8 Months

Dear Grace,

Today you turned 8 MONTHS OLD. Somehow, when I was not looking, my precious little peanut turned into a beautiful 16 pound, 6 ounce, 26 inch long baby girl!

Today you are running a fever. It is the first time you have been sick. Your little cheeks are bright pink and your entire head is hot to the touch. We took you to the doctor's office for them to tell us that you have a viral infection. Every three hours we have to give you medicine.

I am amazed at how much you have grown in the last eight months. You can now sit up on your own. You have developed your own language of "ah", "ews", "ga", etc. I am really working hard on "Ma-ma" with you. One of these days, you will say it. And I will pass out.

Most nights you sleep through the night. But, you wiggle constantly. I come in your room in the morning to find your head in the top left corner of the bed. That is not where I left you!

Most mornings you have found your way out of the cover and your foot is in your mouth. Lately, your feet amuse you to no end. One day you discovered you could reach your toes with your hands. To you, this was the most wonderful thing EVER. Your hands would pull and pull on your toes and your heels. Then, shortly there after, you found your foot could reach your mouth. And OH THE MIRACLE. I put your socks and shoes on, and one by one, you remove them so that you can get your toes in your mouth.

We expect teeth from you at any moment. Some days your gums bother you and you give me this look, like "What is going on here and why aren't you stopping it?" Then you go right back to being the world's cutest baby.

I love to see strangers stare at you. The sight of you can put a smile on even the most serious of faces. Most people stop me, wherever we are, to tell me how beautiful you are. Occasionally one will say "he". It does not matter how much pink/purple you wear, some people see your little peach fuzz and assume BOY. I'm sorry. This is my fault. I did not have hear until I was, like, 3. I have a feeling that you will have a similar experience.

You love to watch the dogs. You grab everything in sight that you can reach, and Molly's hair is included. Unlike when I pull her hair during her combing, she LETS you. Guess what one of your first chores will be?

Every day with you is an incredible experience. You are learning so quickly, and I am constantly in awe of the wonder of which you see the world.

I love you very, very much.

Love forever,




When I took the dogs out this afternoon, they took off from the porch excitedly. They love going outside because they can run. FREE AS THE WIND. (Okay, on extend-able leashes. But they do love to run outside. It's the closest thing to freedom I will allow.)

But, at the bottom of the steps they stopped.

From where I was standing, I saw Max jump about 3 feet in the air.

I ran down to see what had startled him. There, in the pebbled walkway at the bottom of our stairs was a common black snake. Apparently he/she did not appreciate being disturbed and in turn had coiled itself into attack pose.

When it saw me, it quickly retreated.

Max turned and ran back inside. So much for freedom.

Note: I did not have my camera phone on me when this happened, so I did not get to take a picture of our visitor. The photo on the left was found here in my quest to find a photo of a common black snake.


More Fun With Nature

A while back, I began trying to walk each day for exercise. After several weeks of vigilant determination, continuous encounters with nature (e.g. deer flies - which are just MEAN) forced my exercise plan to a halt.

Since I have lived in the woods, I have been attacked by dreaded deer flies, fire ants, mosquitoes, horse flies, gnats, ticks, ladybugs (bet you didn't realize that they are MEAN too), wasps, yellow jackets and Japanese beetles. Until today, these attacks have all been by insects that I don't really like anyway.

The deer flies seem to have dispersed for the season, so I decided that it was safe to walk outdoors again. So, J & I packed up Grace and went for a walk.

On the way back in the door, I stopped to water all of my plants. Suddenly I heard something that sounded like a jet heading straight for my head.

Of course, I jumped.

I turned my head to see a hummingbird. Yes, that's right folks, a hummingbird. Headed STRAIGHT for my HEAD.

Wonders never cease.

Now, unlike the aforementioned insects, I do not believe that Mr. Hummingbird had evil intentions. I was simply in his way. But, WOW did that make noise!

Nature. Sigh.



In 4th grade, I swooned for the first time. I met a new boy in my school. He was from California and had the stereotypical beautiful light blond hair and big blue eyes. He was the first boy that I ever met with an earring. He was cute and charming. To all the girls in my class (in a small town), he was the coolest boy to walk through the schoolyard.

After I got over my swooning of that first year, we became friends. He was fun to talk to and laugh with.

We shared many classes together over the years. I was sad when he moved away, then pleased when he moved back. I knew him well. Or at least that is what I thought.

After graduation, he joined the armed forces. We lost touch.

I heard that he had gotten into a little trouble. I thought it was probably something minor (btw - it turned out that he had fled from the army). So, when we met again over facebook earlier this year, I did not even give the decision to add him as a friend a second thought. He lives across the country and he seemed to be getting his life on track again.

Today, I found out that the boy I knew was long gone. The man that he became is no one I knew or ever want to know. The facade I saw was just a charade. I found out that he was responsible for kidnapping, raping and strangling a 19-year-old girl to death.

It makes me literally sick to my stomach.

My head is full of thoughts - what in the world could possibly cause this man to do these inhuman things? Was it something that he saw while serving in the army that broke something inside of him? Could it have been prevented?

We are all one bad decision away from a life of devastation. I can never understand how some people make such drastic decisions - ones that will ruin a family forever.

All I can say now is that I hope that he can get the help that he desperately needs.


Why We Will Not Be Eating Fast Food For A While

This morning began like every other Sunday morning. We woke up, scrambled to get ready and swung by the drive-through of a popular fast-food-chain-whose-name-I-will-not-mention for breakfast on the way to church.

Grace was engaged in her new hobby, staring at my mouth while I shoved my biscuit in it.

When we had almost reached the church, J suddenly dropped his biscuit.

Me: What happened?
J: You don't want to know.
Me: But now I have to know. It couldn't be worse than what I am imagining.
J: Are you done with your biscuit?
Me: No, but you still have to tell me. What? A hair?
J: Um, not quite.

This little guessing game went on for quite a while as I went through the most horrible things that I could think of. Finally, I finished my biscuit and J relented.

J: There is a dead fly. In the biscuit. Baked in there. Staring at me. And I just about bit into it.

Ew ew ew ew ew!!!


Gimme Some

Grace has a new hobby. She likes to watch people eat and/or drink.

In the mornings, I typically feed her as I am eating my breakfast. Today, she could barely focus on her bottle because she was so busy watching me. As I drank my Propel, she reached up and placed her hand on the bottle and tipped it up further at my mouth. Of course, this dumped out a quarter of my drink onto my shirt, but because it was so cute I could not help but laugh.

This afternoon, my Dad rode in the backseat with Grace and we stopped for milkshakes. I could see Grace in the mirror staring at my Dad's milkshake the entire way home.

When we pulled in the driveway, I realized that she had fallen asleep. Staring at the milkshake.