• The 2006 Weblog Awards



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A Day to Honor, a Lifetime to Remember



Our Word for the Day: Kindergarten

I remember when I could hold her with one arm, how she’d fall asleep in the middle of a feeding. How her big blue eyes would look up into my face and she would light up and laugh with a giggle that only infants can make.

I can remember the first day she ate solids. The day she got her first tooth. The day she said “Momma!” The day she could go potty in the “big girl” potty and didn’t have to wear diapers. I remember the boo-boos, the hugs, the little groany sighing she does when she cuddles her face into my neck and gently rubs my cheek. I remember the day she turned 5. One day to add to the list is today. My little girl started Kindergarten.

Did I cry when I took her to “her brother’s school” today? I didn’t this morning. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t now. There are moments I just want her to be that cuddly little baby that needed me for everything - that depended on me for the most basic parts of living. There are moments when I am so proud to see her growing up to see how much of a beautiful spirit she has and how much she loves, well, everyone and everything most days. I’ll borrow her words when she’s talking about my cooking when I say “she’s a little bit of Heaven.”

They grow up so fast, don’t they? No matter what, she and her brother will always be my babies. Even when they go to their first dance, join the elementary fire patrol, [try to] borrow the car keys or go on their first date. Even when they get married and have kids of their own.

Happy first day at Kindergarten, Bug! Mommy’s so proud of her big girl!


Concealed Carry Passed by Omaha City Council

Hubby says I get to go shoppin’ ….and not only for a gun, but for a new Coach bag to put it in. Woot!

OMAHA, Neb. — The scramble to prepare for a new weapons law in Omaha has started at area businesses.

The Omaha City Council passed an ordinance on Tuesday that will allow people to legally carry concealed guns when a new state law takes effect on Jan. 1. There are exceptions, including places where the business owner or the person in charge of the property decides to ban weapons.

Mayor Mike Fahey has said he will veto the ordinance, but with a 5-2 vote out of the council, there are enough votes to override a veto.

Nyah, nyah, nyah Fahey. Of course you don’t understand. I’ll bet you never got followed off the interstate when you were coming home from work at 2am, huh?


Hmmm…should I get a guest blogger for the guest blogger?

Some friends invited my daughter and I to go to St. Augustine for the weekend. So I’m leaving later this afternoon to go camping. Yes. Camping. In a tent. If you knew me, you would know to begin hysterical laughing right now… okay, enough already (I am not made of steel! sniff!).

I have my suspicions that they only invited me to go with them for purely comedy relief. You know the camping trip at the end of the Parent Trap movie (the good one, not the Lindsey Lohan one)? Where they take the witchy wannabe stepmom with them on their trip and she’s so clueless about outdoor life that she’ll believe anything they say? Yeah well that’s me minus the witchy wannabe stepmom part. Those FIVE years in Girl Scouts did nothing for me.

The funniest thing? I am going to take my three and half year old terror. When I told her we were going camping. Her big blue eyes widened and she smiled real big and said, “Yay! Camping! … What’s that?” (Yeah, that’s my girl.)

Who knows though? Ya’ll might not be done with me yet (so stop being relieved!). I might post something on Monday… if you’re lucky!


She Survived Her Mother’s Choice to Abort Her…

This is an amazing story from Ted Harvey, assistant minority leader, Colorado House. This story is about a woman named Gianna Jessen.

When her biological mother was 17 years old and seven and a half months pregnant, she went to a Planned Parenthood clinic to have an abortion. As God would have it, the abortion failed and a beautiful 2-pound baby girl was brought into the world. Unfortunately, she was born with cerebral palsy and the doctors thought that she would never survive. The doctors were wrong.

They thought she’d never survive, but she has lived a life more “full of life” in her 29 years than most do in 70 or so. You really should read this story and how - together - Ted Harvey and Gianna pulled a great punch on a Planned Parenthood anniversary celebration. As a strong advocate for pro-life, I found it very refreshing!

H/T to Linda!


Ahhhh…the Count Down is Now in Hours!

Other than a severe case of the “tired bug” we are well on our way to getting ready for the big trip! Plane flies out of here tomorrow, a bit past 2pm! I can hardly wait to get to the sun and the fun!

I have some guest bloggers who have been gracious enough to poke their heads in here and keep the musings alive. More on that after I get the dogs to the boarding kennel, get the bird food and birds transported to the neighbors and wash the laundry for the trip.

Oh…does anyone want to hang out with a 5 year old and and 8 year old today? They are a *bit* excited (and, well, are driving me crazy!). :-)

UPDATE: Well - we’re off tomorrow and I’ve got some great guests popping their heads in over here to keep the momentum going. These wonderful women are all Cotillion, and all ROCK! I appreciate their kindness to fill in over here:

Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Jody at In Spite of Everything…. (she’ll tell you she’s abandoned her blog, but we refuse to believe it)
Linda at Something…and Half of Something
CalTechGirl at Not Exactly Rocket Science
Tammy at A Mom and Her Blog
Sadie at Agent Bedhead

Ladies - I heart you all! Everyone, take it easy and I’ll see you after I get some sun and fun taken care of!


Happy Father’s Day, My Love!

My love,

When I met you, I was thoroughly taken by you. You were romantic, fun, and caring and I fell in love for you for many reasons. But I’ve got to say, that my love for you deepened more than I ever imagined when you became a father. To see you holding our two tiny ones when they were born, with tears in your eyes, is a memory that regularly plays in my head. When Bradley was born, and we were concerned because he was a preemie, you were my rock…and his, too. …and he not only has your looks, but he has your love of football, your amazing mind, and he’s definitely a young Republican in the making. And Emily….she loves you so much. She looks to you as her provider as well as her entertainment. And for me…I can’t help but love you even more since you are such a great Dad to our children.

I don’t know if you’ve read much Erma Bombeck (heh)…but this is great…and speaks volumes for how I look at you as a Dad. I love you, Honey! Happy Father’s Day!

WHEN GOD CREATED FATHERS

When the good Lord was creating Fathers he started with a tall frame. And a female angel nearby said, “What kind of Father is that? If you’re going to make children so close to the ground, why have you put fathers up so high? He won’t be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping.” And God smiled and said, “Yes, but if I make him child size, who would children have to look up to?”

And when God made a Father’s hands, they were large and sinewy. And the angel shook her head sadly and said, “Do you know what you’re doing? Large hands are clumsy. They can’t manage diaper pins, small buttons, rubber bands on pony tails or even remove splinters caused by baseball bats.” And God smiled and said, “I know, but they’re large enough to hold everything a small boy empties from his pockets at the end of a day…yet small enough to cup a child’s face in his hands.”

And then God moulded long, slim legs and broad shoulders. And the angel nearly had a heart attack. “Boy, this is the end of the week, all right,” she clucked. “Do you realize you just made a Father without a lap? How is he going to pull a child close to him without the kid falling between his legs?” And God smiled and said, “A mother needs a lap. A father needs strong shoulders to pull a sled, balance a boy on a bicycle, and hold a sleepy head on the way home from the circus.”

God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone had every seen when the angel could contain herself no longer. “That’s not fair. Do you honestly think those large boats are going to dig out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries? Or walk through a small birthday party without crushing at least three of the guests?” And God smiled and said, “They’ll work. You’ll see. They’ll support a small child who wants to ride a horse to Banbury Cross, or scare off mice at the summer cabin, or display shoes that will be a challenge to fill.”

God worked throughout the night, giving the Father few words, but a firm authoritative voice; eyes that saw everything, but remained calm and tolerant. Finally, almost as an afterthought, he added tears. Then he turned to the angel and said, “Now, are you satisfied that he can love as much as a Mother?”

The angel shutteth up.


You Say Small and I Say Large!

Funny! In the midst of running around getting things done today, the kids and I stopped at at at Wendys, which we hadn’t done for quite a lot time. To see this story on Fox News today made me laugh as I experienced the “shift” in size names today.

The Biggie portion size, formerly the fast food restaurant’s equivalent of a large, will now be called a medium. It’s only a name change, and the portion customers get — the equivalent of almost three 12-ounce cans of soda for the drinks — won’t get smaller.

Wendy’s International Inc. research shows demand for big drinks, but people were confused by the designation of Biggie and Great Biggie, the former extra-large size, spokesman Denny Lynch said. Switching to a more straightforward small, medium and large sizes made sense, he said.

The nation’s third-largest burger chain has used the Biggie designation since the early 1990s.

The Great Biggie, equal to 3 1/2 12-ounce cans of soda, will now be classified as a large. Medium portions will be bumped down to small sizes.

So, in other words we continue to focus on dumbing things down for us Americans. But see, I figured it out! They basically don’t have a small any more, their “medium” became a small, and so on, and so forth. All I know is that I wanted a medium, and the guy behind the counter was kind enough to say “um, you may want a small.” To myself, I was thinking “um, NO…if I had wanted a small, I would have ORDERED a small!” until he showed me what the small cup looked like. …and so I got a small! And they were worried that “Biggie” and “Great Biggie” were confusing?!?!?!?

It was nice to see an expanded menu, though!

Wendy’s says it has made several changes to give customers healthier choices, including offering salads, chili, baked potatoes or yogurt instead of fries with combo meals.

I do find it rather amusing that their reason for changing the drink size names was to appease fast food critics who complain that the fast food industry is increasing portion sizes and contributing to the obesity epidemic. Um, how does this appease anyone, truly? I think the solution is clear. Let the customers order the size they wish to have and let *them* be in control of their food choices. Novel idea, I do believe! :-)


Memorial Day

They fell, but o’er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.

~Francis Marion Crawford

We will always remember.
We will always be proud.
We will always be prepared,
so we will always be free.

~Ronald Reagan

It is easy to take liberty for granted,
when you have never had it taken from you.

~Dick Cheney

This nation will remain the land
of the free only so long as it is
the home of the brave.

~Elmer Davis

Taps~

Day is Done…
Gone the Sun…
From the Hills…
From the Plains…
From the Sky…
All is Well…
Safely Rest…
GOD is Nigh…..

================================

A beautiful Memorial Day Tribute from Romeocat’s trip to D.C. is posted over at her place. Please stop by and be inspired!


Amber Harris, Angel in Heaven

Living in the Omaha area, this story has been headlined since Amber’s disappearance in late November.

OMAHA (AP) — The case of Amber Harris is now a homicide investigation after human remains found last week in a city park were identified as those of the missing 12-year-old girl.

Police Chief Thomas Warren said at a news conference Friday that the remains found May 11 in a shallow grave in Hummel Park were identified through DNA analysis.

A cause and time of death have not been determined, he said. Police have not been able to determine how long the remains were in the park, he said.

“It would be pure speculation for me to suggest when the death actually occurred,” Warren said.

The condition of the remains and preliminary results from an autopsy were determining factors in the decision to classify the death as a homicide, Warren said.

There are no suspects, he said.

Amber was last seen alive getting off a school bus near her home in north Omaha on Nov. 29.

Warren said there were articles of clothing found at the site where the remains were found, and indications were that they belonged to Amber.

I feel for the family. They have been searching for her since her disappearance and have been very persistent. Billboards of Amber’s picture have been up all over Omaha and “America’s Most Wanted” did a piece on the case in the hopes there would be more leads. While no one wanted this case to end discovering Amber’s death, being able to put Amber to rest will hopefully provide some closure for the family. Six months of investigating and not knowing what happened to your child must be a sheer hell.

The Harris family raised a number of concerns about the handling of the case, including the police department’s initial concerns that they may be suspects in the case. I’m certain that more will come out on this in the future. My initial thoughts? I couldn’t see from the outside in that they were treated in an inappropriate way, but I’m only exposed to what the media reports on.

Is Omaha a terrible place? No…much of Omaha reminds me of growing up - I feel relatively safe. But when my eight year old asks me why I won’t let him walk to school alone, thoughts of cases like this loom in my mind.

Little Amber - your pain was likely gone long ago, but now you can rest in peace. For the Harris family - may God’s healing hands rest on your hearts and give you some closure and whatever peace you can find.


…of Mothers and Fine China

Oh, the stories she’d tell! Those special times each year that prompted the unveiling of the “fine china” always brought with them the stories from years ago, when that china came into the family.

Mom had two sets of beautiful china. She always said to me as a little girl that the china would be mine someday. Even then I was excited. Each Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, the china would come out of the hutch and would have to be washed and set at the table. Sometimes it was just the three of us, sometimes other family and friends came to partake of my mom’s fabulous culinary skills. It never mattered to me when we ate on that china. It made the meal special. I didn’t even mind that the china couldn’t go into the dishwasher and had to be washed by hand.

The first set of china Mom owned she gave to me as a young newlywed. Since we didn’t have a good place to put it (we weren’t long into the residence of our “starter” home…no dining room, you see), we had it in a box in the “storage” room. Then, upon the planned arrival of our firstborn, the room needed to be cleared out in preparation for a nursery. Then the accident came and a rather large item fell upon the box of special china, smashing a few of the pieces. The pattern had been discontinued and I felt like I had shattered a small corner of my childhood. That new legacy would carry on to my children…and my children’s children. Mom didn’t need to know such a horrid tale and we quickly stowed away the remaining pieces for safe keeping.

Oh, but the other set of china. You should see it. A full service for twelve, with all of the extra serving dishes. A beautiful design of soft, small grayish flowers with the pieces edged in platinum. This set remains on display in the beautiful hutch of my youth. I look at it almost every time I go into my childhood home. This, too, is china that is supposed to come to me someday. Out of Mom’s two sets of china, this one was the most used. I have to admit, it’s my favorite of the two. Mom’s story about the day she bought the china goes back to a time in the 1950s, when Mom and Dad were stationed in Germany and Mom went to the Bx with a friend. The china was there, and Mom fell in love with it. She was amazed to see the price of $2.50 per five-piece setting. She and Dad entertained quite a bit in their military travels and she thought it would be the perfect set to use for just that…and at $2.50 a setting she bought service for twelve. Upon sharing her good find with other friends, one asked her to accompany them to the Bx a couple of weekends later. During that visit, it was unveiled by a store employee that the china was $25.00 per five-piece setting and just a couple of weekends ago they accidentally sold it at $2.50 per setting. Mom didn’t feel guilty enough to own up to being the purchaser, but she felt guilty enough to buy the serving dishes for the set. All told, she got an amazing deal on some china, and a great story, too!

Momma got very sick with cancer and we lost her close to a year and a half ago. Dad wanted to keep the china for now - of course he should - that beautiful hutch couldn’t bear to be empty. Pieces were rearranged in the hutch to Dad’s liking and that’s where it sits currently. Dad has taken a liking to another lady and, not wanting to be alone, asked her to move in with him. He was firm in his stance about no marriage until this week when it was announced that it was likely he and his lady-friend would likely get married late in the summer. Dad’s words “life’s too short” ring true in my ears. I want Dad to be happy and it seems that he has found this happiness with her. Selfishly, though, on my drive home all I could think about were the sentimental treasures in Dad’s house and what may happen should Dad pass on to Heaven before his new wife does. …and yes, that selfish thought was about the china. I don’t know her…would she keep it? Was Dad love-struck enough to change the will? Would I be able to pass down that full set of china to my daughter when she moves into her first home? Or would I need to give her the china with the missing pieces that resides in my home? All selfish thoughts I know, but I couldn’t prevent them from trickling in.

When the kids and I arrived home from our visit with Dad, the house was empty. When hubby arrived home a bit later he said he had a Mother’s Day gift for me that he couldn’t wait until tomorrow to give to me. My hubby does an amazing job of giving me gifts that choke me up, but when I peeled away the tissue I wasn’t prepared for this.

I immediately burst out in tears. I told him “I wasn’t expecting this” to which he said “um, neither was I!” He shared his story about how he had filled his cart with things he knew I would enjoy and use (a Calphalon wok, cutting boards, a nice bottle-opener set for wine to name a few) he also knew I was interested in some new wine glasses and we needed some new champagne glasses so thought he would take a look at what they had. As he headed back there, the broken china pieces flew into his head and he started looking at china and started looking at place settings that could come close to replacing that set with one I could pass down to our daughter someday. One he found the set, he ran back to the other parts of the store and put back everything in the cart. He knew he had found the “right” Mother’s Day gift for the softie also known as his wife.

But as the story unfolded, and I shared with him the news of the day - of Dad likely getting married, of my sorrow at what might happen to those sentimental items should Dad go first - it became clear to both of us that we had a little angel named “MOM” up in Heaven guiding my heart and hubby’s shopping cart. So with a little help from her, no matter what happens to that beautiful Noritake in the hutch at Dad’s house, the tradition of passing along the family china will continue…and now we have a story of our own to tell.


Sunday’s Ramblings

I always sit on a Sunday night and dread the proverbial Monday. Tonight is no different - other than the fact that I had a great weekend. Here’s what is flying around in my head…

It was good having a weekend off with the hubby. We don’t always see much of one another, and I really enjoyed being with him!

I had a stupid CT scan on Friday to see if I have kidney stones. I am supposed to find out tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed! If they are there, perhaps they are only small ones!

We took full advantage of our new backyard Saturday night - and my new smoothie maker (yes, it does make alcohol-laden fruity drinks…just the way I like it!). We grilled great steaks, had potatoes on the grill, corn on the cob and smores by the fire pit. We were in heaven!

We started adding color to the yard today, with a full host of bushes, flowers and plants added to our ever improving landscape. It was so nice planting some living things and beautifying our yard! It will only get better!

We grilled burgers tonight…even though it was cloudy and in the low 60s, we couldn’t help but sit out on the patio and eat dinner. Did I tell you that we love our new yard? HA!

Hubby picked out some pepper plants to grow - only one isn’t hot (my red bell peppers…yum!). The rest…wow…all I gotta say is that I need to pick up some Tums! :-)

Lastly, I do dread going into work tomorrow. I work for a great company, don’t get me wrong, but I just don’t want the weekend to end. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I will be off work for a month in less than a month now! The kids are out of school soon and we’re going to have plenty of time to play!

Tomorrow night is Bauer night! I can’t believe the final show of the season is coming this month (whahhhhhhhh!)!!! I LOVE MONDAYS!

Anyway….blah blah blah. I just had to ramble on for a bit…now I feel normal again! BWHAHAH!

UPDATE: So, according to my CT scan, I don’t have kidney stones and everything appeared to be normal. So why is it that my kidneys hurt now? I’m sure it’s psychological. Time will tell! :-)


United 93

Hubby and I had a chance to watch United 93 today. I think his post sums up some of what I felt. The part about feeling helpless was spot on.

The tears started cranking up when the last passenger on almost missed the flight - I’ll bet the thought of “I wish I had been delayed one or two more minutes” went through his mind time and again. The full blown tears started when the door on the plane actually closed and locked, sealing their fate. There were segments of time during which those tears were replaced by anger which, for me, inevitably results in more tears.

I was extremely surprised when I almost found myself in a position to have to walk out of the movie. I seriously thought I was having some kind of anxiety attack. My heart was racing, I was shaking and I couldn’t sit still. I did make it through the movie, only to find myself a blubbering fool once the screen went black. I wore my sunglasses out of the theater to cover up my red-rimmed eyes. I wasn’t alone, though. Women were fixing their mascara, even a number of men were wiping away tears.

Why did this touch me as strongly as it did? I did not lose a loved one that day, but I think most of us lost a part of our former selves. Throughout the movie, I was reliving that day in my head along with what was happening on the screen. Pissed off that this happened 2 days after our son’s birthday. Crying that my infant daughter was so innocent, but would be brought up in a world far less carefree than when I was a kid. Furious that people would have the stupid idea that this was something that should be done. I remember going to work that day (I worked swings at the time so had been sitting at home absorbed in the coverage all day). I remember a girl on my team who came to work even though her cousin was missing. I clearly remember the call she got when her cousin, although seriously injured in the Pentagon, was found alive and would make it. The prayer circles, the customers calling in that night not because they had a problem, just because they wanted to hear another voice…and perhaps do something normal. I remember the long lines outside the building because people thought they needed to get gasoline before it ran out. …and I remember the looming silence as there were no planes flying through the normal flight pattern that took many planes within earshot of our facility. Those days were freightening for me as I usually spent an hour in the building alone before I went home at 1am. The first time the fighter jet flew by our building at about 12:30am, I was on the floor under my cubicle, thinking I was going to die. I left work early that day. And then they hired guards to walk us to our cars and ensure we were safe not long after that. All of these memories came flooding back while the horror played out on the screen. I think both the movie and those memories playing together in my head almost had me.

I am consistently awestruck by the bravery of the passengers and crew on this flight. Their decision to fight back not only saved countless lives, they ensured that no more terrorists will *ever* do this again - no one will let them. If I have anything to say about how the actual film was done, I would say that they painted such a candid and frank picture of what must have happened on that flight without adding the normal Hollywood or Made-for-TV-Movie over-dramatization we typically see. They made me feel the frustration air traffic control must have felt - they made me feel confused when mixed messages were going on and they made me feel the fear and anxiety every person in this scenario had to have felt, no matter whether they were on that plane or a spectator to the situation on the ground. My heart breaks for the families of these heroes.

While it will likely never happen, I think this movie should be part of a high school’s American History lessons. It would truly help put a face to what happened that day - even for those who weren’t around to experience it. The bravery of these men and women should *never* fade away - to do so would be a disgrace. On the flipside, the brazen and hateful things the coward terrorists did should absolutely never be forgotten. In my mind, their faces are painted on the tip of every bullet and missile our servicemen and women use while fighting the W.O.T.

Both Hubby and I craved normalcy once we got out of that theater. The first thing we did was go get our children. The next thing we did was hug them.


Cotillion linked with United 93
Portia Rediscovered linked with United 93 Round Up
MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy linked with My Experience With United 93
The Jawa Report linked with My Experience With United 93
A Day to Go Down in History!

Who cares if the rest of the world thinks this day is historical because it is “Don’t Bring Your Illegal Immigrant to Work Day” or whatever they say it is.

It is on *this* day, 5 years ago that our beautiful Bug, Emily, make her first appearance in this world - all 8 pounds, 8 ounces of her. She came right on her due date, even though Mommy’s doctor was out of town on business. Mommy could hardly believe she was in labor, but Emily made sure she figured it out in time to get an epidural! Bradley was so excited to become a big brother…not so sure he’s as excited now as he was then but he loves you all the same! :-)

…and today is the first day (and likely the last) that Emily’s favorite thing is Strawberry Shortcake. So we have a strawberry flavored, Strawberry Shortcake decorated birthday cake, just for her. She was up and at ‘em, bright and early at 6:00am, emphatically declaring that the birthday cake is “BEAUTIFUL!” Yay!!!!!!!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUG! We love you!! :-)


A Survivor’s Letter

How does one write a letter to the families of those men who died beside him? I can’t even fathom it. There’s some speculation, though…

Mr. McCloy was comatose when he was rescued and spent months in a hospital with extensive brain damage, originally described as remembering nothing about the disaster.

His letter, however, is a cogent and moving account of what happened, and it was not immediately clear how he came to compose it or why he chose to send it.

I personally don’t know that the first point is all that relevant and think the second point is pretty broad in scope. I imagine when one faces the trauma Mr. McCloy went through, and had the substantial recovery time that he does, remembering such events right away has got to be daunting and freightening. I can only imagine the weight that was lifted off his heart by writing that letter. I can’t even imagine the heaviness of his heart as he pulled those thoughts out of the recesses of his mind. It’s clear, though, when you read the letter that he was a compassionate and giving man, even at a time when things looked bleak. To share an item that sustains life in that way is so incredibly giving and unselfish. Would I have done the same thing? I like to say and think so, but thank God I’ve never been placed into a situation such as that. I’m in awe of the bravery of all of these men.

I firmly believe that McCloy survived for a very special purpose - one that he’s beginning to fulfill. I’m certain we have a lot to learn from him and his story.


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