Saturday, December 31, 2011


It's been a long time, I've let myself slack, and you know, it's a good thing.

Life has been so hectic, like, over the top hectic, that I'd been keeping up with my blogging, but more begrudgingly than I would want, like it was something I had to do, rather than something I wanted to do, so I'm going to remain to keep up with it again, but not at the sake of my sanity.

I'm not sure why things have been so hectic, but it seems like from the moment I started packing up our house in Illinois, they have never slowed down. 

It was moving stuff, or switching stuff over, or unpacking, or trying to get settled, or getting new insurance / license plates / etc, it was starting to prepare for Christmas, it was Bryton in swim lessons, a death in the family and an unexpected trip home, then lots and lots of Christmas responsibilities (that, to be honest, were more of a hassle than enjoyable this year)... everything has just felt hurried, and impossible to keep up with. 

I've been tired... and that is putting it lightly. 

So - that's partially the reason I've been gone for so long...

The other reason - I got a Kindle Fire for my birthday, and from then on (we're talking two weeks time, here, folks), I've read Water for Elephants, Twilight (half way through it the second time now), New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, and a book called The Red Suit Diaries.  I guess I've buried myself in some fiction - and it's felt nice.  A good escape.  (Not to mention I'd always been anti - Twilight, but I'll admit - I'm a 'Twi-hard' now, according to a friend of mine ;)

So anyway - now it's NYE and I'm on a quest for some goals for the New Year.  I'll get those to you as soon as I figure them out myself...


Saturday, December 10, 2011

MY Grown-Up Christmas List

I'm not going to lie, I enjoy getting gifts.  I do.  But I think it is partially because I love giving gifts as well.  I love all of the thought that goes into it.  I love wrapping them and hiding them from family, then stuffing them under the tree and waiting with anticipation as the receiver rips open the contents.  Awww... I love it. 

So - this year, when it was time to make my own Christmas list a lot of items crossed my mind. 

I wanted a Kindle Fire (which I purchased for myself for my birthday coming up... so all of you family who gave me money, thank you, you contributed to my new techy device ;). 

I could spend way too much money in the kitcheny section of Kohls.  I don't even know where to start with all of the wonderfulness. 

I wanted a new perfume (Crush by AE) which I received from my wonderful in-laws as a birthday gift. 

But all in all - there wasn't much, this year, that I just had to have.  I want to lose about 10 pounds before buying new clothes.  I want to be in 'our' house before I buy decor related or home related things.  Etc. Etc. Etc.

And then life started spiraling... and everything started changing... and grandpa passed away... and I got to watch my dad love and enjoy his grandkids in a miserable time in his life.  Seeing his (and my mom's) eyes light up with their grandbabies in tow is priceless.  (And bittersweet, knowing that I have to take them so far away from them.)

And then we got home, and then out of no-where Miss Ansley just started standing up in the middle of the floor, all on her own. 

Now she's started bending down to pick up toys while standing. 

And there's two weeks before Christmas. 

It'd be absurd, folks.  Not unheard of, but absurd none - the - less, but from the circumstances is birthed the one Christmas wish I have... the one thing I want most for Christmas, the one thing that only God can ordain...

I want Ans to take her first steps in the presence of my parents, who will be here in the coming weeks.  For grandparents who will miss many milestones in the lives of their grandkids... I want this for them more than anything.  My holiday season will be made. 

Now I'm not getting my hopes up, I'm not banking any happiness or joy on such a feat, and I realize I can control little, if any, of these happenings, but I'm not going to say that it wouldn't be wonderful. 

It would.

And so this year - I don't need any (or many) gifts under the tree.  Someone just wrap up a pair of walking shoes for Miss A, and let's get her moving...

Until next time -


To the Greatest Fans in Baseball, Cardinal Nation:

I have often heard it said that St. Louis Cardinal fans are the greatest fans in baseball.  It is an honor that they (or shall I say 'we') have earned through our commitment, faithfulness, and loyalty to our team and it's members.  It's an honor earned through our respect and grace demonstrated to other teams and their fans, and I'd like to believe it is an honor earned due to a deep love, respect, and understanding of the great game of baseball. 

Just a short time ago Cardinal Nation bid a congratulatory farewell to outstanding manager, Tony LaRussa.  He has walked the team through an amazing, successful time in it's history. 

Just days ago, we as Cardinal Nation found that we must bid farewell also to our beloved first baseman, power-hitter, and team leader, Albert Pujols. 

It is my hope as Cardinal Nation, as the greatest fans in baseball, as those who often boasted in the humility and grace of a player who was dedicated to the esteem of his team and his city more than himself, that we would bid farewell with such grace. 

We must believe and rest assured that the same grace and humility that Albert showed faithfully in 11 seasons of baseball, he has carried into his decision of furthering his career with the Anaheim Angels. 

It is my short experience as a member of Cardinal nation, to see a stadium full of devout fans stand and applaud for those whom at one time bore the Cardinal uniform.  It is my experience to watch fans show great respect to a player, even after they have departed. 

My hope is that we, as a devout fan-base, will know that the label we bear as 'the greatest fans in baseball' is not earned only from our loyalty to the Cardinals, but for our deep love for the game, and that we will continue in our support and encouragement to Albert as he continues to break records, win mvp's, and one day enters the Hall of Fame.  He has changed the game of baseball forever in St. Louis, and I, for one, am grateful for the privilege and opportunity to watch him display, not only great baseball, but outstanding character. 

The Angels need to know, with their $250 million they have not only landed one of the greatest players of our time (and possibly the greatest ever in their franchise), they have also inherited a great many of us deemed 'the greatest fans in baseball,' not to support their Angels, but to support our Albert, as he furthers his career.  We will remain loyal, and unless he is batting against those who wear our beloved Bird, we may even do so outwardly. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Does God Want B to Have a Leappad? Hmmm...

Phew.  Life has been hectic, and emotional, and overwhelming lately.  I've watched myself seep into some kind of sticky funk, and I seem to be stuck in it.  I've finally decided it's time to slowly start climbing my way out... and finally time to start making time for the stuff that matters.

My to do list has gotten too long.

Anyway - that doesn't have much to do with Leappads, so - I'll transition by saying this (nothing like being blunt and to the point, huh?) this little cheery story may be just what I need to get back on the road of joy.

For those of you who know me - you know I'm a deal searcher and a shopper.  Not so much a 'shop-aholic' kind of shopper, but a 'get stuff done, get a good deal, and enjoy it' kind of shopper. 

For those of you who know leappads (even in the past few weeks), you'll know that they have been sold. out. everywhere.

Now - a little bit of backstory:  my grandparents have us buy for the kids each year.  They figure we know what they want / need, and we can get to it easier than they can at this stage in life.  (And they are right.)  So - up until this year and our move, I've always bought for them, wrapped for them, and delivered secretly to their home so that when the kids were there Christmas day, they had gifts under their tree just for them. 

Just weeks before my grandpa passed... we'll say the beginning of November, I was making out Christmas lists for kids (as I get lots of emails and texts about what they need).  It was at this point that I thought B may like the Leappad.  We have other Leapfrog toys and are avid fans.  Low and behold, though, I could not find one (less than $180!!) anywhere.  (Apparently when products are in high demand, people who have them feel they can mark them up astronomically.)  My theory was, as Black Friday neared, stores would HAVE to get more in stock.  (Right?)

Wrong.  The only ad (and I searched ads, let me tell you) that had the toy anywhere was Best Buy, and they were guaranteed TWO per store.  (And if you know Best Buy and Black Friday, well, I wasn't doing that.)

So I really felt all was lost.

As many of you know, my grandpa passed away the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, switching our Thanksgiving plans around completely.  We found ourselves 700 miles away from where we expected to be, and me thinking zero about a Leappad. 

Fast forward to Thursday night (you know, when Black Friday sales started this year), and you would have found me first at WalMart, then I mosied on over to Target at about 11:15. 

Never shopping Target on Black Friday, I forgot they formed their line in the parking lot.  So, being that it was about 30 degrees outside, I'd forgotten my coat, and the doors weren't scheduled to open for another 45 minutes, I decided to drink my Steak n Shake shake (yeah, I know) and wait in the car until about 5 til.

At 11:55 or so I decided to go try the line (which had doubled in length by this point.)  I walked right in behind a lady, and as you do in such moments, you become quick friends.  She was talking about what she was there for, I was talking about what I was there for, and we eventually got to where I was on my search for a Leappad, to which the lady replied that not only did she HAVE a leappad (that she'd bought months in advance because she thought her six year old wanted one for Christmas and knew they would go out of stock), but it was in her TRUNK, wrapped, addressed, and ready to be shipped back to Amazon the next day for an 80% refund because her son decided he DIDN'T want one.  (Not kidding.)  She told me if I was interested, it was mine.  (Seriously.)

I totally that the woman was thoroughly confused about what it really was I wanted.  But she gave me her number, I saved it in my phone, and she said she had intentions of going to the post office the next afternoon to ship back.  If I wanted it, all I had to do was get a hold of her before then, but, if I wanted it that night before we left, I could meet up with her after we finished in Target.

Fast forward: I'm waiting in line to check out at Target (with my over half off gps units) and I think to myself, "It's at least worth texting her."

Long story short: I left Target parking lot that night with a Leappad, a gift to my son from the grandpa (who passed) and his grandma, for less than retail price, brand new, in the box, no tax, no fighting crowds, no shipping, nothing.

It's small, folks.  But I don't believe in coincidence.  If my theology allowed, I'd think my grandpa ordained the whole meeting... wanting B to have just what we'd tried to find everywhere.  But - since I don't think people are up there orchestrating things like Christmas presents, I do think God orchestrates things, even small things, for a reason... and if that means a little boy getting a leappad for a Christmas present from his great grandparents... then I'm thankful for that...

As funny, and a little foolish, as it sounds... it shows me that if he cares for things that small... He's got our backs... He's watching out for us... He has a plan.  Even when timing seems poor... circumstances seem uncontrollable, and life seems overwhelming... and there are times I need that assurance.  Even in a child's toy - it's good.