Monday, October 27, 2008

The One With The Story of Epic Proportions

Dear blog readers, I have a compelling story to share with you today. I warn you, it's a long one. But it is a story of compassion and kindness that will warm your heart....with a little bit of stupidity along the way. I've tried to make the story as easy to follow as possible, and I promise it's worth the read.

Before I get this story underway, let me introduce you to the characters:

Mr. Firoz Gillani: manager and owner of the Days Inn of East Ridge
Ken Greene: President of Days Inn Worldwide
Apathetic Receptionist: employee of Days Inn, East Ridge
Unhelpful Rude Lady: customer service representative, Days Inn Corporate
Jennifer: customer service representative, Portrait Innovations
Guy On Vacation (GOV): very kind citizen who stayed in room 169 seven days after me
Carol (artsygranny): digital scrapbooker who reunited me with my photos!

This story begins on August 14, 2008. I was on vacation with my 3 kids without David. I decided that I should have some portraits taken of the kids to send him. I had had a wonderful experience in June with the Portrait Innovations in Dayton, so I decided to look on the internet to find out if they had any locations in Florida. They did, and I had the kids' photos taken by Melissa in Clearwater :)

On August 16th, I checked into the Days Inn at East Ridge (Chattanooga, TN).

At this point I was two weeks in to living out of suitcases and staying places with all 3 kids and little help! When Nathan helped me bring in the luggage, he put some things on the entertainment center, and I noticed later that the bag with the portfolio of portraits had fallen behind the entertainment center. I made a mental note to not forget that they were behind there...but guess what? In our haste to get moving the next morning, I left them there. I was filling up at a gas station when I noticed, so I called and spoke with apathetic receptionist at 5:45 p.m. on August 17th. Conversation went like this:

Me: I stayed in room 169 last night and I left something there.
AR: What did you leave in the room?
Me: A bag of professional portraits. I left them behind the entertainment center.
AR: I'm by myself, I can't go look and see if they are there.
Me: Are you serious? There's NO ONE else there?
AR: Well, let me see if my boss will watch the desk and I'll look. Call back in 5 minutes.

5 minutes later:

Me: Well, do you have them?
AR: He said housekeeping has to do it, you have to call back tomorrow.
Me: Oh my gosh, I have to wonder all night? Is there nothing else you can do?
AR: Well if I see a maintenance man I can have him check.
Me: Great! Is it okay if I call back in an hour?
AR: Sure.

one hour later (6:50 p.m.)

Me: It's me again, any luck?
AR: No.
Me: Can I call in another hour?
AR: Sure.

One hour later (7:50 p.m.)

Me: Hi, have you seen a maintenance man?
AR: No.
Me: Well what time do they go home?
AR: 5:00
Me: You mean, BEFORE the first time we talked?
AR: Yes.

Let me take a moment here for a silent scream.

I called back the next day, and Apathetic Receptionist told me that my photos weren't there. Housekeeping had checked the room and they weren't there.

I was devastated. I hadn't had time to really even process what had happened or what I was going to do about it week later, on August 24th at 10:00 a.m., I got a call on my cell phone.

Guy On Vacation (actually I have no idea if he was on vacation or not but for my story he was): Lena?
Me: Yes?
GOV: Hi, I'm staying at the Days Inn in East Ridge in room 169? I have something that belongs to you?
GOV: I found them behind the entertainment center because some of my stuff fell behind there. There was an invoice in the bag that had your name and number on it.
Me: Oh thank you so much! Please just give them to the front desk and I'll get in touch with them.

The next day I called Days Inn and they acted as though they had no idea what I was talking about. Before I had a conniption fit, I called GOV again, since his number was still on my cell. I made sure that he had turned in the photos, which he had. There was only one explanation left for where my photos had gone:

Miraculously when I called back the next day my photos were there on the desk and no one was available to speak to me about them.

I spent the next couple of weeks attempting to get in touch with this mysterious "owner" who was never there and never returned phone calls. He apparently had office hours from 12:00-12:05 M-F, but took lunch from 12:01-12:04.

After a few weeks of that nonsense, I was beginning to lose my patience. I got the pleasure of speaking to AR again who told me, "I didn't lie to you. Housekeeping said it wasn't in there." At this point, the game of pass-the-buck was getting really old. I called Days Inn Customer Service.

They opened an investigation and told me that if in 7 business days, the owner hadn't responded to me, they would see what they could do. Well, surprise surprise, after 7 days, nothing. So I call back to customer service and the Unhelpful Rude Lady told me that there was nothing they could do, that it was my fault for leaving the photos.

So I pick back up where I left off, phoning Mr. Gilani daily. When I finally heard his voice with my own ears, I thought my head would explode.

Believe it or not, he was very friendly. He told me that he would check with his staff but that he would call me the next day, and he was "sure I can send you the photos".

Do you think I ever heard from him the next day?

I called and called and called over the next few weeks. The desk staff would tell me, "I gave him the message already."

Finally, I got in touch with him again. I am being completely honest with you when I tell you I couldn't understand a word he said. I asked why he hadn't returned my calls, and he said something I believe was akin to that he was waiting for me to send the money for postage. I told him how upset I was at the lack of communication and how mad I was for being lied to. He said something like, "I'm upset too. They tell me they check the room, but they no check the room." and then he got very upset and his speech became even more indistinguishable. He told me he would call me back the next day.

Do you think I ever heard from him again?

Nope. Finally I decided to call back Days Inn Corporate again. The Unhelpful Rude lady had plenty to say that was unhelpful and rude. Some of the highlights of her delightfulness included "You could go and get the photos yourself."

and, "Fine, I'll go get my supervisor and she'll tell you what you've already been told."

The supervisor had definitely achieved her position by overacheiving at unhelpfullness. She did put me through to her supervisor, though, Roberta Nichols.

Ms. Nichols was very polite but somewhat ineffective. She did call Mr. Gilani herself and get him to agree to mail me the photos if I would send him the postage.

However, at this point...between leaving my message for Ms. Nichols and receiving her callback, I had posted this plea for help at DST. I had decided that the Unhelpful Rude Lady had a point...I couldn't get the photos myself but SURELY someone lived in Chattanooga and could help me.

I explained to Ms. Nichols that I didn't want to send that man a penny because I didn't AT ALL trust that he would use the money for postage! He had done nothing to impress me at this point RE: doing what he says he will do. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and his past behavior states he is going to return my photos the way he returned my phone calls.

I spoke with Carol (artsygranny) on the phone later that night. I explained the situation and she agreed to help. I was willing to pay gas, postage, and a fee for her trouble. She wanted nothing of the sort though. she wanted to do this for me for free because David is serving in the military. She went on Thursday morning and picked up my photos (of course they handed them over, no questions asked). I'm sure washing their hands of the situation left them with free time to twiddle their thumbs. She went to the post office and overnighted them. She called me to warn me though, that there was some damage to the photos. My heart sank.

She said that it looked like someone spilled a sugar packet in the portfolio. She said there was a grainy substance on it and that the photos were stuck together. WHAT THE HECK????

Obviously at this point, however, there was nothing to do but wait.

When the mail arrived the next morning, I eagerly ripped open the packaging to find my damaged photos, exactly as Carol had described them.

I cried BIG FAT tears. All of the stress and anxiety over these photos just welled up inside of me and had nowhere else to go. All of the time I had spent trying to track down my memories and to have it end like this.

I wiped my tears and went to find my paper that had Days Inn's number on it. I had originally told Ms. Nichols that I wasn't stopping until I got an answer from Ken Greene himself, and I had a renewed passion for my quest. But I thought better of it. I came to my senses.

Days Inn is NOT going to care that my photos are ruined. They have never cared in the past, they won't care right now, they will never care in the future. I knew that there was another option, but I really didn't want to bark up that tree.

I reluctantly pulled up the customer service phone number for Portrait Innovations and called their corporate office in North Carolina. After getting through to CS promptly, I explained the abridged story to Jennifer and she patiently listened. She acted like this was the simplest problem she had ever encountered.

"Is the CD damaged?" she asked. With a purchase over $99, you get the CD of the images...not in any kind of printable format...they are encrypted and you can only see the thumbnails if you look at them yourself. It is designed for you to be able to return the CD to the studio and can make reprints. I knew that this was an option all along, but didn't have any more money to put into the photos (I paid $116 originally).

Well as luck would have it, the CD wasn't WITH the photos. I had the CD all along...being the photo enthusiast that I am, I had put the CD in my laptop that night at the hotel in order to look at all of my images.

I told her I had the disc and she told me that the local Portrait Innovations would be in touch to arrange printing.

*cue Hallelujah chorus*

Just minutes later, the manager of the Dayton Portrait Innovations contacted me and told me I could come in anytime to have the reprints made, and to bring my damaged photos with me. I told her that a few of them were gone, since I had given some prints to my dad and grandma while I was in Florida. She said that would be no problem at all.

Friday afternoon I went with my damaged photos, my CD tucked firmly under my arm, with a new pep in my step to Portrait Innovations. I looked down at the new invoice they gave me, $220 worth of prints and a zero out of pocket expense for me

I walked out 20 minutes later with a complete new set of photos and a renewed faith in humanity.

The moral of this story is a very simple one. It's amazing how some people go out of their way to make someone's day brighter, while others simply don't care.

To the GOVs in the world, to the Jennifers, to the artsygrannys, to the companies like Portrait Innovations, KUDOS TO YOU!

And to the Apathetic Receptionists, Unhelpful Rude Ladies, the Firoz Gillanis of the world, and the companies like Days Inn, you should be ashamed.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The One With The Victory Rally

Today was a big day! My roommate Susan and I had tickets to go see Gov Sarah Palin speak here in town. Naomi had stayed at Nana's house last night and we dropped Parker off this morning and headed over to Hobart Arena to see the penultimate hockey mom speak to 6,000 people in a hockey arena.

It was a little chilly outside but not really too bad. Here we were waiting in line, which is something we did for about 45 minutes before we could see the entrance. As we approached, we saw the TSA checkpoint and everyone started rifling through their purses to see what they needed to pull out. They said to have out anything metal. So of course, I pulled out my keys, my cell phone, and my camera. I pulled off my button as instructed and I continued to inspect the contents of my purse. Who else but a mom of a toddler could have ONE shoe, an umbrella, two plastic bracelets, a toy bottle and a large metal spoon also in her purse? Susan actually instructed me to throw the spoon away she was laughing so hard. I mean, who carries around a spoon? I'm going to get that Naomi ;) We made it through TSA just fine you see our Rosie the Riveter buttons? We made those before we went...which was a good idea because they were selling them for $3...we saved a little dough :)

So we arrived at 8:45 and got in about 9:45...and our tickets said it began at noon. But at noon, Sarah Palin did not come out. Some guys came out and started setting up guitars and stuff. Then they announced that Tracy Lawrence was going to do a concert! Of course the crowd went wild. Now, I'm not a country music is fine, I can take or leave the music for the most part, but a free concert is a free concert! He sang Find Out Who Your Friends Are, If The World Was Your Front Porch, and a handful of other songs. It was very cool but unfortunately I only got photographs from the rear ;)

When John Boehner introduced Sarah Palin, she came out and they hugged...and ummm, I know it's completely innocent but Mr. Boehner appears to be attempting to cop a feelskie (*giggles*). The real reason I watermarked the photos today was so that we don't see that photo on the cover of US Weekly next week with a lascivious title. Honestly, even hearing John Boehner speak was nice...he is SO charismatic!

And here are a few pictures of Governor Palin.

I liked the perspective of this photo because you can see Piper, Willow, and Mr. Palin listening to her speak. One of the funnier moments of the speech was when she introduced him as "My man, the First Dude of Alaska." And off topic a bit but it was SO sweet to hear her bragging on him about all of his snow sled championships and such.

And to give you some perspective on how I was working the zoom overtime, here is a photo with no was how I was really seeing things. Pretty cool, huh? From start to finish I was gone exactly 6 hours and let me TELL YOU! As a mom to an exclusively nursing 5 month old, that was TORTURE! That last hour I wasn't sure what I was going to do. And who would be sitting next to me, but two sisters with an 11 week old son and a 12 week old daughter. Oooh, salt in the wounds. My chichi's were so mad at me and I've never been so happy to pick up Parker in my life. The babies had on little McCain was cute!

Thanks for letting me share my very cool moment yesterday. It truly felt like I was part of a neat moment in history. Regardless of what your political views are, civic responsibility is such a huge thing! Be sure to get out and vote for your candidate!

Be sure to check back tomorrow...I have a great story to tell has it all...outrage, conspiracy, adventure and heartache...(okay I'm being melodramatic, but it's a good story). See you tomorrow!

The One With The Exciting Day

So I haven't talked politics much here, because it's just easier not to on the internet. People get themselves in a tizzy. It would appear I don't have an opinion but that's not so. I'm actually pretty interested in politics.

I'm not a straight-down-the-ticket Republican, or a straight-down-the-ticket Democrat either. Oddly enough, I voted Democrat in '00 and Republican in '04. In the local elections in between I've been a wild card as well...trying my best to read the issues and make up my own mind rather than having it made up for me. Naomi even got to go vote with me when she was 2 weeks old, LOL! Nathan voted on "Nick's pick the president" last weekend. So we do stress civic duty here. ;)

This morning I have tickets to go to a "Road to Victory Rally" where Sarah Palin will be our local hockey rink of all places :D I now finally have my vote 95% decided (I've waffled while reading up on the issues) but who I'm voting for couldn't stop me from wanting to see a speech by any major elected official or candidate. I'm so excited to see her speak but I'd honestly love to see any of the candidates speak. Exciting times! Sometimes Ohio being a swing state makes politics a little more interesting ;) Oh and who AM I voting for? Well I already told you...I am undecided ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The One With The Freckle Faced Girl

So I've always been an outgoing girl and managed to love myself, flaws and all. The older I get, though, the more antisocial I become. I have a fear of going to new places and meeting new people...thinking they will judge me...a silly fear I know...not because they WON'T...but because I can't help it if they DO.

I always hated my freckles growing up. Beleive it or not, they began to fade in high school because I lived in a very cloudy climate and I didn't spend a ton of time outdoors. But since having kids they are back full-force, because of all of the outdoor play!

I want to show you the photo I used for a long time as my avatar. Many of you have been around long enough to remember it. This was taken weeks after Naomi was born.

I have a lot of freckles in this picture but they are all edited out. But what's the point of that?

And what happened after that? I had another baby very quickly, gained 40 lbs, and lopped off all of my hair.

In the aftermath, I'm left scrambling to pick up the peices of my self-esteem. I had to run out on no notice yesterday, but ended up with my roomie in a restaurant, unplanned. I ran into TWO people I know..(of course). One didn't recognize me because I look so different and the other was my TA in Geology at WSU. She looked the same and I just looked...well, like I look. I was in a hoodie, maternity pants, and sans shower. I felt so frumpy.

I did a layout about accepting my freckles. Really, though, I should accept all of me. I know I'd be lying to you if I said I did. It's a journey and I'm just not there yet.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The One With The Creepy Cupcakes

So the kids and I wanted to make some fun cupcakes and I was browsing through a magazine to find some inspiration. Nathan chose the bat from this creepy cupcakes article and we picked up the ingredients. Nana came over and we all worked on getting the cupcakes baked, iced and ready to be decorated.

It took us a while to get it right, but we finally got a cupcake worthy of pulling the camera out for.

Problem is, from point a to point b we "ruined" 9 Reese's cups. It really was quite the chore eating them.

I did this layout about them, which was featured over at the Gallery Standouts Blog today! wOOt!

I hope you are having a fantastic week so far, bloggers! TTFN!

The One With A Party

Naomi's party went really well is the hybrid cake I made for is an edible transfer using special food dye, put on a regular store bought cake. I used Fee Jardine's Hip Hooray!

She really enjoyed the cake, sneaking bites before we even blew out the candles

And I did a little photo shoot with the birthday girl by Grampy's old barn...

I even snuck in a few shots of nathan while we were out there :)

I can't wait to share more of our weekend with you but Monday morning chores are calling my name so I'll share more tomorrow!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The One With Two Years of Sweetness

Two years ago I was going to sleep for the last time as a mom of one. It had been the roughest pregnancy on me...with tons of hospitalizations and preterm labor...and I found myself in the hospital again but I was only 36 weeks. My blood pressure was through the roof. In the middle of the night, my OB decided to come in and do the surgery because it was getting too risky to keep me pregnant. At 4 a.m. they came and prepped me for surgery, and at 5:22 a.m. on October 19, 2006 sweet Naomi came into my world and colored it pink. She was a tiny princess, weighing 5 lbs and 4 inches and measuring just 18 inches.

Today she is still petite and she is seriously sassy. Her favorite word is "no!" She loves purses and cell phones and chocolate milk. She still colors my world pink <3Photobucket

The One With The Dump And Run!

Just a quick note this morning, bloggers, as I have lots of plans with my kiddos today...pumpkin carving and cupcake making! I did get a few layouts done, finally, last night, but they barely got any love in the gallery (don't you HATE it when that happens!). I'm especially in love with the second one :) So here they are to share with you! Have a great day!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The One With The Autumn Breakfast

So last weekend we decided to stray from our normal breakfast of champions (cereal) and have a sweet treat Sunday morning! It was hilarious to see Naomi's face because she's not used to having sweets in the morning.

Nathan had to help her ice her cinnamon roll, but she took a stab at it as well. There was lots of spoon licking and sweet morning giggles. It was such a small thing, but moments like this are the best parts of being a mom.

While I was getting these photos ready and writing this post, Naomi sat next to me, pointing at the photo of the rolls and saying "hot, hot, hot!" :) It's nice to know she listens ;)

I hope your day is wonderful!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The One With The Indoor Sand Box

I keep meaning to share with you the indoor sandbox I made for Naomi. Originally when I saw the instructions for this, it was in a magazine about 4 months ago and it suggested you use oatmeal. I really just couldn't imagine cleaning up oatmeal flakes all the time.

So, I decided to use rice. I thought, I could dye the rice different colors and have it be fun. Still the rice seemed daunting too. My friend used black eyed peas and I thought that was a great idea so I picked up some lentils. I went to the store and grabbed a bag of each :) It is filled with black beans, red beans, kidney beans, split peas, lentils, navy beans and pinto beans. oh, and some rice. And for the record, I DO regret the rice, LOL!

I used an under the bed storage box with a locking lid. It is big enough to put Naomi in but there is NO WAY. She didn't even like her feet in it! I bought her some little measuring cup funnels and she can play with this thing for HOURS.

It was a very smart thing for us, but it is a wee bit messy. It's worth it though, for the fine motor skills and the entertainment it provides Ms. N.

I stripped the bed to just a sheet, that way I could just pull the sheet off when she's done, dump the rice back into the bin, and what is on the floor I swept up and threw away (didn't want to add my floor dirt back into her bin). The bed she's doing this on is a trundle bed, so it's a good height for her to play at. If we had to do it on the floor I'd lay a trashbag down underneath.

And it's totally random, but I wanted to share this photo of Parker from yesterday too. :)

Have a great Thursday bloggers! I have some scrapping to do and a parent teacher conference tonight...ttyl!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The One With Blog Action Day

I'm taking a break from my normal mutterings today. You won't hear me whining about lack of sleep, gushing over my pretty new pictures, or stressing over the separation from my husband.

Today is Blog Action Day and I'm joining thousands of bloggers to discuss one unified topic: poverty. Last year I blogged on Blog Action Day as well, and we talked about the environment...going green! Today we're talking about the lack of having green.

The angle I'm going to write about poverty from is personal. Have you ever lived below the poverty level?

I'm not living below the poverty level now but I'm not wallpapering my bathroom with money either. I did live below the poverty line, and even recently. In 2006, I was in my first year of marriage to David. I was pregnant with Naomi and very and out of the hospital. I was finishing up my Bachelor's degree which I completed in August of that year. David has a high school diploma but no higher education and he was working at a job...the best one he could Wal-Mart. We barely survived that year under the poverty level. Making 14,000 that year for a family of 3/4 (Naomi, of course, after October, and prior to that just me, David, and Nathan) was a tough feat.

That was a tough year and that was with an apartment that was only costing us $400 a month and NO car payments!

David found a better job after Naomi was born. But I think often of all of the people still trying to support their families on a retail, fast food, or factory income. Yes, it stresses the importance of higher education but that can't be solved overnight. Now that David has the GI Bill he can further his education and have a better job one day.

I think the responsibility lies many places.

We as parents should stress higher education so that our children have a stronger footing to start out on (ever heard the expression, "Insist on University" ?

Young adults should understand the importance of learning a trade or getting a degree so that they will make enough once they have a family to support.

These large companies, like Wal-Mart, should pay their employees fairly. Statistics indicate that about 46% of Wal-Mart employees are on Medicaid. That is a shame. I'm not picking on our nation's largest retailer, either. They simply should be setting the bar higher, that's all.

This is what I have to say to you, bloggers. Please live below your means if you can! People driving around in cars with car payments they can't afford and living in houses that are beautiful to live in but the payments are's so easy to teeter on that line. Predatory lending by way of mortgages that never should have happened, 29% interest on cars and credit cards, and payday loan scam places; that's where our working poor lives. And the only way to rise above is to make more or spend less.

If making more isn't an option, then it's time to buckle down. For so many of us, the effort to eliminate poverty starts at home.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The One With Parker's First Trip To The Park

Okay so no doubt he's been to the park before, but this was his first time playing! I was sitting down on the ground in front of him, TRYING not to get kicked in the face, LOL! Thanks for taking a peek at the video, it's about 50 seconds long and I took it last Friday when my friend Barb and I took the kiddos to the has been such perfect weather lately! October is my favorite part about living in Ohio. But speaking of which...I won't be living in Ohio for a lot longer...because I have BIG news!!.....

David PASSED his PT test! I am over the moon! He called me at 7 a.m. this morning to let me know that he was waiting for his ride to go outprocess and go to the airport! He will be in Missouri by tomorrow and hopefully will start AIT very soon! AIT is 7 weeks long so there is a light at the end of this tunnel! I can't wait to be stationed and resume a somewhat normal life!

Thank you for all of your well wishes, thoughts, prayers, cards and letters! They have made this week much less stressful for us both!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The One Where Naomi Has Something To Say

We were playing outside today and I was able to interact with Naomi a little to get her to be cute...take a look at this video, it's really short, only 10 seconds. This is what she had to say for Papa (what we call David). Luckily he called a few minutes later and while I wasn't able to get her to say it again, I played the video for him through the phone :-) Check out her cute new knee socks too!

You can view the video HERE.

Thank you so much for all of your support, friends! I can't wait to find out exactly how many cards David gets...I'm thinking it is going to be around 20 or so, plus the long list of well-wishes I compiled and printed for him from friends overseas. I know it is really going to make his day. Anyway, for those who did post a comment on my blog or email me, I entered those into to generate a winner for a $5 gift card. So, Cherisse, if you'll contact me to let me know where to grab your GC from, that would be great! I really do appreciate everyone's efforts to brighten my husband's day. I hope and pray that on Friday I can update that he is passed!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The One With The Cry For Help!

Please help, friends! I got distressing news from David last night. I'll post a little bit of backstory for those of you reading this for the first time. To my dear old friends, sorry you have to read it again!

My husband was supposed to graduate from Basic Training on September 19th. He has completed all of the requirements...field training, obstacle courses, written tests, weapons qualifications, etc...But could not pass his PT test when it came to graduation week. He has to run two miles in 17 1/2 minutes and he was a minute over. So, he stayed at Ft. Knox and was told he was going to FTU-a fitness training unit. There they specialize in helping you to pass your PT test. David, and about 15 other "holdovers" as they call them, didn't go to FTU however. They stayed around the barracks and did crap work...painting the walls, washing trucks, and other busy work. They weren't allowed to do PT actually, except the occasional trip to the weight room. But no running except for the 2 or 3x a week PT tests, which David has continued to fail...though improving his time each test. He's now 20 seconds over on his two mile run. He's a very tall man, 6'0, and in great shape, but he has a very long torso and very short legs. He's working on his stride right now and his technique...trying everything he can to pass!

He called last night and told me they sent him to FTU, but that one of the drill sargeants gave him some bad news. That he won't receive another PT test until next Thursday (a week from today) and that is 27 days after his supposed graduation date. The drill sargeant continued on to say that if you don't pass your PT test by 28 days past graduation, you are discharged from the Army. :(

This is potentially devastating news. I know that exceptions may be made, and maybe they'll give him a little more time since he will have only been at FTU for one week, but if he doesn't pass he could be out of a job! Of course, we hope and pray that he passes! With nothing to focus on for a week but fitness hopefully it will be the boost he needs to make a difference and shave off that last 20 seconds. If he does get discharged from the Army, it means our world will be flipped upside down. We'll have no income coming in, and no place to live as it stands, either.

I'm not allowing myself to dwell on the negative possibilities. This is going to be a long week for me, not knowing, and not having any control over anything. All I can do is cheer him on from the sidelines. That's where I was hoping you could come in.

He gave me his new address at his FTU. I was hoping that maybe if he got enough letters of encouragement, it would help his morale and lift his spirits. It's one thing to hear that I'm praying and wishing the best, but it would be quite another to have the surprise of a stack of encouraging mail waiting for him!

I'm asking you to just send a little encouraging note, it doesn't have to be a novel...or a little card...but please don't send any packages :) I'm asking you ONLY to send something if you can get it in the mail on Friday or Saturday and live in the U.S. Obviously after next Wednesday he could be on his way home, or on his way to AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, so I don't want stray mail straggling in after that and being wasted. I have a feeling they don't forward soldiers' mail because they get so much of it after a person has already left the unit. I'm thinking anything mailed by Friday or Saturday will be recieved no later than Wednesday.

In exchange for your kindness, if you post a note here in my post comments OR email me at letting me know you've dropped a note in the mail to him, I'll enter you into a drawing for a $5 gift card to an online store of your choosing. It's not much, but just my way of saying thank you for helping me support my husband so that he can continue to support us.

Thank you, friends!

The One Where I Beg For Tricks

Does anyone have any tricks to get all three (or more?) of your children to look at the camera and smile at the same time? Heck, even just to LOOK? I was so happy with this picture...Parker is more grinning than anything, AND he has a hand in his mouth, but hey, I'll take it! Poor Nathan is usually stuck staring at the camera with a frozen smile on his face while I get the other two to cooperate...but you have to be careful or your face will get stuck that way ;)

I'd love to hear your tips!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The One With No Title

So after years of scrapping, I've finally begun to struggle with my titles. I'm certain I've used them all by now. Alas, I have a few layouts to share...with some titles that I really had to reach for. "All star" ? Really? A little generic but I love the LO so it's all good! ;)

Hope you enjoy the layouts, I'm off to bed!