Friday, July 30, 2010

Skipping home. Figuratively speaking.

In case my previous post didn't bore you to tears, I thought I'd step it up and notch and blog about coupons. It's okay, friend. Go ahead, drift off. Feel free to change sites. I understand that the "excitement" of the coupon world can be a little overwhelming. ;)

I think it's fair to say that I've committed to a financial lifestyle change. And while I've worked hard to earn the "over dramatic" label; I sincerely feel justified in saying that shifting gears from free spender to eager saver is a definite change. The strength of this commitment remains to be determined.

For the last year and a half, my practice has been to plan out our meals in two week intervals. I'd plan my shopping trip around that list. Sans my children, I'd head to Walmart every other week and try my best to avoid the store in the mean time. As the family chef, I enjoyed the process of selecting our family menu without any strings being attached.

But then, the "saving show-offs" started hitting my friend's blogs. I was really impressed, moderately motivated and a little skeptical.

"But what if you need eggs?"

More than anything, I think I was jealous that I lacked the discipline to try (I am lazy) and that they already had things figured out. I started skimming the "how-to coupon" sites, grew frustrated when the majority of the ones I came across catered to grocery stores out West, and/or endorsed subscribing to FIVE newspapers, etc.

Then I found Southern Savers. Wanting to impress my husband, I signed up for a work-shop. All of my skepticism disappeared after attending that meeting but my laziness (peaked by my morning - more like constant - sickness) remained. I put my pamphlet on a shelf and focused on getting our family through those hard weeks of pregnancy with as much normalcy as possible.

I feel much better now, thanks.

With preschool tuition looming on the horizon and the need for a time filler, I was left without an excuse to lean on. Soon Eliza will be in preschool. I've nominated Henry to to be my right hand coupon man. Lucky dog. After making the mental commitment, I subscribed to the Sunday newspaper and invested in a bucket load of printer's ink.

Isn't this story compelling?!Annalisa S. and Nicole B., I hope the two of you are both still reading as you were both big inspirations.

Rather than shopping twice a month, I'll be going weekly. I'll plan meals based on what's on sale. Genius concept, right? Bottom line, it takes practice. I won't become proficient unless I try. I'm going to concentrate on one grocery store and one drug store (CVS) ... okay and maybe Target. Baby steps.

This past Tuesday, Eliza and I went shopping. There was actually room in the rocket ship cart for her to sit since I was only doing a week's worth of shopping. I was pleased with my efforts as we stood at the register. I know that as my stash of coupons accumulate these next few weeks, the weekly average will fall.

But then. Yesterday... I actually tasted it. The couponer's high.

I spent the morning printing out and clipping Target's coupons and pairing them with printable manufacturer's coupons. This was made easy with the assistance of hip2save and southern savers. With a bag of popcorn to occupy the kids (thanks for the idea Michelle!) and my sheet protected list in hand, I hunted down those specific items.

I was surprised at how upset I was when I discovered that they were completely out of Ocean Spray Blueberry juice. It appears there are avid couponers in this area!! In the meantime, I have to familiarize myself with rain check policies. I nearly missed out on the free chocolate Wonka bar, but luckily there were a few left. That would have been a serious blow.

Prepare yourself, dear blog, for my first ever coupon glamor shot.

At the register,
The long line of customers
intently watched as the price fell from
$40.00 + dollars
to $16.44.

It felt good.
If I had the coordination to skip,
I might have.

To my friends who have this down...

What's the best way to stay organized? Do you receive more than the average weekly inserts?

And finally,

With a heat index of 100+ degrees this week, how would you explain the need for a blanket?

A) Their Mother's need for air conditioning has grown severe.
B) A Popsicle overdose.
C) Watching Snow White is just "that much better" when cozied up with a good buddy.
D) All of the above.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Preschool Saga

As I battle an unexpected case of heartburn, I pause to take in the site of my shifting stomach. Happily, I assume that my baby girl is reacting to the glass of orange juice I recently drank. Is the juice also the source of the heartburn? I wonder. Suddenly, I hear a bottle of Tums screaming my name from an upstairs medicine cabinet. I'm pretty sure it's the same bottle I relied on when I was pregnant with Eliza in 2006. How safe is that?

My attention shifts as I hear Henry's voice bringing his cars and trains to life. He lets out an animated series of: "Choo-choos" and "Vrooms" in a way that only little boys can. Perhaps I'm unjustly stereotyping, but if you were to ask Andrew and me to imitate the sound a gun makes, you'd agree that boys are engineered to make gun and car noises in a way that girls aren't. Automatically I steal a glance at Eliza. She's still at the table, assembling a collage of the words she's spent the morning writing.

For the past four years, my world has been full of sticky messes, train tracks, play-dates and bedtimes. Despite my "experience," I've been suffering from a case of "first-time Mom" jitters. The parental insecurities that arrived the moment I first met Eliza haven't completely dissipated. The forthcoming "preschool saga" has reinforced that I'm not only justified in playing the "first-time" Mom card but that these feelings will likely resurface throughout my parental career as new milestones and/or obstacles are encountered.

Allow me to rewind to early March 2010. It was time to register Eliza for 4k public preschool. I displayed the 'registration information flier' in a prominent location and quickly went to work to ensure that her medical records were up-to-date. Rumor had it that only 40 children would be admitted and that a number much greater than that would by vying for a spot. Priority would be set on a first come, first served basis combined with a testing score that would be determined at a later date.

The day of registration arrived. I felt nothing but unfamiliarity as I navigated our car through the parking lot. My nerves were peaked like a new seventh grader entering junior high for the first time. Am I old enough to be doing this? I clutched the essential documents. Being the over-prepared, over-anxious nerd that I am, they were safely sealed in a sheet protector. Eliza and I held Henry's hands as we followed the bright green arrows to the gymnasium's LOCKED door. I was five minutes too early. Awesome.

The morning passed, paper work was filled out and a testing appointment was scheduled. I was pleased that she received a spot in the earliest time slot even though I knew that her testing time wouldn't have an effect on the potential outcome.

The purpose of the testing is to determine which children need the program most. The child's background, family's finances, social needs and academic understanding are all taken into consideration. Despite my bias in thinking my child's smart, I remained hopeful based on my personal desire for this to work out for her. We were told to wait until June for our letters of notification.

The month of June I stalked my mailbox. While vacationing in Utah, I hounded Andrew to do the same. Naturally, the letter arrived mid-July. Blame it on my impatience, but I already knew the outcome by the time our letter came. Mustering up all of my "first time Mom" courage, I called the district and "demanded," in the politest manner possible, to know whether or not she was placed.

The woman's annoyance turned to sympathy as she informed that Eliza had not been selected and that she had been placed on a very full waiting list. I started to cry.

"What more could I have done?" Nothing. I already knew that.

"She tested too high." Was her reply. And while that was nice of her to say, I think it was her way of trying to soften the blow. The four Moms I knew trying for this same school received similar news. The demand was too great and the availability of teachers/classrooms was limited.

Since that time, I've secured her a place at a reputable private preschool that she'll attend with two of her best pals! Another huge positive is that I'll be able to work out a carpooling plan with their wonderful Mothers. With a new baby around the corner, their help will be a great blessing considering the school we selected is a solid 25 minutes away from my house. And finally, rather than waking up to begin school at 7: 30 a.m at the public school, her class will start at 9:00 a.m.

I am trying to stay focused on those positives but the emotion attached to the imminent change overwhelms me at times. Eliza and I have had full access to one another for the past four years. Along with Henry, Eliza is my morning, noon and night. In a few weeks, we'll be paying a sizable fee for someone else to look after her. It feels so completely backwards. My head understands that socially, this will be great for her. My heart is just sad. It's hard to reconcile my brain's understanding with my heart's emotion.

(photos taken today at Hearts of Clay
during a pottery/painting type of experience)

I feel like she'll be living the life of a Kindergartner a year sooner than I anticipated. Am I being irrational? Is it the hormones? Am I normal? My personal response to these inquiries vary with who I talk too. While this transition appears to be easy for some of my friends, other Moms have expressed sentiment that echoes my own.

I acknowledge that my hands will be full with the arrival of our next child and an active two year old. The return of Zombie Mom is on the horizon which means our outings will temporarily be lessened. The motivation I had to participate in a co-op preschool has dwindled due to these changing circumstances. Eliza would be stir crazy. The daily stimulation will benefit her. Again it's that struggle between heart and mind. I get the benefits. But the impending void of her presence stings.

Not to mention, Henry is going to miss her fiercely. Cue Mom's tears.

(Henry snatched up the last remaining Dino)

In an ideal world, I'd have her attending a three day preschool program in the home of a friend or nearby neighbor. I haven't discovered that option and will remain grateful for our current plan. As it stands now, she'll attend five days a week, three hours a day. Oh how I'll miss her.

When meeting with the preschool's director (who is fabulous) I asked,

"I don't have to send her everyday, right?"

"Absolutely! If the weather is frightening and you think that you just need to stay in to avoid the roads, by all means!"

"But what if..." I hesitate a moment. "What if I just want to keep her home because, well..." Now I feel stupid. "Because I just miss her?" Feeling juvenile I ask,

"Can you tell I'm a first time Mom?" Quickly I shush my two noisy children and shift my weight to accommodate my round belly. I correct myself.

"...First time Mom of a preschooler?!"

Considering the heart breaking and serious nature of the trials some of our peers and family members are dealing with, I feel silly to be blubbering to the blogging community over an issue that probably seems trivial. But as the author of this blog (aka my journal), I feel responsible for chronicling the thoughts cycling through my head.

Bottom line: I love my kids. I love my job. I'm grateful for this blessed time of our lives. I absolutely find joy in watching them grow but would definitely be tempted to hop on that train to Never Land (Peter Pan's Never Land, to be clear) with them if we had an available pass. As my Mom recently reminded me,

"It goes by in a blink." And my Mom is always right.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's Pioneer Day, Y'ALL!!!

Pioneer children sang as they walked

and walked
and walked
and walked.

Ditto what I previously typed.

They washed at "streams"
and worked and played!

(and involved themselves
in spontaneous water fights.
And were allowed Dora sunglasses
due to a bonnet shortage.)

Sundays they camped
and read and prayed

Week after week
They sang as they walked
and walked
and walked
and walked
AND (*insert deep sigh) walked.

Additional details:

It was blazing hot.
I was sweating in crevices that I didn't know existed.
My dear Eliza asked to be snuggled while resting at a "watering hole."
Her body heat + the current bun baking in oven + sweltering heat;
essentially canceled out the relief of the shade.
Still, you can't help but melt (pun intended)
when your four year old asks for a snuggle.
When we finally reached "Zion" -
there was a shortage of hot dogs.
The pregnant ladies nearly went apostate.
The children were all fed,
the popsicles were dispersed.


(keep reading. I have to compensate for the murmuring.)

I am so glad Eliza participated!

As her biased Mother, I have to say that she was a ROCK STAR!(!!!!)

She willingly pushed and happily pulled.

And left with an increased understanding of what our pioneer ancestors sacrificed. Eliza is named after a most beloved ancestor that I spent a semester researching while living in Nauvoo. Her name was Eliza Ann Carter Snow. She experienced it all and remained faithful to the end. Our heritage is rich. It is something I'm deeply proud of. That feeling is there for each latter-day saint to claim.

For Eliza, that pioneer seed of appreciation was planted today. As well as a deeper appreciation for Sonic blue coconut slushies and air conditioning.

Kudos to her creative primary leaders for a great activity.

** While relaying our morning's activities to my dear spouse, we shared the following exchange.

"I could have done it. I could have been a pioneer." I tell him.

"You would have been a good one." He says. Pausing a short moment he adds,

"I would have been an especially great one!"

Learn more about Pioneer Day here. (Thanks to Running Mommy for the link idea.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Five More Seconds

Sleeping Beauty must be growing.

Glancing at the clock, I realize I ought to wake up Eliza if we want to be on time to our morning play-date. Because my pregnant self has an aversion to our staircase, I lovingly holler from the bottom step,

"Eliza, sweetie! It's time to..." before I can complete my thought she interrupts,

"FIVE MORE SECONDS, Mom! I need five more seconds to wake up!"

Did I mention that it is 9:10 in the morning? Apparently, 13+ hours of sleep did not suffice as those FIVE additional seconds are seemingly crucial.

At the breakfast table she lets out a sigh of relief,

"It's a good thing I woke up."

"I agree." Is my reply. I watch as she intently attends to her plate of food. And then she quietly verbalizes,

"I'll most definitely be taking a nap today." Funny the similarities we share. Mentally scheduling in a nap of my own is usually on the top of my to-do list. And even when that self-made promise is broken, it's the comforting thought I cling too as I drag my ever-increasing self out of bed.

*Off topic... she just crawled up beside me to whisper the following (random) question.

"Is my Dad a funny creature?!"

Today is going to be a great day!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Dragon Tale

After living here for two years, we discovered the 'dollar movie theater' in our area. Along with Cafe Rio, my Mom and Tai Pan; having access to a dollar theater previously fit into the, "I wish we had one of those here!" category.

Plans were quickly made to see the movie, How to Train a Dragon. Considering we took our kids to Friday's 7:15 p.m. showing and Eliza's consistently large reaction to anything "scary;" Andrew and I went with an open mind and a limited, albeit sincere, supply of optimism.

The Contraband

In addition to a well stocked purse, we brought along their comfort items and a pair of toy dragons (courtesy of McDonald's happy meals) that were featured in said film . We were set!

What interested me most about our evening was observing the personality differences between my children as they watched the movie. The distinction of how differently they are wired was so obvious in this particular setting. It humored me.
Maybe I'm blinded by love, but in person his haircut does not appear so totally "Lloyd Christmas"

Okay, maybe it does.

Henry remained still in his Dad's lap the entire time. His expression was that of serious enjoyment. When he and I made eye contact, he'd whisper a simple,

"Hi, Mom!" Occasionally, he could be heard murmuring an enthusiastic,

"Whoa! Cool Dragons!!" He laughed heartily with the audience for the sake of fitting in with the crowd and remained stoic during the intense scenes of Viking vs. dragon battle.

And then there was Eliza. Like I said, she does not "do" scary. Eliza hasn't viewed the movie, Sleeping Beauty, in its entirety because of the terror the evil Maleficent inspires. However, the experience and excitement of being in a theater proved to be enough as she sat through the whole thing.

Much of my time was spent holding Eliza on my lap. As we sat, I whispered words of encouragement, animatedly pointed out the humor and promised the safety and future happiness of all the characters involved. My mouth was kept busy. As for Eliza, her mouth was likewise full of things to say - you know, when it wasn't full of popcorn.

Wanting to put up a brave front, she never said the words,

"I want to leave." Instead, she offered clever, more subtle, hints.

"Hey Mom! Did you know that it is WAY passed my bedtime?" Meaning, you better take me home, not because I'm tired but because it's a matter of principle that I be in bed. And while she may have been relieved with an early exit, I'm confident that she wouldn't classify the experience as being awful. She left the movie happy to have been included in such a big kid activity. Andrew and Henry enjoyed themselves a great deal and despite having to play Eliza's on-site therapist/support coach, I likewise consider the evening a success.

Saturday afternoon included a serious round of afternoon naps for the Flegal crew, a special outing for me and my lady friends and date-night with my husband. We involved ourselves in an intense battle of California Speed (I love that card game). Our days of playing Chess have been suspended per his request. Repeatedly losing to his wife is a hardship he has chosen to live without ;)

Who knows, Andrew. With my daily struggle of pregnancy amnesia, you might have the upper hand. What do you say?!

Off-topic, look how beautiful our home grown produce is?

I'm particularly thrilled to have the onion. Well done, Farmer Flegal. Your wife is super impressed and grateful for your efforts.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

always looking for an excuse to make cake

Yesterday morning looked like this...

Using that scene as a reference, it would seem only natural that my evening would involve a little of this...

Am I right?

Before you (accurately) label me as being a glutton, I'd like to announce that I've become my next door neighbor's project. She's taken it upon herself, bless her heart, to ensure that I get a solid THREE MILES of exercise four nights a week. You guys! That's is a big deal for a non-exercising, expanding by the second, fool like myself.

Half of our walk is pure incline. I endure side aches, the embarrassing perma-wobble AND the awkward look of folded down socks (to avoid blisters)... all in the name of loving my neighbor. Envisioning myself stepping on the scale at my OB's office also serves as motivation. Although I wake up with additional aching body parts, I am grateful for her faithful phone calls and our nightly chat session. It's been a positive for my physical (hopefully), social and mental health.

Speaking of great friends, our entire household is happy that the Blaser family has returned from their 5+ week vacation. We were counting down "the sleeps" until Talon arrived home at bedtime with Eliza. Not to mention, I'm thankful to have an expecting Mom friend willing to swap child watching duties while we take turns attending our various appointments. Our combined brood had a great time yesterday.
Watching the garbage truck was definitely a crowd favorite.

They are looking forward to reuniting tomorrow for another play-date. Lucky Ali gets to head in for her glucose test. Yee-haw!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Henry the baby, becomes Henry the boy

Henry and his crib parted ways this weekend. Because I'm a hormonal schmuck, I had to pause a moment as I watched Andrew disassemble the crib. Another symbol of his babyhood was disappearing. His rocking chair, however, stayed put. That part of our routine won't be changing anytime soon and I've already put in a request that when our next resident arrives, we find ourselves a second rocking chair.

Perhaps I shouldn't speak on his behalf, but I think he's pretty thrilled with his new bed. Henry is still cooperative when it comes time to take his nap which brands this transition a certified success (knock on wood).

Moments after closing his door this afternoon, I heard him break into a tearful ballad.

"Here comes the first bump in the road." I thought to myself as I headed back to his room. However, after a quick investigation, I discovered that the source of his trouble wasn't his new bed, but rather he was upset with his smoke detector. His two year old imagination had him convinced that the green light was actually a dragon (*gasp!) and that it was watching him. A quick conversation with Mom washed those dragon fears away. He's currently asleep (Eliza's sitting here next to me with a paintbrush in hand if my potential blogging neglect concerns you).

The changes continued with a summer haircut courtesy of our in-house stylist: Andrew. Don't cry, Mom. It will grow back in time for the wedding. It looks even better when styled... something my brother Mark has forbid me from doing. Sorry, Mark. It's true. I've been putting product in his hair.

Eliza was happy for her brother's sleeping promotion.Speaking of Eliza, she also received a raise this weekend.

Saturday morning, the kids and I hit a few garage sales while Andrew was at the temple. My brave efforts were rewarded when we scored a sweet bed frame.

That night, Andrew quickly went to work on a few repairs. After improving its overall safety, he and I painted it while listening to Breaking Dawn - my current book on CD. How's that for a romantic date night activity?

As I consider how and where I want my kids sleeping when the baby arrives, I've put rearranging her furniture/wall decor on hold until I have my mind made up as having the bed directly next to the wall no longer meshes with the previous arrangement.

We have four bedrooms. Each child can have their own room, but I'm tempted to put Eliza and Henry in the same room for the "fun of it." They are best buddies. But when I gear up for the switch, I can't ignore the positives of having them in separate rooms. I keep teeter-tottering through each scenario, frustrated with my constant state of indecision.

Moving on... I took the kids to their yearly well-child check up last Friday.

Eliza finds herself in the 50th percentile in both height and weight for the second year in a row. She's currently 37 lbs. Henry has likewise stayed in the 15-20th percentile in height and weight. He is currently 25 lbs. His size is the product of his genes. He eats all that I offer him and there are days when the quantity of what he eats rivals the appetite of a 15 year old teenage male.

Eliza, poor thing, had to receive four shots! Henry walked away with a battle wound of his own. It was super difficult to watch. I was so proud of her bravery and grateful for her understanding of why it is necessary to protect ourselves from "da-deases" (diseases). She was waddling (and complaining) like a pregnant woman for the rest of the day. The Tylenol eased her discomfort a great deal.
Here she is in her "Cinderella" check-up gown that we were allowed to bring home for her to decorate.

I'm grateful I opted to schedule their appointments on the same day as Henry mimicked his big sister's obedient actions closely. The doctor said he couldn't ask for two better patients. I can't take credit because honestly, what's more exciting than an actual otoscope? The promise of stickers and an otter-pop from Nurse Kathy were also motivating factors. Still, I couldn't control my mouth as I listened to her piercing cries.

"WHATEVER you want, Eliza! It's yours!!" I promised her. Days later, she's finally settled on her choice. It looks like we will soon be purchasing ourselves a game of Hi-Ho, Cherry-Oh in celebration of her bravery.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 3rd, 4th and 5th

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I'm glad to see that our son takes the occupation of eating very seriously. He gets that from me.

The morning of July third, I stirred my slumbering heaps from their beds for a "pancake picnic." Our ward hosts a festive Fourth of July breakfast each year. The food, the company, the sea of patriotic shirts, the music (and did I mention the food?) makes the day feel festive from the start. Isn't our Church property fantastic? We are lucky they chose to build the new Stake pavilion next to our building. Following breakfast, Andrew and I shifted out of parent mode as we deposited our children at a friend's house for a Saturday morning date.

The hours we spent at the 10:15 a.m. viewing of Eclipse were fully enjoyed. Our kids likewise had a great time playing with their new friends, the Skory family. I kid you not when I say that the SIX babysitters I tried to contact were all out of town last weekend. I was just waiting for Andrew to offer to watch the kids and send me to the movie with a friend. I was mistaken as he held firm to his desire that we go together, which I thought was sweet but seriously, my impatient nature was wearing thin.

He grew concerned when I sent him an e-mail at work asking which 13 year old deacon he thought might be willing, the most normal and available to watch our kids.

Andrew delivered up the best baby sitter in the form of his co-worker and his great (emphasis on the word GREAT) family. We're officially in the business of swapping babysitting jobs with them. It's a pretty sweet situation. Well done, spouse!

The fun continued with nap time, a dinner out and then fireworks. I feel like a real local after being tipped off on a great (and free) viewing spot (Panther's training camp). We were a few feet away from our car, the crowd was minimal and the surprise company of a great family from our ward made the day kind of perfect.

Sunday morning began with the discovery of this dress in Eliza's closet.
Despite it being a genuine German dirndl, the colors screamed, "I Love America!" We love America. We love Germany. It just worked! The above photo of me is the 24 week profile shot... although, I look 34 weeks pregnant.

Having the day off from work Monday, Andrew took us to Chimney Rock for a day of hiking. Despite a solid string of complaints for the first 10 minutes of the hike, Eliza transitioned into a content little trail leader. Henry was happy the entire day. Our destination was to the impressive Hickory Nut Falls (404 feet of cascading beauty). Despite the crowds and being attached to a six month pregnant body, I am very glad we spent the day in the beautiful mountains. As a side note, I have to say that I'm so attracted to the natural manliness that my husband possesses. He is so comfortable in the outdoors. I know he thinks similar thoughts of me when we're shopping in Target.Chimney Rock/Lake Lure has an enchanting feel to it. We came home with an annual pass to the national park and are looking for friends to go with us next time. Any takers?

The rest of our summer is being spent here.
Eliza's becoming quite the little swimmer.
And Henry needs a haircut. Andrew's been calling him Robbie as his hairstyle resembles this mans...By the way Andrew, his name is Rod.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Her latest performance.

We have a moment to spare before we head out to a local firework show and I find myself wanting to share with you one of the best moments from our day. It's been awhile since I've treated y'all to a special musical number, courtesy of Eliza. All I can say is that her passion is simply inspiring ;)

I hope that put a smile on your face.

Author's note: If you're not in the mood to take a ride on the Ali Flegal Cheese Train, I recommend you switch trains now. Thank you for stopping by. Please come again!

My kids make me laugh and when that happens, the trouble and frustration of simply getting them into the car melts away. Lately, I find myself searching for my referee jersey and whistle as my children increasingly need me to help them navigate their battles with each other. There are times of the day when I feel a little picked on as they give up on each other to combine forces to serve me a double dish of attitude.

Despite these things, I feel so blessed to be living and working through this stage of our lives. I realize that it's the weekend of the Fourth, but am feeling more in tune with the Spirit of Thanksgiving - and I look it too! I suppose gratitude is essential in celebrating the special country in which we live!

As I feel myself physically transforming into a house, I feel overwhelmed. The physical change is a constant reminder of the blessing that's around the corner. Am I going to be a good mother to three children when I find myself checking off the phrase, "survive kids" on my daily list of to-dos? Don't answer that :) Seriously though. Sometimes I write that down after they're in bed just so I can have the pleasure of checking off another box.

But then, Eliza and Henry figure out a compromise. I watch them look after each other and share time as the best friends God intended them to be. They unexpectedly say something ridiculously kind as they tenderly trace the outline of my swelling face. As they laugh, I lock eyes with my own best friend as we wordlessly share in the joy that we mutually feel. Thank you God for this role, this time and these spirits.
I agree with you Mr. Diamond: Good times never seemed so good.

And finally, I know this has message has been floating all over facebook and blogs, but I'd like share it in case there is one person who hasn't seen it that might benefit from it. It's beautiful. Perhaps it's the reason behind today's rant. The moment that hit closest to home comes at the 3:12 mark. I just laughed. What about you?