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Life In Texas

Life In Texas: April 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

T is for Tires and Treats

     When I started writing my "T" post today, I thought that it was going to go in an entirely different direction. Actually, I had a completely different post written. Then, I got in the van to head to gymnastics.

     If you've never driven on a farm to market road in Texas, let me give you a visual. It's a two lane road (one lane going each direction), most of the road has a thin shoulder but there are parts where the shoulder is about the width of one car. Also, there are a lot of curves.

     So, I'm driving along coming up on a curve when I see that there is a car in my lane, coming towards me. Someone thought that it would be a good idea to pass a work truck on this curve (in a no passing zone). So, I had two options; 1. have a head on collision or 2. swerve onto the shoulder and miss hitting the genius in my lane. Of course, I went with option 2. There was a light hiccup in this plan though. There was a shredded tire on the shoulder that I had no choice but to run over. We drove a few more feet and nothing happened, I thought that we were going to be fine. Then, I heard a pop and my tire pressure gauge came on. As I started pulling over, I heard the thump, thump, thump of a flat tire.

     Now, my mom was big on women being able to do thing for themselves. I know how to change a tire. I've actually done it before. However, I had never changed a tire on my van before and I couldn't even begin to guess where to put the jack. Plus, as soon as I stepped out of the van, I was attacked my mosquitoes that were the size of small birds. I swear, if just a few more had shown up, they could have carried me away. *Side note - do you know what an inch long mosquito looks like when it's full of your blood...gross.* So, I did what any normal, sane woman in my position would do. I got back in the car, shut the door and called my dad.

     He came quickly, but it turns out that he didn't know where to put the jack either. I looked, without luck, for the owner's manual. When I couldn't find it, I used my phone and downloaded it. After that, it only took a few minutes to get the flat tire off and the spare tire on. Needless to say, after all of that, we didn't go to gymnastics. Instead, we went to the tire center to see about getting a new tire.

     After we left there, the kids were tired of being in the car. And a little disappointed that they missed gymnastics. So, when we got home, we each had an popsicle and we just relaxed. It was more excitement than we had planned, but at least it was just a tire and not a wreck.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

S is for SPIbelt

     I love to exercise. I like the stress relief and the fact that I can clear my head while exercising. Because of this, I have a wide variety of workout clothes. If you have any workout clothes, I'm sure that you've discovered their major flaw. No pockets. So, when I was given the opportunity to try a SPIbelt, I was excited.

     When my SPIbelt arrived, I looked at it and thought, "it's so tiny, there's no way my Sidekick and my keys are going to fit in there." Well, I was wrong. I was able to put my Sidekick, keys and my id (never know if you're going to need that) into my SPIbelt.

Empty SPIbelt
     In my mind, the big test was going to be how it did during a workout. The first thing I tried was a bike ride. The kids and I went 5 miles and my SPIbelt never moved. By the time we got home, I had forgotten that I was wearing it. Today, I ran with it on. Again, it didn't ride up and it doesn't bounce against you like objects in a pocket would.

SPIbelt with Sidekick, keys and ID
     SPIbelts are perfect for running, cycling, walking, traveling and trekking. The original SPIbelt fits waist size 25" through 50". The pocket is 7.5" long and expands to 3" deep and 4.5" high. Another great thing about SPIbelt is that they are all made in Austin, Texas. SPIbelts also come in kid sizes and in a wrist/ankle version.

SPIbelt  before our bike ride

     Thanks to SPIbelt, one lucky Life in Texas reader will win their very own SPIbelt!

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

R is for Refashion

     If you have a daughter under the age of 10, you know these two things. One, the toe of their dress shoes are going to get torn up after just a few wears. And two, glittery shoes like the ones above are popular and sometimes the source of her meltdown in the department store. So, what parent wouldn't jump at the opportunity to get their daughter glittery shoes for just a fraction of the retail price?

     Yesterday, I saw a tutorial to refashion children's worn out dress shoes into glittery shoes. Thing 1 has several pairs of dress shoes that are less than perfect and upon seeing it, I immediately thought, "I could do that." And I did!

     Instead of bookmarking the page and promising that I would try it later (like I usually do), I left the page open and decided to try it as soon as the kids took a nap.

     These are the shoes that I started with. As you can see, the toes are very scuffed and no longer shiny like the rest of the shoe. I wasn't sure how it was going to work on black shoes, but I was pleasantly surprised.

     First, I wet a wash cloth and washed the shoes off. After I dried them, I got out the painter's tape and taped off the areas that I didn't want to be glittered. I taped off the soles, the velcro and the bows. I also put packing paper in the toe of the shoes so that they would keep their shape.

     Then, I picked a glitter color. Thing 1's school colors are going to be orange and black, so I picked orange glitter, thinking that she can wear them on spirit days. I didn't measure anything. I poured a little glitter in the bottom of a cup, then I poured in some mod podge. I alternated adding glitter and mod podge until it was sufficiently glittery.

     Next, I was ready to coat the shoes. I used a regular paint brush and slathered the glitter glue mixture over the entire shoe.

     It took two coats of glitter glue before I was satisfied with the coverage. Make sure that you let one coat dry completely before trying to apply an additional coat. When the second coat was dry, I removed the painter's tape. When doing this, remember "slow and steady wins the race". The glue was stuck to the tape, so I had to slowly pull the tape while making sure that I didn't rip the glue off.

     When all of the tape was off, I touched up any spots that I had messed up. While that dried, I took a minute to glitter the bows. I held a piece of paper under the bow and slathered them with mod podge. I then dumped black glitter on the bow. The paper prevented the black glitter from getting onto the shoe and it also made clean up easier. I was able to blow off the small amount of black glitter that did get on the main part of the shoe.

     Lastly, I gave the entire shoe a nice coat of mod modge, just to be safe. Thing 1 loves them and Thing 2 already asked if I can "fix" her shoes. 

     Here are the before and after pictures. What do you think?

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Q is for Quick Cash!

Who could use some quick CASH?

Continuing Madame Deal's 3rd Blog Birthday celebration, we're giving you 100 Reasons to Tweet!!

That's right, you can enter to WIN $100 PayPal CASH!

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Thank you to our Hosts for helping out with this great event:

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Good luck!!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

P is for Painting

     Today, I had to go register Thing 1 for pre-K. Unfortunately, that wasn't until 1pm. But, she was super excited about it and kept asking if it was time to go. So, I needed something to distract them, even if it was just for 30 minutes.

     The other day, someone posted a cool Masking Tape Letter craft on CafeMom. When I needed a busy craft, I remember it and decided to try my own version.

     I had some painter's paper (mixed media paper for acrylic), so I decided to use that instead of construction paper. Before we started, I tested the blue painter's tape on the paper to make sure that it wouldn't rip. None of the paper came off on the tape. The girls and I used tape to put their first initial on the paper.
Thing 1's paper

     I then gave the girls a pack of water colors and a cup of water and set them loose. I told them that they could paint however they wanted, just to cover all of the white area. True to their personalities, Thing 1 painted squares, not mixing the colors at all, and Thing 2 mixed all the paints as she randomly painted her paper.

Thing 1 painting

     When they were finished painting, we set their papers on a flat surface and let them dry.

Thing 2's painting drying
     We left the painting sitting for about an hour because I wanted them to be completely dry before removing the tape. The kids were excited to remove the tape. And when they pulled it off,  they had a beautiful painting of their initial.

Thing 2

Thing 1
     I hung them up on their art display in their room. Now, they're showing everyone that comes into the house their cool new craft.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

O is for Oh Boy!

     A few months ago, a good friend introduced me to Epic Rap Battles of History. Now, if you dislike humor that makes fun of people (or cursing), then these probably aren't for you.

     However, I believe that many of the Epic Rap Battles are very funny. Some of the best (in my opinion) are Dr. Seuss vs. Shakespeare; Gandalf vs. Dumbledore; and Justin Biever vs. Beethoven

     My new favorite is Sarah Palin vs. Lady Gaga.

Which Epic Rap Battle of History is your favorite?

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

N is for Nothing

     I am watching 16 & Pregnant. I watch it every week for a couple of reasons. One, it's one of my guilty pleasures. Two, I host a 16 & Pregnant chat post in a Young Mom group on CafeMom.

     Let me just say, these girls know nothing about what they're getting into. Now, I am not an advocate for teen pregnancy, quite the opposite actually. However, once you get yourself into certain situations, you should do some research and be prepared for what's coming.

     The teenager they featured tonight was 37 weeks pregnant and had planned nothing. She hadn't decided if she was giving the baby up for adoption or keeping it. That's not so bad. I understand that that's a difficult decision. However, she had bought nothing for the baby. No crib, no car seat, no diapers, no clothes. You have had 9 months to plan for this one day, one would think that you could be a little more prepared.

     I can't imagine having a commitment as big as another human life and having nothing prepared. We had a crib up, car seat ready and all of the newborn clothes washed before Thing 1 was born.

     After she decided to keep the baby, she started to realize that there were other things that she hadn't planned for. She can't afford daycare, so she decided to do cyber school. Good decision. However, she made no plans for childcare while she works. It wasn't long after she went back to work that she had to call in because the (unemployed) child's father flaked on watching her while mom worked. 

     I guess the thing that really gets me is that they think that it's all going to be easy. They think that things will just work out and things will go their way. Reality check - it doesn't work that way. You have to work to get the things that your child needs.

     Ok. Rant over.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

M is for Madness!

     Madness. That's what Saturday was. Just plain madness. First, we had t-ball opening ceremonies at 11am. Then Thing 1 had her very first t-ball game at 1pm. To top off the madness, Thing 2's birthday party was scheduled for 2pm.

     I'm sure you're wondering, "why did you schedule the party for the same Saturday as t-ball?" Well, we didn't know what the t-ball schedule was like until the Thursday before it happened. Needless to say, party invitations went out a long time before that.

     Opening ceremonies went well (even though they were running behind). Thing 1 liked being down on the field waving to everyone. After opening ceremonies, we had a present for each of the girls.

Left - Thing 1 opening her present

Right - Thing 2 opening her present

     They each got a new charm bracelet. On their charm bracelets, were Thing 1 and Thing 2 charms that we got them while we were at Universal.

     Then, it was time to go to Thing 1's first t-ball game! Even though I live in a highly competitive town, they don't keep score or count outs. Every kid gets to bat and every kid gets to run all of the bases. Thing 1 had a blast and actually made it to first base before the other team got the ball there (that was her goal).

     Her game ended at 1:50 and it was time to rush to Thing 2's party. Thing 2 had a great time and was very excited about each present that she opened. She also enjoyed playing with everyone that came to celebrate with her. After the party, she told me "I want them all to come over every day!:

Thing 2 in her tutu.

Cake time!

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Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Lesbian

     Yep. Lesbian. I said it. It seems that this has been a popular topic for today. My inspiration for this post was my friend, Sadie and her post about her 10 year old daughter.

     Different people have different views on homosexuality. That's fine. We're all entitled to our own opinions. However, no one should be made to feel like they're less of a person because of the way that they were born.

     Yep, there's another thing that a lot of Christians don't agree with. However, the Bible says that all are born sinners; "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" - Romans 3:23. You may have been born a liar or with an addiction, others are born with the desire to steal or are homosexual. Their sin is no worse than yours or mine in the eyes of God. It's only people that rank sins as though one is worse than another.

     I think the most important thing is that we love each other. You can love someone without liking or agreeing with all of the things that they choose to do. Hate the sin, love the sinner.

"If any one of you is without sin,
let him be the first to throw a stone."
- John 8:7

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kindness

     Over the past few days, I have seen many people not be very kind. It really surprises me that people can be so mean and cold to the people that they come into contact with. This inspired today's post, a lit of my favorite kindness quotes.

  • Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can read. - Mark Twain
  • No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. - Aesop
  • Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. - Philo
  • Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. - Mother Teresa
  • The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love. - William Wordsworth
  • One kind word can warm three winter months. - Japanese Proverb

  • Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, Got forgave you. - Ephesians 4:32
  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. - 1 Corinthians 13:4

     What is your favorite kindness quote?

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jars of Pixie Dust

     This Saturday, we will celebrate Thing 2's 3rd birthday! Since she is old enough to tell me what she wants, I let her pick her how birthday theme. This year, she wanted Tinkerbell.

     I have been thinking about what I can do for party favors, other than the normal things. A parent can only take so many party blowers, rings, whistles and pencils. What I came up with was little jars of pixie dust. Scout then suggested that I make them into necklaces. So, every kid is going to find that the fairies left a pixie dust necklace in their gift bags.

     Here's how I did it.

     I ordered little glass jars from CT Taiwan. I got fifty jars for $15.96. Now, it is important to note that these products are actually being shipped from Taiwan. They do have to go through customs, so shipping time may be longer than normal. With that said, I received my package about a week before the estimated delivery date. These jars hold 1mL. They are just under an inch (without the cork) and are about half an inch wide.

     I then used a cake decorating tip (Wilton #5 to be specific...but any with a small opening would suffice), as a funnel. I put the tip in the bottle and slowly poured in the pixie dust (aka gold glitter).

     Once the jars contained the desired amount of pixie dust, I dipped the end of the cork in mod podge and then put the cork in the jar. I glued them so that the kids couldn't dump glitter all over their parent's house and/or car.

     Finally, I used some green braiding cord to turn them into necklaces. Thing 1 and Thing 2 were very excited with the final result. I think that their friends will be equally excited.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for I did it!

     Yesterday was my friend, Sadie's birthday. As many of you may recall, she was trying to ride 100 miles before her birthday, or she had to giveaway her birthday present. To show my support, I was attempting to ride 50 miles by her birthday.

I made it!

3/20 - 5 miles
3/22 - 5 miles
3/26 - 8.5 miles
3/27 - 5.5 miles
3/28 - 5 miles
3/29 - 4/1 - Universal (walked about a billion miles...too bad that doesn't count)
4/4 - 7 miles
4/5 - 5 miles
4/6 - 3.5 miles
4/8 - 4 miles
4/9 - 2 miles

     The big question is...did Sadie make it? To find out, visit her at SlapDashMom. Remember, no matter what, she's going to be giving something away.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Hair bow

     This year, at her request, we signed my girly-girl up for t-ball. When we went shopping, I knew that she would want all of her equipment to be pink. I was correct. We now own a pink bat, pink batting helmet, pink and black cleats and a pink and black baseball bag. She would have a pink glove, but they didn't have any right-handed pink gloves when we went shopping.

     The last thing I knew that she would want (well, she thinks she needs) - a baseball hair bow. I drew the line and told her that the hair bow needed to be her team colors (red and white). Surprisingly, she was ok with this idea. Well, I did mention that pink and red don't

     So, after we had all of the essential equipment, we headed over to look at hairbows. To our dismay, they didn't have any red baseball bows. They had many other colors, and they had red with soccer balls, but not what we needed. I started looking at how they were made and thought, "Hey, I can do that."

     I have a large supply of ribbon in my craft bins. However, I do not have any with baseballs. So, we headed to Wal-Mart to see what they had. They usually carry 2 types of baseball ribbon, but were out of both. Sigh. We weren't anywhere near a craft store, so we headed home and decided to look for baseball ribbon the next time we were out of town. Well, I did that, and came up with the same result. I then turned to ebay. Within 2 minutes, I found 5 yards of 3/8" baseball ribbon for $3.75. Not a bad price...and it's cheaper than the gas that it would take to drive the 2 hour round trip to the craft store.

     My ribbon arrived today and I started thinking about how I was going to make this bow. Instead of just making a hairbow, I decided to make a Pony O. Pony Os are popular with cheerleaders and are, sometimes, very colorful. Because this Pony O has a specific purpose, I used only black, red and white ribbon.

     This Pony O is made of ribbon that was 8" long. I have made them before, and made them much longer (up to 15" even). Keep in mind that the pieces hanging down are going to be a little less than half of the total length of the ribbon. So, the hanging pieces on this one are a little less than 4". Thing 1 has long hair, but I know that she may wear it at the bottom of her braid as well, and I didn't want it dragging the ground.

     I used three pieces of 1" wide black polka dot, three pieces of 1" wide red grosgrain, three pieces of 1/2" wide red with white border and nine pieces of the 3/8" wide baseball ribbon. I used a lot of the baseball ribbon because I didn't want all of the bigger ribbon to overtake it. It is after all, a Pony O for baseball.

     After I cut all of the pieces, you stack them like an asterisk. I started with the polkadot ribbon on the bottom, then baseballs, fat red, baseballs, skinny red and ended with more baseballs.

Stack your ribbon like this.

     When it was stacked how I wanted, I carefully moved it to my sewing machine and sewed a line right down the middle.

Sew where the dotted line is.

     If you don't want to sew (or aren't able to for whatever reason), you can skip that step. Sewing it just helps the ribbon stay in place and, in my opinion, helps the Pony O last longer.

     Next, scrunch up the center of the Pony O (where you just sewed), to look how you want it. Hold it like that for a minute so that it "remembers" how it's supposed to fold. Then, using a thin piece of string, tie the Pony O in place. Make sure that you tie the knot on the back of the bow for cosmetic purposes.

     Using a hot glue gun, connect your ponytail holder to the back of the Pony O.

     To finish your Pony O, choose one type of ribbon that you used in your Pony O and cut another small piece. I selected the red with white border and cut about 5". Tie a knot in the middle. Put a dab of hot glue on the back of the knot and stick it right in the center of your Pony O. Then, fold the edges around and glue them to the back of the Pony O. This is going to cover up (what I call) the "mess" that you made when you scrunched the Pony O.

     The most important thing, Thing 1 loves it. She already asked if she could wear it everyday. I told her no, but I think I need to make her more in colors that will match the majority of her wardrobe.

Edit - since a lot of people have asked me about this, I got the ribbon from Twice As Nice Ribbons and More. My ribbon was shipped quickly and was exactly as she had described it. I would buy from her again and I would recommend her, if you're looking for ribbon.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

G is for Golf and a Game

     Yesterday, my cousins (just 2 of them) and I took our kids to play miniature golf. If you're ever in Corpus Christi and you want to play miniature golf, check out Treasure Island Golf and Games on the island. It is so much fun. It is our go-to putt putt place. They have 2 different courses, one being easier than the other. Of course, we're crazy, so we thought that it'd be fun to play the more difficult course with 4 kids and 3 adults. We stopped keeping score after the second hole, but all of the kids had fun.

Thing 1's turn

Thing 2's turn

All the kids in front of the waterfall

     After miniature golf, we grabbed a quick bite and then headed to a Corpus Christi Hooks baseball game. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge fan of America's greatest pastime. My usual theory is that it's 5 minutes of action crammed into 2 hours. At first, it seemed like this game was going to be like all of the other I have seen. But, things turned around when the Hooks scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 4th. The Hooks did win, and again, the kids had an awesome time. As we were leaving, my cousin and I were talking about when we can do it again.

Thing 2 being silly

Thing 1 and Lo enjoying the game

You even get a nice view of the Harbor Bridge
(even if the stadium lights do mess up your

*Disclaimer - I was not compensated, in any way, by Treasure Island or CC Hooks baseball for this post. Links are provided merely as a convenience for Life in Texas readers.*

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Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for Family Fun!

     Today is Thing 2's birthday. So, we're doing whatever she wants to do. So far, we've danced around the living room, watched Barney and colored.

Thing 2 - one week old

     Right now, they're having ice cream for "lunch". We're really having corn dogs (as per Thing 2's request), but they're having a little bit of ice cream first.

     Later, we're going to go jump on the trampoline and play t-ball. We also have plans to hook up the sprinkler and have a little fun.

     Tomorrow, my cousins and I are taking our kids to play miniature golf. Thing 2 doesn't remember the last time that we went, but I think that she'll really enjoy it. 

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Easter Eggs!

     My kids are only 2 (turns 3 tomorrow!) and 4. So, dying Easter eggs was not high on my list of fun things to do. While I'm sure my carpet appreciates my hesitation, I still wanted an Easter themed craft for my kids to do. Around St. Patrick's Day, I saw an awesome craft that I have been wanting to try with the kids. This was the perfect opportunity.

What you'll need:
     coffee filters
     washable markers
     spray bottle filled with water
     something to put your eggs on while spraying (I used a cookie sheet that is dedicated to craft projects)

     1. Fold one coffee filter in half. Using your pencil, draw half of an egg (starting and finishing at your center fold).

     2. Use your scissors to cut it out. If your child is proficient with safety scissors, they may want to complete this step themselves. Thing 1 was able to cut her own (like the one below), while I helped Thing 2.

     3. Using washable markers, decorate your egg. Be sure to leave some space between the colors so that they have room to run when you spray it.

     4. I propped the cookie sheet up against a storage tote. I then sprayed a little bit of water on the cookie sheet so that the filter would stick. Thing 1 stuck her filter to the cookie sheet and sprayed it. Make sure that your bottle is set on spray and not stream. I also put a towel on the floor so that the marker wouldn't run onto my carpet.

     5. Allow the excess to run to the bottom of the cookie sheet/towel. Don't spray too much or all of your color will run off and you'll just have a white coffee filter again.

     6. Place wet eggs on paper towel to dry.

     7. When they're completely dry (15-30 minutes, depending on how much water you used), hang them in the window for a lovely stained glass effect.

     We hung them in the girls toy room. Now, they want to make a "Happy Easter" banner. I guess I'm off to figure out how we're going to do

     I am not sure where the coffee filter spritz crafts originated. Many sites have their own version of this craft. I think that it's a wonderful preschool activity. I have seen this elsewhere and other sites inspired my version.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Determination

     I love to exercise. It's just that I often lack motivation. After I do everything that I have to do during the day, the only thing I really want to do is lounge and watch bad tv. 

     With 100 Miles with SlapDashMom, I have been determined to reach my goal. As of my last update, I still had 31.5 miles to go. How am I doing now?

3/20 - 5 miles
3/22 - 5 miles
3/26 - 8.5 miles
3/27 - 5.5 miles
3/28 - 5 miles
3/29 - 4/1 - Universal (walked about a billion miles...too bad that doesn't count)

     So, I now need to do 21 miles in 5 days. That is completely doable as long as I keep my determination. If I ride everyday, that's about 4 miles a day. That's less than what I have been doing.

     Be sure to check out Sadie's progress. Remember, if she doesn't make it, she's giving away her birthday present. If she does make it, she'll still have a giveaway, but she keeps her presents.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Children

     As most of you know, I have 2 daughters. They are very important to me, and I couldn't imagine life without them.

     So, since the letter of the day is C, I decided that I am going to share a few pictures of my children with you.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the day Thing 1  was born. It's my mom, holding her for the first time.

This is Thing 1 in her coming home outfit. She surprised us all by being born with a head full of dark hair.

Thing 1 holding Thing 2's hand while visiting us at the hospital.

Our first family picture.


Our most recent family picture at the 
Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

     There are about a million other pictures that I could include in this post (birthdays, holidays, etc). But for now, I'll leave you with these few.  

     "A happy family is but an earlier heaven." 
- George Bernard Shaw

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