Category Archives: Faith

Six Word Saturday

God gave us a car! WooHoo!

No, seriously.  He totally did. And it’s really only 5 words but in keeping with the theme, I thought I’d add a woohoo for good measure.

Let me begin…well, a little earlier.  We got this car:

about 3 months after we moved to the UK for the whopping price of £150.  It was a total blessing from some new friends and has served us well for almost two years.  We had to do a couple of repairs when it came time for the MOT (yearly safety inspections in the UK) and we’ve replaced the tyres (with used ones, but still), we got seat covers as the interior wasn’t fantastic, and it didn’t like starting sometimes when it was too wet, but all in all it was a good little car that never left us stranded. That is, until it didn’t matter anymore.

This year, we were quite worried about the MOT as last year it seemed a mere fraction away from failing structurally. We prayed, asked others to pray, and miracle of miracle’s it passed!  And passed well.  One small replacement part worth £5 plus labour and a couple tyres (I kind of dinged one avoiding a bus a couple of months back), again used.  Woot!

Then I got a phone call from someone telling me that God had told them to buy us a car, and would the Rocket Scientist be free to get off work a bit early that afternoon to go pick it up.

Ummmmmm Wha?!?!

After I stopped crying and picked myself up off the floor, I remembered that unfortunately he had a class to teach so, no.  They ended up going out to see if they could pick it up anyway and came back to say that it wasn’t exactly as advertised and they wouldn’t be buying that car after all.  But soon, they’d find a car soon, hopefully we weren’t too disappointed.  Of course we weren’t.  How could we be?  We were getting a new car!  It had looked like a nice car, it had 5 doors (5!) and it wasn’t red (I have never not owned a red car), but I knew whatever car God had in store would be just perfect.  Secretly I feared that it would, however end up being red.

So, the next day, having put the idea of a new car aside for a couple of weeks (thinking it would likely take at least that long to find something suitable) I was driving a friend of Doodle’s home after they’re sleepover and as I was about to turn a corner…we stopped.  Dead. Right there, with my turning signal on and three kids loudly enjoying each other’s company, my little red colt gave up.  Right.

Let me just say, that the knowledge of a new car just waiting around the corner gave me immeasurable peace through all of it.  Everyone else was completely stressed and feeling bad at how I was stranded with three kids and whatever would we do and oh no!  I on the other hand was fine.  We played ‘count the white cars’ and when no white cars drove by we switched it to ‘count the red cars’ (which I thought was terribly funny) while we waited for the breakdown truck.  Doodle’s friend’s mum didn’t live too far so she came to pick him up.  Meanwhile, Doodle fell asleep so ZuZu and I played pat-a-cake and wind the bobbin up.

We didn’t end up waiting too long fortunately, but it was not something that could be fixed on the roadside and the mechanic figured it would be at least £200 or £300.  Not really worth fixing with a new car coming in the next couple weeks so we just towed it home.

Ok. Side note? They should seriously put driving while being towed with a straight bar behind a breakdown van on the test.  That is seriously trippy.  You can’t see the road or other cars, just the back doors of this van. Moving on.

The Rocket Scientist was  a bit stressed at the thought of not having a car for an indefinite period of time.  How would I get to the gym? How would we get to the cousin’s birthday party coming up? How long would it take him to get to church to set up for his Scramblers class?  We could no longer give our car away because it was dead and wouldn’t make it to its MOT retesting.  All these things.  As for me?  This car was going to die whether certain ‘someones’ had been obedient or not.  But because they were, we didn’t have to worry about costly repairs or finding a new car.  Neither of which we could afford.

The next day I was taking a day in to do laundry and figure out what might need to be reorganized over the next week or so when I got a text.  ‘On the way over with your new car’.  !!!!!  Turns out that a better one had been found.  By far!!  And the timing had been perfect as the car had been advertised for several days and gotten several calls but when it was found just happened to be the only time the seller had to actually show it.  More calls came in while the deal was being made.  Our God is so good.

Because of the obedience of the children of God, our family is now driving this:

It has a spacious interior, leather upholstery, power windows, air conditioning, a CD player, low mileage.  I felt like I was on Oprah being ushered into the driver’s seat, all weepy as I was.  I totally cried again when the boot was opened and I saw all the space.  But the best two features of all?  Back doors.  No more climbing in and out to get car seats and buckles done up!!  And…wait for it…It’s not red!!!!!!

Thank you God and may blessings return to your children a hundred fold!!

PS. if anyone wants a little red Mitsubishi Colt, just needs a new distributor cap/coil/thingy, it’s free for the taking until Monday.  Then the scrappers get it.

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Renewal

A month ago, I disappeared. I was trying to figure out a way of getting to my best friend’s wedding back in Canada. I couldn’t post about it because of course she reads these posts. And really nothing else was on my mind. So I hemmed and I hawed and the Rocket Scientist and I went back and forth over pros and cons and logistics and practicalities and it really boiled down to relationship. How much are relationships worth? I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re just about the only thing worth anything. Relationships with family, friends, spouses, children, parents, people on your street, in your church, at work, in your community, on the bus. Relationships are really the core of life. They are why we do most of what we do. How we view ourselves in relation to other people determines how we carry out our daily activites. Sorry. I didn’t mean to get so philosophical. Just one of those things you start to get a broader scope of when you actually sit down and start writing. Back to my story.

Every time I talked about the week of E’s wedding, I kept saying things like, ‘when I get back’. Totally by accident.  The Rocket Scientist was already going to Poland that week for a conference, I was facing my first week on my own with Doodle with a bit of trepidation and a bit of excitement, honestly, but everytime I thought of the wedding, I just couldn’t imagine not being there. Originally, I was supposed to be a bridesmaid. It hurt that I wasn’t going to be standing up there with her. So in the end, I went. We bought the ticket Sunday night and Tuesday we all flew out.  The Rocket Scientist dropped Doodle and I off at Gatwick and then headed straight to Heathrow for his flight. We survived our first trans-Atlantic flight on our own (whew), and were able to surprise E Wednesday morning at her home. The wedding was on Friday and was absolutely one of the most beautiful, intimate, and unassuming weddings I have ever been to. I actually cried more at this wedding than my own. I am so happy that I was able to make it.

I spent a lot of time on this trip, reminiscing. Maybe that’s not quite the right word. Remembering is a better word. I had been having a hard time remembering what life was like before Doodle and I was able to spend a lot time reliving the ‘good old days’. The days when the Rocket Scientist and I were first dating, when we were engaged, the early months of our marriage. These were good things for me to remember, important things. I had forgotten an awful lot. About myself. I was already starting to realize that. But mostly about my husband.  And about the things we went through.

To clarify: I am not going down the road of ‘having a baby ruined our marriage’. I cannot imagine life without Doodle. I don’t want to. But adding a member of your family does shift things. I think I did not really acknowledge/understand/get how much time it would take to make that shift. I think I thought it was over months ago and this is how we were going to be forever. It wasn’t a place I wanted to be. I needed to remember things that were before because there are so many of those things that I want to be sure to preserve as we go forward, things I want to be a part of Doodle’s life as well as our own. Things I want to keep in this family no matter how big it grows. Remembering is important. Living life on purpose is important. It’s often too easy to just let every day happen as it will and too much gets lost if you don’t purposefully hold on to them.

So this is me, holding on.

To my style: to who I am in all of my varied and wonderful roles

To my family: and all the history and growth and future that they represent,

To my friends: new and old, and all that we’ve stuck by each other through, I’m sure there’ll be more to come

To the Rocket Scientist: my husband, my partner (in crime and in parenthood), my love, my rock, my sheltering arms. Here’s to never forgetting again, or at least not for long.

To God: Who created the whole concept of relationship in the first place, to have one with me, He’s the reason that I love. Keep reminding me.

Without relationship, there can be no change. We are affected by, and in turn affect, those around us. So make sure your effect is a good one.

And then it was Thursday

So all week I’ve had this and that on my mind but didn’t want to post it because it would have been a sentence or two.  Maybe a paragraph.  I’ve got to get it out of my head that posts have to be a certain length.  I got all inspired by C. Beth’s blog the other day and actually put both buttons on my sidebar.  And then proceeded to not blog for 3 days.  So now I’ve got a mosh of stuff….


Okay, I’ve actually forgotten most of what was in my head now because I’m so frustrated with the UK run around health system.  It’s ridiculously long and convoluted and I honestly don’t want to spell it all out again.  Although I could, and it would be very witty in a sarcastic way, but I don’t want to have it ruin my day and if I continue to dwell on the thoughtless inconsiderate manner in which this was handled I’ll just ramp myself up for the entire day.  Because this, like everything else is in my Father’s hands and He knows the timetable better than those policy-loving pencil-pushing non-communicative presumptive I do.  Have you guessed this is about my appointments with the fertility specialist?  Yeah.  The appointment I was supposed to have on March 30th, can’t even be properly re-booked until sometime after May 18th.  It took me a month to get the first one.  AND getting the appointment isn’t even the hard part.  The procedure that was performed in my doctor’s office back in Chicago has a waiting list here.  And no one can tell me how long that waiting list is.  I don’t see that as a good sign.  But what do I know, right?  Nothing.  Father’s timetable.  Not mine.  Got it.  Sort of.  Moving on.

I remember some of what I was going to say now.  Originally I was going to start off with a lovely little sentence like:  The joy has lasted.  And it has.  Even with this morning’s setback.  I do feel like crying.  But I don’t think I’m going to.  There are far worse things going on that have brought tears lately.  Yesterday we learned that a dear friend’s 5-month old grandbaby had just died.  Still waiting to hear how it happened and very sick at heart that it was possibly not medical.  I couldn’t think of it yesterday without being nauseated.  My heart aches for this family.  So while there is petty disappointment for me, there is tragedy for others and miracles for still others.  And yet, the joy has lasted.  My only conclusion is that it comes from that peace that defies understanding and I am oh, so grateful.

The other thing that I wanted to do was clear up a little bit of misunderstanding over my introduction to Monday Meals.  This is what happens when you edit your blog too much.  You don’t realize that in the taking out of certain things, if you don’t put them back in another form people don’t actually know that you’ve said them.  Or thought them.  Whatever, they don’t know it if you don’t post it.  First of all, I want to thank you all for the comments left.  (And Liz, I just remembered looking over those comments that you tagged me.  I’m totally on that tomorrow!)  I just want to explain a little further where we’re at.

We did a lot of baby-led weaning while we were still back in Chicago.  I made most of his food then.  When we were moving around so much during December and January it wasn’t really feasible to be making our own puree so we did more jars of food at that time.  Once we settled in here in Oxford, he had enough teeth that he was mostly just eating what we ate only chopped up into smaller pieces.  (Our boxes arriving put a damper on that and I took a couple weeks off and used pre-made toddler food but now we’re back to real food) So that’s where we are now.  He essentially eats what we eat and with the imminence of his molars I imagine there’s not much he won’t be able to handle within the next couple months.

My issue is this.  I don’t eat a lot of variety.  This is surprising to me more than any of you, because I really like food.  However, for the most part, I would prefer other people make that food for me.  If I didn’t have the Rocket Scientist to cook for I would eat the same thing all. the. time.  I do like cooking.  I would love to have a huge kitchen and spend hours creating something fabulous.  I just couldn’t be bothered half the time.  (And I currently have a kitchen the size of a broom closet.) However, I understand that that’s not always healthy, especially for growing toddlers.  And, I want to give Doodle the opportunity to develop a wider range of tastes than mine.  For instance, I will probably get him some cottage cheese to see if he likes it.  I will try very hard not to throw up while I’m feeding it to him.

I have quite a few cookbooks and I know there’s nutrition information and even some recipes I think in Dr. Sears Babybook (which I have just found again in my unpacking!) but I thought it might be fun to try some of your ideas and I thought it might be fun for you to see how someone else’s child gets it all in their hair enjoys it.  So Monday’s Meal, or snack, will be cottage cheese.  I really will try to be okay with that.

Single lines

If I truly believe in the sovereignty of God and that His timing is perfect and that He has my days already recorded and mapped out and knows the beginning from the end and knew that Doodle would be and would be ours and when and also knows the fate of of any and all future children, then why, oh why, does that single line feel so devastating. It’s not like we’ve been specifically trying, charting, timing, waiting. But I’m late. Late even for me. And it’s not like I have any reason to believe that this time round will be any different than the last. Except that I’ve been back on the Mommy Boards over at Soulcysters and 4 (or is it 5 now) of the other women who were due with me last March are pregnant again. Without trying. One already delivered. Irish twins. Just like my Mom and Aunt. Do women without fertility problems feel such deep wounds over such a simple thing as a single pink line? I want to go rummaging through the waste bin to have one more look. Just to see if maybe, maybe, there’s a shadow that I missed, the last time it was so faint.   Part of this is pride, I’ll admit it. I feel like I’ve paid my dues. Done my time. Shouldn’t have to go through that again (my heartfelt apologies to all my friends who went through so much more than me, I really do know how lucky I got off). This time, I wanted to feel like a normal woman. A woman who’s body hadn’t betrayed her. A woman who’s God hadn’t said ‘no’ again. Now I really do understand that this isn’t likely an actual ‘no’ but a ‘not right now’. And I understand that He has very good reasons for the ‘when’. But none of that sinks in tonight. Tonight things feel hollow. Distant. Tonight I feel empty.

Our Last Day in Chicago

Now, obviously we are no longer in Chicago and haven’t been for a couple weeks now, but I just want to share the adventure that was…Our Last Day in Chicago.


First let me explain some of the stress that had led up to that day.  Visas.  They are a pain.  All. the. time.  The visas we came into the UK on were ancestory visas thanks to the Rocket Scientist’s Grandparents both being born on this side of the pond.  This offers us a lot of flexibility and allows us to be here for 5 years before we have to worry about anything.  Yay.  However it is quite the ordeal to actually get them.  I talked about the start of it all here.

After going through all the requirements and crosschecking with our calendar we figured at the latest our visas should be ready by Monday the 12th, the Rocket Scientist had to be in the office at Oxford by the 16th so we booked out flights for Tuesday night, arriving Wednesday so we would have a couple days to adjust before he had to go off to work.  It sounds like last minute, but we had been told by everyone who had gone through this before that while it said 5 to 10 days (the 10 would have been Monday) it usually went through in 48 – 72 hours. If you’re doing the math along with me, that would have left us quite a lot of time.  To relax.

Hah!  What no one told us, in our myriad of conversations with all manner of people supposedly helping us get all our ducks in a row so there would be no problems is that because Doodle is an infant and cannot have his biometrics taken (apparently fingerprints for a 9-month old don’t hold up in court – ya think?) that it would take considerable longer for him and my visa as his mother would be held up for the same amount of time.  Weeks possibly.

The problem is, is that we did not find this out until Tuesday.  That’s right, the day we were supposed to fly out.  Not that we weren’t trying.  When we got no email 6 days in, we sent an email inquiring as to the status.  We received an email the next day saying it would now be 5 – 10 days.  Starting to panic we thought we should try to get a hold of someone.  No phone numbers put us through to the people we needed to reach.  We send another email stating the nature of our panic and receive a simple line stating that they were currently processing requests from Dec. 29th.  Okay, that’s not so bad, ours were in the bin for the 30th, we should be able to show up on Monday (the next day they were open) and pick them up.  Not that they’ve told us that, we just figure if we actually go down there and beat down…er, I mean knock on some doors that they’re bound to help us out.

So we show up Monday to find that anyone that we would need to talk to about such things had left at noon (golly, I’d like those hours).  And no, our visas were not ready.  We could show up at 9am tomorrow (yes, that’s Tuesday for those of you keeping track, the day we are supposed to leave) and we might be able to talk to someone and they might be inclined to help us maybe.

Now, I have to interject here that when we were praying about these visas, the Rocket Scientist thought it would be a good idea to ask God to maybe not have it all happen last minute.  I quickly prayed for peace should that happen anyway.  And then I just shook my head.

The Rocket Scientist shows up at 9am the next morning (did I mention that through all of this Chicago is seeing the worst winter in decades both for snow and cold?) and I stay home to pack up the rest of our bags, pretty sure that it would indeed be all last minute.  Little did I know…

Upon arriving and finally talking to someone, we finally learn of this problem with infant visas.  We are told that they make the request to the London offices and then…wait.  They have no idea when someone will get to it or how long it will take them to respond.  She said there was one small thing they could possibly try but it was not likely to work and we shouldn’t book our tickets until we hear from them.  The Rocket Scientist stays around until noon and arrives just before hoping to catch them before they all leave.  Apparently that day they left early.

The Rocket Scientist arrives back in Elgin, thoroughly dejected, not knowing when we’ll be able to rebook our flights or how much it will cost or if he’ll have to go on without us (his visa actually was ready) and how much of a bad first impression this might be making with the new bosses.  I, meanwhile have stopped packing all our little odds and ends since it would just end up getting taken all out again.  We call the airline to change the flights as it has to be done by 4:30 or we lose all our money.  After 45 minutes of fighting with a peon that was going to way overcharge us, we demand to speak to a manager.  One isn’t available but he’ll put urgent on the request and have one call us right back.  It’s now 2:30.

At 3 the phone rings and we breath a sigh of relief, we were about to call the airline back to remind them of the urgency with which we needed to change these tickets.  It’s the British Consulate.  Our visas are ready.  All of them.  Oh crap.

The Rocket Scientist starts running around like a madman throwing everything into any suitcase that still has room.  We figure we’re screwed on the weight allowance anyway, but hey at least we’re going to get there.  Hopefully.  The big issue is how to get the visas and us to the airport by 4:30, the standard 2 hours before the flight.  I am on the phone trying to call anyone and everyone I can think of that might be off work, close to downtown, and could perhaps drop everything and meet us at the airport with our visas.

Janet!!  The hero of our story.  What a great God we have.  I managed to do a bit of work with Janet last spring while I was hugely pregnant with Doodle and because of that her boss, Janice, not only knows me but loves me.  Normally at 3pm Janet would still be at least ankle deep in payroll but they had just finished.  Wow!  So Janice releases Janet from work early to run down and pick up our visas and hop in a cab and meet us at the airport.

My husband is pretty sure we’re not going to make it in time and phones the airline to see if we can check in over the phone since it wouldn’t let us online.  We’re packed up and in the car by now, having had to say way too quick a goodbye to Mary not to mention having interrupted Doodle’s dinner.  Poor little mite.  So the Rocket Scientist gets a hold of someone at the airline and she says we’ve been taken off the flight tonight (thanks to the mildly hair-brained person we were talking to previously).  Ack.  She is in the middle of putting us back on when we drive through a dead zone and loose her.  I know right!  It gets better though.  The Rocket Scientist is completely convinced that last minute or no we are now going to miss our flight and it won’t matter anyway.  I phone back just to see if there’s anyway we can manage…and I get the same lady.  In a call center of how many, after several minutes of panicking in the car, I get the same lady.  She’s got us back on the flight, she can’t check us in though.  It’s now 4:28, how are we going to get there in time.  I tell her this and she says, “Oh, don’t worry about that.  As long as you’re there 45 minutes before the flight you’ll be fine.”  Really!

Whew!  I’m exhausted typing all this up.  I have no idea how long this is, I’m sure it’s ridiculous.  Anyway, Janet actually beats us there, we get there at 4:35 and the kind women at the check in counter doesn’t bother charging us for the overweight bags, tells us that we actually get an extra checked bag for Doodle, so we only end up paying for one extra bag.  Praise the Lord!  She also changes our seats to bulkhead seats so that we can get a bassinet for Doodle to sleep in during the flight.  (he was a little too big, but it gave our arms a rest for a bit anyway)


The rest of the trip wasn’t nearly as exciting.  We were a bit delayed in Dublin, but arrived at Heathrow mid-afternoon and Duncan was there to drive us on to our new home in Oxford.  The landlord gave us a quick tour of the house and all the little idiosyncrasies and then the Rocket Scientist and Duncan took quick trip to the grocer for a few supplies.  I would love to say that we slept great that night considering how exhausted we were (neither of us slept really on the plane) but Doodle was up several times throughout the night.  Fortunately though, it didn’t take him long to adjust.

Well, I’ll leave you with that.  If you’ve made it this far, Cheers!

Sundays

There are several momentous things happening in our life right now and the Rocket Scientist has been getting after me to blog.  I always hate starting when so much is going on, because I feel like I have to catch people up.  Well, whatever, at this point I’m sure there will always be something.

Okay, so this weekend.  It was my second Sunday of my first group of Sundays for leading worship.  If that makes sense.  It still feels fairly new, even though technically last week was the first time and even though I’ve led at Home Group and for Thursday evening prayer services and led the occasional song on a Sunday morning.  But I have to say being responsible for the full deal is way different.  I spend the half hour leading up to the service trying not to think too much because I just get freaked out that I have no idea what I said we were going to do for the transitions between songs.  Thing is that actually happened today, I had to go back through a section again to give myself time to think and I still have no idea if I did it the way I said I was going to.

*you know, I have no idea how writers who are mother’s ever get any writing done. I just got up to help the Rocket Scientist feed Doodle, he’s still not sure how to prepare the homemade stuff, and I ended up changing over the load of laundry and almost folding the diapers until I remembered I was actually in the middle of something else entirely.  I so want to be writing again, I have no idea how I’m going to manage it.  We’ll see.*

Okay, so Sunday morning.  In the end, it went well.  Much better than practice would have indicated.  But of course, as my mom reminded me, the worse the rehearsal the better the performance.  Sucks, but it’s true.  I am always amazed at what God uses though.  The song I was least concerned about, not even sure if I was going to do, at the end just in case I decided to drop it, looked at the clock and thought well, we’ll just run through it once real quick.  The Spirit starts to move (well I suppose had been moving all along, but you know, more so), Pastor gets up and starts to speak words of wisdom over the church and pray for people, we end up hanging on that song for a good 15 minutes, or at least if felt like it.  God is so cool.

Other momentous things…we just put the mattress level in Doodle’s crib down this afternoon.  Realized it wasn’t even really good enough just to go down by one notch, we had to take it down two.  This will make us practice that whole, ‘put them down while they’re sleepy not when they’re asleep’ thing.  Mostly because it won’t be so much putting him down as dropping him int there.  At least for me, the Rocket Scientist’s got a bit more height and arm length on me.  Let’s just say, Doodle has to be able to crawl in and out by the time I’m largely pregnant again because I won’t be able to reach him.  He could play a hilarious game of ‘run away from mommy’ right in his crib if he wanted to.  Real funny.  If any of you teach him that game I will seriously have to reconsider our friendship.

I honestly think my husband is more traumatized by this crib thing than I am.  Neither of us are prepared for him to be growing up so fast, but the Rocket Scientist gets more flustered by ‘event’s’ like putting the crib down.  I, on the other hand, am struck dumb by the fact that I pulled out the nine month clothes last month and now I’m having to put them away in favour of the twelve month ones.  For those of you wondering, Doodle turns seven months next Sunday.  I really thought I had the clothing thing licked until at least February or March, now I’m going to be lucky if I have enough clothes to last us until January.  The nice thing is that these hand-me-downs will certainly not look or feel that way.  There are some things that he literally only got to wear once.

I could talk about Doodle all day, and I will, later.  For now, onto other momentous-ness.  The Rocket Scientist has officially been offered a job in Oxford, England.  I suppose it’s not so new to be offered a job in the UK, we’ve already turned one down this year because it wasn’t going to pay us enough to live.  This one is offering more, probably enough to live on, but possibly not quite enough to pay off our debts with.  Having a PhD is great, but it comes with quite a price tag.  Moving across the continent to Chicago is great, but not having expenses paid hurts a little.  Being a stay-at-home mom is awesome, but I haven’t been working for quite a bit longer than I’ve been a mom.  You get the picture.  Anyway, we’re still doing the math and as the Rocket Scientist says, saying no because of money is a sucky reason.  And of course we realize not really a good enough reason.  We want to be saying no only because we’re saying yes to where God wants us to go.  (Do you like that turn of phrase?  I was quite impressed with it when I came up with in the car on the way home from church today.  So much so, that I thought I would quote it to you now.  I still have so much work to do on the whole pride thing.)

So where else might God want us to go?  Well, there’s always the possibility of staying here.  The Rocket Scientist has an interview on Friday with a firm here in Chicago that could be very exciting (and we certainly wouldn’t be saying no because of the money).  And then there’s the job in France that he’s quite excited about.  Right now, it’s almost too much to think about so we’re putting it off until after his interview.  But I realized today that we will very likely know where we are going (or not going) by the end of November.  Especially seeing as if we are going, it will be within the first couple weeks of January.  Holy crap!!  That’s like two months from now.  That’s nuts.  Unless of course we stay in Chicago and then all of this will be moot.

Okay, last thing for now.  The Rocket Scientist’s birthday is tomorrow.  Yay!!  He’s turning 33.  I’m allowed to share that because I’ve already turned 33 and he never lets me forget that I’m older than him.  He managed to give me a much better birthday than I’m giving him, poor guy.  He had a surprise birthday party for me and everything.  The best part was that the way he kept me out of the house for people to get in and decorate, was to take me out to lunch for my birthday.  There will be a meal out and presents and a performance of Wicked in November.  That means finding a baby sitter.  Wow, we haven’t done that since Father’s Day and Doodle was a touch less high-maintenance back then.  And hey, now that I think of it, why are we only getting sitters and going out on my husband’s occasions, where’s my night out baby-free?  Well, that’s a blog for another time.