Oh, boy! Oh, girl! Oh, my! Oh, wow!

When my daughter was about 2 years old, she used to roam around the house, looking for something. Then she would walk up to me, shrug her shoulders, raise her hands and ask, “Where my sista?”

Oh, my sweet girl. She did this so many times, and it broke my heart every time.

I am blessed with two wonderful sisters, and I couldn’t imagine my daughter going through her entire life without one of God’s greatest gifts. A sister.

Well, today was the big day. It was the day the whole family has been anticipating for 20 weeks. My ultrasound. Oh… if this is news to you, you better go here real quick and get caught up. Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

Everyone in the family has had a very strong hunch that we were having a girl.

“Alayna HAS to have a sister!” even the boys would say.

But what if it wasn’t?

“God knows exactly what baby our family needs and he is going to give it to us,” I told the kids — and myself — 100 times.

I could barely sleep last night with anticipation. When the ultrasound tech gave us the news, I couldn’t hold back my tears.

It’s amazing enough that my 40-year-old body is the home to a growing, thriving baby! But how much more can God bless us that the heart, the lungs, the brain, the spine, the bones all appear to be perfect?!

And, it’s a girl.

A G-I-R-L!


Of course, we all would have loved a boy just as much. With all three of my other children, I truly did not even have a preference going into the 20-week ultrasound. But I am so thankful to be able to give Alayna a sister.

She even spread out her fingers to give us a wave. I’m already having proud mommy moments since the doctor said it’s rare for a baby to do that in utero.

And then she posed to show us her footprints:

I am so amazed. So blessed. So thankful. So happy. Thank you, God, for such an amazing gift!

Now, there’s a new question coming out of my daughter’s mouth:

“When will my sister come out?”

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books, movies and CDs

Oh my! It’s amazing what a little respiratory illness has done to me over the last eight days. The coughing and lack of sleep have zapped all of the energy out of my prego old lady body. I guess it’s good preparation for what is to come. =]

So now I have about five million posts swirling in my head, and I’m hoping to stay awake long enough to write a few of them between 10 loads of dirty laundry.

Fortunately, it’s summer so I have been spending several hours a day sitting by the pool while my kids play. And that has given me some extra time to read. I was wondering what everyone else is reading this summer and what you recommend.

I recently finished The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. This book touches on racial issues, tragedy, love, the bond between women, not to mention bee farming, which happens to be of huge interest to my husband. (That is the topic of another post.)

I cried my eyes out from start to finish reading this book, but it was worth it. Fortunately, I read a lot of it while sitting in the whirlpool tub in the Smoky Mountains so the tears just streamed right into the water. That saved me a lot of clean-up.

I also just finished Daisy Chain by Mary E. DeMuth. This book was suspenseful enough that I was able to finish it in just a couple of days. I would definitely recommend it, but the book is a little predictable and the characters are a bit shallow, especially coming right after the Bee book.

I didn’t realize when I started it that it was the first in a trilogy. So, I felt like the ending was a little cheap. It basically forces you to get the next book. So, I plan to rebel by reading something else first. That will really show them, huh?

The kids and I also are in the midst of listening to about five books on CD. Our favorite is Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O’Brien. I thought I remembered reading this as a kid, but the story seems completely new to me. We can’t wait to get in the car on our way back and forth to the pool to find out what happens next.

We also recently listened to Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes. It was good summer listening. Not my favorite, but a good mystery for kids.

I’m hoping to check out some of the recommendations you all gave me a few weeks ago. If you missed those, be sure to read the comments of this post for some great ideas for children’s books.

Finally, I am way behind the times when it comes to watching movies. But I recently rented three movies that I thought were decent: Marley and Me, New in Town and Seven Pounds. I absolutely loved Seven Pounds and the fact that more than halfway through the movie, the viewer still has no idea what the movie is about.

I actually watched this movie twice right in a row. The second time was even better because I could put all of the pieces together. I even watched all of the special features that came on the DVD. If you have seen this movie, tell me what you thought.

I would love to hear your recommendations on books, movies and children’s books. Please give me some ideas in the comment section!

I’m trying to avoid starting on an antibiotic, if possible, so I could have a few more days of low energy. And that just means more time sitting by the pool reading a book. Hey, it could be worse!

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When I think of you…

I have to take a minute today to say Happy Birthday to Lynn… my bestest friend from high school, my most faithful blog reader and an all-around wonderful person!

I’ve been trying to think of something profound to say. But all I can think of are all the things in life that remind me of you.

So, in the words of Miss Janet… “When I think of you…”

long walks nearly every evening
Diet Coke at McDonald’s
walking to my house for lunch
working at Big John’s
our “diet” lunches of a donut from Big John’s and an apple
sitting on your front porch
dragging Main in the Camaro or the blue egg (what was her name?)
laying out at the lake
proms, homecomings and football games
lots of boyfriends who shall remain nameless
driving by a few of their houses and shouting our true feelings when things didn’t go so well
remember the puppy we named Crucial? I still remember his little smashed body on the driveway
of course, there was Sinead and Janet and Prince blaring in the background, probably on cassette tape

I can’t believe we’re 40! Could it be?

Dance. Sing. Jump for joy. Celebrate! Eat chocolate. Demand pampering. And have the best birthday ever!

Happy Birthday, Girl!

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Does that come with a cup holder?

I’ve had a little is-sue the past week or so.

I have been coughing. And coughing. And coughing. I keep thinking it’s going to get better. But it doesn’t.

Actually, I usually feel pretty good during the day. Except for the fact that I’m so tired from coughing the entire night.

I have found one thing that helps, though. Ice chips. I get up in the middle of the night and get a cup of crushed ice. I lay in bed, holding the ice and eating it until I stop coughing.

The only problem with this plan is that I’m afraid I will fall asleep and spill the ice all over myself. And that is going to be worse than the coughing.

So, last night, I was thinking that what I need is a bedside cup holder. I’m picturing one of those clip-on cup holders that used to be sold for a car. Remember those? You would clip them on the side of the window.

I’m pretty sure my parents had one in their big red station wagon with the faux wood paneling on the side.

That must have been before cars came equipped with cup holders. Of course, cars also didn’t have seat belts in the back seats. Or even back seats, for that matter. We would just sit in the very back of the station wagon or lie down and take a nap.

The hanging cup holder worked great unless it was full of a red slurpie and someone slammed the door shut. That wasn’t so great.

Just think. Maybe the bedside cup holder will lead to as many inventions as the carside cup holder. I mean, think about it! Now, cars always come with cup holders. Not to mention seat belts. And seats. And air bags. And cruise control.

It might turn out that even people who don’t have bronchitis, pneumonia or even croup will start wanting cups of ice in their bedside cup holders.

Then, I realized that maybe most people with respiratory illnesses just place their cups of crushed ice on the night stand. And, I’m sorry to report that because we have lived with the same hand-me-down furniture for longer than I can admit, we don’t have a night stand.

So, actually, what we need is new bedroom furniture.

Well, I was afraid that you all might start to worry about me since I haven’t posted for so long. Hopefully, this post will ease your mind that I am completely fine. And not a bit delirious from lack of sleep.

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the cowboy boot salesman

One of our favorite memories of our recent trip to the Smoky Mountains was the evening we were resting on a bench in downtown Gatlinburg when a group of teenagers walked up and started setting up to perform a free bluegrass concert.

The five band members were all between the ages of 15 and 17. But their musical ability was incredible. As I watched the 15-year-old red-headed Abby play the fiddle, I wondered what it would be like to be so talented at such a young age. Was she born into the world a musical prodigy or was it just the outpouring of 10 years of practice and hard work?

I started daydreaming again about my secret desire to be a rock star (or at least a bluegrass singer) when my eyes started focusing on the girls’ footwear. I think my chances of becoming a famous banjo player are a little limited at this point in life, but hey, I could at least think about buying some cowboy boots.

A few hours later, we were walking down the strip when we spied the huge cowboy boot store across the street.

“Let’s go look around, just for fun,” my husband and I both agreed.

As soon as I saw the pricetags I was determined that we were only window-shopping. This was not my typical $29.99 shoe binge at Kohl’s.

Maybe we were just giddy with the joy of not having our children hanging on our hips begging for their own cowboy boots, but soon both my husband and I were searching the shelves for a size 8 for me to try. The minute I plopped down on the bench to try on a pair of cowboy boots “just for fun” I heard his voice.

“There’s a pair of socks right there beside ya,” said the smiling middle-aged man. “You’re gonna need those!”

Right. Right. Well, I guess you have to have socks even if you are only trying on the boots for kicks.

I think I mumbled something about how “I’m just looking” and attempted to give him the ol’ Midwestern cold shoulder.

But soon this friendly creature with the laughing face was running around the store searching for styles and sizes that would work for me.

I have enough experience in sales to know exactly what he was doing. He was treating me like someone who was going to buy a pair of cowboy boots. And if he had any doubts, he wasn’t letting them show.

Despite all my efforts at staying mentally focused, his confidence was starting to wear off on me. Now, I was starting to see myself as someone who was going to buy a pair of cowboy boots.

A little later, as I was checking my reflection with a light brown suede boot on the right foot and a darker boot on the left, another customer walked up to see my selection.

“Those both look good,” he said. “That is going to be a tough decision.”

Huh? Now I look good in cowboy boots? Maybe it was my general lack of self-esteem in my expanding prego body. Or maybe it was the fact that it was very humid and it was a horrible hair day. But I floated across the store on his words.

I’m not only a person who is going to buy a pair of cowboy boots, I’m a person who looks good in a pair of cowboy boots.

Finally, I was starting to accept my new identity. My smiling salesman had handed and sorted and run up and down stairs to find boots for me to try, when he offered to leave us alone to talk about it. He left me in the capable hands of his two female assistants. And they offered the one last straw that he had not given me.

I was debating between two pairs. One was about a third more expensive than the other. It was also clearly more comfortable. More durable. Higher quality.

“But you don’t understand,” I tried to explain. “I live in Chicago. This is purely a fashion statement for me. I don’t need the best brand you sell.”

The saleswoman did not miss a beat. “It doesn’t matter if you live in Chicago or Tennessee. You need boots that are going to be comfortable. You can wear these boots for 10 hours straight and they are going to feel great. And see that tread on the bottom? If you wear these other boots, you are going to step out on the icy sidewalk and fall on your butt. See these? You will be able to walk in any weather.”

She gave me just what I wanted deep inside: She told me what to do. She gave me a reason to spend more money.

Now, I was not only a person who was going to buy a pair of cowboy boots and a person who looked good in cowboy boots, I was a person who deserved boots that are comfortable and won’t make me fall down on the icy sidewalk.

Well, of course I’m going to get the more expensive pair. Who do I look like? Some city slicker from Chicago?

My boot-buying experience reminded me of a lesson that is not only important in sales, but in life. People will act the way they are treated.

In many cases, people will actually become the person they have been told they are.

I can think of so many instances in which someone has treated me in a negative way and I have reacted by being a negative person. I have actually started thinking of myself as unlovable or untalented or stupid, because that is how someone had treated me. I’m sure I’ve done the same thing to someone else.

On the other hand, I can think of people who gained self-confidence and ability because I treated them like the person they should be rather than the person they were at the moment. I believed in them before they believed in themselves.

I’ve been having a bit of buyer’s remorse over the cowboy boots that now sit in my closet with no where to go this summer. But I’m grateful for the experience. When I look at those boots, I hope they will always remind me to treat people with love and respect and to assume the best of them.

Who knows? Maybe I can encourage someone else to believe the best about herself.


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