Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Headin' south

My feet are soaking in warm soapy water as a I write this.

But don't worry--the computer is not plugged in. : )

You might remember that getting a pedicure is not really my thing. I do my own pedicures because I love having my toenails painted and my feet soft and smooth. But I don't like strangers touching my feet.

During the summer, when my mom was visiting from Alabama I tried again to like the whole "going to get a pedicure" thing. My mom had never had one, so we thought it might be fun for her. Ashleigh, our friend Hannah Beth, Mom and I made our way to the salon. My mom loved getting a pedicure. Me? Not so much.

I mean, I love the look of a professional pedicure, but it's the process I don't like. It just freaks me out. But I will say, it was fun for us girls to be together and all the laughing we did definitely helped get my mind off the fact that some strange lady was touching my feet. : /

And speaking of my mom--we are heading to Alabama to see her! We fly out tomorrow and will spend a few days in Tennessee before driving to Alabama. We'll be attending the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) convention in Nashville and then head to my mom's. We are very excited to see our Alabama family and friends!

So today is a busy day. Besides giving myself a pedicure, I need to finish packing and pay a few bills. There are phone calls to make and school work to gather together. I already cleaned out the fridge. I need to run out to get dog food and pick up a prescription. Oh, and tidy up the house. I hate to come home to a messy house.

So yeah. Busyness today. But it's all good! : )

Blessings to you and I'll see y'all in Nashville!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Building...

.
Building relationships...grandson Troy and his Daddy in the little mountian cabin. Bishop, CA


Through wisdom is an house builded;
and by understanding it is established:
And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.
Proverbs 24:3-6


Have a blessed Lord's Day! : )

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Roll Tide Roll!

I *love* college football. (You can read about my college football heritage here.)

I especially love it when my favorite teams are playing--Alabama and UCLA. Thankfully they never have to play each other. Whew! That would be rough!

Right now I'm watching the Alabama/Georgia game. It's the 4th quarter, with Alabama leading 34-17.

My mom and I keep calling each other every time something exciting happens. But my mom takes Alabama football very seriously, so we only talk football during these conversations. After the game I can call and ask her how her day was--which will depend on how Alabama does tonight. : )

Hope y'all are having a great weekend!

ETA: The final score with Alabama winning--41-30!! : )

Friday, September 26, 2008

Warning: Construction Zone

We're doing a bit of rearranging around here--changing the look a little and moving everything from Old Blogger to New Blogger (finally! yay!). So if things look a little out of place initially... well, that's why.

~Ash
Resident Blog Hacker/Designer/Mishel's Daughter

I'm so glad it's Friday

Just being Grandpa...

Rande has been in Austin, Texas this week for a firefighter training class. He left at 4am last Sunday and gets back tonight. I've really missed that guy!

With both Rande and Zach gone, my Sissy (my sister-in-love, Sheri) came over last night and we had a little sleep-over. I've known Sheri since I was 16 and she was 19 and I cannot remember us ever doing something like this. Once I got back into town we went to dinner, watched a movie back at the house and stayed up late talking until we were both delirious. It was wonderful!

Anyway--it's Friday and my man is coming home. I'm happy, happy, HAPPY! Can you tell I'm happy?! : )

Hoping y'all are having a happy Friday too!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

These are the days...

Zach is heading to Ironwood today to attend their men's retreat this weekend. There's a whole group of guys going from our church and they are sure to have a great time. Unfortunately, Rande can't go this year because his schedule doesn't permit it.

You might remember Zach spent six weeks this past summer working at Camp Ironwood. He loved every minute of his time there and now he's looking forward to going back--this time as a camper instead of a worker.

Before he goes to Ironwood though, he has a fiddle lesson this morning. For those of you who don't know, Zach's fiddle teacher is 2-1/2 hours away. Yep. And we usually make the trek every-other-week. But right now we're doing it weekly. I know. We like to spend lots of money on gas. Love it! Loads of fun!

I hope you do know I'm totally and completely joking. Totally.

Anyway, we just do it. Zach takes his laptop and does school work in the car. We go out to lunch. We take advantage of the shopping available in the city, since we live in the boonies. It works out good. And I love that I have my teenage son's undivided attention--except when he's doing school work, of course. : )

So today we are driving the 2-1/2 hours to his fiddle lesson and then I'll make a slight detour to drop him off at Ironwood--then head home. It's going to be a long day for sure.

But it's ok. Because I suspect that this time next year, I'll be missing these days.

Blessings to you all...and Happy Thursday!

*Zach catching dinner --Bishop, CA

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ta-da!

The RED door!

Remember last week when I painted our front door red? Remember that I wasn't sure if I'd like it? Well, I LOVE it!

It is a little more brick-ish red than the sample showed (although the color is called Brick Red ::smile::). I thought it might be a tad darker. But it's ok. It goes really well with the colors of the house and trim.

We also bought some plants and a garden bench to put out front and it looks so nice! I wish I could show you the entire look, but Hubby doesn't want me to post pictures of our front yard. Red doors aren't the norm out here and with the type of job he has, his schedule, ect... it's always a concern of his. Isn't that sweet of him to be so protective?

So I guess you'll just have to come visit me to see it, huh? : )

Now I'm looking for a fall wreath to put on the door. A rustic-looking one. Not a lot of flowers. Any ideas where I might find one?

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Do you know what you were doing 10 years ago today?

I sure do.

And it's a day I will never forget...

It started out pretty ordinary. Except for the fact that we going on a field trip with our homeschool group. Obviously that wasn't something we did every day. : )

Anyway...I had offered to take my dearest-bestest-in-the-whole-wide-world-friend's three oldest children on the field trip. Beth was pregnant at the time with her 5th child, her mother was visiting from Maine, her husband was on a work-related trip in Las Vegas and she had a doctor's appointment that day. So you know, I thought it would make life a little easier for her if I took the older children. (Ashleigh was 12, Zach was 7 and Beth's kids were 10, 7, 5 and 3)

The kids and I had a great day. We'd gone to a facility that trains guide dogs for the blind, had a picnic lunch and then headed back to our house so they could have some play time.

I called Beth to let her know we were back and to find out how her appointment went. She said everything was good and now she was trying to nap because she was tired (of course she was tired!). She also mentioned she was having some braxton-hicks contractions that often occur after an exam. No biggy, she said. Nothing to worry about. Totally normal. We agreed the kids could play at my house for a while, and she would call me when she got up from her nap.

Now this woman--my dearest-bestest-in-the-whole-wide-world-friend--had given birth to four children. She'd been down this road before. She's one of those wise and knowledgeable type of women when it comes to childbirth. She knows her stuff. I had no reason to worry or be concerned when she said the small contractions she was having were braxton-hicks.

Except for when she called about thirty minutes later saying she thought I'd better come over and get the 3 year old because those supposed braxton-hicks contractions? Well, they were getting stronger and more regular--and she and her mom were thinking maybe they might need to start making the 35 minute drive to the hospital--just in case.

I gathered up all the kids and loaded them up into our Volkswagen Vanagon (loved that van!) and drove the just-under ten minute drive to Beth's house. When I got there, it was obvious those contractions were not braxton-hicks. Beth was on the couch, very obviously in labor. Real labor. She was, in my not so professional opinion, already in the transition phase.

Beth's mother was calm as she instructed Ashleigh to help her get Beth to the car so they could get to the hospital. Beth had an arm around her mom and the other around Ashleigh (Beth says now, "I leaned on that poor twelve year old girl like she was a forty year old woman!") as they slowly made their way to the car--stopping only when a contraction would come--which was often.

While they were busy getting Beth to the car, I was inside with the rest of the children, calling the hospital, trying to get a hold of Beth's husband and trying to get stuff together for the children to come stay at our house. It was chaos.

Next thing I know, Ashleigh runs back into the house and with panic on her face says,

"Mama you need to call 911. Aunty Beth isn't going to make it to the hospital!"

Poor Ashleigh. Her whole life people have treated her as if she was years older than she is. Now it was my turn to treat her like a 40-year old woman.

"What?! What do you mean? Are you sure?"

"Yes, Mama! Call 911!" and she ran back to help get her Aunty Beth back inside the house.

In the few nanoseconds I had to process this information and what was about to take place, I thought, this is crazy. There is no way Beth is going to have this baby here. At the house. With only her mom, me and a bunch of kids to help her. No way. This is not happening, I thought.

Oh, but it was.

I ran outside to ask Beth's mom if I really needed to call 911. Before she could even get the words out, the look on her face told me that yes, I really needed to call. And the look on Beth's face told me I better do it right now.

So frantically and ready to pass out myself, (you might not want me around at your next emergency) I called 911 and told them my friend was in labor and getting ready to have the baby any moment and please, send the ambulance fast.

By this time, Ashleigh and Anne were just getting Beth back through the doorway and into the house. I told Ashleigh to get all the children and go in the back bedroom and wait there until I said it was ok to come out.

Beth was obviously in pain, but she remained totally calm. In fact, she was telling her mom and I what to do. At this point, she couldn't walk another step, so we laid her down on floor in the family room, got her ready, got pillows together and while I held her shoulders up to help as she pushed, Beth's mom got ready to welcome her next grandchild into the world.

And we had no clue what we doing. None. You see it on t.v., you hear about it on the news, but it's a whole 'nother ballgame when it's you. This baby was coming no matter what. And Beth's mom and I were about to become instant midwives.

Beth pushed a few times and just as the baby's head started to crown, we heard the siren. Anne told me to run out and tell them to hurry. This was the only time I heard panic in Anne's voice. Like her daughter, she had remained calm--unlike her daughter's best friend. : / I ran out yelling at the firefighters,

"Hurry! She's in here! The baby is coming! HURRY!!" (Now you have to know that my husband, who is a firefighter, gets a kick out of this whole story.)

Then I realized it. The firefighter in charge was Beth's neighbor. He and his wife lived just a few doors down. We all went to church together. We were all friends. Great. There are times when it's wonderful living in a small town. This was not one of those times.

But firefighter/neighbor John and his crew had a job to do and John wasn't thinking about the fact he was getting ready to deliver his neighbor's baby. And at that moment Beth didn't care either. There was a baby being born!

Panic turned to excitement as precious little Grace made her way into the world just minutes after the ambulance arrived. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck three times, so we were very thankful the firefighters made it there when they did. Both baby and mama were fine!

We got Beth covered up and then called the children out of the back room, where they had been listening at the door the whole time. : ) As Beth and baby Gracie were being prepared for transport to the hospital, Beth was finally able to talk to her hubby, who was still in shock over the whole thing. Poor Lou. This was the second time he'd missed the birth of one of his children. The first time he was in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War.

Anne and I thanked John and his crew--and then we just hugged each other. What just happened? Did that really happen? Yes it did. : )


Happy 10th Birthday Gracie!!
We love you!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello, Fall...

Leaves turning color--taken on our recent trip to Bishop

Well, it's official. According to the calendar, anyway.

Fall is here!

And even though the thermometer outside still reads in the high 80's during the day--it's official. That's all I need.

There is oatmeal cooking on the stove this morning--with a dash of vanilla and cinnamon thrown in. Yankee candles are burning, soft music is playing and in a bit, once Zach starts his school work for the day, I'll head out to the store to purchase the ingredients for our traditional First-Day-of-Fall dinner: Chili and cornbread. Oh, yeah!

It's a regular day of celebration around here, I'm telling ya'! : )

So--do you have any special fall traditions? Do you put fall decorations out around your house? Dress your porch? Hang an autumn wreath on the front door? Burn yummy smelling candles? I'd love to hear!

Blessings to you...and happy First-Day-of-Fall!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary...



To us!

Our wedding pictures are still packed away, but this was taken the winter before we were married.



Twenty-three years ago today I married my high-school sweetheart. Two kids and now two grandchildren later...here we are.

And there's no place I'd rather be.


Happy 23 years Honey...I love you! : )

Friday, September 19, 2008

A few of my favorite people...

First of all I have to tell you....

I LOVE my red door! Love it! I was gone most of the day today, so didn't get a chance to take a picture, but I will.

Tonight I started to go through the nearly 800+ pictures from our vacation to the Sierra mountains last week. I can't wait to show them all to you!

Just kidding! I wouldn't do that to you. : )

But here are a few of my favorites...
Dinner!

Awww, my baby on his first day as a high school senior


Now this is what I call dedication. Ashleigh carrying a sleeping Merritt and trying to catch the Big One!


John fishing with Troy's Speed Racer fishing pole. He was really into it. : )

Troy looking cute as always...

This is the life...

And I love it. : )

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bring them to Jesus

The following is taken from C.H. Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Daily Devotional:

Morning Devotion

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Bring him unto me." {#Mr 9:19}

Despairingly the poor disappointed father turned away from the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible condition, and all means had failed, but the miserable child was soon delivered from the evil one when the parent in faith obeyed the Lord Jesus’ word, "Bring him unto me." Children are a precious gift from God, but much anxiety comes with them. They may be a great joy or a great bitterness to their parents; they may be filled with the Spirit of God, or possessed with the spirit of evil. In all cases, the Word of God gives us one receipt for the curing of all their ills, "Bring him unto me." O for more agonizing prayer on their behalf while they are yet babes! Sin is there, let our prayers begin to attack it. Our cries for our offspring should precede those cries which betoken their actual advent into a world of sin. In the days of their youth we shall see sad tokens of that dumb and deaf spirit which will neither pray aright, nor hear the voice of God in the soul, but Jesus still commands, "Bring them unto me." When they are grown up they may wallow in sin and foam with enmity against God; then when our hearts are breaking we should remember the great Physician’s words, "Bring them unto me." Never must we cease to pray until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.

The Lord sometimes suffers his people to be driven into a corner that they may experimentally know how necessary he is to them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us. Whatever our morning’s need may be, let it like a strong current bear us to the ocean of divine love. Jesus can soon remove our sorrow, he delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to him while he waits to meet us.




A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend regarding one of her children--a teenager who is struggling. I listened as my friend poured out her broken heart over the phone.

Another friend calls me every few weeks and gives a prayer update on her twenty-something daughter who is choosing to live the homos*x*al lifestyle. Another mother with a broken heart.

Both of these young people I've known and have loved since they were little...and my heart breaks too.

My own children have both gone through a season where the choices they made and the consequences of those choices, broke mine and Rande's heart. And as difficult as those times were, I can heartily agree with Spurgeon when he says:

The Lord sometimes suffers his people to be driven into a corner that they may experimentally know how necessary he is to them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us.



If you have a prodigal--one who is struggling or has turned their back on you and God--my hope is that you would be encouraged today. God is faithful and He hears your heart cries for your beloved son or daughter. Keep bringing them to Jesus....don't stop.

No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's a scary thing to paint your front door red



At least it is for me.

I'm not brave when it comes to paint colors. The bravest thing I've ever done was when I painted our old front door red.

And here I am again, with the new door--not feeling so brave this time.

I forgot about the process--applying the primer first and then the color. Yikes, is it scary the way that first coat looks! I wonder what the neighbors are thinking? I wonder what was I thinking?

I know it will look better after the next coat, but I'm a little apprehensive about the shade I chose. Last time it was more of a burgundy red, but this time I wanted more of a brick red, but not too orange-y. I like it, but it's really red.

The good thing about paint though, is that if you don't like it, you can just paint over it. Right? : ) I'm keeping that in the back of my mind.

And so is my ever-patient hubby, because yesterday while we were standing there waiting for the paint color to be mixed, I said to him,

"What if I don't like it? You know me. I'm so indecisive."

"Yep, I know you." And he just smiled. : ) I sure love that guy!

So I'll keep you posted.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good morning!

What a great Lord's Day we had yesterday!

I was in the nursery for Sunday School (and I usually do Wednesday nights too, since my guys serve in King's Kids) and what a sweet group of little ones we had. And it was good to serve with a young woman I hadn't had a chance to see in a while.

After Sunday School was over and I went upstairs to the hospitality area, I was thrilled to see some old friends that have been stationed in Japan the past three years. This sweet family attended our church when they were stationed in our area previously and now they are back. So between seeing them and another friend who was in town visiting after getting back from Iraq a few weeks ago--it was like a family reunion!

Good preaching + good fellowship = a great Lord's Day!

Our young friend that was visiting after his stint in Iraq, came over for lunch after church. The last time he was here we had no dining room, concrete on the floors and the house was pretty much still a wreck. He was surprised to see how it's changed and I was thankful to be able to feed him at the table this time. ; )

Speaking of lunch yesterday--we had tuna, with avocado and muenster cheese on sourdough bread. When I make tuna, besides the mayo, I like to add some diced apple (or shredded if little ones will be eating it) and shredded carrot. Sometimes I'll add a hard boiled egg and sweet pickle relish too. Yesterday I just did the apple and carrot and then toasted the sandwiches on our panini press (*love* that thing!). I also made broccoli slaw--yum! We are trying to eat more low-fat around here, but Sundays are more of a "free" day.

I did make these fat-free brownies though, which were dee-lish! If you can find this mix in your grocery store, it's worth a try.

***

Today is Zach's first day doing his full load of school. After using mostly Bob Jones DVDs and curriculum the past few years, we've made some changes (a few were made last year). So here's our slightly eclectic plan for this year:

Bible-personal devotions, scripture memorization, reading various books on christian living, theology, ect... and attending weekly chapel services at our church's Christian school.

Pre-calculus using Teaching Textbooks (he switched to this publisher last year and it's been wonderful!)

Physics using Apologia Science (we've been using this publisher for years--since Ashleigh was homeschooled--and *love* it!)

Government/Economics-Bob Jones University Press (no dvd this year, which Zach is quite happy about. This is one of his strongest subjects and the dvd just bogged him down.)

English 12/Literature using Alpha Omega Lifepacs. Zach switched to the Lifepacs last year and for the first time in a long time, he actually kinda, sorta likes language arts. He loves the literature part--just not all the other "stuff". : )

His electives this year are: music (of course!) and P.E.

The Junior Philharmonic practices start up again tonight and he's also preparing for a fiddle contest in November, which means we will be making the long drive every week for fiddle lessons. (Normally we make the drive twice a month.) He'll also be taking his SAT in November, so there's that to study for as well. We thought his load would be a little lighter this year because he decided to not take French 3, but as I write this I realize he'll still be pretty busy.

But that's ok. It's good to keep em' busy during these years. ; )

***

Well, hubby is waiting for me to finish this post so we can head to Home Depot to get some paint to paint the front door.

The front-door area (I call it the porch area, but it's not really a porch) has been sadly neglected the past few years, while the inside has been the more obvious focus. I had painted our old front door red and loved it--so I'm going to paint the new one red too. I love red. It's my favorite color and since our house has a very simple exterior, I think a red door makes our little humble home more interesting.

So I'll be painting today...and grading a government test...and making grilled chicken salad for dinner...and hopefully taking an after-dinner walk with my Honey...and two furry four-legged loves as well. : )

May you have a lovely Monday!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Home!

After an awesome week spent with family...

Tonight we are home!

Pictures to follow soon...

And tomorrow I'm back on the road again, taking Zach to fiddle lessons. Back to reality. : )



**Remembering 9/11 today....and also praying for those dear friends who are being evacuated due to Hurricane Ike.


Blessings to you!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

We're outta here!

On Thursday I had some time to catch up on my blog reading. Over and over again, I read how ladies were starting to get out their fall decorations (and I read lots of commentary on Sarah Palin as the Republican VP pick--which was just as interesting). It seems that everyone is ready for fall and in some parts of the country it's even starting to feel like fall.

And I'm so jealous. I love autumn. I've been ready to put my decorations out since July. Every morning I walk outside and pretend that the teensy bit of lukewarm air I feel is the first sign that my favorite time of year is officially on its way.

But it's a little hard to pretend when the reality is it's already 87 degrees and it's only 7am. So yeah.

And yesterday I had the lovely experience of spending the day in the lower desert where it was a warm 113 degrees. Fun.

Don't feel too sorry for me though because relief is on its way! We are heading to the mountains for a few days with Ashleigh, John and the boys. The highs will be in the mid 6o's to low 70's. It's going to look and feel like fall is really on its way. And I am excited. Way excited. Totally. Can you tell? : )

Oh...and if you've been reading my blog a while, then you might remember our First-Day-of-School tradition (you can read about it here, here and here). This is the 16th year and the last year for our family because Zach is a senior. ::sniff:: So we decided to go out with a bang and we'll be starting the school year and baking cookies in the Sierra mountains this year. Not a bad way to go, huh?

So the kayaks are on the rack, the Jeep is almost loaded and then we'll be outta here!

See you next week! : )

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thank you

Thank you all for your prayers yesterday.

Everything went well. My tests were uneventful and Rande came through his liver biopsy without a hitch.

Well, there was one little hitch--the procedure turned out to be a tad more involved than what the nurse at the doctor's office made it out to be. According to what she said, we thought it was just a quick little thing and he'd be out of the hospital within 2 hours. She had even said he could go back to work the next day.

But once we started talking to the nurse at the hospital and she mentioned the recovery time after the procedure was three hours, we knew there was more to it. And the doctor confirmed that no, Rande could not go back to work the next day.

We thought we'd be home by noon, but we got home after 4pm. : /

Besides some tenderness around the biopsy site, he's doing good this morning. He supposed to take it easy today. And because taking it easy is not something Rande does well, I'm sure I'll be after him all day to do just that.

Thank you again for praying for us yesterday. You know how I knew y'all were praying? Because every single person I came in contact with was so incredibly nice. Not just a little nice, but really nice. From all the techs and nurses (even the doctor!)--to the Starbucks barista when I grabbed a quick Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte on my way to meet Rande for his test. Even the people in the elevators and parking lots were smiling and nice. This is not normal. I mean, you might get one or two nice people, but not everybody!

And it was good they were all nice, because I think with such a crazy day, nice was about all I could handle.

But God already knew that didn't He? : )

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A little prayer request...

If you have a moment, would you please pray for Rande today? He has a liver biopsy scheduled for 9:30am.

He's having this procedure done because a few months ago during routine blood tests, his liver enzymes were elevated. The doctor thinks Rande may have something called "fatty liver", but the only way to properly diagnose it is to have a biopsy done. There is concern because his mother died of complications due to Type 2 diabetes, which Rande does not have, but "fatty liver" can be a precursor to diabetes and/or can lead to other serious aliments, such as cirrhosis of the liver (even though Rande does not drink alcohol).

And if you would please pray for me too--I have a 7:45am routine mammogram and then a bone density test. (It's official! I'm getting old!) I have my tests at one hospital and then I'll make it just in time to meet Rande at the hospital where he is having his biopsy.

Nothing like cramming it all in, huh? : )

Anyway, thank you so much for your prayers. And I'll keep you posted.

Blessings...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

There's a new girl in town

And she's the newest member of our family.


Meet Belle. Isn't she pretty? She's an Australian Shepherd mix.

Belle is truly a family dog. She started out as Ashleigh and John's dog. They got her as a puppy three years ago and during those three years she spent a lot of time at our house. She loved our big backyard where she could run to her heart's content.

She also loved hanging out with our dog--Brodie the Border Collie. (And yes, that is a mountain bike you see in our dining room--don't ask.)

If you know about Australian Shepherds and Border Collies, then you know they have a lot of energy. They are super smart dogs and a ton of fun. But if you are the mommy of two very active little boys and have a husband stationed in Iraq--the last thing you need is a very active dog that requires a lot of attention.

So while John was in Iraq, Belle started hanging out with Brodie more and more, until she just stayed. The plan was though, once John got home, Belle would go home too.

But sometimes plans change. John and Ashleigh love Belle. They love her so much they realized she was happier with a yard to run around in, chasing bunnies and chipmunks everyday and bossing Brodie around. Some of the "issues" that she had are now gone because she has an outlet for all that energy. And we have a little more time to spend playing with dogs than a mommy who's days are filled to the brim caring for two little boys.

So we adopted Belle. And John, Ashleigh and the boys have unlimited visitation rights. They're welcome to visit her anytime--and stay as long as they want. ; )