Friday, August 29, 2014

Game Day

I went to Calvin's first grade parent orientation on Tuesday evening. At the end of the teacher's presentation, she told everyone to get out their cell phones and enter the phone number that was on the screen and then text @latone (her last name). I have no idea what this is called, but it would enable her to send us last minute text messages or reminders about things to make sure the word got out. [We'll just ignore the fact that I was the only parent who was still trying to enter the number on my new iPhone while the rest of the parents were tucking their phones back in their bags....I'm not used to all this technology! Especially in the schools!]

On Wednesday afternoon, I got a text message from Calvin's teacher: Don't forget to wear your Aggie gear for Game Day tomorrow!

Hmmm, they must be having an early spirit day or something. But then I remembered something. After we set up an account the beginning of July, I noticed my bank's web page had a countdown clock widget on it...counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the Aggies played their first game against South Carolina. Furthermore, when I registered the little kids at the elementary school, the secretary gave me some important dates. She said the 3rd grade parent orientation was originally on Thursday, 8/28, but then they realized that was GAME DAY so, of course, they had to switch the date and push the parent orientation back to the following week. My mind also recalled an advertisement for a pizza chain that came in the mail a week or two ago. Across the top were four gigantic letters: "BTHO" followed by "South Carolina." I scrunched up my face as I tried to figure out the acronym. And then it dawned on me...rather quickly, in fact. They want us to "Beat the H   Out of" South Carolina! My.Goodness. I don't know if I was more impressed or shocked that I figured the acronym out so fast. Despite all of these reminders, I neglected to make note and put Game Day in my planner. One thing is most definitely clear: College Station LOVES its Aggies.

Fortunately for us newbie transplants, our local Wal-Mart has half of a section in the front of the store devoted to Aggie gear. So while Karcyn was at dance on Wednesday afternoon, Calvin and I went in search for some shirts for them to wear to school. When in Rome, right?

Here are Karcyn and Calvin showing off their new shirts before leaving for school, yesterday, on GAME DAY. Calvin just recently watched the Karate Kid...can you tell?

I had to run a couple of errands that afternoon and as soon as I walked up to the grocery store, this is the display that greeted everyone.

Now, if you're like me, you have no idea what Gig 'em means. I've heard of "get 'em." In fact, silly, ignorant me thought "gig 'em" was the southern/Texas way of saying "get 'em." [Yes, I know. I hope you got a good laugh]. According to Wikipedia, this is what gigging is:

Gigging is the practice of hunting fish or small game with a gig or similar multi-pronged spear. Commonly harvested wildlife include freshwater suckers, saltwater flounder, and small game, such as frogs. A gig can refer to any long pole which has been tipped with a multi-pronged spear. The gig pole ranges in length from 8 to 14 feet for fish gigs and 5 to 8 feet for frog gigs. A gig typically has three or four barbed tines similar to a trident; however gigs can be made with any number of tines. In the past people would attach illuminated pine knots to the end of gigs at night to give them light. [1]

And according to a couple of Aggie web sites, this is how the term "Gig 'em" came to be.

Gig 'em: The hand sign is a closed fist with a thumb up. The tradition got its start in 1930 at a Yell Practice before a game against an old rivalry: Texas Christian University. "Pinky" Downs, class of 1906, was a member of the A&M Board of Regents and while giving a speech, shouted to the Aggies, "What are we going to do to those Horned Frogs?" (mascot for TCU). His muse did not fail him as he improvised, borrowing a term from frog hunting. "Gig 'em, Aggies!" he said as he made a fist with his thumb extended straight up. The term comes from hunting frogs or fish using a pronged spear called a "gig."

So now you know. And so do I.

As I made my way to the back of the grocery store, I chuckled when I saw this:

A big screen TV with a countdown clock above it and the command for the Aggies to BTHO South Carolina. Apparently they did too...55 to 20-something.

Jake informed me after school yesterday that Ashley Furniture has some kind of deal where if you buy furniture around or on a game day and the Aggies win by 10 or more points, your furniture is free. Man...we need a few new things, too. Wish we had known about that sooner :) What I don't know yet, is if every Aggie game is "Game Day" or if it's just the first game. If I had to guess, I'd say the first.

You can't go anywhere here in College Station without seeing a sea of maroon or the Texas A & M symbol

(which I still read as ATM--as in where I withdraw money :) In fact, Jared looked at a few homes when he was interviewing and was a little stunned by the unique carpet or wall color in some of them. But the realtor immediately cleared up any confusion he might have had about the interesting color choice. "Oh, look. It's Aggie Red."

But it's cool. I appreciate how unified the city is. And the team colors could be so much worse!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Meeting the Coopers!

My mom is one of two children born to Lee and Opal Cooper. She has an older brother, Richard and that's it. Just the two of them. One boy, one girl.

Uncle Richard and his family, as long as I can remember, have always lived in the Dallas, Texas area. And we have not. Since I was an infant, my family lived in New Jersey, Utah, Alaska and we got a little bit closer when we moved to Georgia.

The times when we did see the Coopers were rare and special. I remember meeting up with them in Disney World at the end of my 4th grade year. I also remember meeting them for a week at my grandpa's cabin outside Chouteau, Oklahoma (about an hour from Tulsa), and I recall going to their house in Richardson once when I was in middle school. And that's it. Until our beloved grandma and grandpa passed away.

Grandma Cooper died in February 1992. I was 15...right before we moved to Alaska. We moved Grandpa up to our house in Alaska the summer of 1993. He died in January 1994. I was almost 17. It has been TWENTY (and a half) YEARS since I've seen my Uncle Richard and cousin Rusty.

Interestingly enough, out of the blue a few years ago, I got an email from my cousin Lisa. She was going to be in Wilsonville, Oregon for her friend's wedding and wondered if we could meet up for dinner with her husband, son and Aunt Jan before they left town. So we met at Jake's in downtown Portland. Up until that had been 17 years since we had seen each other. Too long!! But it's funny how with family, or at least these people, we just picked up where we left off.

When I found out we were going to be moving to Texas, the Coopers were the second to find out. I told them they could run, but not hide from us! I was bound and determined to have my children meet their Cooper relatives.

Once Jared finished work in Oregon and joined us in Texas again, we made a plan to meet up in Fort Worth for lunch.

It took us about 3 hours and 15 minutes. Not bad. Just like driving to a Mariners game in Seattle, and in some cases, it was a shorter drive to Ft. Worth. It's funny though because since arriving in Texas, we hear from the natives that any other place in Texas is "oh, about 2 hours from here" or "it's just 2 hours." Even if it's 3 or 4 or more! :) We met at Lisa and Steve's house so we could catch up and get pictures.

I was thinking I'd have to lead the way and introduce everyone but the Coopers were hugging and mauling the kids before I could make it through the door.

It was so great to see them again. Not just because I've missed them, but because they're the only link I have to my sweet Grandma and Grandpa Cooper and they're the only link my children have. We're building generations now and the Coopers are a part of our family history and our kids are a part of their bloodline.

Uncle Richard and Rusty...they are crazy, hysterical nuts. They get it from Grandpa. Grandpa would be just as silly and ornery. I love that about them, too. I can get my Grandpa fix from them. If it isn't obvious, I loved my Grandma and Grandpa Cooper so much that I named one of my sons after them.

So now for the fun part. PICTURES!

This first one is of Rusty and Jake and Cooper...with Uncle Richard photo bombing the picture.

Cooper and Rusty's reaction...Jake just going with the flow :)

Me, Rusty, Lisa, Aunt Jan and Uncle Richard. I love these peeps!! (Even though Uncle Richard pushed me down the stairs when I was a baby--that's what I've been told anyway ;)


These next five pictures crack me up. JJ was standing near Rusty so I was going to take a picture of them together. JJ didn't get the memo and just kept walking (while I was backing up and laughing, hence the foreground blurriness).

But I directed JJ back to Rusty and this is what happened. If I could read JJ's thoughts, I'm guessing they'd go something like this:

JJ: Uhhh...okay. Hello new guy.

JJ: Sooo, I'm not sure what we're doing here together. I'm not supposed to talk to strangers...even though I can't talk.

JJ: Yeah, just really wanted to play with this Ironman toy. Is this guy for real?

JJ: Mom, a little help here...

Here are the Hough/Spratt second cousins or some of the great-grandchildren of Lee and Opal Cooper. (Your second cousins are the people in your family who have the same great-grandparents as you but not the same grandparents). Aiden and Mason are in the middle. I think the adults were impressed we got them all in one place and to stop moving at the same time. Bonus that they're all looking at the camera! (As a side note: it took me longer to get JAKE out of the room and to put the mega Nerf gun down than it did the little kids! No surprise there!)

The Coopers took us to the Fort Worth Stockyards.

This stagecoach was coming through the parking lot on our way to the restaurant.

Couldn't resist getting a picture of Jake with this sign.

We ate at Habeneros. That was some tasty Mexican.

This is the group! We're a little hard to see but you get the idea. We were seated in the back. A very WISE decision on the part of the hostess :)

Calvin (6) and Aiden (8) making funny faces.

Little Mason (3) with his dad, Steve, doing the same as the big boys :) Steve was a stud. He sat down at the far end of the table with those three boys so his wife could sit up by the rest of the adults allowing us to talk. It was a very sweet gesture and I really appreciated it! Although, now I'm wondering if that was a strategic move on his part so he didn't HAVE to be around Rusty and Uncle Richard ;)

Jake and Rusty and even Cooper had plenty to talk about between computers and Shark week and online computer games. At one point during the meal, I made the mistake of calling out "Cooper!" to get my son's attention. Five people turned around :)

Silly boys!

Uncle Richard checking in with the little guys.

The four token females! And what Cooper picture isn't complete without bunny ears? Karcyn, your great-grandpa Cooper would be proud!

Karcyn with her great-aunt Jan. Aunt Jan promised Karcyn she would take her horse riding the next time we go to their house. Karcyn's totally going to hold on to that promise, too!

After lunch, we walked along the main street. These big fans (not pictured) that blew water mist were divine! Calvin especially enjoyed them. I will say though, it is not as humid in Dallas/Ft. Worth like it is in College Station. In fact, I couldn't feel any humidity...just the heat.
Aunt Jan wanted to take the kids on some pony rides before we left and she wanted me to sit on a Longhorn! The Longhorn, however, was taking a lunch break by the time we finished our lunch, so that will have to wait until another day!

Karcyn on her pony named Ghost.

JJ on his "neigh".

Cooper being the ever cool dude.

Calvin on his "baby horse."

Karcyn loved riding Ghost!

And Aunt Jan and Uncle Richard continued with their generosity by buying the kids ice cream. I've decided that ice cream and Texas just don't mix. The ice cream bars were half melted by the time we got them out of the wrapper. JJ tried to drink his out of the cup :) Thank goodness for baby wipes!! We needed several. They were a mess! I guess my kids just need to learn to eat their ice cream faster!  
So Aunt Jan says Karcyn and Calvin look like me and she kept calling me Cindy (my mum)--which was a total compliment! When we were eating ice cream, Rusty said that JJ reminded him of Uncle Al (my dad). JJ (and Jake) definitely take after the Lee side. They have the longer, oval faces and blue eyes.

As we headed back to the car, Calvin wanted a picture with this Longhorn that was out by the parking lot. It put its head down to eat right as I took the picture. And then, when I took the second picture, it started pooping, but I spared everyone from that yumminess.

We loved our few hours with the Coopers. Of course, it ended way too soon, but we couldn't keep them all day and we were going to visit our Oregon friends, the McGraths, who just so happened to move to Dallas the same time we moved to College Station. We couldn't believe it! Since we were already going to be in the "area," we had to "swing" by (even though the "swing" took more than an hour and a half). We toyed with the idea of spending the night up there, but Jared had been asked to speak in Sacrament meeting that next day.
I'm SOOO relieved the Hough crew and Cooper/Spratt clan have finally met and clicked! The Texas relatives are no longer a mystery to my children :) We can't wait until we can visit them again and I'm fairly certain Grandma and Grandpa were enjoying our reunion too!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Running in Texas

Jared knew, going into this job as the sole provider of the occ med clinic in Madisonville, that he would need to make appearances at certain events every few months or so throughout the year, to show "visibility" for the clinic and rub shoulders with members of the community.

As it turns out, Madisonville is the Mushroom Capital of Texas...Home of the Texas Mushroom Festival. This year the festival is on Sat. October 18th. Jared looked it up online shortly after getting here and discovered they have the Shiitake 5K walk/run, so we decided to get back into running mode and are planning to do the 5K run together. As a side note: unless you're talking about Jake or JJ, we currently use the term "run" extremely loosely in the Hough household. Cooper's going to train for it too. If we can get someone to watch our kiddos up there, Jake can run it also. Otherwise, he'll need to bow out to give Coop a chance.

I ran one day in July and then another day the following week before Jared got home and one day last week. I let him get his first week at the new job under his belt and then declared the beginning of this week to be go-time. We got up at 5am Monday morning and Jared chuckled when he saw current weather conditions with 90% humidity and even though the actual temperature was in the low 70s, the temperature felt like it was in the high 70s. I've run in warmer temperatures than that before (minus the humidity), but it's just weird when it's still dark outside.

To get started, we were only going to run a two mile loop down to one of the swimming pools in the subdivision and then back again. Jared always runs ahead of me. He's a very strong runner and has great endurance, even though I had run a few times before him. But I didn't mind one bit. We would alternate running on the sidewalk or the side of the road. We live south of town, so it's like running in the country. It must have been a transition time of day too, because most the street lamps were shutting off, but there were a few scattered along our course that were still on.

As we rounded the perimeter of the pool, about halfway into our jog, I noticed an object in the road up ahead. It appeared to be rope or a strip of blown-out tire that you sometimes see on the highway. As I type this I realize now the latter is a pretty unlikely explanation for an object on the road. This was a subdivision we were running in. Nevertheless, it didn't even phase me. There was a token street lamp further down the road casting it's faintest, outer beams on the street where I was at the time and right as I was mid-air, leaping over the object, I happened to look down (don't look down!) and my heart all but jumped out of my chest. It was a HUGE SNAKE!! I SCREAMED at the top of my lungs and Jared, up ahead, turned around in surprise. I flew past him screaming some more, "That was a SNAKE! Didn't you see it? Ewww!! I'm OUTTA HERE!" Fortunately we were on the side of the pool/pond where there were no homes (at least for now) so I don't think I alarmed anyone with my early morning outburst.

I was so focused on putting distance between me and the snake--dead or alive, I did not care--that I turned down the road that would take me past the snake again instead of going straight back home. Once I realized my mistake, I made a sharp correction and almost barreled into Jared, who had caught up to me asking, "Going to see it again?" NO SIREE!

I shivered the whole way home (while dripping with sweat) to get the icky, freaky thought of me narrowly missing a snake with my feet out of my mind. The good news is, I shaved 20 seconds off my previous run time :)

A couple hours later, I was taking Jake to the church to play basketball with a friend. He wanted to see if the snake was still there. I'm not sure if I was hoping it would still be there (because even if it were dead, I'd have to face it again) or not (which meant it was very much alive when I did a Jack-Be-Nimble over it).

It was there. Jake jumped out to investigate and I followed slowly behind him.

First of all, before anyone laughs, that snake looked three times BIGGER that morning, in the dark. I showed Jared and he concurred that it did look much, much bigger. So for the record, it wasn't just me exaggerating from all of the early morning trauma. I can only conclude the shadows created by the faint lamplight had something to do with that.

I did some quick research and to my very untrained, non-herpetologist eye, I think this is a black racer snake which likes land and water both, but not poisonous. At least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself. That and EWWW!

Jared and I went running again this morning. I felt slower today. I was being a little more cautious about where I ran...and found myself in the middle of the road, avoiding any faint line in the road, real or imaginary, and giving a wide berth to the sidewalks by the grassy fields or near the ponds.

I cannot believe the amount of sweat that starts running down my head and dripping off my fingertips within the first 1/2 mile. We're soaked by the time we finish. It's almost like you're getting the benefits of a sauna while you run :) Maybe I'll sweat off a pound or two in the process.

I was stunned to see I had shaved another 20 seconds off my run time from Monday...when I had extra motivation from a snake. I wondered if maybe the humidity was giving me super running powers or maybe, just maybe, I'm getting stronger.

I asked Jared what he thought about me running 2 minutes faster per mile here in Texas than I did in Oregon. His response: "It's flatter here." Yeah...touché.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

April snippets

*If someone were to ask me what I did in April, I would tell them I cleaned my house. That's all I did. If it weren't for the notes I took for the purpose of this post, I would have no memory of anything except cleaning. We showed the house the ENTIRE month of April averaging 5 showings a week and I needed to make sure I did everything I could in MY power to make sure the house showed well. I wouldn't be interested in a dirty or cluttered house, so why would anyone else? Sometimes I cleaned several times a day, 'cause, you know, I didn't have anything better to do with my time like take care of five kids ages 14 to 2 in their final months of school and activities with projects and tests and papers and concerts and programs and performances. Or pack up a house. Or organize all of the moving logistics. It was exhausting. Especially because kids are constantly undoing things before you've completely finished the task at hand or very shortly thereafter. It finally got to a point where I had to take JJ to the car and lock him in his car seat for 10-15 minutes (or sent all the kids to the car) while I finished the final touches, working my way to the garage door so I didn't have to chase down a 2-year-old and end up with foot prints in the newly vacuumed carpet or dirt on my currently clean hard floors or finger prints on the appliances or glass. Never mind all the hours we spent waiting on street corners, in parking lots, at stores with no intent to buy anything or at bus stops to intercept kids during the actual showings. Holy Schnikey! If I have any say, I will never sell another house again unless I can do it without showing it. Or cleaning it. I usually like to clean, too. But THIS...this was insanity!

*In planning for the special foods we like to eat and enjoy during General Conference weekend (the first weekend in April and October when our General Authorities and Apostles speak to us from Utah), we were thinking about one of Jared's favorite: The World's Greatest Cornbread. Some time ago, I had made my Aunt Charlene's recipe for almond cake for a special occasion. There just happened to be a few pieces left in the 9x13 pan on the stove when Jared returned that evening. He saw them and grabbed a square.
He polished it off in a flash and said, "Man, Jenn, this was the best cornbread."
I pursed my lips and said, "Well, I'm sorry to hear that...because it's almond cake."
"Ahhh! That explains a lot!"
Now Jared refers to the almond cake, one of our favorite General Conference weekend breakfasts, as the world's greatest cornbread :)

*On April 7th, I put JJ down for a nap. We had transitioned him out of his crib into a twin bed about a month prior and on this particular day, I was not able to locate the door knob cover to use on the inside door knob to keep him in his room from the night before. [Door knob covers had been disappearing at an alarming rate in our house but with our recent trip to TX to get a new house and trying to sell the Oregon house, searching for the lost covers was not on the top of my list or even the second or third lists....until nap time.] So in a rush, I grabbed the one that was on the outside of Jake and Cooper's bedroom door. Of course, JJ's too smart for those covers. He popped it off, somehow, and escaped. But I was determined for him to nap or at least play quietly in his room while I made some moving phone calls/plans. I looked for the cover that I had put on the inside knob and couldn't find it anywhere. I looked under the bed, in the closet, in the garbage can, in the vent (where he's stashed things before) and it was nowhere I could think of. Ugh. So I took a second one off the master bedroom doorknob. And as you probably can guess, JJ emerged from his room just minutes later. (Consistency is key, right? But for whom?) I picked him up and took him back to his room for his quiet time. But I couldn't find THAT door knob cover. Seriously?? And we were out of covers.  Okay, JJ. You win.

Two days later when I decided he needed socks (usually he just wore his little green slip-on crocs), this was what I found in his top drawer. Jackpot!

*On April 11th, the writing prompt at school Karcyn chose was: A List of Things I Hate. Her list was as follows:
-eating oatmeal for breakfast (darn her gag reflex)
-picking up worms on a sunny day (not sure about this one)
-seeing ants on my body (blasted sugar ants)
-getting sweaty when I run (get used to this, sistah! You sweat when you sit in Texas!)

*On Sunday, April 13th we asked Calvin, "So what did you learn about in your Primary class today?"
Without missing a beat OR looking up from his dinner, he mumbled, "Choosing the right," and adding with exasperation, "again."

*On Monday, April 14th, we had a realtor request a showing on the house...during the dinner hour. I refused to spend precious money eating out every time we had a showing during dinner. For 7 people, those bills can add up FAST. Most times we just ate late after we could go back into the house. But on this day, it was such an unexpected sunny day, that I decided to whip together a picnic (hot dogs and cantaloupe and canned beans--so gourmet) for us to eat at a nearby park. It was halfway between our house and Jared's office, so he could just meet us there. But once 6pm rolled around and the sun started dipping below the trees, the wind picked up and the temperature plummeted. The northwest spring got the best of me. It was FREEZING!! To make matters worse, the only picnic table available was in the "valley" of the park which was essentially a wind tunnel. Plates and food were launched everywhere (a nice treat for the local birds and squirrels)--we almost didn't get all our plates back because of the wind gusts. Ears, noses, cheeks and other body extremities were numb. I don't remember how cold it was, but not everyone brought a jacket because we weren't anticipating it to be FREEZING. People were literally fighting over the hot dogs because they were sitting in the warming jar and everyone wanted to thaw out their fingers.You can just see the cold on everyone's faces. It was pretty miserable!

That's Cooper--hiding.

Jake totally like, "dude, what's up with this."

Cooper finally emerging to eat his dog.

The wind whipping right in Karcyn and JJ's faces.

Jared wishing he had his coat.
Okay, so maybe the picnic idea was an epic fail. But we saved at least $40!!

*I had contacted the kids' schools in College Station and knew that in order to register them we would need to provide their birth certificates, our rental agreement, their immunization records, etc. But the other required document that stopped me in my tracks was their social security cards. That could present a problem. When we were filing our taxes back in February, I couldn't locate the social security cards then. Fortunately, we still had their numbers on the tax return from the year before so it wasn't an issue at the time. But that was before we found out we were moving and even then it was a nagging memory, like a small dark cloud hanging over me that I wanted to ignore because really...when would the kids need their actual social security cards? I could NOT for the life of me remember where I had put those cards. I had seen all of them fairly recently and I remember putting them in a safe place. But what good is a safe place if you can't remember where it is???

The middle of April, I looked everywhere for a week and a half in wild desperation for those cards. Finally, I decided to call the Social Security office because I have the numbers and wondered if that would eliminate the need for the cards or maybe I could get replacement cards fairly quickly (I did not need one more hoop to jump through or document to send or sign or fax or scan and email at this point in my life) but of course, I couldn't get through. I called the schools again to see if a social security number would suffice. It wouldn't and I was nearly at my wits end. I didn't need more things to worry about, I needed less hassle. I needed to check things off my lists not add to them. Finally, I decided to make it a matter of prayer. I don't know why I waited so long to pray about it. I think I felt like I should at least try on my own first. After I ended my short and simple, but very sincere prayer asking for help in locating the social security cards, I stood up and got a chair and started looking on the top shelves in my closet. Nothing. I stood there and waited and looked around considering other places. I thought about the fire safe again. I had been through it with a fine-tooth comb, three different times already. That's where they usually are but my triple efforts had been in vain. Nevertheless, I looked in the safe again, just in case they slipped inside something. I pulled all the documents out and went through each one very carefully until I got to the bottom of the safe. Again, nothing. Disappointed and discouraged, I just stared at the bottom...and the folded up paper towel I had laid in there as a protective bottom layer. Without even thinking, I yanked the paper towel back and there were the five missing social security cards for the kids! I couldn't believe my eyes and I laughed until I cried and immediately thanked Heavenly Father for answering my prayer. It was a joyful moment! That which was lost, was now found!

*On April 15th, Karcyn presented me and Jared with a letter in an envelope addressed to E.B.--the Easter Bunny. (Which is funny because in the last five years or so, we've decided to just do a family activity together the Friday or Saturday before Easter but nothing on Easter Sunday to try and maintain the reverence of the sacred and holy day. And we certainly don't write the Easter Bunny letters for gifts.) She gave us the letter with the instructions to make sure we could get it to E.B. We said we would. Jared chuckled when he read the randomness of her list (which unfortunately is packed in her file in the depths of our storage unit). A couple of days later, Karcyn followed up with me to make sure I sent off the letter. I told her I did. She commented, "If the Easter Bunny can't bring me the things on my's okay. I won't judge."

*Jake was able to participate in track and field the end of his 8th grade year. He set TWO personal records (PR) in track on April 24th.

1500--5:26 (5:47 the year before)
800--2:45 (2:48 the year before)

*I celebrated my birthday on Tuesday the 29th. JJ had a speech class at 11am that we went to and for the first time ever, Jared was able to take a half day off at work to spend some time with me before the bulk of the kids got home. As I pulled into the parking lot of the speech school, I got a call from a realtor who wanted to know if they could show the house at 2pm. I said sure, but that meant I had to jet back home from downtown Hillsboro and it didn't leave much time to tidy up the house. Jared had biked to work so he came in around 1pm. That was about the time I was scrambling around willy-nilly trying to remember where I'd already cleaned and what I still needed to do. You would have thought by this point I would have had a routine down, but every showing presented a new challenge and set of circumstances depending on the day and time and whatever we had on our agenda. Jared changed quickly and we got out of the house by 1:45. Our friend Celina agreed to take the kids for us when they got off the bus for which we were very grateful. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and went shopping for Calvin whose birthday is May 1st. Cleaning my house and then running errands isn't exactly how I would have chosen to spend my birthday afternoon with Jared, but whatever. If it meant receiving an offer on the house, I was all over it. If we got an offer it would be a birthday miracle! We didn't. But I feel like every birthday I see IS a miracle. Life is a miracle and I'm so grateful for it. I was well remembered and loved and Jared took me out to dinner that evening. The end of April is definitely hit and miss weather wise, but it was a GORGEOUS spring day!! A glorious gift in and of itself!