Saturday, May 31, 2008

Stuff Mart


This is everything that won't fit in our apartment... except for the sofa part of the sectional, which is at Jody's. Last night we needed a fan, as being on the second/top floor of our building is sure proving to be a toasty existence. There is central air here, but it seems to be a tad inefficient, to say the least. So we made our first trip to the storage unit. (We weren't at the "moving in" there, since we were unloading the other truck at the apartment.) M jumped in and walked on boxes and random other items to get to where the fan was hiding. Successful trip, and we're enjoying the breezy outcome.
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

The story: Moving, Part 2

Alright...continuing on...

Sunday the 18th, we got up, very stiff from a night on the floor, and began the last leg of the house-prepping journey. We loaded our suitcases and such into the cabs of the trucks, using every last space. We boxed up the last few items that we needed, cleaning supplies, etc. M and Braska left about 9 am to head on. Mom and I figured we'd be along in about an hour. Close to 2.5 hours later, we finally were ready to jump up in our trucks and take off. We formed our two-part caravan and took to the interstate. The trip went well overall, though I don't plan to trade in my car for a moving truck for everyday driving in city traffic. No thanks.

M got to the apartment office and signed the lease then he and Braska went to hang out in an empty apartment. My sister Rachel came over to keep them company a bit since we were so late in coming. (She was just showing off her fancy new Acura and all it's fun toys...that's always a good way to pass the time. :o)

When we got to St. Charles, Mom got off at one exit, and I went on to the next. She went to the storage unit where Patrick, Rach, and my brother Jody were waiting to help with the unload of that truck. I went to the apartment where my in-laws and M were waiting and ready. Later we were joined by M's brother Ethon and some very wonderful friends from the in-laws' church. AWESOME helpers they were!!! And even after following some very bad MapQuest directions. (Hint: Don't use that to come to our place...just call for directions.)

Within 3 hours, both trucks were unloaded--save one piece of the sectional that wouldn't make the corners necessary to get to the living room. We took the stubborn couch to Jody's place to park it in his basement for a bit since the storage unit was quite full. Both trucks were unloaded and returned in less than 4 hours. Not bad at all! We couldn't have done it without so much great help!

So on to some pics.... here's what the living room looked like upon move-in.


This is the living room and dining area a couple hours later. Box city.


Then this is a couple days later, after a bit of arranging and some boxes gone. Still some to go. Notice that there's not much decor except for some items propped on the mantle. No need to put holes in the wall for this short a time.


You'll notice that the dining area is nonexistent. We didn't even bring our table and chairs. Can you tell how much we use it?!? So sad. The back wall is used as storage for some of my office items that I need and a make-shift pantry of sorts. For now, it will work.

In three months, we do it all again. But I'm not thinking about that now. I'm going to bed instead.

I think HE can dance...and more!

I'm a big fan of So You Think You Can Dance on Fox. Last night we were watching it on the DVR and when this young man appeared, I stopped and said, "No way!" Both M and I stopped what we were doing and watched...here's what we saw.



After it was over, we we grinning, talking about how great his speech was and all kinds of what I call "geeky" DS stuff (therapies, diagnoses, characteristics, etc). Then we both said that the blogs would go wild in no time. This is just the kind of thing that we like to see, so why not post it?!?

This morning, there are entries on a few forums I watch, and Meredith is the first blog on my reader to post on it. I'm sure more will follow. But all blogging silliness aside, this guy is really neat. He is a neat guy, DS or not, but I personally believe that at least part of it is because he IS who is IS and has learned to be more than ok with that. That's all we want really. Go Brett!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Story: Moving, Part 1

I feel like I should write so much, but I'm just not finding the time anymore. I'm so sad that my daily blogging has turned into bi-weekly almost. So for now, pics and captions will have to suffice.

In case you've missed it somehow, here's what started this chaos of the past few weeks. It culminated in a two-part move, beginning Saturday 5/17 with the load up. We had a great turnout of guys (and Susan!) so the work went fairly quickly overall. It took some time to work out the jigsaw puzzle of fitting all our big things in with few little things to go in the gaps. But the guys did a great job.


Since there were so many hands available, and since we had a bit of a truck issue (it was too small!) we decided at the last minute to get a second truck and go ahead and load while there were people there to help. The first pic there shows both, the second zooms in on the right side of the first. Ridiculous...two trucks.


And since there were plenty of hands, Matt and Brent helped out with the pool stuff. That was a BIG help as well. And Matt drove 1 1/2 hours just to come help us. Big thanks, big important attorney man! Plus he even painted some too!


By the time we were able to crash and sleep, this is what our bedroom looked like. Blanket on floor. I don't recommend it.


Part 2 to follow soon.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Reason

Moving is no fun. Packing and unpacking is not enjoyable work. Leaving a life and a place we loved for a place we don't really know is scary. Missing friends and coworkers we liked so much is painful. Giving up something I'd dreamed about and never thought I'd actually have in my backyard is really hard. (I love this pic, just had to share...so clear and blue.)


Why did we do it? Why would we up-end our whole life? What could possibly cause us to do such a thing?

Nuff said.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Precious little Maria Sue

The funeral has been arranged, and little Maria Sue Chapman's life will be celebrated tomorrow morning. This was posted on DownSyn, and it's so perfectly matched...the song written by this precious girl's father a few years ago. Never did he expect, I'm sure, to have his own song meant to minister to others parallel his own life so closely.



I also found SCC's blog today, with some other videos on it of the family and all. I love seeing that he's as cool a guy and dad as I thought he'd be from being a big fan for close to 20 years now. Enjoy this one especially...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Moving story coming soon

I want to put up pics and stories and update all of you who have been so great about supporting us through this crazy fast move. But I'm so darn tired. I'm trying to balance working, keeping Braska somewhat entertained (which is seriously getting harder), and finding time in there to actually unpack and organize this place since I'm here now. So far, it's not left alot of time for blogging. Sad, I know.

For now, here's a couple pics. This is where we are now.

We moved in Sunday afternoon. Monday morning I was up at 5:30 am ready to get to work, at least for the few hours I had before it was time to head out again. This was my view out the sliding door when I opened the vertical blinds. Not bad, really. It was so peaceful.
Then a couple hours later when the sun had risen, view from the little deck.
It's actually pretty quiet and peaceful, at least the little bit I've been here. That is, with the constant low interstate noise of I-70 just 1/4 mile or so away. But I'm a fan of white noise, so that's fine with me. Neat how it looks so non-city-like right smack dab in the middle of this crazy metro.

More later. Now to bed.

Unbelievable

I just listened to a voice mail from my dad this morning telling me very sad news about my favorite musician, Steven Curtis Chapman. Apparently his youngest daughter, Maria, who was 5, was killed in their driveway yesterday when she was hit accidentally by the vehicle being driven by her older brother. Here's a full article with picture of the little girl and her dad. Here's a blog that's been set up in memory of her and for comments of condolences.

SCC had adopted his youngest three daughters, and he has been active with promoting adoption and providing grants through his foundation for many years. I've seen him in concert many times, and since adopting his first daughter several years ago, there has always been a large part of the show dedicating to information about children waiting to be adopted all over the world. He is such a passionate person, artist, performer, husband, and father. And I can imagine from watching him beam about his little girls how truly devastating this must be. Let alone the element of trying to also comfort his teenage son.

I've been working on a project that involves some of his music to post on Braska's blog. I need to find time to finish that soon. The first song he wrote about his oldest daughter, Emily, is the music I used for this post for Braska. Take a listen. Braska's adorable, but try to simply listen to the music and hear how much he loves his girl. There's nothing better than a dad who can see his daughter through the eyes of her Creator. And now this dad is grieving a daughter he loved. Please pray for comfort for this family.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Beyond tired

I'm exhausted. Here's how it went. (Pictures will come soon.)

Saturday night we slept on the floor. Or we attempted to sleep on the floor. Not much sleep was had. Sunday morning we got up and slowly got finished with the last few things. M and Braska headed out around 9 while it took Mom and I til after 11 to get things finished. We jumped in our respective trucks and off went the convoy. We had crews to unload at both the storage unit and our apartment. It was all done very quickly and efficiently, with only one part of the sectional not making the corners to get into the apartment.

Monday morning we went to Children's to meet up with Jen and Sophie and spent the day with them, distracting, fetching, and driving to be sure the day went smoothly for them as much as possible. They were both awfully brave and real champs. We drove back to Champaign and I'm crashing at their place. Today was all about errands...two therapy appointments for Braska, taking cable boxes back, hitting the bank, stopping by for last minute Braska visits, and seeing friends one last time, at least for a while. The inspection was done today on the house...it's all overwhelming. Maybe I'll deal with that more later...maybe not. The carpets have been cleaned. The house looks pretty darn good. Maybe I'll stay. :o)

Tomorrow morning I'll be finishing making the kitchen sparkle, now that the other people coming through to do things is over, then I'll work on the pool to get it looking pretty. I hope to be out of town mid morning, and the house officially goes on the market tomorrow, as it stands now. I'm praying for a miraculous, quick sale. We need it, and I think it's possible. Thankfully, that whole location thing everyone talks about... we got it. Hope it works.

I'm anxious to get home...to the new home that awaits in StC. For now that's an apartment, and that's ok. Soon it'll be a house we love. I'm confident, but I'm still admittedly nervous. I'm way up there on the list of world's worst second-guessers. Things will feel better when I'm not trying to be in all places at all times.

More later on the movers and how great they are...but for now, thanks guys (and Susan!!). You were awesome!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fun with trucks

This morning we loaded the U-Haul. We had a great group of people, mostly guys admittedly, who came out to help. It was very obvious very quickly that we weren't going to get much more than half our stuff into the truck. I made some calls, found another truck....this time Budget and IN TOWN, even if almost twice the price of the first...so off I went to pick up my second moving truck in two days. And soon after returning to the house, it was loaded too. One will go to the storage unit and one will go to the apartment. Not a bad deal.

I now sit on the floor in an almost completely empty house. We still have our internet and wireless router hooked up so we're not all the way stranded. M and I will be sleeping on the floor tonight though, as we forgot to hold out the air mattress. Oops. Braska has her Pack N Play and Mom has the mattress to a bed we're not taking. The garage has alot of stuff in it that is not going. At present I'm planning to return for a yard sale...that may change. Goodwill may get a call and offer for all of it.

I'm so very tired. So worn out from thinking about what goes where and managing to keep everyone busy. All our help was GREAT! They really went above and beyond. We did have one incident of heat stroke, one slight electrocution, and lots of paint fumes, but all are well at the end of the day. We couldn't have done it without you all!

Now we clean top to bottom. It's 7 pm and we've got a long way to go. I can't imagine we'll be actually ready to go by 11 in the morning. But we will. Somehow we will. And my only hope is that I get to sleep between now and then!!

Oh, and for those of you who empathized with my missing of Belle, thank you. She's going to be with them indefinitely. That's her new home. If things don't work out for them for any reason, they'll be calling me, but I think she'll be good. I miss her, and I'll miss her interaction with Braska too. But it was good she wasn't here today. She'd have gone nuts with all the people and action.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hangin' by a thread

That's my sanity. Hanging there. Trying to keep it together for another couple days. For all my positivity, I'm losing it little by little. Why?? Read on.

Today we got the call as to where to go pick up our moving truck tomorrow. There's about 6 U-Haul places in our mini-metro and county. But no. It's in Normal, IL. That's where the truck is. Close to an hour away. I thought I was going to keel over. After fuming a little, I called them back, they gave us the ok to go get it today, not charging for having it the extra time. So off we went.

Of course the truck is much smaller than we thought it would be. Yes, it's the one I reserved, but their measuring tape and mine are a bit different. We're not at all sure it will go in one trip. Should be interesting. Nothing I can do about it now. I did call the local places to see if anyone had a smaller truck that we could load AS WELL. Like take two moving trucks to our new place/storage. Good times. But no, no truck available. But they CAN take a reservation and then call me back with where I can go pick one up. No thanks. We'll load it til it's full and that'll be that.


And my first princess went to live with someone else today. M's gone now, leaving while I was at the store, very wisely. He took her to stay with David and Ella, friends who love her much and have kept her when we've been gone for weekends and such. But now it'll be longer, and I'm so sad. I didn't think it would get to me like this, but I feel like we're abandoning her, and she's SO attached to me. Never leaves my side, always following from room to room and sleeping right next to me, all cuddled up, every night. For now, it's for the best all around. But I am so sad. It's way more painful than I thought. I just keep crying, and I don't need that right now. I'm supposed to be the rock around here.

I'll miss you, Belle. My little poo. Please be happy with them and don't be sad. Heck, I miss you already.


(August 04...I was SO happy to have my little poo.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Working against the clock

All you blogger friends, I'm so sorry I'm not keeping up with your latest posts. Don't think I've deserted you! My Reader is filling up, but I'll get there sometime.

For now, it's still crazy packing/cleaning/repairing all around the house. We're making headway, but we've still got a LONG way to go and about 48 hours til we load the truck.

Prayers are very much appreciated...for us to get done what we need to on time, and for the house to sell quickly. And for safety through all this work, loading, driving, and unloading. Thanks for keeping up with us... hopefully we'll be able to relax at least for a moment next week.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Morning bright

Today is a better day. I don't feel quite so overwhelmed. Andrea is here this morning (twin newborns in tow!) to play with Braska and help while she's napping. You rock, girlfriend! I've switched our utilities and such over to the 2-bdrm apartment from the 1-bdrm that we originally had arranged. That went smoothly, which is a blessing. We did confirm approval for the 2-bdrm unit, and I'll get to see it tomorrow when I make a trip down. I've started on my list of to-do from the realtors, and we have friends who have stepped up and will be helping us take care of this stuff. Really, we have so many great friends who will sacrificially give of their time, money, and support... we are going to miss them alot!

There is really something to be said for those that have what I call the "Sure! mentality." It means that when you ask for help or if they can assist you with something, their answer is always "Sure!!" It's not, "I don't know, we may be busy." It's not, "Well, I'll have to check." It's not anything that makes you think you're an imposition, even though it might be greatly so. They may rearrange personal things to suit our need. They may change plans or even cancel trips. But they don't ever hesitate for a minute. They say, "Sure!" and then they make it work. THAT is a true friend to me. THAT is how I aim to be with others. THAT is what I believe we're called to be. THAT is what we have in friends both here and other places. And for THAT I am very thankful.

One more thing... these people with the Sure! mentality NEVER take credit for their work. They never rub it in our faces that they helped, looking for a pat on the back. Nothing makes me cringe more than someone who tries to extrude a big gush of appreciation from me. I try to be thankful and clearly so when it is due. I believe that's important. But these friends who go out of their way to help us in so many ways over the years, they do it because they want to be a friend, not because they want recognition.

Remember, it's always better to sit at a low place and have someone ask you to move to a better one than to assume a place of recognition only to be told you have to move down.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Checklist: Item 23

#23 Pack kitchen



I'm working on it. I'm slowing down. I'm ready to be done. I'm starting to actually think we're not gonna make the deadline.

We met with our realtors on Friday evening. We got our list of to-do before we put it on the market, which will be mid-next week. The problem is that several of these to-do items are pretty time consuming, and even though I'm usually good for a challenge, I'm thinking this one might be out of reach. They also recommended that we move everything on Saturday, not just the "most" I was planning on. I was figuring to stay here for a while with some of our furniture to stage with, but they provide their own staging furniture, so they said to just do it all in one trip. That means we need to get Braska's therapies transferred to the new system in StC so we don't have too big a gap in services. It also means that we need to find people to care for the pool, which we need to get open and ready to impress this week, and also the lawn. It also means that we've changed our apartment to have a bit more space since all three of us will be there for more of the time.

#24 Get master bath flooring put down.

#25 Paint over non-neutral (deep purple) walls in the house.

#26 Open the pool

#27 Contact siding company regarding defective siding to request it be replaced. (Not looking forward to this one at all.)

Anyway, I must get back to work. We'll get it done somehow. I'm just having a moment. Maybe next year I'll get a "real" Mother's Day when I can relax and be taken care of for a change. Here's hoping... I'm 0-3 so far, but I can still dream. :o)

Hope you all had a great one...enjoy it some for me too!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Checklist: Item 4

#4 Get boxes. Check.



#5 Start packing. Check.

#6 Find apartment. Check.

#7 Reserve moving truck. Check.

Since we confirmed the move was going to happen on Monday, it's been a busy time, to say the least. We've accomplished alot, though, I think. Our friends just moved last weekend, so we're taking their boxes as they unpack them. (We'll be over for another batch very soon, J!) We have an apartment reserved. (Thanks to my sister Rachel for the footwork. She browsed several options in the complex we chose and chose one that will work well for us.) Got the call this morning that it's all final with credit and such. Having great credit rocks!! We also have a storage locker/garage thingie (also thanks to R and P) so we'll be able to put all our things that won't fit in our 600 sq ft apartment somewhere. And it's close to us, so that's handy. (Still thinking how weird it will be to go from 1500 sq ft to 600 sq ft....should be fun!)

We're packing up, and it's going well. I'm delineating areas for the "get rid of," the "storage," and the "apartment" items. The truck is reserved for the first run, so things are right in line with where they should be. My mother is coming up next week to help for a few days and then to caravan with M back to St. Louis, one in the truck, one in his car. All in all, I feel like we're doing well.

We meet with the realtors tomorrow evening, so we'll then have an idea of what we need to get done on the house right away to make it ready to sell. I'm sure first on that list will be get the pool OPEN. I'm sure it will be more appealing when it's clear and sparkly in the spring sun. Thank God that we need to sell in a pool season!

Alright, back to packing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I Rarely Ask, but...

...I'm asking for a few minutes of your time. If you don't have those minutes now, mark this page as a favorite (you too, Reader addicts) and come back very soon.

I've been introduced to these videos via other blogs or emails recently, and even though I often pass right by opportunities like this, I'm glad, in this case, I did not. I simply cannot tell you how much these songs mean to me, and to have such beautiful images to go along with them... they are indelibly etched in my mind, and I'm glad they are.

Make sure it's quiet for a moment, pay attention to only one thing for just this moment. Listen to the lyrics. Enjoy the visual creativity.



Lyrics--Casting Crowns/Who Am I
Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

BRIDGE
Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

CHORUS
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me
(bridge/chorus)


I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours



Lyrics-Lifehouse/Everything
Find Me Here, Speak To Me
I want to feel you, I need to hear you
You are the light That's leading me
To the place where I find peace again.
You are the strength, that keeps me walking.
You are the hope, that keeps me trusting.
You are the light to my soul. You are my purpose...you're everything.

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
You calm the storms, and you give me rest.
You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall.
You steal my heart, and you take my breath away.
Would you take me in? Take me deeper now?
How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?


Cause you're all I want, You're all I need You're everything,everything
You're all I want, you're all I need You're everything, everything.
You're all I want, you're all I need. You're everything, everything
You're all I want, you're all I need, you're everything, everything.

Aren't y'all sweet?!?

Thanks to all of you for your nice comments about our upcoming move. (And yeah, you too, JRS...even you. :o) And I apologize for not getting all my personalized comments up for the last few posts. Things have been a *bit* busy.

Got a few good things coming up in posting land...don't touch that dial.

In the meantime--It's not too late for Round 8 below...feel free to jump in and share! Or enjoy browsing some of my favorite sites linked in this one.

Simulpost: Heading south

It's big news time--We're moving to St. Louis. Well, actually St. Charles, just NW of St. Louis. It's where I lived before we got married 7 1/2 years ago and I moved to Champaign. It's where M got a new job, just finalized yesterday after a whirlwind process that only began late last week.

It's a bittersweet time, as we will miss Champaign a whole lot. This is the longest I've lived anywhere in my life, and that's something. It's been very good to us, and sometimes it's been a little cruel to us, but that's life in this world. All in all, I will think on my time here very fondly.

We are excited about being close to family, close to friends in that area, close to Braska's doctors, eliminating the trips down for appointments and such, trading a 3 hour drive for about 30 minutes to downtown. The new job is very good, and it seems like it will be an easy transition for M to slide right into. He starts in 2 weeks, so the chaos will be overwhelming for a while, but in the end, I really believe life will be much simpler and that's a BIG deal to me.

Big kudos to my husband for making this move. He is not a fan of change, to say the least, but he is putting his family--specifically Braska's best interest--first, and for that I'm immeasurably grateful.

More details will come as we know them. It's all so very fresh still. So far things have been miraculously smooth, so we know this is the right path to take.

(While I blabber on, here's how M announced it.)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Random Questions, Round 8




The Random Questions process
~Choose one or all of the questions to answer.
~Either respond with a comment to this post with your answer or put up a post on your own blog for a full response.
~Don't forget to include any funny or interesting story to illustrate your answer in action.
~Be sure to leave a comment on this post to let us know where to find your post so we can come check it out!

Round 8--Quirks--We all have our funny little things about us, so let it out! Tell about what makes you weird! Or maybe you just call it a "specific preference." :o)

What quirks do you have in the following categories? (Or tell on someone else if you want!)
1. Home (cleaning, order, furniture, yard, etc.)
2. Personal (get-ready routine, clothes/shoes, hate feet?)
3. Relational (high-maintenance proof, personal space, parental/spousal habits, etc)
4. Food (ways you eat, ways that annoy you about how others eat, can't mix foods, etc)

___________________________________

1. Home-- I can't think of much in this category, honestly. I'm sure there's something.

2. Personal--I do have a particular order to what I call my "get-ready" routine. Shower, dress in clean PJs (yoga pants, t-shirt), put product in wet hair, do whatever around the house for 15-20 minutes for a short air dry on the hair, then blow dry, make-up, and final dress. If I try to mess with the order or shorten it up greatly, we all suffer. I also have a thing about certain boot and certain jeans. Some just don't look as good with others, so there's no mixing jean/boot combinations.

3. Relational--I prefer that M always be reachable by phone. Maybe that's not a quirk, but it's foreign to him why I get upset when I can't reach him because his cell phone rings on his desk at home when I call him from the kitchen. Grrrrrrrrr. I don't call for sweet nothings calls, I need something if I'm calling, so for heaven's sake, take the phone with you, please.

4. Food--I don't like things to be different temperatures on the same plate. If there's spaghetti and green beans, they better both be equally hot. Only warm beans with hot spaghetti is just not pleasing at all. I don't like mushrooms, black olives, or gorgonzola cheese. And NO venison, rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, or other wild game. Beef, chicken, turkey, and only occasionally pork, some seafood...that's it for me.

I can only say to you that I HOPE my husband will contribute to this round. His list is the longest I've ever seen in my almost 35 years. And it would be funny to read...hint, hint, honey.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Honors Bestowed

This week I've received tags for an award from two blog friends and for a meme from another. I can't tell you how fun it is for me to see my name on those lists when I'm reading all your blogs. I always have to run in to tell M, "I got picked!" as he rolls his eyes at me.

First the award... honestly, I don't know what it means literally, but it says that it has to do with "creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogging community, no matter what language." The one that means the most to me is the "contributes to the blogging community," because that's my hope. I want to be a positive spot, fun and light, yet real and honest, and, of course, a great advocate for our wonderful Down syndrome poonchins. (That's a term of endearment in our fam.)

I am humbled to accept this award from both Melissa at Banana Migraine and Meredith at Cornish Adoption Journey. Let me just tell you how special it feels to be thought of by these super impressive ladies. PLEASE check out their blogs if you haven't... Melissa's a super cool knitter with some super cool kids and Meredith has a simply amazing way of balancing her very busy life with 4 wonderful kids, 2 of whom are new US citizens! (One of them is my special girl, Emma--formerly Daria-- so I'm partial, I admit it!)

The rules for this award are:
1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogging community, no matter what language.

2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.

3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her/him the award itself.

4. The award winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of Arte y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5. To show these rules.

I'm choosing some of my in-real-life friends for this one. You all can choose if you want to carry it on or not. Don't feel obligated... I mean, if you don't want my gift... HA!

1. My mother-in-law is one great writer, and her blog makes me laugh and think and smile when my kid is featured. So check out Carole at Fractured Thoughts.
2. Jessie at Moment by Moment is a long-lost friend from my young years that I've kind of re-found, and wow...she's one impressive mom and a really inspiring writer as well. Doesn't hurt that she has 4 adorable kids. I just love her perspective on things. I learn from you, Jess! Check out one of my favorite posts.
3. Down the road from me just a few blocks resides one super smart Momologist named Amy. She has one precious little girl named Larkin and a cool dude Chase. She is making a difference in our community with a project (HUGE) called Larkin's Place. And I've loved getting to know her...and this next one...cool girls unite!
4. Not only because she had a baby in the moving vehicle, but there are a bunch of reasons why Jen is super cool. Her daughter Sophie is Braska's BFF (this week, girls are fickle you know) and Alexander is the Train Man Extrordinaire! Oh, and M's ok too. :o) This girl has stories you wouldn't believe. The latest one involves Scotland Yard!
5. And finally, for now, the mom with the most hands needed currently is Andrea, Mom to Si, Ty, and Levi. Newborn twin boys and a very active big brother keep her VERY busy. We call her Captain Safety, and she rocks multi-tasking!
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Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes tagged me for this one:

What I was doing 10 yrs ago: May 1998... I was looking for work in St. Louis, ready to move back after living in small town Missouri for a couple years after college. I moved that summer, got my first apartment with my roomie Deb, and started working for an orthopedic group across from The Galleria. M and I were dating, and we made our first driving trip to Montana for his brother Levi's graduation. Fun trip!

Five things on my to do list for today: Go for a walk with baby and dog. Quick trip to Aldi. Get the mail. (It's been a few days.) Clean kitchen floors. Put in several hours of work-work.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Pay off my house, either this one or a different one. Load Reece's Rainbow up with TONS of grants for families to get these kids home and cared for....maybe all of them!! That's my dream!!

Three of my bad habits: Watching HGTV/Food network, being suspicious of motives behind good actions, short fuse with some people.

Five places I have lived: Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri.

Five jobs I have had: Fast food, lumber company, college representative, Special ed teacher, medical practice manager.

Five people I want to know more about: Michelle Z, Melanie B, Tommy's mommy, Mrs. Wibbs, and Kacey.