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Archive for May, 2009

Memorial Day

So, I really wanted to get this up in time for it to say “Monday May 25th” but obviously that didnt happen- in my defense its only about an hour past the end of the 25th right now… Just too many things to do in a day!

I am a HUGE fan of Memorial Day- same with Veterans Day.  Here’s why. 

*Approaches soapbox, and stands up*

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This country is amazing.  I’m originally from Canada, but in a heartbeat would claim these great States as my home.  I’ve been to quite a few of them, and each one, even the forsaken Wyoming, has something to offer, and some beautiful people and scenery. 

Today, as I logged into my facebook account I noticed how many people had their statuses updated to reflect their day’s activities.  Pool parties, barbecues, family outings- you name it, people were out and about on the day off.  But what bothers me immensely is how much people forget and take for granted all the freedoms we enjoy. 

I was like everyone else today- spent most of the day with family, getting things done around the house, running some errands, nothing overly patriotic.  While leaving Albertson’s today, I noticed some delinquent juveniles loitering in the parking lot.  There are a lot of refugees in Utah, and these teenage boys looked the part.  When I first saw them the thoughts that ran through my head at first were the typical, “stupid teenagers, doing stupid things”.  Then I recounted not so long ago all the stupid things I did.  And how awesome it was.  These rowdy teenage boys were hanging out the car’s windows, sitting on the hood, blaring the loudest, most obnoxious rap music, simply because they could.  I sat there for a minute and was grateful.  Grateful for these kids, who no doubtedly came from a war torn country where they were not able to listen to the music they wanted to, and most likely did not have a nice SUV to hang from or sit on top of.  And this is why I’m grateful for my country- because obnoxious teenagers can have the right to freedom of expression and speech however they choose- even if its hanging out of their car window with their butt cracks exposed for all to see, while listening to ridiculous music.  It may not be my cup of tea, and chances are in ten years, it won’t be theirs, but the fact they can choose to do that and not have repercussions from their government or mobs or anyone else, is great to me.

I think people in this country have a serious problem.  They’re entirely too introverted and not clued into what’s going on in the world, or even in their own neighborhood. Granted, thats quite the steretype, but I’d say its largely true.  It makes me sad that people can be so opposed to a war where their own neighbors are giving up their lives.  I understand AND agree, that we went in on some of the wrong pretenses.  However, I think its a more noble thing to go in because you sincerely believe there is a problem and human lives are at risk, than to stand by and wait to see how many people die.  I don’t disagree with the fact that we’ve done some things terribly wrong in the war in Iraq- what I do recognize though is that my friends, and my neighbors are losing their lives to make sure that my standard of living is not compromised.  And for that I’ll be forever thankful for.

I’m so grateful that these people risk their lives and make huge sacrifices for the rest of us, even the ungrateful people who ridicule the military and government.  I’m even more grateful to personally know people that have dedicated their lives, or part of their lives to the service of our country. 

Dave’s paternal grandpa, who is still living, served in WWII.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and love hearing about his time in Japan.  While the A-bomb was very controversial, he will swear up and down that he’s sure it saved his life, as well as hundreds of thousands of others.  I’m grateful to him for serving his country and for his example to the generations that have come after him.  He’s an amazing man and I love him a lot.

To my Father in Law, Dale, who served in the Army Reserves.  While he served in a time of peace, I’m still so grateful.

My cousins’ dad Gary, was also in the military, and was over in Iraq, I believe twice.  He sacrificed time away from his family and kids to make sure their quality of life(and ours) was secure. 

One of my dear friends Meghan, who is in the Navy and stationed out of Virginia Beach.  She has been there for me countless times, and I am so grateful to her, for her service.  I can’t ever get a hold of her via phone cause she’s always out to sea.

My friend Megan and her husband Daniel, who are both stationed out of Mississippi.  Just a couple weeks after they were married Daniel left for 3 months to Germany on duty.  Its a tough thing to be a military wife, and something I’ll never know, but to have both parents/spouses serving, I can only imagine is more difficult.  I’m so happy they’ve chosen to serve our country as well. 

The girls’ dental hygienist, Sarah, whose husband is in the Air Force.  She has 4 kids, and though we don’t know her well, I’m so grateful for her sacrifice.  I cannot imagine being a single parent and having to transition yourself and the kids back and forth between a two-parent and a single-parent home.  AND having to comfort FOUR children?!  I admire her tons.

My ex-boyfriend, David, who died in a helicopter training accident while stationed out of Texas.  He was an awesome guy, with a big heart, and we had some great conversations about life, and he was there for some very tumultuous times in my life.  I still have his Notre Dame hat and often think about the sacrifice he made for me and my family. It also reminds me that while men and women are injured and die abroad in the well known places, many of the military’s training is dangerous and things can happen and go wrong on our own soil.  I believe firmly that it doesnt have to be in Iraq to be considered a hero’s death. 

My two friends Cliff and Josh, from high school, who both serve in the Army.  I’m so grateful to them as well.

I could go on and on and on.  I could also name about a half dozen people who I went to high school with who have died fighting.  I’m so happy that I can enjoy life, and do the things I want to, and choose to express myself(or not) as I please, and that these men and women fight for the values this country was founded on. 

I wish so much for people to understand how lucky we are to live in this country.  Its flawed, and we have our ups and downs- just like a human being would, but the resilience and dedication of the American people will hopefully always bring us out on top.

I love this country.  I love living here and knowing I do not have to worry about my safety or my children’s safety.  Its nice to know that our government is comparatively incorrupt.  I’m so happy to be part of the U.S.A. I can’t wait till we can actually afford to prove that I’m a citizen!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Memorial Day and that while you were enjoying your day off, that you thought of those who do not have a day off.  Who are a half a world away, fighting for your freedom, for this nation’s freedom.  I hope that when the next election comes around, that people realize what an honor it is to vote.  Even if you’re not for the candidates, that its imperative that you practice your right to vote and let your voice and opinion be heard. 

We are so lucky to live here.  To enjoy the freedoms we do and to enjoy the peace we have.  Thanks is just not enough for those who fight for our rights and this sovereign nation.  I’m proud to be an American, and I hope you are too.

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A week ago today(kinda funny I haven’t been able to get to this until Friday…) we left on a little Mother’s Day getaway!

Dave has long been wanting to figure out something special to do, as in our family, this day is for me.  He knows I love Park City and knows I’d rather be spending this day in private, with just our family.  Since this is not really possible when you’re co-habitating with in laws, he searched the internet for some good deals. 

Dave is hilarious.  His family didn’t travel much and when they did, did not stay much in hotels.  My family- polar opposite.  We were professional movers and in limbo from one place to the next we stayed everywhere from Timeshares, to DoubleTree resorts, to Motel 8’s.  Early on I learned to appreciate a good hotel.  So, Dave enlisted my help.  We found a place online in Park City for pretty cheap, that looked really nice.  Its part of Marriott’s Vacation Club, which is pretty much a timeshare thing. 

We left Friday right after Dave got off work.  We got our room and were impressed!  Take a gander….

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The room was a “Villa” and was about 1000 square feet.  It had a bedroom with a king in it, a living room with a hide-a-bed, and a MASSIVE bathroom- there is a two person whirlpool tub(that was gross, so we bought bleach and cleaned it ourselves), a shower, and two different vanities.  It had a full kithen with a dining area that sat 6.  It was quite the place!  I’d stay there again, but make sure to add in my reservation notes, “Please make sure to clean out the black sediment out of the whirlpool tub prior to our arrival, THANKS!” 

The first night we went to dinner at MainStreet.  I’d been there years ago when we lived in Park City for the summer before we moved to Oklahoma.  I remember it being a lot different.  People came and took your order, they actually waited on you.  Its a lot more laid back now- you place your order at the counter, get your own drinks and then someone brings your food out later.  It was still good though!  We ordered this yummy 5 cheese pizza.  It was a TON of cheese, but soooo good!  Their hotwings were also made to order and though they looked like wings off of a fetal chicken, they were still good!  Here are some pictures of Tori devouring the pizza!  Charli had quite the time too!

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After dinner we took a short stroll around Main Street.  If you’ve never been to Park City, Main Street is ADORABLE!  Its a hot spot for celebrities during Sundance and really a cool place to just walk around. There are lots of little “landmarks”.  The bear the girls are pictured with is just one of the many little things around!

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Tori and the moose!  She really wanted to ride this!

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Later on that night we went swimming and came back and had a shower with WARM TOWELS!  Warm towels are one of my favorite things in the world!  Being that we had a washer and dryer in our villa, I was able to lap up the warm towels the entire stay!  Dave and I have decided when we’re rich we’re going to have a dryer in each of our bathrooms, just so we can have warm towels all the time!

The next morning we woke up to this!

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It doesnt look like much right now, but its the “off season” in Park City(probably why we got our room so cheap!) Its the time when the snow is still melting and not everything is green yet.  Still gorgeous though!

Saturday we went to the activity center and the girls played with sidewalk chalk, we played some basketball as a family, and then went inside and did puzzles, games, coloring, played the Wii they had, and all sorts of fun things!  Here is the activity center, its not a great picture, but you get the idea…

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We came back to the room to put Charli down for a nap and have some lunch.  We ended up switching rooms down the hall to one that was not right next to the elevator.  That morning we had been woken up by the elevator’s dings as well as people coming off the elevator pushing luggage across the noisy tile floor.  No good… note to self, remember to ask for a room farther down the hall thats been cleaned… We ended up cleaning that room’s tub too.

That evening we went to the “Last Samurai“.  Its a Hibachi type restaurant and it was so good!  Our chef was really fun with the girls, and thankfully they were really good.  We sat at a table with two ladies and they loved watching the girls!  Tori even used chopsticks!

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One of the funniest parts of our stay were the elevator rides.  Their elevator was probably the slowest I’ve ever ridden-not that I’m a professional elevator passenger, but you get the point- REALLY SLOW.  Well everytime, as soon as we’d get in Tori and Charli would run and grab onto the rails.  It was hilarious!

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A lot of our time was spent swimming.  Every night we’d come back from the day’s activities and go swim with the girls.  The both LOVED it!  Half of the pool is inside, and the whole thing is heated.  It was neat to watch the steam rise off every night when it got chilly! 

Here’s the pool…

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They also had this life size chess set outside- it was so cool!

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Sunday we got up and did the outlet mall.  I LOVE shopping and love Park City shopping even more!  We found a shirt for Dave at Tommy Hilfiger for $15!!! As usual, I found the girls tons of stuff.  I tried to scale back, as in the last couple months I’ve already been shopping up in Park City TWICE for them.  I went once before my mom came, and then when she was here for my birthday we went up too.  Its just so difficult cause their clothes are too dang cute and when each article is five bucks or less, how do you resist?!  I’m happy to say I showed some self control! 

After the outlets we went to Whole Foods to pick up a couple things for dinner.  The resort had some really nice gas grills so Dave grilled me and the girls some ginger chicken and himself a bleu cheese burger.  We had fresh fruit, pasta salad, a green salad, and the meat.  It was so good!

Monday morning we got up to head home and took a short walk around the grounds before leaving.  Its just gorgeous up there.  This stream runs down one side of the entire resort.

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Walking down along the stream towards “Shoe Tree Park”

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Here’s the tree!

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Overall it was an awesome weekend.  I had so much fun just being with Dave and the girls.  It was nice to have that much space and left us REALLY wanting our own place again.  Its been nice to be here with Dale and Rose, but this isn’t us or our home. 

Thanks to my great husband for planning a weekend a way, which is just what I needed.  Dave always tries so hard to please me.  I know I’m ornery and pretty much the most stubborn person ever.  I’m so grateful to have a patient husband who not only supports me, but stands up for his family.  He’s a great guy and we are so good for each other.  I’m so glad and think about often, how he never listened to anyone but himself when it came to our relationship.  He’s the reason we still exist as a couple.  Not only did I break it off with him multiple times, but pretty much did everything I possibly could to drive the guy away and he never left!  Its nice to know that we’re with each other because we want to be.  This may sound terrible, but some of my greatest memories with Dave have been when we’re fighting.  Dave most of the time fights fair.  He doesn’t call names or degrade me.  And often times its him that apologizes first and waits for me to come around.  I remember once, I was not giving in and he just lost it and said, “Damnit woman!  You’re so stubborn!  Can you just look at me!?  I’m trying to tell you I’m sorry!”  We both started laughing and realized that whatever it was, was not that big of a deal to fight about.  I’m so glad that we have been able to work things out.  We seldom fight or argue anymore, and its been nice to have such a calm relationship.

To my Davie, thanks for always trying.  Thanks for always supporting me.  Your hilarity is what keeps me going somedays and I love how we can laugh all the time together.   I’m so proud of the man that you are.  Your changes amaze me daily, and I’m sorry for the times I don’t give you the credit you deserve.  I wouldn’t trade this ridiculous ride we’ve had thus far, for anything.  I wouldn’t trade you for anyone.  I love you always.

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bedtime!

Bedtime around here is always comical.  Normally we say prayers(GASP!  PRAYERS?!?  yes, we pray.) with Dave’s parents and then Tori chooses someone to put her in bed.  For whatever reason thats been me the past few days.  I’ve forgotten how much I love just spending alone time with Tori.  Tonight reminded me of the less chaotic days when it was only the three of us.  Tori ALWAYS chose me to put her to bed back then too. 

Tonight we read Clifford the Big Red Dog.  The book is from my Granny and it has these little letter blocks that are attached to the book that spin to make different words depending on the side.  She loves it and is beginning to really recognize letters and their sounds!(which is SO exciting for me!)  At the very last page she said, “Mom, can’t you see? Clifford is sleeping.  We need to whisper!”  *sighs* Now if only she’d learn that when her sister is sleeping! 

We finished the book and she wanted to stay up later.  I explained that it was late, and time for bed and that she was really tired cause it had been a long day.  She looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m not tired.  I haven’t yawned yet!”  I started laughing and asked her if she was only tired when she yawned; an adament “yes” was her reply, as if everyone in the world is tired only when they yawn.  She’s so funny.

I’m so glad I was reminded again of what a sweet child Tori is.  She has always been a very witty, high spirited, and energetic little girl.  I’m so lucky I’m her mama and if I don’t say so myself, she reminds me a lot of me.  I suppose that’s why we occassionally have a little bit of a power struggle.  But, I’m glad that she has her own opinion and mind, even if it results in the odd tift between us.  I’m so glad that she can think on her own, and Dave and I will continue to foster the independant thinking and push her to be the best she can be.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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*Edit… I suppose I should write a warning label…WARNING- this blog post may take you an hour or more to read, side effects may include laughing hysterically at our antics, being envious of our complete cool-ness, and maybe a few serious things to ponder… proceed with caution, and don’t forget to leave a comment with your accolades for the author… she’s a pretty stellar chick.

I can’t believe I’m writing this!
For all you dweebs that voted and didn’t leave comments– you’re lucky you’re getting an update! The votes are in and it looks as if I’ll be updating the blog that Dave started. And how you can tell Dave started this and not me? Because “majorpaynes” would not have been my name or address of choice. But since I’m too lazy to start my own cooler-named blog, we’ll stick with “majorpaynes”.

Things are still chugging along here. We’re still at Dave’s parents house and I’m still bordering on losing my mind daily. I’m tired of not having all our stuff. I’m tired of living out of one bedroom. Its really getting old. Why are we still here you ask?  Well, being that the U sent us that lovely letter a couple weeks back, we’re basically stuck until they make a decision. It sucks, but we’re grateful to have a roof over our heads… granted it sucks when we have little to no privacy and are at the mercy of Dave’s parents and their guests, but I guess its a good thing we have a car…

Speaking of our car!  We’ve had some pretty good times in that thing recently!  It’s been too long since I’ve updated this blog and since Dave claims that NOTHING happens when he’s with us, here are the long and eventful things we’ve done recently.  Apparently, Dave’s been asleep through all of the adventures!  (either that or he’s hired a stand in… ask him)

At the beginning of April we went up to Rexburg ID for a friend’s graduation.  Christine and I have been friends since I was 16 and I lived with her family for the summer before my senior year.  Her parents and all six of her siblings came out from Oklahoma and Kansas to watch her graduate!  It was very nice to see all of them again, as its been since 2003 since I’ve seen some of them.  It was also nice to just get away from life for a few days.  We had a hotel in Idaho Falls fo two days and were able to relax and spend some quality family time.  The girls LOVED having a king size bed for all of us to fit in.  They were both excellant on the way there and back!  Here are a couple pictures from our adventures!

Christine with her diploma!!!!

 

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YAY!  Christine and me.

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Our family with Christine

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We found this AWESOME place to eat at… its called, “Da Pineapple Grill”  it was SO good!  Dave had sushi that I’m assuming was good, but I hate fish so I have no idea… I had a mix of pineapple chicken, sweet ‘n’ sour pork and teriyaki beef- it was ALL amazing!!!

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We also found this place… it was alright… not great by any means.  They had this candy shop attached to it though.  I got a few things for Easter, but when you make your own stuff, very few things can compare… the candy was just “alright” too…

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And of course we went to see the LDS temples there.  Both are beautiful buildings.  From our hotel room we could actually see the Idaho Falls one!

Rexburg at night…

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Idaho Falls… we saw a LOT of brides that day!

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The girls on our last night there- they were pooped!

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And lastly… Dave is a closet mass murderer of butterflies… this is just one of the many.  Tori was very concerned as to why Daddy was killing all the butterflies.   Pssh- Killer!!!!

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A couple weeks ago we also had a fun filled Sunday! 

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 It was a beautiful day and so we spent the majority of the day outside! 

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We went to Hogle Zoo with the girls

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then to White City Park(Charli slept in the car for this stop…)

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Then finished for dinner at The Mayan. Tori and Charli were both captivated by the Mayan and the divers there.  A few years ago we went and it was pretty stupid.  Apparently they’ve changed it around a bunch, and this last time was world’s better than our previous visits!  One of the divers even came up to where we were eating and did a special dive for Tori.  They both loved it!   Here are a bunch of pictures…

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We also went and saw “Monsters Vs. Aliens”.  The movie proved difficult as both girls were pretty worn out from the day’s activities.  Movies are also hard for Tori to follow, as they move pretty quickly.  Her birthday was the first movie she saw in the theatre and since we got there late, we ended up sitting way to close.  This time we were in a bigger theatre, and she was able to see a lot better, but about 45 minutes through it, she was done.  Overall, it was a nice Sunday spent together. 

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Speaking of Sundays, this is a topic I’ve long wanted to discuss and we’ve had a few inquiries about where we stand.  Sundays in the LDS church are considered the Sabbath where you go to church, and only do church-y things(obviously polar opposite from our eventful day the other week).  No shopping, no recreational activities- strictly spiritual.  Before we moved in Dave and I had some reservations concerning the fact that we do not attend church at all.  Dave’s parents and siblings, and my parents, are all devout LDS.  We were both raised that way, but have chosen to not practice it, as well as not raise our girls this way.  This is not to say that spirituality does not exist in any form in our lives.  It does.  But to both Dave and I, it is a very personal matter, and personal choice.  Very seldom will you hear anything on this blog about the beliefs that Dave and I hold.  Why?  Because we don’t feel the need to preach to anyone, and again, its a personal matter.  We also don’t feel the need to justify our actions or decisions, regarding what we do personally and with our family, with or to anyone.  Since we’ve lived with Dave’s parents, there has been some flack that we’ve taken for not going to church and not living the “only true gospel”- but thankfully, its not from anyone that matters.   We are so grateful to Dave’s parents and have a greater respect for them based on the fact that they know their boundaries.  Never once have either of them said anything regarding our inactivity, and I’m so thankful that our relationship can be stable, even though we have our differences.  There was a time with Dave’s side that we had very little contact based on the way that Dave and I were treated.  I’m so happy that his parents can respect us enough to respect the decisions we make.  Its made living here a lot more pleasant than I expected.  Its just one of the many things we’ve been extremely grateful for in recent months.

Soooo, now that we’ve discussed that, we can move onto something a little lighter!  While my cooking escapades have been fewer, I still manage to get at least a few things in a week.  Sunday April 19th was Rose’s birthday!  Dave and I put a little shindig together on the Friday night before her birthday.  I invited Rose’s mom and Dale’s parents and sister Darla, all over for a surprise dinner for Rose… only it wasn’t a great surprise because I had to get some things together the night before… but, in all, it was great!  We had chicken cordon bleu, green gunk salad, broccoli salad, home made rolls, and garlic and chive mashed potatoes. And of course the cake pictured below…

the supplies and fillings(milk,dark, and white chocolate ganaches) and the cake!

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In my defense here, any errors can be blamed that I had TWO little helpers throughout the entire process… and one of them decided to rake her 3 year old little fingers through out different sections of the finished product… it was a long day! 

And for a last few updates…Tori has gone nearly a whole month with NO ACCIDENTS overnight! (well, there was one… but only one!)  For some reason, the overnight thing has been a real challenge for her.  We’ve been most impressed with Tori because the condition she has with her eye affects so many things, one being potty trained.  Kids are often potty trained really late, but Tori was within a normal range- if not a little early.  She’s been potty trained for over a year, except for overnight.  She’s just always had an issue when we put her in panties- she’ll do fine in a pullup and have no accidents, but the first night she’s in panties, she pees everywhere!  Its incredibly frustrating, especially when we have to get up in the middle of the night!  Well this past month we told her if she went a whole week in panties at night with no accidents, we could go to Chuck E. Cheese’s!  SHE MADE IT!!!! And no only did she make it, but we’ve been going strong for three weeks! (Save the one little accident when she was sick…)  Here are a couple pictures from her reward night out!

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Oh yeah! AND… Grandpa and Grandma took Charli to Build-A-Bear for a belated birthday! 

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So thats the LONG update guys… see why Dave should do some of these?  Because every time I write, its catching up from at least a month ago and they turn into 4 hours of work, which results in a short novel!  Too bad for you suckers that voted for me to update!!!  Until I write again… go find yourself another good read!

Hasta La Vista BABY!

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