Wednesday, October 31

All Soul's Night

Strange creatures come out to play on this night...

A little Barn Owl...

 A Tinkerbell:

 A Mighty Power Ranger:

 A Wild Cat:

A Gorilla was found hanging around...

And a Monkey was seen running about...

Except when it came time to capture them on film, first the Wild Cat & the Monkey, then the Monkey & the Owl just disappeared....

But the other Creatures lined up straight, ready to go out into the night in search of treats....

And fun was had by all....

Friday, October 19

Our Lives are Shaped by Those Who Love Us...

A friend shared this on FaceBook really hit home with me & I wanted to share it with you.

" When I was a sophomore in high school, on the first day of class my English teacher wrote at the top of the chalkboard, "Our lives are shaped by those who love us, and by those who refuse to love us". It remained there all year. I believed it then, and I believe it even more now. That is why it is so important to me to instill this belief in the smallest of children, in the grade school and high school youths, and the rest of us who have moved beyond those years. Every word you speak, every smile you share, every hand you extend, can help shape a life. The choice is yours--and the ramifications are huge--we are all shaping lives by our choices--one life at a time." ~ Mary Schanberger Hennessy


Monday, October 1

Meet Branwen

I have a very sweet friend, Jill, whom I met a couple of years ago via Facebook through another FB friend. I love Jill for all sorts of reasons including the facts that she's hysterically funny; honest about daily ups & downs as well as the hard blows life can throw at you; she is open about her struggles with God but has never stopped trusting Him, loving Him, or believing in Him even when she couldn't see Him through the utter darkness surrounding her; she's an incredible mom, wife, daughter, & friend. I love her 'cause she talks on FB about things I'd never heard of before--things like "family cloths" or "mama cloths" & is okay when I laugh & ask questions about it or gently tease her. (If you don't know what "family cloths" are, I'd  tell you to look them up, but, I'll just tell you: instead of toilet paper, some families use nicely sewn soft cloths to wipe with that are then disposed of in a sealed laundry bucket--or in her case, laundry pail--to be washed later. I'll stick with my Charmin Ultra Soft which costs me $12/mo for 12 triple rolls and deal with the fact that I spend $144/year on TP. And if you're wondering: yes they keep TP in the house for guests & her husband who isn't into the cost saving measures of family cloth! ROFL!!! And if you haven't figured out what mama cloths are, you can just look 'em up folks. Hint: try Etsy--they are sold there.)

Jill has an awesome best friend, Molly, who is the proprietor of Sweet Seriah (who can be found on Etsy, Hyena, & Facebook) & Jill works with her...yes, they make babies together! LOL But not just any babies. The most incredibly special baby dolls that makes grown women long after them & little boys & girls become wonderful little daddies & mommies.

These Nurture Babies come with all skin, hair, and eye colors--some are boys & some are girls And each one is unique: no two are alike. And I am absolutely in love with each and every one of them! I'm pathetic: when a new baby's pictures are posted on FB, I oooh and ahhh over them like a little girl!

I mean: come on: those are precious--who wouldn't want a Sweet Seriah baby???? When Teagan is here, we often sit and go through Sweet Seriah's baby pictures, with Teagan exclaiming over how cute they are and aren't they precious, etc. I have to say, Teagan has been so good: while she's said she has wants "that one!" or "that one!" she has never actually asked for one. I don't think she knows they are for sale! LOL Oh the innocence of a 3 year old!

I however, am 42, and am very aware that they are for sale, but could never afford one on my silly disability pay (I mean, let's get real, I can barely afford life on my silly disability pay!)...but that sure hasn't stopped me from loving each & every one & from constantly sharing their postings on my FB wall, to the point that I've received texts or private msgs from friends asking me what my interest in these dolls are & why I am obsessed with them!!  Hahaha! One friend even asked if am I being paid to promote them--uh, no!!! In fact I highly doubted that Jill & Molly knew how much I liked their Nurture Babies because a lot of people like them, comment on them, and share them on FB.

So you can imagine my shock, surprise, & joy when I had a message from Jill saying that she wanted to gift me with my very own Nurture Baby! I was to choose what I wanted my baby to look like and she & Molly would make one for me! She said a lot of other really sweet & wonderful things too about our friendship... Isn't it funny how you can grow so close to people you've never even met in-real-life? I truly treasure our friendship & was completely blown away by her offer of a Nurture Baby. I tried to tell her that I certainly don't expect rewards for being friends! But she insisted, so I accepted.

If you know me at all, you'll know I started to cry! Teagan was here and asked me why I was crying--I told her I was crying because I was so happy. (I think it's important to confuse children as early as possible!) Then I told her about Jill & Molly making us our very own Nurture Baby & pulled up the pictures of them, saying we got to choose what she looked like. Teagan immediately insisted that she have "yellow" hair... Honestly, that wouldn't have been my first pick (dark or red would have been mine) but I can't say no to Teagan. Actually Teagan wanted a black baby with yellow hair, so actually, I can say no to her: I told her our baby could either have yellow hair or black skin but not both together! What can I say? She surprised me by sticking by the yellow hair. It soon became apparent that we wouldn't be able to make any other decisions because we love how all Nurture Babies look, so I told Jill that we would like a girl with yellow hair.

Last week I was surprised to get a message requesting my address--our baby was ready??? She arrived on Saturday at the same time that Teagan arrived to spend the night! Together we opened the box and brought out the letter from Jill. In it she explained that she & Molly had been working on another special baby but after she was done they noticed a slight blemish on her cheek which meant no one would want to buy her, and while she wasn't exactly what we had asked for, would we adopt her?

We pulled back the packaging and there lay the most beautiful little girl--with dark hair!!!! I was thrilled!!! She was beautiful!!! I instantly fell in love!!! As for Teagan, well, I don't think she remembered her request for yellow hair:

She couldn't contain her joy!!! Teagan has a delightful habit of naming her friends all sorts of unusual names--many of them starting with the letter P ~ but I jumped the gun on her a bit and christened our girl Branwen. In addition to her dark hair, she has lovely eyes the same color as Teagan's!

Teagan fell deeply in love with Branwen: she was her constant companion! In fact, I only got to hold Branwen when I helped to change her clothes. (Branwen came with three different outfits!) The rest of the time, it was all about Teagan & Branwen!

Teagan gently placed this butterfly on her to watch over her during her nap; 
to wake her she had the butterfly tickle her nose.

While Teagan's other friends weren't totally neglected, I think Marie was feeling a little put out: who was this new friend taking up Teagan's attention???

Gypsy took more of a "if you can't beat them, join them" attitude and lay down practically on top of Branwen!

 That evening we celebrated the birthdays of Pinky (the monkey) and Perry (the mouse)--they both turned 34! Branwen attended her first birthday party....

Usually spending the night here involves a long bubble bath in Gramma's great big tub. Not this night: This night was spent playing with Branwen! And her first night here, Branwen slept in Gramma's big bed with Teagan & Gramma...not with Auntie M. I would have been jealous, except for the fact that they were so happy together!!

At bedtime, we always read a variety of books--Teagan's choice of course. But she has great taste and it's always interesting to see what she will choose. Typically, Teagan & Gramma cuddle up under the covers & I sit at the foot of the bed & read to them. This night was no different except for the addition of Branwen.

One of Teagan's all-time favorite books is called I Love You Like Crazy Cakes except she calls it I Love You Like Cupcakes...which makes a lot more sense for someone who loves cupcakes! She first saw this story when we had cable through Verizon Fios & they had this awesome On Demand Kids channel that had books that had been "filmed"--narrated with close-ups of the illustrations. Teagan was only 2-and-a-half when she first saw & fell in love with this story.

Tonight, she chose Just Grandma & Me, Love You Like Cupcakes, Roxaboxen for her stories (in that order). I was just part way through Love You Like Cupcakes when she interrupted excitedly: "Her adopted baby looks like our adopted baby!" Sure enough! They did look alike! Teagan was amazed that our adopted baby looked so much like the adopted baby in the story: same hair, eyes & rosy cheeks. And she has always said that the mama in the story looks like me.

Then, with wide open eyes, and in a near whisper, she said that this story is just like Auntie M who was waiting for a baby of her own to love, too... "And now you both have one!" (Insert happy, drowsy sigh.)

My 3-year-old niece is deep!!!

Thank you, Jill (& Molly too!!!) for your kindness & generosity!!! I love, love, love my sweet Nurture Baby ~ and I love you too!!! By the way: after 3 days of searching for whatever mark it was you thought you saw on her cheek...I think I might very, very faintly see it. It appears to be the shape of an M. My baby is even more special!!

PS~I was so grateful that Branwen was with us yesterday to help comfort Teagan!