As we approach a new year, we have time for reflection on the year gone by and the hope of letting that reflection shape us into a better person in the life we have left to live. The questions below are blatantly stolen from my friend Sue's site, and she received them in an email. I sent the same around by email, but wanted to post here in case I missed anyone who might be interested, and because it will be here for me to think back on at the end of 2005.

What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
Gave life to another person. Giving birth was one of the most painful and rewarding things I've ever done. I've also learned to love in a way I've never loved before.

Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year's resolution was to be completely honest with people rather than saying the thing that they want to hear. I maintained this resolutely, and I must say it caused a lot of trouble, including straining the joy of last Christmas (when I put the resolution into effect early to tell my SIL what I really thought) and creating a gap between my best friend and myself over my wonton tossing around of "the truth". A reality I was in a bit of denial about is that pregnancy hormones really skew the truth, making the whim of the moment seem like life's eternal reality. I think a better resolution would have come of trying to marry honesty to tact with the antidote to self-righteousness thrown in for good measure.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Indeed! Being pregnant ourselves, we were enrolled in Bradley Childbirth classes. Seven couples total in the class means 6 friends giving birth this year. The most noteworthy of these being Marisa's birth to Cai on May 23rd, just three days before Meridian was born. Marisa, Ryan, and Cai have quickly become close family friends, and Cai and Meridian see each other at least once a week.

Karen, a good friend from COATS gave birth to Shannon, her second little girl earlier this week (December 21). I am excited to get to meet her!

Sue Kloetzer, a friend from Dave's Automark days, whose wedding I participated in last summer, gave birth to Reese on October 4th. We are thankful to be able to keep up through their website where photos are posted frequently.

Kathy Manzella, another friend from Automark, gave birth just yesterday (Dec 22) to a little girl, Kayce, whom I can't wait to meet.

Kate, a friend I met through Marisa, gave birth to Millie three weeks before Meridian was born. And Shannon, a friend who was introduced through an old colleague of David's gave birth to Dylan in March.

And of course, I performed the amazing feat myself, giving birth on May 26th to an 8lb 8oz beautiful baby girl, whom we named Meridian Paige. She instantly became, and faithfully remains, the purpose of life.

Did anyone close to you die?
In a terribly sad twist of fate, friends in our Bradley class Scott and Colleen gave birth to a stillborn baby, whom they named Connor, on April 28th. All three of them remain in our hearts and prayers.

What countries did you visit?
Though we had been trying to make an international trip every year, pregnancy and adjusting to life with an infant had us thinking it wiser to spend this year in the comforts of our own home. 2005 promises a trip to Tunisia, on the Mediterranean coast of Africa, where we'll visit my sister Ryan's family, who are stationed at the embassy there.

What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
More patience, a better sense of empathy, and control over my temper and pride.

What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 26th brought the birth of my daughter, a moment that is live-changing.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Though I hate to be redundant, Meridian's birth was my single best achievement of the year. Particularly as I was able to reach inside myself to wells of confidence and stamina I didn't know existed to give her the drug-free birth I felt it was important for her to have.

I have also been proud this year of my growing skill with the camera, as I have taken photos of Meridian and Cai that gave me great satisfaction. I have been inspired to try my hand at opening a studio in our home within the coming year.

What was your biggest failure?
Hmmm, ...always the hardest to choose your own shortcomings. I have to go back to my pride, which has a way of smacking people (myself included) in the face. Most notably this year was the completely unnecessary issues I caused between my best friend Pam and myself. All stemming from my desire to control my environment, and my pride which prevented me from apologizing sooner.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Thankfully, no.

What was the best thing you bought?
Wow, an interesting and insightful question. As I look back it's difficult to point to something that I bought that really seems so important. Which begs the question, is it really necessary to buy all the things I do? This is a timely question for me, as I stopped working this year to raise my daughter and have struggled with the limitations that has put on my spending. Or more precisely, I've been frustrated with my own seeming inability to impose such limitations on my spending. Reflection on this question, and its lack of a good answer make me realize that the habit of spending that I've created for myself is largely empty and meaningless.

Pushed to choose something, I would have to select the items I've given as gifts this Christmas, but even there it's not the item itself, but the happiness I know it will bring that has me labeling it "the best".

Whose behavior merited celebration?
We received a Christmas letter from friends of ours in Canada, Randy and Mandy Klaprat. They detailed in the letter the work they are doing in the community, ranging from work at an adult crises center, to opening their home to foster children, to mentoring young adults struggling to establish themselves in a world they are often at odds with, to rescuing a government program which was going to go under. Their letter brought tears to my eyes and made me want to give more of myself, to do more, to be more. I celebrate them this season as their simply daily celebration of life and possibility and potential enables so many.

Though a bit of a pacifist myself, I also celebrate those in our armed forces, among them both my brothers-in-law. Though I don't agree with our administrations policies, and though I'd rather we weren't at war, I have to admire men and women willing to put their lives on the line for an ideal and principles they hold dear.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
This is an answer best reflected upon and kept to myself.

Where did most of your money go?
Well, it was a year filled with unexpected bills, and much money was spent both paying for those as well as dancing around them in an attempt to maintain the status quo. The heating unit had a malfunction which caused our heat and air conditioning to run simultaneously, a fact which had us paying not only for repair on the unit, but for an electricity bill inflated to five times the normal amount. Shortly thereafter, we were faced with the fine print on our health insurance policy, which left us paying as much as we had already budgeted for and spent on hospital bill again in hospital bills we didn't know were to come. Lastly, the water heater rusted out from the inside, waking us to water splashing out over the garage with no end in site. Replacing that unit and paying for installation was our most recent monetary shock.

David has risen to the challenge finding freelance web design and programming work that covered these bills and left me so thankful to have a husband who looks on the bright side of things and finds a solution rather than moaning about the problem.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
David carefully saved and stored away money to buy me a professional grade digital camera this Christmas. I got the gift several months early, and am really excited about the possibilities it provides me. Additionally, I am so touched and excited by how much it meant to David to make this desire come true for me. Even in the face of the bills mentioned above and less incoming income, it was important to him to make it happen. And when I suggested that we use the money that was saved for the camera to pay for the unexpected bills, he refused resolutely and found a way to do both. I really love him, most importantly his heart.

What song will always remind you of 2004?
I don't generally get attached to songs in that way. I just love music and anything I can sing along to. However, if pressed to pick something, it would undoubtedly be River Lullaby from the Prince of Egypt soundtrack, which I sing over and over again to Meridian.

Compared to this time last year, are you happier?
It seems the answer should be "undoubtedly so", but this time last year I was pregnant after four long years of trying, David had just gotten a new job, and we'd just sold our first home and created a nest egg from the profits. In other words, this time last year, I was elated. I continue to be so now, as I watch Meridian grow into a bright and happy little girl and watch David blossom into a wonderful Dad. My happiness began last year when I saw two pink lines and has been at its peak ever since.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Well, I suppose for the remainder of my life, regardless of how many precious moments I spend with my daughter, I'll always wonder whether the ones I spent on other things were squandered. So, I wish I'd let the cleaning go, wish I'd not updated the website when I could have been playing with her, etc. However, even in wishing so, I'm aware that there needs to be balance and that I can't give every moment to her, nor should I. So, I wonder more than wish.

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Bickering. I need to learn to let go of the argument.

How will you be spending New Years?
No plans; we'll very likely spend a quiet evening at home reading to each other, drinking wine and reflecting on the year and how we can improve the next one.

Did you make new friends in 2004?
The birth of my daughter facilitated meeting and maintaining new friendships is 2004. Marisa, Ryan and Cai, and through them Marisa's family have been a big part of our year. Kate, Andy, and Millie we've gotten to know a bit more recently, and look forward to knowing even better as time goes on. We met Shannon, Beau, and Dylan early in the year, and then lost track of each other as the exciting goings-on of our own lives caught up with each of us, but managed to reconnect recently, and hope to foster a friendship there as well.

Did you fall in love in 2004?
One of the most magical parts of new parenthood is the way it makes you rediscover your spouse in new ways. I've fallen in love with David as I've seen him rise to the challenge of fatherhood, loving every moment, and loving our little girl as much as one person can love another. Falling in love with Meridian goes without saying and is sheer joy and purest living. I just LOVE her.

What was your favorite TV program?
I don't watch television.

Do you dislike anyone now that you didn't dislike this time last year?

What was the best book you read?
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth was hands down the most informative and empowering thing I've read in a long time. And it's not often that a work of non-fiction makes the list for me.

David and I are also currently enjoying reading Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Books aloud to each other.

What did you want and get?
A child!

What did you want and not get?
I can't think of anything.

What was your favorite film of this year?
Lame as it may sound, I really enjoyed The Incredibles. We didn't get out to see too many movies as doing so with an infant is a bit difficult, so I'll stick with this fun animated adventure.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 28 on July 14th. I spent the day babysitting Kaitlynn, while her parents spent the day at Busch Gardens. We got up and met Marisa and Cai for a nice long walk with Kaitlynn in the stroller and Meridian and Cai in front carriers. That ate up our morning, and we made it home in time to feed the kids lunch and put them down for naps. While they slept I got the house in tip-top shape and even mopped the floors. We spent the afternoon playing. Then Kaitlynn got to take out all the pots and pans while I made dinner and Meridian played in the swing. I remember feeling so accomplished and like super-mom to accomplish as much as I did with two kids. The munchkins went down to bed, and I opened Dave's present: Digital Dance Revolution, which we stayed up too late playing. Ryan and Danny came home late and gave me their gift: a fondue set. :)

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
World peace. Sounds trite, and it is, but I can't think of anything in my personal life that could have been any better.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
LMAO. Is that description enough? If not I'll elaborate: elastic waistbands, balloon shirts, nursing bras. In short, no designer labels for me.

What kept you sane?
This assumes I was sane, which I assure you I was not. I was a hormonal mess, though at the time completely convinced that I was sane. The results: my floors sparkled as they were often washed three times a day, the sales staff in Bed Bath and Beyond were mystified as I burst into tears when they didn't have the curtains I wanted, I actually believed that leaving my daughter with a babysitter - no matter who - increased her risk of death, and spilled milk was literally a crying occasion. Sane? I think not.

Who did you miss?
I miss my sister immeasurably. Ryan, Danny, and Kaitlynn had the opportunity to go to Tunisia, Africa this October for an 18 month assignment at the American Embassy there. Accustomed to seeing them about once a month, I'm now going through major withdrawal three months into their stay.

I had the opportunity to visit Pam and Rob recently on to successive weekends, and now it has me missing them more acutely than usual. This is perhaps also influenced my the several-times-mentioned dispute that the away most of our year.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.
I think I learned a thing or two about judgment this year. As pregnancy held surprising levels of difficulty in simple tasks, I had cause to look back at my previous suspicion that pregnant women "milked it" and made it seem more troublesome than it was. Later while nursing my daughter and encountering difficulties such as latch issues, painful cracked nipples, positioning problems that caused her to "bite" down on the nipple, and a long bout of thrush, I found myself resisting the urge to formula feed only by sheer will-power and tremendous loving sacrifice. As a result, I was closer to understanding why so many women give up on breastfeeding, and to confront my judgmental tendencies there. The life lesson, put simply, is we just don't know how things are for someone until we've walked in those shoes, and judgment need not be passed by me.

And last but not least, list 5 Goals for 2005.
1) Excel at motherhood, creating a learning environment filled with wonder, trust, and exploration.
2) Become a better wife, leaving off the bickering and holding on to only the things that are really important.
3) Create a family environment that I want to be the example my daughter and future children will learn from and carry into their own families one day.
4) Open my own children's photography studio by the end of the year.
5) Leave off my cynicism and learn to look for the good in others first.


My cute honey capturing his littlest love's 1st Christmas:

Santa Baby


My nephew, Andrew, playing piano at our house last week. David made the still images into an animated Flash movie.


Well, it's been a while since an update here. Trying to catch up on the miscellany of the past two months is just too large a task, so I'll just share the most recent home detail, the one that has me considering changing the name of this section to Financial Follies.

David woke me up a week ago at 6:15am, very gently, but very firmly saying "I need you to wake up - I need your help." Instantly awake, imagining something might be amiss with Meridian, Dave filled me in. He ran the shower forever, no hot water. Going to the garage to see if the pilot light on the water heater blew out, he was greeted by the sound of trickling water. Not good.

Upon switching on the light, he found water pouring out of the bottom of the water heater with no end in sight! With the recent electricity fiasco still fresh in his mind, dollar signs start spinning through his brain as he imagined how many gallons of water would continue to pour out until we could get an emergency plumber out to set things straight. And even the words "emergency plumber" had the dollar signs bouncing off the walls of his brain at speeds likely to bring on a medical bill as well.

Somewhere in the fog of sleep and chaos of disaster, I managed to remember that we could shut the water to the house OFF, thereby preventing any additional water waste and downgrading us from a four-figure emergency to one that didn't require the use of the word "emergency" in front of "plumber". I called our handyman, Robert Bell (652-4123), who is more like a demigod of all things relating to home repair. He was on the way to work, but said he'd drop by on the way to take a look at the situation, and to shut off the gas to the water heater.

Robert arrived shortly thereafter and was able to confirm what he suspected: the water heater rusted out from the inside, apparently not uncommon among water heaters after they reach a certain age. Dave was off to Home Depot with Robert's shopping list, and Robert promised to be back later that day to install it. Around 4, he called to say he wasn't going to be able to do it, but had worked out for a plumber friend of his to do it that night. Awesome. His friend, Lloyd Brown, spent 5 hours at our house installing the new water heater that night. It took longer than I expected, and now the dollar signs were bouncing around in my head as well. After all, we'd spent $400 on the purchase of the new water heater, and a plumber I'd never used (or even priced) had been working on it for hours.

In the end, Lloyd charged us only $195 for installion, which had me ready to kiss him. So, $600 later we have hot water again, the garage has dried out, and life is back on track. Instead of mourning the $600 setback, I'm focusing on the ways it could have been worse. I could have called an emergency plumber and spent $150/hr. I could have not remembered to shut off the water to the house and paid for gallons upon gallons to wash my garage floor. And, as Robert pointed out, I could have had the sad misfortue to have my water heater in the attic as many new developers are doing, which would have necessitated replacing the ceiling, the carpeting, and possibly the flooring in addition to the water heater. I guess I'll count myself lucky on this one.

All the same, if the unexpected (and unwanted) bills would care to stop, I'd be more than happy to pay off my credit card or put some money in savings. Just thought I'd throw that out there in case somewhere in the universe the idea is floating that we have loads of money to blow.


Happy Birthday Jed! I tried to call you several times, but it kept saying "the party you're trying to reach is unavailable" and it wouldn't let me leave a message. Anyway, I'm sending you a package; be on the look out. Hope you had fun today!


Well, we had an HVAC expert out. Hampton Roads HVAC came out, cleaned the outside unit and added refrigerant. That came to $98, which was a much cheaper fix than I expected. He said it should cool down to the setting that I had the thermostat at by evening. It was currently 79 degrees in the house and needed to cool to 74.

Well, by evening, we were down by one degree. The next morning the AC was finally where it was supposed to be, but I suspect only because we'd had a cool evening. The unit had been running non-stop until then. So, I called back.

This time they went up into the attic to inspect the heatpump. Apparently, some wires in our heatpump melted, so the AC and the heat were running simultaneously. groan. He cut the wires to the heat, and fixed it so that the AC will work. Of course, they need to come out and replace some damaged parts before the heat will work.

The good news is the Hampton Roads HVAC is a very honest company; I feel confident that he's not going to rip me off. In fact, he didn't even charge me for coming back out that day to fix the AC. He estimates $450-$475 for the heatpump repair. Somehow that alone makes him seem trustworthy; like someone who intended to inflate the numbers would just round to the hundred, as it $25 one way or the other wouldn't make a difference.

The other good news is that our AC is now definitely working as it should be. Also, Dave's been checking the meter each morning, and our electrical usage appears to have returned to normal.


I opened the electricity bill yesterday to find a bill of $494!! Shock. Fear. Misunderstanding? Mistake!!

I promptly called the Dominion Power and spoke with a very nice lady about what might be the cause of our problem. She walked David through reading the meter to see if it was read incorrectly. Sadly, no. She then helped walk us through a couple of possibilities: water heater on the skids - nope, ours is gas; A/C unit - eek, likely culprit. The strange thing was that we took a reading five days after the close date, and when she did the math that made our average daily usage normal. If something was broken, you'd think our daily average for the past five days would also be unexplainably high... So, they're sending out a technician.

The catch: I realized after we'd arranged the service call that of the five days since the last reading, we were out of town for three of them, and I distinctly remember switching off the thermostat before we left. So in fact, what looked like normal five day usage was in fact extremely high two day usage. Aaaack! We turned the central air off last night to ensure that we're not paying 5x the normal amount for it's usage. Dave checked the meter when he got home and it showed normal usage, so it looks as if the AC was the culprit. So, tomorrow I'm calling an AC repair man. Bummer. That means not only do we have to pay for AC repair, but that we are actually accountable for the Dominion Power bill!! SUCK.


27-fling-boogie continued. More freecycled items:

  1. tea kettle - bought a new one.
  2. misc bag of clothes - given to me by Aunt Jeanie, but too big.
  3. snuggli baby carrier - I had two, and this one was only for rear-facing.
  4. children's toolbench - bought this for Michael to play with here, but he's not over much and more and it had too many small pieces.
  5. set of coasters - we have loads of coasters.
  6. sewing machine - had it for 7 years; used it twice.
  7. misc cookbooks - I kept the few I use all the time.
  8. 2 VHS sets of Charlie Chaplin - poor video quality; will get David DVD versions eventually.
  9. baby sling - Meridian, like her Daddy, sweats a lot; therefore she hated the sling.

Two more items to go until I've reached my goal. Not sure I'll stop then; it's kinda fun to dejunk!


The National Zoo was a hit. We ended up doing it Sunday instead of Saturday because of weather. It was super annoying because we spent two hours Saturday night shopping for warm clothes because it had gotten so unexpectantly cold. Got dressed up all warm only to have it turn into a hot day. Luckily I had some cool clothes in M's diaper bag. The adults, on the other hand, just had to sweat like pigs. Kinda made me crabby early on, but then I just resigned myself to it and cheered up. Kaitlynn and Meridian liked the zoo ok. David loved it. hee hee.

We met Heidi and her little ones at the Smithsonian Museum of National History since Saturday was too cold for the zoo. That was fun. It was neat to get to see zoo animals up close - even if they were stuffed. Seeing the bones was really neat - especially the snake skeletons. They were just too cool. We also saw The Hope Diamond. Neat, but not as big as we'd expected. I though the "smaller" diamonds surrounding it were much prettier.


Hubby emailed home this photo with the subject line "As close as I'll probably ever get...":

Bill Gates

This picture is not doctored. The tablet PC in Bill Gates' hands features two apps I developed, plus my HTML work.

Because of our non-disclosure agreement, I can't reveal any particulars about the apps, but this is about as exciting as it gets!


Oops! I promised to come back with the news soon, and have neglected to keep you up to date. Ryan and Danny are going to TUNISIA. Selection progressed as follows:

There were six countries up for grabs. The class members were to discuss the options and agree amongst themselves about who would go where. If they were able to come to a unanimous agreement, they would get their country of choice. If not, the instructors would assign countries randomly. In the history of embassy school no class has ever reached a unanimous agreement. The six available countries were Uruguay, Jamaica, Tunisia, Barbados, Armenia, and Togo.

The class agreed to let Danny have whichever country he wanted since he was first in his class. I'm sure all of you are now thinking: "Why didn't he pick Barbados?" He very nearly did, but in the end he and Ryan ruled it out. For embassy duty, they will divide their time in 18 month intervals between two countries. One of the countries must be a higher-risk country. Ryan and Danny prefer to get the higher risk country out of the way first.

Their logic behind this centers around trying to conceive. Kaitlynn will be 18 months old or more when they leave, they they want to have their second child during the three years they will be gone. However, they are afraid to conceive in a higher-risk country where health care will be dramatically less available, infant mortality rates higher and disease more prevalent. If they want to ensure being in a low-risk country while pregnant or with an infant, they have to go to a higher risk country first.

Since no class has ever been able to agree, they decided it would be best to start by those who had a strong preference for a certain country mentioning it. One person wanted Uruguay, the only South American country. Obvious interest was expressed in Barbados and Jamaica. Someone else selected Togo, one of the African countries. This left Armenia and Tunisia, with only Danny and one other person having voiced no preference. The other Marine was a single man, and said that Danny could take his pick between the two because Danny has a family and this man truly had no preference. The catch: they had to make a decision within a few hours. Ryan and Danny got on the phone, and started discussing the options back and forth. Heavily influencing their decision was the fact that they had no information on the arrangements for Armenia. Each embassy was supposed to email information pertaining to housing, culture, transportation, available goods, etc. Armenia's embassy representative neglected to do so.

By the time I got involved in the conversation via instant messenger, they were leaning heavily towards Tunisia. As can be expected I was completely panicked, and my initial hope was that they would choose Armenia. I promptly began searching the CIA data available on Tunisia and Armenia. Seeing that Armenia is located on the Turkey and Iranian border quickly changed my mind on that preference. More searching indicated that Armenia suffers from widespread drinking water contamination, soil pollution from DDT, and the dangers of a nuclear power plant with questionable safety procedures. Yikes. Over to Tunisia, which also suffers from unsafe drinking water. That's one hazard versus three. Granted Tunisia is bordered by Libya and Algeria, and that's not much more comforting than Iran; however given the current political relationship between the US and Iran, Tunisia just feels safer to me.

They would live in the city of Tunis, which is right on the Mediterranean Sea. They will be a stone's throw from Sicily, and not far from Spain. That's definitely a perk. It's kind of neat because they have close proximity to Europe, so they can do some touring there without being stationed in a European country. That means if their next country is NOT in Eaurope, they still will have gotten exposure to it, as well as Africa. It is kind of ironic though that Africa is one of the places Ryan expressed interest in early on and I "vetoed".


The latest satellite photos of Hurricane Frances show it is the size of Texas, and forecasted to take 24 hours to travel through Florida. Considering that Charley was hugely destructive in only 8 hours, people in Florida must be terrified. David's parents are there. They are on the West Coast which is not forcasted to receive the brunt of the storm, but will no doubt suffer heavy rain and loss of power. I hope for everyone's sake that the storm takes an unexpected turn out to sea. More photos here.

Danny Update: Danny is currently #1 in his class. He is trying to convince the other detachment commanders to pick countries according to GPA. Sneaky little booger, eh? I hope he succeeds! Right now he has heard that the following countries are opening up: Jamaica, Norway, Japan, South Africa. Also they have had some serious problems with the attachment in the Philipines. So they are all being replaced. Danny does not want to go there; he thinks it will be very hard to work with their embassy staff because of how serious the problems were. He is hoping to get the complete list sometime tomorrow. Stay tuned.


From Comedy Central's The Daily Show - a debate between President George W. Bush and Governor George W. Bush of Texas. View it here.

I added to yesterday's entry because I didn't think Danny would appreciate being included in a post that made fun of the President. I heard the news yesterday anyway, and was just remiss in posting it in a timely manner.


CONGRATULATIONS DANNY! Danny passed his boards for embassy duty, and is 2nd in his class. Not surprising - he's a smart guy - but apparently this is the hardest school in the Marines and an obscene percentage of participants don't pass. So Woo Hoo. Danny and Ryan now have the green light to go overseas. (Dawn hides her sadness and puts on her best smiley face for the wonderful opportunity that they have.) We find out where they will be stationed at the end of next week. Stay tuned.

Things Aunt Jeanie forgot: her reading glasses, her electric razor, her makeup bag, ...more to come?


Aunt Jeanie and Deana were in town for the week. I have to admit that I was dreading having more company, any company. It's just hard to have people regardless of how much they tell you that you don't have to wait on them, because I WANT to wait on them. However, Aunt Jeanie and Deana really just took over the household and wouldn't accept any arguments. Aunt Jeanie cooked all our meals including breakfast, and even washed my laundry! Deana rearranged my family room and dining room; the family room looks really nice and I haven't quite decided about the dining room yet. They both had a really good time with Meridian.


Today's IM convo with Dave. Hmmmm, ...can it be called a conversation if I'm the only one who talked?

     Dawn: I wish you could come home.
     Dawn: I am so hungry
     Dawn: and so tired
     Dawn: and my back aches
     Dawn: and I keep complaining
     Dawn: but there's no one here to hear me.
     Dawn: If a tree falls in the woods, does it hear me complain?


In my case, it's more of a 27-fling-slowdance than a boogie, but I'm still getting the job done. More freecycled items:

  1. the mirror that used to hang above the sink in the master bathroom when it was only a single sink
  2. changing table with built in bathtub - given to Ryan by a cousin, but passed onto me since she already had one; never gets used, just takes up space.
  3. a shelving system that I bought at Sam's club, but could never put together
  4. 2nd wooden medicine cabinet - this one we took out of the master bath ...eighteen months ago. blush.
  5. an iron - finally bought one with an auto-off feature since I'm constantly trying to burn the house down with everything from the curling iron to the stove. yikes.

The cakepan is still pending pick up. And the plant-stand-lady flaked out, but I'm still counting it since Ryan wants it. I've acquired a humidifier and a light-up makeup mirror by responding to offers, which is somewhat counterproductive, but as they were items I was really planning to BUY I'm slipping them in under the radar.


If you google the word "possibilities" and click through the search result pages, you can get to page 22 and still not have found this site. The fact that there are 6,910,000 results for the search is only mildly comforting. This may be one of very few times in life when algebra is my friend. You see, doing the math, I realized that I would have to be in the top .003% in order to appear in the first 22 pages. Still, I'm curious where I do fall, but not curious enough to click through 691,000 search pages. If any of you is bored, feel free to undertake this project and report back to me.

Interestingly, even if I changed my site name to possibilties (the most common misspelling I find myself typing), I'd still have to weed through 1530 pages of search results. I could eliminate all the i's in the word, and go with "possbltes" to gaurantee page one status, but the only other link on that page would lead to someone else's blog, and lets face it - that's a shitty name.

Since google bases the order of it's search results off how many hits a page gets, the responsibility of the solution falls to you and can be accomplished in these simple, yet effective steps:

  1. Take a moment to set your browser's default homepage here.
  2. Open your browser several times each hour.
  3. Add a link to this site on your own webpage.
  4. Add this link to your email signature.
  5. Tell all of your friends to perform these steps as well.


OMG, this is the funniest thing I've seen in a good while. I watched it three times! An ad loads first, just wait through that. The movie starts with Jib Jab.


My sister passed along a link to Freecycle is basically the concept that to keep our landfills clear of usuable items, we should give them away instead of throwing them away. So, there are a bunch of yahoo groups that are organized by city, and members post things they have to offer. Other members reply by email, and junk is passed along in a timely fashion. One man's treasure... You can also post wanted ads if there's something you need, but don't mind having used.

Completely unrelated to that, an online friend passed along a link to, which is a site designed to keep you organized in your housekeeping. You join their mailing list and they email you projects to complete throughout the day. They focus on cleaning your house in zones, and each week a different zone is targeted and they email you chores you may usually neglect in that zone, such as sweeping or wiping down your baseboards. Anyway, one of their exercises that is emailed out periodically is called 27-Fling-Boogie; for this task, you find 27 items in your house that you really don't use and have been hanging onto for no particular reason, and you throw them away or give them away.

Perhaps you can see where this is going: 27-Fling-Boogie and Freecycle went on a date. Here's what I've freecycled so far:

  1. my black kneely chair - liked it for a while, got over it; now it just takes up space.
  2. black plant stand that I bought three years ago, never used, and still brought with me when we moved.
  3. Sue's bridesmaid dress - what was I ever going to do with it?
  4. 35 coffee mugs; still leaving 20 in the cupboard, can we say excess?
  5. primary color ceiling fan that we took down in the guest room. Can you believe that I actually fancied saving this for when Meridian might outgrow the nursery?!
  6. a bag of hootchie momma clothes that I won't wear anymore now that I'm really a momma.
  7. men's nautica watch that David never liked.
  8. t-rex cake pan from Michael's first birthday.
  9. glass shower doors from the master bath which have been collecting dust in our bedroom for 18 months now.
  10. wooden medicine cabinet that we took out of the hall bath. That one's only been collecting dust for 4 months.
  11. Food dehydrator that was used during a food dehydration phase and then found it's place on a shelf in the garage.

Eleven down, sixteen to go.


While my mom was here a few weeks ago she did an intense amount of weeding for me. This was majorly helpful because since we bought the house 18 months ago, we've pretty much been cultivating the weeds. In an attempt not to waste her efforts, I put in two days in the front garden this weekend. I managed to complete two beds, and feel a huge sense of accomplishment. I planted:

  • Wormwood (P)
  • Coleus Sedona Hybrid (A)
  • Coleus Copper Stained Glassworks (A)
  • Lantana New Gold (P/A)
  • Turnera Eldorado (?)
  • Day Lily Pardon Me Hybrid (P)
  • Chives
  • Hostas

These new plants joined the existing bearded irises, rosemary, and some lily that I forget the name of. I dug up about 80 daffodil bulbs to boot, but there are surely more hidden in there, so it will be interesting next spring to see where they randomly sprout.

I don't have a photo of how overgrown the beds were before mom weeded, but here's a pic of what they looked like when we bought the house.

Garden Before

And here's one from the same angle after I finished planting. I still have to do the bed around the tree. Baby steps.

Garden After

And here's a closeup:

Garden After


Today I discovered that our dryer has a feature which senses when the clothes are dry and shuts the itself off. We've only owned the dryer for three years, so it's completely reasonable that I'm only discovering this feature now. I wonder if Dominion Power gives refunds for wasted energy under some "dumbass clause" or another...?


Bruce came over for the 4th of July. Making dinner for us at our house seems to have developed from an accidental pattern into protocol. Normally there's a good reason: we suck at cooking steaks, Bruce excels at it. Try to suspend disbelief over the coincidence that we were planning steaks every time he came over. Anyway, the graduation to protocol is attributable to the fact that we didn't use the grill Sunday, and Bruce still cooked. He made us a fabulous restuarant-quality (and low-carb, to boot) chicken dish: chicken breasts stuffed with onions, bacon, and blue cheese and topped with a white wine cream sauce. Writing about it is making my hungry. We have leftover stuffing that I was planning to use to make stuffed mushrooms, but I might have to just go gobble it.


We went to Chris and Heather's for dinner last night. Here's a samplimg of our dinner conversation:

     Chris: You can name any quote and I can tell you what
     movie it's from.
     Dawn: (staring unbelieving) wow, that's an impressive claim.
     Chris: As long as the movie is The Princess Bride.


Happy Birthday Honey!


David and I went on a date last night - got to squeeze as many in as possible before little Meridian occupies all of our time. We went to One Fish Two Fish, which we've had a gift certificate to since October. It was TERRIFIC. It was a bit difficult to find over on W Great Neck Rd, as it's located on the end of a pier, but it was worth looking for. The food was just great, the server attentive, and the setting very pretty. We were seated at the back of the restaurant overlooking the water, and we watched the sun set as we ate.

I had the most unique greek salad I've ever had, followed by terrific tuna meal with mashed potatoes and veggies. It was fantastic. I even ate the brussel sprouts! David had a spinach salad served with to-die-for warm goat cheese, followed by soft-shelled crab, which is a total weekness for him. With absolutely no room left, we shared an apple dessert that consisted of apple tart, apple cheesecake, and apple cinnamon ice cream. Funny how we MADE room. LOVED IT.

If you're looking for someplace new to eat, this one gets five stars from us. Thanks to Donna and Richard for the gift certificate and the recommendation.


I think the squirrel is too smart for our trap. He's definitely not going for that peanut butter sandwich.


Happy Mother's Day!


So, the squirrel that lives in our attic is back, even after Dave climbed up to the roof and blocked his entrance. Apparently, squirrels are like rats - they can SQEEZE. But I did learn that Virginia Beach Animal Control lets residents use their cages for free. I just have to leave a $50 deposit that is refunded when they pick up the cage. So, I'm off to pick one up today, and hopefully another little booger won't pick up where he left off.

Yesterday we noticed that we also have a family of blue jays living in the vent that goes from over the stove to the roof. LOL. Dave jokes that the entire animal kingdom is coming to welcome Meridian. <wink>


Not much has been going on at home lately that isn't baby related. I'm just slowly tinkering away at getting things done. I'm nearing the end of my list, and am starting to feel more peaceful. Soon, we're going to be a family of three.


Mialee and Matt got married today! Woo Hoo!!!


Things have been a bit chaotic here - organized chaos, if there is such a thing. We had lots of people in town to celebrate our baby shower and Kaitlynn's first birthday. It was good to see so many people I haven't seen in a while, and I got to meet Danny's grandma for the first time. But as always when we have out of town guests, we got caught up in everything happening here and have spent the week since putting life back in order. Still, it was great fun to have everyone and I'm so glad everyone who came did.

We had Ryan, Danny and Kaitlynn, of course. Danny's grandma flew in from TX. Sue Kloetzer (even though I still call her Sue Cowlbeck every time I mention her!) flew in from OH. And my cousin Karin drove up from NC. Those were all the people staying at our house. Pam and Rob also drive down from Jersey, but they stayed in a hotel. David's mom flew up from FL, and she stayed at Suzanne's new house. Aunt Jeanie, Allison, Julie and Megan also drove down from NY and stayed in a hotel at the beach.

Not much is happening since everyone left. Just been trying to get organized and ready for the baby. The house is coming together. We finally, after a year and a half have rehung all the doors that were taken down to be painted. We just have to rehang the cabinet doors in the bathrooms and the stair railing and we will FINALLY be done painting in this house. Halleluiah!


Happy Easter, everyone! David and I had a good weekend. We had our Bradley class as usual on Saturday morning, then Bruce came over for the afternoon and dinner. Somehow, Bruce always ends up grilling for us when he comes over, and he made us some terrific steaks. We hung out and relaxed together. It's always good to hang out with friends when you don't have to entertain - the best friends are the ones you can just relax around.

Today for Easter we were going to go to David's cousin Katie's for a late lunch, but her hubby, Greg, came down with a stomach virus last night. At this stage, I just didn't want to run the risk of catching anything, so we backed out. Instead, we headed over to Noah and Tiffany's for the afternoon. They had an egg hunt for the kids, and just a relaxed hang-out gathering. Again, more friends we can just relax around. David painted my belly as an Easter egg before we went, and Noah took some pictures of us, belly exposed. They're in the Photos section, if you want to check them out.


Today was my last day at work! WooHoo!! Now I have eight weeks to prepare for Meridian's arrival.


I've been really remiss in updating - eek! Things are good; just a bit busy. I went to OH at the beginning of the month for my friend Mialee's bridal shower. It was really good to see her, and I'm glad that I got to spend some time with her. Her wedding is May 1st, which is too close to my due date for me to attend. So sad. I can't imagine not being at her wedding - and I really can't imagine that she's gonna be married to someone that I've never even met!!!! LOL - as if it's all about me.

When I came back from Mialee's I drove down to Ryan's for a week to give David time to do the last of the painting. Poor guy! (And to make it even sadder, I hate the way the color we picked for the dining room turned out, so it looks like we'll be repainting in there.) It was great to visit with Ryan, Danny and Kaitlynn. Kaitlynn is just so adorable. She's such a happy baby - always smiling. I taught her to say yum-yum while I was there. So cute. Then she took her first steps on my last night there. Well, we kinda tricked her into them. I think it will be a few weeks before she's walking unassisted on purpose, but she did accidentally take two or three steps while Mommy, Daddy, and I were all there.

Now I'm back at home, and have my work cut out for me. The house is a mess, which makes sense since I've been gone for two weeks. I've got to be on a mission to get it cleaned. My cousin Deana wants to drive down this week with a friend to get away for a few days, so I need to get cracking.


We bought a minivan today! We had intended just to scope out the market, but we found a deal too good to resist. It's a 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan. It has power windows, locks, mirrors, cruise control, tilt wheel, AM/FM, Cassette, CD Player, three-zone heating, built-in child booster seats, LATCH, and keyless entry. The only feature I wanted that it doesn't have is leather seats, which is definitely a luxury, and so I'm really satisfied. Best of all, we got it for only $14,999, which is more than $3,000 under the blue book value. We're really psyched!

2003 Dodgel Grand Caravan


We had a fun Valentines Day weekend. We headed to Cape May for the weekend to see Bob and Chris, friends from David's first job, which was lots of fun. On the way back, we accidentally locked the keys in the car when we went inside on the ferry, so we had to call a locksmith after the ship docked. What idiots we are! Then we ran into snow on the drive through VA, so we got back later than we'd planned, but it's all good.

I chopped my hair off on Friday before we left. Here's a pic:

Haircut: Before and After


Boy, training really took it out of me this week. I'm just exhausted. I'm training Kasey to replace me, which is cool, but a little stressful because I know I can't totally prepare her in the time that's left. I feel a little bad about that, but I guess it just works out that way sometimes. Feeling so tired after training this week made me realize how happy I'll be when I complete the next three classes and am done. It's just too much.

We went out with Captain Jim and Liz last night, friends of ours from Dave's Massey days. It's cool to remain in touch with people from our different phases of life. Anyway, Cap't Jim really wanted to introduce us to this other couple that reminds him of us. The husband is young, smart, and great with computers (not to mention curly blonde hair) and the wife is pregnant. LOL. So, we agreed to this blind date. Grin. Really though, Cap't Jim was right on. We got along great. So, that was fun. We went to the California Pizza Kitchen - really yummy. AND we got to go to the Cold Stone Creamery for dessert. MMMMmmmmmm.


We've been babysitting Blake, my friend Melissa's litte boy, since Thursday night. It's interesting trying to balance everyday things that need to get done with having a child in the house. Good practice I suppose. Course, it's a little different with a five year old than an infant. <grin> Poor little guy, I think he was expecting a weekend pass to whatever he wanted; he was kinda disappointed to learn that he had to follow all the same rules here that he does at home. After several crying jags that resulted in him going to his room until he felt better, I think he got the hang of life at our house, and we had fun together.

I felt a little bad because I wasn't really able to give him my all. My infected salivary gland was incredibly painful and made me irritable and sleepy. He's used to seeing me bounce of the walls and get down on the floor to play crazy super-hero games with him. David had lots of freelance work that needed to be done, so while he was more energetic when he did play with Blake, he wasn't able to play with him as often as Blake would have liked. In that way, I think this visit was a bit of a let-down for him.

02.04.2004 5:24pm

My brother just emailed me this link to a comic spoof on the movie Clerks. Really funny!

02.04.2004 1:22pm

There's definitely a critter of some sort in our attic. I think a squirrel may have gotten in while the roof was being repaired and now he's trapped up there. I can hear it knocking around and sometimes chewing (scary!!), but have no idea how we're going to get it out! Maybe we'll try closing all the upstairs doors and opening the attic stairs and hoping it will come out on its own. Yikes.

I added a "Kaitlynn's Gallery" page to my Photos section. I've been meaning to do this for a while. It has a few of my favorite pics from each month up to now. I want to add one for Michael in the next few weeks too.


It's taking me a while, but I'm slowly getting my house turned right side up. Spent the weekend through yesterday working on the kitchen; today I've been reassembling the family room and need to get to the dining room too. One good thing: the floors are so much easier to mop with all the furniture in the other room. We're having dinner guests tomorrow, so if I can get the downstairs done today, I can try to do a whirlwind cleaning on the upstairs which is mostly just untidy.


We made it back safely from our trip up north. The snow added an interesting spin to things and we found ourself there three days longer than planned, but it all worked out. While we were there we got to see our cousin Allison and her daughter Megan, our Uncle Billy and Aunt Irene, and our Uncle Joey and Aunt MaryAnne. And of course, Aunt Jeanie, Uncle John, Nicky and Deana.

While we were away, David painted diligently and made real progress. Poor guy, he even stayed up all night one night in a desperate act to get things finished for "his girls". <my heart melts> I kept trying to question him on exactly what he'd accomplished, but he was very cryptic and secretive. He wanted it to be a surprise for me. And it WAS. We came home to see a huge heart painted onto the kitchen picture window. He completed both rooms, including the ceilings, the cabinets, and the trim!! Now we just have to touch up and caulk. Really, David is such a blessing in my life. I just love him so much, and all the little things he does to make me happy really do reach into my heart and make me feel loved.


We had a good weekend with the Schwerdtfegers (that means sword-sweepers in German). We just chilled out, ordered pizza and had friends over on Saturday. On Sunday, we went to Sumo's, a japanese steakhouse. They love it because they don't have anything like that in Germany, so it was fun.

Tomorrow, I'm headed to NY for a week with Ryan and Kaitlynn to visit Aunt Jeanie. We're going away to give David time to paint. There are three rooms and two bathrooms that still need painting. I'm hoping that Dave will finish the family room, which is all paneled (yuk!) and the kitchen. In the kitchen, we're also painting the cabinets, so I'm not deluding myself into thinking he'll get much further than that. That will leave the dining room, two bathrooms, and the trim in those rooms. Funny how time consuming TRIM can be. It is definitely the biggest pain in the butt of all.


Daniel and Maria are in Florida for two weeks for their honeymoon. They're going to drive up to visit us for the weekend. They were visiting us when Daniel proposed to her, so it will be nostalgic for them. And of course, we'll be glad to see them. Ryan and Kaitlynn will be here as well, which will be cool because they really get along.


Really funny link about film snobbery.


Yayyy! So, we got the hole in the ceiling fixed this weekend. The same guy did it who does all of our home improvements. If you ever need a recommendation, I know a really fair and honest handyman. Anyway, that's done, and then he went up on the roof to take a look, and said that where the valley between the two roofs is, there was a 2 foot gap where shingles had blown off and there was nothing to prevent rain water from getting in. Incidentally, this was right above the leak. So, he's gonna fix that next weekend, and we won't have to replace the roof right now. How awesome is that? Even better is the fact that randomly we received a reimbursement for our property tax for the year for the house we just sold. Apparently it was paid from our escrow, so that paid for our ceiling and roof repairs. Don't you just LOVE that?

Ryan, Danny, and Kaitlynn also came up this weekend, which was really good. I was really missing my piggy-sister. I hadn't seen her since Thanksgiving. And Danny will be going away to some military training thing for a month, so I'm glad we got to see them now. Kaitlynn is SO cute, such cheeks, and always a big smile. I love that little girl. I was really bad though, and didn't take any photos. Ryan wanted to take pictures of her in the snow, but it started to melt down some and patches of grass showed through, and I guess that jilted her idea of the perfect snowy day pics, so she didn't. Dave kept talking about taking pics of her naked in a pile of confectioners sugar and then photoshopping her into an outdoor snow scene so we'd have naked-baby-in-the-snow pics. But he never did it. Prolly a good thing, 'cause I'm sure I'd be the one cleaning up the mountain of powdered sugar. <wink>


Crap. Dave noticed a water stain on the ceiling in the nusery this morning. So, estimates with roofers are being scheduled, but what a bummer.

Of course, we're also happy to be home. Even if we did come home to find a hole in the ceiling of our hallway. eek. Well, I guess when you're a homeowner, there's always something. Oddly, we also got a call fromt he buyer of our little blue house. It seems sewage has been backing up into the house almost since they bought the place. We feel horrible, but we really never had any problem like that, so we're at a loss. But you we have the feeling we'd have if we sold a car to a friend and the transmission died a week later.


Dave and I made it safely back from our trip to Florida where we spent time with his family, witnessed his nephew Andrew's baptism, and took part in a surprise 70th birthday party for his grandmother. It was an event filled holiday, as much with family drama as with holiday celebrations. Baby Andrew developed a scary breathing pattern and was treated with a nebulizer, Michael drove a fisherprice car into the swimming pool when no one was watching and gave us all a good scare. Sensitivity dictates that I not mention some of the happenings, but suffice it to say there were times we were certain we were in a Neil Simon play. All that makes it seem like we didn't enjoy ourselves, but we did. It was good to be able to spend some time with Dave's parents. We miss having them closer. And it was nice to be able to spend brief bits of time with aunts, uncles, and cousins we don't see often.

Of course, we're also happy to be home. Even if we did come home to find a hole in the ceiling of our hallway. eek. Well, I guess when you're a homeowner, there's always something. Oddly, we also got a call fromt he buyer of our little blue house. It seems sewage has been backing up into the house almost since they bought the place. We feel horrible, but we really never had any problem like that, so we're at a loss. But you we have the feeling we'd have if we sold a car to a friend and the transmission died a week later.


Happy New Year!

New Year's Resolutions:

  • To eat a well-balanced diet -- this one is fairly obvious and became a resolution with pregnancy, but I'd like to continue it through the year. Since I'll be nursing, I'll have good motivation, but seeing it in writing helps keep me focused on it.
  • To be totally honest in my interactions with people -- I find that there are many times, in trying to protect other people from disappointment or feeling chastised, that I don't always let on how I really feel about things. This avoids confrontation or awkward moments, but it leaves me resenting my own silence. Of course, seeing this resolution through will require some cultivation of the idea on my part. I tried to employ it over the holidays, but found that in being brutally honest, I was also sometimes tactless. Work will be needed here.
  • To spend some time each day reflecting on the mistakes I made during the day, the things I have to be thankful for, and the people I love -- a prayer in a sense, or a meditation on my life for a day. Self reflection really helps me remain focused on the goal constantly becoming a better person.


Well, Christmas is upon us! Happy holidays to everyone. I think I'm on top of it all. Shopping is done, more or less. Christmas cards went out earlier this week. We leave for Florida tomorrow to spend the holidays with David's parents. I hope everyone else has a joyful and peaceful holiday season. Merry Christmas!


My Christmas shopping is just about complete. I have only the following people remaining: Dave's mom and my brother Jed. I'm pretty stumped on what to get those two this year. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to pass them along. I still have a few things to pick up to enhance other people's gift, but those ideas are in place, so that doesn't concern me.

12.02.2003 11:53pm

Closing was a terrifically easy thing to do. Our part lasted all of 45 minutes, and most was just filled with banter. Yayyyy! How good it feels to have that behind us! We celebrated by going to The Melting Pot - MMMmmmmmm!

12.02.2003 10:48am

So, closing is today at 1pm; I haven't heard anything, so I assume we're going ahead with it in spite of the fact that the heat's not been tested. Man, will I be ever so glad to have this behind us.

12.01.2003 7:07pm

Answering machine message from A&B Propane: "This is Ken from A&B Propane; I'm just calling to let you know that our driver will be at your house between 2 and 5 pm tomorrow. If you need a 30 minute lead time, please call our office to let us know."

Really, why do I bother?

12.01.2003 10:33am

Man, some companies just DO NOT have it together. A&B Propane has given us noting but headaches since we began with their service when we bought the little blue house. Today was no different. They filled the tank and pulled the regulator a week ago despite the fact that there's a note in our file saying to do neither until closing. Every time I talk to them, they say "Well, there's no note in your file that says [insert whatever we're talking about this time]." Uuuggghh! So, the walk-through is today, and they can't test the heat because the regulator is missing.

It started out that there was no way anyone could reconnect it today, but they could possibly do it tomorrow for an $85 fee. What nerve! I muttered something about this being unbelievable, so they changed it to $50. Then, I just went ballistic. I went on about how dissatisfied I have been with their company and the amount of things that have gone wrong that are always written off to miscommunication. And the manager launches into a litany on all the benefits of working with their company. Very patronizingly, I explained that when a customer is complaining, they are not doing so in the hopes of hearing a list of the company's strengths, but rather to make management aware of the feelings of the customer, and perhaps they should just listen. So, they're doing it tomorrow for free. I told them that closing is at 1pm, so it needs to be earlier than that, and allow sufficient time to drive back to Virginia Beach where the attorney's office is.


Thanksgiving went very well. Karin and Lance hosted, and invited Ryan's family, our family, her sister Gela and her son Quentin, and her brother Kurt. I have to admit, we were all kind of nervous about how it would work. After all, the haven't all been together as a family since we were children, except for Gary's funeral. Gela and Kurt had a falling out years ago, and haven't spoken in years, so this was definitely an ambitious project, but it was very successful.

Karin made a great dinner. The boys mostly hung out together playing risk and other games, while the girls shopped and chatted.

Though it happened easily at the time, and we didn't even notice, Dave pointed out when we got home that we didn't take any time to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for. This year especially, Dave and I are so thankful for our blessings. In Dave's words: "I think our good fortune lately merits another several mentions, and quiet thanks in our hearts. Our house is *this close* to being sold, I got a new job I'm happy with, and we have a tiny peanut happily growing in your tummy."


We have had David's Aunt Gisele and Uncle Karl from Germany with us since late Tuesday. We just love how at home we feel with each other. I only met them once when we travelled to Germany for three weeks, and we spent a few days at their house, but they made a lasting impression then with their friendliness and the welcome we received. Now it is as if it were only the next week and we are seeing them again. I am really happy that we are able to have such a close bond despite distance and language barrier.

I always think it is a shame when a person comes from a foreign country to America and starts a family, and within a generation or two the connections to the homeland are gone. Our visit gives me hope that this generation at least will continue to renew the friendships and family connections in Germany.


Well, it looks like Danny and Ryan got embassy duty. They'll get a month's vacation next June, then Danny will report to school here in Virginia for training, then in Spetember they'll get their orders. This pretty much means that they'll be living overseas for three years from that point, in two different countries, and Danny will oversea the Marines who gaurd the embassy.

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I realize what an opportunity this is for them to get to see some more of the world, learn about a different culture, etc. On the other hand, I'm going to miss them. Sure that's pretty selfish of me, but it's true.

I've tried to convince Ryan that she should leave Kaitlynn with me, but to no avail.


The realtor called last night to say that closing is on for the 26th! Very exciting. It's been somewhat of a marathon getting everything that needed doing done, but what a relief it will be to have it all finished. Just before the Thanksgiving holiday too - that'll put me in good spirits.

Left to do: Termite inspection, septic inspection, ceiling repair where Dave stepped through the ceiling, bathroom floor repair, warranty transfer.


I've been so busy getting things done for closing on the little blue house, that I've not had a moment to do the updates I've been wanting to. I finally got around to adding a Baby News page, which can be selected from the topics list. I'm trying to go back through my journal and online posts to cover all the range of thoughts and emotions since the beginning. I can see this is going to be a very long page. Take a peek.

Hopefully the next few days will let me get caught up.


Halloween went well. Dave was Charlie Chaplin, and I was a flapper girl. I'll try to post pics later. We just got new computers, so not everything is set up just yet.

Mike and Suzanne came by to trick-or-treat with Michael and Andrew. Michael was a fire engine with a little fireman sticking out. SO CUTE. Mike dressed as a ghetto pimp - his costume was a riot! Purple nylon, and a really frizzed out afro. I hope to post the pics really soon!


So, I bullet-pointed yesterday, and I thought I'd elaborate today.

David's New Job:
Dave's really happy at his new job working for Dynamic Systems Inc. The company is owned by a bunch of guys who used to actually be in a rock band together, and now they've made a name for themselves in the computer industry. So his current project is to build the user interface for a program that will be similar to the OnStar program for cars. This program will be for small aircraft; it's for a contract the company has with NASA, which is pretty cool in and of itself. So, Dave is challenged, and productive, and happy again. He's come home nearly every night this week with the words "I love my job" on his lips. That is such a welcome change!

The Little Blue House:
So, the tenants moved out October 11th, and we got a contract October 16th. We're really excited. They made a full price offer and no closing costs, which is terrific. The home inspection was last week, and since then I've been a busy bee getting the work done or contracted. The biggest thing will be the foundation, which needs considerable work, but it's a fair request, and we're happy to be able to pass along a good product. Really, we put so much work into that little blue house; we're kind of proud of it. In the five years that we owned it, we reroofed, had new windows installed, a new deck installed, a new driveway installed, recarpeted, wall-papered, and painted. Funny how you don't really see the changes while you're living with them. So, closing is November 19th, and we're really excited.

The Bun in Our Oven:
There's bound to be so much to tell on this topic that it really merits a page of its own. I'll be making the new page by the weekend. So, plenty of reason to check back.


After a hiatus of a half year, I've decided to begin afresh with my blog. As many of you know, Dave and I have been especially blessed lately. Funny way of phrasing it, especially coming from me, but that's the description that best fits the way we feel.

Recently we have had good fortune in the following areas:

  • We're FINALLY pregnant!
  • Dave found a great new job!
  • We have a contract on the little blue house!

The last year has been a rough one for us. David was especially unhappy and unchallenged at work, and I was terribly depressed about the difficulty we were having trying to conceive. So, we feel especially light-hearted now - not just because things are good, but because they are SO good after having been so bad. So, our spirits are up, and I have lots to share.

*Though I think it's great that they have food for the poor bags that people can conveniently pick up, I can't help but feel a little guilty as I buy them knowing that they are filled with junk like Ramen Noodles and Macaroni and Cheese. I asked once if they had any of those specially marked bags that I could fill myself from the market and pay the total for whatever the groceries amounted to. I just think with all the food in the market I could come up with a much healthier balance for a reasonable price. They don't. But I suppose giving something is better than nothing, and having once been on the receiving end of such bags of food, I know the hungry won't balk at mac and cheese.

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