Tuesday, October 30, 2012

There is a piece of paper filed away upstairs that states that today is a certain girl's birthday.  She's a girly girl, the reason I no longer hate pink with mad passion.  She's sweet and lovable, though often she's too smart for her own good.  She likes sleeping in most days, and loves curling up in the recliner to watch television.
That piece of paper is a special piece of paper. It's the first of its kind that I ever received.  It states that this special girl was born on October 30, 2007 to Princess Abbagail II and Daddy's Little Butterball.  You thought that I was talking about the Firecracker?  No, no.  I'm talking about the first girl I was ever Mommy to, Miss Lucy Snowflake.  Today she is five years old.

Five years is a big deal in human years.  I guess that it is in dog years as well.  Only, in two birthdays she'll qualify as a senior, and I'll never be able to think of Lucy as old.  At five, she's still far more puppyish than three-year-old Dory most days.  I love her puppy behavior.  Most of all I just love her.

She wasn't my first dog.  I had a great dog growing up named Jetta.  However, Lucy was the first dog that I picked.  She's the first being who totally relied on me to keep her alive.  I don't love Dory any less, but Lucy is very much my heart-dog.  She and I are just that in sync.

Lucy was the first to know that I was pregnant and that things weren't going well three years ago during my first pregnancy.  She suddenly grew very protective of me.  When I went into labor with Firecracker on THE MORNING I was scheduled for cesarean, she realized something was wrong, got scared, had to go outside for a stomach ache, then stuck to me like glue until we left for the hospital.

When I'm sick, she knows and will crawl into bed, onto the couch, or the recliner to comfort me and keep me warm.  When I first read that my friend Matt had passed away almost a month ago, Lucy ran to take care of me.

She takes care of Dory and Firecracker, letting me know when Dory needs to potty, and has woke me up when Firecracker was upset in the past before the baby monitor would alert me.  She has quirks and almost every day it seems that she develops a new phobia.  She loves to play, and loves getting a biscuit to share with Dory after most meals that I cook so much that she'll force us to wash the dishes as soon as we finish eating.

She's starting to really try to play with Firecracker.  She's so careful with the baby that you can tell she really wishes that the baby was four or five years old rather than eight months, but there's love there.  She's a prissy thing who likes to wear pink and be pretty.  Mostly she's just my Lucy-girl, and I adore her.

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

Catching Up: Part One

Monday, October 29, 2012

The problem with having planned posts for basically two weeks in a row, is that I don't get a chance to blog about anything else that's going on in our lives.  Despite having been down and out with a cold some, the world has continued to turn.  So, I'll take a couple of posts to catch up on everything.

Ever so slowly, we are recovering from the horrible cold that Firecracker picked up in church two weeks ago and subsequently passed on to us.  I mentioned on Facebook at one point that recovering from my cesarean was easier than getting over this thing.  I still don't remember the last time I had just a plain old cold.  Firecracker and I are mostly well now, save for our noses still being a little snotty.
Out Cold

For B, well the cold settled in his chest, and I had him go to the doctor Friday after he choked on a little Benadryl tablet Thursday night.  Thankfully it hadn't progressed into anything more.  B's doctor prescribed a cough suppressant - antihistamine with hydrocodone in it.  I swear the doctor knew B well enough to know that B can't rest.  He always has to be doing something.  It can be downright maddening for this girl who enjoys sitting down in the evenings to a good book or knocking out a blog post in the quiet.  This stuff knocks him out cold.  So much so, that Saturday night before I left to pick up some supper at Feltner Bros, I had to wake him and make sure he could stay awake to watch Firecracker, who is crawling now.  I think that it's a given that we didn't make it to church yesterday.

Yes, you read correctly.  Last Monday, the Firecracker finally decided to start crawling.  Now she is everywhere.  I am thrilled and freaked out at the same time.  It's funny, but she decided to start doing several things at one time.  She's crawling, she's trying to push and pull herself up now, and she's giving kisses like crazy.
She crawled into the toy basket.

I think what I like the most about Firecracker crawling is that she'll pick up a book and bring it to me to read.  She'll pick the book that she wants, and it's just so, so , so amazing to watch her personality grow and develop in front of me.

Today I took her to a pediatric optometrist for her infant eye exam.  She has a healthy set of eyes, but she is her Mom and Dad's girl.  She also has astigmatism.  Right now, nothing will be done correctively, but when she's three we'll have her examined again and go from there.
She is NOT a morning girl.

We would joke about the probability that she'll have to wear glasses, since B and I both do.  Still yet, knowing that my perfect baby girl with her perfectly sweet eyes will likely have to wear glasses in a few years is something to get used to.  I can't wait to try and have a three year old keep up with glasses.  It is good to be aware of this early though.  B and I both weren't diagnosed until we were fairly old.  Things like sports might have been much easier for us.
She will wake up for shopping.

As usual, a little retail therapy at Barnes and Noble, Target, and PetSmart made Little Miss Firecracker a happy girl.  Be sure to check out for Part Two of Catching Up later, whenever I get around to writing it.
Protecting our eyes

Oh, please pray for my friends E Louise Bates, Cath, and beautifulmonday.  They are all in or have been in the path of Sandy.

Ten Things I Am Grateful For

Friday, October 26, 2012

Finishing up The Week of Lists, I feel the need to write out one more top ten list.  This one is pretty easy.  It's ten thing that I am grateful for.  With Thanksgiving less than a month away, I'm just getting a head start.

10.  Home - What is home?  Where is home?  I've been a little homesick lately for where I grew up, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and the people I've known all of my life.  We almost got to see everyone last weekend, but the cold from hell stopped us.  You know what though?  While we were at my in-laws, all miserable from being sick, I just wanted to go home.  I wrote a post on my old blog some five years ago about where home is now.  I realized then that my home is here.  When we're driving up 540, and I can start to see Old Main and the rest of the U of A campus, I start to feel at home, just as seeing Sugarloaf, Cavanal, and Poteau Mountain in the distance make me feel at home.  These four walls are my home right now.  We may leave some day for a place that's a little bigger (not that our house isn't fairly spacious), but ultimately where B, Firecracker, Lucy, and Dory are is home.  I am very thankful for my home in a literal and figurative sense.

9. Income - I'm grateful that B has a good, stable job where he is appreciated, and that it enables me to stay home with Firecracker.

8.  Health - I had my yearly exam a couple of weeks ago.  Not that I have any symptoms, but I'm always a little nervous before I go.  Now that I have Firecracker I especially pray all is well.  It is, and for that I am thankful.  I want to be here for her growing up, and her kids' growing up as well.

7. Sense of Humor - If I couldn't laugh, I would probably cry a lot more often.  Being able to laugh has helped me hurdle past some very difficult times.  Laughter is a gift from God, when it's in the right context.  Never take it for granted.

6. The Internet - I think that being a SAHM is much easier now that we have the Internet as a means of communication.  It helps us keep from feeling quite so isolated.

5. Friends - Near and far, old and new, friends are always worth more than gold.

4.  Lucy and Dory - These two keep me company, protect me, make me laugh, and even keep me warm.  They're true friends, and I wish dogs lived as long as humans, because I can't imagine what our home will be like when one or both are no longer here.

3.  Firecracker - She is everything I dreamed that she would be and more.  She is the child that I prayed for, the child that I cherish, and the child who can absolutely drive me insane.  Life is sweeter with her here.

2.  B - My best friend, my companion, my love.  He also drives me insane, but I wouldn't want to share my life with anyone else.  He really is the first person I want to share something with, good or bad.  He's my other half.

1.  My Salvation - Throughout all the good times, the bad, the sad times, and whenever I wouldn't be able to carry on, I know that I am a child of the living God.  I know that my sins have been atoned for by the blood of Jesus Christ.  I know that I am His, and that ultimately my home is in Heaven.

Ten Baby(ish) Products I Can't Do Without

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I've learned over the past thirty-six weeks to appreciate many, many different things. You would be amazed what I have learned that I really don't want to do without. Here are ten things that may seem odd, but I have come to rely on for Firecracker.

  1. Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream - Firecraker had baby acne fairly bad.  I was hesitant to put regular baby lotion on her face, so I bought this.  It cleared up her face and keeps it well moisturized.  I still put it on her face daily.  When I forget, you can tell.  I showed it to my sister--in-law when we were in CO, and now she uses it on Pistol's face as well.

  2. Fisher Price Travel Care™ Deluxe Diaper Changer - I had been using the changing pad that came with Firecracker's crappy diaper bag for months.  However, I bought this before our trip to CO.  It is a lifesaver.  You have a place for diapers, wipes, it comes with little trash bags, it's portable, and best of all it's wide.  You want something big and wide when you have to place your kid on a nasty changing station somewhere.

  3. DVR - Every day, our DVR records Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Play With Me Sesame.  We don't always get around to watching them, but sometimes when we need to do something, it's wonderful to always have an episode of one of Firecracker's favorite TV shows to keep her entertained.  Yes, I let my infant watch TV.  I don't think her mind is rotting due to it, either.

  4. Digital Camera - We would be in the poor house if we had to pay money for film and to get it developed.  Thank goodness we live in the digital age, and I can take all the pictures I want of my baby.  Have a DSLR and a few good lenses is also wonderful, because I don't have to pay to have Firecracker's picture made professionally every couple of months.

  5. Shutterfly - I do want to have prints made of some of the better pictures I take.  I also love compiling photo books and other photo related things.  So, I love Shutterfly.  I've used iPhoto a lot, but I think Shutterfly has so many more options, and the pricing is reasonable.

  6. Smart Phone - When I don't want to carry my DSLR, it's nice to have a phone to take pictures.  My current smart phone isn't so smart.  However, B and I are getting iPhone 5's for Christmas when he has to start paying for his own phone again, and it will be cheaper for us to be on the same plan.  Let's just say I can't wait.  As a lover of things Apple, I can't really believe I have yet to own an iPhone.  Oh well.

  7. Fisher Price Brilliant Basics™ Baby’s First Blocks - Once Firecracker was able to sit up on her own, she needed toys to play with.  So, I bought her these blocks.  They're perfect first time blocks for learning grasping and even sharing.  Now she has more blocks from us and our friend, Louise.  Let's just say she is block obsessed.

  8. Jumparoo - We've almost grown out of the jumparoo, but not quite.  This is a fun activity center that keeps Firecracker busy and tires her out as well.  Many a supper is owed to the jumparoo keeping Firecracker busy so I could cook.

  9. iPad Apps - I know some say not to let your child play with something with a screen her first year.  However, my child LOVES the free Fisher Price apps on my iPad.  Her favorite is "Where's Puppy's Nose?".  She'll play that then point at our eyes, mouth, etc.

  10. Lady - Firecracker has her Monkey and several other toys that she loves.  However, she absolutely cannot sleep without her Lady.  She actually has two, in case something happens to Lade #1.  Lady is wonderful and even smells like Firecracker, because she cuddles with her every night and for every nap.

Questions Every Voter Should Ask Before Casting A Ballot

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In less than two weeks, we will vote once again for President.  Voting for President and any other office is a very important duty we have as American citizens.  It's not one that should be shirked, but it shouldn't be taken lightly either.  I'm amazed at times the sheer amount of people who seem to vote for someone because it is the popular thing to do.  Personally, I think there are questions every voter must ask themselves before casting their ballot, and they are:

1). Are you better off than you were four years ago?

2). Do you feel that you will be better off in the future under the leadership of one candidate over the other?

3). Do you feel more secure than you did four years ago?

4). How secure do you feel in regard to the five, ten, twenty, years from now?

5). Do you feel as free as you were four years ago?

6). Do you feel as though you will be less free in four years under one administration over another?

7). Do you like the direction in which our nation is headed?  Or, would you like to see a change of direction?

8).  Are you voting for the candidate that best lines up with your own ideology?  Or, are you voting in order to make yourself feel better?  That being said, you should never, EVER vote (or withhold your vote) for someone due to the color of their skin or their gender.  In other words, you shouldn't vote for a woman because she is a woman, and if the best candidate for you is a woman, then you shouldn't withhold just because she carries the bag-card.  Got it?

9).  For Heaven's sake, ask yourself if you're competent enough to fill out a ballot, punch chads, or connect arrows.  If you're not, do we really want you deciding the future of our government?

That is all, for today.  Thank you.

10 Books (Or Series) Every Girl Should Read

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Books have always been a part of my life.  I don't really remember a time when I didn't read.  Reading is and always has been a window to different worlds and knowledge.  Reading a good book, and I mean a really well written book, not some piece of camouflaged fanfiction about vampires or over-sexed millionaires written at a sub-par grade school level, to me is far more enthralling than the best epic IMAX movie.  From Little Golden Books to Charlotte’s Web, those horrid Christopher Pike books my friends and I read and traded in Junior High School, to The Canterbury Tales, I have always loved losing myself in a good book.  A good series of books is even better.  So, of course I hope to nurture the same love of reading and literature in The Firecracker. 

I want to encourage Firecracker to read quality books that will make her grow as a person as well as entertain an expand her mind.  I want her to know that girls can be something other than a Disney princess or mindless girl who moons after vampires.  So, I have compiled a list of books and series of books that I think every girl should read.  Each of these has had a personal impact on me.  Please feel free to comment and add your own favorites to the list in the comments.

10.  A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith– I didn’t read this book until I was an adult, and some friends of mine suggested it for an online book club we had several years ago.  I didn’t think that I would like it, but I honestly did.  The Nolan family lived on so little, yet as a family they had so much and worked so hard.  Every hardship, every tragedy made them stronger.  Francie isn’t exactly the type of person I want Firecracker to grow up to be, but I wouldn’t mind her walking around in Francie’s shoes a bit via the story. 
See also Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth

9The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I have to admit that as a child I didn’t like reading the books, because I was in effect ruined by the Michael Landon television series.  I remember watching reruns after I would get home from morning Kindergarten.  My sister, in that mean way she always liked bursting my innocent bubbles with cruel reality, told me that Mary never married, that there was never an Albert, and other things like that, so I never cared to read the books.  That changed, as I grew older. 

As a young adult I was far more interested in reading the (mostly) real account of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life.  As I grew more interested in the real day to day struggles and lives of those who tamed the frontier and saw the advent of a more modern age, the actual books became better than the melodramatic television show.
See also My Antonia by Willa Cather

8.  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – These may technically be considered “boys books,” but I believe that they’re perfect for girls to read as well.  After all, who’s to say that girls can’t have adventures like Tom and Huck?  Both books have a wonderful innocence despite showing the harsh realities of antebellum life in and around the Mississippi River.  Also, Mark Twain just had a way with dialog and writing dialect that you can hear the conversations in your mind.
See Also A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court.

7.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – As is often the case, Jane Eyre is the story of an orphan.  Her life has what I would only call severe peaks and valleys where things are very, very bad then they are pretty darn good and so on.  She empowers herself with education, a very rare thing for a woman at that time.  I personally couldn’t put down this book until I knew once and for all what became of dear Jane.  See Also Middlemarch by George Eliot

6.  Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – I’m amazed by the sheer number of people who haven’t watched the movie through and through.  Seventy – three years later, and it is still one of the greatest cinema masterpieces of all time.  That said, the book is even better.  In the book, we really get to know Scarlett O’Hara and what really motivates her.  Why did she fight tooth and nail to survive?  Oh wait, could it be the two children she had before Bonnie who were cut out of the movie?  Her relationship with Wade Hampton  (her son with Charles) is especially important to her character, I believe, especially in understanding why she killed a Yankee.  This is another book that I had to read in one night and have reread several times since then.  The movie is a masterpiece but the book is art with words.
See also the North and South Triolgy by John Jakes

5.  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – I have to thank my Freshmen (and Junior and Senior) English teacher, Belinda Westfall, for introducing me to Pip.  Again, this could be considered a “boy’s book,” but it’s just not.  It’s just a good book to read and can introduce someone to other works by Dickens besides A Christmas Carol.  There are so many things to gleam from this tome.  Pip learning not to be ashamed of Joe Gargery is just one.  Also there is so much to learn about social class and ambition.  Also, I honestly just loved when Miss Haviham’s dress caught on fire.
See also David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

4.  The Little Women Series by Louisa May Alcott – First of all, what we all know as Little Women is actually two books, Little Women and Good Wives.   Ah, the lives of the March girls are certainly interesting.  Everyone of course loves Jo the best, and we’re supposed to.  I liked Beth as well, and hated that she died.  I always wished Amy had died.  Amy was just a spoiled brat to me, but anyway…  Each of the four sisters is her own person, and they’re best that way.  I wish my relationship with my sister could have been more like that of the March sisters.
See also Little Men and Jo's Boys.

3.  Any book by Jane Austen – Senseand Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion.  They are all worth reading, because Jane Austen was Tine Fey two hundred years before Tina Fey was Tina Fey.  The wit at times just seeps through the pages.  I am a huge fan of intelligent humor, and it’s refreshing to know that it wasn’t invented in the 1990’s.  Who needs a Disney princess when you have the wit of Elizabeth Bennet, the romanticism of Marianne Woodhouse, and the goodness of Anne Elliot?  Who needs Edward Cullen when you have Fitzwilliam Darcy?

2.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Scout.  The poor girl never had a chance to be anything but a tomboy being raised by her widowed father and older brother.  Yet, we love her tomboyishness, her fighting in school, and her innocent look at the very adult, real events happening in the book.  I hope to be a parent like Atticus Finch, standing up for what is right, being a role model for my daughter through my actions and not just my words.  I just love the way Harper Lee puts things together from talking about the different denominations of churches to having Jem explain that the Egyptians invented toilet paper.  Also though, there’s the discovery of the world and loss of innocence that Jem and Scout go through that is amazing to have revealed before our eyes, all the while knowing that Atticus would be there when they “waked up.”

1.  The Anne of Green Gables Series  by Lucy Maud Montgomery– This has to be my favorite series of books.  I probably have read each book countless times.  You can’t stop with the first book, and even if you finish the series with Rilla of Ingleside, you’ll want more. I know that I did.  I started reading and eventually writing fanfiction based on the AoGG series.  I met some very wonderful friends that way, believe it or not.  Everyone wants to be Anne, always getting into scrapes but still succeeding in life.  The growth from the little orphan in book one to the mother of children going off to The First World War is a spectacular journey.  The best books are IMHO Anne of Green Gables, Anne of the Island, Anne’s House of Dreams, and Rilla of Ingleside.  As an adult, Anne’s House of Dreams is especially real to me.  PS, DON'T watch any of the Kevin Sullivan Movies after the second one!
See also all other works by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

What do you think?  Do you have any to add?

Signs You're The Mom of a Baby Who Is Teething

Monday, October 22, 2012

10).  You run a load of laundry without anything in the washing machine.

9).  You try to put your child's diaper on over her onsie, after already putting on her pants.  Extra points if you find out what you did the hard way.

8).  You spend an hour trying to boil water, only to realize that you haven't even turned on the stove.

7).  Meanwhile, you've left a faucet of water running so long, you can't remember why you ran it to begin with, and your dog's tongue is hanging out from dehydration.

6).  You aren't positive that you're even wearing shoes, much less if they match.  It's a tossup over whether or not you're wearing underwear.

5).  You're considering buying NoDoz for the first time since college.

4).  The walls seem to keep running into you.

3).  You suddenly find Sesame Street more difficult to follow than a JJ Abrams show.

2).  You see the zombies on "The Walking Dead" and wish you looked half as pretty as they do.

1).  You have brushed your teeth with diaper cream, and it took you a while to realize things just didn't taste "right."
Say what?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

I've been feeling very listy (if you can feel that such a way) lately, and several things came to mind last week when I was participating in the Arkansas Women Bloggers BLOGtoberFest that I couldn't blog about then.  At least two were lists of some type.  Somehow it the idea came to mind to just make this The Week of Lists.  Here is a sneak peak.

Know When To Fold 'Em

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This was taken five years ago.
For quite a while, B and I have been looking forward to taking the Firecracker to my old stomping grounds for the Poteau Balloon Festival.  We really enjoy watching the balloons and taking pictures of them, and also were looking forward to catching up with some family.  Unfortunately we hit one of those less than desirable milestones of familyhood, our first shared family cold.

First of all, never brag too much on your baby.  Just don't.  Last week I was in for my yearly exam and was bragging to the doctor who delivered Firecracker how great she was, even during teething so far.  Dr. H. had mentioned how snotty her kids had been when they teethed, and I mentioned that Firecracker got a little snotty, but wasn't too bad yet.  I guess it was Tuesday that Firecracker started acting really grouchy.  She was also very mouthy and drooly, so I chalked it up to cutting her top-front two teeth.  Tuesday night she started getting really snotty, and then she (and I) didn't get to sleep that night until around 3 am.  Since then, we've had good moments and bad moments.  Then Thursday my nose started running and wouldn't stop.

By Thursday night, I felt pretty much like crap, and B's throat started bothering him them.  Still we at times we felt better, Firecracker seemed better, and we hoped we would be well enough to go to the balloon festival.  We left NWA on Friday, because we were going to help B's parents set up a new computer on Friday.  So, a little after we got to Greenwood, we drove into Fort Smith to visit Best Buy, then Target, and get some supper.  BTW, I was not impressed with the Fort's Logan's Roadhouse.

Friday night got rough around  bedtime, because even though Firecracker has been doing better, the pack 'n play is not her bed, and Grandma and Grandpa's isn't home,  and she didn't sleep in her room.  I was stuffed up and had horrible acid reflux.  B was very congested and didn't sleep well at all.  By noon Saturday it was decided that we didn't need to go to the festival.  I added that we just needed to go home.

So, once the new computer was set up, we came home.  I think we were all very glad to be home.  B and I are miserable one minute and not the next.  That seems to be how Firecracker feels too.  This weekend, we had to learn to be the parents who had to decide not to do something we really wanted to do in order to do what was best for our child, and our family as a whole.  No one has had any fever.  This is just a plain old cold.  I can't remember the last time I had "just a cold."  It sucks, and apparently I should get used to them, because kids get up to 10 a year.  I guess parenting is sometimes a lot like gambling according to Kenny Rogers.  "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run."

BLOGtober Fest Blogging Challenge – Fall Back Day 4

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Today's BLOGtober  Fest Challenge is to promote a post from the past.  I have several that I would like to choose, but two stick out in my mind the most.  I can't choose between the two, and in some ways they're rather related.  So, I'm going to promote both of them.

The first is "Pieces of Advice for My Daughter:  Part One."  I wrote it in honor of her half birthday, and  I plan to hopefully have Part Two for her first birthday.  There are some truths and bits of advice that stand the test of time, wether it's 2012, 2022, or 2032.  I think that these things are important.

The second is a post I wrote after a particularly difficult visit from my mother.  We don't have a great relationship.  I don't see us ever having a good one.  There is a deep-rooted dysfunction that despite my trying, I have come to realize will never be corrected.  In fact, there have been many times when I have all but cut off contact with her completely, except for the fact that she is indeed my mother.  So, I took my frustrations from that visit, the past thirty-two years entirely, and some anecdotes my friends have shared over the years, and tried to come up with a somewhat humorous but truthful set of rules for visiting with an adult child.  I hope to remember these rules when Firecracker is an adult, and I pray that I never violate any of them.  I don't want to be the type of mother mine was and still is.  When Fireracker someday has a child of her  own, I don't want her to have to tell me not to go stay with her, because I make her more nervous and uncomfortable.  So, here is "8 Simple Rules For Dating Your Adult Daughter (Or Son)," or as BlogHer renamed it before featuring it, "8 Simple Rules For Moms Visiting Their Adult Children."

BLOGtober Fest Day 3: Traditions

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We're still fairly new to this whole "doing things as a family of three thing," but B and I have happily started trying to establish some fun, hopefully memorable, family traditions for Firecracker and any other children we're blessed with raising.  Since Fall is probably our favorite season, with Spring a close second, we've been trying to make the most of it.

Sunday after church (and a nap) we drove over to Tontitown and visited Dickey Farms.  They have a pumpkin patch there, and we carted Firecracker around on a wagon as we searched for a few good gourds.  The Firecracker loves being outdoors.  I swear, the windier and dirtier the conditions are, the more she loves it.  I can't wait until next year when she can run around and actually help up pick out her pumpkins.

This coming weekend, we're going back to my old stomping grounds to enjoy the Poteau BalloonFest. I honestly don't think that there's anything quite like the glow of a hot air balloon at dusk.  Also, it gives us a good reason to go back home for a weekend and get away from the extra traffic that all of the craft fairs up here will bring this weekend.  Hopefully we'll get to see some pretty foliage on our travels.

On Halloween, we'll take Firecracker to Trick or Treat On the Square in Fayetteville.

Though we're not going this year, because we went to Colorado instead, most falls we like to take a long weekend to go trout fishing at Gaston's White River Resort.  We take Lucy and Dory with us, and they love putting on their neoprene vests and splashing all over the river.  B likes catching his limit in trout.  He and his dad both are ready to teach Firecracker how to fish, I think.  I like getting away from everything for a few days but still having Internet access and cable TV.  Also, I can usually get some great photos, like the sunrise picture above.

Closer to Thanksgiving, we'll surely take Firecracker to the lighting of The Lights of the Ozarks.  I think one of my favorite parts of working on The Square was getting to drive home through the lights every year from Thanksgiving until after the New Year.

To end the Autumn season, we'll spend Thanksgiving with B's grandparents in Little Rock.  We have every year since we married, and we likely will as long as his grandparents are living.  It's that one time of the year that we're sure to spend time with them.   Now that we have Firecracker, I want her to be able to spend as much time with them as possible.  None of my grandparents are living anymore, but I think it's very special to have grandparents and great-grandparents to dote on you.

So, while we don't have many traditions that are firmly established yet, we're on our way to making some for our girl.  I don't want to waste her childhood chasing after elusive perfect moments, but I do want her to experience this wonderful gift of life that she has been given not just dreaming, but doing.

Halloween Memories: BLOGtober Fest Blogging Challenge Day 2

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Looking back, I don't have any spectacular Halloween memories that just stick out in my mind.  We "did" Halloween as a kid, but at least right now, no one Halloween just stands out to be mentioned alone in a blog post.  So, rather than focus on just one Halloween, I'll share how Halloween has evolved for me through the years.

The first Halloween I sort of remember I was three years old.  My older sister and I were clowns, and my younger cousin Heather was a witch.  I think Heather was a witch every year.  I don't really know if I remember it for the sake of actual memories, or the photo of the three of us taken at my Granny Scott's house that was blown up and framed.  That is something that I do remember about Halloween:  we always had to go show off our costumes at my Granny's house.  She liked Halloween.  Of course most of my best memories occurred at my Granny's house with my cousins.  If there was ever a part of my childhood I could revisit, it would be those times.

Growing up in Heavener, OK in the late eighties and early nineties meant that THE place to go trick or treating was the Montclair Addition.   Everyone took their kids there.  My Granny lived there, my cousin Heather lived there, and after I was eleven I lived there too.  I think that it was about that time that I stopped trick or treating and started enjoying handing out candy instead.  Every year we would fill those little paper bags with candy to try and keep count of how many kids came to our door.  We go through a couple hundred bags or more before we would run out, and then the kids would still ring our doorbell.

One year in college, one of the organizations I was a member of hosted a haunted trail in a little wooded area behind campus.  It was the year that "The Blair Witch Project" came out and was so popular, so we tried to emulate that and probably the Scream movies some.  That was a great deal of fun, though more than anything I remember somehow getting stuck in some sort of thorny bush and basically having to throw away the clothes I was wearing that particular night.  I didn't mind though, because the experience was

As young marrieds B and I were very much Halloween scrooges.  We just weren't interested in whatever kids lived in our apartment or townhouse complexes knocking on our doors all night.  Honestly, those first two years we were more or less just interested in well, playing trick or treat with each other.  I'm sure we were hated by our neighbors, but we didn't really care.  Also, we never lived in the same home more than one Halloween until we were married over four years.

By the time we bought this house, I was working in downtown Fayetteville on the Square.  Every year there's Trick or Treat on the Square.  I loved Trick or Treat on the Square.  Sure, it made parking a hassle, but I loved seeing all the different kids.  I didn't like the kids' parents wanting to use our restrooms or try to go for impromptu tours right before the five, but in general I loved the day.  Of course the main attraction wasn't the on-air talent.  It was Mr. Jody, and his magic tricks.

We're planning to take Firecracker trick or treating on The Square this year.  Sadly, the TV station is currently in the process of moving to new digs on Dickson Street, so all of our buddies won't be there.   No Mr. Jody, but still, I think that it's a great Halloween tradition to start with Firecracker, because it's a safe venue for her to Trick or Treat.

What I've realized while writing this is that my favorite Halloween memories don't really include trick or treating or even creating mischief of some sort.  The best times were always giving to others, and enjoying making it a fun day for kids - even when I was a kid.  Halloween isn't what I would consider an important holiday, like Christmas, Easter, or even really  Independence Day.  It's a fun holiday though, and I'm thrilled I get to enjoy it with Firecracker now and create memories with her.

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Monday, October 15, 2012

I know that I already posted today for the Arkansas Women Bloggers BLOGtober Fest, but I don't believe that I can let today pass without mentioning it today.  Please say a prayer for all the parents out there who have lost a child in pregnancy or infancy as today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Those of us who have lost a child whether at eight weeks gestation, mere minutes after birth, or even eighty-seven days never forget, and there's always a little something missing.  The children we have after, are blessings but not replacements.  Each child has his or her own place in our hearts.

If you have experienced loss and need a safe outlet to share and express your grief, please visit the Northwest Arkansas Share Parent Support Group Facebook page.

I Missed Fall Clothes! (BLOGtober Fest Day 1: Fall Fashion and Decorating)

This week I am taking part in Arkansas Women Bloggers BLOGtober Fest, in my own special way.  Today's challenge was Fall Fashion or Decorating.  Yeah, I know.  Neither is exactly my cup of tea.  Just wait until Friday, because I am decidedly not a foodie.

I am by no means a clothes horse.  I'm anything but what you would call fashionable.  I like to dress neatly and preferably comfortably.  Back home in high school, it would have been considered "preppy," and I could never understand why some people considered that a bad thing.  I still don't.  When I worked outside the home I often wore a button-up shirt with a corresponding color tank and slacks.  Dresses just didn't make a great deal of sense, because sometimes I would have to do work that was a little more physical.  Also, I have always like there being some distinction between what I would wear to work during the week and what I would wear to church on Sunday.  I'm old fashioned in the sense that there should be a difference in how you dress at home, when you're going out during the day and night, when you're at work, and also when you're at church.  That said, the purchasing of clothes often takes a backseat in my life to other things I want to buy.

Anyway, I have been thinking about clothes more recently than I have in a long time.  Part of the reason for that is because after having Firecracker, I no longer fit into a lot of my old clothes.  Another reason is just because most of my clothes were just that... old.  Throughout the process of trying to have  a baby, having a miscarriage, recovering from that mentally, physically, and spiritually, then actually having a successful pregnancy in which I (who without trying never weighed over 100 lbs until I was 30) gained 45 lbs it had just been a vert long while since I had bought much for myself.  Lastly, I no longer need to buy work attire, so I can finally focus more on nice, every day casual clothes.  I've done just that.

I finally gave in and bought skinny jeans.  I haven't worn skinny jeans since puberty probably, but I actually love them.  I almost bought Tom's to wear with them, but my narrow foot likely just won't stay in them.  So, instead I bought some Ked's, and I love them as well.  I also cleaned out Old Navy on sweaters.  I have to say that I'm not ashamed to go out of the house anymore.  I kind of was for a while after having Firecracker, because I wasn't happy with the clothes I had and could still fit in to.

So, the other day B, Firecracker, and I were at the mall, and I saw so  many things that I wanted to buy. It was then that I realized how much I had missed fall clothes last year when I was pregnant.  I love layering sweaters, jackets, you name it.  I don't really care for most summer fashions, especially sandals.    I always loved when the "Back to School" clothes would start showing up in stores.  At this point last year I just wanted something that covered me.

Now...  Well, when I'm just hanging out at home with Firecracker and cleaning the toilets, I'm likely to wear a t-shirt and yoga pants.  However, when I go out, even to Walmart (because you really just clean up for Target), I try to clean myself up a little.  Why?  It makes me feel better.  Some other SAHM and WAHM friends of mine have discussed the need to get cleaned up, even at home.  I totally get it.  No one wants to always be the slouchy, slovenly, mother who looks all tired and worn out.  I'm so happy to be able to enjoy dressing for my favorite season again!

Of course, we all know who the best dressed girl in our house is. and I wouldn't have it any other way. I don't want to post pictures of my clothes or me in them, but isn't she beautiful?

Pretty For Church
Firecracker, The Sweet Witch
Stylish on Pike's Peak
Ready for Halloween 

Lessons Learned and Other Random Things From This Week

Friday, October 12, 2012

~ Let your actions make it clear to your loved ones that you love them, and for all to know whose child you are.  All of our days are numbered, and we never know when it may be our time.

~ I think that our Vice President moonlights as The Joker.

~ I'm a huge supporter of "Beans" everywhere and their rights.

~ I'm also a huge fan of the ladybug invasion that has taken over our house.  You know, when the bean sprouts.

~  I've started listing raising Firecracker as part of my exercise regimen when going to the doctor.  My GYN didn't say anything against that.  Of course, part of that exercise is this... Try walking a golden retriever who wants to chase squirrels and rabbits while having twenty pounds of happily flailing, screeching eight month old on you.  It's a workout, trust me.

~ Oh, tomorrow is OU / Texas.  If you know me, you know where my loyalties lean.

Source: via Leah on Pinterest

The Dog No One Wanted

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Three years ago yesterday, on another rainy day, B and I got out of bed early for a Saturday and drove up to Kansas City.  That evening we came home with a little 10-12 week old mess of black fur who had been dumped on the side of the road and shuffled from "home" to "home."  It was obvious she wasn't sure how long she was going to stay with us, though she slowly seemed to like us.  Everything about her seemed unsure until we got home and she met Lucy.

Lucy on the other hand, was anything but sure about the little thing that was nipping and biting at her - in her house and yard no less!  Thankfully Lucy is a very good dog - a very friendly, loving, and motherly / big sisterly type of dog.  Quickly she figured that it was her job, whether it really as or not, to take care of this little tyke and show her the ropes.  She let her climb all over her and bite and paw at her with nary a word, though she put her in line.  She didn't start really fighting back and initiating wrestle time until the little mess we named Dorothy Gale, Dory for short, was big enough to handle it.

Those first days were rough, as they always are whenever you bring a new puppy into a home.  The only thing that I can compare it to is bringing home a baby, which is still a little more difficult.  They were made a bit more rough by Dory's separation anxiety from being dumped.  Thankfully Lucy could comfort her when we were unable to from being at work.  Together we made it.

Now it's three years later.  That little, anxious mess of puppy has grown into the sweetest dog I've ever known.  She still adores her Lucy, but she loves all of us a great deal too, especially her baby Firecracker.  I don't think any of us could do without her in our lives.  She has blessed us with her smiles, with her kisses, with her snuggles, and her funny little personality.  We're richer than Warren Buffet just due to her love.  She is the reason that rescuing is worth it.  Thank Heavens for the dogs someone didn't want.

Happy Gothca Day, Dory!  We love you!

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