Thursday, November 28, 2013


My thoughts this morning:  'we need another bathroom', 'this house is getting too small', 'I don't have enough time', 'I can't keep things clean', 'it's too noisy', 'I can't afford...' 
Sometimes the complaints want to take over.  
Today helped me to pause and show some gratitude for the many riches that I have, and I hope to carry this thankfulness with me to finish out my very blessed year.

I am Thankful for...


who do things like take pictures of me with my clothes on backward, inside out, sideways, etc.
(they really have to do this way toooooo much)

more birthday cake, 

the gift of coffee, 

dinner with Ms. J, 

cooking in the classroom, 

preparing the table, 

finishing touches, 

the sweetest second family, 

homemade baby turkey bows, 

personalized table settings by Ms. Cousin O, 
(carlee #sweetbabygirl, darren #fantasyfootballguy, Connor #allovertheplace)

having the best table setting, 
soulfully good name tag, 

Cousin O, 

(who made) this delicious bread, 

teddy bears, 

Christmas Ahead, 

the Wishbone, 

'find the banana' word game, 

the view(s), 

winning the football game, 

all the wonderful social interactions, 
#lol #techgeneration 

superstar cousins, 
(don't they look like young versions of superstars?)

glamorous city cousin, 




interrupting the football game with a dance party, 

help with the Christmas decor, 

all the ornaments on one branch, 


growing children, 

and finishing the brownies with a Hallmark Holiday movie.

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  James 1:17

Happy Thanksgiving, 
I am grateful for you all!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Super Dee Dooper Birthday

This year is a milestone b. day for me- 35.
I have been feeling every. single. one of those years.
Though happy, I am easily overwhelmed, easily tired, and easily emotional.

This year, several girlfriends made a combined effort to make this the Best Birthday Ever!!

They took me on a weekend trip to a picturesque cabin in Boone, and it was great fun.  
I am still feeling the effects of laughter, love, and rest.
I could never express to my friends how touched I was, because no one wants to see me cry, I kept it in check.    
I was so humbled and amazed.  They all treated me like a queen.
It felt A for Awesome.
I truly appreciate and truly feel blessed to have friends and family (the ones who could be at my party and the ones who couldn't) for teaching me this:

Count Your Life By Smiles, Not Tears. 
Count Your Age By Friends, Not Years.

Happy B. Day to ME
My cup runneth over!


The girls did GOOD.  The two story, Hummingbird Cabin,  was just beautiful inside and out.   

The atmosphere was perfect for a retreat!

My party theme was-
(yes there was gold star dust)

Our party started right away with laughs!  The girls held a mock IEP meeting for me.
I apparently have some functional behaviors that needs some support-
my desire to volunteer for things puts me in an overwhelming place.

(me?  big head?  center of the attention?  I regress!)
They were joking, I'm sure.  :)

I was given a communication card to deal with my desire to volunteer.

Then I was shown how I will use the relaxation station to avoid meltdowns.
The "anxiety pills" were really M&Ms, we were NOT pill exchanging.
To lighten the mood further I was given other gag gifts (manipulatives), but those will forever remain a mystery.

I love PARTIES (exp. mine).

Next we went to the local Tavern to eat and hear a little hippie boy play the guitar.
I got a roast beef wrap with tater tots- delicious.

After a night of sleeping all night uninterrupted, I woke up thinking it had to be 10:30am!  I felt so rested.
I rolled over to look at my clock and it was only 6:30am!  
I obviously don't know how to sleep late!
The next morning, Ms. A-OT fixed us the best breakfast casserole I had ever eaten (the secret is garlic croutons).  
Mrs. E. fixed us all a 'berry' delicious smoothie.

ummmm.  Ms. A-OT?
You can't spend all day in the hot tub, we have things to do.

rocking in the fresh mountain air!

Followed by, an entertaining dramatic reading of the guest book.
Hilarious (this is where I got the words 'picturesque cabin' from)
Remember there are people like us before you write crazy stuff in the guest book.

Next, a Sporadic Dance Party.

We spend the rest of the afternoon shopping, and stopping at this fun place for an appetizer and drinks before dinner.
Ms. A-OT took us to the Goodwill for a little bargain shopping.

It was here that Mrs. E. and I met this little lady who asked us to help her find a dress.  She told us everything in her house had been destroyed in a house fire, even killing her pet. 
Mrs. E. and I immediately felt our eyes fill with tears, our hearts broke for her, and we volunteered to buy her a dress each.

About thirty minutes later, we had made her purchases and went to the back of the store.  While we were waiting for Ms. A-OT, we overheard the cashier turn the lady down for FREE goods.  She had about twenty five outfits telling the same story.  The employees seemed to know her "game".

The ladies had good laugh at us over dinner!   Once we sat down and started talking we realized, this lady had told us she:
1. had fibromyalgia
2.  her son needed a lung
3. her husband had cancer
4.  she was raising her two grandchildren
5.  she had lost her home in a house fire and 
6.  her bulldog died saving the children.

She could have been telling the truth, 
buttttttt I think we were:
Hey, at least we didn't give her our name and address to write a thank you card like she suggested! (those were two pretty dresses too!)

To make us feel better about being scammed, 
Ms. A-OT put on a Goodwill Fashion Show with her purchases:

The Boris Yeltsin Hat

The Teacher Skirt

80s Shoulder Pads

We followed up the fashion show with CAKE, and

the hot tub.
We ignored the sign that read a TWO person limit in the hot tub!
Our expressions are priceless, the conversation was very entertaining!

Party Favors- homemade by Mrs. C!  She picked out the perfect colors for everyone.  I've already hung mine by the kitchen window.  

Everyone got these cute little tablets, mine was altered- 
'Amanda said NO to Meetings'.
Not true, I volunteer for meetings. ha. ha.


The girls put together a perfect salad.
Before we left, Mrs. C. went to a local restaurant to get my FAVORITE blue cheese dressing and packed it for our party!
Is she not the best?
Those thoughtful touches just make everything FAB!

Next, we had an entertaining game of 

My team was NOT stepping UP!

This is my MAD face because we are losing.
(very close up, I should NEVER take close up shots, YIKES)

Hello TEAM?
Duh?  hole, near head, decorative, gage
It's suppose to be earlobe!
They couldn't get it, so Mrs. LG had the great idea to CHEAT.  
She had five cards memorized that I passed her and we still lost.

Midnight Cake Feeding

Ms. J bought beautiful flowers for our breakfast.

Again these ladies took care of everything!
Mrs. E. made the best pancakes- whole wheat, blueberries, and walnuts with a side of bacon.


Before we knew it, it was time to leave.
(I looked like I packed for a week long trip!)

But, before we left Ms. J. (the most creative one) wrote a lovely poem. 
I was so impressed, 
and I didn't cry (but I wanted to cry).
Tomorrow is another wonderful day Lady J!

 I heart you ladies.
 Thank you for the most wonderful memories!

I did miss my family!  
Darren was so great to watch the children all weekend by himself so I could go have a fun time.  
You would not believe, in one weekend Carlee's language was already better!  She intentionally called me 'mama, mama' until I picked her up.  Then she said three new words, 'ball', 'baby', and 'beep beep' for car.  She brought me all the items and called them by name!  I was so proud of her!
BEEP!  Beep!  She loves her brother's cars!

Connor remains proudly unchanged.

It's back to real life!