Monday, December 28

Just Sayin...

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Friday, December 25

Christmas

I have so much good to say about Christmas this year.



We've been showered with love and miracles, large and small.



Right in this second, though, I miss Ammon. I miss him so much my heart is pounding sadly in my chest, and I'm fighting away tears.



He should be here. He should have been here to see the kids faces this morning as they opened gift after gift. He should be holding me on the couch right now.



This Christmas is infinitely better than last year, but it's still not right. I'll take time, soon, to write about the many blessed things that have happened this year, but for right now I'm giving myself permission to mourn.



Merry Christmas, sweetheart. We miss you.

Thursday, December 17

Today I...

...fed three children breakfast and got Jeremy off to school on time.

...made an omelet, and ate half. Kadon and Brooklyn at the other half.

...watched my landlord install a new sump-pump in my basement.

...did spinning at the YMCA for 35 minutes.

...attended the first half of yoga, after spinning.

...made a quick phone call to my sister, en route to a playdate.

...had lunch with two friends while the children ran rampant around the house.

...took Kadon to preschool, where I signed up to provide a game at the Christmas party tomorrow.

...took Brooklyn to Wal-Mart, where I was able to get a few groceries, gifts for Kadon's teachers, and a few things for the kids stockings.

...drove home, tried to put Brooklyn down for a nap, put the groceries away, and finished watching the movie I rented from Redbox two days ago while she chattered in her crib.

...got Brooklyn out of her crib, asked Jeremy about his day, and drove to preschool to pick Kadon up.

...made a drive-by the location for Kadon's preschool Christmas concert, so I wasn't groping for directions in the dark.

...fortified my reserves during Happy Hour at Sonic.

...stopped at Kroger to return the Redbox movie, and picked up the Kroger-specific weekly sale items, along with a few more things for Christmas that were a better price than what there was available at Wal-Mart.

...drove home, unloaded the car again, and made the kids put all the cold groceries away.

...yelled instruction from the bathroom for Jeremy to make Ramen Noodles for dinner.

...showered.

...helped prepare Ramen noodles.

...got dressed.

...helped serve Ramen.

...blow dried my hair.

...threatened children to either "eat quickly, or go hungry!".

...skipped dinner, applied makeup, and jumped back in the car to go to the concert.

...crammed 4,000 people into a room meant to hold 400. Strained to see Kadon, who refused to sing.

...chatted briefly with Kadon's teachers.

...drove to Sonic to get myself a sandwich. Skipping dinner wasn't such a great idea.

...drove to the church to attend choir practice.

...accompany the choir, since I am the only female that was able to stay and sing, and the accompanist didn't show up.

...left choir practice when the accompanist finally got there, loaded cranky, screaming, exhausted children into the car.

...drove home, again threatening all manner of punishment if the children didn't go immediately and quietly to bed.

...kissed each child, and tucked them into bed.

...shut the doors, breathed a sigh of relief, and picked the house (mostly) up.

...sat on the couch, able to breathe for the first time in 13 hours.

I meant to do more of an update tonight, even posting pictures. As you can see, I'm exhausted. It's not going to happen. Maybe tomorrow will be better?

Sunday, December 13

Smattering

I was doing so much better about updating...and then I got behind, and the longer I waited, the more behind I got. I decided it would be better to get on and at least provide snippets of what's been going on, lest my readers think I've abandoned them again.

*Brooklyn briefly attempted potty training, which was an absolute failure. No worries, she's still got plenty of time.

*Brooklyn discovered how easy it is to remove her own clothing. No worries, I'm mellow, and I don't mind her wandering around naked as long as I keep the heat high enough.

*Brooklyn discovered poop. This one made me worry. More on that story later, but I'm guessing you'll want to read that particular one on an empty stomach.

*I finally finished school for the semester, and grades were posted this week. I got an A in both my classes, which gives me my first-ever 4.0. I'm pretty excited about that!

*I set up childcare for next quarter. The kids are finally starting at an actual daycare, and I have mixed feelings about that. I'm looking forward to the continuity of who is watching them, and I think they'll probably do well when they're all divided by age. Grief-wise, daycare is yet another tie that has been severed. It's been a tough one, but not as tough as I had feared it would be.

*I've officially decided to stay home for Christmas this year. Again, a tough decision, but one I'm feeling comfortable with right now. I've invited the missionaries over, but other than that it will be just the kids and I.

*The ward Christmas party was last night, and some friends and I were able to put together a few pieces to sing. It was a lot of fun, and reminds me how much I have missed singing with friends! Wish I could make time for it in my schedule more often...

I know there's more. Things that have been rolling around in my head, and I'm past due to sit down and write a really deep post, but it's not going to be tonight. I'm starting to feel a bit of the holiday blues, and although they aren't as depressing and heavy as they were last year, I am still stuck trying to figure out how to get through it all. I wonder if Christmas is ever going to feel happy and carefree again, or if there will always be an undertone of sadness and loss to this time of year?

Sunday, December 6

Sunday Sweet

video

This video is just for fun. I have been trying to use my video camera function on my camera more. Since most of you (namely grandparents clear across the country) would get a kick out of Brooklyn and her cute little voice, I've been just itching to share it. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 5

Card Carrying?

Since I became a member of the Fellows clan when Ammon and I started dating almost 10 years ago, my new family has overlooked a multitude of inadequacies on my part. First came the long, long list of classic movies that I have never seen. It's gotten to be a family joke--somebody will mention a plot line or quote a movie, and I'll present a puzzled look on my face. They'll say "You know, from _______ (fill in the blank of classic movie here)? Oh, of course, you haven't seen it. Never mind."

Then came the revelation that I'm not a big fan of ice cream. Oh, I like it alright, and before Ammon died the in-laws had no reason to know of my secret apathy--our freezer was always stocked with the creamy stuff, courtesy of the man of the house. After he died, though, my secret was out. I never have ice cream in the house, and I don't miss it.

There is my dislike of puzzles, a favorite Fellows Family pastime.

There is my basic ineptitude for household tasks, and ignorance of how to use tools correctly. I can't Spackle, drive a nail, or build a bookcase.

All of these things, they overlook. They accept my various failings, and love me regardless.

This time, I think I'm going to lose my membership card.

You see, the Fellows take their food traditions very seriously. I already mentioned ice cream, but I left it's partner in crime out of the mix--popcorn. It works in my favor that I love Fellows Popcorn, but I'm unable to duplicate it. It's a very specific recipe, and it's never to be varied. There is Grandma Fellows' Pecan Pie. Again, a delicacy that I fully appreciate, but have never made myself. Near the top of the food list is New Hope Mills Pancakes. I've eaten New Hope Mills for the length of my marriage, and considered myself a faithful follower. This morning, though, I broke the mold.

I tried this recipe. And y'all? Best. Pancakes. I. Have. Ever. Had. No joke. Beats the pants off of New Hope Mills.

I'm not sure The Clan will be able to overlook this one.

What do you say, guys, is Cornell Chicken enough to hold us together?

Friday, December 4

Dear

Dear Brooklyn,

Sweetheart, I'm thrilled that you have a zest for life that woke you up long before dawn this morning, but Mommy wasn't as thrilled as you were at 5:30 am. Thank you for getting me up early enough to be able to get in some extra study time, but now I need you to take a nap. Please, before Mommy gets any more grey hairs.

Thank you.

Love,
Mommy

Thursday, December 3

30th

Happy birthday, sweetheart. We miss you.

Wednesday, December 2

Destin

Thanksgiving day was spent in Dothan, Alabama with plenty of relatives around to talk to, but Friday and Saturday were spent in Florida with Lisa, Ammon's sister, and her two children. Lisa's husband is in the Air Force, and they are currently stationed near Destin, Florida.

I think I have officially decided that the beach-any beach-is my favorite place in the whole world. There's nothing like endless water and sunshine to put life in perspective.


This particular beach is just a short walk across the street from Lisa's house on base. Jealous doesn't even begin to describe my emotions.
On Saturday we drove over a huge bridge and did some shopping at a large outdoor mall, but I couldn't believe the sky as we crossed the water.
After the mall, we all went to a different beach, one a little bit more tourist infested, and with slightly better views of the water. I was excited to take my kids to the beach--my first sight of the ocean, many years ago--is something that has stuck with me. I was really looking forward to showing my kids the ocean for the first time, and their reactions didn't disappoint me. I'm only disappointed I didn't have their swimsuits with me!







It was tough to get any of the kids to hold still long enough for pictures. While I was trying to get Jeremy to hold still so I could take this picture, he thought it was neat that his feet were sinking into the sand as the water lapped over them.


Hands-down, Jeremy's favorite cousin, Josh. They are so cute together, and I don't know about Angela--but I sometimes get tired of hearing "When are we going to go visit Josh again?" Good thing they only live in Dayton!

I finally managed to get the kids together for a quick snapshot, but this moment was all I got--almost instantly, they were all off again.

These boys are Angela's two older boys, working together to get the water out of the tide pool.









The 30 or so minutes we spent on the beach this afternoon made the entire trip worth it. All the planning, all the driving, the sleepless nights--all of it. I'm so glad we went, and so glad my kids got to experience my favorite place in the whole world.

Monday, November 30

Thanksgiving

The trip south went well. After I kissed my kids goodbye on Tuesday, a flurry of final preparations commenced. I made a quick stop at a birthday party, then came home to do laundry, finish packing, clean the house, and study for a Microbiology test. I headed out the door earlier than normal Wednesday morning, dropped off a gallon of milk with the Sister Missionaries, made it to an 8:30 appointment with my academic advisor, and made it to class in time to complete my test. I was elated after the test to discover that the lab for the day had been canceled--and quickly left campus to drop a few things off at the library, take a house key over to my next door neighbor, make my bed, and do a final survey of the house. Russ had loaded the car while I was in class, and we were on the road south by 11:15.

After a few quick stops for gas and food, we made it to Dothan, Alabama by 11:30 that night. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and crawled in bed with my boys to snuggle with them until about 6 am on Thanksgiving--at which point they gleefully decided it was time to be wide awake. I was a bit bleary-eyed, but happy to be on vacation and spend time with family, so I pretended not to be grumpy.

Thanksgiving day was good. There were a lot of people--and after a few intense grief-related moments, I was able to enjoy the holiday. Nobody knows how to lay out a spread of food like a Southern family, and I'm thrilled and surprised to report I'm up a measly 2 pounds from the trip--I had braced myself for much, much more than that.

Thursday night I headed even further south with Kadon and Brooklyn, and spent the night at Ammon's sister Lisa's house. I collapsed on the couch early, and got about two hours of sleep before Brooklyn decided that the hours between midnight and 2 am were not for sleeping.

Huh. Nobody informed me. I didn't do so well pretending not to be grumpy that time.

By the time the rest of the clan arrived on Friday afternoon, we had time to eat lunch and dinner. Then, the girls got pretty-fied and headed out for an evening at the mall and a showing of New Moon. Then, Lisa and I took the old(er) people back to her house, and headed back out to the local Howl at the Moon. It was great--and I can verify that they have tasty Diet Coke in stock. I know, because I drank a fair amount of it between choruses of 'Sweet Caroline' and 'Great Balls of Fire'. Good times.

Saturday, oh Saturday. Saturday found us at the beach. And the mall, again. I have pictures, some of the only I took on the trip. When my camera stops being spooty and agrees to play nicely with my laptop, I will post them.

Saturday evening after dinner, the troops de-barked from Florida. Angela, Mary, Angela's kids, and Jeremy traveled until late Saturday night, then stopped for a hotel. Russ, Kadon, Brooklyn, and I made an intrepid journey through the night, and arrived home at about 6 am Sunday morning. Notwithstanding the head-shaking and arm-pinching I engaged in just after 3 am in an effort to keep myself awake and driving safely, it was a good trip.

Today, I got the tree up. Seeing as how the Christmas tree was such a sore subject last year, I'm proud of the accomplishment this year. It's erect, has lights strung on it, and ornaments hanging from it's branches--and all of this accomplished without a meltdown.

Now, to finish the last week of classes for this quarter strong, and the season can truly begin.

Tuesday, November 24

Safety

It's a well known fact that I have safety issues. As I've written here before, I lost my older brother to a car accident 3 weeks after I got married, and my husband to a motorcycle accident not quite 8 years later.

I don't handle the threat of danger or accident well. My children wear helmets religiously, aren't allowed in other people's houses, and will be in car seats and or boosters until they graduate from college. Whenever they fall, I hold my breath. The nurse at Jeremy's school called a few weeks ago, to let me know he had fallen on the playground. "He's fine, back in class" she assurred me. "I just wanted to let you know." I had to call her back, I had to know if he fell and hit his head. Once I knew that the wounds were only to his knees and the palms of his hands, I didn't give it a second thought. Once, Brooklyn fell off a small bench on the kitchen floor, and landed face first, where she laid still for just a moment. It felt like eternity to me, and I spent the rest of the evening trying to calm my racing heart. I am on edge when my children aren't with me, I'm terrified something will happen and I won't be there.

Add to my safety issues a control problem and, and you have a recipe ripe with the possibility of disaster.

I just buckled my children into my sister-in-law Angela's truck and kissed them goodbye. Her three children, my three children, my mother-in-law Mary and Angela are going to spend the next two days driving from Ohio to Alabama, where we will celebrate Thanksgiving with Mary's side of the family on Thursday. I have a class tomorrow morning, and am unable to leave much before noon, and during the planning stages of this trip the adults decided it made more sense for the children to leave today and break the trip into two days, while my father-in-law Russ and I will leave late tomorrow morning and drive through in one stretch.

I've been growing more and more apprehensive about this trip. I do well with my children being away from me, especially when they're with family members--Mary in particular. I also do well when my children take trips in the car, but only as long as I'm the one doing the driving. It's not that I'm the world's greatest driver, and I don't trust anybody else to keep them safe. On the contrary, I'm actually probably one of the worst drivers in the family. It's more the fact that they aren't with me, and my grief-addled brain sees endless miles of interstate, with endless possibilities for tragedy. It doesn't matter that Angela drives an enormous Suburban--built like a tank and nearly as safe as one. It doesn't matter that my children are all buckled in car seats, where they will remain for the entirety of the trip. It DOES matter that I'm not with them. That I can't see them to KNOW that they are buckled in correctly. As I helped Angela secure Brooklyn's car seat in the Suburban, I begged both Angela and Mary not to loosen the straps on her car seat.

"I know they're tight." I said. "I know you think I'm silly and maybe even crazy, but they're set exactly where they should be. Please don't loosen them."

I'm sure they think I'm silly. I'm sure they get frustrated with my incessant need to be in control of my children, ensure for myself that they're safe at all times. The thing is--I know that sometimes things don't work out. In an instant, my life could change. I try to keep my brain from rolling over the possibilities--that I just kissed my children goodbye, waved from the driveway, and may never see them alive again. I try not to see the Suburban; on the interstate, flipping in the air over and over again, before it comes crashing back down to the ground and destroys my will to live. I try not to imagine that somebody will get run over in the parking lot at McDonald's, or that a door will open on the road and somebody will fall out. I try to be optimistic, and believe that I will meet up with my children in Alabama tomorrow night, find them sleeping soundly, and that I will curl up next to them and look forward to Thursday morning when I can hear all about their travels. It's hard, though. It's hard not to imagine the worst, when the worst had already happened. When I have seen life end in a moment.

I cried as I hugged Angela goodbye today. "Please, be safe." I pleaded. "They're my babies."

It's just a road trip. I know that. I'm trying to convince myself it will be fine, but as I sit alone in my living room, everything in the world that means anything to me is miles away. They're traveling at 80 mph, on a road full of people who don't understand how much I have to lose. I'm counting the hours until we're reunited again.

Saturday, November 21

This Week

It's been an eventful week, so I thought rather than try to re-cap all of it, I would simply write down my to-do list for this week:

*Complete budget. Contemplate highway robbery in order to finance Christmas.

*Happen upon a steal of a deal for a new (old) freezer on Craigslist. Rationalize purchase, make pick-up arrangements, and gleefully patronize the frozen food aisle at Kroger.

*Damage phone, this time with an unfortunate (and accidental, obviously) dip in the toilet. Curse profusely.

* Encase phone in rice for 14 hours. When it shows no sign of life, commence slightly frantic search through various Internet venues to buy new phone.

*Find a steal of a phone on Craigslit, meet gentleman selling it that evening. Briefly contemplate his attractiveness, then become thwarted by the gleaming silver ring on his finger. Dang it.

*Learn to efficiently text on new (old) Blackberry. Not as easy as I thought it would be.

*Strenuously consider changing wireless and Internet providers. Make many phone calls in this vein. Remain undecided.

*Visit pediatrician. For the third time. Find another (0r same) ear infection. Ingest more antibiotics. (Not me, the baby)

*Sing. With friends. Enjoy it.

*Play new sheet music, gleefully printed from Sally Deford's free website.

*Have a missionary moment.

*Tell actual missionaries about missionary moment over Stephen's and popcorn.

*Attend class. Wash, rinse, repeat. Again.

*While you're at it, wash several other things.

*Melt down at preschool, in front of Kadon's teacher. This is fun, repeat again on Friday.

*Drive for 3.5 hours to attend a 2.5 hour New Moon Premiere party. Eat cake, enjoy.

*Attend New Moon with friends Saturday afternoon. Enjoy.

*Exercise. Wash, rinse, repeat. Several times.

*Manage general crankiness, fussiness, and fighting.

*Wipe things profusely. Including: Noses, butts, counters, and feet.

Monday, November 16

Cell Phone

Last night I was watching a movie, and had a large water bottle filled with ice water on the coffee table in front of me. I set my cell phone down on the table-near the bottle, but not right next to it. It sat there for a couple hours, then I picked both the cell phone and water bottle up to put them away and go to bed. Apparently my water bottle had 'sweat' profusely during my movie, and actually leaked water on the table, which traveled to where my phone was sitting and got it quite wet. I immediately took it apart and immersed it in a bowl of rice, but this means I'm only reachable through email until at least this afternoon. Hopefully the world keeps spinning on it's axis for at least a few more hours!

Update: It seems to be working just fine after spending about 12 hours in the rice bath--hooray!

Saturday, November 14

Cherry Chocolate




Strange things happen when I get bored sometime around midnight...
These pictures don't do the red justice. I was hoping by sitting outside in the sun that it would capture the full effect, but it really didn't. I was nervous last night and apprehensive this morning, but I really like it at this point. I went to a baptism at the church this morning, and everybody had really positive things to say--and it's a nice change of pace. I think it's fun to experiment, anyway!

Thursday, November 12

Because It's Right

This week has been Take a Friend Week at the YMCA I attend. I made several phone calls to some of my friends that don't have memberships, and tried to round up a crew to go try out some classes. I didn't have much success, but I did find one friend who faithfully came to all but one of the classes I did this week--and that was a LOT! I'm already impressed with her intellect, her grace, and her sense of humor--and especially her friendship, and her willingness to spend basically every morning this week at the gym with me was icing on the cake.

Today, though, that icing got even thicker--and turned into chocolate. It was awesome.

We attended spinning this morning, the second time for my friend and many more than that for me. I have noticed in the past that this instructor tends to choose music that has swear words in it--a fact that I attribute both to the style of 'fitness' music that is available, and an insensitivity on her part to the meaning behind the words. I don't think this instructor chooses the music she does to be offensive, I think she simply doesn't realize that to some of us--it is. In the past I have been mildly irritated that some of the music choices make me uncomfortable, but I have never considered doing anything about it. I assumed myself to be in the minority, and let my desire to not 'rock the boat' win.

Today, my friend showed me what true commitment and true morals look like. About midway through the 40 minute class, a particularly offensive song started playing. I thought to myself 'Boy, this is really vulgar!', and kept pedaling. As soon as I finished the thought, I glanced to my left to see my friend dismounting her bike and walking out of the room. Chagrined, I wondered if her exit was a reaction to the song--a fact that was confirmed when a few seconds later the teacher followed her out in the hall to see if she was okay, and reported back that my friend had left because she couldn't stand the music. I was embarrassed--both for the teacher and the YMCA, but also for myself. I should have also walked out of that class. I should have made my stand weeks ago, before I brought a friend with me to experience it.

My friend stayed out the rest of the class. After we finished exercising for the day, I went to the front desk and politely but firmly requested that the instructors in general, but particularly this one, be made aware that their music choices are not acceptable. I told the manager that I don't choose to listen to that type of music at home, and I don't wish to be subjected to it at the gym either. They were apologetic, and promised to talk to the instructor.

I love this instructor. I have great respect for her, and even now I'm a bit worried that she will suspect the complaint came from either me or my friend--and I'm ashamed to admit that I'm embarrassed a bit about that. I shouldn't be, though. I stood up for what was right--but it took a friend of mine making a tough choice to show me I needed to do it. Today, I'm grateful for that friend.

I'll be especially grateful if the lyrics of the songs we listen to in spinning improve.

Tuesday, November 10

Basement-Final Product

To begin the final set of basement photos, I took pictures of the guest room. Somehow that has been forgotten before, so here it is:

These are a bit out of order, but I don't want to take the time to fix them today. For this picture I'm actually standing on the mattress, taking the picture toward the door that leads to the rest of the basement.

Here I'm standing in front of the dresser, taking a picture of the small closet in the room. This close is my main storage in the house, and Mary was kind enough to make this curtain to hang in front of it right after we moved in.

I'm standing just inside the doorway here, and this small window leads toward the back yard. This small window is also the reason that this room will never be suitable as a full-time bedroom--to small for somebody to crawl out, too small for a fireman or other rescue-worker to crawl in. Plus, it's too far away from my bedroom-but it makes a great guest room for the occasional overnight visit!

A different angle of the closet and the side of the room.

And finally, totally out of order, the doorway leading into the bedroom, with the bed. Maybe someday we'll actually get a frame...
Again, these pictures are totally out of order. The wall that is still white is where the bedroom is, and the cement area on the right is where the laundry and the stairs are located.

I added this chalkboard paint after Brooklyn colored on the wall with a sharpie. Thankfully, it was before I painted, so it was a matter of several coats of Kilz and the brown paint, but I thought it best to give her a designated 'spot' to draw, rather than try to fight it. It's been fun--this section just needs a strip of wood border around it to finish it off.

I'm standing in the TV area here.

The opposite angle.


These pictures are pretty self-explanatory, since I've already posted extensively about the basement. All in all, I'm really pleased with how the color came out. I mentioned to a friend of mine that I was getting ready to buy paint for my basement, and she offered about 3 gallons of paint that they had leftover from their house. I worried that it would be too dark for my basement, but as you can see it worked out great. It's such a large space that the darker paint closed it in a bit and made it more cozy. Plus, the price of 'free' can't be beat.


Monday, November 9

Re-Committing

I'm going to re-commit to this blog thing. I swear, I'm going to be better at posting. At least, until something more interesting comes along............oh look! shiny things!........
This is how our October started out--the day after Brooklyn turned 2, Jennica Lynn came into the world. She's the tiniest addition to our extended family, and Brooklyn was pretty excited to get a peek at her. She's quite good with the baby, and asks to hold her every time we see her. With much supervision, she usually does a pretty good job.
We also attended the Pumpkin-Decorating night, sponsored by our YMCA. I had promised Jeremy we could carve pumpkins this year instead of painting them, and decided that the mess may as well be contained at the Y, rather than my kitchen. Jeremy quickly decided actually carving a pumpkin wasn't as much fun as he thought it would be after I cut off the lid to the first one and he saw the goop inside.
He had a great time painting his pumpkin, with a little help from Brooklyn, while Kadon and I carved the other two.
This is about mid-project, it got much more ornate after this...

The guts were pretty gross, but at least they smell good. I even managed *not* to get covered in goop!

Kadon was my assistant.
We attended the trunk-or-treat at our church building, the biggest event of the season for us. I got the kids dressed up, and tried to get a few pictures before we left. I had a heck of a time getting Kadon to hold still--Sir Wacks-a-lot was so excited to get his sword after weeks of waiting that he wouldn't' stop waving it around long enough for photos.
The other two behaved marvelously, letting me get several shots of their costumes.
As per usual, all the costumes were homemade this year. It's hard to tell in these pictures, but Brooklyn had a felt and wire tail sewed onto the back of her pants that bobbed when she walked around. I wish I had thought to take a picture of her from behind, because it was super-cute!
The 'M' on Jeremy's costume turned out to be one of the most difficult part of the entire process. I really wanted it to be 'just right', and I ended up having to draw it myself on a large piece of paper, then transfer it onto fabric, cut it out, and sew it onto the felt. I am nowhere near approaching anything resembling an artist, so this was the hardest part for me.
He seemed to be pleased, and tried to take a chomp out of himself.
In this picture you can see the tail on Brooklyn's costume peeking out from between her feet. She also wouldn't stop putting her pitchfork in her mouth all night, but it was still cute.
This is not a tricky photo-that is actually red hair....erm, horns.

The trunk-or-treat is also the only night that I dressed up. I had a dress that Mary helped me make especially for this costume, but when it came time to put it on, I decided it really didn't fit properly. I'm narrower through the ribs and waist then the dress was fitting, and wider throughout the hips and rear. All in all, I think the dress looked terribly foolish--but about the time I had given up and decided to wear white pants and a t-shirt with my wings and halo, I realized I'm officially small enough to fit back into my wedding dress. I weighed the pros and cons of wearing my precious dress as a costume, and decided the opportunity to wear it out in public again--even as a costume--was too much fun to deny.
It was a lot of fun, even if I spent at least half the night carrying my small train around. Everybody got a kick out of our costumes, and all the little girls in the building were enthralled with my super-glittery hair. I swear, I used at least half a bottle of the glitter hairspray on my helmet-head!
We have two sister missionaries in our ward, and I absolutely adore them. These two sisters and I got extremely close this summer, and they were at my house at least once or twice a week, sharing a meal, or a message, or simply chatting about life in general. I'm so grateful for the chance to know these women--they're kind, thoughtful, funny, and make my life richer just by being a part of it!

This beautiful sister went home a few days after this party, and I miss her fiercely. Thankfully, now that she's home we can email, catch up on Facebook, and talk on the phone. I still miss her, and she threatens daily to move back and live in my basement. I promised to have clean sheets on the bed for her.

Well, that's it for today. After such an absences, there are many more stories and pictures to share. I'll try to be more on top of the sharing....