Thursday, July 31, 2008


Chris and I frequently refer to Aleita as "Thunderhoof" because of the sound she makes as she comes barreling through the house full-bore. One day last week, Aleita ran full throttle into the kitchen and bumped into the table which in turn, knocked off a pile of library books and rattled a glass in the process. I said to her, "Slow down! You are like a bull in the china shop!" She gave me a funny look, but turned around and walked about ten steps away from the kitchen before resuming top speed as she bounded up the stairs.

This morning, little Thunderhoof came barreling into the bathroom, crashing into the step stool and making a terrible racket before she herself fell down on the floor. "Aleita!" I said, "slow down!" She said, "Mommy - am I like a bowl in the china cabinet?" It puzzled me for a second and I had her repeat it until I figured out that she actually had twisted her metaphor just a bit....becoming a bowl in the china cabinet rather than the bull in the china shop.

Havin' a Goodtime

My seven-year old daughter Maggie has always been drawn to country music. We listen to a wide variety of music, and she has latched on to some of my non-country favorites, like Ray Charles, Jim Croce, and Aretha Franklin, but given her choice, she goes back to country. Chris and I have joked that we likely have one of the very few black children in Macon County who prefers to get down to a country tune.

I had to laugh this morning as we were on our way to work. I had the radio on, but wasn't really paying much attention to it until I heard Maggie singing. I started listening and realized it is a very catchy new Alan Jackson song that is currently getting a lot of airplay. At the point I noticed she was singing, the song was about halfway through. Imagine my sweet little seven year singing the following:

(from the song "Goodtime" by Alan Jackson)

I cashed my check, cleaned my truck
Put on my hat, forgot about work
Sun goin' down, head across town
Pick up my baby and turn it around
Good time, Aahh, I need a good time

I've been workin' all week
And I'm tired and I don't wanna sleep I wanna have fun
Time for a good time

If you would like to hear this song, you can see its video in its entirety through this link:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


It is apparently a slow news day in Decatur. The front page story on our morning's paper is titled "Business in front...Party in the Back." Yes, that's right....they devoted front page space in the paper (and continued the article onto page 2) to write about mullets. If you are having a really slow day, you can read the article at:

But, if you'd rather be entertained, then keep reading. In honor of the mullet article, I borrowed some material from a website dedicated to highlighting those individuals sporting the mullet-do (no, I am not kidding.) All of the following pictures are from I used some of the commentary they had with the pictures, in addition to providing some of my own.


When the kid grows up, he will be asked, "So, why did you have your hair like that?" He will answer, "I learned it from watching YOU!!!'(In the same tone as the drug commercial) Indeed, Dad is to blame. Two generations of mulls, sitting on a curb....Doesn't get much better.

TWO-TONE WAREHOUSE MULL Warehouses are a common source of employment for mullets. They can dress how they want, wear their hair how they want and get very angry if they want. It's a good place to let out the mulletude (i.e. punch a random box or kick a pallet). They can yell out loud and either not be heard or not really noticed. The 2 tone is an example of a seasoned, experimental mullet. Going beyond the standard mullet by adding style and flava.

Gene and Connie looked for a way to combine their two great loves - - hard liquor and each other. By goodness, they found it.

Girl - 'Ahhh...isnt this beautiful? Hey, think they're any fish in this water honey?'
Randy - 'Ahh hell, I don't know...why you always asking me all these damn questions....I'm gonna go grab a cold want one?'
Girl - 'Sure....this is the best honeymoon. Hey, grab my cigs while yer over there.'

Happy Hullidays Mulletjunkies!
If you were a good boy or girl this year, click my red bow. If you were naughty, click the blue one.


Hell Ya!!! That's what i'm talk in' about. word. yow. we gonna wear our mullets any way we wants. and dare aint nuthin u gonna do 'bout it . mmmm hmmm. sheeeiiiiiit


Momma: Donnie! Boy, you are gonna miss yer bus if you don't get yer butt outta this trailer and down to the end of the dirt road!
Donnie: Just another minute, Momma. I ain't got my bangs curled just like I want 'em and today's school pictures.
Momma: Here comes the bus, Donnie! Git your butt gone right now!
Donnie: Guess I don't have time to brush my teeth (again.)

STREET MULLDELMullet- Honey, look there's a guy drawing people, should I have him draw me?
Wife of Mullet- Sure, see if he can really capture the essence of your mullet meeting your shoulder/back hair.
Mullet- O.K.!, golly, I sure am glad I wore my tank top!
Wife of Mullet- You know, If this drawing comes out good we can hang it over the mantle next to the singing fish.

I AM THE MULL Every once in while a truly great mull comes along like this. It IS a 'Diamond in the ruff', every detail is completely intentional and accounted for. Look at the aero-dynamacy, the colors, the length of this mull. A true craftsman. Now check out the accessories; The 44oz. Big Gulp, the wife beater, the beaded necklace, the aviator sunglasses and finally the baseball hat attached to the belt loop of faded denim shorts. The attitude, the confidence in his stride are also key, undeniable elements that make this mull stand above the rest. 'I - AM - THE - MAN' emanates from within and is projected to all.

I bet the parking lot at this high school was full of bitchin' Camaros.

OCTOMULLETA truly rare subspecies of mullet, the Octomullet briefly surfaces from the ocean to attend a monster truck show on land. In general, the Octomullet is a fairly timid and harmless creature. However, if crossed or when sensing danger, the Octomullet can be DEADLY. The mullet has mutated throughout time to actually form sharp tenticles which are poisoness and deadly. They are extremely loyal and will defend his cousins, The Monster Truck Mullet and the No Fear Bad/Boy Club Mullet untill the end.

Priest: "Randall Mull, Do you take Libby-May to be your, bla bla bla bla bla.....?"
Randall Mull: "Hell ya!"
Priest: "Libby-May, Do you take Randall Mull to be your, bla bla bla bla bla.....?"
Libby May: "Shoot, I guess I do, yeah."
Priest: "With the power vested in me and state of Kentucky, I now pronounce you Mull and wife! Libby, You may kiss the Mullestache."
Libby: "Awww heck, come 'er punkin."
....and they lived happily ever after.(in Blue Skies Trailer Park)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We moved to the little town of Blue Mound (pop. about 1,200) last October. I grew up small town, but spent the last fifteen years in the "big" city (haha) of Decatur. Life has a funny way of coming full circle - - I now feel very content raising my kids small town. We like knowing that there are other people who watch out for you and your family and have a genuine concern for helping your kids turn out to be good know, that whole "it takes a village thing."

I can say without doubt that I have officially become Mounder. The proof? My schedule for the three days of our small town celebration. The Blue Mound Fall Festival is held the second weekend in August each year. This year, I have shifts selling 50/50 tickets, working at the Bingo game, selling cake and ice cream at our church's stand, assisting with the chicken dinner, and working on our church's float for the parade. I will probably end up walking with or riding on our float for the parade as well (you gotta love small town parades....every year, everyone takes turns either watching it or being in it.)

And they say that people move to small towns to "get away from it all."

Monday, July 28, 2008


Do I have any fellow LPRs (license plate readers) out there? When I am stopped in traffic or walking through a parking lot, it seems I am always checking out the tags on license plates. I love people who take the time to come up with clever personalized tags on their vehicles.

It seems that every time I get a new vehicle, I get a new personalized plate. After we got married, I started off cautiously with “R HALE 2” - - I know, how original, right? From there, I went on to “FIDLDD 3.” Now, my plate on my car reads, “HMDNGR 3.”

I love personalized plates because they often show some creativity on the part of the vehicle owner. For the more cautious, initial plates seem to be popular - - the ones that either give the initials of the owner, the married couple, or some combination of the family's initials. For those who are just a freckle braver, the plate may offer a more spelled-out version of the person's first or last name. Sometimes the plates offer a way for the person to advertise their business or company.

Then there are the ones that I just don't get. Have you ever sat in traffic trying to decode a cryptic license plate? I am sure that is what would happen if you would pull up behind my co-worker, Dawn. Her license plates reads, "TTGMLP 2." I will give you a little while to puzzle that one out. Plates like hers surely have meaning to the owner, but for the most part, are lost on the rest of us.

I never understand why people pay the additional money to put the model of their car on their license plate. In Illinois, a personalized plate costs you $7 more per year. Why waste $7 each year just to put "CAMRY 3" on your license plate? What a waste! I can just imagine the owner of that vehicle, sitting at the dealership after purchasing their new car, and becoming increasingly frustrated as they struggle to come up with a clever combination for their new acquisition. Finally, for lack of any better inspiration, they reconcile with the fact that they just can't function creatively under pressure and the moniker for their tags simply states the obvious. If you were to visit these people's homes, would they have a dog named "Dog" and a cat named "Cat?"

Some clever ones that I have seen around town are "IV NAP" for a lady who is an anesthesiologist, "SSSMILE" for a local dentist, and "SAY CHZ" for a photographer. In our former neighborhood, there was a guy who drove a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder with the tag "ITC BTC." I always liked that one as well.

One thing that I have found that Chris and I often do is begin to refer to people that we see often but don't really know by the tag on their plates if it is personalized. We lived next door to a lady for six years who we never spoke to any more than just "hello" in the yard now and again. We have no idea what her name is - - we just always referred to her as "Roni" when we spoke of her because of her license plate "RONI 93."

So, anyone out there have any license plates that have caught your attention? Please...share!

(and by the way, my co-worker's plate, "TTGMLP 2" stands for "TRY TO GUESS MY LICENSE PLATE.")

Monday, July 21, 2008


There are certain points in your kids’ lives when as a parent, you feel as though you just saw them get a little older or more mature, right before your eyes. It is as though you blink, and all of sudden, there is a metamorphosis that you knew would happen sooner or later, but weren't quite expecting at that particular moment. Many times, it is something that happens that to most anyone else who was observing would be quite unobtrusive....something that would barely register a blip on the radar. To a parent though, it is often one of those moments that brings conflicted joy - - - happiness because you are so proud of your child, yet a little sadness because it provides yet another visible milestone that points out to you that your baby isn't such a baby anymore.

I had one such moment yesterday. Chris and the kids and I had gone to my cousin's house to swim for the afternoon. The kids both love swimming and had a ball playing in the water. Aleita is finally tall enough this year to stand in the shallow end, which to her, is in an accomplishment in itself. My big surprise, however, came from Maggie. This summer, she has been attending a summer program at our church. Nearly every day, they go to the town pool from 1 - 3PM in the afternoon. Apparently, my little girl who used to be so afraid of the water and never wanted to get her face wet has overcome her fears during her time spent at the pool.

Yesterday, I couldn't believe how well she was swimming....this from the child who refused to even get her face wet. Maggie took two sets of swimming lessons at the YMCA. During the second set of lessons, she locked up her brakes and refused to go any further once they got to the point that they were jumping in the pool from the side, even though it was where she could touch. She wanted nothing to do with something that would force her to get her face wet.

Yet there was my daughter yesterday, playing and splashing around in the water as though she had never screamed at me a few years back when I tried to convince her to jump in the pool during her lesson. I simply couldn't fathom that this was the same child - surely this couldn't be the girl who had clung to me in fear and cried until I promised that she would no longer have to do swim lessons. She was swimming so well, that I allowed her to swim in the deep end of the pool with me. I swam beside her, amazed that she showed absolutely no fear. By the end of the afternoon, she was jumping off the diving board and swimming a good five or six feet underwater before surfacing and swimming all the way to the shallow end. Who was this kid?

Yes, my heart swelled for Maggie as I watched her find that confidence that she had for so long lacked when it came to the water. The beaming grin on her face absolutely shown with unabashed pride. As I watched her self-assurance grow with each jump, I was impressed with her emerging water aptitude, yet it also made me realize that she is growing up right before my eyes. My pride was abounding, yet bittersweet. Her increasing self-sufficiency is sometimes hard for this mom to take.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Aleita, in the bathtub this evening, "I can't help it. I try not to, but I just have to drink the bath water." (after being told to quit drinking it.)

Dandy and Paris

One question I keep getting when people find out we have a new puppy is, "what does Dempsey think of him?" Dempsey is pretty aloof at this point. I don't think he has quite figured out just what Dandy is at this point. He now realizes that he is not a threat, but when he does his little high pitched puppy bark and growl, Dempsey isn't quite sure what to make of it.

Dandy isn't too lonely though. Just a block away is his sister. Our friends Barb and Greg also got a puppy from the same litter. I thought you might enjoy some pictures of Dandy and his sister, Paris. Paris is the one with the purple collar - - Dandy is the little bitty one.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Earlier this week, Chris and I picked Aleita up after work at her daycare. I had piled my bag from work and lunchbox in the backseat before we picked her up. After she got in the car, she picked up my lunchbox, unzipped it, and saw my empty rubbermaid container that I had put milk in. She zipped and unzipped and played with it for several minutes. Finally, she asked, "Mommy - - can I take your lunchbox on Friday for show and tell?"

Chris and I totally cracked up. We convinced her that we could probably find something that would be better to take for show and tell than my lunchbox. She was not easy to convince. Who knows? Maybe it would've been a hit!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


We have adopted a new member into the Hale household! Please take a moment and acquaint yourself with Dandy. He is six weeks old and we brought him home today. He is a Standard Poodle and is currently weighing in at a whopping 1.7 pounds. (He will eventually weigh about 50-60 pounds when full grown.) He and Dempsey are getting along well, though Dempsey isn't quite sure what to make of him just yet. He is worn out from a big day and sleeping soundly at the moment.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Yesterday during church, Aleita was fidgety and never held a single position for longer that about 2.6 seconds. She has gotten to the point where she actually will sit (mostly) without talking during the service, though sitting still is another matter entirely. Chris and I refer to it as "Aleita wrestling." Before we left for church, he came in the bathroom where I was applying my makeup, held up his slacks to me, and asked, "Do these looked too wrinkled? Should I iron them?"

"Why bother?" I reminded him, "Aleita will only wallow you during church and it will be as though you'd never done it at all." Point taken.

Aleita started out on Chris's lap during the beginning of services, switched to sit between Chris and me in the pew, then ended up in my lap by the time the sermon had begun. Even while sitting in my lap, she shifted positions no less than 239 times, I am pretty sure. She intermittently traded off between making faces at our friend, Diana (who was of course, making faces back), sitting the next row back, and then snuggling up to me and rubbing the soft fabric of my dress between her fingers. Just about the time I thought she had settled, she would turn herself around again until she got Diana's attention, and then it would begin again.

Perhaps we don't do the greatest job of controlling her, but then again, "Aleita" and "control" rarely end up in the same sentence together anyway. And though she is restless, at the very least she usually does manage to go without screaming or laughing or talking or singing or any other loud outburst for the hour we are in church. For most four year olds, that is a miracle within itself.

So if you are interested in seein' some wrastling, you need not tune in to the WWE. Just come sit about the fourth or fifth row back on the south side of our church sanctuary this coming Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Pictures of the girls from the evening of the 4th of July - - these were taken right before the fireworks started.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Yesterday, we had just another example of what small town living really means. Not too long after Chris and the kids got home yesterday, the phone rang. It was a friend of ours, Tom, just letting us know that he had seen the Fed Ex driver drop off a package on our front porch and wanted to make sure we didn't miss it. (Most people come in and out our side door, not the front door, so we don't access the house via the front door very often.)

About an hour later, I went down to my friend Barb's house to meet her to go to our Thursday night water aerobics class. After I came in the door, her husband said to me, "hey - there's a package on your front porch that got delivered today." Evidently, the driver had trouble finding our house (apparently using those pesky numbers on the front of the house proved deceptive) and since Greg was outside working, she stopped to ask for clarification. She asked if he could help her, but instead of asking what the house number was, he asked for the name on the package - - - much easier to figure out who a package belongs to by name, rather than house number, when you live in a town of 1,200 people.

He was quickly able to point her in the right direction -- mainly of course, because we happen to be good friends with them. It also happened to be easy because of the fact that he and Barb used to live there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


A short while ago, I was driving back to work after my lunch hour. I had the radio on, but wasn't really listening all that closely until I heard an ad come on for Meadow Manner. Meadow Manner is the nursing home in Taylorville where my grandma lives, so it caught my attention enough that I began listening to the commercial.

The ad was describing some renovation that is taking place at the nursing home, as well as a new program it is offering called "Quick Steps." It said that Quick Steps is a program for people who only need to stay in the nursing home for a short while - say, a few weeks or months - following something like a fall or a surgery, just until they are able to return home. The ad began mentioning the rehabilitation portion of the program and touting that it provides practice with many independent-living activities through its own facilities. Residents are able to practice cooking in an actual kitchen, doing laundry with actual washing machines and dryers, exercising with onsite equipment, etc....I had just started to tune it out again when I heard the advertiser's voice began mentioning that there are so many fun and exciting activities for the residents to participate in, such as crafts, games, scrapbooking......and I swear, I am not making this up - - the last thing he said had something to do with a casino. And just like that - - he had my attention again.

Unfortunately, the advertiser didn't elaborate on the casino thing and the commercial ended. I know that I am not hearing things - - he definitely said something about a casino. I found it so humorous, I had to write about it. Perhaps that is why my grandma seems tired when I go to see her - - - maybe she spends her free time at the nursing home's casino until the wee hours of the morning. I can just picture her and the other residents, all lined up in their wheel chairs at the craps table. Since the residents don't handle actual money (it is instead placed on in an account for them, for things like the beauty shoppe), I wonder what they use to gamble with? Crackers from the dining room? Perhaps after awhile, they will have another activity to list for the nursing home - - Gambler's Anonymous.

Maybe the casino is strictly reserved for those in the Quick Steps program only - - you know, you have to keep on your activities if you are going to return home soon. Perhaps there are people that hesitate to have that surgery because they are afraid that during the recuperation, they will lose the ability to play three slot machines at the same time. And life skills are important you know -- - A person wouldn't want to forget how to scramble eggs or separate whites from colored clothes.....or when to double down in Blackjack.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Aleita was a sleepy head this morning and had to be woke up. As soon as she managed her way out of bed, I walked her into the bathroom to sit on the potty. As I sat her down, I gave her a kiss on one cheek, and then the other. Still groggy from sleep and not really wanting to be awake yet, she shook her head at me and pushed me away. I said, "What? Don't you like my kisses?" She sleepily looked at me and replied, "I just don't want to use up all my kisses I have for today. No more kisses right now."

Apparently she has a limited supply - - get 'em while they last.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I hang my head in shame and admit to you that my family is not very good at saving the environment. At home, we don't have a bin to recycle cans....or newspaper.....or plastic. It is one of those things that I know I should do, but just don't. I could use the argument that we have space limitations, which is true, and I could also say that we don't recycle because our town doesn't pick up recyclable materials - which is also true. But the truth of the matter is probably more likely that we're just lazy. Wow. That kind of stings to have to write that down. I know, I know....shame, shame, shame on me.

I kinda/sorta recycle at work....though it's almost disgraceful to admit. I work in a downtown area where we have a lot of street people. At least a few times every day, a street person goes through the garbage bags in our dumpster, looking for aluminum cans. So in a way, I am recycling. Right? Right???

As an educated individual, I know that I should recycle. I know that it makes for a healthier world, as well as cuts down on the amount of waste in our landfills, and the number of pollutants in our environment. While looking up some information about recycling online this morning, I found a fact that really surprised me: Recycling just one can saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for 3½ hours. It also said that is easier and cheaper to make cans from recycled ones - - the article I read said that twenty recycled cans are able to be made with the energy needed to produce just one can using virgin ore.

But before you gather an angry mob to come after me (using torches replete with recycled materials, of course), please know that Chris and I are actually doing one thing to save some of this world's natural resources. Nearly every day for the past several months, we have been carpooling to work. Now, we aren't able to do it every day, but most days, we are able to make the thirty mile roundtrip commute together. In keeping with the honest tone of this entry though, I have to admit that saving some natural resources each day was somewhat of a secondary consideration/side benefit from our decision to carpool it. We were indeed thinking green when we decided to ride together each day - - just a little more of the variety that comes in bill form. In short, our main impetus had to do with saving some money. What we have found is that when we are able to ride together most every day, we save about $50 a week on gas. Hoo-ray - - a win/win for us and the environment!

But of course, I am far, far, far from being the Green Queen of Macon County. I need to do more. I recognize that - and I'll work on it, I promise. I highly doubt I will ever become a tree-hugging zealot, but I will, at the very least, purchase a few garbage cans for the garage whose sole purpose it will be to hold paper and aluminum cans. Al Gore would be so proud.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


It was a beautiful sunny day in Central Illinois, so we took the kids to the zoo this afternoon. We had covered about two-thirds of the zoo when we came to the herpaquarium where most of the reptiles and amphibians are housed. The kids always stop right outside this building and touch the shells of the tortoises that stay in a low fenced area to the left of the herpaquarium door. As we came up the hill to the building today, I noticed that one tortoise had its mouth wide open and appeared to be attempting to climb up a large rock. Not wanting the kids to get bit, I told them, "don't touch the tortoise with its mouth open."

However, as we got a little closer, I realized that the large rock he was climbing was actually another tortoise. The kids both stopped and stared at the male tortoise as he made steady grunting, bark-like noises. Maggie commented, "I'm not touching that one! He's mad about something." Chris and I just gave each other "the look" and ushered the kids inside the herpaquarium. After looking at the snakes and frogs and iguanas and turtles, I said to Chris, "how fast do you think we can get them out the door?"

Apparently, not fast enough. The male turtle was still rhythmically barking away as we exited the building and Maggie again stopped to comment. "He is sure upset about something! He's really angry, isn't he, Mommy? Maybe it's because that other tortoise won't get out of his way."

"Hmm...could be," I responded - while trying not to laugh at the look Chris was giving me. As we went on to the next exhibit, Maggie again asked, "Mommy - why was the tortoise doing that?" I began to figure she understood that there was a deeper explanation that what I had been offering, so I finally told the truth. I explained that they were trying to make tortoise babies. I explained that is what they had to do for the tortoise to get pregnant and lay eggs with baby tortoises in them.

She digested this truth for a moment and then said, "to make babies, he has to climb on her back and make weird noises?" Not wanting to continue the discussion any further, I just replied, "Yep - that's about right." She then said, "Are you just kidding me?" I laughed and assured her I was telling her the truth....but I am not sure she believed me.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Last night, I met my friends Barb, Susan, and Brenda at the town pool for water aerobics class. I am pretty sure we exercise our jaws as much as we do any other body part that we are supposed to be working on. No matter - I am sure that some good is coming to my body because of it, and it is a very enjoyable way to spend an hour.

As we were in the pool last night, Barb stopped mid-water jog and cocked her head to the side. "Hear that?" she asked me. It took me a second, but I realized she was refering to a siren that could be heard faintly from the other side of town. I noticed that a few other ladies in the pool had also perked up at the sound of it and had their heads turned in the direction of it.

Before she brought it up to me, I hadn't even noticed the siren. We moved to Blue Mound last October, but before that , I lived in Decatur for fifteen years. I still spend a great deal of time there because of work. In a bigger town with thousands of people, lights and sirens just come with the territory and eventually just become part of the rhythm of the city. My office is less than half a block off one of the busiest streets in Decatur, and though it is not a huge town, it is still large enough that I hear at least ten sirens go by every day. Fire trucks, ambulances, police cars. . . . all sound their shrill warnings within a few hundred feet of my office every day. It didn't take long to grow accustomed to the sound and subsequently, tune it out. I have a large plate glass window that provides an excellent view of Eldorado Street, yet I rarely even glance up from my desk as they go by.

I recall that when I was growing up, if a fire truck or ambulance or police siren was heard, everyone was on the horn immediately, calling friends or relatives or neighbors to figure out what was going on. I remember a time when hearing a siren would make my heart race a little, because it was a sound heard so infrequently in a small town, and almost always meant trouble for someone you knew. Barb made the same point to me exactly. After she asked if I had heard it, I told her that I rarely even heard the sirens anymore after living and working in Decatur. She replied, "But here, there's a good chance that it has to do with someone you know."

Being fairly new to Blue Mound, we don't know a lot of people - - mainly just those we go to church with. As Maggie starts school this fall and we begin to become more involved in the community, I am sure that in no time, that we'll know a few more folks. Perhaps soon I will start noticing the sirens again.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


My sister-in-law, Stacie is due in August. This will be the second child for her and my husband's brother, Ben. They have a daughter, Kaylin, who will be three this September. Kaylin seems to be excited about the upcoming arrival of her new sibling....we'll see how long that lasts once there is a bit of an attention shift after the baby arrives.

Before Stacie and Ben knew the gender of the baby, they were discussing possible names and asked Kaylin what she thought good names would be for a girl or boy. She chose the names "Pink" (for a girl) and "Purple" (for a boy.)

They now know the baby will be a boy, and we are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of little Purple. If you ask Kaylin what the baby's name is, she very nonchalantly answers, "Purple." Actually, if Ben has his way, the baby will be named "Emmitt." No word on a middle name yet, but our family has already dubbed this child "Emmitt Purple" - - that is how we always refer to him when we talk about the new baby. We say it often enough around Kaylin that I think she is probably convinced that is the baby's actual name. Who says that celebrities have the market cornered on far-out baby names?