Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy 29th Birthday, Kacey!

Kacey turns 29 today. In honor of her birthday... our good friend, Kenzie Baker Nielsen, is going to have a baby! Okay, well maybe that's not so much an homage to Kacey as it is a coincidence, but who better to share a birthday with then Kacey?? The baby is a boy so the name Kacey/Casey will work either way! Think about it Andrew and Kenzie...

Kacey is just so wonderful in so many ways! She never ceases to impress me. She cooks, she bakes, (those two things are not the same - I can bake but cooking is harder!), she sews, she reads, she runs, she blogs, she crochets, etc. etc. I am amazed at her  many talents. She is so creative. I'd like to think that she gets that from me, and maybe she does, but she has taken creativity and accomplishment to a whole new level. She blows me out of the water. She has good ideas and actually follows through with them!

Kacey was a golden child - smart, sweet, helpful, funny, self-motivated. I'm sure she had a few flaws, but I must have blocked them all out. She was a gem and that's all I can remember!

If you have not ever been to Kacey's blog, go there the next time you have a few minutes to spare and are in need of a smile. You can see for yourself how amazing she is and she will have you laughing hysterically at their family antics. 

Kacey's oldest daughter, Scarlet, has brown hair and brown eyes just like her mom. She looked like Jon when she was born but I think is looking more like Kacey as she gets older. She has been kind of shy, though, in front of people which was not like Kacey at all. So I wondered how much of Kacey was in Scarlet. Well, it turns out that Scarlet has a lot of Kacey in her and maybe even a little bit of Aunt Kylie. Check out Scarlet as she is practicing the song she is going to audition for her school play. Kacey says there was no coaching involved with the dramatic flair or choreography - they are all Scarlet's! (Go ahead, click on it now. Guaranteed to make you smile!)

When I saw that it just melted my heart and reminded me of Kacey when she was little. Turns out Scarlet was called back for a big part in the play. Mind you, she is a kindergartener! Turns out she was up against a 4th grader for the part and Scarlet got the part! What a hoot!! I am so hoping I can go and see the play.
                                                                                                      Kacey - almost 4

Scarlet -5

Yes, Scarlet is amazing and I must say that it appears the apple does not fall far from the tree!

Happy Birthday, Kacey!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy 21st Birthday, Kylie!

Is it really possible that my little Kylie is 21 years old? Wow, where did the time go??

Every family deserves to have a Kylie! She was so much fun!! The girl who sang to her own reflection even when she had an audience. Good times! We used to have a shiny, gold fireplace frame in our old house and Kylie would be singing a song for us and she would twirl around as part of her choreography and then catch a glimpse of herself in the gold reflection and start singing to herself and we would have to remind her to turn around and sing to us! She was so darn cute. She could be kind of a brat but even when she was bratty, she was so funny and adorable and you couldn't help but chuckle. (At least I hope that's how Courtney sees it because she was mostly bratty to Courtney!)

One of my favorite Kylie memories was reporting herself lost. It all started when she wandered away from me in Walmart when she was about 4. I wasn't concerned. She had only been out of my sight for a couple of minutes and I was calling her name looking under racks. An employee asked me if I needed any help and I told her no I was just looking for my daughter who had wandered off. She immediately called a "Code Adam" where they announce there is a missing child and lock the front doors - nothing like that to make you feel like an incompetent parent. Well, she was located quickly and I picked her up at the register and she seemed perfectly happy with the attention she got.

Fast forward a few weeks? months? I can't remember. We were at the aquatic center and Kylie was old enough that she could play out in the shallow water or in the sand with her friends or sisters with some independence. (People with only 1 or 2 kids are probably shuddering at the thought but when you have seven, there are a few spares!) (I'm totally kidding!!) The point is, Kylie was old enough to know where I was sitting and where she could find me. So I was surprised to hear that there was a child named Kylie who was lost. What? She was just in the sand! I walked the walk of shame over to the office (about 20 feet away) where lost children are retrieved. Kylie gave me a fake hug and I thanked everyone for their diligence. Then I questioned Kylie, "How could you be lost? You knew right where I was and I haven't moved." She just shrugged her shoulders and smiled that infectious smile.

Fast forward 30 minutes later as I watch Kylie leave the sand area, walk right by me and head to the office to report herself lost! I run and barely catch her before she can summon the guards once again. I wonder how far she would have been willing to wander if she knew that she could get her picture on a milk carton! If memory serves, that wasn't the end of her trying to report herself lost but I think we we were finally smart enough to thwart her efforts. See what I mean by bratty but oh so cute! That was Kylie!!

Kylie is headed to Auckland, New Zealand next semester. She leaves Dec. 30th and will spend the next 4 months there as part of her Elementary Ed major. She will be taking classes and teaching classes. She will live with a host family and I bet they will love her just as much as we do! She is going to make the best teacher ever and I am so proud of her!!

It has not only been a blessing but it has been a privilege to be Kylie's mother, and I treasure every moment of those 21 years! Happy Birthday, Kylie. I love you!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

So much for avoiding religion and politics!

Since the election is looming I just have to get a few political thoughts off my chest. I sure hope that people out there realize the kind of candidate we have in Mitt Romney. Do not believe the media! It is so exciting to have a candidate of Mitt’s caliber. He is not too good to be true people – he is exactly as he seems! It drives me crazy to have political pundits say that he’s too wooden, his hair is too perfect, he’s too rich, he’s wishy washy and other such nonsense. If we had all gotten together and created the perfect candidate from scratch, I don’t think we could have gotten much closer than Mitt. He’s an independently wealthy, highly educated, hard-working, God fearing, family man. Christians everywhere should be jumping for joy! This is our guy!!

I have a feeling that many of you out there are like me when it comes to politics… I don’t understand half of what they are talking about most of the time! I freely admit that!! I stay somewhat informed but mostly I am busy raising a family and training dancers. I am doing my best to be a good citizen and make a difference in my community. I look for a candidate who has similar interests to mine, someone who I believe would make wise decisions on my behalf when faced with difficult situations both at home and abroad. It’s awesome when a candidate comes with expertise in at least one area (like Mitt with his financial background) but I still believe the most important trait is character. I want a president who is intelligent, wise and sensible and has no other agenda other than to do what is best to protect our country and improve it. Reagan was an actor by profession yet he was a successful and beloved president. I don’t think that any president has all of the knowledge and expertise to solve this country’s problems on their own (though Mitt probably could!) and we don't expect that. A president is only as good as the people he surrounds himself with and good people naturally attract other good people. I look for the candidate who is most likely to put the smartest people possible on their team who have no hidden agendas. Let’s face it, career politicians make deals and arrangements – how else do you think they fund their campaigns? Most are not independently wealthy before they are elected president! Why in the world does this country have so much mistrust for the man who wants the job (Mitt) but not the man who needs the job (Obama)? With Mitt we get a man of great character and a financial genius! Seriously people – what more do you want???

I want to make it clear that I am not one of those who believe that Obama is a terrorist, or his degrees are fake, or he is the devil incarnate, etc. From what I know of him which is based on nothing more than reading his book, The Audacity of Hope, and seeing him on Oprah, and years of mentally sifting through all of the information that has been presented to me through the media… I like the guy! He seems like a good person. His wife seems awesome. He has a beautiful family. I would have to say that one of the biggest problems I always had with Obama was the fact that he smoked. I’m sorry if this offends people, but what intelligent person smokes these days? To me, it shows a personal weakness which could be just a simple addiction to nicotine or, more often, a habit that is masking a deeper inner struggle.  To me, his smoking was a red flag that indicated weakness. His wife hated the fact that he smoked yet he continued to smoke. I just find that habit to be at odds with the person he claims to be. The golden question is would he have quit if he wasn’t running for reelection? He supposedly quit in 2010. Hmmm…  So, bottom line is, I like Obama as a person but I am not at all impressed with the state of our country and I’d like to try something different.

Being a Mormon, I have no problem with Mitt’s religious affiliation – I know, big surprise! For me, a candidate’s religious affiliation is something to be taken into consideration – not necessarily a deal breaker - but should be considered. Anyone who knows anything about Mormonism or who knows more than a few Mormons knows that there is nothing to fear! I’ll bet you anything that if you have Mormons in your community, they are people that are well liked and well respected. The reason I am certain of this is because that is the kind of people that our church teaches us to be! Yes, there are a few weirdos and extremists among us but, let’s be honest, all religions have their fair share of weirdos – most of them well intentioned.  

What I find so hypocritical in regards to religion is that the media puts Mormonism under the microscope and wants to judge every one of it tenets and make a ruling, yet Obama does not have a religion that has any doctrine that can be pinpointed so he’s okay. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy there? The same goes for Catholic and Jewish candidates. The media gets to judge them because their beliefs are well documented and have been for centuries, yet these evangelicals and born again candidates come along and they don’t really profess anything other than being a Christian and that’s okay! If you can define your religion, we will judge you and even persecute you for it, but if you can’t define what you believe then you get a free pass and are presumed to be a good upstanding Christian even without any supporting evidence. It’s so unfair! Does anyone else see that?

It says in Matthew, Chapter 7, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit… Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”  There may be many who disagree with one or more tenets of Mormon doctrine (although many are misinformed) but no one can make a claim that the Mormon church is anything other than a good church based on the fruits (actions) of the majority of its members (we don’t deserve to be judged by our weirdos any more than you do!) So if you know nothing else about the Mormon church, know that you have absolutely nothing to fear about a Mormon president.  If he is living his religion, he won’t smoke (Obama), he won’t cheat on his wife (Clinton, Kennedy, …),  he won’t drink alcohol (which usually precedes the aforementioned turpitudes, et al) and he will need nothing more to wake him up in the morning than a good shower! Mormons aren’t perfect but the code of conduct that we are taught to follow is!

One thing everyone needs to understand is that if there was any dirt on Mitt Romney you would know about it. You need to realize that they are saying that his hair is too perfect because that’s the worst thing they can say about him! Some say he’s been wishy washy on some issues and I say – you try to run as a conservative Christian and see how far you can get telling the absolute truth about how you really feel about each issue. You don’t think Mitt has to give in here and there for the greater good? Every time he even hits close to the truth on issues, he gets crucified for it yet we all know that he’s right. The 47%? Come on people, we all know it’s true. There is a big percentage of people that are either government employees who enjoy job security in spite of poor performance or lack of need for their job description and also people living on government assistance who are fully able to work who are living a fairly good life and do not want that to change. No one is saying these are bad people - just saying they probably aren't looking for a change so those of us who are need to be sure and get out there and vote! I believe Mitt is as honest as a politician can possibly be and the reason he gets in trouble for little things he says here and there is because he is a real person living in the real world like the rest of us. He is not a career politician who has a masters in Rhetoric and a minor in Don’t Say Anything That Will Offend. He had a career! He is a family man. He is just like you and me only better looking and wealthier!

I’d like to say one more thing about Mitt and about his wife, Ann. If anyone out there thinks that raising 5 boys without any scandals is not a herculean accomplishment these days then you aren’t paying attention. Add to that mix extreme wealth. I defy anyone to find an extremely wealthy family that has not had any problems with their kids. Wealth is often more of a curse than a blessing – just ask the Kennedys, the Windsors, the Kardashians!  And I will remind you that if there was dirt out there on the kids or the grandkids, we would know about it too! Add in again that Ann has battled breast cancer and lives with Multiple Sclerosis. These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things just like you and me. They have a proven track record of success. Who would you rather trust your future with?

I truly believe that the majority of people in our country are fine upstanding Christians who cross all party lines. We are allowing the liberal minority to run our country and it’s time for a change. For the most part, the liberals are the ones who are filling our air waves and telling us what to think. They are the ones who are giving us their version of the news and telling us how we should feel about it. They are the ones who are telling us that we are bigots if we don’t think marriage should be redefined. Just because you hear it on the news doesn’t make it true and it certainly doesn’t make it right! It’s time for the quiet majority to be heard. The majority who doesn’t have time to protest or be in front of the camera because they are busy making the world a better place one job at a time, one family at a time, one home at a time, one yard at a time. 

I, for one, truly appreciate the sacrifice that Mitt Romney is making for us. He has a great life. He does not need us – we need him! Why in the world is he putting himself and his family through this torture that is called campaigning? It’s because he knows he has gifts and talents that can be utilized for the greater good of our country. He is doing what we were all supposed to learn how to do in Kindergarten… he is sharing! America you are crazy if you pass up an opportunity for someone like Mitt to lead our country. We should not only be voting for him, we should also be thanking him for stepping up and doing this for us when he could easily be enjoying retirement on a sunny beach in Florida… or the Hamptons… or the south of France (not sure where really rich people go? I only go where frequent flier miles go!) I am happily voting for Mitt but, unfortunately, my vote probably won't count in Washington (too many Westside liberals and stupid electoral college) so we need everyone whose votes will count to vote for Mitt!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Happy 17th Birthday Bryan!

If you see this boy today, be sure to wish him Happy Birthday!

He may be hanging out with these fellows...

Or he may just be with this guy...

Or he may be all by himself dressed in something like this...

However you find him, give him a big hug and wish him a happy 17th Birthday!

We love you Bryan!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I survived another recital!

Recital week is over! Yay!! It's always fun but so much work so I'm glad it's over. It went really well. So proud of our dancers! The highlight of the weekend, though, was that Jon and Kacey and... Asher were here! I haven't seen Asher since he was born 10 months ago. He is so sweet.

Asher - 10 months

Asher and his favorite person besides his mom and dad, Aunt Kristy
Asher and Aunt Kendall
Asher and Grammy - I hope to be his favorite soon!

 Funny thing we noticed this weekend. Look at this picture...

Anyone notice a resemblance?

That baby is Bryan!
Asher and Uncle Bryan look a lot alike!

It was so wonderful to have Kacey, Jon and Asher here. Jon & Kacey film our recital and they do such an amazing job. They had to fly in and fly out so they didn't bring the other kids. I would have loved to see them but we all know recital weekend doesn't leave any time for visiting. Probably better in the long run to be left home to play with friends than have memories of being ignored by your own grandma! They are coming in August for a nice long visit - yay! Kacey is so much help to me at recital and I can't thank her enough. Trevor rand my errands so Kristy could watch Rhode so Kacey could help me at the theater, so it was a family affair of service! Thank you all!!!

This  year was my last recital with my last daughter. Wow! Hard to believe. So many fun memories. Some days I wonder how we got it all done? So many little girls to get ready. It was a good day when they learned to do their own hair and make-up! I am so proud of each of them and so grateful that dance was not Kristy's thing. One less dancer to get ready! I will always appreciate that I got to be a volleyball mom with Kristy. It was much easier!

I feel bad that my girls always got the short end of the stick with me. More often than not, I had to be a director first and a mom second. I suppose it helped make them the strong, capable individuals that they are today but I know it wasn't always easy for them. I would have loved to simply dote on them and think of nothing else. It is truly one of my favorite past times! I hope their memories are good ones. And I hope they all know how much I adore them.

PS - I love my sons too! And I will be forever grateful that Brad did Showstoppers and Bryan did Boy's Club. I'm sure we can all agree that those experiences were major contributing factors to the outstanding young men they are today!! I bet Brad's first best seller will be All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Showstoppers.

Here is Kendall and her fellow dancers who will be graduating. What an amazing group of girls! The future is bright for these girls!!!

Sam Calder, Megan Roylance, Kendall Earl, McKayla Earl, Dayna Bergeson, Chelsea Manly
To those of you who are wondering... no I am not retiring from dance just yet. I kinda have a huge studio mortgage to pay! So until I can pass the gauntlet on, I will still be fully immersed in dance. It's fun and challenging and rewarding, but I am definitely feeling too old for this! I'm ready to pass the baton...  If only I had someone to pass it too!! Until then, we are already planning awesome numbers for next year's new groups. It's gonna be another great year!!!

Quick update: Kacey and Jon are still in Las Vegas with Scarlet, Rhode and Asher. Scarlet will start Kindergarten this fall. Kristy and Trevor are still in Bellevue, WA. Trevor still works for Microsoft and Kristy just took a new job as a receptionist in a physical therapy practice. Kristy also teaches early morning seminary. Brad is in Provo working for Nu Skin as he is applying for dental school. Courtney is on tour with the BYU ballroom team in Nauvoo and the Chicago area for two weeks. She was home for a while and will be back for a while after her tour. Kylie is finishing up spring semester at BYU  in her Elementary Ed major and will be home this week. Kendall is graduated and will attend BYU Provo this fall. Bryan will be a Junior next year and will be attending BBCC as a Running Start student.

This week we are preparing to send Kendall off to Mobile Alabama where she will represent Washington at the Distinguished Young Woman of America competition (formerly Junior Miss.) Kendall leaves this Saturday on my birthday, June 16th! She will be there for two weeks and we will be going down for the actual program on June 28, 29, 30.

Kendall Earl - DYW of Washington
David, Kristy, Courtney, Kylie and I get to go and watch her. Unfortunately, Kacey has some an important event she has to stay in town for. She will be missed! And Kendall is under strict orders not to win without Kacey there. The boys in the family were kind of uninvited when we saw how much airfare was. (They were only too happy to bow out and promised to show their full support for Kendall by sending good luck thoughts from the golf course!)

We are blessed to have so many good opportunities and exciting adventures in our lives and we are truly grateful!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Happy 22nd Birthday, Courtney!

 Courtney turns 22 today! It's almost impossible to talk about Courtney without mentioning ballroom because we are all so darn proud of her! She fell in love with ballroom the moment she saw it and went out and made her dreams come true. Actually she is living all of our ballroom dreams that we didn't even know we had!

Courtney will be on the BYU touring team again next year which is extra exciting because it is a Blackpool year which means they will compete in Blackpool, England for yet another international title. We are all so excited for her we can hardly stand it!

I am posting some pictures for everyone to enjoy from the last couple of years. (Mostly this is just for me because I just love how glamorous and elegant she looks in her dresses.) The guy in all the pictures is her partner, Tim Colvin. He has been a great partner and friend.

Little known fact: In addition to being an amazing dancer, Courtney is wicked good at Encore. (I'm sorry but there's just no other word to describe how good she is. Say it with a Boston accent and it's pretty funny.) Encore is a game where you pick a word and then each team has to come up with 7 words of a song lyric that contains that word. The first team to run out loses. Her brain is an encyclopedia of lyrics! Why? We have no idea. She's also extremely good at Boggle. In fact, she's really good at lots of games but occasionally I still beat her - but she's probably just letting me win because she's kind and generous too!

 Watching her dance is just pure joy for me but I also love just being around her. She is home for spring term which she hasn't been since she graduated from high school, I think, and I am enjoying every second. She is heading out on a two week Nauvoo performing tour with the ballroom team in June. I can't wait for the adventures that next year will bring for her. She has worked hard and she deserves it.

I am just so honored to be her mother. She is one in a million and the perfect middle child!

I love you, Courtney!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ten Things I Hate About You!

Kendall turned 18 on Friday and I couldn't help but pause and reflect on the type of person that she has become. She's an adult now, at least when it comes to voting, smoking, drinking in some states and buying lotto tickets. (Does anyone see anything wrong with that list right there? Maybe we should consider adding on those "privileges" gradually? Say...
  • voting at 18 with only the intoxication of liberal media to influence them
  • smoking at 19 so they at least extend their lives by one more year
  • lotto tickets at 20 so they can have a couple of years to realize that after they pay their bills on their meager income there is no money left over to blow on gambling
  • drinking at 21 because, well, we can never have enough drunk drivers.
What is the age for finally being expected to live responsibly and be accountable and contribute to society? Maybe that should be added to the list of 18 year old privileges? Oh dear... I digress.)

So... back to Kendall. Her birthday got me thinking about all the things I hate about her. There are many but here are ten main things I hate about Kendall:

#1 - She is happy and positive and almost always in a good mood. She wakes up cheerful at 5am every morning for drill team. Who does that?

#2 - She's photogenic. The camera either loves you or it doesn't. I don't know why it loves some people more than others. Sometimes the reasons are obvious and other times, not so much. For whatever reason, the camera loves Kendall.

#3 - She asks not "what can you do for me mom?" but rather, "what can I do for you?" That behavior doesn't usually start to emerge until post mission for boys or well into their twenties for girls!

#4 - She not only cleans up after herself but she cheerfully cleans up after everyone else too. I used to think that out of 7 kids I did not get one single neat freak. Well, it turns out that there was a neat freak buried under all of her older sisters' clutter! She loves having her sisters back home but also looks forward to getting their room back in pristine condition when they leave.

#5 - She's self-motivated. She gets straight A's without a lick of help from me. She doesn't even need my occasional, very inspiring pep talks. (Don't worry, though, Bryan is getting his share and Kendall's too!)

#6 - She cooks! She likes to experiment in the kitchen and make amazingly delicious things. Her latest experiment was this...

What is that you ask? Why, it's a "slutty brownie" of course! (not named by Kendall). It's a bar cookie and the bottom layer is chocolate chip, the middle layer is double stuff oreos and the top layer is brownie. They are called that because they are "easy and quite filthy". I love that she bakes but why does she have to do it when I'm on a quest to lose my extra holiday pounds? Ya gotta hate her!

#7 - She is good at putting outfits together and wearing everything in her closet yet doesn't spend too much time fussing over it. She appreciates when I buy her clothes and she actually wears them - unlike some of my other kids (cough - Courtney - who won't wear color or anything with a pattern preferring browns and greys and thinks everything makes her look fat!)

#8 - She entertains. She actually invites friends over (unlike some of my other children, cough - Brad, who refused to and said our house was boring) and Kendall even plans everything and prepares everything. This girl actually plans it, shops for needed items at the store, prepares everything and cleans up. Seriously! This is the cake she made for her most recent birthday party...

#9 - She gets herself up and ready for everything. Not only do I not have to help her but she is usually prepared with plenty of time to help me.

#10 - She is content to just be at home. She loves to hang out with her friends and go on dates but she is just as happy to be home and read a book or hang out with the family. (At least, she pretends like she likes being home with us and that's good enough for me!)

Why do I hate all of these things about Kendall? Because it's going to be miserable for me to send her off to college in the fall. Now, don't get me wrong, I have not looked forward to any of my kids leaving. If I had the choice I'd keep them all right here with me for the rest of their lives but... that's kind of creepy. I knew I'd miss the other kids but at least I got to look forward to their messy rooms going away with them. And they were all somewhat helpful but nothing like Kendall. Seriously, she is setting me up for a devastating loss and that is why I hate her!

Shame on you, Kendall! Have you thought about my feelings at all? We are supposed to be arguing over curfews and fighting over why your bed needs to be made when you are just going to get back in it that night. You're supposed to sneaking around with a boy I don't approve of and telling me you're old enough to make your own choices. These are the things that give parents some small comfort in knowing that they will at least get a respite from when their child leaves for college. I fear the way you have behaved this year is going to leave me lying in the fetal position for days. The only thing I will have to look forward to is picking up Bryan's socks all over the house. At least that's a full time job so it should keep me occupied!

I hate you Kendall!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ode to Loola Mae

This is Kylie. I've hacked my mom's blog not to surprise her or do a kind deed, but because tragedy has struck recently in the Earl home. Loola Mae, my dear dear cat and best friend, is gone. I got the call from my mom last night and immediately broke down. I loved that cat more than I love my own sisters (sorry guys) and she was the bright shining star in my somewhat dismal life. The world has never known a love like the love the two of us shared; just a girl and her cat, taking on the world by storm.

I thought I might just take this moment to share some of my favorite memories of Loola Mae. These are in no particular order:
  • Sometimes she would sleep on the end of my bed like a faithful dog. I loved those nights. I would have to hold really really still and be careful not to move my body in the slightest, otherwise she would get T.O'ed and leave.

  • When I was doing my makeup in the morning and sitting in front of my mirror, she would sit in my lap so I couldn't lean over to my make up bag. Then she would swat at me while I tried to put on my mascara and leave me looking like a cheap hooker. Precious.
  • I liked to pick her up and hug her as tight as I could until she could fight her way out of my arms. Sometimes this would get her real riled up and then she would stalk me like her prey and chase me through the house. Oh the memories!
  • She loved sparkly things and dresses and this is for real. Those of you who know me know that I don't keep a very tidy room so naturally there are clothes everywhere, but regardless of all the options anytime a dance costume or fancy dress touched the floor she was all over that business. I raised her right.

  • One time I called her fat and she glared at me for like 5 full minutes, no exaggeration. (and yeah not only do I talk to my cat but I insult her when I'm having a rough day, Ok?)

So apparently Loola Mae just went "missing" suddenly. I know, my first thought was Dad with the candlestick in the T.V. room too, but mom swears he didn't. She and Kendall had both noticed she hadn't been around for a few days so they told my dad and had some house wide search for the dead cat. No sign of her. Best they can guess is that she got out when the front door was accidentally blown open or something. That cat was raised by me, therefore she is not bred for the outdoors...

My dear roommate/BFFL Nicole Roxanne Hamilton saw that I was having a rough time with the disappearance of my precious kitty, and being the poetic genius that she is came home with this little beauty to cheer me up. Oh how it worked. I know that this news will come as a shock to all of you faithful readers out there and so I wanted to share this piece of comfort with you, even though it is very specifically written for me. Not you guys. Just me. Not you. Because I loved her most. Here goes:

Loola Mae wasn't just a cat,

she was oh so much more than that.

She brought you so much happiness and joy,

she was a great substitute for your lack of a boy.

I know you loved that cat a whole lot,

but it is still debatable whether she liked you back or not.

With Loola Mae you loved to cuddle and play,

during which she only tried to run away.

Loola thought your obsession with her was creepy and weird,

And it was clear that your feelings for her were not mirrored.

I feel terrible for that cat, but not cuz she's dead,

but because something was clearly wrong in her head.

Who wouldn't want your love and devotion,

and getting rubbed down with the finest of lotion*?

Who wouldn't want to be held in your arms,

And to wear a sparkly pink collar all covered in charms?

I hate to say it, but Loola Mae was kinda a beezy of a cat,

Who wouldn't want your McLovin' and all that?

I know you wonder why she went out that door,

Maybe it's cuz she thought her life needed more.

Or perhaps like in Modern Family animal suicide is real,

But either way did that selfish cat consider how you'd feel?

No she did not, that little whore,

But don't get down, your life has so much more.

Like a roommate that wrote you this blessed poem,

and a loving family, and friends, and a beautiful home.

Incredibly stunning really really ridiculously good looks,

and a growing collection of children's books.

not to mention the most wondrous of baking skills,

and a sweet gaze that gives the manliest of men the chills.

Yes it is true that Loola Mae is physically gone,

but her memory and legacy will forever live on.

*As weird as my relationship with my cat may have been, I did not on any occasion rub her down with fine lotions. That would have just made her fur greasy.

See why Nicole's my BFFL? truly inspiring words.

Loola Mae I love you and I miss you already. Lucky for you, I'm not a great cat owner so you will have tons of friends in kitty heaven. You're welcome.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Every family should have a Kacey!

I think it's safe to say that when one has a child, most of us parents hope that the child will turn out to be like us(at least the good things) and eventually maybe even surpass us in abilities and accomplishments one day... down the road. I had no idea that my first born daughter would surpass me in almost every way possible by the time she was 28!

Kacey is the consummate leader. You would probably think that it wasn't necessary to have any more leaders in a family with two red personalities such as David and myself, yet it seems like it is always Kacey who has the best plan for the day and actually makes it happen. She has a way of leading people and making it fun, unlike me who is the resident "fun sucker" and David who can be counted on for fun but not much leading. Kacey is the perfect blend of both of us.

She has always been very capable but now she has added new accomplishments to her repertoire like cooking and sewing. She cooks way better than I do! She uses spices I've never heard of. She gets these bountiful baskets of fresh vegetables each week from the farmer's market with the contents being chosen for you, and instead of throwing out the ones she doesn't recognize (like I would), she researches what they are and finds something delicious to make with them. To be fair, I wouldn't intend to throw them out. I'd leave them on the counter and stare at them for a week fully intending to figure out what they were and how to cook them, but they would most likely go bad before I solved the mystery and then I would throw them out.

She made these delicious truffles for David:

I think I can probably still sew better than she can but not for long because she sews every week with her sewing club. Yes, sewing club!

Look at this adorable pillow she made me for Christmas!

She made matching Christmas pajamas for her kids:

And sewing club is at her house while throngs of small children run amuck! I don't know how to spell that word but I bet Kacey does because she reads a ton too. She has a book club too that she started herself. I think it's still going, but with or without the peer pressure of a book club, she reads a ton!

She is the best mother. I can't even go into how many wonderful things she does with her kids. All I did with Kacey was turn on Sesame Street and let them teach her the alphabet! (Although, in all fairness to me, my method was extremely successful with Kacey. She could recognize her letters at 20 mos. I know that because I was keeping a journal for Kacey back then. Those were the days!)

Asher is 5 months and still not sleeping too well at night. Kacey has to get up with him 2-3 times yet she seemed to have more energy than anyone else at our house at Christmas. She never took a nap. She is like the energizer bunny!

All through the Christmas holidays while everyone was home, she just keep organizing us all and getting us to play games and other activities, all the while planning and cooking what we were going to eat in addition to taking care of her three small children! She does not pawn off her kids on other people like most of us do - well, maybe just me. Isn't that what family's for? Pawning off your kids on their grandparents and aunt and uncles to get the much needed break you deserve? Not Kacey. She will allow us to play with them and will accept some offers of help but insists that they are her burden (I mean blessing) and no one else's.

Well she sounds great, you say, but does she have any other tricks up her sleeve? Yes, she does! How about training for the half-marathon she is going to run tomorrow? Seriously! Her baby is 5 months. She ran 12 miles when she was here. That is out to Moses Pointe and back to our house with an extra loop around the Peninsula. Moses Pointe!!! I get tired just thinking about driving that far.

She is the best older sister! She helps her sibs with whatever they need, whether it be advice or actual help with a project. Kacey is the one to turn to or the shoulder to cry on. I swear Kacey is wiser than I am and has been for years!

I could really go on and on extolling her virtues but it would just make everyone else feel bad. I never got her birthday blog done because as many of you know I was busy celebrating her birthday in Florida without her. The least I could have done is get her blog done, right? Geesh. She would have gotten mine done if the tables were turned. Wow, now I feel really bad. Hopefully this impromptu tribute will suffice.

Her husband, Jon, is a pretty remarkable guy in his own right, but this blog is not about Jon so he will have to wait his turn. He does deserve one, though.

Yes, Kacey is remarkable and I just feel bad for any family that doesn't have a "Kacey" because she is the turning out to be the family event planner we never knew we needed. Kacey just handles things like a pro and can juggle ten things at once. She puts me to shame. I get overwhelmed with chaos and too many things going on at once. I do better one task at a time. Or maybe 2 or 3, but anything over that and I'm like a dog chasing my own tail.

Thanks, Kacey, for making our holidays so joyful! Good luck on your half-marathon tomorrow. You're my idol!


PS - Did I mention she brined our turkey? Delicious!