such a fun time. I will have to show you pictures of our fishing expedition when I get them edited. Things just take so much longer here at my parents house. They have dial-up internet and I am just not used to this. Somedays it takes me 45 minutes just to log on and access my email account. (not including actually reading the emails and replying)

For all of my friends out there in cyberworld, please bear with me while I am staying here. I am hanging in there and doing the best I can from this remote location. My priority is to get customers patterns emailed out. If I have time for other internet stuff, I email James first and then work my way down the list. I try to blog so I can keep everyone (including James) apprised of our whereabouts and happenings. I don't have much time to devote to pattern writing and testing (let alone designing) but I hope to get a little bit done in the next couple of weeks. If you don't hear from me for a while, please know that I am okay and doing the best I can.

I am off to browse through my mother's vintage apron patterns and scrap fabrics to see if I can come up with something cute for myself. I need more aprons. I found a vintage doll clothes pattern, but you all know how much we need more doll clothes. I did see a neat idea for displaying (and storing) doll clothes. I will have to work on it when I get home and then show you all. It really is a cute idea and I hope I can do it. I love you all very much and hope you have a blessed July. Talk at you later!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Benefits of Illiteracy

One of the best things about visiting family NOT during the holiday season (Christmas) is that we get to visit during OTHER special occasions. I was pleasantly surprised last week while at my sister's house when she announced that "tomorrow is boy's birthday". ("boy" being my nephew) I knew that boy and girl 2 (the second niece) celebrated their birthdays the weekend before I got there, but I did not realize that boy's birthday had not passed.

Of course, boy needed a cake, right? On his actual birthday. So, my sister and I ventured out to Costco (my first time setting foot in this food wonderland) and bought the biggest cake I have ever laid eyes on. (not really...I've seen wedding cakes larger, but for a four year olds birthday, this was pretty substantial)

We had our orders from "The Dad". Sheet cake. Chocolate. That was it. It mattered not what was on the top of the cake, only what the cake was made of. So, we found the only chocolate cake in the store. Here is what it said...

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I guess this works when your children are too young to read. I had to laugh. My anal retentive nature says it "MUST Say Happy Birthday" but it was either this or one with pink roses covering the top. I simply could not allow my sister to buy a cake for boy with pink roses covering it. I assumed his military father would die of a conniption fit and so I helped her pick the "flag" cake.

We did good. Boy loved his "flag" cake and was not the wiser.

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I loved being able to share this fun with my family. It was my first time ever being there for one of their birthdays. (and that cake was good, even if it wasn't a birthday cake)

I leave you with a picture of my niece because she is just such a cutie and I love her to death.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Thank You Daddy!

We have been blessed with a loving husband and father. Chloe and I are truly lucky. This week, upon arriving at my parent's house, we were greeted with two cards and a letter from James. (the letter was a picture he drew for Chloe of Mickey Mouse) The very next day a package arrived. It was addressed to Chloe.

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I set the package in front of Chloe and she anxiously awaited Mama to snap a picture and get on with the cutting of the tape so she could see what was inside.

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And...Its Open!!

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Ahhh! Leave it to Daddy to give her a teddy bear that plays the Air Force Fight Song. I can still hear it in my head, playing over and over and over and over and over. Somehow, this song never gets old. (supportive wife that I am) The particular instruments used to record the song on this teddy bear DO though. They grate on my nerves after about the 234th time the song plays through.

No, really though...it was a very thoughtful gift and one that Chloe thoroughly enjoys. (over and over and over again) She even sleeps with it at night, although if she presses it too many times I take it away until morning.

Thank you Daddy. We love and miss you very much.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Big Adventure - Part 1

Our little ...er...I mean big adventure began last Monday. (one week and two days ago) I called up the military base James requested I fly out of to see if they had scheduled any hops from that side of the United States to the side my family lives on. They did, indeed, have a flight scheduled for the very next day. (last Tuesday) In fact, they informed me that four flights were scheduled for that day. I just knew I was bound to be on one of them, right? (its space-a flying so first come first serve. You know how that goes)

As soon as I got off the phone, I hastened to frantically pack my suitcases and close up the house. (which involves such things as unplugging the main computer and coffeemaker, scrubbing out the toilet so I have a clean one to come home to, and taking the cat and fish to Miss K's house for her to babysit.)

Tuesday morning, bright and early, I awoke to my alarm at 3:30 am announcing that 4 hours of sleep was all I would be privileged to that night. I filled my two travel coffee mugs full of that delightful "wakeupfullness" drink and scooped up the kid and headed out the door by 3:30 am.

6:00 am, we arrived at the military passenger terminal where we hoped to later catch one of those four flights. Upon informing the ticket person guy where I wanted to get to, he looked at me and said, "there aren't any flights going out today to that location." My response? A very exhausted "What?" "Yes, ma'am. All flights were cancelled for today. There are two going out tomorrow."

Uggg. I was running on four hours of sleep and had just driven 3 hours to get there. I felt way too tired to drive the 3 hours back home and my coffee was empty. With some quick thinking on my part (I really felt it was wonderful at the time) I decided to find the lodging on the base there and stay the night. After all, I had just paid all that gas money and tolls to get there, it would be cheaper to stay the night than to pay all that gas and tolls home only to turn around and pay it again the next day to come back out. Talk about frusterating. Keep in mind, I don't travel by myself very often and I have a 3 year old in tow. She is not liking all this walking around every where with bags and suitcases and such. (military bases make you park clear across the base and walk - yes...WALK - across the base to the terminal and they don't provide those nifty little luggage carrier things with wheels...that would be too easy)

Anyways, I drive to the lodging and find out they can't check me in until 2:00 in the afternoon. Remember, now that it is only 7:00 am at this point and I have NO clue where I am or where to go with a 3 year old in the car. If it had only been me, I would have parked myself right there next to lodging and slept in the car. Kind of hard to do with a toddler in the back seat.

I found a diner close-by on my navigation system and that is where we spent the next 6 hours. Directly behind the diner, we found a school with a playground. God gave that to me. He knew I needed it. There are only so many times you can color Mickey Mouse on a placemat in a diner and keep a child entertained with such.

After a fun night in the hotel, we tried again for the plane the next morning. I called about 1 1/2 hours ahead of "showtime" (which is when you show up to put your name on the stand-by list) to confirm the flight was really going to leave. I was on the phone at 10:20. (this time will become very important for you to know later.) Because no one could give me a straight answer as to what exactly I needed to do when I showed up and because my phone call kept getting dropped (because they are too busy to talk very long on the phone so they automatically drop your calls after something like 2 minutes) I decided to head over there early. I arrived at the terminal at 10:30.

Well, what do you know but they are taking the passengers at that very moment in time. Chloe and I stood up along with another man and were told that there were 50 seats on the plane for us. Ahhhh! I breathed a sigh of relief. It was finally over and I was guaranteed a seat. I highly doubted that 47 more people would show up.

After going over the list of prohibited items, the ticket guy looked over the counter at my feet and stated that I would not be allowed to board the plane in my sandels. I would be required to wear tennis shoes. Chloe too. WHAT??? Yup. They wouldn't let me on the plane. Not to fear, right? I still have over an hour before "showtime" which means the plane isn't leaving until after noon, at least, right? I lug all my stuff back to my car, zip to the BX (praying the whole way), purchase tennis shoes for myself and Chloe and zip back to arrive at the terminal by 11:30. Perfect. That leaves me with 25 minutes before showtime. I run (with all my luggage and my frusterated 3 year old) to the ticket counter only to be told that the plane was already leaving. I didn't make it.

What??? (I said alot of "what"s that day) Yup. the guy told me that the plane was schedule for 10:20. What??? Hold up a minute. The day before they told me showtime was 11:55. That same morning, I was on the phone with them at 10:20 when they told me showtime was 11:55. I showed up at 10:30 to be told that showtime was 11:55. How can they change the departure time to something that is already passed? "The flight crew wants to get there early" was all they would tell me. I missed the flight. Oh well, at least there is another flight going out later that day, right? WRONG! That flight was canceled during the time I ran to the BX for shoes and back. Oh...but there is a flight leaving on Friday I can come back for. FAT CHANCE!!!

I have learned my lesson. I am never trying for a military flight AGAIN! Nope. My dear and kind and beautiful and generous sister heard my tears (literally) and immediately started browsing the internet for commercial tickets for me. We arrived at her house late Thursday night and have been snug and safe ever since. I will have more to tell you another day. For now, I leave you with a few pictures from our weekend with my sister and her children.

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Chloe is getting ready to go to sleep with her dolly in her cousin's bed.

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Chloe LOVED playing in the "park" in her aunties backyard. It really was like a park. Giant swingset. Playhouse complete with kitchen and accessories. Childhood heaven, that's what it was.

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My sister received two little kittens a while back and they have grown up with her three kids. This proved nice for Chloe, who does NOT get to hold or even touch Pattycakes back home. Jasmine was the most friendly of the two cats and let Chloe hold her.

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My first niece (from my sister) who I have a very strong bond with. I don't like to have favorites, but if I did have favorites she would be the one. We joked that she could have been my kid if it were up to personalities.

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Next in line...my ever-moving nephew. I don't think this kid ever stops unless he is sleeping. Walking by, I can either see him squatting atop his dresser (the tall one) or sitting in the sink with a roll of toilet paper doing who knows what. I would just chuckle to myself and walk on by. Do you think I would be a nice sister and say something? Nah! Payback is wonderful therapy.

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Last, but certainly not least is my youngest niece. More like her brother than anyone, she can often be seen squatting atop the dresser or sitting in the sink with a roll of toilet paper doing who knows what after her brother has moved on to bigger and better things. When my mother asked if she could buy her a doll for her third birthday a couple of weeks ago, my sister said, "Yes, as long as it comes with wheels on it."

Oh, I love my family and its great to be home for this visit. Hopefully, now that I am settling into my parents place, I will be able to update you all on our adventures. I have more to share with you but will save it for another day.