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Hard Candy Christmas

Speaking of Dolly Parton, I just found "Hard Candy Christmas" on iTunes. I just put up a load of Molly's clothes. Wow, she is outgrowing her outfits so quickly I just can't believe it.

As for Ms. Dolly Parton, I remember her song "Hard Candy Christmas" all too well. My uncle Butch was living with us at the time, and he came to pick me up from school in his black el Camino/Cabelero (the body styles are so similar I've simply forgotten which exactly he had) and this came on the radio. My Uncle started singing, loudly, and I will admit here and now that it embarrassed me. He was taking me back, if I remember correctly, to my mother's house. I don't know where she was at the time, but I remember he picked me up and I don't recall that it was anywhere near Christmas time, but still, this song played on the radio. Here are the lyrics, and I have to admit it takes me back to a much more simple time in my life...

Hey, maybe I'll dye my hair
Maybe I'll move somewhere
Maybe I'll get a car
Maybe I'll drive so far
They'll all lose track
Me, I'll bounce right back
Maybe I'll sleep real late
Maybe I'll lose some weight
Maybe I'll clear my junk
Maybe I'll just get drunk
on apple wine
Me, I'll be just
Fine and Dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down
'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow get me way down

Hey, maybe I'll learn to sew
Maybe I'll just lie low
Maybe I'll hit the bars
Maybe I'll count the stars until dawn
Me, I will go on

Maybe I'll settle down
Maybe I'll just leave town
Maybe I'll have some fun
Maybe I'll meet someone
And make him mine
Me, I'll be just
Fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down

I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down

I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down
'Cause I'll be fine (I'll be fine)
Oh, I'll be fine

You know, there are so many times that I wonder abou my mother. I wonder why she left us. I wonder what prompted her to go away For Good. I wish she were here. It would be nice to call her and tell her about Molly. It would be nice to ask questions about what I'm supposed to expect with my daughter. It would be nice to be able to cry on my mother's shoulder, ask her for recipes or go shopping with her. It would be nice to ask my mother to babysit. It would be wonderful if I could call and ask her if "this" is normal with Molly or if "that" is not normal with Molly. I am sad when I hear this song by Dolly Parton, well, because it takes me back to Back Then. Will Molly Piper ever know how AWESOME her own grandmother she superceded any of the bull that she grew up with or surrounded herself with in her young life? Will she ever know exactly how much she wanted ME to succeed, how she tried to provide me with The Best, or how much myyoung mother loved me? I can't "see" a woman like my mother with someone like my father, and yet I know it happened because I remember it all too well.

Hard Candy Christmas. It was playing on my Uncle Butch's stereo shortly before She died, and today, it still plays in my mind and makes me reminisce about those times....

I am sad now. I am thinking of Molly, and how Todd and I want to provide the most loving home for her. We both want the best for her; we do not want to expose her to any unnecessary BS, but unfortunately, THAT is where we BOTH come from...BS...but we are determined to work hard to make things right for Molly. We hope to have a second child in a few years, too, but right now our thoughts are focused on Molly and how we can help her and nurture and support her. Unfortunately, we are both COMPLETELY CLUELESS but we have a bounty of love in our hearts for her. Hopefully that, along with motivation for change, is enough.

Second glass of wine. I think I'm gonna go to bed. I'm sad now. :(

I forgot....

Oooh, did I mention....I LOVE NEIL DIAMOND!!!

Thank you Aunt Amy and Uncle Tony for watching Molly!!!!! I am TOTALLY enjoying myself this evening!! :)

Jammin' Out....

Okay, it's almost 11:00 PM and I've had a glass of red wine...I'm all alone and I'm jammin' out to iTunes!! A litte bit of Greg Kihn, a lil bit of Dolly Parton, a lil bit of The Cure, a lil bit of Lucinda Williams....WOW, gotta love iTunes! I am really enjoying myself tonight. If Molly were here, she would be asleep by now (um, hopefully!) and if Todd were here he'd either be reading or watching I'm totally jamming out now, the headphones are TOTALLY unplugged and I'm doing laundry... LOL. If Molly and Todd were here, I'd have my headphones on but would NOT be dancing around the living room like a total weirdo! LOL. So, I'm doing that tonight! Now, "Closing Time" is on, by Semisonic, and I'm diggin' it! hahha. As I said, gotta luv iTunes!

In a minute, I've got to make up Molly's schedule for this next week, learning activities, so I'm totally enjoying some time to myself for right now.... :)

OOoh, a little Joe Walsh....a little Nelly (um, Todd, did you upload the song "Country Grammer" because, um, I did NOT!!!) LOL. Oooh, look at that, a little Plumb here, some Don Henley there....

....15 minutes later (yeah, I've been dancing 'round the room)...The Who with Eminence Front is on our iTunes library. I swear, Todd is a music junkie and knows just about every band out there! I soooooo love that about him!!! Music and baseball, baseball and music....what a SEXXXXXXXY guy!!! xoxoxox LOL.

Yeah, I'm feelin' my red wine. Hey, and since I'm no longer pregnant OR nursing...well, I'm entitled, right?! Except for last weekend's birthday party, well, my social life has been pretty ho-hum....OOH! PRINCE is on!!! Gotta go!!! :))))


WOW!! It Sure is Quiet Here Tonight!

WOW!! That's about all I can say...WOW!

Molly isn't here. Todd isn't here. I have the house to myself other than the kitties and the doggies! LOL. I am getting much-needed work done, but OHMYGOSH the house is sooooooo quiet (Yeah...Todd even turned off the TV before he left! LOL) so I hardly know what to do or think!

It's been a crazy day, car shopping and then rushing back so I could get some work done before doing taxes and hitting the hay...LOL. I am working, but thought I would take a break and blog for a second.

Our house has been overtaken by baby toys, baby programming on TV and burp cloths...tonight, all of that seems eerily like a distant memory. It's, well, STRANGE, to say the least., does this make me a bad mom and wife to say that it's....KINDA NICE to have peace and quiet and not be on edge about waking Molly or feeding Molly or making dinner for Todd, etc? Or, does this make me a normal "mom"?? I HOPE it makes me sound like a normal mom. I have been so keyed up and anxious lately...don't know what that is about...but I have. I NEEDED THIS BREAK, so thank you, Amy and Tony for taking Molly, and thank you Todd for leaving for a few hours to give me some peace and quiet. My emotional and mental health thanks alllllll 3 of you!!!




Molly Piper was a total set of TURKEY LIPS today...she would NOT sleep worth a darn and I couldn't get anything done. We had tummy time complete with finger puppets. We had Baby Einstein time. We had Outside Time, because it was so nice. We had tummy time again!!! We watched BabyFirst TV. I used the "Night Night Balm" on her, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY!! I do not know WHAT in the heck is going on! Todd and I wonder if she's going through a growth spurt or if I'm not feeding her enough, or just WHAT THE HECK!!

Turkey lips or not, she is a sweetie, though. She is going to be exactly 16 weeks old in about 58 minutes. WOW! It is bittersweet when I write that, because I canNOT believe she is getting to be so big, so soon! Where, oh where, did my Tiny Baby go?!

Molly is very responsive to my face. When I smile, she soon, too, will pop a dazzling, gummy smile that makes me want to weep with happiness. When I frown, she wrinkles her brow and she, too, will frown. This impresses upon me just HOW important it actually is to keep a good attitude in front of my baby and of course, if Todd and I fight, not to have "words" in front of her. She picks up on EVERYthing, it seems, even now, at such a young age. Every day, she simply amazes me...

She is rolling over now, I think I've reported before, but she won't do it for Todd. I wish my mom were here to see it. I wish she were here to see a lot of things, but cest la vie, right? THAT'S LIFE. or death. whichever.

In any case, Molly and I have a big day planned for Thursday. We haven't been out of the house since Monday *UGH* so I am hoping Thursday's ventures out will help Molly get back into her routine. We are meeting Cindy and Mackenzie at the mall at 9:00 for some walking. Then we hafta go to the post office to mail a package to our friends in the Seattle area! THEN, we hit Wal-Mart! Then on to Quiznos to get Molly's daddy a submarine sandwich. After that, we're gonna venture over to Dr. Newby's office for dog food. All 5 cats and both dogs are on presciption food, so we have to buy it at the vet's office. Then, we finish up with a visit to Price's Old Fashioned Meat Market, where we buy our meat. I need chicken breasts and potato salad! LOL.

I think getting out of the house is as good for Molly Piper as it is for me. It gives her a chance to experience new things and it gives me a chance to say something other than "OOoh, did we make stinky shoo shoo yet?!" or whatever. You know: Actual, real-life, adult conversation. Sure, when Todd is home we talk, but any more it's about Molly, or what Molly did all day or didn't do all day (like SLEEP, which did NOT happen today!!!). It's just sort of nice to get out and see things outside of my home, that's all. I'm very blessed and thankful for my life and my home but sometimes it is nice to just walk around Wal-Mart or the mall and take my time in the world. I think Molly really enjoys the lull of the noisy stores: Uhhh, she MUST or else she wouldn't fall asleep! hahahha! Yep: Big Day planned for Thursday! YAY!

This morning I was up with Molly and watched an infomercial on "Your Baby Can Read". I don't know what to think about it, not really, but I went ahead and ordered it after doing some spotty online research about it. See,the thing is, I want to expose Molly to an array of experiences. I want her to be SMART, you know? I want her to be able to do whatever she wants when she gets out of high school, hopefully attending college and playing sports, etc. But I have it in my head that if I START NOW, she will grow into the smart, sweet, friendly, compassionate daugher that I have always wished for. I don't want to push her...but I DO want to expose her to the many things out there in the world today to help develop her brain and her intellectual and emotional stamina. I truly, honestly, want the best for her and will go to almost any length to provider that to her. "Your Baby Can Read": I'm hoping it's not a bunch of hoo ha. I'm hoping it's the real deal and that Molly will actually benefit from it.

We shall see...we shall see... :)


I Feel Like a Bad Mommy!

I feel like a horrible, I put Molly in her swing (her Big Girl swing! YAY! She finally fits in it and her head doesn't bobb all around! LOL) and turned on BabyFirst TV and she totally passed out!!!!! I felt hooooooorrrrrrrrriiiiiiiibbbbbbbbllllllleeeeeeee! It broke my heart to see her slumped over to her right side, head resting on her chubby, precious arm, asleep and tuckered out from the "Shushybye" programming segment. UGH!! As a mom, does this guilty feeling that you've failed your child, well, does it EVER go away??!

Todd drove the truck to Tulsa today to pick up a freezer at Sears. I told him about it; I told him how badly I felt about her dozing in her swing. He said that since her head wasn't slumped forward she ought to be fine, and I know he's right....but honestly? One of us has ALWAYS had this baby in our arms when she has fallen asleep...and now that she has fallen asleep in her swing, well, it is just FOREIGN to me. Maybe it is ME having separation anxiety, heck, I don't know...but when I looked across (our very large) living room and noticed that she'd fallen asleep, my heart sank. Is THIS what motherhood is all about? Is THIS what makes up the initial feelings of guilt in early motherhood, the feeling that your child will actually be OKAY if you're not with them every step of the way?! I hate feeling this way. I can't put my finger on whether it is that Molly Piper is getting older and thus does not need me as much as she once needed me, or whether I simply felt bad because the swing lulled her and the TV show tuckered her and therefore replaced my singing, dancing, stroking her head, you know, the routine I NORMALLY perform when I'm trying my darndest to get her to sleep.

I've said it many times and here, now, I will say it again: As a mommy, I'm finding that you get a whole NEW set of worries. The old worries aren't replaced. They're just multiplied by 100, and they all involve your child, your baby, your heart and soul, the very breath you take. It's heartbreaking, but at the same time, heartWARMING...

She is getting so BIG! I can't believe my eyes. She will roll over during tummy time, from tummy to back, but she only does this with me. She won't do it with her daddy! LOL. I have tried to coax, plead and beg, because honestly, I think it is the sweetest thing, witnessing one of her milestones, but she simply refuses to do this when Todd is in the vicinity! LOL. I am hoping she rolls for him soon, though. It really IS the most adorable thing I think I've ever seen. After she rolls onto her back, we then do our daily exercises: Pat-A-Cake, arm and leg circles, The name it, I'm sure we do it or have done it! LOL. She always ends up turning her head toward the TV, though! She's just like her daddy with that stinkin' TV...they both LOVE it! I don't know if it's because she's looking for her Baby Einstein or if she just likes the colors and the movement, but PUUUUHHHHLLLEEEEASE, LORD, don't let her be a couch potato! I hope to break her of this habit when she becomes more mobile and can move around more. She has great head control at this point, so she tends to turn her head when she hears an interesting/familiar voice....


Got my life insurance policy in the mail the other day. Yeah, um, kind of depressing, but oh-so-necessry, for the "just in case". If anything happens to me, I want Molly to be able to go to college if she wants to. I want Todd to be able to pay off bills and not worry about making ends meet PLUS raising a daughter on his own. I have asked just one thing of Todd, though: That he tell Molly all about me and not ever be hesitant to share details about me, my life, who I am. Losing my mother as young as I did, unfortunately I didn't have this legacy or privilege. No one ever talks about her. It is as if she has been forgotten, but not to me. I *so* do not want my Precious Molly to feel this way about me, should anything ever happen to me. I want her to know how much I absolutely LOVE her, how I would die for her or give her a kidney or work 5 jobs to put her through school. Because I do. And I will. Whatever it takes, I want this baby to grow up happy, healthy and emotionally secure and stable in the fact that she has 2 parents who love her dearly. We may not have MUCH, but since love is priceless anyway, what we have or don't have is proven irrelevant...and when you really come right down to it, LOVE is what matters the most. I think of that song, "Love's the Only House" by Martina McBride and it makes me tear up.

Here are the lyrics to the song I am thinking of tonight:

I was standing in the grocery store line
The one they marked express
When this woman came through with about 25 things
And I said don't you know that more is less
She said this world is moving so fast
But I just get more behind with every day
And every morning when I make my coffee
I can't believe my life's turned out this way
All I could say was

Love's the only house big enough for all the pain in the world
Love's the only house big enough for all the pain

He was walking by the other day and I said
Hey baby how you been?
Yeah I got me a little girl now and she's 4 years old
And she's got her daddy's little grin
And you only want what you can't have
And baby you can't have me nowI gave my heart to another
Yeah I'm a mother and he's a father and we're a family
And we've got each other
And I found out the hard way that

Love's the only house big enough for all the pain in the world
Love's the only house big enough for all the pain

You drive three miles from all this prosperity
Down across the river and you see a ghetto there
And we got children walking around with guns
And they got knives with drugs and pain to spare
And here I am in my clean, white shirt
With a little money in my pocket and a nice warm home
And we got teenagers walkin' around in a culture of darkness
Livin' together alone, and all I can say is

Love's the only house big enough for all the pain in the world
Love's the only house big enough for all the pain
And I can't explain it and I can't understand
But I'll come down and get my hands dirty and together we'll make a stand

Somewhere cross the parking lot some bands playin out of tuneCity streets are gonna burn if we don't do something soon
And senorita can't quit cryin, baby's due now any day
Don Juan left, got sick of tryin
No one there to show him the way she came down to the grocery store and
She said I, I wanna buy a little carton of milk but I don't have any money
I said hey I'll cover you honey cause the pain's gotta go somewhere
Yeah the pain's gotta go someplace
So come on down to my house
Don't you know thatLove's the only house big enough for all the pain in the world
Love's the only house big enough for all the pain

Molly Piper and Her Soft Lambie

For Christmas, Todd's Aunt Rita bought Molly clothes and this sweet little lamb. It's cheeks light up when you press its tummy and it plays the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". MOLLY LOVES THIS THING!! I do not know WHAT the heck we're gonna do when it finally runs out of juice...Molly LOVES IT...she smiles so big and then grabs it and hugs it to her chest and just smiles like she is soooo happy that her lambie is singing to her! Really, it is just the sweetest thing to watch. I want to cry when she does this, just because it is so adorable! :)

This morning, the little turkey woke up at 7-something (after not going to sleep until almost 1-something!) and Todd was already up so he took care of her. When I FINALLY woke up at 10-something, Molly was asleep in her bouncee and hugging her Lambie! Sooooo sweet! We had to get pictures with the digital camera and of course Todd's phone.

I kiss her sweet cheeks and it melts my heart. Her big, blue eyes look up at me and I just melt. She is my heart and soul. I would do ANYTHING for this little girl; she has us both absolutely WRAPPED around her teeny, tiny finger! I think about her constantly and wonder how she is feeling, although I know that she cannot tell me. I try to read to her and expose her to different things; I want her to be SMART! I want her to have manners, compassion and lots of love for other living beings. I want her to be like my friend Bekki's little girl and say "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am" and "please" and "thank you". I CONSTANTLY have my nose in the books and online learning just how to make this happen. LOL....
I just finished planning our menu halfway through March. Rumor has it that there will be another layoff at CentriLift, and I am just hoping and praying that Todd isn't included in that layoff. If he is, our little family will be devastated, as he is our main breadwinner. We keep our money separate but he pays the big bills such as the car and the house...and unfortunately, unemployment doesn't pay that well, this point all I can do is PRAY LIKE A MANIAC that it doesn't happen. If it does happen, well, I can just pray that God has his hand on us and that we learn to trust Him more and let go of worries....I only work part-time since Molly has been with us, and it's been hard for me to responsibly meet my dues here and there, but everything has worked out for the best SO FAR, so I am confident that if "IT" happens, we can manage...I just worry like mad, even though I try to keep it to myself and not let that dear husband of mine know exactly how much I worry...the economy is SO horrible right now, it's pathetic.
It makes me sick the way Obama is regarded as being such a Savior to our economy. Uh...if he and his Big Government want to be so highly regarded, well, howza bout letting the poor, unfortunate folks who actually are laid off, howza bout letting THEM take out their 401s free and clear, no penalty? Hmmmm? How about that? No taxation and no end-of-year tax penalty, well, that would be nice. And that could REALLY help families who have suffered because of job loss or reduced income by way of unemployment benefits (which are SOOOO sucky!!!). I swear, when I quit GLMHC after 7 years of working for them, I was taxed out my ears both when I initially took out my money AND at the end of the year; the government actually counted the ENTIRE amount as earned income!!! WHAT A RIP!!! So technically I had to pay taxes on my OWN MONEY twice==SO NOT FAIR....But please, don't EVEN get me started! LOL. I could go on FOREVER, but since this is, essentially, my daughter's blog, I will not do that.....
Ta-ta for now....I have ordered a tutu and a new bow for Molly and can't wait to have her Easter pictures taken in them! We just got 15 bows in the mail today and I canNOT wait for her to wear them!
liz and molly piper



WOW!! It is 12:57 AM and FINALLY, Molly is asleep.....UGH!! I didn't know if she would EVER fall asleep, but when I looked over at her, in her Big Girl Swing, her eyes were closed. I picked her up, swaddled her again and stuck her passy in her mouth and patted and bounced her....right to sleep she went. Like I said, what works one day may not work the now I am up, trying to get some much-needed scrapbooking done....


It's Tricky!

Babies are, well, TRICKY! What works one day, well, just may not work the next! Let me give you the example of lulling Molly Piper to sleep. Usually, she is asleep by 10:30 or 11:00 at night, and she sleeps for almost 11 hours without incident, straight through the night. But tonight...OH guessed it...she is wide awake. Those "peepers" (as her daddy lovingly calls them) are still "peeping" and her smile is bright! Sure, her smile is the sweetest, bestest thing I have ever witnessed...but here it is almost MIDNIGHT and we're still awake with her! The other day we subscribed to BabyFirst TV on satellite in hopes of providing some educational entertainment to her, and that is where she is now--in front of their lullaby programming. I hate to just stick her in front of the TV but at this point, tonight, well, I don't know what else to do. She's fed, changed, swaddled. The passy is in her mouth. She's had her bathtime earlier this evening! There's white noise in the room (a fan). We've held her. Todd sang to her! I bounced and swung her in my arms! Molly was a big gassy earlier, so she was given Mylicon in hopes that that would solve the problem...UH...NOPE!! So I placed a soft blanket in her carseat and put her down in there, swaddled and passy in place, and turne on the TV and put her seat in front of it, HOPING it will lull her to dreamland. But, um, I hear her over there, grunting. Do I need to go check on her? Should I give her more Mylicon? HECK...I DON'T KNOW!!! This baby-raising stuff sure is hard! LOL. I'm not especially confident with it and tend to second-guess the things I OUGHT and SHOULD be doing. She's been sick with a bad head cold recently just this week, so I don't have any way of knowing if something is hurting, or if she's having trouble breathing or WHAT and I just hate that. I wish I knew instantly what was the matter, but I just don't.

She took a 4 hour nap earlier today...maybe that has her all messed up, I don't know! But she just kept snoozing and I just kept waiting for her to wake up so we could have tummy time and Baby Einstein time and just play together. During that time, I thoroughly cleaned the kitchen and even got alllllllllll the laundry done! She woke up, drank some prune juice and then we played. A few hours later, she drank another bottle. And then about 8:00 she had her nighttime bottle, which usually puts her to bed about 10:00 or so....but's TRICKY!

One thing is for sure and for certain: I have never known a love like the love I have for my baby daughter. When I look at her, my heart swells and her future flashes before my eyes. I know the dangers of this world and want none of them to harm her. I pray for her health and safety every single day and I tell her each chance I get that I love her. Her gummy smile warms my heart and her loose, naked scalp tickles my funny bone. She is the light of my life, the absolute reason I am alive. I feel so blessed, even at nearly MIDNIGHT on Sunday night. LOL. This little girl has blessed Todd and I beyond belief. If you're a parent, I know you can relate. I never dreamed that there would be TRICKY times like THESE but I also never dreamed I could love another person so completely and so wholly. The spit-up doesn't bother me. The poopy diapers don't phase me. Her laundry? I actually LIKE doing her laundry!!!!!!! LOL. Just seeing her smile at me and curl into me when I hold her, THAT is what I live for these days....


12 Surprising Ways to Raise a Happy Child

The capacity for happiness is one of the greatest gifts a child can receive from a parent. Here's how to give your kids self-esteem -- and lasting contentment.
One of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child is the capacity for happiness. There's a big difference, of course, between instant gratification -- getting the latest Powerpuff Girls watch, say, or a wardrobe full of Nike sweats -- and lasting contentment. Sure, kids love treats, and like grown-ups, need small pleasures to boost their feeling of well-being. But genuine happiness goes deeper: It nurtures your child's spirit, imbuing her with a sense that all's well with the world.
Experts agree that happy children share certain characteristics, including self-esteem, optimism, and a sense of control. As it happens, these traits are easier to develop than you may think. Here, 12 ways to help your child walk on the sunny side of the street.

1. Have old-fashioned, unstructured fun
Successful kids are frequently happy kids, but in your efforts to prepare your child for life's challenges, resist the temptation to cram her schedule with too many activities. All kids need a chance to decompress, take a break from playdates and lessons, and simply play freely, letting their imagination guide them. Unhurried time to catch lightning bugs, make snow angels, or watch a spider spin its web enhances your child's sense of wonder and lets him explore the world at his own pace.
Why not slow down your own frenetic schedule, too, and join your child in the pursuit of fun? For inspiration, check out 51 Best Ways to Amuse Kids, by Ellen van Wees (Perigee Books, 2000). You'll find everything from bathtub adventures to doll birthday parties.

2. Teach her to care
In order to be happy, a child needs to feel that she is a valuable member of a larger community and can touch people's lives in a meaningful way. Help instill this feeling by giving her plenty of opportunities to reach out to others. Collect some old toys that she no longer wants, and give them to a shelter for homeless families. At the supermarket, ask her to select a few extra grocery items that you can donate to a local food bank.
"Children can learn the joy of helping others at a very young age," says Deborah Spaide, founder of Kids Care and Family Cares, two volunteer organizations under the auspices of the Points of Light Foundation, a Washington, D.C., organization that promotes volunteerism. Kids Care clubs are sponsored by schools, churches, and synagogues for elementary- and middle-school children, while Family Cares provides at-home and community-based projects for parents with younger kids. "One Family Cares project might be to make Huggy Bears from scraps of clothing for babies and toddlers in a hospital in Tanzania," Spaide explains. "Even a 2-year-old can help stuff the bear and point out where the eyes and mouth go." For more information, log on to
Points of Light

3. Get physical
Go sledding with your kids, or play tag in the park. Take bike rides together. You'll not only increase your child's strength and stamina but give him reasons to smile. Keeping active helps ease stress and lets kids blow off steam in a healthy way. Fit kids also have a more positive body image; they take pride in what they can do rather than obsess about what they look like. And if you encourage your child in an activity he likes, you'll have given him one more way to have fun.

4. Laugh it up
Tell jokes, sing silly songs, poke fun at yourself. Laughter is good for your child -- and for you. One reason is purely physical: When you laugh, you release tension and take in more oxygen, which sends spirits soaring.

5. Be creative with praise
Don't just say, "Good job" whenever your child makes progress toward a goal or masters a skill. Be specific; point out the details that you find impressive. Saying, "The way you described the hero in your book report made him come alive for me" or "I like the way you've drawn those trees" is far more meaningful than a rote pat on the back.
Similarly, don't overdo the reward system. "I used to hand out prizes every Friday," says Laurie Rausch Andrews, who teaches fourth grade in West Hartford, Connecticut. "But it got to the point where the kids were more focused on the reward than on doing well." Instead, let your child discover the satisfaction inherent in accomplishing something.

6. Make sure she eats right
If your child is cranky or fussy (but clearly not sick), she may be hungry. If it's not yet mealtime, fix her a snack. But find something nutritious: Eating well minimizes mood swings and contributes to a general sense of well-being. Good snack choices include low-fat yogurt, fresh or dried fruit, and that old standby, peanut butter and jelly on whole-wheat bread.

7. Bring out the artist in him
You've doubtless heard the theory that listening to classical music boosts your child's brain power. But exposure to music, dance, or any of the arts also enriches a child's inner life and sense of self-worth. "Moving to music or playing with paints gives your child an emotional outlet, a creative way to express his feelings about himself and his world," says Eugene Golden, manager of the Music Guild, a nonprofit organization that presents chamber-music concerts at inner-city schools in Los Angeles. "The feeling of accomplishment that comes from creating art, whether it's learning to play the piano or performing in a school play, helps a child feel good about himself."

8. Smile
Flashing a big grin to your child reassures him as nothing else can. It's a shorthand way of saying, "I love you." While you're at it, throw in a hug. The late teacher and writer Virginia Satir used to say a person needs 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance, and 16 for growth. And remember, all that smiling and hugging is as good for you as it is for your child.

9. Listen up
Nothing makes your child feel as important as having your undivided attention. It tells her that what's on her mind matters to you. Want to be a better listener? Don't lend just half an ear. If your child speaks to you while you're in the middle of paying bills or doing chores, stop and shift your focus to him. Whatever you do, don't interrupt, finish his sentences, or rush him through his thoughts -- even if you've heard it all before. Golden opportunities for undistracted listening: while you're driving with your child or putting her to bed at night.

10. Give up on perfection
We all want our kids to do their best. But whenever we step in to "fix" or "tidy up" an imperfect job, we inadvertently undermine their confidence. "If we redust the spot she missed or rewipe the kitchen counter, we're telling our child that what she did wasn't good enough," says Karin Ireland, a mother and author of Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem: Simple, Effective Ways to Build Children's Self-Respect and Confidence (Berkley Books, 2000). "Unfortunately, kids can begin to believe that they're not good enough."
The next time you're tempted to correct your child's work, ask yourself: 1) Is there a health or safety issue involved? and 2) Will this matter ten years from now? If the answers are no, then let it go. Sure, helping your child acquire life skills is a big part of parenting, Ireland says, but it's only one part. The emotional connection between the two of you is more important than whether she puts the fork in the right place when she sets the table.

11. Teach him to solve problems
From tying his shoelaces to crossing the street safely, each skill your child masters is another step toward independence. Indeed, just knowing that problems can be tackled (and solved) helps your child feel good about herself. When she hits a snag -- whether it's teasing from a playmate or a puzzle that she can't put together -- you can help her by following these steps: 1) Identify the problem; 2) have her describe the solution she wants; 3) figure out what steps will lead to that solution; 4) decide whether she can take the steps on her own or needs help; 5) if she does need help, make sure she gets it.

12. Give him a chance to shine
Every child has a special talent or skill; why not let him show it off a bit? Does he love books? Have him read to you while you cook. Is she good with numbers? Let her scope out the best buys when you go shopping. "When you share your child's enthusiasm and show that you're impressed with his gifts," Karin Ireland says, "you turn up his self-esteem another notch."

Candy's Baby Shower!!!!

Well...all I can say is that I canNOT believe we are 32....or 31 in Candy's case! It just blows my mind, how these past years have flown by. Lisa has 3 kiddos, LaRonna has 1, Mark has 2, I just had one, and Candy's getting ready to welcome I said, it just BLOWS MY MIND!!!

Congratulations, Candy! You'll be a wonderful mommy to Baby Boy Fite.

I have to admit, it is heartbreaking, how quickly the years are passing. Today was a real eye-opener...Candy and I are probably the last ones in our graduating class to have babies! Candy is only a "baby" at only 31, when the rest of us are 32, but I am CERTAIN she will make a great mommy to Baby Boy Fite.

I am a little nostalgic tonight as I look back on alllllllllll these years and see what I could have done differently. Of course, had I done *anything* differently, it could have possibly interfered with my meeting Todd, the love of my life, and having Molly, the other love of my life...It just makes me a little teary to see my friends from high school and see how well they are doing...everybody has their own lives, their own intricacies, and I think it's a beautiful just makes me a little nostalgic to think that ***WOWZA***now we are THIS OLD and we all have our own lives and loves and families and careers and, well, LIVES. It did my heart such good to know that everyone is doing well, even though some that I expected to show didn't make it. Even so, it was great visiting with Terri, Mark, LaRonna, LaRonna's mom, Margie Riner, Mrs. Stinnett, Mrs. Spurgeon, etc. Molly was sooooooooooooooo good at the shower. She actually napped for a significant portion of the shower, so that was good...NO SCREAMING!! LOL. Todd dressed her this morning and got her all ready, and I took her with me to the baby shower. He had to go to Owasso and then through Bartlesville, so we met him in Bartlesville and went to lunch at McAlister's and then to Wal-Mart. He bought Molly a Precious Planet Jumparoo and a cardigan for one of her outfits. SO CUTE!!!

Wal-Mart was a madhouse!! Last-Minute Valentine's Day shoppers, I suppose. But NOT ME!!! LOL. Todd had flowers sent to the house for V-day!! WOW!! I haven't had fresh flowers since I was in the hospital with Molly,and before that it was when I was still working for Grand Lake Mental Health that I received flowers, so it was an AWESOME surprise today to receive them! PINK IS MY FAVORITE COLOR, all shades of pink, so just like my wedding bouquet, this is what he sent me...alllllllll shades of pink, and the arrangement is just gorgeous.

I am so thankful for my life. I am sooooo very thankful for my thoughtful, considerate, caring husband and our sweet, beautiful baby daughter! For Valentine's Day, I bought Todd all-inclusive tickets to see the Cards versus Mets...CHAMPION'S CLUB, HERE WE COME!!! Molly Piper got her daddy gift certificates for our week in St. Louis for dining establishments for Mike Shannon's and the Pujols 5 Grille. CAN'T WAIT for April to get here!!! We are going to live it up in St. Louis, which is where I would live if we ever leave Nowata. I love that town!! We are planning to go later in the summer as well, when it is warmer, and I cannot wait for that, either! Every summer my husband and I "do" St. Louis and it is awesome. I would TOTALLY move there if we ever won the lottery!! LOL. I hope Molly Piper loves St. Louis just as much as Todd and I do. The town has a lot of energy and just always seems to be "hopping" and that is what I love about it. Something new each and every day we are there. Zia's and Chevy's, however, are a "regular" in our itenerary and they will NOT be left out this year, you can bet on that!




Well. When we had Molly's pictures taken they wanted us to sign a release to use her photos. As a VERY proud Mommy, I said "Ooooh, sure!!" and signed where I was supposed to. The photo people MUST think she is as cute as a button, and I have to say that I agree! LOL. Check out her pictures, ya'll! She did really well this go-round. In December she was not so smiley, but of course she was much younger then, too...



Hey readers! It's been a while, no?

Well, blame MOLLY PIPER for requiring so much of my attention that I haven't been able to update!


Seriously, she is the sweetest baby. Sure, she will let you know when she needs/wants something, but she just smiles and it melts my heart. I hold her and still wonder's weird, as if suddenly there's a giraffe in the room! Ha ha ha ha ha. But really, now I'm a bit more relaxed and able to have fun with her. Previousy, I stayed on pins and needles and I think SHE sensed it because it seemed SHE was on pins and needles! It seemed she wouldn't sleep during the day, like EVER! Maybe a 10 or 20-minute cat nap here or there, but now she sleeps for 3-hour stretches (uhh....just this week, since her Uncle Tony got her on a "schedule" over the past weekend!) and I am FINALLY able to get some stuff done around here! It is with great relief that I write: Molly Piper is perfect in my eyes. She is the sweetest baby with the biggest heart and soul and I am proud to be her mommy. When I see her, I see another dimension and it's amazing to me. I want to hold her and protect her a mom now, I totally understand this. Kids just mostly got on my nerves before! But now, after having Molly and becoming a parent myself, it is a totally different story. I can't believe how in love with her that I am and how nothing else in the world matters to me but her health, safety and happiness. Those first few months were HARRRRRRRRDDDD...OMG, I asked myself everyday just before I prayed to God to help me...."What have I gotten myself into?" but just recently we have all relaxed around here and now things are good in the 'hood! LOL.

Here are some pictures of my precious angel...ENJOY!!!

My grandma and grandpa Gorley came out to visit Molly! What a surprise, as they never go anywhere! WOW! The doorbell rang one evening and Todd and I looked at each other like, "Who's that? We're not expecting anyone!" But we have lived here for 4 years almost and they've never visited so we were soooooo shocked when I opened the door and found them at our house! LOL.

This is Miss Molly Piper at a mere 1 week old. Isn't she precious? To me, she had a big ol' head in this picture, but I gues that is normal for babies...big ol' melon to accomodate their growing brain! Anyway, here she is sporting her very first Eskimo Joe's apparrel....SO SWEET!

Now: THIS image of Molly with Santa was taken when she was EXACTLY 1 month old, on December 6, 2008! This was one of the very few times that she was asleep at such a young age, as she has (up until recently) only cat napped for 20 minutes at a time, here and there, preventing me from getting ANYthing done, work or around the house!!! She sure is adorable, though!

Molly's First Christmas stocking....gotta love Pottery Barn Kids! sweet, asleep in her basinette! SWEET baby girl!

What chou talkin' bout, Willis?!
...We were getting ready to go somewhere and I put her hat on her. She was NOT happy! Why do babies hate hats so much? Mommies love hats on their babies, but babies HATE them!! She was screaming and crying here, upset at having her hat on!

This was Molly's Valentine's Day picture we took here at home and put onto cards for everyone. My dad actually used the word "adorable" and it cracked me up!!! LOL. But it's true and the word is out: Molly Piper really IS adorable!!!

Well, she doesn't LOOK all that happy in this particular photo, but she was! Prior to my snapping the pic, she was smiling and laughing and just "talking" away!! check out the little bow in her hair! Sooo sweet, courtesty of Aunt Amy!! :)

Well, this picture is a little blurry but at least she is smiln' that pretty little smile!

This is Molly with her Aunt Susan, a good friend of mine. Aunt Vicki and Molly are below!