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we needed a lot more than cheese

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Do you know how hard it is to get six people to look good in a picture all at the same time?
It's nearly impossible. Especially when four of them are 11 and under!
Getting our family pictures taken is like pulling teeth - a long and painful process. And this time was no exception. A decent picture usually requires an act of Congress and a miracle from above.
This time it didn't require either,...but we came pretty darn close.
You can almost see the level of cooperation in their faces. Alek and Anya did great...Nick was on the fence, but Maddie wanted nothing to do with sitting still. It wasn't until the photographer started the kids' only photos that she warmed up - and even then, not until after Shad and I left the room. ;)
Oh well. Its a decent picture of the six of us, especially since I forgot about our appointment until 20 minutes before we were supposed to be there. Hence, the mismatched and less than stellar photo outfits.
Thankfully, it will be just fine for the church directory. And we're set for another year.
Whew!

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move over Paula Dean

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

According to the experts, I am a great cooker who knows how to make a mean brownie mix, has a cookbook...and could possibly beat her up.

'Mom is the best cooker in the world,' Nick said last night as he was picking at his supper.
Somehow he was convinced it was the best supper ever, despite the fact that it was taking forever for him to eat his stew.
'Nuh, uh,' said the ever practical Alek. 'Paula Deen is. She made a cookbook.'
'Mom has a cookbook,' Nick argued. 'Mom could beat her up.'
'Yea,' Anya agreed. 'Mom's brownies are good.' (They're a mix)
'Yea,' Maddie said. 'Mama good.'
So there you have it. According to the experts, I am a great cooker who knows how to make a mean brownie mix, has a cookbook...and could possibly beat her up.
Move over Paula Dean. ;>)

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as soon as I open my mouth...

Monday, November 23, 2009

the other shoe drops.
Alek is sick.
Well, I'm not sure, exactly, HOW sick he is - but he was sick enough that the school nurse called around noon to inform me he was complaining of a headache and had a low-grade fever.
'Do you want me to give him some medicine,' she asked.
I talked to Alek to get an idea of how bad it was. He assured me with some medicine he would be fine...so a dose of ibuprofen it was.
An hour later she called again. He was still complaining of the headache - the fever hadn't gone anywhere, he was looking flushed and was asking for someone to come get him.
So...in spite of the fact that I had a deadline looming in three hours AND I had just finished the interview right before lunch AND I had NO idea how the story was going to come together AND I knew there was no way I was going to get any writing done with a sick kid at home...I drove the 30 minutes to the school to get him.
By the time he came into the office, he was just fine.
Little stinker. But somehow despite the many, many distractions this afternoon, I did get the story done...with 30 minutes to spare.
That, in and of itself, may be a miracle - I don't know - I may have to look it up in the Bible. Is there anything in there about God performing the impossible for a Mom with a sick kid, who needs to meet a deadline and needs all four kids to behave themselves and not interrupt her long enough so she can finish an article so she wouldn't get fired?
Hmm...probably not.
But I'm still thinking its a miracle.

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quick takes to catch you up

Sunday, November 22, 2009

By the time Christmas comes around, we're going to NEED that week off so we can decontaminate.

H
ellooooo? Anybody out there? My name is Tami and I'm the author of this-here blog. Its been TWO weeks since my last post and I'm afraid that every reader I've ever had has run for greener, and more entertaining pastures.
Just in case there are a few of them left, though, I thought I would put up some quick takes to let them know I AM still alive and thinking of them. And I promise, promise, promise that I won't let two weeks go by again, without blogging.
Bad, bad, blogger!

1. I know this comes as a big shock, but I've been just a tad busy lately. I don't think I've ever been this far behind in blogging. Not even during our adoption trip and two moves. Some of it has been work-related...some of it not. All of it time-consuming and otherwise energy draining. I'm hoping I can keep it in check over the next month of so...but no promises. I'm hoping to take a week off at Christmas so I can stay home with the kids and in 'feature reporter world' that means I have to write all my stories ahead of time. UGH!

2. Four doctors office visits and five prescriptions later, I think we're starting to feel a little better around here. Of course that's assuming that no one catches anything else that anyONE else has had in the last two weeks. Every child has been sick...Shad has been sick...I'm not allowing myself to be sick...and everyone has had something different! As you know Alek had strep - so far no collateral casualties. Shad had the massive migraine - I've kept him drugged up on caffeine to prevent a repeat. Anya had yet ANOTHER ear infection...hence the failed repeat hearing screening that I forgot to tell you about. Nick complained of a headache and being dizzy the other night but thankfully he was able to sleep through the night and woke up the next morning without any other issues - keeping an eye on him. We thought Maddie had pink eye last week, but turns out it may have just been a nasty cold. Just in case though, we're following through with the drugs. In the meantime, she developed a pretty good fever on Saturday and another seal-like cough. As of today her fever is gone...and the cough is now productive, so off to school she goes tomorrow. By the time Christmas comes around, we're going to NEED that week off so we can decontaminate. UGH.

3. I just realized its been months since I gave you a Maddie update. I think its about time. I'm putting it on the agenda for this week. Let's see if I can follow through. To say she's doing great really is an understatement...but I'll elaborate later.

4. Job is going well. I'm writing more than I ever thought possible, which I guess is a good thing. The only problem is it is definitely affecting my blogging, which I hate. I love to blog. I need to blog. I want to post about our daily lives...and I adore the feedback I get. I've got to find a way to get back my blogging mojo.

5. Tonight I embarassed my children. Horribly. Hee-hee. ;) It was Family Night at church, which means everyond gets together for a big Thanksgiving dinner and then each Sunday School class puts some sort of 'act' together to entertain everyone else. Maddie's class did a line-up of fishing songs - you know, like 'Peter, James and John in a Sailboat', 'Fisher's of men' and 'God made the fishies in the deep blue sea." Cute stuff. Nick's class did the traditional say a verse and sing a song, number. Anya's class did a skit about John the Baptist. Alek's class had a spitting contest skit. And then there was me.
My class decided to add add something 'beautiful' to the church. We worked long and hard to bring a fountain into the santuary. After all, we have put in new carpet recently, painted and had other 'beautifying' projects. So we all dressed up in togas, put a faux wreath in our hair, and carried a pitcher of water on our shoulders all the while doing the 'wedding walk' down the aisle.
When we got to the stage, we formed a circle, one of us got in the middle (thankfully, not me), took a drink of water from our pitcher and then spit it up in the air.
A more beautiful 'fountain' I have never seen.
Of course, I giggled so hard through the whole thing that our fountain was a little lopsided.
And NO! There are no pictures! :)

6. I'm working on a post for the mirror site. I have a few things I need feedback on but for one reason or another don't feel comfortable putting up on here. I'll let you know when it's ready.

7. Did you know...Mucinex is actually a fancy brand name for guafinacin (spelling not guaranteed) - a drug Shad gives horses when he wants to knock them out. Strange, but true. I find this kind of stuff out ALL. THE. TIME. Probably more often than I want, quite frankly. When he informed me of the alternative use tonight all I could think of was that I had given my youngest daughter a horse drug to help control her cough. Images of large glass bottles of drugs and massive syringes flew through my mind. There are days when I wonder if the DVM thing was a good idea. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

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so this is why I never became a doctor...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FALSE ALARM EVERYONE! Alek doesn't have the swine flu!

Because I can't diagnose stuff to save my or anyone else's life...
Well, THAT and then there's that whole fear of needles thing.
Anyway...just popping in to say 'FALSE ALARM EVERYBODY!" Alek doesn't have the swine flu...and Shad's clear too. Turns out Alek has strep...which, as odd as it sounds, I was thankful to hear. He's been on antibiotics for 24 hours and headed back to school this morning well on the road to recovery.
Shad's headache continued to get worse after I last posted - and then he ended up losing his lunch (or in this case supper). Turns out? He was going through caffeine withdrawal. My wonderful husband, unbeknownst to me, started drinking caffeinated pop again a few months ago. Since I didn't know, I bought him a different brand of pop (caffeine free) on my most recent shopping trip. He didn't notice the difference and well...went through detox! :)
I have no sympathy. Well, okay. I did while he was urping...but afterwards, nah. He knew what he was getting into when he went back on that stuff.
Of course, our medical adventures weren't over with just these two.
Anya decided to get in on the action last night. She started complaining of an ear ache. Knowing EXACTLY what it was, we drugged her up, sent her to school and then Shad took her in to the doctor this afternoon.
Sure enough. An ear infection.
Sigh.
Problem is...our health insurance changed their prescription policy a few months back and now we have to meet a deductible before they start paying anything. Usually its not that big of a deal. Everybody has those $4 prescriptions anymore. But since she was just on an antibiotic for an ear infection they decided not to give her the amoxicillan this time. The new drug? $104!
Unfortunately we can't do that and eat this week, so I get to call the doctor tomorrow morning to see if there are any other options.
Oh! And on the medical front...the school district sent a note home today saying they will be offering H1N1 shots to all their students next week. If we want one for the kids, we're supposed to sign and return a form.
Something bothers me about that...and I'm not exactly sure what.
Part of it, I'm sure, is that I like being there for my kids when they get a shot. Shots aren't fun. They should be able to have their mom there, if needed...especially Ellie.
The other problem is much more undefinable. I think its that I like being there WITH my kids with they get a shot. I don't like the idea of someone giving my kid a shot without me being there...ya know?!
And then there's the whole - mass, government-endorsed, inoculation thing. I get my kids shots...Shad and I consider it our responsibility as parents. (We are NOT going to have a discussion here about inoculations people!) but I'm not comfortable with the shots are being provided through the schools.
Schools are for education...not for health management.
Anyway...I'm still wading my way through what I'm thinking about all of this, but in the meantime we have to have the forms back in by Friday. I imagine we'll go ahead and get the shots. Its nearly impossible to get four kids rounded up to go to the doctor to get a shot...besides, the shots are free...and THAT's something I'm all for.
Especially when antibiotics cost $104!!!

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virus 2...humans 0

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My big guy never gets sick, so when he gets knocked down by something I know he's really ill.

The pigs have moved in...made themselves at home...and are taking us out, one by one.
Alek was first. He got up in the middle of the middle of the night with a fever of 101. I gave him some medicine and settled him down on our bedroom floor, just so I could keep a better eye on him. He slept the rest of the night - although I didn't. My big guy NEVER gets sick, so when he gets knocked by down by something I know he's REALLY ill.
When he got up this morning, the fever was up to 102.
Sigh.
I really probably should have taken him in to Urgent Care this morning, but honestly the fever was pretty well under control at that point and his only other complaint was a sore throat, so I decided since I had a built-in babysitter in Shad, I had better head to the office (yes, on a Sunday) so I could get SOME work done . I figure if I've put in the time, its less sick time I'll have to take this week (once again, I'm thankful for a supervisor who has children...and understands). I brought home all of the stuff I'll need to work at home this week, if necessary, but working at home is NEVER very productive.
By the time I got home, Alek's fever was up to 103. Thankfully, it comes down with medication...although this time it also took a luke-warm shower.
His temp has been hanging out around 99.7 ever since. Let's hope it stays that way.
Meanwhile, Shad started slowing down.
He ran that minor temp last night, but honestly? He runs minor temps All. The. Time. I don't know what it is about the guy, but you can look at him wrong and he'll spike to 101. Crazy stuff.
Anyway...
I figured it was his bi-monthly fever...but what do you know, this afternoon he crashed on the couch with chills, headache and the start of a sore throat.
Great.
So. Should we start taking bets on whose next? So far, no one else has symptoms. I am a bit run down, but I think its just from a restless night. I'm off to head to bed early to try and cut this pig thing off at the pass.

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heeeeere piggy, piggy, piggy

Saturday, November 7, 2009

There's nothing official, but Alek was looking a bit peaked tonight.
He was laying around on the couch, eating next to nothing, had red rings around his eyes and was just overall feeling kind of icky.
So far no fever...keeping our fingers crossed.
Shad on the other hand is running a mild fever.
Security may have been breached...we may be under attack...will keep you updated.

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who's brilliant idea was this anyway?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Its just like her to come up with brilliant traditions like stuffing as many birthday balloons in the birthday kid's room as she can...and then for it to come back and kick her in the tail a few years later - like when she has FOUR kids and has to come up with enough hot air to fill those darn balloons every three months!

I'm already flailing...
Going under...
Sinking fast!
I have somehow written myself into a HUGE corner at work and for the life of me I have NO idea how I'm going to survive...let alone get ANYTHING up on this blog this weekend.
I have two stories due tomorrow...one on Monday and two on Tuesday.
BIG stories. Its not like they're little ones I can just blow off and do only my regularly scheduled work day. Oh NO! I will probably be working on them all weekend long.
In between, of course, the laundry, housework and whatever special treat Anya has planned for us. Birthday people in our house get to pick a special place to go to for lunch on their birthday. Since Anya's was during the week, we have to do it this weekend.
Sigh.
Whoever came up with that family tradition should really start thinking about the long-term ramifications of her bright ideas. Its just like her to come up with brilliant traditions like stuffing as many birthday balloons in the birthday kid's room as she can...and then for it to come back and kick her in the tail a few years later - like when she has FOUR kids and has to come up with enough hot air to fill those darn balloons every three months!
I'm just sayin'.
Anyway...
I'm thinking this NaBloPoMo thing may been another one of 'her' not so good ideas. Especially during the month of November. Not that I'm giving up or anything...I'm just thinking whatever you do get out of me during the next 30 days may not always be witty, pithy or particularly creative-y.
Wish me luck ladies...work's calling - and I'm diving in.

I am thankful for...my job. This time last year I didn't have one - so many people around the country are still looking for one - I just wish I was better at it so it didn't claim so much of my off-work time. Sigh.

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30 pink balloons

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Its late.

I should be winding down - getting into my pjs, brushing my teeth and crawling into bed for a good night sleep.
Instead, I'm sitting on the couch, watching the evening news and blowing up 30 hot pink balloons.
We've got a birthday tomorrow. My big girl becomes an even bigger girl in the morning...my precious Anya turns 9.
I can't begin to tell you how much this girl means to me.
Seven years ago when I met her in that Russian orphanage, she was a pipsqueak of a thing. She sat on a bench picking little toys out of a white bag...first a tiny doll, then a white horse, a little bear and a red truck.
All the while, I kept wondering if we were doing the right thing. Shad was absolutely in love, convinced she was the one.
I was absolutely terrified! I knew nothing about girls. I had no desire to buy dresses, had little interest in dolls and had proved to be an abysmal failure as a hair stylist. I just KNEW I would be a disaster as a little girl's mom, but there was something about her...and quite frankly, I'm still not sure what it was.
From the moment we brought her home she was VERY temperamental...VERY emotional...VERY strong-willed. It was all I could do to bond with her. It took months and months of forcing myself to try all the techniques to connect with her, before I really felt like her mom. Actually, it was more like a year.
Sad...but true.
Now? I couldn't imagine life without her.
Sure...she's still overly emotional and very strong-willed. There are days when I'm exasperated by the constant drama, frustrated by my inability to french-braid her hair and am tempted to thrown every last Barbie out the window.
But I'm also incredibly thankful. She's blossomed into a sweet, compassionate, giving, nurturing, thoughtful, loving, gentle and loyal girl. She's smart, funny, friendly and witty.
She is FOREVER helping Maddie. Patiently working with her to pick out an outfit for school, brushing her hair while I curl mine and often pouring milk on her morning cereal while I try to corral the boys to put on jeans that haven't been in their laundry bin with mud stains on them for the last week.
She loves to help with Saturday chores, often doing way more than requested.
She thrives on nursing her sick brothers and sister back to health by bringing them cool washcloths and a drink of water.
She makes her bed without asking.
She colors new pictures each week to tape on the refrigerator.
She worries about every kitten she spots on the street.
She enjoys hunting bugs with Nick and can't understand why I don't want to join them.
She is working really hard to stop chewing her nails...so she can get her ears pierced tomorrow.
She plays football with the guys and loves to play dress-up.
And she loves her Lord with ALL her heart.
All of these are just the tip of the iceberg of why I love this little girl.
Just. The. Tip.
So I will gladly and thankfully inflate these balloons tonight. I have been blessed to have another year as Anya's mom.
Blowing up 30 hot pink balloons is a very small price to pay, indeed.
Happy Birthday Anya!

I'm thankful that...my Heavenly Father trusted Shad and I to raise this precious girl. He knew exactly what He was doing when He lent her to us. We're thankful for the time we have with her and are REALLY looking forward to enjoying getting to know the young woman she is becoming.

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in which my daughter trips out on happy gas

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Feeling a bit like a junkie buying a hit on a street corner, I said, 'Let's do it.'

Usually I'm not much of a drug user. Honest. I tend to forgo the Advi! for my own headaches, hoping they'll resolve themselves.
But when the dentist told us a couple of weeks ago that Anya would need to have a couple of little cavities filled, the first thing I asked was, 'Do you have happy gas?"
'Suuuuuure,' she replied. 'That's an option.'
Feeling a bit like a junkie buying a hit on a street corner, I said, 'Let's do it.'
We haven't had a lot of experience with kids getting fillings...which is a bit of a surprise, given the kids rough backgrounds. But I've personally had enough filled to know - this would be one thing Anya WOULD. NOT. enjoy.
And I was right.
By the time we pulled into the parking lot this evening, Anya was a mess...and I was ending up prayers of thanksgiving for whoever discovered (invented) laughing gas.
It was good to have Anya higher than a kite tonight.

Very. Good.
Not only did it make the whole process a lot less stressful for Anya...
It made it a lot more entertaining....for me. ;>)
I have never seen anyone on nitrous oxide. Oh, I've watched the movies and TV shows that portrayed the poor souls who inhaled the funny stuff. But until tonight I had never witnessed it in person.

Honestly? I think the TV shows didn't quite do it justice! :)
Anya was HYSTERICAL!
It all started out innocently enough. A little smile here...a flick of the fingers there...
But soon she was patting her tummy like a drum, conducting an imaginary orchestra (there was no music), wiggling her fingers at me in a cute little greeting and holding a piece of gauze like it was a long-lost toy!
Finally, she looked at me through the space between the mask and the elbow of the dental technician and smiled a silly lopsided little grin as she waved the piece of gauze at me like she was Scarlet O'Hara.
That was it.

First I snickered...
Then I snorted...
and finally...
Bwwwaaaaahaaaaa!
I lost it! I'm sorry! I couldn't help it. I swear! It was just too funny sitting there watching Anya as she wiggled her fingers an inch in front of her face, giggling hysterically all the while with one of those bite things in her mouth and a blue napkin around her neck.
The laughter was contageous I'm afraid. Anya snorted some more and burst out in a gafaw...the technician was next with a chortle and a cackle...

The dentist just smiled her wise, knowing smile.
I think I even heard someone in the exam room next to ours let out a little teeter.
Meanwhile, Alek kept peering through the receptionist desk back into our bay, I'm sure wondering if his poor mother was losing her mind.
I was close.
My only regret tonight? I didn't think to pull out my cell phone until they had shut off the happy gas and turned the oxygen back on.

Darn it! Anya could have been the latest YouTube sensation!

I'm thankful for: A dentist who is INCREDIBLY good at pain management...and for happy gas. I just may ask for the stuff myself next time.

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a word to the wise...

Monday, November 2, 2009

IF, in order to appease your conscious, and to get your husband to shut his trap about the price of said dehydrator, you decide to start drying everything in sight...

IF you decide to make a New Year's resolution because that's what everyone else is doing...
And IF you can't seem to ever stick to one that affects you, so you resolve that your children need to be the object of said resolution...
And IF you decide that the resolution needs to include getting the kids to drop their fake juice packets, toss their 'fruit' roll-ups and start eating healthier...
And IF you go a little overboard about said New Year's resolution and decide to start making your own snacks because then you would know what is in their snacks - even if they don't...
And IF on a whim you decide to buy a new dehydrator - say, off of e-bay - and have it shipped to your house and are super-giddy about the brand new dehydrator that cost WAY more than any little appliance has a right to...
And IF, in order to appease your conscious, and to get your husband to shut his trap about the price of said dehydrator, you decide to start drying everything in sight...
AND IF you realize there's a certain thrill in drying everything you can find and start doing some research about what all can be done with your dehydrator and the cool, relatively healthy new recipes you can make with your new dehydrator and start looking videos up on youtube about dehydrating and finding all kinds of movies about long-term food storage and start thinking that it really isn't all that far-fetched that you may, some day, need 200 pounds of rice in a heat-sealed mylar bag, just in case, I don't know, a rogue hurricane hits Kansas, or say, Obama can't seem to get his rampant spending under control and goes ahead and forces us all into universal health care and implements his secret socialist plan...
Oops...got a little political there. Sorry about that.
And IF you start to go overboard on this dehydrating thing and start drying everything that isn't moving in the house including bananas (because they're an easy thing to start with), every tomato your neighbor brings in from their garden over the course of the summer (thereby depriving your family of garden fresh tomatoes while they're in season - because you moved back to the Sunflower State WAY too late in the season to get a decent tomato crop), apples from your first trip to an orchard (because you just HAD to have something to dehydrate) and even start buying frozen vegetables because the lady on the youtube video says they are the easiest things to dehydrate because they're already blanched and if you buy them on sale you can save tons of money and you buy those vegetables because it seems like a really good idea at the time but then when you get home you don't have enough room in your freezer to hold them until you're ready to dehydrate them so you stick them in the refrigerator and PRAY they stay fresh until you can get around to them and you start kicking yourself for not buying a BIGGER dehydrator...
Whew!
And IF your family starts to eat the foods you start making from all of these newly dehydrated foods...
And IF they start complimenting you on your new culinary skills...
And IF, for some unknown reason, because you really AREN'T a whack-job...the kids start talking about your food 'collection' and about how cool it is and how they want to start collecting things too...
Then PLEASE in the name of all things good, holy and otherwise normal - stay away from the produce section of your local Wal-Mart store where the yellow onions are on sale...
And IF you don't stay away from that section, at least have the decency not to buy a big bag of yellow onions...
And IF you can't help yourself from buying that big bag of onions because the price is so good, please DO NOT immediately take the bag home and starting cutting up a yellow onion...
AND IF you can't stop yourself from pulling out that cutting board to chop away, by all means stop yourself before you cut them all up at once...
And IF you do go ahead and cut them all up at once, for heaven's sake, please, Please, PLEASE!!! DO. NOT. and I repeat DO. NOT. put them in your dehydrator.
Please.
Or your house is going to stink to high heaven...
AND your four children will moan and complain about the stench...
AND your two dogs will run whimpering from the room...
AND your husband will laugh at your through teary eyes caused by said dehydrating onions...
AND you'll probably have to burn every candle in the house to get rid of the smell.
For the next three weeks.
I'm just sayin'.

I'm thankful for...Febreeze. Enough said.

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day one

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I can hear that snickering. You just cut it out. Last year I took the challenge head-on and conquered it! So. There.

I
'm at it again.
I'm taking the NaBloPoMo challenge.
I'm going to try to put a post up here every day during the month of November.
I can hear that snickering. You just cut it out. Last year I took the challenge head-on and conquered it! So. There.
I'm up for it. Really. I am.
Alright...so this time its going to be a little harder. After all...last year I was jobless. Blogging was a HUGE part of my life last year. This year I'm writing for a living, so I rarely have much left over after a day at the paper, but I'm STILL going to give it a shot.
I don't want this blog to go by the way of most post-adoption blogs. I want to keep it up and running - vital and pertinent. I'm hoping this challenge will be just the kick-start I need to get Sunflower Seeds up and running again.
I'm also going to be trying a modified version of something I did last year - with limited success. Every day during the month of November I'm going to share something I'm thankful for. Last year I tried five things a day - and quite frankly, I'm not THAT good at this thankful thing, so I'm going to try one per day - as kind of a post-script on each post. We'll see how that goes.
So get you laptop battery charged and keep that Google Reader window open, because you just never know when or what will come from my madly typing fingers this month!
Blog on!


I'm thankful for...
My laptop. Yes, its shallow and self-centered of me, but without this lovely little machine I would be forced to sit at a computer desk to type these blog posts up. And since I spend most of my work day chained to a desk, if I didn't have this little blue machine, you would NEVER hear from me! :)

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