Friday, November 26, 2010

We now pause for a station break...

I keep thinking I'll catch up. I keep thinking I'll somehow get time to sit down and write about some of the things I want to document or think about "outloud."

But it's not happening. I'm not managing everything like I need to. So for now, we're gonna give Just RK a break.

I am going to step away from my computer and the addiction that has apparently absorbed too much of my days. I'm not going to chuck my laptop or anything, but I have to get out of the "I must blog about that" mindset that is always in the front of my mind.

I'm also going to clean out my Google Reader subscriptions. I'm going to have to make some tough choices there. I'll not be removing everyone, of course, and those of you who have become more than just a random blog somebody-out-there will not be lost, don't worry. But the choosing...That will be PAINFUL because I kind of have a thing about keeping up on everybody all the time. But it's not possible. And most of the people I have been following for years don't even do much blogging anymore, so I don't think many blogs will notice that I'm not around very much.

And no, I'm not on Facebook. The point is LESS time online, not more.

So I'll check in here or there, and I will post when I can, but it may be a while. I will try to keep up Braska's blog, and I promise to get to her IEP stuff, which several of you have asked about.

To make it easy, make sure you are over there in the "Followers" bunch or sign up for email subscriptions so that you don't have to check in and be disappointed when there aren't new posts, but you'll know when there is something new to read.

Have a great holiday season, friends.

(The Happy Bloggy Holiday card exchange will still happen, so if you are interested, you can still sign up. We have a few on the list.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Elmo loves cupcakes

My someday-she-will-be-a-sister-in-law Cheryl has found quite a fun new hobby/side job in cake decorating. She makes some pretty neat things, as shown on her cake blog. When it came time to do Braska’s birthday cake, I thought it would be fun for Braska and I to go to Cheryl’s place and do something fun with all her tools and tricks. (Check out Braska’s narrative of her part of the day.)

I decided on Elmo largely because he is still one of Braska’s favorites, and I figured it would be pretty easy. Cheryl found some neat pics online and we collaborated a bit to come up with our final design. We went with a cupcake cake plan, and I think it was the right choice.

First, it should be noted that I was supposed to bake the cupcakes and take them with me when I went down. I also picked up some items at Hobby Lobby to help the process be a bit easier…especially with the dark icing coloring. And I found come cute Elmo paper cupcake cups. But I found that I didn’t have proper cupcake tins. So I was going to borrow them from Cheryl. Thursday evening we were at Cheryl and Ethon’s for Thursday Night Football and I took the stuff for today so I wouldn’t forget. I’ve been VERY forgetful lately. She laid out the cupcake tins for me to take home. After I got home late that night, I realized something.

I forgot the tins at her house.

So last night I decided I’d just use my disposable-type muffin tins and do a few batches of baking to get the needed amount. But as I opened the cake mix box, I realized something.

I forgot the Elmo cupcake papers at her house, too.

Not sure why I took them in with the other items, but I did. And I left them there. And she lives 30 minutes away.

So she generously offered to do the cupcake baking portion of the task last night as well. She rocks.

Unfortunately, getting Elmo-red icing is tough. We knew this. I thought I was prepared. I was wrong. So I had to make a run out to Michael’s to get some prepared red icing to help our batch of homemade. I left Braska with Cheryl and ran just a short way to nearby shopping and Michael’s. As I pulled in to the space in front of the store, I realized something.

I forgot to grab my purse. I had no wallet or means with which to pay for my purchases.

I turned around and went back to Cheryl’s, ran in and got my purse, and returned to Michael’s to get what I needed.

This is getting ridiculous!

In the end, we made it through. We brainstormed a little of this and that, and the end result is great!

Here’s a few views in different lighting and such. My only contribution is the letter cupcakes, and I just did the white and the red lettering. I found out I am VERY rusty in my cake decorating skills. Cheryl did the little color sparkles, though they were just about my best idea of the day, I think. They made a huge difference, we agreed!
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Way to go, us! (But mostly Cheryl!!)
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Tomorrow’s the big day!!!

40 years

Happy Anniversary to my parents. 

40 years!

Congrats Mom and Dad!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fastest week. Maybe.

This was a crazy busy week. The good part is that it seems to have flown by. The bad part is that it seems to have flown by!  I wonder why….

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My sister and her husband moved into a new house last Sunday.

As they both have very busy jobs, and I’m largely more flexible (as long as I can juggle the girls) I have been helping with unpacking and receiving deliveries (though not with 100% success…thanks Home Depot).  I managed to get the kitchen somewhat usable and looking like it should, which is important, I think, because they are doing renovations in much of the rest of the house.  So chaos is king over there.  I thought if the kitchen felt a little more like a home, it might be nice.  Of course, they’re going to be ripping out the whole kitchen and re-doing it next year, but for now, it’s doing it’s job.

I’m glad they got to enjoy the Bears win last night in some semblance of comfort, even lit their first fire.  (The living room is almost done.)

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed helping and doing little jobs for them this week.  It’s one of the few ways I can return all the generosity that they have shown us.  And I like home stuff!  (Though I admit I’ll be excited when it’s all done so we can once and FOR ALL get the new floors clean and free of sawing and drywall dust!)

They are hosting Thanksgiving next week. Brave ones!

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As you may have seen in the previous post, my brother Jody and his wife had a tiny little girl this week.  She was expected to not show up for a little while longer, so that was a surprise situation that she made her entrance a little early.  She’s doing well, and I’m guessing they’re going home today if all is on schedule.  My girls have loved looking at their new baby cousin, Arden Mae.  Braska was even sittting down to go tinkle before her nap a while ago and was chanting to herself, “Baby Ardie Mae, Baby Ardie Mae” over and over.  Kinlee told me at lunch, “I have new baby cousin. She’s Arrrrdie Mae. (sounded like a pirate when she said it.)”  Then she quickly said, “Other cousin is Xander Boo.”  (Which is the ONLY way she refers to her cousin on the other side…Grandma C’s pet name has stuck!)  I reminded her she had one more. She thought for a moment and said, “Yeah!  Shay!”  That girl has quite a memory, and ability to call it up when needed.

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Julie has been home this week, waiting out the 10-day waiting period here instead of in Dashlyn’s country.  She and Madelyn, her teen daughter, are heading out this Saturday to return to get Dashlyn. (Wonder what my girls will re-name her?!)  It’s been totally divinely planned that the timing was just perfect for her to be here this week.  She was able to back me up more than a couple times with school pick up and such, and that freed me up to be at Rach’s when I needed to be. 

I have to do a better job of not taking her for granted!!   It is SO nice to have her and her bunch so close and always available and WILLING to cover my mini munchkins so often.

Jack will be joining us again for school days starting Monday. My girls will be VERY excited about that.

I CANNOT WAIT to meet the precious Dashlyn!! She will be home in less than 2 weeks if all goes well!  Hooray!!!

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Braska’s going to be 4 on Sunday.  I’ve once again completely slacked on the birthday situation.  I started a post over 2 weeks ago that was supposed to be a 2 or 3 part update, but it still sits.  I can’t make my brain work properly to organize all the thoughts to do a thorough job.  I need to get on that, though.

She and I are going to Cheryl’s house tomorrow to do some fun cupcake cake decorating to prep for her family (one side, anyway) party on Sunday afternoon. (Check out Cheryl’s cake blog here… some neat stuff!)

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Now it’s time to stop putting off the catch-up that needs to be done around here since I’ve been working elsewhere all week.  The girls are sleeping, which is what I’d like to be doing as well, so I best take advantage of the time and at least get the kitchen back to ship shape!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Welcome, Arden Mae!

My brother Jody and his wife Skye had a lovely little girl this morning. Arden Mae. 5 lb 14 oz.


It's surreal seeing my (younger) siblings get to be adults. Means I must be one too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas card exchange??

Do you do Christmas cards? How many do you send, if you do? Can I be on your list? Smile

Anyone interested in doing a Christmas card exchange? I’d be happy to organize a list of addresses to share. How fun would it be to get bunches of cards next month to have a physical piece of each of our blog buddies in our homes for the holidays?!? Spread the word…invite your friends. The more the Merry(er) Christmas! (You do NOT have to have a blog to participate.)


Copy and paste the code below to post this button on your blog!

Leave a comment on this post if you’d like to be included and CLICK HERE to send an email with your snail mail address!

Leave your blog link here so we can see who is participating!


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Can it actually BE that time already??

I don’t know why I’m surprised every year by the first Christmas decorations that show up in the stores. It all sneaks up on me.

My anniversary. Braska’s birthday. Thanksgiving. Christmas.

Four of my favorite dates, all in the last 8 weeks of the year.

Because I’m caught off guard every year, I have fallen out of the habit of doing Christmas cards. I want them to be a regular thing. I want to send them and I want to receive them. It’s a huge part of the tradition of the season to me.

So what better way to be prompted into acting early than to be offered 50 free cards from Shutterfly? Why would I be gifted this lovely opportunity? Just because I’m a blogger. So if you blog, you can get hooked up, too! I know many of you already have, because I’ve seen your posts.

I’m debating which direction to go with the plan. Should I go simple and just use a family picture?



Should I do a family shot with some fun pics of the girls, separate and together?

Or I could go with one photo and a little message, all bundled in a nice flat card… no unnecessary opening and closing.

So many options (and there are TONS more, of course). If I don’t get my rear in gear, I might have to resort to doing the growing-in-popularity New Year’s cards.


(I have to admit… I really like the pic-a-month deal, though!)

Shutterfly has ranked high on my list since a couple years ago when M did a photo book from there for Valentine’s Day. It’s still one of my very favorite gifts.

So I’ve got to get going and choose my design of Christmas cards. Then to decide on the pictures. From literally thousands taken in the last year. Oh dear.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The teens

As I was looking through pictures of our wedding the other day, I found one that kind of tickled me.  It seems like it was so much more than 10 years ago, and yet—like everyone says—it somehow seems like only a few months ago that they were this age.

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I’m the oldest of 6 kids. These are my two youngest siblings, Ryan and Julia, at my wedding, waiting in the back of the church before they walked down the aisle as ring bearer and flower girl. 

Pretty snazzy little ones, don’t you think?

But look at them now… still best buds.

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Ryan’s 19 and a sophomore in college in Oklahoma. Julia turned 15 on Thursday and is already picturing life “on the outside” after she graduates.

Both of them were born after I’d left home, Ryan during my freshman year of college and Julia after I’d graduated from college.  So I haven’t really been around for their growing up as much.  Maybe that’s why it just amazed me to look at the picture from the wedding and realize it was just 10 short years ago.  “Short years” to me, almost half a lifetime to them.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

If you have a cute baby…

I just saw an internet ad for a baby photo contest.  The last line read…

“If you have a cute baby enter now!”

Here’s the thing about that: I’ve seen plenty of babies and kids in my time who were, in the words of a friend of mine, “unfortunate looking.” But there’s not one of their parents that doesn’t think they are “so cute!” 

Isn’t that the way we’re set up?  We’re built to think our kids are adorable because they are OUR kids.  Makes sense to me. 

But it makes me wonder if photo contests shouldn’t be designed for non-parents to submit cute kids.  That might narrow the field quite a bit, make life easier for those who are making the first round cuts.

Sorry, my brain just thinks like this sometimes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One Decade. Check. Bring on the next one.

It was 10 years ago.  The day we walked down the aisle in Salem, Missouri.  The day we committed to spending our lives together. 

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We promised each other we’d be around for better or for worse.  And we’ve had both.

We promised each other we’d be around for richer or for poorer.  And we’ve had both.

We promised each other we’d be around in sickness and in health.  And we’ve had both.

We made promises that day that have taken every ounce of determination and sheer stubbornness not to give up on.

But we made it. 

And I can say without a doubt that I’m better now than I was then.  Than I’ve ever been, actually. I’m a better person. I’m a better wife. I’m learning how to be a better mother each day. 

Heck, I think we’re even better looking than ever, too!

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For all the doubt and the challenges that these 10 years have brought, I hold no resentment. I refuse to be bitter. I refuse to let the enemy have one ounce of control in this area.  We fought hard, with each other, with ourselves, and with mountains that stood in our way.

Because if I had not traveled the path I have, I would not have this testimony to share. 

Thus far, the Lord has brought me.  I am where He has placed me, and I can know that for certain. Life does not have to be fair, it does not have to be all light, music, and fluffy clouds.  It rarely is.  But I know that my God has never left me. He has never failed me. And though I do not know where my next steps will take me, I know this.  If my steps are on HIS path, I need not worry about what is to the left or to the right. I need only keep my eyes on HIM.

So this anniversary holds special meaning for me.  It celebrates 10 years of marriage, but more importantly, it celebrates 10 years of watching God work miracles, provide for my every need, carry me when I couldn’t walk, and bless me over and over and over.

And what’s most wonderful is this…

We are on the brink of so much more.  The Lord is setting up the prime situation to show HIS Glory once again.

The future is exciting to me.  I have moments of trepidation, for I do not know what it will bring.  But I have learned a great deal about trusting God lately. I’ve come to understand more about what it means to believe God.  Really believe Him.  And I believe with all my being that He has my best interest at heart always, that He can see then end of the story and knows that it’s GREAT, and that He delights in me, whether I walk, crawl, or stumble on my journey.

So happy anniversary to us…and celebrate with me as I look to what awesome blessings the next 10 will bring our way.

Thanks for 10 years, M. Stick with me, babe, and we’ll accomplish great things!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I won a new kitchen!

Ok, that might be a fib… but wouldn’t that be SO nice?!?

I do kind of FEEL like I have a new kitchen, because my “eat in” kitchen that has never been used that way because we’ve not had a functional arrangement that included a table and chairs for more than a year, almost 2 actually, has the ability to host a family of 4 for dinner.  How novel!
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This was my goal to get done while M was out of town for a couple of days. The girls like it, they like to be able to climb into the chairs, and we did a test run of coloring to initiate the table back to real use.

There are pictures of what the kitchen/”waiting room” used to look like in this post.

This table has been with us for over 10 years.  And it was purchased for $10. With the chairs.  Not a bad deal at all.

Granted, there are a few extra screws in the chairs to hold them together and keep them more reliably stable.  It’s not really all that appealing to look at, but it holds items and four people, and that’s all I’m really in need of.

We had this table and chairs in our dining room in C-U for years.  Yes, we had a full dining room back in the day. Separate from the kitchen.  Officially a place to eat.  And it was quite large, in reality.  But did we use it?  Nope.  I think we may have eaten in that dining room 5 or 6 times in the 6 years we lived in that house.  Amazing. 

At one point, the dining room became my office when I still was working and running a business from home.  Then  it was the gym for a while, with the treadmill and weight bench in it.  Because really, we might as well use it for *something,* right?

So today, I reclaimed this table that had been in the basement for 2 years since we moved here. 

The plan had been to use it downstairs as a game table, but that never really happened.  And I had planned to buy a new table and chairs for the kitchen area when we bought this house, but the MUCH smaller kitchen than I was used to made it harder than I expected to find something that would work.  When all else fails, go with free.  So I brought up the table, and there ya go.  It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than not having anything at all!

Now…will we USE it?  Stay tuned…

Friday, November 5, 2010

Speaking for their little sister and so many more

These two very neat videos were done for a PTA project by a 9-year-old and a 2nd grader who have a 2-month-old sister with DS. I’ve recently come to know of this family through one of the forums I frequent. I think the fact that they wanted to do this for their project is wonderful, and I’m happy to share them for you to enjoy as well.

(Two embedded videos below.)

Kinlee-isms #2

Braska started crawling down the hall following a ball she had kicked. (Side note…she is supposed to be crawling some for core strength per her PT. She still walks, don’t worry.)  Kinlee said, “Braska’s kicking the ball. She’s crawling!”

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Our fave lately…After we left our Fall Festival at church on Sunday night, Kinlee was chattering in her car seat about this and that. She stopped for a moment. Then said simply, “I need chocolate.”  M and I started to giggle but before we could reply she said, in the same calm, matter-of-fact tone. “I need veggies.”

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With Jack here, Kinlee’s got another party to announce play-by-play for their actions.  I walked into Braska’s room for a diaper change for all three, and Kinlee said, “Mommy!  Jack’s jumping on Braska’s bed!” 

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There are three car seats in the van since Jack is with us when we’re out going to school and such while his parents are away getting to know Dashlyn.  They’re all the same but two are pink and one is blue. When it’s just Kinlee and I, while the kids are at school, she always climbs in the van and says, “I sit in Jack’s blue seat.”  I tell her that’s fine, but she can’t sit in his seat when he gets out of school.  She says, “Ok. I sit in this pink seat.” (motioning to the seat next to Jack’s)  “Braska in this pink seat.” (motioning to the seat by itself.) “Jack sit in blue seat.  And Mommy drive a car.” 

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Kinlee peeks out of the playroom and says, “Hi Mommy!”  Then Braska shuts the playroom door and leaves her sister in the hall.  Kinlee looks down the hall at me and says, “Braska shut this door!”

I don’t think I’ll have much trouble knowing what’s happening and who is doing what with Miss Play By Play around.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fun at the tire store

Kinlee and I are at the amusement park that is Dobbs Tire and Auto. She has a couple of toys, including her web ball, and the rows of stacks of tires are great for running around. Thankfully the only other person waitng is a grandpa who is amused by her.

I had our regular state inspection on Monday and they mentioned the tires were in bad shape. And since I am carrying three tots (counting our favorite tagalong Jack) several times a day, it is not something to put off. We knew they were due but hadn't kept a close eye on them.

I am choosing to be thankful for this downtime instead of upset about the unplanned expense and schedule change.

I am thankful that there is a tire store with a great deal going. And I am thankful that it is right next door to the school. And I am thankful that even with all the car buying and selling and expensive repairs we have had to do to cars we no longer own that we still have funds to pay for needs like this without incurring debt.

Be thankful!

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Apria Schmapria

I'm not one to publicly rant on a particular company, as a rule. And I won't go quite to that extreme here, but come on... Apria drives me NUTS! I try to be polite, and I am never rude, though I can be a bit firm after talking to the 7th person on that one phone call, saying the same thing every time...but I always acknowledge the person I'm talking to and understand they are not solely to blame for the problems. I go in hopeful each time... Today I'll get someone nice, and knowledgeable, I'm sure of it.

We have gotten our NG tubes, extension sets, syringes, g-buttons, etc, etc, etc, from them for years. They were the only option we had on our insurance. But I can NOT tell you how many times the bills have been wrong. (Well, I can, actually...EVERY time. Literally. I have them if you want to see.) Duplicates get sent that weren't ordered, then I have to battle to get them to accept them back or write off the charges. I call them regularly to tell them HOW to rebill and fix what they've done, and yet it's continually wrong.

How can a company who is supposed to be a pro at this stuff be SO unable to efficiently and correctly manage simple orders and insurance billing?!? And how many families are paying bills that they THINK they owe, because Apria (or any other provider) is billing them for things that are just plain done wrong?!?

I have a background, a decade of experience, with insurance billing, coding, medical processes and requirements for authorizations and precerts. I get it. I know it's confusing, but I'm tired of doing THEIR job for them.

How do parents do this that don't know the ropes? I feel so sad for them, the frustration that they must deal with when they get EOBs and communications that make no sense.

Ok, so this kind of turned into a rant, but seriously... get a clue. Ramp up the quality. And provide someone on the other end of the phone who has the slightest idea of what you do as a company in the first place.

My favorite interaction today...

Him: Can you tell me the po box number for the insurance company?

Me: blah blah blah with the address...Salt Lake City, Utah.

Him: Ok..(repeats the po box) Lock Lake City, Utah.

Me: No. Salt. S.A.L.T Lake City.

Him: Oh, Salt Lake City, Utah. Hmmm.



As I said to my husband earlier...

If you don't know what Salt Lake City is when you hear three words before Utah, you have no business being in a position to receive address data.


Maybe that's harsh, but that's after a phone call that took 15 minutes (with no hold time in there) just to give my new insurance info. And I have a VERY common insurance plan. I repeated everything about 5 times. There was definitely a language barrier, and I don't think the person on the other end of the phone was in my time zone. I can have great service with both of those circumstances from other places, don't get me wrong. Just not this time.

So yes, today I have officially changed DME/home infusion providers. Thank goodness for
that chance with our new insurance. And get this... my pediatrician's office is faxing our info to them at their intake office. When I called, a person picked up the phone. And the fax number is LOCAL because their intake office is here in the StL metro! As is the distribution center. Gasp! Here's hoping it's MUCH better.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Slowest blog day of the year

Apparently everyone keels over after 31 for 21 and can't post another single solitary word! November 1 has to be the slowest blog day on the calendar, at least if you're in my Google Reader. I've been amazed all day at the peeks onto my iGoogle Homepage with my handy-dandy Google Reader widget (no, I am not getting compensation for this commercial) bringing no new posts from anyone.

Sure, there have been one or two. But after getting hit with like 80 items in the Reader every time I checked, over 300 a day, it seemed sad today to have a lull. Not that I had time to really read, but still. It's comforting. I admit my addiction.

For me the day was about "the trio," safety and emissions inspection, need for 4 new tires, diapers x3, naps x3, and lunch x3. Throw in phone calls regarding an update on the recent IEP, scheduling the yearly review from the regional center, setting up an interview for a part-time job I haven't even been looking for but that found me (we'll see what God has in store with that...), the eye doctor calling back to say that we are, in fact, probably looking at eye surgery for Braska (more on that later, when I know a bit more...and it's still a "probably"), and attempts at dinner and pathetically minimal household straightening. It was quite a day.

But we made it. It's just after 9pm and I want to crash. But I'm going to go put on my Joy FM 99.1 (again, not a paid endorsement, just a friendly recommendation for good input) and clean my kitchen with at least a respectable effort. Then I still need to do my Beth Moore study homework and at least sort the laundry so it's ready for tomorrow.

Oh darn it... I just remembered I didn't finish the license plate renewal. Already a day late. Guess I'll start with that. Thank goodness for online options.

I hope everyone else's bloggy breaks are allowing for more relaxation!

Naptime 11 . 01 . 2010

Usually “Naptime” posts are just pictures, but I’m loving this too much not to share the backstory.

Today is the first day of the “trio” days. Jack is here with us from before school to after naptime. The girls are LOVING it, let me just say. Jack is having fun, but the poor guy is just about henpecked already. I tried to be a bit of a buffer, but he is quite enough boy to take care of himself, too.

School drop off and pick up went well. I didn’t rush, just let it go as it went. (That’s new for me…I’m learning!) Lunch went well, and the kids played some before nap. Jack was VERY excited to get to Skype with his mommy and daddy before nap, though it would have been more fun for him if I had my webcam so he could SEE them. But he chatted and smiled a lot.

And can I just say, I’m still pretty impressed with the tech availability in the world. It’s neat that I can just push a button, “call” Julie over there in Far Away Land, and we chit chat like normal. (Except Allan was listening, so I didn’t talk about him like I usually do. tee hee. Hi Allan!!) And they are in the future! (7 hours worth anyway)

The kids went down very well, KiKi first, then Jack and then Braska. Jack decided he’d try out Braska’s bed, so I’m staying close to make sure he doesn’t flop out or something. But he snuggled up with Elmo and his blankie and snoozin’ came easy. (He gets TWO pics because his mommy needs as many as she can get to hold her over…)

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Now, for goodness sake… I need to take advantage of the quiet and get something done!!