Once Every Four Years

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It’s Leap Day! I won’t post on February 29th again for another four years. So crazy! I don’t know what things look like where you live but here in Northern Virginia it’s looking absolutely gorgeous outside. Blue skies, fluffy white clouds and a breeze that is whispering “Spring is coming…Spring is coming…” And man – I hope that breeze is right!

I’m trying to encourage Spring to come right along – seriously – no more snow!

Monday after work, I got out with Watson and we were able to take a long walk across the first 4 holes of the golf course; we’ve reached the time of the year when the sun is still out but the golfers are already gone, leaving the golf course open for walking – and it makes a perfect “track”. The walk/jog was almost like a nature walk since along the way we saw four deer, a rabbit and two geese…all of which Watson thought he’d catch. Not so much. We had some friends over for supper and coffee and of course, some good conversation. All in all…not a bad way to start a week – you know?

Rainy branches – but at least they weren’t snowy branches.

Wednesday afternoon monsoon

And this is supposed to be a rainbow…but I’m not seeing it. Oops!

It started raining on Tuesday afternoon and rained…and rained….and rained. It started out a mizzle (you know that word right – mist+drizzle=mizzle) and just got wetter by the hour. The final fanfare arrived on Wednesday afternoon when a monsoon hit around 4:15, complete with lightning and thunder! Now – I can’t explain why the weather is one way in one place and completely different in another…but can I just tell you, Wednesday was the first time I’d heard thunder in over a year. I promise that I’m not exaggerating even a little bit either. It rains here…it snows here…the wind blows like crazy here….but thunder? I think there has been a legit thunderstorm here maybe three times in the (almost) two years I’ve lived in Northern VA. I – for one – am not complaining since I’m kind of a wuss about “bad” weather. But it was sort of…”nice”….to hear a rumble or two of thunder.

The evening moonrise on Wednesday – not captured so well. iPhone camera fail.
I’m so proud of my wreath – even if it weighs a ton.

The rest of the week passed easily enough – just work, walking, hanging out with the dog. All those things. A couple weeks ago I ordered a bed and a wreath (those things don’t relate at all – right? Right.) and they both arrived on Thursday…one was decidedly bigger than the other and is still sitting in our kitchen in the two boxes it arrived in. You see – this is the “problem” with suddenly realizing I’ll have my own apartment is that I want to buy ALL the furniture and I kind of want to buy it all right now. I have had my couch and chair and ottoman on my Ikea shopping list for literally over a year and sometimes I just open my Ikea app and look at the pictures…like…I’m coming for you furniture. Soon.

Wow – that’s not creepy at all. Moving on… My bed arrived and I think at this point it will just stay boxed up until the move; it seems easier than tearing down one bed, putting together another and then having to disassemble it all over again in a few months. I feel like my Dad should thank me for this wise life choice. Now…the wreath I’d have bought regardless of having/not having a front door to hang it on…I was convinced that I’d hang it on my office door. With a command hook. And then it arrived and the realization that a wreath made with real baseballs isn’t exactly light sank in…and so, I’ll hang it from something…just not sure what yet.

This face gets me every time. So precious.

Friday night I had plans with a friend but it didn’t shake out due to some unforeseen illness on my friend’s part – which left Watson and I on our own on Friday night – and a whole bottle of wine with no one to share with. Shucks. Now – lest you think I drank a whole bottle of wine – chill out. I drank and glass…and a half. And instead of watching a movie and chatting with my friend, I ended up continuing my binge watching of DaVinci’s Demons. While the night went differently than I’d planned, it was nice to have a relaxing Friday night…a night for unwinding from the week, just chilling in the recliner and doing nothing.

Rose’ and clouds that matched on Friday night. 
Watson and I, drinking in coffee (me) and the morning (him).
Deadpool – funnier than I’d imagined; not as crude as I’d expected. Verdict: Loved it.

Saturday morning passed pretty lazily – just sipping coffee, watching more DaVinci’s Demons (I said I was bingeing (SP??) it – remember) and chatting with my family on the phone. We spent some time discussing my little sister’s new assignment – there will be lots of visits to Vegas over the next three years…and while her assignment wasn’t quite what she’d hoped for…we are all looking for God’s will in her life and trying to find the positives: living 40 minutes from Las Vegas is one of those positives. I foresee quite a bit of adventure in the desert for my little sister…and I plan to get out to the desert and get in on those adventures as often as I can. 

I met up with my friend Jennie around lunch time and we went to the Alamo to see Deadpool – the latest in the Marvel movie universe’s takeover of the box office – and also the first Marvel superhero movie rated R. I chowed down on a burger and fries while watching the Merc with a Mouth do his best to exact revenge and win back the girl – and I must say, I really liked the movie. I wondered if it would be too gory (which is funny since nothing can top Game of Thrones for gore) or crass for me to really like it – but it was actually hilarious and I loved every minute of it – well, maybe not so much the blood splatter…but, you know…everything else.

Saturday afternoon caffeine – always a wise choice.
So cuddly and sweet.

After the movie, we made a stop at Starbucks – I have to say I think I love the Smoked Butterscotch Latte more as a cold drink. I’m definitely attributing this to it tasting more like the Butterbeer I got at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter…because – cold. We also made a quick stop in at Wal-Mart because the photo center called to tell me that my photo order was ready! Wait – back up – what now? What photo order is that you ask? Why – that would be my Christmas cards that they lost way back in early December and they just wanted to let me know that they’d found them and didn’t I want to come pick them up?? I mean – they were already paid for and everything. So, yes…now I have 50 “Merry Christmas 2015” cards and I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to do with them…but I’ve got them! Watson and I rounded out our Saturday evening with a couple long walks, multiple episodes of DaVinci’s Demons and some coffee before bed. It was decaf…but don’t tell.

Sunshine = so many golf balls.
Like – what am I going to do with these??

Sunday was absolutely gorgeous – I hope that Sunday was a preview of the glorious Spring weather to come because it was delightful. I joined my friend Margaret for the 8:30 service at our church and by 10 AM I was at home, walking Watson around the back yard in the seriously wonderful breeze, just drinking in the sunlight. He laid out on the deck while I cooked lunch and I’m assuming he snoozed in the sunshine while I went to the movies to see God of Egypt. Which was both delightful and cheesy – but hey, those things go together just fine – right? I liked it and that’s what matters. When I left the theatre, I had to shed my jacket because it had warmed up considerably and felt absolutely amazing…and when I arrived home shortly after three, Watson and I took the first of three long-ish walks in the sunshine…which I think we both thoroughly enjoyed. The walks also seemed to absolutely wipe Watson out…

Afternoon exploration in the sunshine….
Watching the sunset…and DaVinci’s Demons….

I whipped up some homemade baked macaroni and cheese for supper (with a glass of wine, of course) and Watson and I munched on it (he always gets small bites – because he’s spoiled rotten) while watching…you guessed it…more DaVinci’s Demons! I made it all the way to episode nine of season two! Only twelve episodes to go to finish the series! I can’t decide if I’m excited or sad…but that’s the way it goes with binge-watching, right? I completely skipped watching the Oscars for the first time in years…only because I was more interested in DaVinci’s Demons, the book I was reading and the fact that the only person I cared to see win was Leo – and that award isn’t until near the end anyway. 

I was sound asleep before 11 and if that isn’t the perfect end to a lovely weekend – I don’t know what is.

Weekending is exhausting…

The Flashback – February

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I find myself starting this post by thinking that surely 2015 can’t be in the past…didn’t it just begin? I’m then reminded that February of 2015 did; in fact, happen twelve months ago and I need to get it together, get with the picture and move into the present.
I remember as a child thinking that each year took ages to pass. Days were long, months were longer…and let’s not even get started on how impossibly long it took for time to pass in the month of December! It seemed like Christmas would never arrive! I have to wonder – what makes time “seem” to pass differently from childhood to adulthood? Perhaps as a child, life is filled with wonder and the only “job” is to play…to learn and grow…but as an adult there are so many jobs, so many responsibilities, so many things that need to be done/want to be done and the hours in the day are so finite. 
I’m not sure what causes time to pass so much more quickly at thirty-one than it did at thirteen, but it certainly does. It’s already 2016…February is already almost gone…time is passing, quicker than ever it seems…

2016
Snow Watson – The Sequel
And after the snow…comes ice…
The Shenandoah River in the snow…
2015

Snow Watson is “born” – and loves every minute of exploring piles of frozen fluff.
Amelia is NEVER amused by my faces…
The temperatures took a crazy dip & dog walking required serious outdoor wear.
2014

Feeling dark in 2014… I still love it.
Work day snowfall fun with Melissa!
Loving on a precious sweetheart in the nursery.
2013
Practicing my ski jump pose (duck face and all) in Colorado Springs.
Striking a pose with Lindsey in front of the AOG at USAFA.
Three generations.
2012
Celebrating “good friend” with some of my good friends at Cater’s Market.
Weekends spent with friends = the best.
I’m such a shorty – I’m the “leader” and the shortest in the bunch, ha!
2011
Cuddling the sweetest little bit of love – Ryleigh.
Some ice in Mississippi…
Saturday morning cartoons with two of my favorites.
2010
Saints 2010 + Super Bowl = WIN.
DiscipleNow – Working on my leadership skills.
Watson in costume for the girl’s video.
2009

My first year as a DNow Leader
My four girls – such an easy group!
Loving on Lindsey during DNow Weekend.
2008

Cheering on the Golden Eagles with Kristen & Lisa – whoa flash! 
I promise more people came to our basketball games…ha-ha!
Enjoying some time between classes outside the Powerhouse.
2007

Lunch with friends in Meridian.
A Winter sunset…the sky on fire.
The littlest “soldier”…on her way to do something with CAP.
2006

Cuddling another wee Riley – my cousin’s sweet daughter. Can’t believe she’s TEN!
Meridian Community College Choral Competition – tra la la!
Road tripping to the MS Gulf Coast…
2005

DiscipleNow – helping with the afternoon activities.
And…that’s all I’ve got! I managed to make it “back in time” eleven years and I think I’m pretty pleased with myself for that one… 
So – until March, that’s all the flashing I’ve got for today. Ha! 

Five on Friday

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Friday has arrived again! I joked with my co-workers last week that this week would seem especially long because it was a full five day work week after we’d had a short (even shorter than planned courtesy of snow) work week last week. Somehow this week seems like it flew by even faster than last week – and I find that almost always seems to be the case! 
So – on this lovely Friday – one of the best days of the week…in my opinion…here are just a few things that are on my mind!

One. DaVinci’s Demons – I stumbled onto this show about two years ago during a Starz free preview weekend and was able to DVR the whole first season before the weekend was up… I blew through the second season on my tablet when I had a friend’s access to Starz and earlier this week it hit me that I now HAVE my very own Starz subscription through Amazon Prime and the third and final season was available to watch. It’s been so long since I saw the first two seasons…so I just started over at the beginning and it’s just as good as I remember.

The show follows the life of Leonardo DaVinci in Florence; he serves as a weapons creator for the House of Medici, but also spends much of his time inventing, creating, painting and generally being a genius. The show is obviously historical fiction and so I’m certain 85% of it is completely made up but it’s 100% fascinating to watch the cogs of DaVinci’s brain turn as he creates flying machines and weapons of war, pushes the boundaries of medieval medicine and makes history with each brush stroke.
Two. Nationals Spring Training – Of course there is something Nationals related on this post, ha-ha! There are 38 days and counting until Opening Day and I’ve been watching Twitter/Instagram/Facebook with a semi-religious zeal to see all things Nationals. I don’t know what our chances are this year…some sports news outlets seem to have us marked to fail and others think we could surprise everyone and blow away the competition. Obviously the hope is that the season unfolds with the latter and not the former but either way, I’m just ready for Nationals baseball!

Also – I’m a fruitcake. I know. I said “we” like I’m somehow involved in the actual baseball team’s success or failure. Ha-ha! 

Dusty Baker addressing the 2016 team for the first time.
Three. Snow and Sun – As in, that’s the weird weather I’ve been dealing with this week! Yesterday afternoon as I was driving back to the office from running errands, I could have sworn I kept seeing snowflakes! Sure enough…even though the sun kept peeking through the clouds, snow was lazily drifting down from above. This morning when I went outside to walk the dog, yet again there were little fluffs of snow falling gently down…and the closer I got to work, the heavier it got…all while the sun was shining in a bright blue sky! Weather is so weird.

Four. Weekend Movies – I’m going to the movies two days in a row and I could not be more thrilled! I guess some people are “movie” people and some people aren’t – I am definitely the former. I’m going to see Deadpool on Saturday with my friend Jennie; we try to make it our goal to see each and every Marvel movie and so we are going to cross Deadpool off our list on Saturday. On Sunday afternoon I’m going to see Gods of Egypt…which has already been in a firestorm because of Hollywood “whitewashing”; a film about ancient Egyptians that are all being played by white actors…and the film has not received great reviews either.

                           
I’m absolutely unconcerned about reviews or the media’s thoughts on the actors playing the parts. I’m 100% interested in this movie because I have always been obsessed with all things ancient Egypt and so that’s enough to reel me in. Pun completely intended. Reel…like a film reel? Ha! On that same note, I’ll probably be watching the Oscars this Sunday night – just because I love movies and I watching that pageantry – even if it is grossly overpaid, self important people congratulating one another. I do enjoy it. 🙂
Five. Fitness – I did better this week! Walking and I even committed myself to the elliptical on days when it was too cold to be outside. Having done so, I still cannot wait until the weather changes a bit and I can stick to walking/jogging outside every day! It’s just so much more enjoyable than going around and around on the elliptical… My fitness goal for the next couple weeks (daylight savings time is March 13th) is to just focus on getting in some exercise whether it be outside or in… Hopefully by mid-March, I can just get outside every day!

This happened a couple weeks ago. Nightmare.
So – that’s what I’m thinking about this Friday. What are you thinking about? Do you have five things on your mind that you’d love to share? Feel free to do so…and then go to one of the blogs listed on the button above and link up!
Happy Weekend-ing! 

A "Home" on the Horizon

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Well…once again…I’ll be “moving” soon! This move won’t be anything like my move (almost) two years ago; I’ll only be moving about five miles up the road from where I am now, so – not too big of a move.

What will make this move a bit different from before is that once again – I’ll have my own space. What will make this move similar to before – I will still be living in my parent’s home…

I’m going to unload a bit here – so I hope you won’t judge me too harshly. I’m just letting my feelings be known because sometimes it helps to share them. Sometimes it doesn’t – and so I’d ask if you have a comment that is less than kind, you keep it to yourself.

The Model Home…of what will be our home…

Let me level with you for a wee bit before I move on. I am both excited and hesitant to share this…excited for the most obvious of reason…hesitant for a long list of reasons that are both valid and silly at the same time.

I moved to Virginia almost two years ago with grand ideas about getting a job and finding my own house (and if I’m being honest, finding a wonderful man…but let’s not even go down that rabbit hole; there is only much weeping and wailing and no one wants that) lickety split and living a fabulous life. Please read: I am living a fabulous life! It’s just playing out a lot different than I’d planned and that’s alright because it’s playing out the way the Lord has ordained my life to unfold. I was blessed with the most wonderful job almost a year ago and I am thankful each and every day for that job – it has not only given me income and security but has blessed me with wonderful friends that I will have for life and the joy of not dreading the work week because I work with people I actually enjoy being around! 
I started 2016 with the goal of trying to find a place to call my own. I prayed and asked that the Lord show me the place that would be right for me – for right now – at this time in my life. I don’t think I’m telling anyone anything new when I announce that the cost of living in Virginia is just a bit higher than it was in Mississippi…and so certainly, that played into my search. I looked into some apartments online – but even one bedrooms (that were in neighborhoods where I wouldn’t get murdered walking the dog…) cost $$$$. I’ve already looked into perhaps buying something…and well, that’s a no go for now. I want more than anything for Watson to have some sort of yard to be able to play in as well…and most of the rentals I saw advertised (and the ones I called about) were NOT pet friendly. 
My parents have been going back and forth on looking to buy a house or build a house…and about a month ago they decided to build. The house they chose to build is considered “one-level” living but has a fully finished basement with a rather large “bedroom”, a wet bar/mini kitchen area and a bathroom. What this translated to? My own living room/dining area, bedroom and bathroom in a brand new house – my OWN space…even if it is within my parent’s house. It offers me a chance to have my own one bedroom apartment, where I can finally (finally!!!) unpack my life, decorate my own space and have a place that is my own. I’ll be paying rent – because hello – they are allowing me to live in this large space in their new home…so, duh. 
Some pictures of the layout of the model home basement – mine will look – similar but different. Ha!

Looking from the bedroom into the living room/dining room.
Looking from the “front” door into the living/dining room. The door in the back of the picture is the bathroom.
Looking from the corner of the living room across a portion of the living room/dining room. The open archway is where french doors into my bedroom will be.
Looking across the living room/dining room – my “front” door will be where the Blind Side/Alice in Wonderland posters are hanging in this picture.
Looking across what will function as my dining area…I’ll probably put a desk here too.
Looking past a column/shelf into the living room.

So…here I am…I guess I should more accurately say here “we” are because this is my parent’s house and I’ll just be a renter. The building process should begin sometime in mid-March and the house is projected to be ready to move in by September 1st. One of the first steps in home building is picking out cabinetry, flooring, tile backsplash…the list goes on and on… And my parents were kind enough to ask me to come along last Saturday as they chose the flooring and tile for the house; they were even so nice as to let me choose the carpeting for my “apartment” and the tile and backsplash designs for my bathroom.

Carpeting – who knew there were so many shades?

My bedroom won’t have design samples on the wall…obviously…

Looking from the window all the way across what will be my bedroom…

There will be a large window centered on the far wall and the open door frame will have french doors leading into the living space.

My bathroom…which will look a bit different since I picked very different tile!

The selections I made for the bathroom – love them!

I’ll probably be going back and forth on this in my mind for the next six months…and maybe even after the next six months. I’m so excited about having my own space and I cannot wait to watch the house being built…knowing I’m inching closer to my little basement apartment and unpacking boxes that have been sealed up for (by September) over two years. 

I’m also going to worry…in a rather silly way about what people will think. What does it look like to be almost thirty-two and living in your parent’s basement? Even if you are paying rent? Sometimes I feel downright pathetic to even get excited about this…because there is a part of me that feels like I should be deeply ashamed that I’m almost thirty-two and I’m still living with my parents. Those little voices that get inside your head and tell you that living with your parents when you’re over thirty means you’ve obviously failed in some way…there are voices that speak failure…and comparison…and guilt…and honestly the list goes on and on. The truth is – I have a wonderful job but I am not yet in a place financially (in Virginia’s more expensive cost of living) that would allow me to live somewhere that is both decent and safe, allows for my pet to also be a part of my life and is also affordable to me. It’s hard to admit that – because well…those voices of failure…and comparison…and wondering where I’ve made a wrong turn…
Please don’t read this and think that I am unhappy or in any way ungrateful – 75% of the time, I am so absolutely excited and can’t wait. It’s that other 25% of the time that the voices in my head get to me and I really let it bother me. Yet again…it’s my plans and my ideas getting in the way of the Lord’s plan that is unfolding for me here in Virginia. So – I’m going to do my best to tell those voices to take a hike and enjoy looking at furniture and picking out pieces for my new apartment. I’m going to do my best to not worry about what other people think of me…because in the long run, I am blessed to have a roof over my head and place to call home. Everything else doesn’t matter – right?
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Laziness

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Talk about a week making a complete 180 – well – at least where the weather was concerned. Everything started off snow covered and ended on a decidedly warmer note…and while the snow has looked lovely, I’m ready for the groundhog to prove his prediction of an early Spring – I’m ready for sunshine!

Winter White
Watson feels like perhaps this isn’t really the way you wear this coat…

Monday was a holiday – oh happy day – and it was enjoyed in a truly lazy fashion, mostly because it snowed for most of the day and there wasn’t really too much point in trying to get out in the snow and slush. Even the promised shopping deals didn’t offer much to tempt me from leaving the house any further than it took to walk Watson around the yard in the snow. I didn’t do much on Monday besides reading, watching some television and otherwise being lazy – and it was glorious! My Mom and I “celebrated” President’s Day with me introducing my Mom to the final nine episodes of Scandal on my Amazon Prime account…and she was able to get caught up before Scandal came on again on Thursday night! So – even if the president we celebrated with isn’t actually a “real” president, it still counts for something…right?

Ice – no thanks.

The light fluffy snow of Monday turned into sleet and freezing rain late on Monday night and continued through Tuesday morning until almost 10 AM – which meant a later than usual start for our office because honestly, driving on a sheet of ice is a pretty quick way to get yourself in a wreck. Snow is one thing…ice is something else entirely! The sun came out around 10 and within less than two hours, all the ice was melting…melting…melting…faster than a witch doused in…well, you know. The drive into the office was pretty easy but walking from the car into the office was a whole different story – had I only known how much ice would still be coating the sidewalk and brick pavers, I’d have found some skates to strap on! Obviously I made it into the building without any injuries…although it was touch and go from time to time…and the work week was uneventful after that…

Yummy supper.

Yummy supper – not to be confused with the horrible sandwich I picked up for my Mom on Tuesday evening. Y’all, I will be the first person to declare that I love Panera Bread with all my heart but they did us wrong on Tuesday night when they made a to-go sandwich with some ham that was so old it actually smelled! So that dinner didn’t really go as planned, but I happily shared my grilled cheese and we moved on. My parents passed on going to church on Wednesday night since half their congregation had come down with some kind of 36 hour bug…instead we went right up the street (literally – sometimes I walk up this street) to Houlihan’s and had supper and this dinner was a success because everyone’s food was lovely and fresh and delicious. 

And I’ve now realized at this point that half my post is about food and well…I don’t know what else to say about that. It is what it is, I suppose.

Friday morning vibes.

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful and on Friday night we decided to try out an Irish pub in one of the small towns nearby. Yes – I know – food again. What in the world?? Oh well, the food at this pub was absolutely delicious and the atmosphere was pretty delightful too! The pub is located in an old (read: like 1700’s old) bank and so the brick walls, the wood floors, even the old safe that they were using to store alcohol…it just really made for a cool location. It didn’t hurt that the food was yummy and the people were friendly! I convinced my family we needed to make a Target run afterwards and for the most part the visit was all well and good…until I decided to grab myself some creamer… The lid was not screwed on the creamer well and of course, I was carrying the creamer by the lid. It unscrewed, slid out of my hand and smacked onto the floor with a loud splat. Creamer had splashed it’s way all the way the side of my black jeans, almost to my knee. *sigh* After that was all said and done, we went home and I was asleep before 10:30 because I’m an old lady, ha!

His face of mistrust – it says “you only gave me this because you’re about to  leave me…”
Where to?

Saturday was absolutely gorgeous – blue skies, sunshine and temperatures that hovered right around 60 degrees! Birds were chirping and winter’s long dead plants were swaying in the gentle breeze that felt ever so much like a Spring breeze! We spent a large chunk of the day in nearby Manassas looking at and choosing carpeting, tile, backsplash, wood flooring…all that business…because if you were on Facebook at all this past Saturday, you’ll know my parents have decided to build a house. I’ll go more into that in a later post – suffice it to say, I didn’t know it would be so fun to pick out tile – and yes, I actually got to pick things! After stopping off in one of our favorite towns to grab a late lunch, we cruised through the Starbucks drive through so I could (finally) grab a Smoked Butterscotch Latte and I also picked up a couple cake pops. The verdict on the latte? If it would have been mixed a bit better, it would have been a dead-ringer for butterbeer…and I’m 100% down with that.

So – cake pops are pretty much delightful.

Saturday night was again pretty “tame” – I did laundry and watched episodes of Fixer Upper – I’m a little bit in love with Chip and Joanna Gaines. My parents (finally) joined me for a Sunday at MY church and afterwards we had lunch together…before spending the afternoon doing a whole lot of nothing. I took the first Sunday afternoon nap I’ve taken in literally months. Although, I think it only lasted about twenty minutes – ha! I did spend the lazy afternoon finishing up a book I’ve been reading for a bit now and after having some lovely pizza for dinner, closed out the evening watching the DisneyLand at 60 and of course…Downton Abbey! 

So – this past week was fairly tame as far as weeks normally go. The weekend itself was extremely chill and the weekends have been that way this Winter. My family is normally on the move; there are so many things to see and do, I already have a growing list of things I want to do as Spring arrives. I know we’ve been a lot more “chill” these past few weeks because my Mom has been in a cast…and looking back, I’m glad for that. It’s good to have the chill time…because I already know that there is so much coming up…and I can’t wait!
I’m sure in a month I’ll be telling you I’ve missed the laziness…but that will be a lie…ha-ha! Winter is starting to move on, Spring is coming and these lazy weekends are about to be a thing of the past…and personally, I can’t wait!