At the Office

She’s finally here! My brother, Oliver, welcomed his new daughter into his arms this morning. Hazel Marie was born sometime around 10:00 a.m., tipping the scales at 6 lbs.,¬†8 oz. According to Oliver, she has lots of thick, dark, curly hair and loves to stick her tongue out at people. Excellent. Like father, like daughter, I guess. Heehee!

My sister-in-law is doing very well after the C-section and last time I spoke with Oliver she was still waiting to officially hold her baby girl. I better start emptying all the stored data off our camera’s memory card because something tells me I’m about to fill it all up!

I am so excited to be an aunt! I cannot wait to meet my new niece! I have been sitting at my desk at work all day unable to concentrate on anything else…every time someone says something to me all I hear is, “Baby-baby-baby-baby-baby-baby-baby-baby-baby…”


I’ll post more later after I’ve gotten to hold the precious little doll. ūüôā

–Aunt Gracie


P.S. — I’ve updated the “Thomas list” below several times now as I’ve heard from different relatives, so if there’s something that still needs to be updated, please let me know. But I think it’s totally current. That little guy is apparently going to have QUITE the Thomas birthday and Christmas. Can’t wait!


So, my parents have chickens in the yard between our houses. One rooster, “Chanticleer,” has seriously bonded with my son. During the day, he crows ONLY when he hears Jamie in the yard. When Jamie comes near him, Chanticleer puts on a show and even dances sometimes. Jamie loves his rooster, who incidentally, has been saved from his imminent stewpot fate by befriending our little guy. Every time Jamie learns something new, or gets a new pair of shoes or hat or something, or whatever else, he has to go show his chickens. He learned the letter “B” at preschool the other day, and when we got home he immediately took off like a rocket across the yard to show his worksheet to Chanticleer and teach him about the letter B. It is hilarious.


That said, Mom and I decided to contact our local toystore¬†(which by the way if you still have not clicked on its link and shopped its expansive website, take this moment to!) and asked them if they had the Folkmanis puppet that looks like a rooster. They did, and were kind enough to keep it rocking around the store for¬†us until I had time to pick it up today on my lunch hour. It is awesome — luckily the Folkmanis rooster is also a Buff Orpington and looks quite like Chanticleer himself. (There is a dominecker in the coop that Jamie’s not so keen on, so I’m glad the puppet didn’t turn out looking like him instead!)


Here are some photos of Jamie’s newest Folkmanis acquisition:


Sitting on my desk at work...

Sitting on my desk at work...

Proudly displaying his Folkmanis emblem...

Proudly displaying his Folkmanis emblem...

Here's looking at you, Chanticleer...

Here's looking at you, Chanticleer...

I can’t wait to go home and give¬†him to Jamie — whee!!! Oh, and in case the relatives are going into withdrawal without any recent Jamie photo posts, here’s my boy hanging out in the recliner, which is his new favorite spot in the house…hence why we have to get him up and playing and moving!! No couch taters at our house! ūüôā
Jamie doing his Daddy impression...which is very similar to his Grandpa impression.

Jamie doing his Daddy impression...which is very similar to his Grandpa impression.

And that’s about all the news from Lake Woebegon, folks. I’m hoping to take some more garden photos by this weekend. I’ll post again when I’ve got ’em!

With the holidays approaching,¬†it’s hard enough¬†to figure out how we’re going to have time and money (mostly money) for all the things we’ve got planned, and I’ve been more than a little stressed lately. Still,¬†that’s not a very good excuse for not keeping my¬†blog up-to-date.

What¬†IS¬†a¬†good excuse for having no computer time is that I’ve been¬†quite busy training a new counterpart at work. She’s fantastic, she catches on to everything quickly, and I’m so unbelievably grateful for her presence now at the office! I was a bit worried how December would go, what with our regular deadlines and the office still being closed for a whole week, but I am completely confident now. It is SO nice to have another person sharing my work with me. She’s been absolutely great, and I am so relieved that now there will be less pressure for me to show up when Jamie is sick or stuff like that, because we can take turns holding d0wn the fort, so to speak. What a blessing!

And now on to all things Jamie…

This is Jamie playing last weekend on the sweet Radio Flyer roadster my sister brought him for his birthday when she came to visit. I cannot BELIEVE he is going to be a year old this Saturday!! Where has the time gone? I asked my mother if every year goes by as quickly as the first, and she said, “Actually, they go by even faster from this point on.” Yikes! I didn’t think I could handle this whole parenthood thing, but apparently, I’m just going to blink my eyes and he will be a self-sufficient adult, so maybe it’s not as hard as I expected… ūüôā

I have tons of photos to post, but wordpress is not allowing most of them to get posted for something called “security reasons,” so I’ve got to figure out how to save these suckers differently first, so I can get them up on here…


I am soooo sleepy today.

We took a trip to Pekin this weekend to visit Geoff’s family. It was a nice trip, and everyone had fun playing with The Boy, but it really wore us out! Poor Jamie had to spend 11-12 hours in his carseat this weekend, which is a lot to ask from an 8-month old. He did better on the way back than the way up, but he was still thrilled to be home last night. When we brought him inside from the car, he started squealing with delight and didn’t stop for hours. Sitting in his Excersaucer, rolling around in his crib, hanging out on the floor — it didn’t matter. He was, like, uncontrollably happy. He kept letting out these gleeful giggles and just singing and laughing and squealing nonstop until almost eleven o’clock. When he finally did sack out, he crashed hard and didn’t stir until morning. Good boy!

Meanwhile, this morning, I can’t seem to hold my head up. I was so exhausted I almost called in to work and stayed home, but I couldn’t really justify taking a sick day just because I needed a nap. So I’m here, chugging my Monday coffee and trying to hold my eyelids open until the mail comes and I have something to keep me busy.

I met a couple of raindrops on our way to the day care this morning, but I’m not sure they’re bringing any friends with them. Wish they would — my garden could seriously use a good half-day soaking. Miraculously, other than the weeds, my garden is doing magnificently despite the drought, but I am not looking forward to seeing our water bill next month. Too bad Mother Nature won’t give me some help there.

I can’t wait for Autumn to get here. Jamie will be big enough to play outside when the weather decides to let us. And I’m dying for the cooler season, so I can come home to goodies in the Crock Pot and on the stove top without worrying about making the kitchen too hot. I want some homemade chili, and maybe some wassail or something to drink. That would be wonderful. Right now, we can’t cook anything longer than it takes to make Hamburger Helper or else the house won’t cool off the rest of the night. Come on, Autumn! Plus, it will be nice to slip Jamie into a new wardrobe that still looks nice and isn’t all stained up from eating Gerber at preschool…he’s got such adorable little clothes for the fall, if the cool weather will get here before he outgrows them all!


I’m tired. Time to go make another pot of Joe.

Happy napping!


I wasn’t hungry at noon today, so I decided to take a trip out to Giant City (above) on my lunch hour, what with Springer Ridge Road being right across the road from my new office. Beautiful, beautiful…just me and a bottle of Diet Coke sitting beside¬†a still creek made out of giant rocks (below). What a great way to regroup midday. I’m ready to tackle the afternoon now!¬†


For the record, neither of these photos was taken by me. Just wanted to keep things honest.


…(humming the Moody Blues in my head)

Well, I enjoyed lunch today with one of my coworkers from the good ol’ DCE days…my friend Stacy and I had lunch at McDonald’s. It was nice to catch up with her, because I miss her. The people at McDonald’s were going crazy because a water main broke and the cashier was really mean and I was afraid of her because she got mad at me when I asked if I could have iced tea (I didn’t know the water main had caused their problems…I thought their soda fountain had just broken). She was scary. Maybe I will eat at the other McD’s from now on in case she does voodoo on me to get even with me for ordering iced tea when they are out of it…

Other than Scary Cashier Girl,¬†Stacy and I¬†had a good time. Actually, today has been pretty decent all around. Hubby was nice enough to use part of his vacation day today cleaning up the kitchen and running errands to the bank and water department for me since he is on vacation and I am at work. What a nice husband. I will fix Hamburger Helper for him when¬†I get home. And he’s a nice enough husband that this will actually make him happy. Even though I will have to make it out of¬†SKIM milk that I accidentally¬†at the store on Sunday, which is a cardinal sin.

It is a good afternoon. ūüôā


Well, in some ways I am glad the weekend is over…I spent most of it stressing about money. At least being at work gives me something to do other than worry about personal issues…at least some of the time.

To keep myself busy, I am pretending that I have won the lottery, and money is no object, and am surfing the web for photos of the things I would love to have in a garden where money is no object…



Giant Persian Allium:








Hedge Rose:

hedge rose

Happy dreaming!


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