Maybe God wishes to teach me a thousand new things, move me from being in a thousand different directions to just ONE, and show me a thousand reasons to BLESS his name. Maybe that is why He moved me 1,000 miles away.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mobile Babies

A first time mom reads all the baby handbooks, questions her friends, scans the internet parenting sites ALL to find out how soon her little bamboosa will start to crawl.

The picture of a cute scuttling infant merrily scooting around a room, content now to reach his toys on his own, or bring his smiling self over to his just can't happen soon enough!

A fourth time mom knows better. She knows that a mobile baby means she must constantly scan the floor for chokables, pencils, wads of dog hair that her baby will get to and eat. She knows that she now must haul the baby on her hip, set him down in the center of the room and get the necessary work done in timed increments of about 7 seconds. She then will pause, stop the baby from pulling up to a standing position by his hands and newly cut teeth, and move him again to a safe area and get her second, third and fourth 7 second installments in.

So Baby Benjamin is now the mobile baby. His preference is the army crawl, but he also does this funny hopping thing where he starts on his hands and knees and then pushes by his arms, lifts both knees off the floor and gets a little forward hop. He is also pulling up on everything, letting go with one hand......screams with glee.....lets go with two hands and then topples to the ground.

Mobile babies are cute, but oh so much trouble!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

my lovely friends and family

Yes, a new post will be coming so very soon.....
Really, it will.
Please come back tomorrow evening and find something delightful.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

When it is hard to homeschool

  • When you have 6 loads of laundry heaped like hay stacks in the family room.
  • When the pots and pans from the night before are not yet washed and you forgot to run a full dishwasher.
  • When the baby woke you up three times and another kid woke you up an additional time from a nightmare.
  • When it is raining and gloomy outside for the 6th day in a row.
  • When the dog came in from being let outside and obviously rolled in something so disgusting that a bath is required.
  • When you are out of peanut butter, bread, and apples.

When all these apply on a Monday? Forget it. These are the days where I either see it as an opportunity to develop perseverence, or a day to scrap most of the day and do laundry and play risk. Making that decision is not taken lightly, as I do not want to still have school days and things to be learned into June. I compromised: We did everything but history and science, we went to the grocery store over lunch hour, I took a nap during baby's nap and kid's independent work, the dog spent lots of time outside and I had a dose of caffine.

Monday, November 10, 2008

If Audrey was a captain of a pirate ship

This would be her Pirate Code:

1. No outside food allowed in the captain's room

2. Never go overboard

3. Never go to battle without the captain

4. Don't fight the crew

5. No girl friends

6. Never bring a girl on the ship

Here lies the code of conduct as laid out by Audrey. This document she created after our studies this afternoon regarding piracy during the time of exploration~

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Old toys can make the rainy week a little sunnier.

A week ago Chloe went in the basement and brought up her old fisher price big doll house.
She cleaned it up and it is now in the living room serving as a hotel for all of the 63 or so pet shop toys. It has been a rainy week, but hardly noticed by Audrey (and Chloe and even Jackson -- what a brother!) who have all had some "fun" playing pet shops. Even Benjamin likes to take the bunny out of the mini van and turn it over and spin the wheels. Yeah for Chloe for making old toys feel like new again!
13 and 11 year olds put quite a creative spin on the game with their interesting imagination...but Audrey outdoes them all with her zany-ness and we all have to sit back, laugh and wonder where she got it from......

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloweeen Fun!

Baby scarecrow
Fairy Godmother

Super girl


Oh. Garbage Bag Super Hero

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Jackson and Audrey were playing hockey outside on the driveway this morning. They came in and got some tape to fix the "go cart" he built out of a sled, some wood, and an old skateboard. They packed a lunch box with 4 juice boxes, halloween candy and pretzels. "This will be fun!" Jackson said as they gathered their supplies. Their plan: Jackson will pull Audrey in the "go kart" to the park down the street, swing a while and eat their goodies on the top of the playground. Audrey replied, "Yeah! This is gonna be great!" I told Audrey she was lucky to have a big brother. Jackson said, "Yeah, Audrey. If I wasn't here, we wouldn't be doing this fun stuff."

They are such good buddies. Warms my heart, it does.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A toaster is not a toy.

I was trying to get Benjamin down for his nap this afternoon when I smelled a strong, smokey scent. I was in my bedroom which is upstairs, way down the hallway. The smell was so strong, and along with the hazy smoke in the air I believed that something was indeed on fire. I interrupted Benjamin who was nearly asleep and ran to the hallway, "What is on fire?!?" I asked as a million thoughts flew through my mind. "Nothing. Jackson is burning toast on purpose," said Chloe.

True, Jackson was re-entering a piece of bread over and over again to see how burnt he could make it. The entire house was filled with smoke and the smell was intense. He was opening all the windows and had a pretty smelling candle lit trying to freshen the air. I wasn't happy. Benjamin wasn't happy. Jackson had a good talkin' to and was given a crabby baby to play with and entertain for his punishment. I thought it fit the crime well.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A nice lady? You decide.....

Grocery shopping with Benjamin isn't easy. Today I was trying to unload my cart contents onto the counter and a kind lady saw me struggling to reach the bottom of the cart while holding Benjamin. "May I help you get your things out?" she asked. "Why yes, that would be NICE!" I replied. She then made the following comment: "Oh, I know what it is like being PREGNANT."

Oh. She thought I was pregnant.

Now, I was awkwardly bending backwards while carrying a rather large baby which may have caused my post pregnancy belly to perhaps pooch out more than normal.....and I do have 10 pounds left to get to my pre-benjamin weight, but PREGNANT?

Well, it was nice to have the extra help. The comment didn't stop me from ripping open a bag of mini snicker bars for trick or treaters and take out 4.

However, I will be certain to keep my running appt. with Carla this week, and I may start up some crunches!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

in the land of regulations...

Each town tells people what day and times you can go trick or treating.
Some trick or treat on Oct. 25, some Nov1. We are lucky this year and get to trick or treat on halloween since it is on a friday.
I guess you have to look at this website to see when your town "schedules" trick or treating.

Really, why did things have tobe made so complicated? Roy overheard some moms at his office making plans on which neighborhoods to hit on what day so their kids could get triple the loot. Now, here is ONE instance where over-regulation actually benefits the kids. However, this means that the distribution of candy could be a much higher again the average pennsylvanian pays a higher price. I better stock up on at least double my usual candy stash. I'll make sure to get lots of little twix and snickers bars just incase I over buy. This way, there will be no waste. yum.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Here is a glimpse

Of October here where we live. We have now been here for all seasons: Winter, spring, summer, fall....I can't believe we have lived here for 10 months already. By far, fall is the most beautiful here. Minnesota also has some beautiful places in fall, but I don't have to drive quite as long to see some amazing senery. Here are a couple pictures I really like~

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sometimes this is how monday goes

After a busy week with the folks and a busy weekend with hockey, errands, housework and such, we enter our MONDAY.

Unprepared for the week ahead, I decided we would do math, reading, science and a field trip to Hawk Mountian.

I should have known....when I came into the kitchen around 8:30am to find Jackson and Audrey playing with Benjamin's new Little Tykes Tool Bench (garage sale $5.00!) fixing some sort of imagined water leak that this was a day to just leave a lone. But after our scheduled week vacation last week, I felt compelled that school today must go on.

And so the day goes.....

Math had to be cancelled, as our computer decided NOT to work. This computer (not the one I'm using right now but the Dell computer) is a nemisis. For those who do not speak greek, a nemisis is the greek goddess of retributive justice...but often the word is used to depict a formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent. Well, for those of you who know my relationship with my Dell computer, you'd agree that he/she is definately meeting this description. So, I'll call it so in front of the kids and there will be vocabulary and review of ancient greek history for the day.

Hawk Mountain was cancelled, because Chloe woke up with a headache, sore throat, and felt dizzy. Not a good day for a hawk migratory trail hike. Bummer. Here we have an opportunity to practice our character study trait for the month: hospitality. Everyone can now stay home and show care toward Chloe.

Science went ok, but Benjamin's excema broke out all over his neck and chest (I contribute it to major drool...I suppose it is time for the 5th tooth) and he was cranky and crying. I couldn't get Jackson to focus as most of his thoughts kept going back to what a bummer it is to not have $77.00 to buy a Ripstik. He did do math thoughout science as he kept figuring out how many jobs at what cost were needed to get his current $42.00 to grow to the needed amount. He figures that in 2 weeks and me contributing $2.00 he can get the ripstik. I think he is dreaming.

We learned about the sun and how it really contains all the colors of the rainbow, and that light travels in straight lines, but colors have different length waves in them and the light that bounces to our eyes is what color objects are and when Jackson asked me if things would still be the color they are if no one was there to look at them and I didn't have an answer....I decided that this Monday would have to go into the vault of Mondays to Forget.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The folks

The folks have been here since early Sunday morning. I really have not been spending as much time lounging at the computer so my posting has been sparse. I guess I never really lounged at the computer, unless you count the irresponsible times I've spent here from around 11:00pm till 1:00am. Basically, I kill time here till Benjamin wakes up, which usually is around 1:00am.
However, with the arrival of tooth #4, the last couple nights he sleeps till around 4:00am. This is great, and I'll have to adapt my sleep schedule accordingly.
I'll be posting after my parents leave, and hopefully will have something more interesting to post than this post I'm posting today. If you read this, and leave a comment, it could mean that either you love me even when I'm boring and dissapointing...or it could mean that you are bored enough or just like to waste time.
Either way, I appreciate you and your friendship~

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I almost believed it till I saw the fuzzy thing on her lap.
Sarah Palin would NeVEr own a foo foo dog....never.
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I may take my show to vegas

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Friday, October 10, 2008


My sister tagged me. I am participating out of love for her...and out of respect for my elders.

Here are the 6 random things to know about me:

1. I can perfectly impersonate the entire twiddle bug family (think Sesame Street the early years).

2. In the late 80's I had so much hair...which I spiral permed...that I couldn't comb it even with a pick so my secret was I never ever combed my hair...ever.

3. While this is not even close to the fame my older sister earned, my picture was published twice in a teen devotional book, and I was a background singer in one song in a recording for a band that I think is still out there somewhere.

4. My nerd qualities: I like the old star trek the best, and second I like Star Trek the Next Generation, I play ancient civilization war simulation games on my computer, and I really like learning about birds.

5. I am a podcast sermon junkie. My favorites are: John Piper, James McDonald, Alistar Begg and Way of the Master Radio.

6. I can spot quite a few constellations in the sky..the only thing I really remember from any of my college courses.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

the homeland of Felix the Cat, Dave the Wendy's founder, and Martha Stewart

Tomorrow morning at 7:30 am we are heading to Atlantic City, New Jersey for a hockey game. Since it is a 2.5 hour drive, we will stay around and see what kind of fun we can have on the jersey shore in October.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Common Ground

Tonight we had a group of kids over to play some yard games. The fun began at 4:30 with soccer, backyard soccer (this got kinda brutal), a break for supper, flag football, capture the flag, charades, and then night tag. Breaks were taken to play a game of cards inside, or play with the cute baby on a blanket

The guest list: one 5 year old, one six year old, one 7 year old, two 8 year olds, one 9 year old, two 10 year olds, three 11 year olds, one 12 year old, one 13 year old. All the kids ran around and played capture the flag in the dark and had a great time.

Many people would suspect that having kids ages 5-13, boys and girls, playing games is a recipe for disaster! However, these kids found enough common ground to have a great time together for 4 1/2 hours....and all went home tired and happy. I love it when kids get together and behave so counter culture.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My one and only political post

Ads, debates, discussions, specualtions, polls, retoric, promises. I simply will post one quote.

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." -- John Quincy Adams"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Winner is Declared! I've finally heard back from my panel of INTERNATIONAL judges. The clear winner of first place is the witty and creative entry:

"what no one can see is the archer in the foreground about to launch an arrow in the general direction of the dunce cap. if chloe can deflect the arrow with her ruler before it connects with the cap, she wins. if jackson can manage to sit calmly under attack without dropping or crushing the fragile plastic bottle, he wins..........". -- Jessica

Second place goes to this entry which is the most believable, and most likely what could have been occuring during the taking of the picture:

"your actually going to let me hit jackson, mom? all right!!! i'm going to cherish this moment.." -- Skittles

thanks to everyone for your fine entries. Of course, I wish I could award all of you a prize...but in the real world (which the thousand miles blog tries very hard to emulate) there are losers.

I cannot close this contest without publically declaring the worst entry. Shelly, I'm sorry but your post most certainly fits this category. I know that you have, shall I say, Unconventional Bathroom Ideas in your home (i.e. the "boys bathroom" near the side of the garage....) but to press these ideals on others over the internet and use my blog as your campaigning place was uncalled for. You are still my friend, however...quirks and all. You will be given grace this time.

Thanks again for playing Caption this Picture! Winners should look for their winning postcards in the mail. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for processing and delivery.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Yet again, it is time for another game of..........................Caption this Picture!
rules: only two entries per person. must be submitted by the end of the week.
winner will be selected by a panel of judges. winner will be publically notified, and will receive a postcard sent to their home from PA! Wow! Get your entries in soon!
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Friday, September 19, 2008

I love Fridays, because we spend the first 1/2 of the day on our school lessons, and the second half exploring historical places, or nature walking, or working on a project. The Museum of Indian Culture was a perfect end to our week of studying early American Indians. Above is a picture of the quaint home which has been transformed into a small exibit area for displaying artifacts and examples of the Northeastern Forest Indians. It is situated on the Little Lehigh Creek which is the same creek that runs through our neighborhood. It is a picturesque setting, as you can tell.

Audrey spent most of the time listening to the museum man. He had lots of American Indian facts to share. We were the only visitors, and I think he was happy to have three polite children to share all his knowledge with. After our indepth tour, I felt that the kids had more knowledge of the early American Indian and all the possible theories of how they first came to the Americas and who they may be related to than most college students.
After we left the museum, we went for a walk down to the creek. Jackson brought his rod and was ready to catch a trout. He didn't catch a trout, but on a day like today, one hardly notices such a loss.
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After living here 8 months or so, I still find all the creeks and rivers beautiful ~ cold, clear, rippling water.

We kept walking and were rewarded by finding a covered bridge. This one no longer accommodates cars, so

Chloe and Audrey went to check it out.
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We took Benjamin out of his stoller for a picture, but he had no interest in smiling and spent most of his time pulling out the grass and trying to eat it. We spent most our time trying to keep him from eating it, and encouraging him to smile. We gave up.

On our walk, we couldn't help but stop and rest here a while.

On the way back to the car we enjoyed watching this blue heron until he noticed us and glided upstream.

I needed a day like today~ Thanks God for giving it to me!

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

A well thought bribe is a mother's most cherished tool in her belt.

If you want your kids to clean up their stuff, fill up a baby jar with dimes. At the end of the day, what they didn't pick up or take care of gets a "caretakers fee" removed from the jar.
At the end of the week, the person with enough dimes for a Rita's Italian Ice will have their treat.

If you want your kids to take their fish oil without daily complaint, bribe them with a Jello Pudding Cup.

Kids will clean any mess for a slushie. Slushies are liquid gold.

If you are getting tired of the constant little nit picking kids can do at each other, how about offering a bribe of gum for the sweetest kid in the car?

Sometimes the kids have to dip their hand into the extra chore jar. Sometimes they get to grab out a bonus from the Amazing Kid jar. I like my charts, jars, prizes and bribes.

Some people may say this is lazy parenting. Some say (I've read their book) that kids should do what they are told without bribes or rewards. I say, who doesn't like a little reward, or a little bribe from time to time?

A well thought, and well placed bribe can eliminate the potential war, a day of crummy attitudes, or a mothering melt down.

And that, my friends, is my 12:30am parenting tip for the day. Good night ~

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Baby's got two teeth

Benjamin has two teeth now. Two cute little teeth on the bottom. His teeth and he have a love/hate relationship. The first is no longer painful, but the second is still causing drooling (which consequently gave him a drool rash on his chin) and some ouchy hurts.

However, Benjamin loves rubbing his tongue on his tooth, taking my finger and biting it right on his sharp, pointy tooth. While I carry him, he loves to suddenly turn and lunge and sink his tooth into my chin. Oh, he loves doing that. Which reminds me so much of Audrey who also enjoyed for many months attacking people's faces.

He looks so cute with his teeth, but we still haven't successfully captured them with a camera. The little guy just keeps on growing and getting older...which I love/hate. He hugs me now, and lifts up his arms towards me when I come near. He gazes across the room and locks eyes with me and giggles with delight. To him I'm the world. I love that. As he gets older his personality emerges more and more...I love that too! But each day goes by pretty quickly and he is changing so fast! One day he will be 13 and probably won't want to hug me and bite my chin (which is good -- that would be, odd) So I try to enjoy every moment spent with him, even the four am mornings (ok, that one is hard) because the older I get, the more fleeting the days go by...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Allentown is on the map

For the first location where the stink bug has been documented. A native from Japan and China, the stink bug is a pesky critter that really does stink horribly if you succeed in killing it. They cling to the side of the house looking for an opportunity to get inside. Here is what the Penn State Department of Entomology says on their website:
Even though these insects do not harm humans and do not reproduce inside structures such as houses, they cause concern when they become active and conspicuous in fall and spring. If many of them are squashed or pulled into a vacuum cleaner, their smell can be quite apparent.
For homeschool science class one year Jackson had to catch, kill and mount different insects. We've thought many times about catching, freezing and mailing our good friend Maria (who mounts bugs just for "fun") some of the strange varieties of bugs we have here. This is one bug that we will NOT be mounting here...or sending to MN.
Stink bugs. Just another one of those interesting suprises about living in PA.

Monday, September 8, 2008

At first glance, they look like my kids...

But how could that be? They were only out of my sight for 15 minutes or so.....Come to think of it, Audrey's hair looked a bit sloppy and sticky that evening when I tucked her in to bed.....

(click the picture to enlarge it -- take a look for yourself. Could these kids be mine?)

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Participating in games

I was tagged by Pam so I'm going to bore you with the answers. I promise all proceeding posts will be exciting and eventful once again with the amusing delights of PA.

Ten Years Ago:
that was 1998....I remember vaguely.....Chloe was 3 and Jackson was 1. Either we lived in Mound or Minnetonka...I think it was Minnetonka.

My To Do List Today:
finish making supper, walk to the park with Benjamin and Audrey, put away laundry, exercise, clean up kitchen, read stories, give baths (to the younger ones) tuck in bed, clean up the uncleaned up areas of house, waste time on the computer, go to bed.

Snack that I enjoy:
organic carrots dipped in homemade hummus with a sprinkle of chives grown in my window herb garden................errr, scratch that. I lately have been snacking on the most amazing chocolate cookies I've ever baked (new recipe that is a keeper).

Things I would do if a Millionaire:
Go on a trip
Buy an Airstream (great idea, pam)
Get dog training for my sister's dog
Adopt a child
Hire a weekly house cleaner
Hire a handy man to do Roy's household chores so he doesn't have to do them
Give money away to help families adopt children

Places I've lived:
As a child: Burnsville, Bloomington, Hamlake MN
As an adult:
Northeast Minneapolis,
New Brighton MN
St. Paul, MN
Tokyo, Japan
Mound, MN
Minnetonka, MN
West Chicago, IL
Maple Grove, MN
Macungie, PA
In my dreams......Kauai!

TAG to DEB and TAG to Kendall and TAG to Chloe!!!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I was brave.

On Friday, we took our annual trip to the zoo to kick off the school year. This year was exciting as we visited the nation's first zoo! With my trusty Magellan at the helm, I followed the turnpike into Philadelphia. Once off the turnpike, we drove on a freeway that skirts by some of the old buildings of Philadelphia. We took our guesses at what the buildings might be -- they looked old, they looked historical, they looked important! We don't know what they were, but hope to on future visits.

We knew the zoo was close by when we drove through an underpass that was painted with patterns of tiger, giraffe, zebra, and other exotic animals. After adding up the costs of parking and entrance fees for all of us, we opted for membership. We can bring two guests for free each time, so count that into your savings when you come to visit! The Philadelphia Zoo is definately a city zoo. In fact, on one end of the zoo you can hear the commuter train rambling and shreeeeking on the tracks. For the first 40 minutes, we heard constant sirens outside the zoo walls, which had me a little concerned as to our safety, but I guess the fugitive was apprehanded because the sirens died down and I didn't really notice them anymore after that.

With Audrey's tired feet and Benjamin needing a nap, and me desiring a break from the 90 degree day, we opted to stop our visit short of seeing the whole zoo. Well, I guess that membership will now be paid for, as we are already saving money the next time we go. I was proud of myself, as I braved driving the Turnpike (you'd be proud if you saw it!) and I braved a new city, and I braved eating a zoo hot dog for lunch (yelsh) and I braved sending my precious children into a swan boat to pedal by the Lemur Island where they were out of my sight (in a big city!). I was brave.
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Friday, September 5, 2008

When all the other children are sitting at their desks...

We take a week to do, see, and play. This has been the tradition since we began homeschooling seven years ago. The tradition continues. One of my favorite days this week was spent at a beautiful natural spot in Emmaus called the Wildlands and Pools Sanctuary. We dipped our feet in a cool, clear creek and hiked a boardwalk that led though a marshy terrain of wild flowers that were taller than Chloe. We saw numerous birds, a family of deer, squirrel and chipmunks, and lots of bugs.

Spending the first week of the school year this way has always been very feels like we are stealing extra days of summer, and the colaberative sneakiness of it is quite bonding. If you homeschool, I strongly recommend adding in the extra week of summer. Just don't go to our spots -- one of the beautiful things of the week is having all these treasurable places mostly to ourselves.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Just like that....

Baby Benjamin is 1/2 a year old!
Here he is enjoying his celebratory meal of mushed carrots!
We love you little guy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

eight things happened.

1. Benjamin got his toof!
2. Audrey caught a tadpole.
3. Tadpole died.
4. Jackson mowed over a huge underground beehive and was swarmed.
5. Research was done on how to make a torch to kill beehive.
6. We walked to the park this evening at dusk.
7. Chloe wore a large bedsheet at the park and was swinging in the twilight.
8. Benjamin got his high chair.

Monday, August 25, 2008

a gloomy sky

For the first time in what feels like 6 weeks....the sky is a little gray and gloomy. This could be the perfect day for working on my school room. Hmmm is that because I equate a gloomy day with homeschooling? Most of the time, no. Usually I am keenly aware of the benefits that homeschooling brings to me and my kids. However, the transition from summer to school is always trying and difficult, and today it feels a little gloomy. Each fall I think to myself, "I am not getting everything accomplished that I want to right now, so how on earth can I add in school???" I've asked around my homeschool circles throughout the 7 years of homeschooling, and I have found that many a mom asks themselves that exact same question, year after year.

So, I'm digging out old books from years past, and adding in new books that keep arriving daily and formulating my plan. I'll organize, restructure the shelves, add in a new bookcase, update my computerized library, remove unused books, create a curriculum for history/bible and then look at everything and make a working schedule. Time to make the most of this glorious, gloomy day!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Birthday Flashback

I just saw this and couldn't resist posting.

Turning 38 is GREAT!

Happy Birthday? Yes it was. Chloe and Audrey saw to that!

The morning began with a special breakfast. Looks yummmy!

The doorbell rang and when I opened the door I saw ZOOM Jr! For those of you who haven't met Zoom at your birthday, he is an outerspace man who mysteriously appears at the door, sings one dandy song personalized with the birthday boy/girl's name, and then leaves just as he came.

Lunching at Chik Fil A, an afternoon working on some fun house projects, running some much needed errands, taking turns singing "pedestrian theme songs" on the way, and having my hair done at Audrey's Style Salon was the way I spent my special day.

And now an unrelated picture I took 2 days earlier of Benjamin after feasting on a teething biscuit....