LeeLou Swag Giveaway - Whippy Cake

Okay, I'm so not a headband person. But I LOVE the Glamour Bands that LeeLou Swag is giving away from Whippy Cake. I really really want one, so I'm linking y'all to yet another giveaway (but don't enter, because I want to win, lol).

Click here if you want to see the giveaway on LeeLou's blog.

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Family Portraits

We had a friend take family portraits for us last weekend. My children did not cooperate. We did manage to get an image for our Christmas card, but I’m not going to share it yet, because then it won’t be a surprise when you receive your card in the mail. :)

Here are a few non-card images I can share.

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And here are some favorites I took of The Princess that day while I was borrowing one of Larisa’s lenses to test the focus on my camera. I thought it was the lens, not the camera, but after spending money we don’t have on a new lens, I’m not 100% sure.

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Palm Tree Hair

Sparky finally has enough hair for a ponytail. Okay, so it’s really not long enough, yet, but I’m so tired of people thinking she’s a boy – even when she’s wearing pink. So since there’s enough hair there to pull up into an elastic, she will have palm tree hair every time she goes out in public.

I’m hoping that if I start doing her hair this early, she might keep letting me do her hair – unlike The Princess who refuses to let me get within 10 feet of her if I’m holding a brush or comb.

Here are a couple quick snapshots from today. I prefer the expression in the second image (and the fact that you can’t see the hand that’s restraining the little busybody), but I cropped the ponytail out of the frame in camera which was slightly less effective.

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Super Belated Halloween Pictures

Just sharing a few snapshots from our ward trunk-or-treat (Sarah did an awesome job planning and decorating the whole thing) and trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

I’m still getting accustomed to the not-so-cold-weather on Halloween. The night of the trunk-or-treat wasn’t bad, but Halloween night was humid and HOT! It definitely didn’t feel like autumn, which was kind of disappointing.

Sparky spent most of the night of the trunk-or-treat exerting her independence, and refused to look at the camera like usual. She had lots of fun begging cookies and brownies off her unsuspecting victims – just look at those big blue eyes!


We didn’t have time to decorate our trunk – I was asked to set up my studio equipment in the gym, and spent the “trunk decorating” time snapping pictures of cute kids (and parents) in their costumes. Some people went ALL OUT decorating their trunks.

One family dressed up as bakers, and their adorable little girl (same age as Sparky) was dressed up as a cupcake. It was so cute it was ridiculous! They decorated their car like a French bakery and won the costume contest AND the trunk decorating contest. Another couple dressed up like clowns and set up a cotton candy machine – pretty cool! And another couple dressed up like the old couple from the movie "Up" complete with tons and tons of helium balloons which they handed out to all the kiddos at the end of the night. It was adorable! Of course I didn’t get to take pictures of any of it because I was too busy chasing a barefoot toddler around the parking lot.

You can see our sad little undecorated trunk below. The Princess wasn’t too happy that night. It was a school night, and she was pretty tired. She was also mad at me for asking her to behave. I’m such a mean mom.


Halloween night. The girls and I went trick-or-treating with some friends while Sasquatch stayed home sick. We learned our lesson last year and decided to avoid trick-or-treating in our neighborhood (the houses are too far apart, and most people aren’t home on Halloween). We drove to a nearby neighborhood that actually had sidewalks (I’m still getting used to the fact that most subdivisions here don’t believe in sidewalks – not sure why).

Sparky totally didn’t get the concept of knocking on people’s doors and asking for candy. And since she refuses to hold anyone’s hand, she spent the night in the stroller. I think she enjoyed it, though. And I’m very much enjoying eating her candy. My waistline isn’t very appreciative.


I had to take a snapshot of my girls with their trick-or-treating buddies. Aren’t they adorable?


Anyway, it was a fun Halloween. I was grateful for friends since Sasquatch couldn’t go trick-or-treating with us. Halloween is right about the time I REALLY start missing family for the Holidays – makes me want to be with my dad singing “Happy Birthday.”

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Really Cool Holiday Contest

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year?

  • My kids and husband to have a happy Christmas
  • A second car (I can dream, right?)
  • Le Creuset Dutch Oven
  • A fully functioning computer (I've had my computer almost as long as we've been married)
  • A trip to Utah/Colorado to see my family and friends
2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?
  • I swore I'd never like them (I used to think they were tacky), but I LOVE the photo ornaments that The Princess has given to me.
3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?
  • I'd love to learn how to knit to make super cute chunky baby hats and blankets.
4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?
  • My hamster - until I killed it by starving it to death (long story, but it wasn't intentional starvation, I promise!!).
5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year?
  • Art Supplies
  • Camera
  • Every random item that she sees on tv or in the store
  • The new Tinkerbell movie
  • Sparky is really too young to care about Christmas - she'll be happy playing with wrapping paper and empty boxes
  • They both need new jammies but I doubt that's on either of their wish lists :)
6. What is your favorite holiday food?
  • Sandwiches made from leftover turkey and cranberry sauce. Or maybe caramel apple cider or salted caramel hot chocolate. Or stuffed mushrooms! Who am I kidding? I love all of it! Oh, and homemade English Toffee!! (As long as it's nice and crunchy).
7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?
  • I'm trying to get up the gumption to bake gifts for friends and neighbors this year. Not sure how many people will even be in town if I bother, though so it's still up for debate.
8. What is your favorite holiday movie?
  • The Holiday
9. Favorite holiday song?
  • I have way too many favorites to list. Anything by Trans-Siberian Orchestra (especially live!!). I don't know what my favorite traditional carol is, though, because I love them all - I miss choir solely for the Christmas music!
10. Favorite holiday pastime?
  • I used to love going to Temple Square and going out for hot chocolate afterward. We're still working on creating new traditions as a smaller family - suggestions are welcome! As of right now, we enjoy decorating the tree together.

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More from the Pumpkin Patch

Here are some more images from our trip to the pumpkin patch.

Due to the not-so-child-friendly nature of our yard (not enough grass and WAY too many pine needles), Sparky doesn't get to spend much time outside. Which means she goes a bit crazy when she experiences the great outdoors for any period of time (ie: refuses to hold hands, screams like a banshee when you try to pick her up, and generally exerts her independence in any way possible). Which means she's not willing to stand still or look at the camera long enough for a decent portrait these days. I thought these were some pretty cute snapshots, though.










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Fun Contest

My friend Brae is an amazing writer, and she has a great blog that you should check out sometime. She also makes beautiful Faerie wings which she sells on Etsy. She's having her first giveaway right now - the winner will receive a pair of custom-made faerie wings. Check out the contest here.

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Chicken Nuggets & Apricot Sauce

Blogging another recipe so I can find it when I want to make it again. The intent was to make enough for dinner AND to freeze the leftovers for lunches, but they were so popular that very few actually made it to the freezer.

Chicken Nuggets

* 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 teaspoons garlic powder
* 2 teaspoons onion powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

2TBS olive oil and 2TBS EVOO for frying (you could probably bake them if you want to be healthy).

Cut chicken into 1 inch strips, or"fingers" about 3 inches in length.

Mix together remaining ingredients, (except breadcrumbs and 3 tbsp. margarine), in a bowl and add chicken and mix well, insuring that chicken is coated on all sides.

Allow chicken to marinate in this for at least 20 minutes.

Coat chicken in breadcrumbs, shaking off excess, and place chicken fingers on plate.

Heat oil and butter in skillet over medium heat; add chicken fingers, and cook until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes per side.

Drain fingers on paper toweling.



Apricot Dipping Sauce

* 2⁄3 cup apricot preserves
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 teaspoons ketchup
* 6 slices unpeeled fresh ginger
* 1/2 a lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)

Stir the preserves, soy sauce, ketchup, and ginger in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on HIGH until the preserves melt, about 30 seconds. Stir in lemon juice and cool before serving.

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The Princess is 6!

The Princess turned 6 on Tuesday. She's growing up way too quickly!

Since her birthday was on a school day, we celebrated as a family. She came home from school and opened her gifts, and then we surprised her with a visit to a local pumpkin patch for a haunted hay ride.

After the pumpkin patch, we drove a million miles (give or take a few) to take her to Applebee's (her favorite sit-down restaurant). It was the first time we'd been to a sit down restaurant in exactly a year (the last time was when we took her to the same restaurant for her 5th birthday). I really wish we would have used our once-a-year restaurant opportunity to check out one of the many local favorites that we've never tried. The Applebee's experience was awful - we had the worst server ever, and the food was pretty lackluster. But The Princess had a good time and enjoyed her Mac & Cheese and birthday sundae, and that's what really matters.

She's had a pretty good week - yesterday her class took a field trip to a farm, where they got to see a bunch of farm animals and pick out pumpkins. Today, they painted the pumpkins in class. We're hosting a birthday party for her on Saturday. Although there won't be many guests, because I made the mistake of hosting the party the morning after the ward campout. So only one of her friends from church will be in attendance. But her good friend "F" will be there, as well as her friends from carpool, so I think she'll have fun. And there will be LOTS of party favors to go around, since I originally planned for several more people to attend the party.

I'm going to attempt to make Halloween-themed cupcake pops a la Bakerella as party favors. If they turn out, I'll be sure to share pictures of them.

Here are some pictures of our trip to the pumpkin patch. They look pixellated and over-sharpened as usual. If you look at my galleries on Facebook, they usually look a bit better on there... I managed to get a few images of Sparky, but I'll save those for another post.





















Okay, I'm revisiting this after looking at the images after they were published on the blog. Some of these look REALLY awful, and I'm not sure why. I'll check the sizes on them in Photoshop and see if I can get them to look better. Otherwise, I recommend checking them out on Facebook.

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Beach Trip 2009

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but obviously, I don't know my geography very well. For some reason, before we moved here, I assumed we would live close(er) to the beach. We live close-ish, but it's still a rather long drive when you have a baby who refuses to nap in the car - if you want to go to the beach here, it's definitely an all-day event.

I didn't think I'd get to go this year. Sasquatch saved most of his time off to help The Princess with her transition into kindergarten. And as usual, there's that whole issue with our car. So when my good friend Larisa mentioned that she was taking her little guy to the beach, I asked (begged) her to let us tag along.

We had so much fun! The drive there and back was interesting - Sparky screamed much of the time because she was exhausted but refused to sleep. That's right - 3 hours in the car at nap time, and she would not sleep. Fun times for all of us, let me tell you! But it was worth it when we got there. The weather was perfect, and the water was beautiful.

Sparky, being exhausted, was a bit freaked out by the water at first. But once she got used to it, she loved it. She would get mad when the waves would recede and she'd point at the water with one imperious finger and grunt until the water came back again.

The Princess would have stayed and played until sunset, but "F" is a couple years younger than her, and he was tired after a few hours. So we made a final trek to the dunes to get some group portraits and then we headed back home.

It was a great trip overall. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Sasquatch will get to make a beach trip with us next year. At some point, I'd love to rent a house on the beach for a week and entice our family members to come visit us. :)

Most of these of these images were taken by the fabulously talented Larisa. I think I captured the images in the shade and by the dunes.























The images still look a little pixellated, but I like this better than using the image uploader from Blogger.

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Blah

Disclaimer - if you don't like miserable woe-is-me blog posts (and I don't blame you for that, lol), you should probably stop reading right now. I'm going to vent about some things, and I think it's going to get long and boring. :)

I'm feeling pretty miserable these days. I'm lonely and homesick (since my parents and siblings are no longer in Utah I guess I miss my family more than "home," but I miss "The West" in general - and I miss all my Utah peeps, too). I'm bored out of my mind, and it's driving me crazy...

The area of the country in which we live is beautiful. Lots of trees, lots of green... I can't stand it. I miss the mountains. The trees make me feel claustrophobic. I'd give anything to see a horizon. I still can't find my way around without a GPS because the darned trees and winding roads make it impossible for me to get my bearings. I absolutely despise the bugs and the humidity.

Did I mention that I'm lonely? We have a great ward - lots of nice people who really made us feel welcome when we moved here. Problem is - they all have close friends and/or family here. So while it's great to say "hi" to everyone on Sundays, we don't really do anything with anyone outside of church.

Some of the women in the ward have a playgroup on Wednesdays, but since I don't have a car, I can't go most weeks. I could probably drive George to work on Wednesdays, but our car has so many miles on it that I feel guilty putting any more miles on it than absolutely necessary.

I miss having friends that I could call at random and ask them to go to Target or Costco with me. Or having friends over on the weekend to watch movies or play video games. Like I said, everyone from church has other friends (the dental students all hang out, the medical students all hang out, and the natives all kind of flock together). I'm sure I'm suffering from nostalgia and "grass is greener" syndrome, but I don't remember kids being such a detriment to having a semblance of a social life until we moved here. Seems like nobody can do anything on the evenings or weekends (which is the only time I have a car), because they have to take care of the kids.

I know my life wasn't perfect before I moved here. I no longer had a best friend who was willing to hang out with me on a regular basis. In fact, most of our "closest friends" had pretty much abandoned us, which is part of what made the decision to move here so easy. But at least I was only one state away from my parents, so I saw them every few months. I also had a brother who would come and visit on occasion. And we lived within walking distance (not that we ever walked - we always drove) of Sasquatch's parents. We were in the same apartment complex as his sister. My girls had cousins to play with! And even when I didn't have friends to keep me company, I had family. Whom I didn't appreciate nearly enough. In addition to the family dinners (which I miss desperately), we also had a regular babysitter at least a couple times a month. I can't even tell you the last time I went out on a date with my husband - we can't afford a sitter here.

I'm dreading the Holidays. The 4th of July was bad enough. Halloween has me pretty depressed - I miss the days when we'd take The Princess trick-or-treating and then spend time with my dad to wish him a happy birthday. I want to cry when I think about Thanksgiving. And don't even make me think about Christmas. I really really really miss my families...

I feel like I'm failing in my church calling. I don't really feel like I fit in with the rest of the presidency, and I'm the least organized person I know. I feel like they really should have given the secretary calling to someone who remembers to do things in a timely fashion and can at least get to church on time (since Relief Society is the first meeting).

Anyway, that's about it. I'm bored, lonely, miserable, and worried about money. I'm wondering why we moved here. We've prayed about moving closer to home, but the answer we've received is that we're supposed to stay here. I really wish I could see into the future and know why we're supposed to stay here. Maybe that would make it easier to be cheerful about it. Maybe not. It's really hard to be positive at times, and I know that's not fair to my husband and kids. Sasquatch works SO hard to make all of us happy, and I feel beyond guilty when I'm depressed and it makes him feel like he's not doing enough. And then I feel worse because I feel guilty. Which makes him feel worse... You get the picture - it's a nasty cycle.

I know I should work harder to get involved, but I don't know how to do that when I don't have a car to get out and do things. We don't live within walking distance of anything, so walking Sparky to the park during the day isn't even an option. The Princess even has to be driven to school because it's not within walking distance.

I try to maintain hope that things might change at some point. I'm hoping that our finances will improve and we'll be able to afford a second car, which will open up a whole world of possibilities... But I'm trying so hard not to live by the "I'll be happy when XX happens" mentality. It's incredibly difficult, though. I don't know how to be happy right now. I dread the weekdays because they drag on forever until The Princess and Sasquatch get home. I really just don't know what to do to make things better right now... And yes, I'm already taking medication, thank you very much. ;)

I'm really embarrassed for posting this. It's such a negative post, and I'll probably end up deleting it soon. But I'm hoping that by putting it all down in writing I might be able to start working through it. I know I have so many things for which to be grateful - it's just hard to remember those things sometimes...

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Macaroni & Cheese

I can't stand the stuff in the blue box - my kids like it, which is great, because it's an inexpensive meal when I don't feel like cooking (or eating), but personally, I think it's gross. The only time I crave it is when I'm pregnant, and I'm most definitely not pregnant.

I was, however, craving a good homemade Macaroni & Cheese after watching the Mac & Cheese challenge on Food Network earlier this week. I searched online for recipes, and a lot of recipes had various characteristics that I like in my Mac & Cheese, but none of them seemed like "the one." I ended up making a smash-up of two different recipes (Alton Brown and Guy Fieri), and the results were pretty dang good. So good, in fact, that there aren't enough leftovers to make fried Mac & Cheese tomorrow (AB's suggestion for the leftovers).

I don't want to forget the recipe, so I'm going to post it here so that I can look it up later.

Macaroni & Cheese

8oz Pasta (I used mini penne because it's what I prefer over elbow macaroni)
4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve 1 TBS bacon grease and don't wash the skillet)
3 TBS Butter
3 TBS Flour
1/2 tsp Ground Mustard
3 C Milk (or Half & Half if you're bad like me)
1/4 C Yellow Onion, Finely Diced
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Ground Thyme
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Large Egg
16 oz Grated Cheddar Cheese
1 tsp Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Topping:

1 1/2 TBS Butter
1/2 C Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook bacon until it's cooked how you like it for crumbling. Reserve 1 TBS of bacon grease. Add onion to the skillet with the reserved grease and cook until onions are caramelized.

Boil a pot of salted water and start cooking pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, add the onions and melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, thyme, Worcestershire Sauce, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs and crumbled bacon. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.


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Sparky's Favorites

Ignore the bad snapshots - I was lazy and used the point-and shoot.

These are currently Sparky's favorite "toys." She loves to climb in and out of the toy bin, but she always has that "oops, I'm in trouble" look on her face if she catches you looking at her after she's climbed into the bin. At least now she's only HALF emptying the bin before climbing in. Less for me to clean up that way.

The house is the toy that I rescued from the Shareware at church a couple months ago. Sasquatch surprised us a while back by ordering all the extra pieces that were missing. The extra parts definitely add another element of fun, but it's also just another thing that I get to clean up 10 times a day. But it's made both munchkins very happy, so I can't complain.










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Happy Blogoversary!!

I just realized that today is my Blogoversary! Yay me!! I'd offer some sort of contest or giveaway, but I don't think many people read my blog these days, so it wouldn't really be worthwhile. :P

If you do read my blog, I'd love for you to leave a comment sometime- it's nice to see that people are actually reading this stuff. :) I'm sure I could just check my statcounter, but I change blog templates and then forget to reinstall the code. Besides, the statcounter just gives me a general location of the person who visits the blog - it doesn't actually tell me who visited.

So pretty please, leave me some comments on some of my posts so that I know I'm being visited. :) I'll definitely return the favor when I can remember to do so.

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Talking in Class

The Princess is really enjoying kindergarten. She enjoys it so much that she insists that she enjoys it WAY more than church. We're trying to help her remember that church is important in ways that school never can be, but I know that's difficult to wrap your head around when you're five-turning-six and you get to have recess every day at school. ;)

The teacher fills out a paper every day that tells us how The Princess has behaved at school. The paper has 3 faces on it - a smiley face, a "flat" face, and a frowny face. If The Princess has behaved well, she gets a smiley face. If she has received a warning from the teacher and ignores that warning, she gets a "flat" face. If she continues to misbehave and receives another warning after that, she gets a frowny face. If she gets 4 smiley faces for the week, she gets to choose a prize (dollar store toys) or a privilege (extra computer time, etc) on Friday.

The first week of school was great, and she brought home a smiley face every day. Since then, she's become more comfortable with the other kids in her class, and talking is starting to become an issue. Last week she brought home a flat face for talking, and yesterday she came home from school with another flat face (for talking during "rest time"). I know my child, and I know her tendencies, and I had a feeling that talking or hyperactivity was going to be her struggle in school.

I was actually looking through a box of old papers a few months ago, and I came across some of my old kindergarten report cards. I had an issue with talking in class, too. Which I totally don't understand, because I was so painfully shy back then that I don't remember ever talking to ANYone...

She also brought home her first progress report last week. Her teacher said that she's doing well academically (I'm worried she's going to get bored soon since she's already reading and some of the kids are still learning their ABC's and that it will exacerbate the bad behavior), and that she's getting more comfortable in class. She then said perhaps she's getting a little too comfortable, because talking in class is starting to become an issue.

Here's my question - what can I do with her at home, or how can I talk to her, to help her remember to be respectful of her teacher's requests not to talk in class? I know she'll be disappointed the first time that she gets two flat faces in a week and doesn't get to choose a prize (which will be a good lesson), but I worry that eventually the novelty of choosing a prize might wear off and she'll start to talk too much. IS there anything I can do or say to help her remember? I'd like to get this worked out now before it becomes an actual problem...

Since I've been diagnosed with ADD, and I think her dad has some ADD tendencies, I'm pretty sure she's going to have those tendencies, as well. I know they can't diagnose ADD until a child has started school, but I've been noticing some of those tendencies in her for a couple of years.

I'd love to help her find a way to deal with those tendencies at a young age before the school labels her as ADHD and insists that we medicate her. Not that I have anything against medication if it helps - it definitely keeps me sane and functioning on a daily basis. But I kind of wonder, if my teachers had realized back then that I had ADD (I guess I wasn't a "typical" case because I did well in school, but looking back at certain things like the fact that I was a "daydreamer" it seems pretty obvious), could I have learned how to cope with it rather than having to use medication? I use medication now, because it helps my house run more smoothly which allows me to be nice to my family, but I don't know that it would have been a necessity had I learned to deal with my symptoms in other ways.

I know some people suggest diet, etc as a way to "cure" ADD. But going all organic and giving my child an ├╝ber-expensive multivitamin is not really an option at this point in time...

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First Misunderstanding

The Princess has been excited about her first trip to the school library since last week. Yesterday was the "big day" and she was sooooo excited. She woke up extra early to wash her hair so that she would smell like coconut (her current shampoo "flavor of the week"), and put on a special dress to wear to school.

When she came home from school, the first thing I asked her was, "How was the library?" She told me that she didn't get to go to the library because she hadn't taken a hardcover book back. I was confused, and tried to get her to clarify, but she was upset and started crying. I tried to get her to explain the situation better, but all she could tell me was that the teacher didn't let her go to the library because she didn't have a hardcover book. She was getting more and more upset that I didn't understand and less and less coherent. So I told her we'd talk about it more when her dad came home from work (he's sometimes better at *calmly* asking the right questions to get clear answers from her).

When Sasquatch came home, we talked to her about the situation again. She just kept saying that she was one of 4 kids who didn't get to go to the library because she hadn't taken a book back. We verified that it wasn't the paperback "take-home" book she'd borrowed from the class (not the library) the week before. She insisted it was a hardcover book.

Finally, I had an epiphany. I realized that it was Wednesday. She hadn't been in school the Wednesday before (being a bad mommy, and knowing that all they were doing in school was writing their names over and over and over, I'd allowed us to take a "field trip" to the beach), and therefore, had been unable to go to the library. If the other kids had gone to the library that day, they all had books to return. I promised her we'd talk to her teacher today.

This morning, she reminded Sasquatch several times (both at home and in the car on the way to school) that he needed to talk to her teacher. He went in, asked about the situation, and reminded the teacher that she hadn't been in school the Wednesday before. Her teacher immediately realized the mistake, and felt awful about it. She promised that The Princess would be allowed a special trip to the library today to check out a book. So it all worked out in the end.

This parenting thing is heart wrenching sometimes! I know it was all a misunderstanding, but it broke my heart that she was denied something that she had been looking forward to for such a long time. If she had been denied the privilege due to naughtiness, I would have appreciated that she learned a life lesson. But the fact that she hadn't done anything wrong just made my heart hurt for her. It scares me to think about her growing up and all the times she's going to be hurt and I won't be able to do anything to prevent it. I know I can be here to pick her back up and try to make her feel better, but it's sooooo much harder to watch your children suffer than to go through it yourself.

I think part of it is that I remember what it was like when I was that age. Little things like trips to the library mean EVERYthing when you don't have to worry about mundane things like bills to pay. It's so easy to have your heart broken, and eventually the innocence wears away and you become a cynical grown up. I hate thinking that my little girl is starting to grow up and experience the "real world." I know she's strong and resilient, and I pray that she'll turn out well in the end, but I hate that she ever has to suffer.

I guess it gives you just a teeny tiny understanding for what our Heavenly Father feels when he watches us suffer and knows that we have to experience those things for ourself. I can't even begin to fathom the agony He felt when he watched His Son suffering on the cross and begging to have that pain taken away from him. In a small way, little experiences like these help me to understand that a little bit more and make me grateful that we have a Heavenly Father who loves *all* of us enough that he allowed His Son to suffer the ultimate pain in order to allow us all to return to Him some day. It makes me want to work harder to do what I need to be doing to earn the privilege to return some day, and to inspire my children to want to do the same.

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The Princess

Here are some images of The Princess playing outside with her very favorite toy - her sand & water table. I was playing with the rented lens again. I'm so sad that it has to go back on Friday.

I know she looks mad in this first image. It's the only expression I can get other than "aloof" or cheesy grin...






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