Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I found this over at Milk Allergy Mom and I just signed up for free prints and a free photo book at a new photo printing site: ArtsCow. After signing up this is the message I received:

Since the promotion for 400 free prints & 1 free 8x8 photo book is one of the most popular and hottest deals in the market, we have received over 15,000 new registrants in the last two weeks, over 15,000 photo books and 6,000,000 free prints credits have been granted to all qualified members. Once our target of 20,000,000 free prints credits granted in these days, we will stop this aggressive marketing promotion. You can earn extra prints credits (up to 10,000 credits) by referring your friends to join us.

The 8x8 Custom Cover Photo Book (including first 20 pages, additional each page $0.50), will be available around 05/31/2008. We promise that our photo book quality will be among the best three in the online market. Thank you.

If free photos and a free photo book interest you, too, please Click HERE to use me as your referral.

Just to point it out, though, I'm sure there will be S&H fees.

Well, I'm off to download some pictures of Witt... poor thing, I don't have much printed of him!

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Organizing Roundup: Master Bedroom

A big thank you to Org Junkie for the book How to Get Organized Without Resorting to Arson! Although Jeff's first response to the book title was, "What if we want to resort to arson?!" LOL!

Anyway... this month's organizing roundup is the master bedroom.

First of all, in showing you these pictures, I'm letting you in on a secret: I am not a neat freak - by any stretch of the imagination. If I can do something later, I will. I am a procrastinator when it comes to cleaning and putting things away (unless that cleaning bug happens to bite me in the butt and then there is no stopping me!).

So, with that grand introduction, welcome to the master bathroom after a Sunday morning of getting ready for worship services. Obviously there isn't a home for everything and the basket we have is not big enough to hold it all.

Luckily, I just happened to have this beautiful basket available to me in the garage with all of my other pretty SLAH things! When you can't move out, move up! The two tiers really help conserve counter space and it holds everything we need it to! Yippee! I can see my counter top!

Next is my bedside table. I'm notorious for bringing my cookbooks to bed at night and paging through. I'm also notorious for leaving them on the nightstand...

Now, after a bit of good ol' "putting things back where they belong" I can see the top of it better.

Dear hubby's closet. He didn't know I was going to include his closet in this month's roundup. He's probably going to kill me for posting a picture of his closet. LOL!

I arranged his shirts by type (long sleeve, polo type, t-shirt, etc). I put the winter jackets and shirts off the back in the right side of his closet. I also ended up with an empty shelf right above his clothes, so I added a few pictures for him to look at when he's getting ready in the morning. Aren't I sweet!?

His first words when he opened the closet were a chuckled, "Ok, where's all my stuff?" I didn't get rid of anything. I just made a better home for it (ie not hanging out all over the place).

I even found a tie organizer stashed away in his closet. I "engineered" it to balance between two hangers. I believe it's supposed to hang on the wall, but I wasn't up for drilling holes. Jeff said my concoction would work fine, though. So, I'm pleased if he is.

Here are the before pictures of my closet. Nothing is really organized except that all of my hangers face the same way - I am picky about that. The shelves are overrun, there are baby books on the floor, and it's no fun looking for a matching pair of shoes.

I actually took EVERYTHING out of my closet (per Org Junkie's suggestion). If it didn't fit or I didn't like it, I put it in a pile to get rid of. If I wasn't sure if it fit or not, I tried it on. Now my closet is full of clothes that I know I like and fit. No more sifting through!

With Spring here, this was a great time to bring the short sleeves forward and put the long sleeves to the back, as well as bringing the sandals out! woo hoo! It's not exactly perfect, but it is so much better and the baby books even found a safe home on the top shelf.

My shoes even found their "sole" mates!

And for the best part of all... Jeff and I can both do this:

The end.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Recap of our "No" TV Week

Monday, Day 1: After waking up, Will immediately said, "Mommy, I'm Bored!" because he wanted to try out his bored box. The first item he drew was to make a castle with Leggos. Here's the completed castle. Yes, everyone is still in their pjs... I told you he said it immediately after waking! :)

Nathan went to the tv and pushed the button to turn it on. Nothing happened because I had unplugged it. He tried again and again. He looked at me and I told a bit of a fib and said it was broken. He said very seriously, "Dadda, fix!" and then went to find something else to do. Boy, that was easy.

Then Will said he was bored again. (This word "bored" is a new one for him. He doesn't quite understand it yet. I made the mistake of explaining that he got to draw something from the box when he says he is bored. Oh well.) So anyway, he was "bored" again. He drew the slip that said to pick new books.

I recently did an overhaul of the kids' books and stored the majority of them. It was time to switch them out anyway, so that's what we did. Will and Nathan picked 7 books each they wanted to put away and 7 new books from the stored ones. The spent the rest of the morning reading books until it was time for Will to go to school.

The boys played outside in the sandbox until Jeff got home and then we all cleaned up the back yard, raking leaves and cut grass. Baths all around and into bed! Whew!

Day 2: No attempt at turning the tv on. No mention of it, either. We spent the first minutes of the day listening. Then, around 7:30AM Will brings me a slip of paper... "Bake cookies". My initial reaction is, "No, there's not enough time before school." But then I realized there was still 1 1/2 hours before we needed to leave, so... we baked cookies!

My MIL came over so I could do my weekly shopping and errands. She would also be spending the night because Witt had an ENT appointment Wednesday morning.

The boys played outside all day! It was beautiful.

We spent the evening watching Jeff rescue a balloon from the tree.

Day 3: It all fell apart today, not the tv watching... the day in general. Witt's appointment at 8:30AM went fine - he'll be getting tubes on April 28th (my bday... happy birthday to me). Upon returning from the ENT I find Will sobbing in tears that his hip hurts. MIL says he's been crying about it for an hour. I've never seen this kid so upset, so I call his pediatrician.

To make a VERY LONG story short, on the way to the pediatrician, will threw up... repeatedly. I figure it was actually his stomach that hurt and not his hip, but after a visit to the pediatrician, we ended up at the hospital for hip x-rays and blood work anyway. I brought Will home after several hours at the hospital. Everything came back fine; the blood work corresponded to a virus. (Sometimes mom knows best and if I had only waited 20 more minutes before going to the pediatrician I would have saved Will the torment of being sick and waiting at the hospital... oh what day!)

After returning Will home, I headed back across town to preregister Witt for his ear tubes.

The rest of the day is a blur... but we didn't watch tv.

Day 4, Thursday: Will's energy has returned two-fold and MIL leaves to go back to her house, but offers to keep Will and Nathan the next two nights if I'll bring them to her house later that afternoon. SCORE! Yes, ma'am I can do that!

That evening at 7:30PM, I was by myself. Witt was in bed, the older boys were gone, and Jeff was working. I made the conscious choice to sit down and watch a movie all... by... myself. I don't regret it. It was great to veg-out!

Day 5, Friday: The boys were at MIL's. I'm sure they were allowed to watch as much tv as they wanted. I cleaned the house with Witt.

Day 6, Saturday: The boys return around noon. Will breaks down in tears that I won't let him watch tv. I remind him about his box. He brings me a slip. Whatever it was, he doesn't want to do it. And another. Same thing. And another. Same thing. I stood my ground on "no tv".

We decide to snuggle up in the chair and read a book. Then we build another castle with the blocks. We also build a new train track layout.

Day 7, Sunday: The boys are so tired and whiny from their trip to grandmother's and from worship services in the morning. Jeff breaks down while lunch is being prepared with, "Becky, where ARE the videos?!?" He pops one in and we let the boys eat lunch in front of the tv for some peace and quiet.

Later that afternoon, Will asks for tv again and wants to know when we can "watch it all the time".


I also limited my computer time during this week and I think that made for the most successful days when I adhered to the limitations. I was also more productive in the house. I'd like to continue limiting my computer time - I just haven't figured out the best time of the day for me to allow the computer time.

As far as the tv goes, life goes much smoother in the morning without it. We have plenty of time to get ready and even make cookies if we want! It's just hard when it's been a rough night's sleep for me and I don't want to have to deal with the morning.

I would like to see us keep the tv off until after Will comes home from school... maybe a video while I'm cooking supper. It's going to take a lot of discipline for that though... more for me than the kids.

It was a good week and I enjoyed the extra time with the kids. I want them to have memories of me reading to them and playing with them... not memories of just sitting and watching tv or of mom on the computer.

So, with that... I'm turning the computer off to go be with the kiddos!

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Monday, April 28, 2008

What is he doing? I'm Taking Guesses...


Mom24 was closest with her kite comment... here's what REALLY took place:

What a good Daddy!

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Simple & Slow Fridays: Listening - Post Your's Here

The second morning during our week with no tv was an early one for me. Witt did not sleep well through the night due to two ear infections and Will and Nathan both woke up early. I made the boys their morning hot chocolates as usual and I headed to the sunroom to get on the computer because all I wanted to do was veg-out.

When I opened the door to the sunroom, the first thing I noticed was the coolness. The room is not heated or cooled with the rest of the house, so it was obviously pretty cool outside. That's also when I noticed I had two little boys right on my heels because they had no tv to watch.

I opened the door from the sunroom to the outside. A fresh breeze blew in with a chill and we could hear the birds chirping. I told the boys, "Let's sit down and just listen to the birds together. Don't they sound pretty?"

We snuggled up in our oversized recliner under a handmade quilt, Nathan on my lap and Will next to me. We sat there for a few minutes together not saying anything. I was just listening to the birds chirping and the boys slurping the hot chocolate through their sippy cups.

Then Will asked, "Can I sit on your lap, too? Nathan on one leg and me on the other?" So, that's what we did... and it was just so sweet and wonderful to snuggle with my boys, not saying much of anything, but listening just the same.

(Click here for next week's topic of Nature.)

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Simple & Slow Fridays: Nature

Excerpts to ponder over for this week from Mitten Strings for God are about Nature.

I think we parents have come to think of nature as something we need to teach our children, something we are meant to provide as a part of their well-rounded education, like music lessons and team sports.

Yet, I've come to realize that a few small, familiar places have made far deeper impressions on my children than all of the whales and panoramic views and rain forest exhibits we could ever offer. The encounters with nature that mean the most to them are those that happen without any agenda at all, beyond going forth to see what's out there. (p 111)

It is so easy in our culture to lose touch with the natural world altogether. We believe we don't have time for nature, and so we ignore our own primal hunger for earth and water and sky. Modern life calls us away from nature's rhythms, away from the kind of observation and interaction with the natural world that can quiet a troubled mind, restore a sense of well-being, and renew our connections with all life. (p 113)

Any relationship requires time, lots of it. If a child is to truly love the natural world, to experience beauty and truth and power at a spiritual level, he or she must first spend time in natural places. In the end, those who will make a real difference in our world - those who will grow up with the confidence and the imagination to help save the earth - will be those who know it well and love it deeply. (p 114)

Meet back next week to link up your post on Nature. To link up your post on this week's topic of Listening, go here.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Speech Evaluation Part III - Here's Your Sign

Because he qualified, Nathan had his evaluation with the actual speech therapist this past week. However, even before the evaluation, I knew he wouldn't qualify any further than the first meeting with her. He's been trying out new words a lot lately. However, without the sign, I would have no clue what he was trying to say half the time, but at least he's trying. And he's getting better. Much better than two months ago.

During the evaluation, one of the questions she asked me was to list the signs he uses. She was at the bottom of her paper, ready to write and all I could think was, "You're not going to be able to fit them all on that little piece of paper." What I actually told her was that it would be easier to list what he doesn't have a sign for. She was quite surprised. And she was very impressed during the evaluation when he signed horse and cow (while trying to say them as well).

So, with that question of "What does he sign?" I thought I'd list some of his common signs, although he knows more (and says more) than I've shown:

Colors: red, orange, green, blue, the word "colors"

Fruit: apple, banana, grapes, pear, orange, strawberry

Letters: A B C D E F G I K L O R T V (and recognizes H M N P S U as well)

Outside: grass, flower, airplane, tree, star, rain, windy

Toys: ball, train, bike, ball, book, doll, scissors

Concepts: dirty, clean, share, more, thank you, please, hurt, yes, no, hot, cold, up, down, all gone, all done, wait, sick, silly, out, broken

Food: eat, milk, juice, bread, cracker, ice cream, cereal, water, cookie, cheese, candy

Animals: dog, cat, horse, cow, tiger, lion, bear, penguin, fish, starfish, lizard, frog, caterpillar, turtle, dolphin, chicken, bird, mouse, alligator, owl, deer

Action: bath, sleep, walk, play, stop, go, read, kiss, sit

Clothes: socks, shoes, boots, coat, hat

People: Mom, Dad, baby, Grandmother, Pa-paw, boy, girl

Other: potty, medicine

He is now at least attempting to say something with each of these signs. And soon I think the signs will disappear as he begins talking more. Maybe not, though, as I am starting to sign with Witt now...

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Dogs Don't Mind Sharing...

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Think I Can

Day 1 of our week with no tv resulted in Nathan trying to turn the tv on repeatedly; I had unplugged it, though. I told him that it didn't work. He looked me square in the eye and said, "Dada. Fix!" I guess even the boys know that Jeff is pretty handy. :)


This past week, I've been walking Will to school. It's only about 2 - 3 blocks away and it saves gas and I get some (much needed) exercise. We have a sit and stand stroller that I push the kids on. Will mostly walks beside me, but when we have to cross the street and walk through the parking lot, he gets on the stroller, too!

So, here I am crossing the street with three kids on the stroller. Then, to get to the parking lot, we have to go up a hill. Not a huge one, but big enough... let me tell ya. So, as I'm pushing this loaded down stroller,

Will says, "Mom, don't forget to say the words."

Me: "What words?"

Will: "I think I can. I think I can."

[Have I told you we like trains around here? Yes, I think I've covered it a few times...]

So as I push up the hill, I'm puffing, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can."

Then the hill levels off and it turns to, "I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could."

And then, I let a big "Whoo. Whoo." Because, I'm proud of myself for making it up that hill and of course I needed to let off a little steam with a "WHEEESH!"

Then Will tells me, "Don't forget to puff, Mom!"

Me, out of breath: "Trust me honey, I'm puffin'!"

Will had the biggest smile on his face. He was so proud of his momma engine! :)

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Mommy, I'm Bored!

This week is National Turn Your TV Off Week so we're participating in Unplug Your Kids' blog challenge of turning off the tv! We're also participating in this week's unplugged project, Scissors!

We created our own "Mommy, I'm Bored" Box from her suggestions. Can you tell that we heart Mom Unplugged's ideas!??! :)

First, I printed out a piece of paper for both Will and Nathan that read, "Mommy, I'm Bored!!" They cut out the words so that we could glue them to our bored box.

Will asked if they could do some painting, so I let each boy paint a box. We started out with 6 colors: red, yellow, blue, white, green, and purple. This is what they created:

Nathan's Box

Will's Box
(It looks a lot like his Valentine's Box!)

I printed out 63 different activities on a piece of paper - some are fun; some are not so fun. Now, I know you are going to want to know what activities I came up with, so here's the list:

go fish
read books alone
read books together
play music
make music
bake cookies
bake cupcakes
pick up toys
write letter to Nana
obstacle course
scavenger hunt
letter to friends
letter to teacher
what do the clouds look like?
take pictures
make video
sometimes it looks like…
Pick new books
chalk drawing
go outside: bring back 5 brown things
go outside: bring back 3 yellow things
make smoothie
Hide N Seek
In this room: what starts with T?
In this room: what starts with N?
build castle with leggos
fort under table
paint with water book
play stop/go
paper airplanes
tea party
Toddler Book
learn Spanish
finger paint
bubble bath
play doctor
play dentist
sand castle
I Spy
water flowers
hokie pokie
sort socks
fold laundry
Unplugged Project
tell story

I cut a door in the box with some scissors and then Will and I cut the activities into single slips and dropped them in the box:

When it came time to glue the words "Mommy, I'm Bored" onto the box, they were no where to be found... maybe I'll add that to the box: "Find the lost!" (Surely we've got a lot of lost things around here!)

We did a trial run and I let each boy pick out a slip of paper. Will is really excited about this box! He is so excited that after our bedtime prayer he said, "Momma, I gotta tell you something. I think I'm going to be bored tomorrow." :) What a cutie!

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Menu Plan Monday - April 21

This week dh is working 16 hour days and then switching to nights for three nights. What a crazy week. I'm tailoring this week's suppers to the kids - these are their favorites. All links are to my dairy free recipes.

Sheppard's Pie
Black Eyed Peas
Green Beans
"Chicken on a Bone" - Will's favorite (fried chicken legs)
I'm cheating on this one and buying frozen, already fried legs. I don't fry.
Mashed Potatoes
Corn on the cob
Spaghetti w/meat sauce
yellow squash (for me, they won't eat it)
garlic bread
Polish Kielbasa and/or hot dogs
Steamed Broccoli
Long grain rice
Turkey Sausage
(unfortunately, no scrambled eggs... Witt's allergic)
Meatballs or meatball sandwiches
oven baked french fries
steamed broccoli
Sweet Potatoes
Black Eyed Peas
Green onions (Jeff's likes to eat them as a side)
Corn on the cob
crescent rolls

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm So Glad I'm Not a Momma Bird

Spring is here!

We have a momma and daddy dove that have "put up house" on the top of our front porch column. They were here last year, too. I don't know how that momma dove keeps them up there, but there were three little ones and her!

We saw the momma and daddy out with two of the babies one day last week. It was feeding time. The boys were very intrigued by the whole feeding thing. Personally, when I think about the logistics of it all, it's kinda gross.

We saw one of the babies fly off and then Nathan noticed this little guy in the "flower" garden (no flowers, though). Ain't he cute?

Last year momma dove had two different layings. (I don't know what you call it; I'm sure there's a word...) Anyway, she ended up laying more eggs after the first set flew the coop. Looks like she's gonna have more this year, too... She's just sittin' up there... all the time... doin' nothing....

I'm so glad I'm not a momma bird. ;0)

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Favorite Recipe?

I'm in a cooking rut. I usually love to cook, but lately I have no desire. I'm tired of the same old recipes I always use and I'm not feeling adventurous enough to try something new right now.

Here's what I'm asking... in the comment section of this post, leave a tried-n-true recipe(s) of yours OR if you'd like to post that recipe on your blog, you can use your permalink in Mr. Linky below.

There is no time limit on this request! I'll take good recipes anytime! :) And you're not limited to just one, either. Load me down with some good ones, please!

I thank you and my family thanks you!

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I Don't Need That, Please

Just got off the phone with the telephone/internet provider and requested that my unnecessary charges be removed. It was much easier than I was expecting and now we will have $25.95 more each month in our pocket. That's a bunch of money! Luckily I noticed it now instead of month's later!

I also asked how much the internet would be if we weren't bundling it with our local/long distance (we'd just use our cell phones). The internet charge will be only $5 more than what we're currently paying. If we can get rid of the house phone, that will be another $35 a month!

So, now I'm off to check out some sort of holder for my phone to keep it attached to me (I can't hear it in my pocket and it's uncomfortable). I'm also going to look into other internet providers.

Who is your internet provider? What speed do you use? and if you'd be willing to share, how much do you pay?

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My Answers to Your Questions

Super B's Mom said...

Ok..I gotta know about the No Gatorade rule!! I'd love to hear more about this - I'm very curious! :)

The "No Gatorade Rule" is referred to in my Spring Planting Post. Basically, we don't drink it unless we've been outside working and hot and sweaty. Here's the history behind the rule:

A couple of years ago, my brother lived with us during a summer. He would easily drink us out of house and home with the Gatorade. So that summer I made the rule that the only time he could have Gatorade is when he had been outside working/hot/sweaty.

It's nothing special, but it just kind of stuck, I guess. Plus, it's not really a great drink for the kids with all the extra sodium... so we leave it more as a "treat" for working hard. That's all. ;)

Elaine A. said...

I want to know what you thought about having a 3rd boy. Not that you would care either way, but I just wonder what your reaction was.

Well, you may or may not know that the 3rd boy was a surprise in itself. Jeff and I are planners. We had planned on two kids. We thought we were done. God told us otherwise; I'm so glad he did. Witt has been such a blessing and is just such a sweet baby. He has really completed our family and I don't even want to think about a life without him. But that's not what you asked... so, I will start over. ;)

Third boy.... well, to be honest, we never wanted girls. Sure, we would have loved a girl and kept her (*smile*), but we really always just wanted boys. Given Jeff's family history it really wasn't a shock to have all boys, though. In the past 5 generations, I believe there are only two girls.

So, it wasn't a surprise, but it was a bit of a relief. I mean, seriously, we already have lots of trains, tractors, cars, and boy clothes! I wouldn't have a clue what to do with barbies and the color pink! LOL! We are so happy to have all boys and truly, it's just fun to say "Come on boys" or "Me and the boys" or "my boys". Just a "collectiveness" about it all. (Yes, I realize the bad grammar and the made up word, but that's just how it is!) I love my boys!

Lulu said...

Let's see...what questions do I have for Becky?

I don't know.

What is the ugliest thing you know? What's the most beautiful?

The ugliest thing I know? Hmmm.... My immediate thoughts are when I see a baby in a car with the window up and smokers in the car. I really hate to see that. The other is when there is a baby in a car and EXTREMELY loud music playing. That bugs the stew out of me too. (In typing that I wonder... what on earth does that mean... bugging the stew out of me? Where did I pick that up? I don't know, but it's something I say... anyway...)

The ugliest piece of dirt I know I can't share... because that would be gossip... and I don't gossip. Well, I really try not to, but sometimes it just happens... don't you hate that?! It reals you in very easily and your in the middle of it before you know it. Gossip is a really ugly thing.

The most beautiful?

A baby sleeping. Peacefully. Quietly. I also really like watching children play outside in nature. Watching them when they don't know they are being watched. Seeing their little minds work and absorb. Children are a really beautiful thing.

Who do you think is the most relevant person in our generation? why?

Oh, that's a good one. I knew you'd come up with something really thought provoking. Again, going with my immediate thought... moms. In general, I think moms have the hardest jobs. Moms (or mother figures) are so important. I see this generation moving and shifting back to "the olden days". It might just be the blogs I'm reading, but it seems that moms are taking a more active role in their households. With the economy the way it is, moms are becoming more frugal. Some parts of being frugal (making more things from scratch, hanging out laundry, etc) are also good for our environment. Sure, dads can do all this stuff, too, but I think moms/women do more with the rearing of the kids and teaching them how to do these things as well. It might just be that I'm a SAHM and these are the things I am trying to bring into my life, trying to get my household in better order. I don't know.

Now, if you want a single most relevant person, I just might have to say Oprah. There isn't going to be a single reader that says, "Who's that?". Everyone knows who she is. She does a lot of good. However, recently I've been made aware of the fact that she is leading so many astray with her teaching of "more than one way to heaven". If you haven't seen it, here's one of many videos from Youtube:

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Hmmmm....What was the best present you ever received :)

The best present I've ever received - that's a hard one. I can tell you the most expensive present(s) I've received - vehicles. When we were engaged, we were in a long distance relationship. Jeff gave me a brand new 1999 Civic EX for Christmas. It was black and a 5 speed. I loved it. I needed something more reliable than what I had been driving and something more sporty and something more black and something more fun... :) Jeff spoils me.

Then, it came time to have kids. Literally, almost when I was about to pop with Will, Jeff bought my Tahoe. We traveled to AL from GA one last time before the delivery. I was so uncomfortable on that trip there. We had been looking at Tahoes for some time. We knew exactly what we wanted, including the price. While in AL, Jeff and his dad took the Civic and came back with a brand spanking new 2002 Tahoe! He got an exceptional deal and more than we had hoped for! I love my Tahoe. I love the size, the leather seats are easy to clean, the color doesn't show much dirt (like black does). We can fit loads of kids stuff in it and on it! The best part is that it is completely paid for! Woo Hoo!

But as for presents in general, I think of my family as a gift from God. We are blessed. Jeff and I are so in love and happy. Our 10 year anniversary is next year and we still have that "newlywed" spark (most days). It's not all roses, but we really are happy. We're all mostly healthy (minus ear and sinus infections), too. God has given us a lot. We strive to serve Him well.

Thank you guys for playing my Bloggy Q&A game! This was fun! I highly recommend you having one of your own. You never know what questions you're going to get and you learn a lot about yourself in the process! Let me know if you do a Q&A and I'll try to come up with a good one for ya!

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