It's all I need.

may your Friday be filled with all of the happiness it can bring.

So I went looking for this mug on the Internet because, well, I had to have it.  First I found out that it's made by a lady in the U.K. named Emma Bridgewater which helped me in looking it up.  Then I found it through an online retailer in...wait for it...Duncan, Oklahoma.  This might not mean much to you, but Duncan is about 20 minutes from the town I grew up in.  So to find the mug, that's made in the U.K., that's being sold by a guy in Oklahoma, which now will be sent to me in California is CRAZY!  That little mug is going to travel 1/2 way around the world just for me.  (It's gonna cost me 40 bucks, but it'll be worth it since I'll be drinking out of it with a big ol' smile on my face.)

It's the thought that counts. Right?

Valentine's Day is only a couple of weeks away.  This will be the 18th Valentine's Day that the Golfer has been my Valentine.  18 years.  18 years of funny cards, silly cards, sexy cards, mushy card, Boxer shorts covered in X's and O's.  Cologne that he never wears.  18 years of all kinds of presents filled with hugs and kisses.

Yeah.  I'm all out of ideas.  

Guys have it easy.  A beautiful bouquet of flowers, a sweet card, and a nice night out without the kids and he's golden!  But buying a Valentine's present for a guy?  Well that's just hard.  Buying presents for men is hard no matter what the holiday, but Valentines' day is extra hard because, let's face it, it's a holiday meant for girls. 

My Valentine doesn't really care that much about presents.  It's not his Love Language.  I mean, sure, he loves to get gifts, but if Valentine's Day came and went and he didn't get anything he really wouldn't care.

I would care.  I would care a lot.  But for once we're not talking about me.

Even though Valentine's Day is a made up holiday that's all about flowers and chocolate and date nights (3 of my favorite things), it's not a holiday that I care that much about.  I guess I'm...over it.  I guess that's what happens after 8 years of dating, 10 years of marriage, and 2 kids.  You no longer have the energy necessary to be overly romantic in the middle of February.

If I think about it for too long it kinda upsets me.  I love romance.  I love to cuddle and go on coffee dates.  I love it when we get to spend the day together, just the two of us.  I love it when he vacuums without being asked.  

Yeah, my Love Language is a clean house.

Something just occurred to me.  Now I have to worry that he'll read this post.  Then when I'm sad that we didn't do anything for Valentine's Day he'll say, "But you said in your post that you didn't care!"  

Marriage tip #364: Never give a man ammunition in your blog to use against you in a material court of law.

So I have 2 weeks.  2 weeks to come up with something romantic.  2 weeks to think of something that will show my man that, yes, I am a tired, over-scheduled mama that's not quiet the girl she was 18 years ago, but I can still make time for love.

I guess.

Top Ten Fundamentals

Every day I am giving the opportunity:
  • to be frustrated.  
  • to be irritated with others.  
  • to be stressed.  
  • to be worried.  
  • to be worried about what other people think.
  • to question myself.
  • to question others.
  • to yell.
  • to sigh.
  • to roll my eyes.
  • to grumble.
  • to complain.
  • to be a part of the problem.
  • to add to the chaos.

    And sometimes I take that opportunity and run with it.  But nothing good has ever come from any of those emotions or actions.  Nothing at all.  So I refuse to act that way anymore.  More is expected of me.

    I love Gandhi's Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World (poster found here).  Words to live by.  Gandhi believed in living a life of simplicity, of faith, of truth, of non-violence, and of service.  He believed in something that he called, "reducing myself to zero"; reducing the clutter in your life in order to serve others better.  He even spent one day a week in total silence; saying that it brought him inner peace and made him a better listener.

    I don't see the whole "total silence" thing ever happening in my life (I do live with children), but I certainly can take some time each day to remember some of his great wisdom.

    There's only one phrase that I would edit--the one that says, "you are in control"--because that is not true.  God is in control.  And I am so glad that He is because I would never be able to "forgive and let go" without Him.

    "So, whether I eat or drink, or whatever I do, do it all for the glory of God." ~1 Corinthians 10:31



    Why is it my kids always get sick on a day when I have a lot of stuff to do?  They never get sick on days when there's no school and nothing to do.  No, they save it up and wait for a crazy day when the last thing you need is a sick kid.

    It's like clockwork really.  Almost as if there little immune system is controlled by the devil himself.

    "Ah, ha!  She has a jam-packed day today.  What a perfect day for a sore throat and low-grade fever! Bawahaaaaaa! (i.e., evil laughter.)"

    I jinxed myself yesterday.  I told the Golfer, "I have so much going on this week!  It's going to be sooooo busy!"

    And that's all it took.  By 5 o'clock the Cheese started looking pitiful.  He sat on the couch for hours just...sitting.  8 year old boys don't sit for hours unless they don't feel good.  Then he went to bed at 7:30, only to wake 3 hours later crying because of a headache.  Then this morning, lymph nodes in his neck the size of golf balls.  Which only means one thing: I had to get on the phone and start canceling my day.

    I feel badly for my sick boy, no mother ever wants their child to be sick, but more than anything I just feel irritated.  I'm a planner and as planners are known to do, I plan my days out weeks in advance.  And when something throws a wrench in my plans and causes me to have to rearrange, well, Mama tends to get a little stressed.  And then after the stress comes the guilt.  Guilt that I had to cancel my appointments.  Guilt that I had to cancel my plans.  Guilt that I was irritated that it's all my kid's fault.

    A girlfriend of mine went through the same thing a couple of weeks ago.  Her kid got sick causing her to cancel a hair appointment that she had waited weeks for.  She was irritated, which made her feel guilty, which only irritated her further.  It's a vicious, vicious cycle.  Just further proof that motherhood isn't for wussies.

    Mothers do some of their best work when children are sick.  We endure the vomit, the mucus, the snot.  We force them to drink all of their medicine even through their tears.  We can change bed sheets in the dark, we can diagnose a fever from a mile away, and we always have Gatorade and Jello on hand...just in case.

    After all, that's what motherhood is all about.

    So here I sit after rearranging my day, keeping my fingers crossed that this germ bug doesn't make it's way to everyone else in the family, especially all the way to me.

    Because I just don't have time for that.

    Weekly Column: Losing it (and I'm not talking about weight.)

    Has anyone seen my temper? I’ve lost it somewhere and now I can’t seem to find it.  I remember having it when I walked into the grocery store, but there’s a very good chance that I left it in the freezer section in between the frozen pizza rolls the Cheese was whining about and the ice cream the Monkey was begging for. 

    At least it will still be fresh when I go back to pick it up.

    In all likelihood, it’s probably in a booth somewhere at Chuck E. Cheese and an even better chance that it is in the parking lot of Toys ‘R’ Us.  And there’s a strong possibility that I left it in the toy department at Wal-Mart while trying to purchase a birthday present for a friend last week.  I always have my temper when I go into these places, but I never, ever have it when I leave.

    I have a feeling that it might have slipped between the seats of my SUV when I turned around to yell at the children in the backseat, but it could also be in the airport bathroom in Dallas while waiting impatiently for a connecting flight a few weeks ago.  There are so many different places that my temper might be, I don’t even know where to start looking.

    I used to be a very calm and collected person.  There were few things that fazed me.  Someone cut me off while driving?  I handled it in stride.  A student threw up unexpectedly on his desk in my classroom?  I called the janitor without skipping a beat.  I used to be a lovely, patient, even-keeled person and then God looked at me and said, “That is enough of that!” and gave me children.

    From the moment the pregnancy stick turned from one line to two, I became a nervous and irritated woman whose temper is now shorter than a Baby Einstein video.

    My children have mastered the fine art of the whining-begging-crying-fit-throwing type of defiance that makes a mother want to eat her young.  They know exactly how to push my buttons and somehow, some way, I have to learn how not to push back.

    I have begun to recognize the signs of when I’m about to lose it.  I start grinding my teeth, stomping my feet, and yelling pointless demands like, “Because I said so!” 

    And I wonder where my children learned to throw fits.

    But even with all of these cues, I often end up losing my temper.  Most days I lose it during the darkest hours of the afternoon.  If you’re a parent, you know what time I’m referring to.  It’s that hour or two in between nap time and dinnertime that at our house we call “Unhappy Hour.”

    For me it’s the time of day when the ugliest part of my mommy personality seems to appear and I find myself saying things like:

    “If you keep jumping on the couch you’re either going to fall or I’m going to come over there break your neck!”

    “If you don't like eating broccoli, what makes you think the dog does?”

    “Quit hitting your brother or you’re going to sit in time-out until next Tuesday!”

    I never used to talk like this before I gave birth.  Now, unfortunately for my husband, it’s the norm.  The happy bride that he married is not the same woman he comes home to every evening.  We consider it a good day at our house if he walks in the door and I don’t shove one or both of the children at him and say, “I’m done.  They’re all yours."

    But with each day there is fresh hope. I wake up smiling, thinking about all of the good things that the new day will bring.  And then, before I’ve even had time to hit the snooze button, I hear a child’s voice yelling at me from the kitchen.

    “I want my waffle!”

    Which reminds me. Maybe I should check my freezer.  There's a good chance I left my temper is next to the Eggo's.

    Copyright 2006, Stephenie B. Freeman

    Little Readers

    photo found here.

    our family's picture book favorites:

    Trashy Town
    Berenstain Bears series
    Miss Bindergarnten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
    Hop on Pop
    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?
    If You Take a Mouse to School
    To Market, To Market
    Goodnight Moon
    Knuffle Bunny

    just to name a few...


    I have this print (that I purchased here) next to my desk.  Every time the Golfer looks at it he says, "I don't get it."

    And every time I answer,  "What's not to get?"

    Imagine a little bird flying around, minding his own business, when he suddenly sees something out of the corner of his little eye.  It's long and golden and as far as he can tell, hasn't been spotted by any of the other morning scroungers.  It's a French fry.  It's enough food to fill him up for the week.  It's crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and has just enough salt to make it extra tasty.  And it's all his.  And it makes him happy.

    For all of the times that I have explained this to the Golfer, he still doesn't get the imagery.  God bless him, he just...doesn't...get it.

    It's very simple: it's about making the choice to be happy.  Starting the day anticipating that the best is out there waiting on you; waiting to be discovered.  If a bird that finds a French fry is deliriously happy, well then, I'm going to be even happier than that.  That's how I want to spend my days.

    And if I could actually eat some French fries like a little bird instead of, let's say...a pig?  Well I'd be even happier.

    He now feels six.

    Much to my disappointment, the Monkey's birthday cake wasn't a wreck.  Far from it.  I wish I had video of how FIRED UP the Monkey was when I brought his cake home from the grocery store.  We took a lick, just to make sure it wasn't stale, and wouldn't you know it?  The darn thing even tasted good.  Stupid store bought cake.

    So yeah, his Sooner Sleepover birthday party was a success.  We started out by taking our two guests (two brothers the same ages as my boys) to Color Me Mine for some fun.

    They all picked out banks to paint, although I'm not sure how much actual saving will be taking place inside of these little beauties.  

    Afterward we bought pop and candy at Rocket Fizz to have with our chips, queso, and pizza at home.  Throw in a big ol' hunk of birthday cake and you've got a great little junk overload, birthday vomit concoction.  Luckily, we were tummy-ache-free.  The next morning there were Star Wars pancakes and bacon (and apparently a few Goldfish and M&M's that were had before the Golfer and I woke up.)

    When Grandmoms asked me how the evening went I told her, "It was great!  The boys had a blast and the Golfer and I escaped to the back porch to watch a movie and enjoy a glass (or three) of wine."

    However, the best part was overhearing (so say eavesdropping, I saw overhearing) the boys' conversation as they were all falling asleep.  There was some girl talk (mostly from the older brothers) and some giggling (mostly from the little brothers).  The Golfer and I couldn't help but smile and laugh under our breath.

    The next day the Monkey looked at me and said, "I feel 6 now."

    I'm sure you do, son.  I'm sure you do.

    list 11. 11 thing I want to accomplish in 2011.

    Kate Spade 2011 planner

    1.  be a better saver.

    2.  stop drinking fruit juice.

    3.  read 72 books.

    4.  travel to Seattle.

    5.  attend my 20 year reunion (which I've basically been doing ever since I joined Facebook.)

    6.  lose 30 pounds (preferably before the reunion.)

    7.  stop cussing (I can hear my mother saying, "What the hell for?")

    8.  hold my new niece.

    9.  read my bible every day.

    10.  give more compliments.

    11.  enjoy my life.


    Cake Wreck.

    In the past 8 years I have made 14 birthday cakes.  I'm a birthday cake maker.

    My mother's to blame.  For the first several years of my life, my mom made and decorated all of my birthday cakes.  So naturally, when it came time for the Cheese's first birthday I decided to make his cake.  I wasn't about to be out-mothered by my own mother.

    Here are some of the more recent cakes:

    monkey party for the Monkey's 4th at the monkey gym

    golf party for the Monkey's 5th

    Lakers party (basketball cupcakes) for the Cheese's 8th (not my greatest creation, but still darn cute)

    Through the years there has been a lion cake for a circus party, 2 race car cakes, polka dots (i.e., bubbles) for the Monkey's 1st, an opened crayon box, Mickey Mouse, Scooby Doo, Bat Man and several more.  And I have made them all.  Proudly.

    "Did you make his cake?" a mother at the party would ask me.

    "Yes," I would reply, feigning modesty.  "I did."

    Oh how I loved the accolades that my decorated cake would bring.  I had created something beautiful, a lovely birthday cake, to celebrate the other thing that I had created, my child, who of course was beautiful too.

    So this year, the Monkey decided that he wanted a football party.  Namely, an OU football party.  I knew right away what kind of cake I would make.  This year would be easy.  A simple sheet cake with green icing and green sanding sugar for the field with the Monkey's name printed boldly in the end zones and an OU on the 50 yard line.  I even bought six little football candles to decorate the field.

    A piece of cake.

    Then last Sunday we went to the grocery store.  That's where all of my cake plans went flying straight through the neon colored uprights like a well executed field goal kick.

    There in the bakery store window sat two football cakes.  Pre-made without motherly love football cakes.  The football cake looked exactly like you think it would: a big, ol' brown...uh...lump, with a couple of laces on the top.  Total cake wreck.  Anything but appetizing. 

    Next to that sat a severed football players head, helmet and all.  It wasn't awful.  It was...okay, and the helmet was even painted red.  But it certainly wasn't homemade.

    "Can I have that for my cake?!?  I wanna have that!!!  Can I have it!!!  Can I have it...pulleeeeezzzzze?" the Monkey begged

    My heart broke.

    You see, for the past 8 years, every time I've made one of the boys' cakes I've wondered to myself, "Do they really appreciate all of the time and effort I've put into this cake?  Will they look back and see all of the love I put into their cakes and parties?"  Seeing the Monkey's complete delight over a store bought cake made all my fears come true.

    They could care less.

    So this Saturday, the day of the Monkey's football sleepover party (only 2 friends this year!  Can I get a loud "woo-hoo!" from all of the mommy's in the crowd?) I will drive to the grocery store to pick up his cake and try my best to be happy about it.  I guess it's wrong to secretly hope for your child's birthday cake will be a total cake wreck.

    But I kinda do.

    Working Girl

    I'm employed.

    Notice I didn't use the phrase, "I've gone back to work."  That would make no sense.  I've been working non-stop for nearly 9 years as a mother.  And before that I was working hard as an elementary school teacher.  And before that I worked hard as a college student.  (See where I'm going with this?)  So I'm not "going back to work" because work is all I have ever done.

    But when they are paying you--with real money--to do a job, well then you are employed.  Granted, I was being paid as a columnist for the past three years.  However, I never really thought of myself as being employed because my column was written on my own time, usually in pajamas or if I was feeling really enthusiastic, yoga pants.

    Now I get to go three days a week to a place where I can put on cute clothes and make-up and someone actually cares/notices.  I have a feeling that showing up in a seventeen-year-old sorority party T-shirt and well-worn flannel pajama bottoms would not be considered "professional."  So because I am now employed, I have the perfect excuse to expand my wardrobe (new handbag included of course.)

    Can you tell that this job makes me happy?  If you can't, well it does.  This new job makes me happy.  It may only be part-time, but it gives me a purpose that doesn't involve laundry or grocery shopping or cleaning house.  I get to use my brain for something other than really hard 3rd grade word problems or figuring out how to cut a recipe in half.  The people I work with are laid back and fun and for whatever reason are excited to have me around.  And the best part of all?  I get to be around cool adults for 5 hours straight and have adult conversations without a child in sight!

    No, I take that back.  You wanna know what is really the best part of my job?  They are bringing in Chick-fil-A for a staff lunch meeting tomorrow.  That's the best part of my job.

    Weekly Column: motherhood and worrying

    © 2008, Stephenie B. Freeman

    I am raising children and it scares me half to death. 

    While pregnant with our first child, an uncontrollable fear, like nothing I had never experienced before, appeared without warning.  I was completely afraid of having children—not afraid about actually giving birth, but instead fearful about caring for and protecting this little person from everything scary in the world.  I had wished for, prayed about, and worked hard to get pregnant, and now that I was having a child of my own, I wasn’t sure if the whole thing was such a good idea.

    I had come down with a case of the “what if's” that most soon-to-be mothers get.  The “what if” questions arrived nightly and ironically coincided with the child-induced heartburn that I had also developed as a result of pregnancy.  In case you've never seen one, a burping, crying pregnant person is not a pretty sight.

    At the time I assumed that my fears were directly related to the pregnancy, perhaps connected with the hormones that were hysterically racing through my body.  Once the baby was born, my nerves would relax and all would be right with the world once again.

    Stop laughing.  

    Then late one night as I fed my newborn, the worry gripped my heart and wouldn’t let go.  What if something happened to him? What if I wasn’t a good mother?  What if someone figured out that I was mothering without a license and took him away from me?  I tried my best to write off the whole experience as a bad case of the baby blues and assumed that the worry would eventually stop, but after years now of regular, reoccurring, daily worry, it is quite clear that it is here to stay.

    Author Richard Carlson, of the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”, tells us to not to worry or stress about the small stuff because “it is all small stuff.” 

    Obviously, Mr. Carlson has never been a mother.

    My mommy worrying ranges anywhere from the absurd to the extreme.   

    I worry that my kids eat too many Goldfish crackers.

    I worry about one of them tripping during soccer and knocking all of their teeth out.

    I worry that if they jump on the couch they might fall and break their neck.  I’m not sure what the odds are of that happening, but I don’t want to be standing in an emergency room as the doctor explains it to me.

    I worry that they will get cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and it will all be because of something that I did or didn’t do like give them too much sugar and not enough broccoli.

    I worry that they will never like broccoli.

    I blame a lot of these worries on my parents.  Years worth of warnings to “don’t do that” and “stay away from this” have left me a paranoid and fearful person/parent.  Their cautions and concerns were justified.  It was their job to keep me protected and safe.  Apparently being a worry-wart is a genetic trait that can be passed on from one generation to another much like spider veins (which I do have) and hair loss (which thankfully I don't.) 

    I carry around my mommy worry like I do the extra twenty pounds that I have gained since having children, accepting it for what it is, but desperately wishing that it would all go away. 

    I have come to understand and accept that worrying is a necessary and important part of being a parent.  Worrying keeps us from the extremes, like the emergency room or the evening news, but no matter how much any of us worry, it will never prevent or protect our children from the things we can’t control.  We can’t watch our children all the time or be with them constantly.  We can’t even force feed them broccoli or cure their love of Goldfish crackers.  As a mommy, I will always worry about the small stuff, the large stuff, and unfortunately, everything in between.

    Which apparently means I'll be doing a lot of sweating.

    2010 reminders.













    It's a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.  

    ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000

    Cookbook Wars

    My kids are Kiddie Menu eaters.  Go to any restaurant, and I do mean any, and you will find the same items listed on the kiddie menu: chicken fingers, cheese pizza, mac and cheese, hamburger, and perhaps a healthy option like grilled chicken with a side of broccoli.  My children have never chosen the healthy option.

    Restaurants must know what they're doing because my kids eat the same things at home that they would eat at a restaurant.  Sure, there is the occasional difference like tacos or lasagna, but for the most part my kids are Kiddie Menu eaters.  So naturally I always have my eyes open for any new idea that might get my kids to eat something new, different, and heaven forbid, healthy.  Cue Jessica Seinfeld.

    I bought her first cookbook, you know the one where you are supposed to puree veggies to hide them inside the dishes.  Even bought a new food processor for all of the fancy pureeing.  I bought into the idea hook, line, and sinker.

    I cooked a few familiar things from the cookbook that I figured the boys would like.  They didn't.  And I have to admit, I really didn't care for them much either.  After a couple more unsuccessful recipes attempts, I abandoned the cookbook for good.  

    So why I bought her new cookbook, Double Delicious, is beyond me.

    No, I take that back.  I know why I bought it.  I bought it because I saw Jessica on Oprah and Good Morning America and the dishes she was making looked so good and healthy.  And I was hungry when I was watching the shows (which is never a good idea during a cooking segment.)  I gave her the benefit of the doubt.  

    I shouldn't have.  I tried a couple of recipes and they, once again, were not very good.  They boys didn't like them and the Golfer and I only thought that they were so-so.  I'm sorry, Jessica.  I loved your husband's show, but I don't like your cooking.

    Then for Christmas Santa gave the Big Cheese this cookbook:

    Santa brought it because 1) the Big Cheese is a Big Fan of Star Wars, and 2) the cookbook is filled with funny recipes like Skywalker Smoothies and Obi-Wan Kebabs and Boba Fett-unccine.  What 8 year-old isn't going to love everything in a cookbook like that?

    So the week after Christmas I took the cookbook and the Big Cheese to the grocery store to buy some ingredients for some of the dishes that he wanted to make.  He was actually excited about trying something new!  We made Tongue-Numbing Nachos, Greedo's Burritos, and for dessert, Darth Malts.

    And you know what happened?  They loved it all.  It was yummy (especially the nachos) and even the Golfer gave his satisfied stamp of approval.  There weren't hidden vegetables in the dishes.  No, instead they were out there in the open for the kids to see.  And they ate them anyway!

    In the kitchen today we'll be making some Jabba Jiggle and Wookie Cookies.  No pureed carrots.  No food processor necessary.

    May the force (and good food) be with you.

    list 10: Things I learned last year.

    1.  it's about the food, not the exercise.

    2.  grey hair grows everywhere, not just on your head (& I do mean everywhere.)

    3.  macs are better.

    4.  people outside of my family find me valuable.

    5.  bangs are an easy answer for a much needed new look.

    6.  3 dogs is a lot more than 2.

    7.  time goes by fast especially when you don't want it to.

    8.  some people care.  a lot of people don't.

    9.  there are too many chairs in my house.

    10.  my feet get cold easily now and I have no idea why.

    11.  disappointment is part of life's recipe.

    12.  i like buying now and returning later.

    13.  a small dog curled up in your lap works better than a heating pad.

    14.  acceptance is necessary in almost any & every situation.

    15.  if it's not comfortable, I won't wear it.

    16.  more isn't better.  it's just more.

    17.  but wanting more handbags isn't a bad thing.

    18.  i'm actually getting better with age...minus the grey hair and cold feet.

    what did you learn last year?


    My New Year started with a surprise birthday party in our hotel in Phoenix.  You know I must love you, dear readers, if I'm willing to post this lovely picture of myself having just gotten out of the shower.  There were champagne flutes filled with Gatorade (the boys' choice), extra large cupcakes, noise makers and party poppers.  It was quite a birthday celebration.  I'm certain the ladies who had to clean our room hate our guts.

    After a fun afternoon of shopping (it was Mama's birthday, so we got to do what Mama wanted to do) we headed to the game.  "We're at Oklahoma and Phoenix!" the Monkey told us.  I don't blame him for being confused.  90% of the stadium was wearing crimson and cream.

    The free chips were delicious.

    They also went very well with our game dogs.

    Our seats were amazing.  (I'm not sure the boys fully appreciated how good they were.)  We're spoiling them rotten, but in a good way.  It's not really spoiling when you're trying your best to create life-long Sooner fans. 

    They were so good that we were close enough to have our picture taken with three live astronauts that were at the game.  I have no idea who these guys are, but they've been to space and I haven't.  That makes them very cool.

    You know what's really cool?  Being this close to your favorite football team.  I'll have you know that the Sooners have won every bowl game that I have attended.  (Sunbowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, and now Fiesta.)  That officially makes me a lucky charm.  By the way, I cried about 3 times during the pre-game festivities.

    It was such a wonderful way to spend my birthday.  My birthday and OU football tend to go hand-in-hand.  Plan on seeing this again next  year on our Christmas card.

    And then do you know what happened on our way home yesterday?

    It snowed!!!!

    Right past Palm Springs it started to snow.  The boys were so excited they couldn't see straight.  I can't tell you how many times they've asked me, "Why do we live somewhere where it never snows?"

    It might not look like a lot, but when you NEVER get snow getting an inch is a BIG DEAL.  We had to play a little before eating at Chili's for dinner.

    I'm sure the people watching us from inside the warm restaurant thought we were crazy.

    But it was worth it.

    Happy new year indeed.