Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Darkest Hour...

I'm having a hard time getting back on track. Back to my happy, positive self.  There, I said it.  The ugly truth is out.  Lately, the good news has been little, and the bad news plenty, on the *house, on the *lawsuit, and add to the mix the stress of a financial situation that has gone from bad to worse with creditors that just want to be paid...(HA-I don't blame them--in fact, I feel their pain!) Trust me--if WE could get paid--or sell our house--we would LOVE to pay you.  It's ironic isn't it?  The funeral home owing us money, and us owing it to others. If people would be honest and have integrity...wouldn't the world be such a beautiful place to be?  Can you even imagine a world where people just kept their word?  Before this last year, we have never even paid a bill LATE--much less not at all.  I know many are doing this type of thing on purpose...(hello? we know a few of them) not us.  We just counted on the money from the sale of the business being there, and then it wasn't.  Without even so much as an apology--not even a shred of decency, or regret.  I can't imagine living a life where I felt no shame.  That's what happens when you lose your integrity--you lose your ability to feel shame.  It's sad really. 

For now, we're just waiting...and hoping.  Hope--it's a funny word, my *word of the year.  Such a small word, but such a powerful thing, sometimes a dangerous thing--when your heart is at stake.  Hope can make or break us, can't it?  A friend of mine once told me, "The darkest hour of night is the best time to see the stars...", but, I wonder--what if I can't stay awake? Truth be told...*I. AM. TIRED.  Boy, am I tired.  We did have some good news this week, a miracle, that let a glimmer of hope and light back in to my dark night.  I will pray that more will follow.  All in God's time.  Patience is still not one of my best virtues, I'm afraid.  Even after all this practice... ugh. 

Here's to better days ahead--after all, we all know we can't go *back in time!  A saying that is getting me through right now, "When one door closes, another door opens.  However, often we look so longingly, so regretfully on the door that has closed, we fail to see the door that has opened for us."  Helen Keller  I need to close that door, once and for all, and not look back.  I won't lie to you--it's hard.  It seems it keeps creeping back open on me, and the old wounds open up with it.  Anger, resentment, guilt, remorse, but probably most of all my wounded pride--because of what we had, what we built, and what we lost.  And my fear, that it will happen again.  Us making the wrong decision, and having horrible consequences.  Of course, along with not being able to change the past--comes not being able to predict the we will continue to stumble along, in the present that is our reality, and hope for a victory here and there, and hope that somewhere up there is a loving God who will help us up when we stumble, and carry us if we fall.  It's a powerful thing, hope is.

P.S.  *Click on the words with an asterisk & links if you have no idea what I'm talking about in this post. It will catch you up on quite a bit...plenty of food for thought.  Now talk amongst yourselves--and please share any suggestions you have...I love to hear them!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Good Read...

I haven't blogged about the beach yet.  I haven't even edited my pictures!  In fact, my head has been buried in these books for the last two weeks.  I couldn't put them down.  Which tells you something--since I haven't really read a whole book, in like...years.  Wow.  I know--but give me a break--they have been years of pregnancies, and nursing babies, and busy toddlers.  My time and season is coming...I can feel it!  Anyway, these novels tell the stories of fictional characters, living in past, and modern day Afghanistan.  A world a world that is so foreign, so backward to someone like me, who has grown up knowing nothing but freedom and peace--never war or bloodshed.  Both of the stories captivated my attention.  They made me think...and they made me cry.  They are not for young readers, mind you.  Even some older readers will not enjoy them, as they are not tales of happily ever after--(is real life ever, really happily ever after). The subject matter that the author, Khaled Hosseini, (who was born in Afghanistan, and lived there until 1980) covers is not pleasant, in fact, much of it was shocking to read--(not explicit--but PG-13 shocking).  However, I found that I could relate with the characters of both books, in that each character, in their own way, yearned, like every person born on this earth yearns, for one thing...happiness.  Each finds it in different ways, and for some--only in the sting of death will they ever feel happiness and peace--but that yearning for freedom and happiness is universal, isn't it?  I wonder with the billions of people on earth--how many actually find it?  Happiness and peace I mean?  It made me think about my life, and how spoiled I am, how lucky I am, to be born in such an amazing country, with the freedoms I have.  I realized how lucky we are, as women in America, to be treated with dignity and respect, and not like slaves, or worse.  Most of all, I am grateful that I am able to READ, be educated, and be able to learn.  Can you believe they can take that from you in parts of the world--even today?  Just because you are a woman?  It was shocking to read how women were treated in places such as Afghanistan.  Sometimes I take that for granted, and don't fill my mind with information on a daily basis as I ought to.  Here, on the internet, is a treasure trove of information, so much to learn, right at my fingertips!  I need learn to be grateful, much more grateful for what I have been given.  I am sure blessed.  SO blessed.  Finally, I sure hope that when our troops end up coming home, that the wartorn country can heal--and that the people (especially the women and children--who have endured so much) will have a chance.  I also hope that my children, and my children's children will grow up in the America that I have known.  One that was peaceful, and hopeful, and free.  Every child deserves at least that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

About Redemption...and Forgiveness...and Life...

Last week, before we left for the beach, we had the chance to attend Les Miserables at Gammage in Tempe.  I have seen the show several times, and it remains one of my favorite musicals of all time.  I have tried getting through the book a few times, but never quite made it through more than a few chapters.  The story, though, fascinates me.  I was thinking quite a lot this week about Les Miserables, and redemption, and forgiveness, two things that have been weighing on my mind of late.  Tonight I found myself fascinated as I looked a little deeper into the story, and my own thoughts.  I think that most people when they see the play tend to focus on Jean Valjean, and his flawed, yet heroic character.  Jean Valjean is indeed a character that we can all identify with.  He is a man who has made mistakes, many of them.  But when he is caught stealing some silver from a kind bishop who brought him in off the street and fed and clothed him, instead of the bishop condemning him, and sending him back to jail, the man does something miraculous.  He gives him a set of candlesticks, and says this:

"Do not forget, ever, that you have promised me to use this silver to become an honest man.' Jean Valjean, who had no recollection of any such promise, stood dumbfounded. The bishop had stressed these words as he spoke them. He continued solemnly, 'Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul I am buying for you. I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!"
This one single act of kindness changes Jean Valjean's life profoundly, and also proves to change countless other lives as he tries to live up to the chance that the bishop gave him, and redeem himself in the eyes of God, and his fellow men.  He begins to find ways to serve others, to show compassion to those who showed only hatred to him, to make up for his sins and his faults.  In short, Jean Valjean is looking for redemption--aren't we all? Each of us has a need to feel like we are good, we are worthy to love and to be loved. Of course there are always those who fall short, those who choose a path of evil, but isn't our challenge to love them anyway, as this bishop did?  Isn't our challenge to try to look past people's sins, be forgiving, and give them the benefit of the doubt.  Sometimes this is the hardest thing for me, but what we need to remember, is we really can't judge another without knowing their circumstances, for truly each person is unique.  Victor Hugo put it this way: 

"Undoubtedly they seemed very depraved, very corrupt, very vile, very hateful even, but people rarely fall without becoming degraded. Besides, there is a point when the unfortunate and the infamous are associated and confused in a word, a mortal word, les misérables; whose fault is it? And then, when the fall is furthest, is that not when charity should be greatest? There are souls that, crablike, crawl continually toward darkness, going backward in life rather than advancing, using their experience to increase their deformity, growing continually worse, and becoming steeped more and more thoroughly in the intensifying viciousness."

Contrast this story, the story of redemption, with the story about Javert.  His character in both the play and the movie is villified in a way, he is thought of as harsh, unforgiving, and cruel.  As I have read more from the book though, I think that in a way, I started to see Javert in a different light.  I can identify with his character in the way that I sometimes see life, and people.  I tend to look at things as black or white, right or wrong, good or evil.  I always have.  I am not a person who sees anything in gray, it's just not in my nature.  Javert was exactly this way.  At a young age, Javert decided that he wanted to be a defender of the law.  He decided that he wanted to fight for fairness, and justice.  In the book he says, "I've tried to live my life without breaking a single rule..."  Impossible?  Yes.  But to Javert, if he was going to expect that others lived by the rules, he was determined that he was going to be a perfect example of them.  Javert eventually fell vicitim to his own expectations of himself. Speaking of Javert, Hugo says:

"Every good quality runs into a defect; economy borders on avarice, the generous are not far from the prodigal, the brave man is close to the bully; he who is very pious is slightly sanctimonious. Every blade has two edges; he who wounds with one wounds himself with the other."

Sometimes, even when we are trying to do good, to be good, we risk being so hard on ourselves, and others, that it becomes nearly impossible to live by the ideal that we have set for ourselves.  We find it frustrating to even make the smallest of mistakes, and we will not allow others to make them either.  We become self righteous, judgemental, and unyielding.  Javert had spent so long trying to be perfect, trying to administer the perfect justice, that he had forgotten that part of justice, maybe the most important part--is mercy.  That's the part we are all most grateful for when we NEED it, but many of us are not so quick to administer it to others.  Can any one of us expect redemption in our own lives if we are not willing to extend mercy, and forgiveness to others?  In the book it says this about Javert:

"He walked with his head down for the first time in his life, and for the first time in his life as well, with his hands behind his back. Until that day, of Napoleon's two attitudes, Javert had assumed one, the one that expresses resolution, arms folded across breast; the one that expresses uncertainty, hands behind back, was unknown to him...Before him he saw two roads, both equally straight; but he did see two; and that terrified him--he who had never in his life known anything but one straight line. And, bitter anguish, these two roads were contradictory.  Javert's ideal was not to be humane, not to be great, not to be sublime; it was to be irreproachable. [blameless, impeccable, unflawed--in a sense, perfect] Now he had just failed... He believed in the straight line; a respectable optical illusion, but one that ruins many men."
I love that--"He who had never in his life known anything but one straight line".  How many of us are like that?  I know I am sometimes.  So sure of my way, my path, critical of others.  Very unyielding, very unforgiving, very stubborn. In the end, Javert begins to realize what Jean Valjean has become, and he can't believe it.  It says:
"A benevolent malefactor, merciful, gentle, helpful, clement, a convict, returning good for evil, giving back pardon for hatred, preferring pity to vengeance, preferring to ruin himself rather than to ruin his enemy, saving him who had smitten him, kneeling on the heights of virtue, more nearly akin to an angel than to a man. Javert was constrained to admit to himself that this monster existed.
Things could not go on in this manner. "

For Javert, this was something he could not allow himself to accept--that a flawed man, a criminal, could change.  That a man like Valjean, someone who Javert looked at with contempt, could be the man that he had become, maybe even a better man than Javert was. For the first time in his life, Javert was faced with a situation where he could not act lawfully without acting immorally, and vice versa. He could not bring himself to punish Valjean, since he had spared his life, yet he could not justify to himself letting a criminal go free and not doing his duty to uphold the law. He faced an immense inner conflict, as his black-and-white view of the world of Good and Evil was, in a sense, lost in gray.  Unable to find a solution to this dilemma and horrified at the sudden realization that Valjean was simultaneously a criminal and a good person—a conundrum which made mockery of Javert's entire system of moral values—Javert decides to remove the problem by removing himself from the problem. Tragic, isn't it?  That Javert's heart was so hardened, so calloused, that he could not allow himself to change his perspective, and see what was there all along, that not only did Jean Valjean deserve mercy, and to be forgiven, but Javert deserved it too.  

Certainly, a little forgiveness, a little compassion, a little mercy, goes a long way in life.  Sometimes, it's okay to give people the benefit of the doubt, even if in the end, it doesn't turn out like we think it will.  Even if people take advantage of you, or hurt you.  I believe that a merciful God will give us credit for trying to do good, to be good.  My dad has always told me that 'the effort we put into helping is much more important than the outcome'.  I believe that.  We all have our sins, we all have our failings, the least we can do is to be patient with others in theirs--in the hope that someday, someone will extend to us that same courtesy. I know it is my hope that in the end of my story, there will be one final act of mercy, one miraculous act of forgiveness, provided to me by the one who is called "Redeemer".  That He will be able to look past my failings, and see the good that I tried to do, even though I constantly fall short of my own expectations, as well as His. What a miracle--that even though I fall short in so many areas of my life, I can still have the hope of a happy ending!  Thank goodness for that perspective! 

Finally, one of my favorite quotes of all time, which happens to be in the book, Les Miserables, (surprise!) which sums up this post perfectly:
"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake."  Victor Hugo--Les Miserables
And now, that is just what I will do--it is 3 a.m. now, and my rather lengthy monologue may not make any sense in the morning.  Oh well...if you've spent the time to read this post...I know you won't judge me!  :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011


“The cure for anything is salt water -
sweat, tears, or the sea.”
--Isak Dinesen

This week, we are in Oceanside, just about my favorite place on Earth.  The kids are having a blast.  We are here with about 20 of their cousins, and they are trying to have "quiet feet", and "inside voices", so as not to bother the other guests at our little resort.  Truth be told, I don't bother much telling my kids to be quiet--we are on a vacation for crying out loud.  People can deal with my noisy children.  Childhood is about fun, and certainly vacations are about fun, and if I ever become an old stuffy adult, who can't handle a gleeful child running down a breezeway, or screaming out in joy after seeing their cousin, (who they haven't seen in a whole--5 minutes!), then just whack me upside the head and knock some sense into me!  For the life of me, I can't understand why it bothers people when children make "happy noise".  Obnoxious, screaming, tantrum noise--I can understand--but "happy noise", like the noise children make on vacation, or at the beach, is a joy to hear, and we all should appreciate it. We all know, before long, we have to grow up--and those "happy noises" are way too few and far between.  Believe me, this week there has been no shortage of "happy noises"--and I am glad to hear them!  It means my children are making memories, and having fun, and feeling joy for life--and that is the point of vacation!

Something about a beach vacation, about this place, soothes me.  There hasn't been much peace of late in my life, but something about being here brings peace to my heart--always has.  The ocean waves, crashing both day and night are comforting, and constant.  It's what I miss most about my former life.  The constant--the familiar.  I am a creature of habit--that's for sure.  We were laughing the other day, when Katie took the kids on a bike ride, and went a little further down the road we have been going down for the 18 years we have been coming to this same resort, and found a new little harbor, with new shops and restaurants, and new sights and sounds.  She ventured down an unknown road--and was pleasantly surprised.  Who knew?  For all the years we have been coming here, we have the same routine.  Same traditions, same places to visit.  For me, it is familiar, and comforting.  It is hard for me to try new things, to step out of my comfort zone, to be adventurous.  Why does that have to be such a challenge for me?  I think that' s why the last year has been the hardest.  So many people say that we have to embrace our challenges, make the best of our situation, make the most of change.  I feel like I've tried to do just that--really, I've tried.  I don't really feel like it's working though.  Rather, I feel like someone who has been tossed upon the sea, tumbled by the waves, over and over, and just as I am trying to get my head above water, another wave hits. Am I enjoying the swim?  No!  Truth be told, I'm ready for the lifeguard to throw me the ring & get me the heck out of the water!  LIFEGUARD--where are you?

Some people were made for change--made for the unknown--made for adventure.  Some people are spontaneous, and daring, and thrive on a new challenge.  I am not one of those people.  Never have been--and even though I've tried really hard to embrace the changes that have been thrust on me--I'm pretty sure I never will be.  Just like the ocean waves will continue to crash through the night--constant and true--I will continue to wish away the change, so I can return to my boring, uneventful life. Certainly, that is wishful thinking--my life is nowhere close to returning to the normal that we once knew--and even if it did, I'm not sure I am the person I once was.  I have some healing to do, some forgiving to do, most of all some soul searching to do to work out why all of this had to happen the way it did.  But for this week, I have returned to this beautiful place--a place that is familiar, and constant--a place where I can forget my challenges, and be free and relaxed--and that is exactly the break that I needed.

After all, I'm sure my problems will all still be there when we get home...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Welcome Summer!...

I was listening to the radio the other day, and the person was talking about how kids in America are dumber than kids in China and other countries, because our kids have a summer vacation, and those kids go to school year round.  The person was making the argument that kids should never have more than two weeks off school at a time, since they lose valuable information in that time off, and how we will never be able to compete as a nation with these other countries, because we don't take education seriously enough.  What a bunch of hogwash!  I don't care what people think--I LOVE SUMMER!  So my kids might forget a few things...and August and September might be spent WHAT!  You heard me right--who cares?  You go to school 9 1/2 months out of each year--almost all day long!  I think without summer vacation, I would lose my ever-lovin' mind! 
For me, summer has always been about freedom.  Freedom from schedules, freedom from homework, freedom from sports teams, organizations, grades, and teachers.  Freedom from parents even (as you get older...)!  I love that my kids are MINE for the summer.  I don't have to share them with anyone, and I don't have to account for our time together.  If we spend the whole day together--and all we do is lounge around--I don't have to apologize to anyone that we didn't get homework done, or that they didn't practice their instrument, or that we didn't have time to do that project.  Our time is OUR TIME, and we can spend it however we want.  I know for many moms, this doesn't sound like fun--it sounds like pure CHAOS.  But for me, a Mary--(see that post HERE), it works!  So if my kids are dumber than a kid in China--oh well.  At least they can look back on the 10 weeks we spend together every summer, and remember that their lives were not all about books, and homework, and practice. Every summer--there was FUN!
This week, the kids used their points from our chore chart (the website we've been using is HERE--it's super awesome, and SO easy for the kids to use), to purchase a Slip-N-Slide that they saw in the Target circular that we got in the mail.  I remember my first Slip-N-Slide!  As a kid, there's not anything as fun on a hot summer day then to run and slide on one of these babies! Josh and Ashlie put their money together, and went in on the most super awesome 3 lane racing one!  I must say, it brought back some fun memories to see them play on it.  I still remember when I got mine for my birthday.  All the neighborhood kids came over and we played on it for HOURS!  It used to irritate the heck out of my dad, since he has always been a stickler for a well manicured lawn--and when we used it it would destroy the grass underneath.  I'm surprised he let me have that thing at all!  My kids enjoyed it just as much, and I have the pictures to prove it!  Take a look at their faces, and ask yourself if these kinds of smiles could be found at anytime other than SUMMER?!  Not a chance!

 Now tell me:  Do you think Chinese kids look this HAPPY?  I don't think so!  HA!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I have yet to get the hang of fact, I have never really tried it due to the fact that A. we have never had a yard that was conducive to having a garden in it, and, B. I have killed every houseplant I have ever tried to take care of.  (Truth be told, I'm not much better at pets...)  Anyway, a few years ago, when we moved into this house, I let the girls plant some sunflower seeds in the front of our house in two empty planters that we have.  I didn't think much of them, but they watered them once in awhile, and low and behold...they GREW!  I was thrilled with the result--because I LOVE sunflowers.  They grow so big and tall (taller than me), and they are so beautiful and hearty, and well, they make me feel happy! Unfortunately, only one side grew last year, so we decided to help out the other side this year by buying some topsoil and carefully turning the soil over.  We planted LOTS of seeds in that side, thinking we would be lucky if we only got a few...OOPS!  Turns out, this year, our little flower garden is lopsided once again!  TONS of flowers grew on the one side we nourished (see if you can find our For Sale sign in that jungle...)--and the side that grew well last year had an irrigation problem and kept flooding, and before we figured out what was going on, many of the plants died.  Oh well, live and learn.  This was the result:

I'm sure my neighbors probably drive by and think, "These people are CRAZY if they think those flowers look good there.  It's certainly not the place really, for sunflowers.  But it is the only place in our yard where we can plant them--and I love them.  The kids love watching these HUGE flowers grow from just a little seed, and in a few months the Arizona heat will kill all of them anyway, so I will enjoy them while I can.  I also love taking pictures of them, knowing these blooms came from our hard work!  Now if only I could do the same as these flowers...and BLOOM where I'm planted...sigh.  I'm working on day at a time.

Friday, June 3, 2011

One Year Older and, Well...

It seems the longer I live, the more I feel like there is so much left to learn!  Older = Wiser?  I'm not sure about that.  I guess even though I have a lot to learn about life, I'm glad to have tucked away a few decades under my belt, and glad to have seemingly skated through them without too much hassle!  I'm 37, inching closer and closer to the 40 mark.  I'm not sure how I feel about that yet, however, I feel like once I got married and started having children, in a sense I felt like I became OLD even though I was relatively young in comparison to most people.  Now that I'm in my 30's, and because I have so many children, I seem to identify myself with all different people, of all different ages.  I identify with those young mothers in their 20's , who have one or two little ones and are struggling through those early years of parenthood.  I feel for them--since I know they are putting all kinds of pressure on themselves, thinking that if they don't do everything just perfect, they will somehow destroy their children and their poor, vulnerable psyche.  Even though I still have young children, I have learned (the hard way), that all that pressure and stress does no good, and all I can do is my best.  My 5th and 6th children have certainly had a much more relaxed, confident, (and happy) mother than their older siblings did!  I identify with mothers in their 30's, most of them with children in elementary and junior high school, and I enjoy talking with them about strategies and tricks to talking/relating to our young children and pre-teens.  Some of them are mothers who had their children later in life, and have had experiences that I didn't get to have.  Missions, Degrees, Careers--I really admire these women for what they were able to accomplish while I was in the thick of parenting and marriage in my 20's.  They benefit from a maturity, and a perspective that I didn't have for a long time, and they are able to see things in a different way.  Sometimes I notice that they appreciate their kids and families a little more than maybe I did in the beginning.  I was a little (or a LOT) selfish while I was in my 20's--especially when I first got married & had a child, aren't we all?  I also have friends and family in their 40's and 50's,  most of whom are dealing with the JOY of teenagers, whether their first, or last few children to leave the nest.  I enjoy talking to them, especially the ones who have done this teenage thing before, and whose children have made it through the JUNGLE that is High School, and have survived!  I have learned that it IS possible--to raise a righteous, valiant child, in a world swirling about with wickedness and that gives me HOPE! I think HOPE is what every  parent of a teenager needs!  Finally, my visiting teaching partner is a lady in her 60's, like my mom, and I just love going with her to visit teach and hearing her perspective, having raised her children, and now looking back at what she thinks she did and didn't do wrong.  We also visit a lady in her 70's who gives such valuable insight--I feel like I learn something new from these ladies every single month!  I guess my point is, when I was in my teens, and 20's, I remember looking at people in their 30's and older, and thinking--"They are nothing like me--I can't relate to those OLD people".  Rude...  I know!  Now, I realize that I have much to learn from those who have come before me, and valuable input to add for those coming up behind me.  In this way, I do feel like I get a little wiser every year--just a little.
You might feel like that was a rather lengthy monologue for a measly 37th birthday post--but hey--life is short right!  When you have these kind of epiphanys at my age--it helps to write them down--I surely won't remember them later unless I did (I probably wouldn't remember 30 minutes from now)!  My memory is going fast you know!   My birthday was so much fun!  I was awakened by all of my children serenading me in their beautiful voices, and YAY--got my favorite treat--a QT Donut birthday cake, homemade by TODD!  Thank goodness he didn't destroy them by putting 37 candles on them!  The kitchen may have caught fire!  My friend Tonya made my morning even brighter by bringing me a Coke Zero from Circle K (the styrofoam cup is the BEST, and they have the BEST Coke Zero), and she went the extra mile to stop at QT and buy me 2 MORE QT Chocolate Long Jons!  (I didn't share those...with anyone--in fact, I threatened a certain child with his/her life for trying to take one).  Anytime I have a Coke Zero before 10 a.m.--it's SURE to be a great day!  The kids had cute cards telling me what they LOVE about mom--luckily they only tried to think of 10 things, not 37!  Later, I found out that Erin had decorated her bathroom mirror with a Dry Erase Marker in MY HONOR!  She's so sweet!  Love that girl!  That night we went to dinner at the Keg--(steak--YUM) with Todd's sister Katie and her husband Shaun, and then to Gammage for MAMMA MIA!  I LOVE that show--it was a BLAST!   Take a look at my amazing day!  Forgive the bedhead--but I don't look THAT bad for 37, right?  (Nevermind...don't answer that!)

Ashlie's a Kindergarten Grad!...

I am just getting around to writing about the end of the school year, mostly because the end of the school year is INSANE!  Seriously, the last few weeks of school are nonstop at this house & it seems like there isn't a night go by that we don't have something to go to.  It's a good thing really, that our kids are involved in so many things, and that the schools they go to put on so many performances and neat programs, but I'm telling you I am BURNED OUT by May & ready for school to be OVER! 

Ashlie is a proud Kindergarten Graduate!  All of the Kindergarten classes at Towne Meadows did a cute little music program the last week of school.  They sang the sweetest songs, and did these cute little actions to them.  I'm telling you, the sweet music teachers that put these things together have hearts of GOLD to work on these songs over and over with these kids!  They were so stinkin' CUTE!  I LOVE this age!  Most of my pictures didn't turn out great, since it was a small room with a TON of parents--but you can see my sweet girl, with her cute ear poking out (as it sometimes does--isn't she ADORABLE!).  Great job, ASH!  We are SO proud of you!

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