Born Today, 23 Years Ago…My New, Lil’ Tax Deduction

Today is the day my daughter was born, 23 years ago.

So please bear with me as I brag on her. 😉

This blogging is kind of like a life’s journal, right?

Anyway, I was scheduled to be induced as I was past my due date and had grown very, very LARGE.

And, as usual, (I had done this before. 😉 ).    I couldn’t sleep at all!!

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That morning was stormy and a tornado warning had just been issued. We joked about naming her Stormy. We had names swirling around in our head, but hadn’t chosen one, just yet. (Ha, I realized I used “swirling” around; that really was  coincidence.)

She was born at 5:35 on April 15th, and we named her Morgan.

Yep, she was our new, little, tax deduction. 😉

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Well, not so little.
She weighed 9lbs!!!! :/

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She was a joy from the minute she arrived; an easy baby.
AND SOOOO cute, I must say. 🙂

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Everyone always wanted to hold her. I got comments everywhere I took her.

As she grew, her eyes became so expressive. She had/has large, pretty eyes with super long eyelashes, just like her Daddy.

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She’s always been more quiet.  She’d just sit back and observe everything. So, at first, she seemed a little shy and rarely talked. (I used to be that way all through grade school…hard to believe now. ) But, she was also quiet due in part to her ACTIVE, TALKATIVE, big brother.

One day, she was caught talking to her little “boyfriend” (in first grade) and the teacher scolded her and said, “Morgan I always catch you talking to Quinn; do you ever stop talking?” And the teacher told me Morgan then put her little hands on her hips and emphatically exclaimed, “Well, I can’t get a word in edgewise at home because of my brother!”

Morgan never really gave us any trouble.

She used to be a cheerleader, violin player, volleyball and basketball player.

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She enjoyed helping in church by leading worship during the adult and teen services. She loves to sing and can sing harmony.

She’s always been quite the fashionista, since she was young. She would rather get jewelry and pretty shoes for her birthday presents, than toys. Every time we went shopping, I’d turn around to find her on the floor trying on shoes, even adult ladies’ shoes. HA

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Her kindergarten teacher told me Morgan would often notice what she was wearing and would even compliment her.

Later on, Morgan graduated early from high school (she couldn’t wait to get out of there) and sadly moved far away from us to Georgia. She had met a cute boy while visiting her cousins, through the years, and I think that was a big draw to leave Indiana.

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Plus, she said she always hated the overcast weather here in Indiana. I also think it was fun driving around on golf carts in that golf cart community down there.

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She attended college and graduated with a 4.0 then went on to be a dental assistant.
She married that wonderful guy, bought a house and now has become quite the carpenter and decorator after watching all these shows on HGTV where they flip homes. (We’ve even decided to start our own blog together detailing some of her, and my work. I’ll let you know when it’s up and running. 😉 )

One, neat memory we share was when I entered her in a SUBWAY restaurant contest hoping to win a 529K college scholarship for her. She was 11. She ended up winning, and was one of ten national winners. They featured kids hoping to promote healthy eating.

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Maybe some of you younger bloggers saw those commercials.

Does the phrase “Play Hard Eat Fresh” ring a bell? She was featured as the ice skater. She had been a figure skater competing since she was five, so her sport was spotlighted in the commercials.

She first won a trip to Dallas where she shot in front of a green screen and met some phenomenal kid athletes from around the country. Then, later we were asked if we would like to travel to Hawaii to shoot commercials with Bethany Hamilton. She was presently working with SUBWAY and they offered to fly us to her home in Kaua’i.

Anyhow, it was all a fabulous blessing for our whole family to vacation on the gorgeous island of Kaua’i.

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Well, we vacationed while Morgan worked AND ate a lot of SUBWAY sandwiches. 🙂

 

I’ll end by saying my Morgan is a caring, compassionate person who can read people well and is good at tuning into peoples’ feelings. (I hope I had a part in training her that way.)

But, it makes my heart soar to see her reaching out to all types of people, from all walks of life, and going out of her way to think about them and finding ways to meet their needs. That makes me more proud of her than anything else.

Throughout her life, when people would compliment her beauty, I would always be quick to point out to her (and them) that a “pretty heart” was so much more important. I just didn’t want all the compliments to make her vain, and I do now believe my daughter, although so beautiful on the outside, is just as beautiful on the inside.

And that makes my heart happy and proud. 🙂

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Daddy and I celebrate the person you’ve become today!
We love you Morgie.

Make a Fudge Heart in 20 Minutes

I had some leftover milk chocolate and at the last-minute, like 10 PM last night, decided I wanted to make a fudge (for my hubby) for Valentine’s Day. So, I experimented with my Easy, Ten Minute Microwave Fudge Recipe and came up with a quick way to make a valentine heart in about 20 minutes! (including chilling it. 🙂 )

I was happy it tasted good and that it turned out looking so cute.

Not that he will care that it looks cute…but I DO!

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The easiness (and cuteness 😉 ) demanded I take some quick pics and share. (Hence, the dark, grainy photos. 😦 (sorry) and…

because you still have some time to make one, for your lovey.

It’s THAT FAST!!

Ingredients:

1/2 of a 12 oz. bag of milk chocolate morsels

1/4 Cup of a 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

A dash of salt

A dash of vanilla extract

*chopped nuts optional

And… you will need a cookie cutter OR just cut it out by hand with a knife.

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients and microwave till everything is melted well.

Pour into a liberally greased, small glass bowl.

Chill in the freezer until firm. It firms up quick, I tell ya!

Use a wet knife to cut around the edge to loosen the chocolate. You may have to carefully turn, then run warm water over the bottom of the bowl to loosen the chocolate, as well.

Place on a firm cutting service and cut out the chocolate.

Then, consume the extra chocolatey scraps. 🙂

20 minute fudge heart recipe for Valentine's Day

I decided to leave the fudge in the cookie cutter ’cause AGAIN, I thought it looked cute!

And, I found a few strawberries, so I garnished…I feel so professional, ha!

You also could write a note on your plate using dry erase marker or red icing.

Here’s some ideas: Twenty Creative Way to Leave Love Notes

So Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone out there in blog land!♥♥ 

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I know some of you just don’t like this holiday. I get it. BUT, you can still show some love to a family member, someone who’s been there for you, a dear neighbor or even a stranger…just think how it will make their day!! So, LOOK around.

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It might even be a divine appointment; be open to it!

It's not all about you poster


Tell me what your plans are below. And come back and comment if you’ve shared some love in a unique way or had a special encounter; I’m dying to hear!

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♥♥ Written In honor of my boo…whose always been there through all my health issues and MORE!

♥♥And my kids…my you’ve grown up way too fast!

Twenty Creative Ways to Leave Love Notes

Twenty creative ways to leave love notes for people.

When my husband and I started dating, we enjoyed leaving love notes for each other in creative and clever ways. Later on, I tried to do the same with my two kids. And, I sure got a kick out of seeing them doing the same for us, each other, and now their spouses.

But, you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to surprise someone with a kind note. We have left notes for all sorts of reasons…a job promotion, a Geography Bee winning, a note of encouragement or note noticing your kid helped another person…the skies the limit!

Here, I snuck out after the snow stopped to leave notes for my hubby to find before he left for work the following day. 🙂

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OK, so here’s the list of things we actually did throughout the years, or ideas I came up with.

THE KEY IS… USE YOUR IMAGINATION!!



♥Twenty Creative Ways to Leave Love Notes♥

Hide notes in lunch boxes, books, backpacks or under and behind items for someone to find when they clean the house.

Sneak out at night and write a sweet message on their car with shoe polish paint.

Leave a note under their favorite coffee cup or hygiene item they use every morning.

Use dry erase marker to write a love note, positive thought or verse on their bathroom mirror.

Print out a sign and tape it to a wall where they’ll see it when they open their door or behind a door they will close. (i.e. bathroom door)

Find your kids’ homework agenda and leave a congratulatory, encouraging, or fun message on a particular day. (i.e. a tryout days, their first week of school, a birthday, a milestone.)

Kiss the back of a card’s envelope with lipstick on and print S.W.A.K. (Sealed With A Kiss)

Leave a note on the rear view mirror or in their car seat.

Write a note on the toilet paper using a Sharpie. 🙂 HA

Slide a creatively designed note under their door at night, so they see it first thing in the morning.

Use dry erase marker or permanent Sharpie to write on a coffee mug or favorite glass.

Make a unique plate to be used for special occasions ONLY. (i.e. “You’re So Smart”, “You Did IT!” “Congratulations!” “We’re Proud of You!”)

Tuck a note in a pant pocket, coat pocket or glove.

Leave a note inside their glasses case.

Leave a note on top of a stack of  clothes you’ve folded.

Leave a card or note under the car windshield wipers while they’re at work.

Leave a note taped to the remote or TV.

Tape a note to their favorite food item that they use every day.                                                             (i.e. creamer, cereal or coffee can.)

Place a note under their pillow or pinned to a favorite blanket.

Tape a note to their car keys.

Leave a note in their suitcase as they leave for camp or a business trip.

Lastly, of course, you can always just send an e-mail or text. 😉

JUST HAVE FUN WITH IT!


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This Time, Two Years Ago, We Weren’t Supposed to Be Outside!

Facebook recently reminded me of our winter “adventure” back in 2014.

Around this date, we had lots of snow, extreme icing, and a deadly wind chill. The state was under an emergency winter alert where no one was allowed to go out as the wind chill had dropped so low you’d risk freezing your skin off. Sections of interstates were closed down, and travel was restricted to emergency personnel only.

“A powerful storm system brought heavy snow and near blizzard conditions to much of central Indiana on January 5, with a mix of rain and snow across southeast sections of the area. After the snow diminished during the evening, arctic air plunged into the area on strong winds. Temperatures plummeted and significant blowing and drifting of snow occurred. Temperatures remained below zero for over 24 hours at many locations, with wind chills around 40 below zero at times. Temperatures reached levels that had not been seen in 20 years. The snow and cold created dangerous travel conditions across much of Indiana and surrounding areas. Sections of interstates were closed down, and travel was restricted to emergency personnel only. Schools were closed for a week across parts of central Indiana.”-weather.gov

However, this was all we got the other day; it is the most snow we’ve had to date, but not nearly as bad as 2014.

I was also reminded that week my son just happened to be stranded at a hotel up in Indianapolis, during a state youth conference. They were trying to get food to their room and everyone was huddled together risking running to their cars for items. He told us the minute they attempted a short run, they couldn’t feel their face.

And of course, my son brought not ONE winter clothing item with him.

Hat? Gloves? Scarf? NOPE.

Of course not…ugh…

He’s a guy in his 20s, am I right?! :/


I also had my daughter visiting from Georgia. She was quickly reminded why she moved south, to begin with.  She NEVER has liked Indiana weather.

It has always rained on her birthday. Overcast skies made her sad. Easter egg hunting was usually out.

Yeah, visiting her cousins (in the south) made me lose my youngest at an early age. She graduated from high school and off she went!

So, I was secretly happy that she couldn’t leave, perhaps for days! 🙂

The Scrabble games we had started ended up being a week-long tourney!

I never played so much Scrabble in ALL.MY.LIFE!!!

My husband played most of his life, so he’s an expert  Nazi about the rules.

Luckily, we still had power while others did not.

And food.

You always need food.

But, we had to go rescue the son and brave the slick roads, as we weren’t so sure his car would do well on the ice. And, we had to move the car as the daily parking was racking up fast!

That trip should’ve taken 2 hrs (roundtrip), but it was MUCH LONGER at a creep.

We all safely arrived back home for more Scrabble.

Then, Facebook pictures started leaking out as to how hard they all had it up there stranded in that horrible, awful, Indianapolis hotel.

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When I first moved from California, we experienced the blizzard of ’78. What a shock that was for us southern Cali kids! I remembered going out with my dad to rescue people trapped in their homes unable to leave their driveways. He had a big plow on the front of his truck, and he’d just lower his huge blade down the middle of the highway. We were the only ones on the road. It was kind of eery.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFaVwg8K8xo&t=89s  

As of right now, the temps continue to be down right frigid but I don’t think we’ll see much more snow this week.

So, as much as I love the look of the new, fallen, snow, I’m also thinking it’s time we also looked south. These winters are just killing my skin and eyes, and it is not fun. (Yeah, I wasn’t made for dry winters, if you’ve read my health blog, I’m basically a lizard.)

I’m actually thinking I wasn’t really made for this EARTH…always something.

Even when it’s 13 degrees out, my house is still set at 62º because this forced heat is just a killin’ me!


Now my son is married and looking to move south as well.

I’m thinking my first grandkids might be in Georgia…the south is callin’ my name! 😉

Hubby cannot retire soon enough!

Countdown.

Please tell me it's time to fly south bird poster.

Her First Wedding Anniversary

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Yesterday was our 29th wedding anniversary but today is my daughter and son-n-law’s FIRST.

My husband and I reflected on our first and thought of how many, many years have passed.

Some years seemed very slow. but as we age

and age…

THEY.SPEED.UP

Almost too fast!!

Sometimes, it seems sad.

We’re empty nesters now because our son just got married in August.

My advice to young people. (Yeah, you know you want to hear it. ha)

Barn wedding in Georgia

Yes, have fun.

Yes to adventure.

But don’t be going, doing, talking, moving so often that you don’t slow down.

You may just risk burning yourself out. And then, it’s too late.

Always take the time to be purposeful. Purposely slow down and take in the moment.

Be present.

Put your phone down.

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<script
Have meaningful conversations face to face.

You’ll never regret it.

I promise!

Someday, you’ll be right where I am thinking about how you could

have slowed down even more.

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Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Let things go.

Choose your battles.

Schedule in reflective time.

Make a memory.

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If you want to see more wedding pics,  I wrote about the wedding day here:

http://wp.me/p5ntHO-aZ


*all photos ©Haley Dawn Photography & property of this site thentherestwo.com

29 Years Ago, I Married

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Today I’ve been married 29 years.

October 23, 1987. The year of oversized shirts, big earrings, and mullets.

We met at church when I was home for the holidays; I was a junior in college, and

he was a sophomore.

He was attending school, here in Indiana, and I was in Missouri.

He studied business, and I was in education.

Can you believe an old boyfriend introduced us?

Fast forward…soon after we were engaged, I left to teach in China for a year.

I was 23 and he was 22.

Yep, an entire year.

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(me and a few students)

Some people thought I was nuts to do so, but it all worked out in the end. 🙂 Obviously.

We both knew I had to go. Felt it was my calling, and I knew we’d both regret it if I didn’t.

I think it made us stronger, actually.

Long before we were serious, I had planned to teach there; so, off I went.


Communication was tough.

Oh, I did try to make a call this ONE TIME.

I had to “make an appointment” to get help with getting a call out to the US, and it had to be done through the government officials’ office. Three men sat around STARING at me as I uncomfortably began to speak. I constantly was trying to hear my fiance over the multiple Chinese voices I heard coming across the line.

I grew increasingly frustrated. :/

They were all  trying to talk over me as I struggled to hear my fiance’s voice; it was a true Chinese, party line!

I don’t know what happened but in the midst of that chaotic, but short call, abruptly the phone went silent. Ended!

Later on, I found out my hubby/fiance thought I hung up on him. Whaaaa?!

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Yeah, right. I finally save up money to call you, clear around the world, and in the middle of our conversation decide I need to hang up?

Anyhow, I found out that he really couldn’t hear me, thought I was in the middle of a big party, with a bunch of Chinese friends 🙂 , AND… I hung up the phone.

Clearly, that process was never attempted again!!

(I wanted to stay engaged. HA)

Plus, it was so expensive.

So, the only way we could communicate was by cassette tape.

Late nights consisted of me lying on my cot, head on a bag of beans (pillow) surrounded by a mosquito net, talking very low, into my handheld tape recorder. (I didn’t want to  disrupt my roommates, nor have them hear my conversations.)

Now that we were engaged, I had more serious questions.

I mean, we WERE still getting to know one another…

“How many kids do you want? What are your thoughts on where we should live? What did you do today?” Then, I’d rehash the day usually adding all the funny cultural differences and stories in full detail.

(I like lots of details.)

Then I’d WAIT.

Wait for weeks.

And another tape would arrive with all my answers. 🙂

It was fun, and a daily diary of sorts. It helped the time pass.

It was a lifeline, and  it helped me get through the year.

One Christmas tape, had me and my roommate singing all the familiar carols while adding our own hysterical lyrics that reflected living abroad.

Our families really got a kick out of that one.

We worked really hard on those lyrics.


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So, we still have all those tapes.

LOTS of them.

We haven’t relistened to all of them, in full, but a few years back I started to play one for my teenaged kids, and hubby walked in very confused asking whose voice that was.

He couldn’t quite wrap his head around it.

It was a time warp, really.

Finally realizing that low, “mushy” sounding voice was his own, he quickly asked  demanded we turn it off. 😉

I think he felt somewhat embarrassed as our kids listened intently, hardly believing what they heard.

I don’t think the kids thought that was truly him! 🙂


I remember times while living in China, I’d go outside and look at the moon (thinking about life) wondering what he, or my family members, were doing clear across the other side of the planet.

And thinking…we look at that same moon just at different times.


So, here we are 29 years later.

Still together. We’ve seen a lot of life.

We’ve weathered some really tough storms, too.

But, together.

That’s KEY.

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WE honestly grew closer, not further apart.

Through some of the toughest times that LIFE’s curve balls could throw.

Many of them my health battles.


BEST of FRIENDS, STRONGER!

That year apart just may have taught us a whole host of things that would later keep us grounded, and working together.

I think I’m just now realizing this as I type.

Perhaps, that year apart solidified a firm foundation for the rest of our lives and getting us through many more years together!

God has surely been with us the whole way.

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NOTE: I dedicate these reflections to you, honey. I thank God for the gift he’s given me in YOU!

When Your Dog is Jealous of Mom

No kiddin’ this is what my daughter’s dog does every time she tries to Facetime me.

Dog jealous of Facetime with mom.

Her name is Daisy. Daisy was in need of a home, a few years back.

They already had another dog from the pound (Tebow), but this puppy was being driven around the Walmart parking lot, by a couple, asking if anyone could take her.

Yeah, my daughter couldn’t resist.

They even got featured in their engagement shoot.

(pictures by Haley Dawn Photography)

The little brat (“the paw”) is bottom right. 🙂

Engagement pic with the Falcon fans.

But Daisy will either lay right on my daughter’s face, or put her paw over her face.

She’s even blocked the camera with her body.

Can we say S P O I L E D?!

Dog jealous of Facetime with mom.Dog jealous of Facetime with mom.

My daughter, and I can only see each other (via Facetime) as she lives in Georgia, and I’m in Indiana.

This dog is going to be so jealous when my first grandbaby arrives…Sure.of.it!

Bad Cop, Good Cop

Bad cop, good cop…

As the daughter of an ex-cop and relative of several cops presently serving, we will all tell you there are a few bad cops, but hundreds of good cops.

Dad as a new cop.

Cops that start programs to help kids at risk, cops that check on our elderly, cops that try to bridge the gaps by reaching out to their communities, and all while risking their lives for us ALL, daily.

Dad after working graveyard duty as a cop.

And there are those who choose to obey the law, and those who refuse to comply; those who try to listen and learn, and those who like to stir the pot for their own agendas.

I personally wouldn’t want to live without the assurity of law and order.

The original california CHIP.

Fall Farm Wedding in Georgia

My daughter got married on a beautiful fall day on a picturesque farm in Georgia. She was wearing an Alvina Valenta gown made of lace with blush undertones. She purchased the dress at Fabulous Frocks in Georgia.

Alvina Valenta blush wedding dress

The back was just as pretty with buttons going all the way down the train!

Backless lace and blush wedding dress

lace wedding dress

Blush bridesmaids

The bridesmaids had dresses made in blush chiffon, and

the groomsmen wore charcoal gray.

groom succulent wedding boutonniere

Alvina Valenta Blush and Lace Wedding Gown

Lace and blush backless wedding gown.

Morgan really wanted a flower crown and we asked our wedding designer/venue owner if she could design one. It was her first attempt ever, and it turned out just perfect! ♥

Romantic wedding, flower crown.

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More pictures of our venue and decor to come!!

Georgia Farm wedding

candlelight tree branches for wedding decor

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But for now, have fun watching our video of the wedding  here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JulFPewaiEw

Gold and plumb fall wedding decorations

our wedding pics

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wedding table decor