Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukah! Blessed Kwanza! Winter Solstice! Happy Holidays!

No matter what you celebrate this time of year or whether you celebrate it all, I hope you and your family are having a joyful time.  My heart hurts for what happened in Connecticut and I still want to do something for the kids.   I am having trouble with ideas since it is so raw still and have decided maybe I should give it some time to heal.   I hate that all the teachers I hear about are now trying to find places to hide their children, how awful that they even have to wonder about that.  I wish all the families as much peace as it possible for them to have.

TJ and I are starting to do better again about going to the gym.   I was up to 177 lbs and am pretty rapidly heading back to where I was.   I am hoping for 173 on next Sunday if not this Sunday.  I had to borrow back a pair of my pants to do laundry (from my aunt) and they look pretty funny.   I ran out of long pants and its COLD here right now!   We actually found frost on the windshield this morning when were headed to the laundromat.  That was a pretty big shock.

Our tomato plant, Harvey (my aunt named it), is not handling this cold snap well.   We lost a 1/3 of him last night.   That's a big plant for only being one!   I'll put a pic of him in this post.  I'm not sure he's going to survive winter since its not even here yet.

I guess I am ready for Christmas.   TJ only asked for one thing so it wasn't much fun to shop for him.   He hardly ever asks for anything so its easy to buy for him.   But one thing means he knows exactly what he is getting!   I did sneak a couple of Legos in there.   Somehow, the Legos left at the mobile were "lost".   T's not a big Lego fan but I use them to help with his small motor skills.   I splurged and got a really cool Lego VW van for him.   It was pricy but will be fun for Dad and I to help him put together.  Yeah, yeah, not sure whether I got it for him or me.       LOL

We aren't having a big dinner on Christmas.   Christmas Eve we are going to Hometown Buffet and then Christmas day we will have a ham and sandwich stuff like potato salad.   Much less stress on everyone and we all can enjoy the day.

My Etsy shop is going okay.   I have sold one thing and have really great feedback from it.   I am working on something else but am pretty slow this time.   My shop is pretty empty though, I think it will help when I have more things to choose from.  I lowered the price on my Christening/Baptism set but its still pretty high.   I am not sure what I will put it at if I really do decide to sell it.  The woman that bought the one outfit is going to send me a pic of her grandson.   Her daughter is due in March so I have a ways to go.   UPDATE: I sold the Santa outfit right after writing this and already have a pic.   He doesn't have the booties on because he kept kicking them off.       LOL
Legal mail with my shop name!

My first sale picture
My friend had her baby and she's very much a red head!!   That's great news for her but not great news for the dress I made her.   Hello, orange????         I will have to make her a new dress set for the baby in a better color.   She will probably put it on her anyway and I would love a pic but I am cringing thinking about how it will look!  She's such a doll, I will ask her if I can have one of her FB pics to post on here.
Alice Juliet, 7 lbs 9 oz, 20 inches long

My aunt has been busy again.   She found us a furniture set for the formal living room and it looks great.   The tables are still in the box so I haven't taken a picture yet.   After we unpack and assemble the tables tomorrow, I will add a picture to this.   I will also get a pic of the quilt my grandma made since someone asked for that.

Well, I really should get off here and do the dishes.   Then I need to start working on that outfit I am crocheting.   Its not going to get sold if I don't finish it!   I wish you and your families love and laughter this holiday.

UPDATE:  Someone on another site I follow (crochetville) asked me for my address so a "friend" could send me a little something.   I just got it yesterday and it was from the person that asked for it.   LOL       The note said, "An Angel for an Angel".   What a pleasant surprise! 

And I finished another outfit to sell and am working on a dress right now. 

Mosque TJ made for school

Harvey is the one in the middle, that's ONE plant!
STILL coming soon on a blog near you...   LOL
a pic of the quilt

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Reporting as Ordered, Sir/Ma'am

Now I don't want people thinking I am trying to make fun of military.   I just have had a lot of people asking me to update this blog and a few were more on the order of a demand, not a request.     LOL That includes my mother! 

I have been soooooooooo busy since I last posted.   SNORT, I am so proud of how you are doing, girl!  By now your surgery is over and the hard part is done.  I'm glad your recovery went well and things are pretty much back to normal for you.   When you find out what normal is, would you let me know?   Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I have been paying attention and am impressed. 

Things weren't too bad with my aunt here until Thanksgiving came around.  She arrived on Halloween so I didn't hand out candy.  We'll have to do that next year since I had to send away an adorable Spider-man that couldn't have been more than three.  I was home alone though so I didn't think I could keep the dogs from heading out the door with each Trick or Treater. 

My aunt and I went to the "Bad Place" as we call it and she found my Mom the most gorgeous china cabinet.   This is not the best picture of it but you can see it.  I fell in love with it and was so happy she got it for her.  I am not sure what style it is, my aunt and Mom think its more of a Arabian type look.  I have no clue, nor do I care, I just think its beautiful.

She found TJ a very handsome bedroom set too.   Just ignore the upside down laundry basket with a towel on it-that's Peanuts jumping spot.  If you see a lump under the blanket, that is all her babies (stuffed toys)!  The bedside table needs re-finished but you can see its a very nice set.  Since we only want real wood, its taking us awhile to furnish the house.  We need affordable as well as nice.  The bears on top of his dresser were purchased at a PX and my aunt put all my uncle's medals on them.  TJ loved my uncle, he got to be with him a very short time before he died.   My uncle had Alzheimer's but he remembered TJ from day to day.   Since he (TJ) was in Missouri such a short time, I am really happy TJ got to spend time with him.   Anyway, my aunt sent TJ a bunch of his service things and these bears were among them. 

The next picture I have to share is pretty boring.   But what it means is more exciting!  Yes, its TJ's new door.  He doesn't have the hardware in it yet but neither dog has figured out they can just push it open.  Its made a big difference in him having undisturbed sleep and Peanut has stopped barking at my aunt getting up. 

The other exciting thing is that we got over to the mobile and everything is home!!   We have some things ruined but luckily its nothing that can't be replaced.  All keepsakes made it through and although the formal living room is a mess, its nice to finally be moved.  There is one more shed to empty with Dad's tools but there are so few in there that I refuse to count it.        LOL  The first load was mildly amusing.  Dad went over and I guess he didn't really know what our stuff is because 90% of it was theirs!   We had to take all that back as well as get more, so I went from then on.   My Mom was happy to get back the last quilt my Grandma made and her Great Grandmother's table.  Its a steel table with a poured glass top and was actually about four or five greats back.   But Mom remembers her grandmother baking on it and it means a lot to her.   The top is original but the legs were replaced about 60 years ago.  Since we never had room, this is the first time we can display it instead of using it for a catch all. 

Thanksgiving was fantastic.   We were going to go to HomeTown for dinner but Mom wanted to have dinner in our new home, just this once.  Dad and I moaned and groaned but it was no use.  Then we were going to make a variety of enchiladas with some rice and homemade refried beans and my uncle griped that he had to have a traditional dinner.   So the planning began.  First was the whirlwind van trips to get all our stuff over here once and for all.  Then the grocery shopping.  Mom had invited Aunt Espie, Uncle Gary, Cousin Carrie and her kids Drayven and Clarissa, Friend of the Family Dave, Uncle Judd, His partner Alex and then there are five of us with my aunt here.  That's a lot of people!!  I continued to gripe about it as I got more and more tired trying get things ready but it was going to happen for better or for worse.   I should clarify that my Aunt Espie has been cooking, serving and cleaning up Thanksgiving dinner for over a decade.  She also does the dinner for her church were she cooks up to 30 turkeys because no one else will.  Did I mention she's in her sixties?   Yeah, I needed to quit whining and buckle down. 

My Aunt Janice made the Seven Layer Salad, Blueberry Stuff (official name) and prepared the turkey.   I made the Green Bean Casserole, Yams and Apples, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, cooked the Turkey and did all the house cleaning to prepare for guests.   I had to shoo my aunt out of the kitchen so many times!!!  Mom was upset because I wouldn't let her help either but then she wouldn't have had energy to enjoy her guests.  Mom wanted to use the Friendly Village dishes that her mother left her so I washed all those as well in preparation.  Its a service for like 20!  Anyway, something funny happened.   We did most of the prep on Wed and finished it up on Thursday.   I was exhausted but I was also so proud of myself for putting on a dinner for so many people, basically on my own.  My Aunt Espie and Carrie were both at loose ends, trying to sneak in to help, along with my Uncle Judd.    LOL      But I did it, I even cleaned everything up by myself afterwards.   And you know what?   It was fun!   I was exhausted but proud and thrilled with every compliment on all my hard work.   So guess who is doing it again next year?   Yeah, I have a lot of years still to help out my Aunt Espie.   :)

My other exciting news is that I finally put something in my Etsy store to sell.   It looks pretty bare with just one item, but if I wait till I have more, I will have given them away already.  So I posted it last night and I already have one favorite.   I am working on a baby ballerina outfit right now in mint green and white.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Are You All Sitting Down?

Wow do I have a lot to update you all on.   I got back into my crocheting and its taking up all the time that TJ's school is not.   I guess I am pretty OCD about things-whatever I am doing, I am doing it all the time.  But yesterday was a really unusual day for me.   Everyone except me is sick with some nasty virus.   It starts out like a minor cold then progresses to a nasty cold.   Just when you think you are better, you break out in another fever and start experiencing stomach problems.   Either that or we have two different viruses going around, there's a pleasant thought!  I have had some small cold symptoms for as long as everyone else has been sick but nothing big and it doesn't seem to be progressing.   It would be ironic if I am now healthier from the exercise!      LOL      Anyway, Mom hasn't been out of the house in almost a week and Dad feels worse every time he gets back from a bike ride.   TJ started the really nasty cold thing on Friday and was pretty miserable.  We needed more Dayquil and a few groceries but Mom sounds awful and is having stomach problems on top of everything.   Dad broke out in a sweat just walking across the room and TJ is going nowhere sounding like he does.   So..... I rode my bike to the store.  Alone.

I can't believe I did it!   I was terrified the whole time and I probably burned tons of calories with just sheer terror.   But I did it!   I feel safe on my bike, just not on foot.   There is no way I can walk to the store yet and I kept looking behind me for TJ.       LOL          I am used to making sure he stays behind me and to the far right so he's not in the way of cars.   It was so odd to look back and see he wasn't there.  The good thing was I am always trying to pedal faster and have to slow down so I don't lose him.   Yesterday, I pedaled as fast as I wanted!   On the way back that was not a good thing, the wind was facing me and the faster I tried to pedal, the stronger it became in pushing me back.   I finally had to about snail crawl home with the bike.   Dad said I should have just got off and walked the bike but then I would have felt vulnerable.  Anyway, I made it.  TJ is feeling better today but I might need to ride one more time alone, we will see how he does.   I proved to myself though, that when it comes to the love of my family, I can do anything.

Riding alone trumps what T and I did last but that was still significant too.   The bunny nails were really really bad and Mom was at the worst she's been.   So about a week ago, TJ and I loaded the buns up in travel cages, stacked them precariously in a shopping cart (one of those you buy, not a store one) and walked them down to the groomer.   Luckily for us, there is one a mile away.   This was right before it cooled down again here so it wasn't such a fun walk.   That and the hard shell one with Jelly in it was too big to fit down in the cart so it was balanced (and not well) on top.   He kept shifting around and I kept having to fix it so he didn't fall down on top of Butter's soft case!   But again, we made it there and home.   The buns are much happier and we have extended things we can do without Mom having to drive us. 

Well, its almost Halloween and we have a treat instead of a trick.   My aunt is coming early this year.   I just found her ticket for her a few days ago and she will be coming in on the 31st and staying until late Feb.   We love her dearly but she is a bit more fussy than we are, it should be interesting!  Dad hasn't gotten much done, he really hasn't felt well and has been playing yo yo with his diabetes.  Poor TJ still doesn't have a bedroom door.  Hopefully he can get that done before she gets here since the dogs bark every time she leaves her room.   Peanut starts it and Snowy joins because his sister is.  

Hopefully the house is well soon, we really don't have much time before my aunt will be here.  Poor TJ is getting further and further behind and is NOT happy about it.  Pretty funny for a kid that had no work ethic in regular school   I am making dresses for those little 5 inch dolls for the two big sister's of the baby the dress is for.  Wow, that was really awkward grammar!   Anyway, I made them cradle purses a few years ago and tons of doll clothes.  So I thought it would be cute to re-create the baby's dress for their dolls.  Luckily, their Mom said they still play with their dolls.  Now I just need my pattern books from the mobile!   Oh yeah, did I mention we still don't have our stuff?    Last I heard, they broke the doors off my cabinet, so I hope my stuff doesn't get all dirty and torn up.   As soon as Mom's feeling a bit better, she said we can go take a box and get the stuff from my cabinet.   I still want to know how you can break the doors off a pressed wood cabinet.   I know its not as sturdy as wood but its not that weak either!

I would like to start a Tripp doll soon too, I just started crocheting again and kinda took off.  My ultimate goal is to stop giving things away and fill up my etsy store I made years ago.   It would be nice to have some extra money for treats, you know, like paying bills!  I am bad about making things and giving them away though, so its been very hard to even list one thing in the store.  I bought a book off ebay that has tons of miniature doll patterns with clothes and I think they would sell nicely.   I just need to make some and try it.   That's another reason I need my stuff, most of my thread is in the cabinet, not here. 

Well, I guess that's enough for now.  I had more to update but by the time I wrote this, I have forgotten most of it.       LOL     Next time I post I will put a pic of the doll clothes I am making.  Cross your fingers that I never get sicker and the house finally gets healthier!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Post Where I Tell You I Am Not Dead

Wow, its been a busy week.  We had my aunt, cousin, uncle and my cousin's friend here from Missouri.  They got here Monday and left this morning about eleven am.  Even though they were in a hotel and spent most of the day out running around, we were way ready to see them go home.  Not to say I don't love my relatives, but we are used to it being a lot more quiet around here.  TJ had more meltdowns this week than he has in literally years.  The poor kid was so stressed out while everyone was around that he had to cram most of his work for the week in just two days, he couldn't work with all the commotion.  My aunt is mostly deaf and as a result, you have to shout.  Now imagine shouting to her as well as two other loud voices in the room-my cousin and her friend.   My uncle is pretty quiet but he still made another voice.   He didn't know what to do and he couldn't get away from all the noise.   I felt really bad for him!   I didn't deal with it well either, I crocheted about non-stop (Mom had the laptop for her own hiding place-LOL) and didn't really talk much to anyone.   One day we also had my Mom's cousin and her husband here visiting!   Yeah, count that, ten people in our living room when we are used to just us.  The only thing I kept thinking though is that with their health problems, it would likely be the last time I would see my uncle or aunt.    My uncle is the oldest of Mom's brother's and sisters and has COPD.   He weighs approximately 700 lbs and its mostly in his chest.  He's insulin dependent and eats pretty much what he wants.  My aunt my Mom's older sister but not the oldest.   She weighs around 600 and again, its mostly in her chest.   Only half of her heart is working and that half is being regulated with a dual pacemaker.  She's also insulin dependent and eats whatever she wants, just giving herself more insulin to make up for it.  She doesn't have COPD that I know but does have breathing problems.   So I would not be surprised if this is the last time we see them alive.  :(

My aunt really hurt TJ's feelings, asking what was wrong with him because he hid out in his schoolroom the whole time everyone was here.  He actually asked Mom if my aunt knew he was not retarded.  (Sorry for those of you offended by this term, he is not using it to be derogatory)  She just kept yelling about something being wrong with him and I guess he told Mom she was mean and just stayed away.  I don't think that helped him be very comfortable this week.  We didn't get to the gym like we should or ride our bikes so its back to normal next week. 

I had an updated 504 meeting with his teachers this week as well and he had so many glowing reviews!   Here they are:

Hempel/Paragon:  He has a very high A, consistently submitting thorough, thoughtful work. He volunteers regularly in the live sessions & can be counted on as a go-to person whenever I need one. His direct communication to me regarding assignments is minimal, but definitely sufficient. I am so delighted to have him again this year.

Weiner/Biology:  He is an excellent online student. He completes all assignments on time, he is up to date with his work. He asks questions if he has them. Attends Collaborates. He has a 92% in my class.

Algebra I/Miller:  TJ is doing great in Algebra.  We communicate through the pager pretty much daily.  He has a 97 in the class.  LOVE LOVE LOVE him.  He's funny and communicates well. 

Spanish I/Lech:  TJ has been doing very well in Spanish.  He consistently completes all assignments on time and to and exceptional level. He is in attendance and participates during Collaborate sessions.  His current average is 99%.

9th LA/Myers:  96%. TJ is doing well although Mom says he is struggling a bit from the workload. Mom reads aloud to him and he is successful with reading comp assignments. No additional accommodations seem to be needed.

PE/Lewis:  99%. He is doing very well in my course.  I don't have any issues and he actually is one of my best students! 

As you can see, he has a lot to be proud of! 

I have been getting sooooooo much done lately with my crochet.   I finally finished an angel I started a year ago and she is one of my best.   I had a lot of trouble with her because she is for a child, not a baby.  I usually only do babies because I suck at making mouths!   I can do a pacifier instead and nobody knows.     :)  I was not happy with her mouth but her mother said she was perfect so I guess I will live.   I had to wait for some more alphabet beads because I have made so many of these that I ran out of a letter I need for her name.   They usually get a name necklace, bracelet, banner, etc.  I am almost ready to start on one for Tripp.   I found the perfect pattern with big, chubby cheeks.   

I also have a friend that is expecting in December.   Often when I finish a memory angel/doll, I like to do something cheery to counter that.   So I decided to make her a layette.   I found a good dress pattern then found booties and a sweater I am happy with.   I haven't made the booties or sweater yet but I will probably start the booties tonight.  Since the dress is a short sleeve, I just left the sleeves off and bought a long sleeve onesie.  December in Kentucky can be pretty cold!  I have a hooded sweater pattern that is really cute, I'll start that one as soon as the booties are done.  Anyway, I am sure there are things I am leaving out on here but that's all I can think of for now.   I'll leave you with a pic of the dress and an old one of TJ just for the heck of it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Three Reasons Why I Was Not Supposed to Get Up Today

Today was going to be the first time we made it to the gym on Monday.   TJ has three classes today but the first class is like 10 minutes and there is time in between to go work out.  Saturday turned out to be a bad day to go because they have swim lessons so we ended up in the fitness center again.   So I decided Monday, Wednesday and Friday would do just fine.  I know I am getting ready to start
TTOTM  but this morning?   Really?   That was strike one.

So good Mom that I am, I decided we would ride our bikes for a half hour instead and do some weights at home later.   Since our journey is not a half hour, we went down several side streets to get some extra time in.  On one of those side streets, my tire popped!   Now we were four blocks away from home so guess who got to walk her bike for those four blocks?   Yep, me.  On the bright side, I discovered I normally walk 3 miles an hour.   Yeah, I kept watching the bike speedometer as I walked.     LOL    So for those who are counting, that was strike two.

I am sweaty and ick so I decide to get a shower this morning when we get back.  I am doing just fine, just trying to be quiet because the only working shower is in the master bath and Dad's asleep.  So much for quiet, I dropped the portable shower head trying to hang it back up and had Dad in the bathroom making sure I am okay.   Uh...not cool.  So there was strike three.   I am beginning to think someone is trying to tell me something!

I'll end with a cute poster TJ made, its a Zulu proverb poster and he used clip art but he used it very effectively.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Just Some Stuff

I saw something so sad today at the laundromat.   There was a woman there with a little girl.   She was cute as a button, probably no more than four and likely a bit younger.   The woman put her laundry in, then sat down at the table and started texting as well as making a few calls.  Her daughter kept calling her name and wandering around, trying to get her attention.   The woman actually told her daughter, "Now see what you did?   I messed up and have to start over, if you would leave me alone I wouldn't make mistakes." 
I was appalled.   TJ is 14 and I MISS those days something fierce.  People need to realize how fast that time really goes and wake up.   

TJ and I have made every gym day so far this week.   Now we just have to make it on Saturday and we'll finally have a streak going!   I have learned to put my suit on at home and just wear my shorts over it.   Trust me, you don't want to ride your bike while wearing only slick bathing suit bottoms, you would slide off your seat!   I really do need to get a pic of TJ and I all geared up, I think we look cute.   We get in the pool after retrieving our water buoys and noodles.  Yep, I can't get the kid out of the pool ever since he discovered he could strength train in there.  I have no idea what each float means but I know that he really has to force his under the water and sometimes loses his balance and floats off!   Its really pretty funny so we stop our count so he can get his footing again.

You would have laughed at both of us after the first time we tried the pool.  In the water we really didn't notice ourselves getting tired and pushed further than we had intended.  But as soon as we stepped out of the water and started walking to the locker rooms I heard, "Oooooooh, my EVERYTHING hurts!"   I was cruel and told him that meant we had a good workout.  I did laugh at him but trust me, I was in pain as well.  The second time we did the water stuff, the woman in the front office came in to see me dangling from the side by my legs, trying to do underwater sit-ups.   Those were awful on my nose!  She showed me how to use the noodle to do crunches so I added that to T's fitness.  Yesterday I did 100 that I counted and I don't know how many I did with TJ because I forgot to count.  It was at least 20.

We have a new habit.   We go to 7-11 after our workout because its too early in the morning for ice cream.   I am hooked on their mini boston cremes and TJ has fun picking out new chip flavors.  We can't do it all the time so we need to stop doing it but it has been fun.   I hope I am creating good memories for him.   He knows that I have trouble leaving the house and I really hope he is seeing that it doesn't matter, for him I will do anything.   He's a pretty smart kid, so I wouldn't be surprised if he actually has noticed.

I've been more scarce online since I noticed TJ wasn't having a weekend.  He had so much work that he was having to do it on weekends too and that's not good.  So I started spending more time sitting with him doing work.  Its really working for him, he likes it when I am there and it gives him confidence.  Right now he's doing a short story unit so we have been doing that as a family.   I read the story out loud and everyone listens, then we all discuss it.   Its been so much fun that we are going to continue it.   I think a book of good suspenseful short stories would be a lot of fun for us.   We aren't as bad as most people about electronics but I am honest enough to admit that Mom and I could be more unplugged too.   A night to read a story together and a night for a family game night would go a long way.  All we need is a cheap card table to put up to Mom's chair and she can participate too.

I don't know why, but I am getting excited about my glasses.  They said 7-10 days so they will be here from today on.   I did get my backorder in the mail even though I meant to cancel it, I hope it fits better than the rest of the stuff did!   I finally sent it all back and I really don't want to send this one back too.  I am finally thinking of getting my hair cut.   I grow it out for Locks of Love and its sooooo thick that it can give me headaches.   If I go to bed with it wet, it will be still damp in the morning.  I always thought short hair made you look bigger and that's the last thing I wanted when I noticed I was gaining a bit.  Speaking of which, I have no clue why but I keep gaining the last few weeks and its driving me nuts.   I am not gaining a lot, its literally ounces instead of pounds but its still irritating.  I am sure its the exercising and my body adjusting but I wish it would hurry up.   I finally had to MAKE myself stop weighing and make a promise to myself to only weigh on Sundays.  I am half tempted to weigh once a month or twice a month but I don't think I could do that!

I have finally gotten started making angels again, or at least finishing one I started.  Its been a year since I was working on this poor little girl and its way overdue.   She is all done as far as body goes, now I have to get some clothes on her!   I started a dress at the laundromat only for it to go wrong and not fit.   So its back to the drawing board.   I will post a pic of her when she's all done and AFTER her Momma gets to see her first, after all, she's waited long enough.

This is a little guy I saw out the window, just hanging out on Mom's scooter.  I had to go outside and get a pic, he was just too cute.  And no, I don't know if he's a boy or a girl.    :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

This is SAD

I woke up at almost eight am this morning and went ahead and got up.   Since it was Saturday, I normally sleep in but we need to get to the gym before it gets hot.   Since its about 100 or better in the afternoon, we try to go early.   I went and got TJ up then went to get my breakfast.   He comes stumbling out and proceeds to WHINE for the next hour about it being to early to leave!!!        I was ready to strangle hm.  He kept saying it was too early over and over.   I finally pointed out that he had whined so long that it was not so early anymore!   I finally got him to get his own breakfast and more importantly, to stop whining.   I don't know why, but I have NO patience with whining, no matter what the age of the child.  

Anyway, TJ woke up enough to cooperate and I told him to walk outside and see if it was too hot before I got my gym clothes on.  I was not about to get ready, only for him to start whining that it was too hot to ride our bikes.  Sure enough, he went out and it was too hot.   Now he is supposed to have 2-20 minutes sessions of strength training and 3-30 minute cardio sessions.  Cardio is easy to do at home, strength training, not so much.  

I laid down and took a nap first because I woke up early for the little monster.  But when I got up I got two empty milk cartons and filled them with five gallons of water.   First, TJ did some curls to work on his core then we switched to using the milk cartons for free weights.   It wasn't ideal, they aren't exactly made for that purpose, but they worked.  The only problem was I do these with him and we only had the two empties.  So I had to wait until he took his turn and was done with his gym requirements.

Then came the funny part.   I had laid a folded blanket in the floor to help cushion us some.   I got it position for my curls and had Dad hold my feet down.   Then I tried to sit up.   Then I tried again to sit up.   A third, a fourth, you get the idea.   I couldn't get up no matter how hard I tried!   I just laid there, laughing my head off because I couldn't even do one curl.   The dogs enjoyed it though, they both kept attacking me.   I think I ended up trying about four times to sit up and never did manage it.  

I can either laugh about it or cry and I chose to laugh.   And TJ?   He managed to do 30 of them in between dog attacks of his own.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Confession Is Good For the Soul Part 3

I know, its been awhile!   TJ got a bit behind in classes and was doing work on the weekend.   For him, that's too stressful, he needs his two days off.  So I decided we would buckle down better this week and so we have been hopping!   Today was our gym day, I got lazy yesterday after cleaning the bunny cages and we didn't end up going.   They had a small exercise class so they did it in the fitness area.   The lady at the desk said we could swim for the half hour and then work out but we ended up just doing our stuff in the pool.   They have these water buoy things that you pull down underwater and its the same as using weights.   They are a bit deceptive though, we did two more sets than we should have because it seemed so easy.   We had just locked our bikes up to go to Subway when TJ said, "Okay, now I feel it!"   Yep, we are both pretty sore.    I guess he told Mom, "I feel so old, you don't understand how this is."   Yes, child, none of us have ever exercised.        LOL

Anyway, we had to make up a few exercises but he got it done and then enjoyed some time just playing in the water.   I broke my rule and we got some subs to take home.   It was a nice time but I can definitely tell I worked out!   Our gym clothes came today and I didn't realize I had ordered T such bright clothes!!!   Well, I guess people will definitely be able to see him on his bike.   Tomorrow is supposed to be our rest day but if he's not too sore we might go back just so he can play in the water again.   Anyway, I thought I would update on what we've been up to before I got into the story again.   I finally started my angel again and now she has two arms.   Maybe after I finish here I can get her some legs.   The little girl has been dead a bit over a year and I am feeling pretty bad about not getting her done.  I'll be sure to post a picture when she is finished.   I am a bit sad, some of the other kids that I follow are not far behind her.            :(


My OB told me that TJ was about seven pounds on my due date and she scheduled an induction for the 20th of June.   One of my appointments was exceptionally bad because I came in with my cervix at 1 cm and she manually stretched me to a 1 1/2!    I have no clue why they do stuff like that, it would've happened in its own time!   Anyway, I was at WalMart when on June 18th when I decided that my back pain was actually labor.   My sister in law took me to the hospital and stayed with me until T was born very early on the 19th of June.  I swear, my first sight of him I thought they had switched babies.   He was waaay too big to be a newborn!   He weighed in at 9 lbs 15 oz and was 22 inches long.   I tried natural childbirth without drugs but had to give in when they started pitocin.   I was too slow for them and they decided I needed something.   My Mom wishes they had been more patient since my birth went the same and then she went from 3 to 10 in less than an hour!   I kept fighting the meds but my OB told me I would not have energy to deliver him if I wasted it all in controlling pain.   It was so hard to give in to that.

I was one of those unlucky ones that needed manually scraped because placenta was stuck.   Yeah, you girls know what that means!   I woke up to my insides feeling like a boxer had been in there and fought his way out.   That was a pretty accurate description!   Poor TJ looked worse than I did.   He actually had black eyes that were swollen!   Anyway, my husband was still in the mental hospital at this time and although he was given permission, never left to visit his son.   He said something about not wanting the baby to see him like that.   Not that a newborn sees much of anything!   I came home with T at three days and was so happy.   I had always wanted to be a mother and I had never known I could love someone so much.   I have to give my Dad another kudo, he was there when I really needed him after T was born.   I was extremely sore, so sore that I could barely move and needed help with TJ.   They gave me morphine tablets in the hospital and I was terrified to take them.   When I literally could not get out of bed the first night, I gave in.   I never realized that if you really need pain medication, it won't react weirdly with you.   I was just able to finally move normally!

Tom came home three days after we did and saw his son at six days old.  Then he proceeded to scare the heck out of me.  He kept taking off with the baby!   Yes, I know, he's his Dad, but I was such a new mother that I didn't want him out of my sight.   He would take a six day old infant out for long walks, sit down on a bench, and fall asleep!!!!    For some reason, he kept taking his sleeping medications during the day and I was terrified TJ was going to get kidnapped.   I finally had to ask his Dad to go find him.   They were sympathetic but thought I was being silly until he found Tom fast asleep on a bench with a squalling baby beside him.   Then I got the worst UTI of my life seven days after he was born.   I found out later its quite common but I didn't know that.  They did a cath because they thought I might have a blockage and I freaked out.   Letting people touch me to make sure my son was healthy was extremely difficult, I thought I was done with all that.   I was also worried about TJ because Tom wouldn't let me take him to the hospital with me.   The whole time I was just fretting about my baby.

I got home and TJ was screaming.   He should have had two bottles in the time we were gone and he had had none.   Not only that, his jammy and the bouncy seat he was in were soaked.   For some reason, TJ might have been a big baby but he didn't eat much.   At seven days old he was eating 2 ounces every three hours.   It took him till a year old to get down an 8 ounce bottle!   I was so upset and once again, Tom was oblivious.  It was obvious to me that he had been released too soon and I didn't know what to do.  I missed my Mom terribly and I needed help.   I was so tore up from my son that I bled bright red until he was four months old.   I was literally white as a sheet and exhausted.   It wasn't from waking up with T, he slept through the night most of the time and I had learned to sleep when he napped.   I knew I had to go home.   Tom was sad but he really didn't put up much fuss.   He was continuing to sleep most of the time.

So 13 days after I had my son, I was on a plane with a big diaper bag, a little diaper bag, my purse, my dog in a carrier and TJ on my chest in a Snuggi.  I was so lucky, at every gate some kind person helped me with my stuff to the next plane.  And TJ was good as gold, he took one bottle the whole time and slept the rest.   Mom told me when she first saw him she thought I had switched babies just for fun because there was no way he was only 2 weeks old!

That started our California adventure and that's where we are now.   Many other things happened along the way that shaped me more.   I did have a boyfriend at one point but his mother convinced him that I was a poor prospect being 2 years older, divorced, with a baby.  I know that I dodged a bullet there since if he was that great a guy, he would not have been swayed by his Mom.   He was 21 and they were doing things like grounding him and taking his car (that he paid for!) away!   The only good thing he did was come with me for my post-partum appointment.   I was so scared for that one that it took until T was 11 months old.   Mom finally reminded me that he really had torn me up inside and if there was damage, it needed fixed now or I might not have any more kids.   I still ended up shaking in the bathroom floor before it but I went and he did hold my hand.   If he hadn't been there for me, I never would have gone.   So I guess that was his purpose in my life.   He broke up with me over the internet.   Yeah, I know, he really was a winner.   I seem to attract them!

Tom wasn't a part of T's life again until he was three years old.  We made a visit to Missouri and he remembered he had a son again.   It was a very awkward visit since I wanted to know why his parents had never contacted me.   They were embarrassed at what their son had done and were punishing themselves.   I still can't figure that one out.   I was in Lake Forest, California for a time and that is when Mom and Dad got married.   They had been together about four years at that point.   We headed over to Las Vegas and TJ was the cutest best man ever.   I really need to scan some of those early pictures.   Things happened and we ended up back in Hemet.   When TJ was about two years old I realized he was starting to mimic me in not wanting to go out.   So I forced myself to go up to the playground in our mobile home park.   Later I went in to the child's center we had and met everyone in there.   Eventually I was helping kids with their homework and it really seemed to be helping me.   I was getting out and talking to people instead of just staying home.  TJ was adored by the bigger kids and spoiled rotten.

Then the center was closed and I was back home.  Eventually TJ started school and things started going downhill for him.   I would get calls halfway through the year that he was missing work and a desk clean out revealed all of it, done no less!   I was wondering why in the world it took them six months to tell me he wasn't turning things in.   He got migraines often, even as a kindergartener.   As you already know, the dam broke in 7th grade with migraines every single school day and he's now in online school.  I do wonder sometimes if he's getting the socialization he needs but I still think we did the best thing for him.

As for me?   I am back to not wanting to leave the house and pat myself on the back every time we make it to the gym.   I go in to stores for Mom but if there are a lot of people in the aisle, I zone out.  I still feel like there is someone in the shower with me and wonder if that will ever go away.  I have never gone back to a GYN since T was 11 months old and know that's not smart.   But the sheer terror that fills me at the thought stops the phone every time.  Since I can't figure out my own feelings, I refuse to date anyone.  I believe Tom and I hurt each other but the next time I could hurt someone all on my own and I would feel awful.  I would love to have more kids but am well aware that I have what I can handle.   That doesn't mean my biological clock isn't pounding in my ears, it just means I won't do anything about it.  And as my son gets older, other feelings are coming.   Not anything yicky, just, realizing that he's a guy too.   Yes, he's my son, but he's male and therefore, scary.   I do my best to hide that but am not sure I am doing so great at it.   I am not sure which is worse, the fact that he can tell and figures its just a part of me or it bothers him but he's not saying.   Knowing my son, he already knows and thinks its just a part of me.  I really did get lucky with him and I am well aware of it.

This isn't the end of the story but its the end of the postings about it.   The end of this story has not been written and I find new pages everyday.  Thank you for being with me on this journey.

Nobody can see a Yoruba sculpture of a smiling Cheerio leopard without smiling themselves.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

An Afternoon with Mom

I haven't forgotten about finishing my story but I am still not quite ready for Part 3.  

Tuesday was TJ and I's first time at the gym.   We got our gear together, put on our helmets and headed down the road.   I could tell we haven't been biking in some time since its a mile to the gym and both of us were already tired.   I could tell this would be a fun workout.       LOL    The good thing is we found a less busy road to go down so we weren't in all that traffic.   It seems like cars AIM for people biking or walking!

The lady at the fitness center was great!   She showed TJ this machine that pretty much does everything he needs it to.   There is a chart on the wall about the different exercises and how you have to sit, etc., to work each muscle group.   She had him do one set of each type of exercise just to give him an idea.   Then she even showed him the stretches for each muscle group he worked!   Since the $65 a month doesn't include personal training, that was really nice of her.  I always thought when you stretched that you just stretched in general.   For some reason it never occurred to me that you were supposed to stretch the same muscles you used.           LOL

He didn't spend very much time on each group of muscles but it was his whole 20 minutes of time so I called it good.   He decided to try out the treadmill just for fun and I went over to a bike.   We both enjoyed watching the calories burned part and went a little longer than we should have.   He wants to try it again today, making it faster and playing with the incline.           LOL         We were only on each machine for five minutes but our legs were aching.   I forgot about the fact that we were biking there and home, so working our legs was probably not a good idea. 

It was around lunchtime so I told him we could eat somewhere in the area.   He picked the Subway across the street from the gym and we headed out again.  We get to Subway and he tells me he needs to use the bathroom!   I asked why he didn't say anything while we were at the gym and he said he didn't need to go then  Where is a rolling eye smiley when you need one?    Turns out that none of the shops there, including Subway have a restroom and we ended up across the street at Rite Aid.

Now I am sure you are wondering why in the world I am talking about this!?   Well, at Rite Aid they have an ice cream counter.   So of course we decided that we would have to have an ice cream after our subs.   So we looked at the counter to see some of the choices.   We headed to Subway not sure whether we were getting the Birthday Cake or the Circus Animal Cookie.   I laughed as TJ collapsed at a booth at Subway and took pity on him by ordering his food for him.  Teenagers can be so dramatic! 

We had a nice lunch and then headed back over to Rite Aid.   Two scoops of Birthday Cake later, we were enjoying our ice cream.   TJ said the person that invented Birthday Cake ice cream was a genius.       LOL     It was really odd, you could taste the cake and icing!   They even had sprinkles for color.   We decided that would have to be a semi-regular stop on our gym days.   Once a month we will have lunch and once a week we will have an ice cream.   He said he's getting the Circus Animal Cookie next time and I have my eye on the Blueberry Cheese Cake Greek Yogurt ice cream!

It was a nice outing and I think he had fun.   I feel sort of silly that I have to have my 14 year old kid with me, that I can't travel on my own, but I think its actually good for both of us.  We are headed to the gym again after lunch and will take our suits this time.   I'm going to let him play in the pool to cool off after his work out before we head over for our ice cream.   Yes, we already went this week, but I'm Mom and I can break my own rules once in a while.       LOL     TJ's growing too fast, he has to borrow Dad's helmet until I get him a new one because he needs an adult size now.   Ah well, that happens. 

Well, we didn't make it to the gym today.   TJ was griping it was too hot and truthfully, it was a bit too hot to leave at one pm.   I decided I would just pedal tonight and I just got done with 45 minutes.   My legs are like noodles!  Mom and I had to run errands and we took TJ with us.   He was going to try Baskin Robbins for the first time in his life.   Yeah, I know, but most times we get ice cream out, its a vanilla at McDonald's.   Anyway, turns out the poor kid has not outgrown getting carsick.    So I guess we will get a scoop tomorrow at Rite Aid after the gym.

We are going to get up tomorrow at 7 am so we can be out of the house by 8 am.   It will definitely not be too hot then!   So wish me luck, we are awake sometimes at 7 am, but not exactly coherent.   I was proud of TJ, it was his idea to get up early. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fashion Show!

I found a good coupon on Woman Within a week ago and purchased a few shirts and a swimsuit.   They do run a bit bigger than I expected but I like things loose anyway.   I promised I would post pictures of me in the clothes so here you go.   I thought this might be a neat mini break from the life story thing.   I am not done with it, though.   :)   As a side note, I got these shirts to go with the skorts but I didn't realize they were tunic length and not appropriate for them!   I will have to get some jeans or slacks to go with the shirts.   I promise I won't buy $100 jeans though.             LOL

Friday, August 31, 2012

Confession Is Good For the Soul Part 2

Now where did we leave off...       I think I had just gotten out of the Kansas Institute and returned to my senior year of high school.   The only thing I am proud of in this is that years later when I wanted to go to college and ordered my transcript, I discovered I had made a 3.8 GPA even with a nervous breakdown.   I also was still a member of The National Honor Society and had the sticker on my diploma.   This doesn't mean I was super smart, it just means I did a good job during a very difficult time.  

I forgot one other thing that shaped my fear of men.  I used to ride my bike to school with my friend every day.   One day, she had to stay after school and I went home alone.  I lived less than a half mile away.   I stopped at a stop sign and a car pulled up to me.  The man said, "Have you ever seen a cop this big?"   Now, at the age of 11, the word I heard was cop.   However, going by the towel on his lap that was lifted so I could see said "cop", that is not the word.  All I knew was some strange guy was talking to me and showing me things I didn't need to see.  I ran, terrified, back to the school and although I can very vaguely remember having to give a report to the police, that's all I remember from that incident.

I was in no way shape or form ready to start college after I graduated.   It was too bad too, since I actually had a scholarship to a local college.   The only problem was, the college was up by where my Dad now lived and I couldn't deal with that.   So, I figured out what my strength was, and got a job.   I was an excellent babysitter so I applied at La Petite Academy and was hired.  At that time, you needed extra child classes but could get them through the businesses, you didn't have to have an early childhood education degree.   Considering I am only 37, it sounds weird when I say that time, like it was ancient history.  LOL   It does FEEL like decades and decades ago.  Anyway, that job was the happiest time of my life.

I was really good with kids and even better, I was good with parents!   I started out helping someone with the one year old's, but eventually they built on a nursery and I ended up heading it.   I was really proud that I accomplished that at 19.  Taking care of the babies was the best thing I ever did.   Some times, I miss those days.   I have skipped over some things that made those days the best days as well as some of my worst days.   I loved having my nephew in the daycare, I got to see him every day.  Yeah, my nephew, I was married.  

I knew the sister of the man I would marry, we went to school together.  He came over to buy my word processor I had for sale and started flirting with me.  I didn't actually know he was flirting, I'm just a little wiser now.  A couple of weeks went by and he proposed.   Now, I had been out of the hospital less than a year and let's just say, I wasn't totally all there in the head yet either.  My self esteem was so low, I figured nobody else would ever want me and I might as well marry him.  Yeah, a real love match.  

There's something about having the marriage certificate in hand that makes some men nut up.  He was normal until we were married, but then he started yelling at me all the time.  He would tell me about how worthless I was and bully me into giving him my check from the daycare.  He had income as well but that was spent however he wanted it.  In the meantime, my nephew is removed from his mother's care due to suspected child abuse (he came to daycare with his head all squishy from cerebral spinal fluid leaking).   I was still living at home, so was my husband.   We couldn't afford to move out on our own but Mom didn't mind.  It was a big house and there was plenty of room.  But she did get tired of him abusing me and finally said something along these lines, "I do not want to see you being abused and can't take it anymore.   Either move out so I don't have to watch, or leave him."  She wasn't serious about me leaving of course, she was trying to give me a mental "shake".  It worked.  

I left him and we started foster parent classes to foster my nephew.   Then they turned us down, devastating us, saying that since I had been abused as a child, I would abuse any foster kids.   I truly hope they know better now.  They really missed out on a great family helping them.  I was so upset, I felt like it was my fault we lost him.  I had started college and was working part time at another daycare but my second semester, I started faltering once again.  In the meantime we had to move and ended up in a duplex pretty close to where we used to live.  I was thrilled since my grandma was in walking distance and remained that way.   Her and I got very close since I would escape to her house after school when I needed to. 

We were happy at the duplex for awhile and then it happened.  Yet another guy proved you can't trust men.  A young couple moved on the other side of the duplex and I was smitten.   Not with either of them, with their son.   He was such a doll and I was hired to watch him while they worked.   He was just a couple of months ago and at such a fun age.   Then one day her boyfriend came over to our house.  I watched their son in our side of the duplex.   I didn't think it was strange he was there, I had his son after all.   I was home alone and he started coming on to me.   I was still trying to figure out my feelings on men and had told him I wasn't interested since I still wasn't divorced and he had a girlfriend and a baby!   He started touching me in ways that made me not only uncomfortable but made me freeze up.  Apparently, lack of response isn't a turn off for some guys.   Things happened that should not have and they were not consensual.  That whole time is in a haze for me and I never moved.  Truthfully, it felt like I wasn't even there.

Some would say that it is not rape and I have been struggling with that for over a decade.   But I finally think a decent person would have realized that I was not with him and stopped.   I did not come on to him if there is any confusion there, I was just gone.  I said no, quietly, once, was ignored, and then I was no longer in my own head.   I had all the signs that things were not right, taking a shower and scrubbing until I was bright red, feeling like something was wrong, etc.   The police were great, they never doubted it was rape and told me so.  I didn't get an exam, I was terrified of them. 

That's another odd thing with me.  I am terrified of gynecological exams and that was before I even had them.   This isn't nerves, this is visceral terror.  My first exam was the one where I found out for sure I was pregnant with TJ at 22.  I always figured I didn't need it since I wasn't sexually active.  Its pretty dumb on my part since my Mom had cervical cancer when she was pregnant with me.   I was born a month late due to cryotreatments.  Luckily, it didn't affect me in any way other than slowing my growth so I was late.  I was only 7 lbs 9 oz even though it was 4 weeks past time.   So yeah, I know its stupid that I avoid them, but it hasn't stopped me.

The police had to drag my Mom off my rapist, she was choking him.   They let her punch him one last time then yanked her off.   They said something about it being unfortunate that they couldn't let her kill him.  When he got out on bail, all Hell broke loose.  My room in the duplex contained the back door.   He would yell through at night about what he was going to do to me for ruining his life.  He was constantly trying to break the door down and needless to say, I didn't sleep much.

The landlord couldn't evict them because of some clause for families with children under one year.   I couldn't even get a restraining order because he had a right to be in his home and it was the other side of my house.  Things were really getting bad and Mom decided to send me to California.   The only good news I have is, after Mom joined me about a year later she told me that he raped another girl and lost his child (social services, not death) due to drug use and neglect.   So he got his, it just kicked in too late for me. 

Mom and I were so close, leaving to go to California was the scariest thing I had ever done.  I lived with my aunt and uncle out here and actually started healing.  I found a good psychiatrist and therapist and my uncle and I would have talks about my Dad.   My aunt was like a second mother and I eventually enrolled in college out here.  Then came the day my uncle was out of town for work and my aunt had a manic episode.   My aunt is bipolar and I don't know if it was the stress of my uncle being gone, she needed new meds or what.  But an incident happened while I was home between classes and she scared me to death.   I ran next door to the neighbor and she took me in.  I was about 1800 miles from home and terrified.   A call to my uncle later and he asked her if I could stay until he got back home.  I had watched her kids many times so she was happy to have me there to help her more often.   My uncle came home and my aunt came out of her mania, not even remembering what happened.   I stayed with the family, right next door, still going to college for about five months.   Then things got too confusing for me again and I dropped out to become her nanny.   I didn't know she was taking advantage of a confused girl, I thought it was great.   I got to do what I love, take care of kids, and had a safe place to stay.  I missed Mom so much though and I guess my aunt couldn't figure out why I wouldn't come home.

I spent Thanksgiving alone, the family went to a relative.  I did have a turkey TV dinner though.      LOL       I can look back now and see that I was taken advantage of.   I did all the cleaning as well as watching the girls in exchange for a bed and food.   I was never given any money.  Anyway, Christmas was great because Mom was coming!   I was so happy when she pulled up and I saw her for the first time in over a year.  I will give my Dad one thing, he sent a money order for a deposit on an apartment.   It really wasn't much considering he cleaned out all our accounts, including my college, the day after Mom kicked him out.  But I will give him that.   Anyway, we were happy in our apartment, I even had an iguana for a pet.  I tried several jobs and never lasted more than a couple of days.  That was the start of being unable to cope with a lot of people around me.   Telemarketing was the biggest flop.   One of my phone calls, I reached someone in the middle of a viewing.  Yes, like someone was dead.  My boss wanted me to call them back another time!   That was my last day.  

Things seemed to happen all at once after that.  My iguana went into puberty and bit my nose so hard he drew blood (he used to kiss it) and ended up in a pet shop.   Yeah, I know its normal but I was a bit scared of him after that and figured it would be better to get him a new home.  He wasn't just dropped off, it was a consignment type situation.   I checked on him periodically, worried about him, even though he did bite my nose.  Then came the eviction notice at the end of the month.  Um, what???   Turns out the manager of the apartment took all the month's rents and split!   We had a receipt but the owner didn't care, they had lost a lot of money and a lot of people were evicted.   We staved it off for about a month with fake bankruptcies.   Did you know that if you file for one and then let the time run out without doing anything, you gain some time to figure out what to do in an eviction?    That's why I don't have one on record, it was just a ploy to buy time.   We ended up in a hotel and that's ultimately where Mom met my Dad!

Mom had a job and I was watching a baby for someone.   But it wasn't enough, not even for a pay by the week hotel.  So three months in, I was back in Missouri.  At first, I was at my Dad's Mom's house.  She spent all her time berating me about my childhood and what Mom did to Dad.   She even told me she was molested by her brother and she turned out just fine so I was being ridiculous?!   Notice she didn't say she didn't believe me, just that it shouldn't affect me!   I had been encouraged by my psychiatrist and therapist in California to go on disability.  I had a psychiatrist and therapist in Missouri as well and they agreed.  I was still in my appealing/filing time and had no income.  I would go over to my Dad's apartment just to get away from my grandmother and even slept on a cot in his one room apartment.   Talk about twisted!   He did his best while I was there to convince me that my memories were messed up.  I was so confused by the time I got accepted for disability and was able to get an apartment of my own. 

I met my current husband (yeah, I know, we aren't divorced yet) in the apartment building.   I would like to tell you it was love at first sight and I knew what the heck I was doing.   But I can't.  I was so messed up that I don't even remember dating him.  I know we dated for like six months but I can't really remember anything about it.  I know what we did because I was pregnant when I got married.   But I have never lost that, out of body experience, during times of intimacy thing.  That's ultimately why I decided I was better off alone.  But I am skipping ahead of myself here.   Everything was fine until we were married.  Then, for lack of better words, he wigged out.   Its like he suddenly couldn't handle being a husband and father at the same time.  He started going downhill until he was admitted to the hospital in about my seventh month.  He would not get out until our son was six days old.  His sister was my labor coach and I don't know what I would have done without her.   I really didn't realize that 13 days after TJ was born, I would be headed on a plane back to California.   But that is for Part 3.

These are such heavy subjects that I thought a cute/funny photo would be nice to end with.   This is Snowy in TJ's shirt instead of Peanut.   As you can see, he doesn't fit as well!