Wednesday, April 30, 2014

'Tis The Season!

When you have children in school, this April/May time of year is really busy!  Honestly, the Christmas season doesn't hold a candle to the madness that takes over my schedule as the school year begins to wind down.

Take Tuesday night for one example, the 3 younger kids were supposed to have swim lessons from 5:30-6:00pm.  The 11 year old had swim team practice from 6:00-7:30pm.  But, the 11 year old also had New Student Night at the middle school he'll attend next year at 5:30pm.  And the 6 year old was in a musical at the elementary school at 7pm, meaning he needed to be at the school by 6:30pm and someone really needed to be saving seats by 6:25pm for the show!

Is your head spinning?  'Cause mine sure was!  Needless to say, we couldn't do it all!  Swim lessons and swim team practice were missed.  The night was devoted to Middle School Orientation First Grade Musical.  And even that created crazy logistics.  My husband had to leave work early to come home and stay with the 3 youngest kids so I could take the oldest to his middle school night and then my husband had to take the 6 year old to his musical and save seats (with the 8 and 5 year olds in tow).  Thankfully, my crockpot came through with dinner, the Middle School Night was pretty short and my oldest and I were able to scoot out just in time to catch the start of the First Grade Musical.

I was exhausted by the end of the night, hence the lack of a blog post last night!

But there's no time to rest as there are lots more festivities to come in the next 4 weeks -- Preschool Outdoor Day, 5th Grade Bake Sale, science fair, a 1st grade field trip, safety patrol party, 5th grade service project, Field Day, 5th grade swim party, a dance recital, 5th grade graduation. . . I'm sure I'm forgetting something!

And tomorrow is a certain adorable 6 year old's birthday!!  So there has been some added crazy preparing to celebrate my soon-to-be-7-year-old guy.

Which is why I was ridiculously nuts with joy today in the Target when I was able to find 24 Angry Birds cupcakes for his school class birthday celebration tomorrow!  It was the 3rd store I went to (with my 5 year old tagging along) looking for the cupcakes ready-made (because, of course, I was not organized enough to order in advance).  One store had no cupcakes ready-made, another store had tons of Frozen themed cupcakes but that seemed too girly for my son to hand out at school! But, the Angry Birds are perfect and the fact that there were 24 of them to serve his class of 23 students was a gift straight from God to me today!

Summer will be here soon!  Summer will be here soon!  I keep repeating that mantra in my head.  

And we will have days where we don't have to be anywhere at all!  Days when I don't need to remember to dress a child in a yellow shirt or if I signed up for snacks or drinks.  Days when we will stay in our pajamas ALL DAY LONG!

Now is the season to enjoy the festivities and celebrate my people!

Monday, April 28, 2014

No wonder I'm so tired today!

We did, in fact, tackle cleaning out the garage over the weekend:

The children helped with the hauling-everything-out-of-the-garage step

Meanwhile, the dog did this inside the house:

Now I hesitate to show the "after" picture of the garage clean out because it doesn't really look much better but TRUST ME, it is!!  We threw away about 12 bags of trash!  And, besides the huge accomplishment of creating room to park one car in the garage, we now KNOW WHERE EVERYTHING IS in the garage!  No more going to Home Depot and buying another paintbrush forever!!  We have a gazillion new ones that were all bought because we didn't know we already had some!


Then we moved on to the equally insurmountable tasks of cleaning out the kids closets and SCIENCE FAIR!  There were all manner of paper airplanes covering my house, but you will relieved to know we have put to rest a great debate in the arena of science!  A paper airplane made out of cardstock paper flies farther than one made out of printer paper or construction paper!

Now I need a weekend to recover from the weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Can You Even Stand The Excitement?!!

Well, there is just no end to the excitement around here!

Today, Little Girl lost her other top front tooth giving her a less lopsided smile.  

 And by "lost" I mean my husband tied a string around it, pulled it, and that thing popped out of her mouth with such force that it flew across the room and bounced off the wall!  In fact, it's hard to say it all happened so fast, but we think it may have even bounced off two or three different walls!  Thankfully we were able to find the tooth on the floor where it landed, so Little Girl could put it under her pillow.

I know!  I thought that whole thing about tying a string around a loose tooth was just a myth and nobody really did that to get a tooth out, until today.  This is our 4th child and the only one we've ever tried this technique on, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  Little Girl's grown-up tooth was already cutting through behind the baby tooth on top and the dentist told us at the last visit that if we saw that happening we needed to bring her in to have the tooth pulled because the baby tooth would stop the new tooth from moving forward in line where it needed to be and cause a serious orthodontic issue.  So, today when we noticed that permanent tooth coming in right behind that kinda loose baby tooth, we set to work trying to get the baby tooth out on our own rather than facing having to take her to the dentist to have it pulled, where he'd likely have to sedate her.

It also helps that Little Girl is pretty brave and tough.  Our oldest child wouldn't even let us go near his loose teeth when he was this age!


In other excitement this week, we welcomed new roly-poly pets into our household and then a day later mourned their passing.

My 8 year old daughter came out of school carrying a cup with two roly-polys she'd found in the schoolyard at recess.   She named them "STAAR Test 1" and "STAAR Test 2" because she was taking the State of Texas standardized testing, STAAR Test this week at school.

Here are the roly-polys munching on a piece of apple:

Sadly it may have been the apple that did them in because they died shortly after that tasty snack.

Thankfully my daughter wasn't too sad, "I know where to find lots more at school!" she said.  Then today she had me researching the care and keeping of roly-polys on The Internet so maybe we can keep them alive next time.


And as if that wasn't all exciting enough, on Wednesday I discovered something awesome!  

I bought a rug for my laundry room/back door entry a few months ago at Target.  It was only around $30 and I really loved the pattern and how it livened up my space.   But, as one might expect, a few months of 4 kids plus one dog and 2 parents traipsing over it had left it rather dirty looking.  I was sad because I'd really been enjoying the rug and I wasn't sure it would hold up in the wash, after all it was only $30 for a decent sized rug!  But, I got brave on Wednesday and washed it on gentle and even dried it on low in the dryer and lo and behold it not only held up through the washing, but it looks brand new again!

Oh, how I love a good Target product!  Really, Target, you've outdone yourself!


As is only fitting to keep up the excitement, our weekend plans include some massive cleaning-out projects -- the garage and the kids' closets!! 


Happy Friday!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Great Shorts for Little Girls to Wear Under Dresses and Skirts

I don't know about where you live, but where we are, it has finally decided to settle into warm weather every day.  I love that my girls like to wear dresses and skirts often, but it gets too hot for leggings under them and my girls are active, bar flipping, monkey bar swinging, climbing girlies, and I do not want their panties showing to the entire playground!

So, I've always had my girls wear soft shorts under their dresses if they are not wearing leggings.  A few years ago I bought several perfect ones at Target, super soft and the right length to not hang out the bottom of the skirts.  But, then my older daughter outgrew them and I couldn't find anymore at Target.  Thankfully, last year I discovered the Cartwheel Shorts at Children's Place and they are still selling them this year!  During a 40% off sale, I stocked up in various colors for my girls.  Just be warned, I order a size or even 2 up because the shorts seem to run small, that or they are just designed to be super skin tight, but that would not be comfortable for my daughters.  I size up and they are great, loose enough for easy walking, but tight enough not to fall off their waists! 

Anyone else a mama to a girly girl who loves dresses but also loves the monkey bars?!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Attempting To Get An Easter Photo of My Four Children

Honestly, I think brokering a peaceful end to the Russia/Ukraine conflict would be easier than photographing my 4 children!

Take 1 ("Very funny, very funny, kids, now cut it out!"):

Take 2:

Take 3:

Take 4 ("Why are you guys linking arms?!!"):

Take 5:

Take 6 ("No pushing your sister!  And Little Girl, your hands do not always have to be on your hips for pictures!"):

Take 7 ("Nobody feels sorry for you, 3rd Child, even if you can make the most pitiful face"):

Take 8 (My 6 year old son is fairly normal-looking finally, but now Little Girl is NOT happy!  We call that face the "Ethiopian scowl" and it definitely conveys a message!):

Take 9 (we're happy now, but could we get a little less happy?):

 Take 10 ("No, 3rd Child, still not the face I was hoping for"):

Take 11 (Look at my younger son's face, as if it's all sheer torture -- "Torture for me, Buddy, not you!"):

"I GIVE UP!!!!!!"

Monday, April 21, 2014

Does Easter Change Anything?

I've been studying Revelation with my Bible study group since September.  Every verse read, examined, and reflected upon.

As odd as Revelation can be at times, mostly what I've been left with is HOPE.  I knew of the hope we have as Christians before, but now it is more real to me.

Just a couple weeks ago our memory verse was what I called "the longest memory verse in the history of memory verses".  It was acutally 2 verses and I had to write them several different times as a part of my Bible lesson that week, so many times that my hand actually began to ache.

"I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."”  Revelation 21:3-4

Do you hear the hope in those verses?  No more death, nor crying, nor pain! 

I really cannot even bear to think about Jesus's mother watching him be crucified.  Such tremendous pain!

I think of all the great pain that is in our world today.

The mothers who cry out in anguish as their children's bodies are pulled from a sunken ferry boat.

The mothers in Ethiopia who watch their babies die of starvation.

I think of the evening recently when I had to sit down next to my 11 year old son and tell him that the teacher he loves so much who left his class 2 months ago when her twin babies were born very prematurely, that one of her baby boys, who we prayed so hard for and cheered on over a month in updates from the neonatal ICU, had died.

And some days it just feels like too much.

But, those are the days our great hope in Jesus is the most important to cling to!

I read the Rev. 21:3-4 verses to my son as he blinked back the tears.  And also, Isaiah 65:19-20, "I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed"

And I got to tell him, "It won't always be this way!  God tells us there will come a time when babies will not die!"  Oh how glad I was to have those Bible verses to share with him!

We traveled to Oklahoma for an Easter celebration with my husband's side of the family and on Saturday, that day between the anniversary of Jesus's death and his resurrection, that time that must have felt so dark and painful for Jesus's disciples and loved ones all those years ago, my husband picked up the decades old Bible that belonged to his grandmother.  He flipped through pages not finding many markings, but when he got to Revelation 21, there it was!  His grandmother, who is no longer with us, had marked the great hope of Revelation 21:4!

Today, the Monday after the Resurrection Sunday, it is tempting to go back to life as usual, to live with my to-do list in the forefront of my mind.  But, as I walk the halls of the nursing home with my own mama, she is no longer able to talk to me and yet she smiles occasionally in response so I know she is still there buried under the dementia that claimed so much of her life at too young an age, I help steady her steps and smile back at her with the great hope that things will not always be this way.  There will come a day when the pain of this current world will be no more!

Our Savior lives!  And that same power that raised Him from the dead is bringing heaven to earth where God will dwell with us! Rev. 21:3

Hope changes things!  Easter changed everything!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What Dyeing Easter Eggs Looks Like At Our House

Madeline, the Goldendoodle, sees to it that she is a part of all the interesting activities that go on around our house, especially activities involving food!

So, it really was not a surprise that she managed to make her way right into the middle of the Easter egg dyeing!

Thankfully we did not end up with a pink or green or blue dog, although, I don't know, maybe that would have been kind of cute!

And, no, our eggs did not turn out like this:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Son Is Doing His Own Wash!

Do you know what has changed my life lately?

I taught my 11 year old son to DO HIS OWN WASH!!

I cannot even tell you how awesome this is for two reasons!

The first reason is obvious -- less wash for me!!  Before when I'd go collect the kid wash after going a few days without doing it, it would be overflowing and equal more than one washer load full.  Now, with the oldest child's dirty clothes going into HIS OWN HAMPER, when I collect the kid wash for the remaining 3 children, it now fits into one washer load!  It's not even just one less child's wash to do, but my 11 year old's clothes are the biggest.  Three pairs of his long jeans is a lot of washer space!  Also, he wears a second set of clothes on the days he goes to his swim team practice because they do dry-land workouts before they swim!

The second reason him doing his own wash is awesome is that it is a chore that has its own built in consequence!  Other chores like assigning him a bathroom to clean or picking up the dog mess in the backyard he can skip and not really feel any pain from not doing his chore unless I give him a consequence for not doing it.  But if he doesn't do his wash, he DOESN'T HAVE CLOTHES TO WEAR!  It's as simple as that!

My kids do not have a ton of chores, but I do feel it is good for them to have jobs around the house to learn responsibility and cut down on that attitude of entitlement and the idea that mom is there solely to serve them!  And besides, doing laundry is a life skill, and he might as well learn now when I'm there to coach him on fabric softener and water temperatures!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Watching My Daughter Complete Her First Triathlon

This past weekend my 8 year old daughter participated in a kids' triathlon.  For her age group it was a 100 yard swim, 3 mile bike ride and then 1/2 mile run.  It was her first triathlon and I was so proud of her for wanting to do it!

She amazed me so beyond what I even imagined, though! 

Setting up her bike and stuff in the transition area before the race all by herself because parents were not allowed into that area:

Heading off to start the first part of the race -- the swim, in a pool we'd never even seen before, much less swam in:

All smiles running out of the pool area and heading into the transition area to get her bike:

Getting her stuff on to do the bike part:

There's that smile again as she pushes her bike up the hill to the part where they can get on the bike:

And smiling again at the end of the 3 mile bike ride:

She was too fast on the run part, I couldn't catch her to get any pictures but here she is, THE FINISHER!!

I'm so proud of my girl, really I almost cried at a couple different parts of the morning!  Not only was she able to do all three portions of the athletic event with no problems, she had this confidence I've never really gotten to see in her before that was awesome!  Also, she wowed me with her good attitude rolling with all the logistical things required of the kids (like arriving at 6am, which meant waking up at 5am -- I thought she'd wake up grouchy or whiny, but she was happy and excited!) to do such a large event (there were over 2000 kids participating).  

She finished in 32 minutes which was really good for her first one and the best indication of a successful first anything --  she's already talking about doing another one!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Would it surprise you to know that my life is not conducive to high heels?

I climbed into the car today to drive Little Girl to preschool and saw this little scene in the way back (3rd row):

Little Girl was thrilled with herself for strapping in her 4 babies.  And she immediately assumed I'd babysit her band of babies while she was at preschool.

Wrong-O!  Don't tell Little Girl, but I just left them strapped into those car seats all morning!

The other assumption my kids wrongly make is that the meat we are eating for dinner is chicken.

The other night I made pork loin and one child said, "Mom, this is good chicken!"  To which I replied, "It's not chicken, it's pork, but I'll take the complement, thank you!"

Then several minutes later a child that was not listening during the previous conversation about the dinner meat whined, "Mom, I don't really like this chicken!"  I replied, "Well, it's not chicken, it's pork, so no wonder you didn't like it if you were expecting chicken.  Try another bite now that you know to expect pork."  That coaching worked out about as well as you would imagine it would!


Talking about chicken reminds me of a funny story that happened recently when we were actually having chicken for dinner.

I had ordered a new pair of sandals from The Internet, specifically these:

Now, mind you, I have not worn anything with much of a heel since, hmmm, I don't know approximately 2003 when my first child was born because carrying an infant or chasing a toddler or preschooler just never seemed like a good thing to combine with high heels.

But, the wedge sandals are very in this spring and I thought those were especially cute and I reminded myself that my kids were not babies or toddlers anymore and ordered the high heel sandals with high hopes.

Fast-forward a few days, I'd finished dinner, my husband and oldest son were at his swim practice, and a couple of the younger kids were being pokey eaters.  I got tired of sitting at the table waiting on them so I got up to get the box I could see by the front door that had been delivered.  It was the shoes!  I set about trying them on.  I got those high heels all buckled onto my feet and walked to the far end of the house where I could look at them in a full-length mirror.

And that's when I heard them.  The shrieks from the children in the dinner room!  "The dog ate the chicken off my plate!  She got the whole chicken leg!"

Since chicken bones can be very dangerous to dogs, I attempted to race back to the dining room, only it wasn't easy in the high heels.   I managed to make it to the dining room and found the dog scarfing down the chicken and had to literally wrestle the bone out of the 35 pound dog's mouth while still wearing the heels.  Then after I'd fished the bone out of her mouth (or at least some of it) she began gagging like she was going to throw up, so I whisked her up into my arms and carried her out to the backyard ALL WHILE STILL WEARING THE HEELS because it was  an emergency and I hadn't time to sit down and unbuckle them to get them off!

Really, it was the most absurd thing!  I couldn't wait to unbuckle those suckers and pull them off my feet.  They went right back into the box they came in to be returned to the store because as it turns out my life is not yet conducive to high heels after all!


Happy Friday, y'all!

Half-Past Kissin' Time
Half-Past Kissin' Time

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This Girl

This 8 year old girl of mine can be a bit wacky, as evidenced by all the pens she hooked onto her shirt earlier today:

But, she can also be quiet and reserved in some situations.  She's my baby that had the hardest time with separation anxiety, lasting until she was 4 years old.  She's the one who I could have kept tightly by my side, she'd have happily stayed right there and her temperament is pretty similar to mine so she's pretty easy for me to have around.  I could have home-schooled this girl, kept her tucked comfortably close under my wing.  

But, I didn't and that girl has ventured out of the nest and grown in ways she never could have at home!  She still happily runs back into my arms at 3:15pm but not without smiles and excited stories of all the adventures from her day!

She gives presentations in front of her class, complete with a curtsy at the end that she wrote in for extra measure.  She volunteers to give the announcements to the whole school over the loud speaker when it's her class's turn and the teacher asks for volunteers.  She reads the jokes I send in her lunchbox to all her classmates sitting near her in the cafeteria.  

When she bounded out of school today, this sometimes labeled "shy" girl was so excited for her 3rd grade musical tonight.  She was jumping around free from any anxiety or nervousness about the performance.  Then tonight she sang every song and during her group's dance, she was in the front row on stage and did every part of the dance.  She later told me the music teacher let them pick if they wanted to be on the front row and she and her partner wanted to be in front.  I couldn't believe it.  I would have guessed she'd have chosen the back where she could hide, I know I would have!  But this girl is growing into her own confident person and looking back on these past 4 years, I can say public elementary school has definitely played a big part in that, pushing her just enough outside her comfort zones!

The pirate-themed 3rd grade musical:

It is a blessing to watch her grow up!  I can't wait to see what God has planned for her life!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Little Girl Writes Her First Chapter Book!

My 8 year old daughter and 6 year old son are always writing books, currently the 6 year old has a "superhero" book going where he's created several unique superheros and the book describes the powers of each superhero.

Well, of course, Little Girl, my 5 year old, has begun writing stories, too!

But, today was special.  Today she wrote her first chapter book!  She was super proud of it! 

 I complimented her on how hard she was working on it.  And then over lunch I had her tell me what it was about (because although I could read words in her story, I needed a translator to really understand).  A close-up of page one of her book:

Chapter 1 (as she read it to me):  "The cat is lost.  It can't find it's mommy.  It is looking everywhere, looking, looking, looking, but it still can't find it's mommy.  The cat bumps into a tree and then another tree but it still can't find it's mommy.  Then it bumps into another tree, but looks up and it wasn't a tree but it's mommy!  It wasn't lost anymore!"

And Chapter 2:  "The cat is lost under water.  It can't find it's home!  But a mermaid comes to help it.  Then the cats brothers and sister come and help it find its home."

Hmmmm, I'm no child psychologist, but considering Little Girl was adopted as a 3 year old into our family (that happens to include 2 brothers and 1 sister for Little Girl), anyone think the little cat just may be her?  At least chapter 1 and chapter 2 ended happily with the cat finding it's mommy and finding it's home!

The theme of her stories overwhelms me anew with the privilege and responsibility God has given me by allowing me to be Little Girl's mother!  We are so blessed to be able to share in her stories!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Not A Lot of Sleeping Going On

I'm tired so this is going to be short, very short.

I'm not sure if the tiredness is from sleeping in a tent with my family of 4 kids (one is not pictured above) on Saturday night, where as you can see, there was not a lot of sleeping going on, 


the hour I spent in MIDDLE school today! Oh yes, I know, now if that is not 3 years of everyone's life they are not eager to re-live then I don't know what is!  But, I am about to experience it afresh starting next year when my oldest goes to middle school and lasting for the next NINE YEARS when I will have a child in MIDDLE SCHOOL.  Now there's a reality that makes me hyperventilate just a bit and need a nap, preferably one that does not involve an air mattress!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Missing Teeth, Snakes in the Potty, Dog Vomit, and Science Fair - Which of those makes you cringe more?

Hmmm, what happened?

Little Girl's smile last week:

Little Girl's smile this week:

Yes, she lost a top front tooth!  It's a good thing, too, because due to the way the adult tooth was coming in, the dentist was starting to talk about pulling it, so although it makes me sad that so much of her babyness is going away, that tooth did need to come out and I'm glad we got it out without having to have it pulled!

Now I'm faced with the situation that my almost 7 year old son still has not lost a top tooth and yet his 5 year old sister has!  Needless to say I've given the speech about how kids loose teeth at different ages many times this week.


Here's a picture of one of the April Fool's Day pranks I played on the kids:

I also did a joke where I planted some fake dog vomit, and then as if to spite me, the very next day the dog threw up FOR REAL on my bed!  So that's what I get for joking about dog throw up! 


The dog has been eating June bugs outside, seriously she acts like they are potato chips, such a tasty, crunchy snack!  But, I think the June bugs upset her stomach, so how to convince her to stop eating them?  Someone remind me why I have a dog?

I would like to take a moment to express my heartfelt thanks to our local elementary school for the concept that is the IN-CLASS science fair project!  Huge fist pumps from me on that decision!

And actually, I think the over-achieving parents that I've bad-mouthed in years past for "helping" their child create professional-looking projects actually led to the JOY that is now the IN-CLASS project, so in reality those parents did us all a service! 


Except I'm not off scott free, I did have this lovely exchange tonight at 8:35 pm as the 11 year old was getting out of the shower and heading for bed after swim team practice and a safety patrol meeting where he had to give a speech again (so yes, he's been busy, but still!):

Him:  "Oh, Mom, I forgot I need to type up my question for my science fair project by tomorrow."
Me:  "Okay, so what's your project about?"
Him: "I don't know."
Me:  "Let me get this straight, it's your bedtime and NOW you're telling me that you need to come up with a science fair project idea and a typed up question for the project by tomorrow?"

Then there a huge disparity between his science fair project ideas and mine.  His involve various metals and electricity or chemicals and dissolving substances.  Me?  I'm all, "How about testing which color Popsicle melts the fastest?"

So, please share your answer to my little poll, which term makes you cringe most -- missing teeth, snakes in the potty, dog vomit, or science fair?


Happy Friday! 

Half-Past Kissin' Time
Half-Past Kissin' Time

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Tell Her The Truth

I still remember the spring she pointed outside and cried out with anguish and tears in her eyes, “Mommy, look!!!!”

I peered out our dining room window expecting to see the gorgeous pink azaleas we’d been admiring for a few weeks, every breakfast and lunch we’d comment on their beauty, my 3 year old girl and I.

But that morning brought an unhappy surprise, they were no longer pink, bright, glorious flowers,

but brown, wilted, and drooping!

I knew they would die but hadn’t given it much thought.

I didn’t anticipate my daughter’s emotional reaction.

In hindsight, I should have, she has a sweet, sensitive nature.

I should have warned her, prepared her somehow.

I wished for a world where the flowers were always blooming and beautiful.

A world for my daughter where there was no loss,

No pain,

No death,

No ugliness.

But it is not to be.

Because my little girl lives on earth right now,

In a fallen world.

And so I took a deep breath

And told her the truth.

Flowers die.

This will happen every year.

And we are sad to see them go

but thankful for the time we had to enjoy them.

And, “Look!” I exclaimed happily to her as I pointed out the back window,

“While those flowers were dying in the front yard, new, different flowers were blooming in the backyard!”

That little 3 year old girl is now 8!
While she's not so little anymore, she is still sweet. 

The flowers are blooming again as they do every year at this time, and telling her the truth has only gotten harder as she's grown and the subjects of despair are deeper than dead flowers, but the same message is there and Jesus is always the answer!