Thursday, September 29, 2011


The reality of just how sensitive and perceptive my children are hit me across the head last night with a big THUMP.  We were driving home from a full afternoon and evening at church - the kids prattling on about what they had done, who they had seen, what they had played.  Eventually the talk turned towards the remaining obligations we had to accomplish when we reached home last night (i.e. homework, bath, stories).

James' homework was to collect four items that started with the letter "G" and put them in his blue bucket to share at school the next day. So we started brainstorming "G" words - like giraffe, gorilla, grass, and glue.  Eventually the word 'grandparent' entered the conversation - which then prompted a discussion about different grandparents we know - their own Grandma and Grandpa Long, GiGi (our dear friend Nici's mom who is kinda like a grandma to my kids and a mama to me - who I promise I won't steal Nic), some random grandparent name that I'd never heard of (Pee Pee) that James swears is what his buddy at school calls his grandma (WHATEVER crazy kid) ... that sort of thing.

And then talk of this Friday's Grandparents Day at James' school - when all grandparents are invited to come for lunch and a program - and how James is SO excited for Grandma Shelby to be there with him.

And then someone said it - I'm not quite sure who it was - 'I wish Nonna could be there.'

It was like a stab to the heart.  Because I wish she could be here too.  So much so that I can't put that need/want/desire into words.

James then piped up about how she was sick - and that's why she couldn't come visit or play with us or go to things like Grandparents Day.  I confirmed that - and said I really wish she could be here with us as well.

And then silence fell.  They were all quiet.  For some reason the radio wasn't on.  It was just the kids and I - looking out the window - all of us in that moment of time when there just isn't anything else to say.

And from the quiet - I heard Anna whisper to James 'shhhhhh.... don't talk about this.  You'll make Mommy start crying because she misses Nonna so much.'

I seriously felt like someone had reached a hand into my chest and pulled on my heart.  And I silently choked back tears in the quiet that ensued.

She then started to say something completely silly - acting like a goofy kid - obviously trying to change the subject.

How did that happen?  When did my child become so astute and sensitive to me and my feelings?  I've tried so hard over the years to keep my emotions in check when I'm around her - opting to cry in the solitude of my car when no-one is around.

It made me overwhelmingly happy and proud that she was so worried about the emotional welfare of her mom.

It made me overwhelmingly sad that things are so crazy for us that she is even aware of things like sadness and hurt.  And that she knows that her mom hurts deeply and profoundly.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Snap Snap

It's funny to me to see how much things have changed in the mere (ahem) twenty or so years since I was a kid. (Yeah - I'm being generous there... so what...)  I remember playing with random things, pretending they were something else, doing whatever I could to be BIG.

And I remember my mom and dad shaking their heads as I went about the world in my never-ending state of an overactive imagination.

I find myself doing that a lot these days. A LOT.

Take yesterday, for example.  James and Anna were bickering over something in the back of the van.  I looked in the rearview mirror to find out just what the culprit was this time - to discover it was an old flip phone of mine that had made its way to the toy bin.  And I mean really old.  Like, before the ever-popular Razor phone old.

They were arguing and festering over who had the chance to take a picture first.

Take a picture??  There was no camera in that phone - heck - I seriously doubt if it had a speaker on it, let alone a camera.  It was one step up from a bag phone.  Seriously.  But there they were - holding it up to one another - arms outstretched - holding it to eye level - pretending to snap pictures, posing, smiling, and then the best part - saying 'nah, that's no good - we'll have to delete it and take another one.'

That's almost as funny as when James came downstairs a few months ago with a bright pink plastic Barbie stethoscope tucked over his ear (apparently snagged from veterinarian Barbie) with the ear pieces on either side of his ear and the microphone part pointed towards his mouth.  Naturally I asked him what it was doing on his head - to which he replied "mommy - hush - I'm talking on the phone."  Which is particularly hilarious considering neither Deonne, nor I use bluetooth technology.

Or how about when we (the boys and I) were singing along to 'Five Little Monkeys' one afternoon en route to pick up Anna, complete with hand gestures.  When I made the age old gesture of a phone - you know - the 'hang loose' hand configuration with your pinky to your mouth and your thumb to your ear - James promptly corrected me by saying 'Mommy - that's not right.  Phones go like THIS' - and he held his hand flat against his ear - like you would with a blackberry or iphone.

Oh times, they are a'changing, indeed, a'changing...

Just a little funny I thought about this morning.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters, snaps to Michael Mitchell

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters {by Michael Mitchell}

I came across this blog post via a facebook friend who 'liked' the post.  After reading it - I shared it on my page - but had to post it here as well.  To keep readily at hand - to remind me of my father who will always be my superhero - to encourage my husband to do the same for Anna.  Read on - and as I posted on facebook - if this doesn't move you - I don't know what will.

About Michael
Michael Mitchell is an (almost) thirty-something dad who blogs daily tips and life lessons for dads of daughters at He spends his days practicing the arts of fatherhood and husbandry, while attempting to be a man of God and a professional raiser of philanthropic funds. On the rare occasion he’s not tied up with the aforementioned and other pursuits of awesomeness, he enjoys fighting street gangs for local charities and drinking from a cup that’s half full. Bookmark Life To Her Years, follow Michael on Twitter, and “like” him on Facebook for more “rules”.

1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.

2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she add years to her… add life to her years.

3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion. Red cape and blue tights optional.

4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.

5. Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.

6. Buy her a glove and teach her to throw a baseball. Make her proud to throw like a girl… a girl with a wicked slider.

7. She will fight with her mother. Choose sides wisely.

8. Go ahead. Buy her those pearls.

9. Of course you look silly playing peek-a-boo. You should play anyway.

10. Enjoy the wonder of bath time.

11. There will come a day when she asks for a puppy. Don’t over think it. At least one time in her life, just say, “Yes.”

12. It’s never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager… and on her wedding day.

13. Make pancakes in the shape of her age for breakfast on her birthday. In a pinch, donuts with pink sprinkles and a candle will suffice.

14. Buy her a pair of Chucks as soon as she starts walking. She won’t always want to wear matching shoes with her old man.

15. Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait ‘til her wedding day.

16. Take her fishing. She will probably squirm more than the worm on your hook. That’s OK.

17. Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.

18. Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.

19. Teach her to change a flat. A tire without air need not be a major panic inducing event in her life. She’ll still call you crying the first time it happens.

20. Take her camping. Immerse her in the great outdoors. Watch her eyes fill with wonder the first time she sees the beauty of wide open spaces. Leave the iPod at home.

21. Let her hold the wheel. She will always remember when daddy let her drive.

22. She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.

23. When she learns to give kisses, she will want to plant them all over your face. Encourage this practice.

24. Knowing how to eat sunflower seeds correctly will not help her get into a good college. Teach her anyway.

25. Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny.

26. It is in her nature to make music. It’s up to you to introduce her to the joy of socks on a wooden floor.

27. If there’s a splash park near your home, take her there often. She will be drawn to the water like a duck to a puddle.

28. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late.

29. If her mom enrolls her in swim lessons, make sure you get in the pool too. Don’t be intimidated if there are no other dads there. It’s their loss.

30. Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.

31. Teach her to roller skate. Watch her confidence soar.

32. Let her roll around in the grass. It’s good for her soul. It’s not bad for yours either.

33. Take her swimsuit shopping. Don’t be afraid to veto some of her choices, but resist the urge to buy her full-body beach pajamas.

34. Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.

35. She’ll probably want to crawl in bed with you after a nightmare. This is a good thing.

36. Few things in life are more comforting to a crying little girl than her father’s hand. Never forget this.

37. Introduce her to the swings at your local park. She’ll squeal for you to push her higher and faster. Her definition of “higher and faster” is probably not the same as yours. Keep that in mind.

38. When she’s a bit older, your definition of higher and faster will be a lot closer to hers. When that day comes, go ahead… give it all you’ve got.

39. Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. WARNING: She has no concept of muscle fatigue.

40. She might ask you to buy her a pony on her birthday. Unless you live on a farm, do not buy her a pony on her birthday. It’s OK to rent one though.

41. Take it easy on the presents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead, give her the gift of experiences you can share together.

42. Let her know she can always come home. No matter what.

43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.

44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them most.

45. Learn to trust her. Gradually give her more freedom as she gets older. She will rise to the expectations you set for her.

46. When in doubt, trust your heart. She already does.

47. When your teenage daughter is upset, learning when to engage and when to back off will add years to YOUR life. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

48. Ice cream covers over a multitude of sins. Know her favorite flavor.

49. This day is coming soon. There’s nothing you can do to be ready for it. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be.

50. Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

Where were you when life we knew it as Americans changed forever?  Seems to be the topic of conversation across the country these days ... I for one have been thinking about the events that transpired a decade ago non-stop.  I've been glued to the documentaries showing on all of the networks, from Biography to National Geographic, the main networks to TLC.

I've learned a lot these past few weeks.  I wonder if, at the time it was happening, the media purposely shielded us from a lot of the horror and carnage taking place.  If they purposely did not provide comment or footage or interviews with the first responders and survivors who lived to tell their tales.  I'm kind of glad I didn't know the proverbial gory details until now.  I could barely get my mind around the terror and confusion - let alone the horrific stories that came out of the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and the desperate phone calls to loved ones from the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.  I think I needed the time and space to digest the basic details of the events before being able to really comprehend what occurred.

I'm haunted by the stories - the details of what firefighters and rescuers saw and experienced.  The tales of those who made their way out of peril are forever burned in my mind's eye.  The incomprehensible tales from loved ones describing their final goodbyes - and then watching their loved one die before their eyes on television have become a part of me.

I'm not sure why I've been so consumed by learning everything I can... perhaps because I (like most Americans, I gather) have felt so lost - so helpless by the events that I needed to learn more.  To understand every story of bravery and survival, horror and loss that took place on that clear day in September.

I know if it were me - if it was my family that was intimately affected by September 11 - if it was my loved one who was lost - I would want everyone to know their story.  I would want everyone to know how special and loved and wonderful that person was.  I would want the world to know exactly what they went through in their final moments.

So perhaps I'm doing all I can to preserve their memories - in my own small way.  To hear about the husband and father who called his wife moments before his building collapsed just to say 'I love you' one more time.  To know about the son who called his mother - leaving a message on her home phone - to say 'I'm okay.  I'll call you when I'm safe,' only to perish moments later.  To pause and think about the young bride/newlywed - who was from San Francisco but happened to be in New York on business that day - attending a breakfast meeting at the World Trade Center - who left a desperate message for her husband in California - telling him she loved him forever, and to tell her family she loved them too - who lost her life shortly thereafter.  To see the faces of the numerous 10-year old children who never knew their fathers as they were in utero at the time of the tragedy.

I always flounder on this day.  I wonder how to best commemorate the lives of so many who were affected - not only the ones who died - but the ones left behind to pick up the pieces and go on.

It's become a cliche saying - but the truth is...

I remember.

And I'll never forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Heading Home

Remember how I said that Sara is as much of a Matilda Jane junkie as I am?  Well on the morning of our departure, to have a bit of fun, we had all the girls dress up in their favorite MJ pieces.

It boggles my mind that we have five girls between us - and seven kids total.  If you had told me back when we were growing up and spending so many of our family holidays together that we'd end up with this many kids - I'd have thought you were insane.

But here we are - with a bright and full future sitting right before us.


So after saying our goodbyes - we headed South and for home.  We ended up being sidetracked in Richmond - and stayed the night in a hotel - that the kids thought were fabulous.  It's amazing what a night in a hotel - with a pool no less - will do for a kids spirit.

We poked around Richmond in the morning, let the kids play at this awesome park just outside of Short Pump, and finally headed home after lunch.  About the time we were reaching the limits of North Carolina, the kids' legs were starting to twitch - and they needed to get out and stretch.

So - what did we do?  Took them to the classiest place ever.

South of the Border.

Now, if you're reading this blog from outside the confines of the I-95 corridor - you might not get the hidden humor here.  I'm still not entirely sure of it's history - but I think SOB was constructed some time in the 1950's or 60's as a travel destination if you can believe it.  At one time it had several hotels, restaurants, penny arcades, miniature golf, gift shops, and the creme-de-la-creme - Pedro.

It got it's name by being located in South Carolina - just 'South of the Border' of North Carolina.  And with some weird play on words - took on a Mexican motif - I presume because Mexico is south of the US border.


It's heavily marketed up and down I-95 with billboards starting as far south as Florida (I think) and up to the North into Virginia.  Crazy signs that catch your eye - and are completely ridiculous.

Over time, it lost it's allure - and all but fell into ruins. Everyone laughs about it - calls it a completely gawdy and horrible attraction - and a place that only rednecks would stop.  Recently though, the owner is trying to renovate - or revitalize the area and is diligently working to draw tourists.  (For the record, I seriously doubt it will ever EVER be a destination.)

So it's weird there.  It's like a ghost town.  Like the land that time forgot.  The buildings and machines and decor are all straight out of the 50's.  And it's not recreated - it's truly the same and original stuff.

While I've stopped there on a few occasions as I've traveled I-95 for work - I've stopped for one purpose only - get gas and get the heck out.  So when I casually suggested to Deonne 'hey - we should take the kids to see Pedro' he thought I was nuts.

Until I took the exit - and drove right up to the base of Pedro (the giant Mexican sombrero in the sky that you can see for miles around.)

I'll admit - it was creepy there.  We were the only souls other than the two girls who worked there - who looked spaced out.  (That's putting it nicely.)  And yeah, it did feel a bit like we were taking our lives in our hands when we rode the rickety elevator to the top of the sombrero.

But the view up there was amazing - I'll give the SOB people credit for that.  And, it was dirt cheap.  It was only $1 per person to ride up (and down.)  And the base of Pedro is a penny arcade with loads of antique rides - that cost - .25 cents to ride.  Seriously.

The kids had a t-total ball.  And while it was weird, a bit creepy, and we sort of felt like we were caught in some weird alternate universe at times, it can't be beat for a place to let your kids run around and stretch their legs.  (Just make sure to keep an eye on them at all times - lest the weirdos surely hiding in the walls come out and snatch them.)  Just kidding.  I think.

Anyway - they had so much fun that we had to drag them out - literally kicking and screaming and crying.  They wanted to ride MORE rides.  They wanted to see MORE of the weird yet funny-looking statues.

But it was time.  We needed to get home.  And after one more stop for dinner - we finally returned, safe and sound, to our happy home around 9 o'clock that night.

And that brings this Long Family Adventure to the nation's capital to an end.

A Night In DC

Let me just say this, for the record.  My cousin Sara rocks.  Seriously.  Not only did she welcome our family of five into her home to invade her space and mess up her house and tear apart her kids' toy room, but she literally shooed us out of her house so Deonne and I could enjoy a night out in DC.

How awesome is that?!?

After getting the kids settled and started on a movie - Deonne and I jumped in the van and headed out.  We had no destination in mind - just to go AWAY.  I knew I wanted to go to the Lincoln Memorial - I've always wanted to see that at night.  For some reason I've never made it at night during any of my previous trips.  But it wasn't dark yet, and we wanted to walk around.

So we set Mr. GPS for Georgetown so we could walk and wander.  We'd already eaten dinner, so we weren't really hungry - but thought something sweet or a drink might be nice.

Because I'm a lover of TLC and cupcakes - we made a stop into DC Cupcakes.  We waited in line to get in - purchased our little cakes of love (+ a hat for me) then kept on wandering.  We ended up at Serendipity - a place I'd heard about but thought was only in New York.  We ordered one of the Frozen Hot Chocolates - this ridiculous drink they are famous for - to see what all the hype was about.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I get it.  I think the waitress said there were 17 different kinds of cocoa in it - or something crazy like that.  And you know what - it totally tasted like hot chocolate - but frozen.  I can't describe it.  But it does.  (And not just like a chocolate milkshake like I thought it might.)

After that - we walked a bit more - then made our way down to the Mall.  It was dark now - and I figured it would be a quiet time to see Mr. Lincoln.  Couldn't have been more wrong.  There were hundreds of people there.  Deonne said there were more there that night than earlier in the day when he'd been there with the kids.  But it was still amazing to see it all lit up - and the views from there are awe inspiring.

I'll always love this place - where the Capital, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial make a straight line.  Hands down this is my favorite place in all of DC.

We drove around a bit after that - looking at the White House - getting as close to the Jefferson Memorial as possible (I still haven't see that up close yet - poor Jefferson - he gets bad PR - they stuck him so far out and away from the rest of the Mall that by the time you get all the way down to see Mr. Lincoln - you're pooped!)

Finally, we headed back to Springfield - for our last night - and to prepare to pack everything up the next morning.

DC Day 4

So Jack was pretty hot when Sara and I arrived home the previous night.  We dosed him up with Motrin and he was able to sleep - but he did still feel quite warm the following morning.  Deonne really wanted to go into the City - and the kids were dying to see a few of their favorite monuments up close and personal - so I suggested he go ahead and take them in - I could hang back with Sara and her girls.

I'll tell you Deonne's story in a moment - but again, Sara and I spent a lovely day together.  It's so cool that no matter what we do or where we go - just being together is the real treat.  Jack's fever seemed to be coming down - a call to our pediatrician here in Columbia asking if we needed to bring him in resulted in the quintessential 'just watch and see how he does' nonsense - so we decided to go ahead and get out of the house.  Get a bit of back-to-school shopping done.

We again dosed Jack up with a big slug of Motrin - loaded up five kids into Sara's van - and ventured out to the most awesomest of awesome outlet malls.  Ever.  I didn't know such a place existed.  Children's Place.  Gymboree.  Stride Rite.  Disney Store.  These are just a few of the smattering of stores at this wonderful place.  Now, I'm not a big 'mall' shopper.  Rather, I head directly to the store I need to go to - get what I need - get out.  But this mall.  Oh, I could have stayed there for days.  And spent loads and loads of money.

Thankfully, I had Sara with me to keep me on track - and all of the kids - so we mainly stuck to the kid stores. I picked up some more uniform clothes for Anna and some Stride Rite shoes for the boys at ridiculously low prices.  Like $3 for a Gymboree skirt and $15 for shoes.  And, I provided a little help/comic relief for Sara as she worked (and I do mean WORKED) to get new shoes for all of her kids.

Shoe shopping with little ones is no small feat (no pun intended).  It can be dicey and difficult depending on the kid and their willingness to try multiple pairs of shoes on.  I'm proud to say there were NO meltdowns (Sara's kids are so well behaved they make mine look like monkeys) and she was able to get each of her girls several pairs of shoes.  Mission accomplished.

At the same time as we were spending his hard earned money (ha ha) Deonne was seeing the sights of DC.  I can't go into a lot of description - because I obviously wasn't there - but the pictures say it all.  I do know that Anna was infatuated with the White House - and only slightly disappointed that she didn't get to go inside because she was able to satisfy her history bug by reading everything (and as Deonne says EVERYTHING) available at the White House visitors center.

Posing as a homage to my home state.

No, we have no relation - direct or indirect - to Kansas... other than it's where Dorothy's from
(of course) and since Anna saw her shoes - she had to pose there.

The World War II Memorial.

Showing their Carolina pride!

I know that James was beside himself to see the 'big man in the big chair' (a.k.a. the Lincoln Memorial) - the one thing he really REALLY wanted to see.

Can you tell how happy James is to see this?

I know that both asked again (several times, really) why they couldn't go up into the Washington Monument.  That whole waiting in line at the crack of dawn to get tickets just didn't register with him.  In retrospect, I kind of wish that we had figured out how to get them up it - after the big earthquake a few weeks ago and the monument being closed indefinitely.

I know that Deonne had to drag them out of the Air and Space museum.  Apparently this museum is the most 'hands on' of the ones the kids visited - and there was a lot for them to do vs. just 'looking with their eyes and not with their hands.'

But I think one of the biggest highlights was the train ride into and out of the City.  They both really liked that - and felt very cosmopolitan and grown up.  (I totally get that.)

They finally made their way home around five that afternoon.  Jack's fever came down throughout the day and he was pretty content.  Once again we turned on the sprinklers and let the kids just run and run and run - followed by a bath so they were squeaky clean and ready for their dinner and movie night, while Deonne and I went out.  Alone.  Can you believe it?

DC Day 3

This really should be called "Virginia, Day 3" because we didn't technically get into the City on this day.  Rather, we opted to do something easy-ish that all the kids would love.  Turns out there is this amazing park very close to Sara's house.  I can't remember the name of it for the life of me - but it's this huge area, complete with a pond/lake for fishing (and maybe boating, I'm not sure), picnic areas, playground areas, a lunch stand, a carousel, and a kiddie train.

So we packed a picnic lunch, once again loaded our vans (minus Ashton - he had to return to a training camp he was at - boo) and headed out.  The kids all had a wonderful time, indeed.  Room to play and run on the playground, a ride the carousel, and of course the super cool train, and a picnic lunch.  What could be better than that?
Sara and I have done our part to keep the Hein family lineage going strong ... James, Tori : Anna, Calista:
Jordan, Jack, Tessa
Seven Cousins

Sweet Tessa

Jack and Calista

Getting ready to roll!

Arguably Jack's favorite part of the entire vacation.

The train ride had cool little buildings (to scale) along the route.

And a sweet (little and again, to scale) water tower.

Calista and Jack - and one tired looking mommy.


Sara and Tessa

Tori and Anna - these two hit it off so well and became good friends right from the start.

James-ey love.

In the afternoon, while the two littlest ones napped (Jack and Tessa - Sara's two-year old) the older kids and the mamas headed out to her community pool.  I'm so glad we invested in the expense and time of swimming lessons.  I was able to let Anna and James loose in the very large shallow end of the pool to splash and play and swim without fear of them drowning.  Awesome.  And so very relaxing to just sit on the steps of the cool pool with Sara - continuing our non-stop conversation about parenting, family, church, school ... everything good friends and cousins can possibly talk about.

When we returned late that afternoon, Sara turned on the sprinklers and we let the kids run and play until they were properly coated in grass cuttings and water.  Summer fun.

We ended the night with a girls night out - can you believe it?  Deonne agreed to watch the kids (with some help from Sara's sister-in-law - hey, he had seven to tend to) so that Sara and I could go out.  She'd won tickets to an advance screening of The Help from a local radio station.  The viewing was at a swanky downtown DC movie theatre.  So she and I gussied up in our best Matilda Jane duds (she's as much of a MJ addict as I am) and we headed into town.  We even took the train into the City - and boy, did I feel cool.

Unfortunately, said local radio station gave away too many tickets (like 200 too many tickets) so even though we had tickets in hand and were there well before it was scheduled to begin - we didn't get in.  Boo. But never fear - we had a lovely dinner out - just the two of us.  Drinking a few cocktails, enjoying a yummy dinner that didn't come from a paper bag and there was no sippy cup or coloring page in sight.


We arrived home pretty late for this ole'girl - to find that Jack was burning up with fever.  AWESOME.  More to come on that story on Day 4.