Never forget...

I've been gone for almost 2 months, and the reasons would include--
1. The busiest month of cakes I have ever had.
2.  A birthday party for my favorite little booger.
3. Christmas and New Years, bowl games,and general merriment.
4.  Not one, but two, sizable snowfalls in the land of "snow flurries are called a blizzard, so when we actually have a blizzard, life as we know it is over."

I have nothing exceptionally exciting to say today, but I have just recovered from laughing so hard that I wanted to write this so I would remember what a blessing my little boy is to me. His personality shines through more and more each day, and so many little things come and go each day that I know I will never be able to remember them.  

Today's example, also known as You Know You're the Mother of a Boy When....

Jeremiah has recently become fixated on coins.  He will sit for the better part of an hour putting a gigantic pile of coins into a piggy bank. I think it started when the Salvation Army people were out-- I simply cannot walk past them without putting whatever I have in their bucket, and I let Jeremiah do the honors each time this year.  Since then, nothing makes him happier than having two or three coins clutched in each grubby little hand at all times.  Except, perhaps, putting coins into his pockets.  My dryer has probably $45 dollars in pennies rattling around in there at any given moment.

This morning, as I was answering a cake inquiry email, here came JB, running full force and obviously very excited about something.  Clad in his rocketship PJs, he came running up to me and yelled, "MOMMY!  Coins in my pocket!"

His PJ pants do not have pockets.  I was sufficiently intrigued to say, "You've got coins in your pockets??  Let me see!"   So I start playfully patting his legs and bottom searching for pockets.

The voice of an angel responds, "No, Mommy!  Coins by my winky!"

Apparently his diaper has $45 worth of coins rattling around as well.

Little booger.

Bright Ideas from Bright Starts

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a product launch event for the Kids II company at their Alpharetta headquarters.  Having never attended such an event, and having very rarely stepped out of my Mommy/Teacher Box, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.  I had a BALL!

*let me preface this with a disclaimer.  I am probably going to sound like an infomercial.  I can't help it.  I walked out of there yesterday having had such an interesting morning!  Onward.*

The Kids II people simply could not have been any nicer.  Upon my arrival, I was greeted warmly and ushered into the showroom.  It had been set up into several different areas, each showcasing a different line of Bright Starts products.  I was very familiar with most of them, having been in the baby product world just last year...  in fact, it seemed like Jeremiah owned every other thing I saw there!
My dear friend Ali was also attending, and she and I walked around examining (i.e. playing with) all the products on display.  I must say, however, I was completely and utterly fascinated with their new InGenuity line.

As each component was shown to us, I kept thinking, "Where was this two years ago??"
Turns out, the InGenuity line is so named because each and every component was designed to completely innovate the old version.  For instance, the bouncer.  Oh heavens, the bouncer!  Let me ask you-- how many times did you find yourself cooking dinner with both hands, while using one foot to keep the baby bouncer a-goin?  Sure, you might have had vibration in there, but let's face it, not every baby is a fan of the "shaky-bottom" sensation.  Enter the InGenuity Bouncer.
It actually has the technology to sense the weight of the baby, and adjusts accordingly.  Sure enough, we turned it on and off it went.  It still has the traditional toy bar and music attachments, and I can guarantee you Baby Knoll #2 will have one of these!
Also in this line, the swings.  I might have actually crawled around on the floor examining these things-- they work with electromagnets!  Fascinating!  To make a long, technical story short, the innovation in the swings is that they took away the traditional loud, scary, battery-eating motor and replaced it with a gizmo that moves the seat, virtually silently mind you, with electromagnetic pulses. You might be asking, what on earth is the point of that? I'll tell you, friends, battery life.  These swings have an estimated once-a-year battery change.  As opposed to once a week, which is what my Graco required!

We also saw a high chair that has a pivoting tray, designed to be used with one hand.  Finally, someone realized that when putting a baby into or getting a baby out of a high chair, one runs out of hands.Two hands to squeeze and lift the tray and set it on the table (probably spilling food all over the floor in the process) leaves you no hands to lift the baby. 
We saw a pack and play that has a bassinet insert that a) does not have to be removed to fold the whole thing, and b) can be adjusted to incline the baby's head.  Being a mom who a) many times left the bassinet insert at home when packing the travel crib for Grandma's, and b) had a reflux baby, I can appreciate both of these!
I'll stop rambling long enough to say this, which is what I told the Kids II people... It is extremely obvious that they talked to lots of mommies while designing this new line.  The components retain the features of the old, traditional versions, but have added a "How cool is that? I would totally use that!" twist.  I so much enjoyed the opportunity to see what kinds of things are being developed each and every day. 
The Kids II people were so very sweet to us, took a great deal of time to show us around and answer questions, and made us Mommy Bloggers feel right at home in the corporate world.  They are a company obviously focused on making life easier for everyone, from parents who use their products to the charities they benefit with their philanthropy.  They did a great job of presenting themselves, and I learned so much about a company that I had no idea was even in the area.  Such a fun morning!

Two tiny perks:
1. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons superstar, was there with his wife and children to talk about keeping it simple as a parent.  It was sort of hilarious to hear his wife talk about her experiences as a mom, and to hear him talk about how "simpler is better" works best for him when it comes to baby care.  Sometimes it's easy to forget that they are just real people like the rest of us! 

*note the autographed football for Hubs. He was thrilled*

2. A superfun gift bag containing the biggest darn cupcake I've ever seen.  I didn't know it was possible to put so much frosting on a tiny little cake.  There is no photograph of that.  It might have been gobbled up by all three of us within 30 seconds of opening the wrapper.  Whoops!


So much to be thankful for, as I am reminded with each year that passes.  Last week, I got to spend lots of time with lots of my favorite people, and (despite the running around to 4 Thanksgivings and putting approximately 1500 miles on my car in a 5 day span), I found myself thinking about how fortunate Mike, Jeremiah, and I are to have our families so close to us.  It's something I've always taken for granted-- I grew up assuming that everyone's grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins lived less than an hour away.  I realize now that my great big crazy family is abnormal for a lot of reasons, our physical proximity being probably the least! :-)

Our week of festivities started with hauling it down to Callaway Gardens for Fantasy in Lights. We had a group of about 20 by the time we all met up, and by the time we boarded the Jolly Trolley, it was POURING.  I love Callaway, and I have many fond memories of spending summers there with my grandmother so I could go to circus camp.  The place looks and feels the same, and just being there took me back to such happy times.  Standing in the pouring rain for 30 minutes waiting to board our Jolly Trolley will not be one of my happy time memories, but at one point we were just all so wet that there was nothing to do but laugh.  We filed onto our Jolly Trolley and rode through the wonderland, singing at the top of our lungs and cracking up laughing.

Jeremiah had a BALL.  He was absolutely captivated by the whole thing.  I am sad I could not get better pictures, but it was all I could do to hold him with one arm and shield us with my raincoat with the other arm.  Still, he just loved it.  He gave us the running commentary as we were driving by ("TRAIN!  MOMMY!  BUTTERFLY!  DADDY! FROG! SANTA!  SNOWFLAKES! It's amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!"), and he is still talking about the frog that jumps into the pond. That was his favorite.  My favorite will forever be the twin trees.

Thursday, Mike was at work so JB and I headed up to The Farm with Dad, Sister, and her girls.  WE HAD A BALL UP THERE!  My great uncle Billy, his wife Nell, their son Wes, and his wife Darlene hosted us city-slickers for the day (meal #1).  Whenever we go up there, they are so gracious about showing us around and answering 1000 questions about how to run a cattle farm.  Thursday did not disappoint, as we all fed the bulls and then piled in the tractor to mosey around the cow pasture.  Jeremiah was in HEAVEN.  We had such a wonderful time everyone up there!

Thursday night, JB and I met up with Mike at his Mom's house for their family dinner (#2 for us).  Jeremiah got to meet his great grandma and great aunt for the first time, and we all had a ball eating some yummy yummy food!  "Granny Peg" and Grandpa Noel were kind enough to keep Jeremiah for us so that Mike and I could continue our 3rd annual Black Friday shopping trip.  True to form, we did not get out as early as we wanted, but we go sooooo much shopping done.  I don't think he has as much fun as I do, but at least he's a sport about it.  Starbucks is an integral part of Black Friday for hubs!

Friday night, I cooked Meal #3 (turkey, potatoes, green beans, home made yeast rolls, cranberry sauce) for Mike's dad, stepmom, and stepsisters to enjoy while visiting at our house.  As one of JB's aunties works at a bakery, and the other works at Godiva, we were stuffed to the gills by the end of it!  We laughed and had a great time catching up.

Saturday, we piled in the car again and headed to our family lake house on Lake Rabun for Thanksgiving #4 with Dad's side of the family.  I love that we made the choice to celebrate together a few days after the actual holiday-- it's much more relaxed and the GA/Ga Tech game is now a part of our tradition.  We decided to just do soup and chili this year instead of the full on buffet, and I think it might stick. It was great!  I love being up there.  Such good times with such good people.

So much activity squeezed into 5 days, but how blessed are we to get to spend the holiday with so many of our loved ones?  Up next, JB's birthday extravaganza!

*in other news, I have 5 cake orders due this week.  Check the cake blog often, and send help if you see a cloud of powdered sugar and buttercream erupting from my house. :-)


I took a brief blog hiatus, at least it would appear that way here.  If you were to click HERE, however, you would see what I have been up to for the last few weeks.  In my absence here,  Loulu's Bake Shop has taken off full force, and I am so extremely excited about that.  

What has happened in the life of the Knolls?  Not alot, to be honest.  Another reason I took a break... I was having a hard time finding myself interesting enough to write about!  So, today, I shall share with you my top 10 Stay At Home Mommy Lessons learned thus far.

1.Being a stay at home mommy does not translate into a life of leisure.  I have told anybody who will listen that I am 10 times more busy now than I ever was when I was working.  I think when you imagine yourself to have vast expanses of free time, you suddenly find 40,000 things to fill it up.

2. Being a stay at home mommy means I'm not a teacher anymore.  Making the switch from full time teaching to substitute teaching has not been easy, but it has completely confirmed in every bone of my body that I needed to take this year off.  I still get to work with kids, alot of them now past students of mine, but I get to choose to go in once or twice a week.  Work has been steady, as there is never a shortage of need for substitutes, and my reputation as the 6th Grade Terminator has helped tremendously!

3.  Being a stay at home mommy is a learning experience. Now that Jeremiah and I are spending so much time together, we are learning all sorts of hilarious things about each other.  For instance, he and I share the "gotta get out of the house once a day" gene.  If it gets to be 3 in the afternoon and we haven't left the house yet, he will look at me and say, "Go?"  Or he will go upstairs, put on my sunglasses, high heeled shoes, and grab one of my old purses.  He knows that those are the "ready to go" signals, he just has yet to learn that those are perhaps best suited to Mommy. :-)

4.  Being a stay at home mommy has turned me into Coupon Clipping Psycho Abby.  I made a decision that, if I was going to stay home for a year, I would do my best to contribute however I could (ie subbing) and save as much money as I could (coupons and not buying every item Gymboree produces).  I have made a complete switch from someone who never had any trouble spending money on anything to someone who will literally walk away from a can of tomatoes because they were 10 cents cheaper at Kroger.  I think there is a happy medium to be reached out there somewhere!

5.  Being a stay at home mommy has made  me painfully aware of the ridiculous children's programming available today.  Try as we might, we were not able to keep Barney out of our home.  He is our daily guest at 11 am.  While I am cooking dinner, Jeremiah is entertained by the Fresh Beat Band.  I do not know how it happens, but somehow he and I both wind up dancing around the living room to the "Get up and Go Go" Song.  I guess at some point you just have to embrace it.

6.  Being a stay at home mommy has not made me love laundry.  If you hated to do laundry before becoming a stay at home mommy, you will hate it afterwards, too.  There is not a magical switch.  Sigh.

7.  Being a stay at home mommy is for me.  Some people are cut out to stay home, and some aren't.  I have lots of friends who have mentioned that they would much rather work than stay home all day with their kids.  Not because they don't love their kids, but because they need adult interactions, need to step out of the mommy box, etc. etc. etc.  I do not judge those people at all, just as I hope they don't judge me for being completely and 100 percent happy in the mommy box with its shortage of adult interactions. Most adults I interact with, at work or in social situations, are mommies too, so it kind of works.

8.  Being a stay at home mommy can literally change your outward appearance.  I can not tell you how many times I have been stopped by people who haven't seen me in a while to hear them say, "Abby!  You look fantastic!  So rested and happy!"  It's one of those moments where you find yourself thinking, "How awful did I look before???" Still, I guess inward happiness really can manifest itself outwardly.

9.  Being a stay at home mommy might somehow cause you to find a reason to be at the Starbucks.  Every. Single. Day.

10.  Being a stay at home mommy is an exercise in daily hilarity.  I honestly can say that I laugh out loud at least 5 times a day at Jeremiah's antics.  He does things that have me thinking, "Where on earth did he pick that up?" Today, it was running around with my fold out paper cutter, snapping the arm up and down and yelling, "ACTION!"  What in the world?

We are all preparing for the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Birthday Party Throwdown in a few weeks.  I do not think anyone is more excited than Jeremiah, but I am a close second.  Mostly because we ordered this for his birthday present from us and the grandparents, and I can't wait to test it before the party.  Just to be sure it's safe, you know. :-)

(no subject)

Poor Jeremiah.  Poor poor Jeremiah.  He is cutting his 2 year molars, and we are in hell.  He has been such a good teether-- we rarely had any fevers, yucky diapers, or wailing.  He had always been a gnawer and a drooler, but that's no big deal. 
Enter the 2 year molars.
He still hasn't been too bothered by them, except in the diaper area.  He has had such awful diapers that he has developed the most terrible diaper rash I have ever seen.  So bad that it became infected. Let me tell you how fun that is for everybody!!!
Thankfully, we stumbled across this miracle in a tube:

The first time we put it on his poor raw skin, he screamed bloody murder.  Apparently, this is not uncommon as I later read reviews saying the same thing happened to other mom's babies.  He screamed and screamed for about 5 minutes and then drifted off to sleep.  In the 3 days we have been using it, we have seen miracles occur!  It's still not completely gone, but my goodness it's been a lifesaver.  Worth every penny of the FIFTEEN DOLLARS (yes you read that right... we were desperate!).

Anyway.  Onward.

Day 15:  Your Dream House

Because I love to look for houses as much as I do, my list of requirements for a "dream house" is about as long as my left leg.  A few highlights:
5 bedrooms
Jack-and-jill bathroom for kiddos to share (I think it goes back to 90210 with Brenda and Brandon!)**
Knee space for a vanity built into the master bathroom
No gold hardware anywhere
Cabinets in the laundry room**
Basement for husband's man cave and my craft room**
Flat back yard
Side entry 3 car garage** (we only have 2)
Coffered ceilings
Breakfast bar** (our is not functional)
Keeping room off of kitchen**
Kitchen Island**
Double ovens**
Walk in pantry**

**designate items currently missing from my home.  I love my house, and I will go from this house to the nursing  home unless I come into millions of dollars.  In which case I will live here.  Except it will have cherry cabinets, thankyouverymuch.

Day 16:  A Song That Makes You Cry

"Never Alone" by Lady Antebellum.  My dear friend Ali put it on a CD that she made for me when Mom died, and this song in particular just absolutely sends me over the edge.  It is the perfect expression of what my mom would have said to me, given a chance, and I fully intend to have this playing during my cheesy funeral slideshow.  Oh yes, I am having a cheesy funeral slideshow.  I think they are the perfect way to show a person's life in 5 minutes or less, and every time I have seen one it has felt like that person is still right there with us.  It will be the only 5 minutes of my funeral in which anyone is allowed to cry, and then you all must dry it up and tell funny stories.  I want the whole thing over with in 15 minutes or less, and then I want you all to go get some pancakes at Mimi's.  I digress.

Day 17:  An Art Piece (drawing, painting, or sculpture)
I am frantically flipping through my mental flashcards from my Monuments of Art History course from my first semester at UGA.  I have not arrived at anything.  I am not a great art connoisseur, but I sure do like looking at pretty things.  I don't "get" alot of what is considered to be great art, and my knowledge of  most artsy things is limited to what resides in reprints at Hobby Lobby. 

I love Degas and his dancers,

I love Mondrian and his lines,

and I love Vettriano because, um, they're pretty??

I'm a simple kind of gal.  I think I am going to go dig out my art history text booK!

More catchup!

I am terrible at this.  Seriously!

Day 12:  Something You Are OCD About
I sort of wish I could be OCD.  I have a mixture of mockery and admiration for people who are OCD about aspects of their lives.  I think the only thing I am OCD about is not being OCD.  I'm not superclean and organized.  I don't follow the same patterns or routines to the letter each day.  I sometimes envy people who will not leave their home until the dishwasher is unloaded.  I sometimes envy people who can't go to bed until they've turned off the stove 4 times and checked the alarm 5, mostly because I consistently forget to turn off the oven and turn on the alarm.  Sigh.
I guess I do have things I am "firm" about. 
-I WILL NOT leave my house, I don't care what the emergency, without makeup on (the barest minimum is foundation, blush, and mascara).  If I'm pressed for time, I will take it in the car with me. It's funny, after all my talking yesterday about being self confident and not having issues with how I look.  There should be a big asterisk there:
 "I don't have self esteem issues about how I look*"
*so long as I feel that I have the appropriate amount of makeup on.
-Once I get my mind made up to do something, I don't rest until it's done.  This can be quite detrimental to a Craft Queen like me, who will start a project at 9:30 one night and be up for 27 hours to finish it.  I just can't start something and leave it and come back.  Whenever I try, I will either lay in my bed, drive around town, or sit at work thinking about it.  I like to start things and finish them asap.  Again, I need asterisk:  "I like to start things and finish them promptly.*"
*this does not apply to laundry

Day 13/14:  A Fiction Book/A Non-Fiction Book

Didn't I answer this in the Favorite Book entry?  I find this topic heading to be vague, so let's change it to Currently Reading Fiction and Non-Fiction Book.  Speaking of books, I am terribly excited to start taking JB to the library that's just up the street from us.  I have always loved to read, and I will reread books that I purchase over and over and over.  Still, there are lots of books I'd like to read before purchasing, and the library is perfect for that.  Jeremiah loves loves LOVES to read, and we have read all of his books about 40 times each.  I think he would like being able to choose 2 or 3 each week to spice things up a little!  Perhaps we will start next week, now that school is back in session and we can go during the day when it is empty.  It saddens me that people have forgotten about libraries and that so many are closing.  That's another soap box for another day.  Moving on!!

Fiction Book-- *sound the nerd sirens*

I recently started (again) my reread of all the Harry Potters to get myself ready for the premiere of the seventh movie in November.  My friend Erica and I always go together (even when she is about 20 months pregnant and grouchy, bless her!) and we always reread all the books first.  I've only read through the whole series back to back once (I've read the lower books countless times each), and I've only read the last book once, so I'm excited to do so again.  I was so excited to plow through it the first time that I think I missed several things. It really is astounding, if you read all seven of them back to back, how much detail and how many small ties run between the major plot lines of each.  She has an astonishing imagination, and I have no shame in being so completely tied up in kids books.  As I mentioned before, I call it "professional research" for being a middle school language arts teacher!

Non-Fiction Book-- *the nerd alarms need to ring louder at this stage*

I am obsessed with history books. Biographies, historical essays, things that were written during some of the greatest times in history and have since become part of the "history" story themselves.  My favorites are my Alison Weir biographies of English monarchs.  I recently read Phillipa Gregory's The Last Boleyn Girl (such fun, trashy "historical" fiction) at the same time as I was reading Weir's The Six Wives of Henry the VIII just to see how well researched Gregory was.  (My judgment-- for someone who cited Weir as one of her sources, Gregory did a fine job of venturing off into crazy town with her plot lines.  Lord help me, as I watch myself type I inwardly cringe at how happy such activities make me!)  So, after reading Henry's wives I've gone back to another one of hers about the Princes in the Tower.  FASCINATING.  It really is.  I know you don't believe me.  :-)


Back from the stomach flu that laid me out in my bed for 3 days.  Thank you, God, for allowing it to be 3 days on which my husband did not have to work!! He really picked up my slack and played Mr. Mom while I slept.  And slept.  And slept.  That's about the only way to recover!!

I think I will have to do 2 a days for a while to get caught up, so here we go:

Blog Journal Day 10:  A Photo of You Taken More Than 10 Years Ago

Thanks to my dearest, darling, sister, there is an entire Facebook gallery devoted to the most tragic, awful pictures of me during childhood. I am not entirely sure what possessed her to make such things public, but at least now I have no remaining shame about my awkward years!  For that reason, let's just lay it out there...

4th Grade-- me at the height of my nerdiness.  The glasses.  The teeth.  THE BANGS!
I was completely oblivious to how wretched I looked.  Thankfully, I never had any real struggles with self esteem, for which I thank my parents.  They convinced me that I was pretty fantastic, and I truly didn't care (most of the time) what other people thought.  There was one time in middle school that someone made fun of my Dolphins Are Friends of the Earth tshirt during PE, but other than that there were really very few instances that I felt bad about myself or how I looked.  College was probably the time I worried about it the most, which is funny because that's when I looked the best!  Sigh. It's funny that I feel so sorry for myself looking back now-- I was perfectly happy then!!

Blog Journal Day 11:  A Photo Taken of You Recently

Yikes.... I find myself on the other side of the camera these days!  I seriously had to dig back pretty far to find one where I didn't have on sunglasses, and there are not any of me by myself, so I shall use this one from March at our anniversary dinner.  I sure do have a cutie pie husband!

"Go play??"

I hear this at least once an hour every day.  It's Jeremiah's way of requesting that we go to the playground, and more often than not we will wind up at some sort of playground by the day's end.  That's what happened today, and we spent most of the afternoon at Playtown Suwanee.  It wasn't too hot and there were hardly any other people there, so Jeremiah and I had a grand old time! 
I actually managed to snap a few pictures of him today, which I am trying to be better about doing. I am NOT a photographer-- how I wish i was! My dad and my aunt Nesie have that innate ability to point and shoot and have something breathtaking result.  As Mike never remembers to take pictures of anything, leaving me in charge of our photodocumentation, most of our family pictures are blurry, out of focus, and of objects instead of people.  I'm making a concerted effort to take more pictures, especially since Jeremiah loves looking through them so.  I managed to get a few cute ones today, and that's what I will use for today's blog entry,,, not because I am particularly proud of them, but because they're the first thing I thought of!

Blog Journal Day 9:  A Photo You Took (or 4 in my case)

My favorite little boy-- snips and snails and puppy dog tails all the way!  He is a walking disaster and I couldn't love him more.


A brief anecdote before I answer today's blog topic-- this afternoon, I had one of those moments that will invariably pop up in any mommy's life, those moments that you knew were probably coming but still make you think, "Whose child is this????"
Jeremiah had taken a nice long nap, which meant that I had taken a nice long nap as well.  I woke up to the sound of him babbling in his crib, talking to his animals.  Shortly thereafter, I heard his sweet little voice start calling, "Clean up Mommy! Clean up!"
Intrigued, I went into his room to find my sweet little boy's face covered with a mystery substance.  Upon closer inspection it appeared that my sweet little boy had used the contents of his diaper to give himself a little makeover. 
I cannot describe my reaction. I stood there for approximately 30 seconds in absolute shock, then I yanked him out of his bed and took him straight to the bathroom.  I attempted to explain it away that perhaps his diaper had suffered structural failure. Nope-- diaper was fine, there was nothing on his sheets or anywhere else...he had obviously been a man on a singular mission. Mission accomplished, JB!  Mommy was officially horrified!!!
Oh Mommy adventures.

*cleansing breath... onward!*

Blog Journal Day 7:  A Photo That Makes You Sad or Angry (an in this case, happy or wistful or thankful or...)

Some days I try to avoid looking at pictures of Mom because doing so can result in a feeling similar to being kicked in the stomach.  "Sad or angry" to be sure-- sad because I miss her and because she was taken so unexpectedly. Selfishly angry because some days I want to stomp my feet and have a temper tantrum because I want my mom.
Other days I will stare at her picture and feel her with me.  I am reminded by looking at her how much she loved me and what a tremendous mother she was.  I think of the fact she's with Jesus and Nanny and Granddaddy and everyone else and that her knees don't hurt anymore.  I count the 10 million blessings I have in my life that don't make up for the loss of her but certainly make things easier.
I love this picture, but it can quite literally hurt to look at it-- Mom, Sister, and I had such a wonderful relationship.  Being an adult and being "friends" with Mom (with the understanding that she, quote, "could still whoop us") was such a comfort to me.  I really have to dig myself out of the pity party mentality some days, and shut down the "sad or mad" feelings right quick.  Mom deserves better than that, and it's not something I want clouding my memories of her.  Still, it happens.  It probably always will.

*side note: I was literally dropped to my knees the other day while coloring with Jeremiah.  He's to the point now where he will tell us about his picture-- usually a choochoo train.  I asked him, as always, what he was drawing.  "Ebo," he replied.  I waited a few minutes, he moved on to a new page, and I flipped back and asked him again what he had drawn.  "Ebo," he replied again.  Somewhere in that mess of crayon scribbles, was his vision of the love of his grandmother. I don't doubt for a second that she watches over us all, but particularly the little boy she was so desperately  waiting to meet. It absolutely stopped my heart to hear him say that-- what further proof could anyone need that a mother/grandmother's love knows no bounds?  That we can still feel them with us after they're gone?
I felt it starting to rise... pain in my heart that Jeremiah never got to meet her.  So, I knelt and thanked God for the life of my mom, and asked His help in passing on her legacy to my children and grandchildren.  I arose with a feeling of peace and comfort, which beats the "mad sads" any day.

Swinger Sweats

I love Tuesday night Bible study for many many reasons-- such silliness combined with such intense time in Scripture.  This blog title is for your, gals!

I skipped another day.  Shame.  Mostly it's because Mike has been off the last 2 days, and we have been enjoying family time in this gorgeous weather!  I'd much rather be at the playground with my boys than typing, which is why all of my blog posts (like this one!) are written after everyone else goes to bed.

Must play catch up!

Blog Journal Day 6:  20 Favorite Things
Finally, a chance to have multiple favorites!! Undoubtedly, my favorite things are my friends and family, but I guess they all would count as 20 favorite people and that would be an impossible list.  I shall try to stick to 20 favorite THINGS, but I must cheat and throw some places in there as well.  I am a rule breaker, after all!
I think I keep them in business single-handedly.  My first clue that there might be an iced coffee addiction should have been the fact that barely-year-old Jeremiah shouted "CA-TEE!" as we drove by one day.  Now, he says, "Mommy catee!"  He knows.  He doesn't mind, actually, because it usually means a "JB milk" too!

This is a sight that always literally brings tears of happiness to my eyes.  It is my favorite place to be, brings back such wonderful memories for me, and promises to make so many new happy memories for our family.  I do not think I will be able to go much longer without getting the stick figure family wearing Mouse Ears for the back of my car.  I proudly drink the Disney Kool-aid.
If my TV only had one channel, this would be it.  I find it to be riveting.  In a 3 hour period, you can be amazed (Cake challenges and Iron Chef), inspired (Ina and Alton), and revolted (SANDRA!  *hand flaps*).  I love love this channel and I love love to cook.
Running is my happy place, when I am in shape.  When I am out of shape, like now, running is my archnemesis.  I have to remind myself of the reward- how good I feel, how fantastic my clothes fit, etc. etc. etc.  to get motivated.  Being a mommy makes it hard to find time to run as much as I would like, hence the current out-of-shape feeling.  
I am not allowed to have very expensive electronics as I destroy them in a matter of days.  Having a little one means increased wear and tear, so no pricey MP3 players for me.  Hubs bought me this tiny little guy that holds all the songs I need it to, and it gets me through my miles on the treadmill.  It contains about 150 songs, but a thousand memories to go with them.  A most welcome distraction and I would be LOST without it.
I would go shopping every day of the week if I had a bank account to back it up. I am actually quite good at spending an entire day at the mall without spending a dime, simply because I love to browse and try things on and mentally note what to wait for on sale.  I HATED shopping until I was 16, and I think I am still making up for lost time.  Interestingly, I only like shopping if I don't need anything specific.  If I am looking for, say, a dress for a wedding that is 3 days away, it invariably gets real ugly real fast.
I would wager that I am wearing jeans approximately 250 days out of the year, even in the dead of summer.  I don't know why, but that's what I am most comfortable in. I chose this particular image to accompany this because they are jeans from Express.  Nowhere else in America have I found (believe me, I have looked!) jeans that fit me.  To quote the great bard Sir Mix-a-lot, when you are "little in the middle but you got much back," finding something that fits without being altered is a chore.  I will probably still be buying Express jeans long after it is appropriate for me to even set foot in that store.  I already get sideways glances when I go in there with a stroller.  Too bad-- it's either those or my maternity jeans.  Come to think of it, I miss those maternity jeans.  Yay for stretchy waistbands!!
I can stay in a Hobby Lobby for HOURS.  Fabric.  Crafts.  Cake supplies.  Home decorations.  HOLIDAY DECOR!!! Jeremiah does not love Hobby Lobby, mostly I think because he knows it is like a black hole that sucks us in for what could be a very very long time.  And everything is always on sale!!! Love it.
If you were to peek into Jeremiah's closet, you would immediately see why this is on my list.  I blame my obsession on my sister, who in turn blames my mom.  Once you go Gymboree, you don't go back.  It is unmatched in durability, and things go on sale so quickly that price really isn't that big a deal if you are smart about it.  Poor Jeremiah. He will be rocking the Gymbo clothes until he bursts the seams.
There was a time in our newlywed lives that we ordered pizza 3 times a week. I love it, Mike loves it, and now Jeremiah loves it.  Were it not for the slowing metabolism of old age, we would have this alot at our house.  It just makes us happy.
I gained 45 lbs when I was pregnant, and this is probably why.  Some days I wake up and think, "I must have a cheeseburger today.  I must."  It becomes something I cannot stop thinking about. I wish I knew what triggered these days, so  I could turn it off!!!
I am lucky to have married a husband who loves looking at houses as much as I do.  We have been known to waste an entire day driving around peeking into houses under construction, despite the fact that we are quite happily (and permanently, barring a lotto win!) settled in our house.  I love to walk through them, big, small, fancy, plain....
i don't care where we go, let's just go somewhere!! Even our recent 16-hr road trip to upstate New York was exciting for me. I am married to the world's biggest homebody, so going on vacation is sometimes tricky.  He's getting a lot better, probably because he has no choice.  I was fortunate enough to go on some spectacular trips as a child, and I gained so many wonderful memories and experiences as a result.  I hope to be able to do the same thing for Jeremiah!  
I LOVE to look at pretty, sparkly things. The fancier, the better. Strangely, I usually have on the same 2 rings and bracelet every day. I keep the same studs in my ears for weeks and have had the same watch for almost 10 years.  My sweet hubby has done a wonderful job of starting and adding to a collection of jewelry for me. 
I am not allowed in here more than about once a month, simply because I will convince myself to spend $400 in a flash.  The flowers. The produce.  The meat.  The pre-made salads and meals!!!  I love love love Whole Foods and always leave ready to conquer any culinary challenge I can find.  
I love to be at the lake.  It is so peaceful and so relaxing.  The best sleep in the world to be had when it is raining.  Still, the cabin and I are on an understanding that I will not be back if I ever walk in to find Jake the Snake in there.  Period. End of story.
I love the sound of the waves.  I love to lay in the sun. I love the laid back lifestyle and the seafood restaurants. I love that any beach setting probably has putt-putt courses nearby.  I do not love the ocean or its creatures.  My love affair with the beach ends where the water begins!
I will read guide books cover to cover.  Even for places I have visited a million times, or places that I will only be visiting for 24 hours.  They are so very full of strange little tidbits of little-known information, and I read them for weeks leading up to the actual trip.  I get so much more excited about the journey, plan what I want to do while I am there, and start researching hotels and restaurants.  The Hawaii guidebook I bought for our honeymoon was the source of our first married fight-- I dragged my poor new husband all over Honolulu on a historical walking tour highlighted in the book.  His appreciation for the plight of Queen Lili ran out pretty quick, and he was not at all interested in the fate of the leper monk.  He perked up when we stumbled upon the only Irish pub in Hawaii!!
I adore looking at picture albums.  I have tried very very hard to keep all of our pictures in albums, with captions next to each.  Mom and Dad took so many pictures of us growing up, but Mom always lamented that she got behind in putting them in albums and they turned into an unmanageable pile in the dining room drawers.  I've been diligent about it, and nothing makes me happier than when Jeremiah says, "Pictures, mommy?"  He loves to thumb through the albums and point to the people he knows.  We go through at least 2 albums every day.  I hope I can stay on top of it-- I loved looking at pictures and hearing stories of me as a child, and I hope I can do that for my kids also!
Much the same as picture albums, I find home videos to be absolutely priceless.  We have some of the most hilarious videos (about 25 VHS tapes worth!) from when Sister and I were growing up-- they can still bring us to tears from laughing so hard.  Dad was always on the "cutting edge" of technology, so we were well documented from the outset, even if it meant literally lugging the entire VCR around Washington DC.  Now that cameras have gotten to be so small, I have no excuse not to continue that fine family tradition. I'm not as good about it as I should be!

Blog Journal Day 7:  A Photo That Makes You Happy

This was such a hard choice.  Pictures really do speak a thousand words to me, and I have so many that can take me back to that moment in time in a flash.  Still, I had to choose, and after flipping through them all 100 times I chose this one... taken when I was about 15 weeks pregnant with Jeremiah. I had waited my whole life to be married and starting a family of my own, and when I saw this picture, I literally stopped dead in my tracks and thought, "This is it. This is the beginning of the life I have wanted for so long."  So many blessings and answered prayers in one picture.  I have it on my fridge, and I know that there will come a day when Mike and I both say, "Were we ever that young? We were just babies having a baby!"