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ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY TWO…eat, drive, pee…repeat

Ask and you shall receive. I asked…more like begged, for us to get our RV back…and low and behold, the very next day our RV was returned.

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We visited our storage unit one more time and headed 45 miles south of Greeneville to claim our belongings. It was time to head west. The ultimate destination was Oregon. We have been trying to head to Oregon since June…but life and doctors appointments kept pushing our plans to another week, then another couple of weeks, then one more month and finally one MORE month. It was a true test of patience for me, but at least we were around family who genuinely cared for and enjoyed our company.

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We left at the end of Greg’s workday on Wednesday. When we walked into our home on wheels, there was a collective sigh from everyone. A thankful release of pent-up air to be surrounded by our things once again. We fixed ourselves little dinners from the groceries I had just bought and each of us separated into our own little space on the RV (yes we can all find a little space inside this 300 square foot beast of a machine for each of us) and enjoyed our meals.

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That blistering hot Wednesday night, we made our way just beyond the Tennessee state line. Fast forward to Sunday evening when we rolled into western Oregon after a “Mar’s-like” drive through eastern Oregon and found a campsite which appeared to have been replicated from my dreams. After roughly 3,000 miles in 5 days, Hudson-Parcher Park, in Rainier Oregon, with its towering pine and cedar trees protecting the grounds allowing the faintest of orange glow from the sun to peek through the branches, looked like heaven on earth to me. It really was the epitome of what I had imagined Oregon to look like…only better. It was everything I had dreamed about. The following day, Monday, we skipped school in favor of playing at the playground, walking along the paths in the park exploring our new home for the following week and releasing our muscle tension. The girls (even Cecilia) met friends and played all day.

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The cool dry air alone was worth the 5 day routine of our “eat drive pee repeat” existence. I’m hooked. Western Oregon has a piece of my heart.

SIXTY-ONE…she’s got soul but she’s not a soldier

This week has been hectic to say the least…

The end of the semester grades were due and it seems I had more students and consequently more work to grade than previous semesters. Glad it’s over…I can’t wait for my paycheck! I am going to take myself out for a a date with Ruby Jo, my memory recorder…otherwise known as my Canon…we will head to the beach and drink some sparkling lemon ice water, cause it’s too freakin’ hot to drink anything else, and we are going to take pictures of anything and everything!

4 out of the 5 people in this house have been sick for a week straight. I have been to the pediatricians office 5 times in the past two weeks. I am glad I get along so well with the doctor and her office staff…at this point I feel as if we are all old friends or I have started a job where my responsibilities include packing everyone in the car, visiting with Dr’s, nursing staff and office people, packing everyone back in the car (cause really that’s the most challenging part…who cares about taking them out, shovelling in, yanking on the seatbelt and shoving those little silver things in their holders, through all those crumbs and sticky stuff)…I digress…driving to the pharmacy, driving home, fixing lunch and putting sick sleeping babies down for naps and then trying to convince Abby to color or play outside so I can have a minute to myself…

HA!

A minute to myself.

That’s funny.

Somewhere in the past two weeks of grading and taking care of sick babies and hubbies, I have gotten myself my first professional photography gig. Laura Brewer, I would like you to know I took your words of encouragement to heart and found 20 seconds of courage. So Laura, thank you for motivating me! I owe you!! 

It will be an intimate wedding on the beach in September. I am so excited and nervous at the same time…I can’t see straight. All I have been doing when not doing everything else, is mulling over wedding photography books, websites and scoping out lenses. I am forever indebted to Miss T.R. for giving me my first shot in the big leagues!!! I’m gonna make you proud girl!!!

So of course I am obsessed with lenses now! And toying with my business name…

Angie Spranger Photography

Angela Spranger Photography

Spranger Photography…

Cecilia likes Angie Spranger Photography…

Just for a second, I would like to focus on her flexibility…it is astounding!

Love this little girl! Her personality is really coming out now. She always gets this look of wild anticipation when daddy comes near…he usually attacks her with his scruffy face giving her kisses and zerberts. Oh she just giggles…the good kind of giggle. Right from the gut. 10 months is right around the corner.
so hard to believe almost a year has gone by.

Sweet Phoebe June melted into the ground today when I made her come outside. All she wants to do is lay down on the couch with her blankie, ice water, baby giraffe by her head and Abby’s blanket on her little legs. Or she just wants me to hold her. Personally I would love to hold her all day long, nap with her, rub her little back and belly. Eventually she has to get up because our body heat might cause us to spontaneously combust.

Naturally, we were not outside for very long.

luckily, Abby and C Turtle are on the upswing. Which is nice. I am excited for the weekend and hope it gives everyone the extra sleep and energy they need to make a full recovery.

This afternoon, Abby was outside playing with Bear. When she saw me bring Phoebe down from nap, she tried to convince her to come outside. Phoebe was definitely NOT interested. Abby got so mad. She had a melt down. As I changed Phoebe’s diaper on the floor, we both watched Abby’s collapse. We were shocked and all I could think was, “shit, she must be really hot right now” and “I wonder if this takes the place of trying to run her energy out at the park or beach?”

Either way, I went outside to see how Hyde was doing…when I asked her what was wrong, she replied,”I want to play with someone that’s human”. She threw her arms on the ground and in my head I heard the beginning of The Killers’ song All these things that I’ve done. She’s got soul but she’s not a soldier, she’s got soul but she’s not a soldier

SHE’S GOT SOUL BUT SHE’S NOT A SOLDIER…

I had to turn away to hide my laughter. She just wanted to play with a human for crying out loud! Is that too much to ask? Very reasonable.

I now think I am ready to let her go to Kindergarten.

I love life.

TWENTY-SIX…the big wind-down

This week has been filled with appointments, therapies, grocery runs for last-minute forgotten items and more appointments as well as more therapies. And one very important unannounced visitor…eheem Uncle Rusty.

I really must say with our growing list of doctors and therapists, it is a treat to be working with a team of individuals who so passionately care about my babies.

I watch you all pick up Cecilia, hold her in your arms, cuddle her, hug and kiss her, talk with her…not to her, treat her as if she is the most special little person you have ever met or rather, as if she was your own. Thank you to all of you who so obviously love your jobs and truly seem to value and enjoy children.

I also want to thank those 2 very special ladies who work with Miss Phoebe. She has a very special relationship with both ladies and seeing her eyes light up when she sees the both of you warms my heart. I have gotten so many ideas from the both of you on some fun activities to do with her and I think of you and your constant planning and attention to her needs. Thank you Miss Candy and Miss Amanda! If cloning ever becomes a legitimate, safe and legal act, I am coming to find you!!!

More holiday sentimentality….

On another note, my little friend whom I like to call Rory…Rory the Racoon was out frolicking in the wild. I took pictures of this little guy almost a year ago. I like them. I don’t really know what to do with them. Much like my pictures of the Beach. So I am putting them out here…in the blog world. The big bad world of blog. Blog.

And lastly, I would like to thank Uncle Rusty for his surprise visit AND apologize for the four loads of laundry that were scattered around the living room, AND apologize for the dirty dishes on the counter, AND for the unwrapped gifts for your beautiful children for Christmas. I would like to say we don’t usually live in such ‘chaos and disorder’ but something about this special holiday won’t let me lie, so I won’t say that. We love you man! AND next year I am going to anticipate your arrival…you just wait, the laundry will be done, I will look alive and well-rested, the house will be spotless and all of our children will be dressed to the nines AND we will have some good grub for you and Brian!!!

oh look…we are not here

Listening to Sonny and the Sunsets “Too Young To Burn” and dancing out of my skin!!!!

UH OH Journey is on again and he is ‘…taken the midnight train goin’ anywhere….smell of wine and cheap perfume….strangers waiting, looking down the Blvd…’ yeah this gal is white man over-biting it big time right now!!!!!! Goodbye to another crazy week…only 2 more weeks left in 2011.

TWENTY-FIVE…’tis the season to be sick

I took these pictures a couple of days ago.

She was in such a great mood, very playful and talkative.

I think this one is hilarious…she has quite the sense of humor

Cecilia is not feeling well today. She came down with a fever yesterday AFTER her 4 month well-child check up, of course. Low grade fever and a little bit of drool…I wonder if she’s teething already? She refuses to take her Tylenol…she just wants to snack and lay in mommy’s arms all day and night.

this is her today…so sleepy

back to cuddling…

TWENTY-Two…ugh

Today was definitely a Monday! And we were not here… To my dear friend Lisa, if you are reading this blog, I am sorry I didn’t get back with you…time got away from me!!! I broke my phone on Monday and I think I have been living with a cell-phone that Fred Flintstone used to use back in the ‘stone-age’. So frustrating. I tried to text my friend back and the texting is so crazy on this phone…you type in letters until the word you want is formed. Sounds easy, but when I was trying to type in the word ‘back’ the word ‘good’ kept forming? I immediately started sweating!!!

I know there is a technical name for this type of texting and in fact I used to have it in the early 2000’s, but I have formed a new name for it…it’s called “ANNOYING”. Hopefully my new phone will be here in a couple of days…I don’t have any of my contact information cause my dork self doesn’t store the info anywhere else other than the cell phone. SMART.  I learned my lesson.

we are not here… A BIG FAT UGH for the day that was today!!! I love being a mother and most days we have so much fun together singing and dancing, tickle time, coloring and whatever else we decide to do. And then there are those days where I find myself counting down the hours until they go to bed. Mid-day I was trying to BREATH it out and start a new…not happening. The day just needed to end. I was mentally teleporting myself here… and here.. It seemed like everyone was whining all day long. One little girl was angry with me cuz I put pigtails in her hair and they clearly weren’t wanted, another wanted a popsicle, another one wanted her snow-white dress collar on (why tears over that I’ll never figure out), Phoebe wants milk – but I am trying to make her say ‘milk’ and even use sign with it…no go, and Abby wanted to put a princess dress on Phoebe who clearly did not want anything to do with a princess dress. Despite Phoebe’s blood curdling protests, Abby managed to get Phoebe into a Cinderella dress. Phoebe was furious.

My poor next door neighbor, he walked outside and I pounced!!! I desperately needed an adult to talk to. When I came back inside, I peaked at myself in the mirror…what was I thinking? My hair, which was in a pony’t’, was lopsided and unfortunately I was ready to feed Cecilia. I am not going to say it more plainly than that folks. Needless to say I was absolutely mortified. I chuckled to myself rationalizing it had ‘just’ happened…and my neighbor was out of sight WAY before then.

Oh well, what am I supposed to do…sit inside all day? Don’t answer that!

See, if we were at the beach and Phoebe was pouting, I think I would have had a better day…hmmm, something to think about for sure!

We did manage a highly successful trip to the grocery store with three in tow! It’s the fourth month BABY!!!! Hopefully this is our stride!

I thought it was going to be an awesome day…Cecilia and I woke up at 5:30. After her morning feast, we were doing our morning workouts…some mid-lining and alignment exercises. She hasn’t had her Physical Therapy session yet, but we like to read up and practice on our own. I bought a PT book from Amazon for next to nothing and it gives you step-by-step instruction, as well as goals for each monthly age/stage of physical development. So that’s what we have been doing. She’s doing great. I wrote in a post that she is a ‘tummy time drop out’. Well, she has surpassed my expectations once again…and now she is rocking the hiz-house! Proud of my little rock star! She is holding her head up like a pro now. But no go for the rest of the gang. I even put on some ‘Foster the People’ with their ‘pumped up kicks’ thinking we could dance out our differences…nope. Then I went with the tried and true Stevie Wonder…usually he is our go to guy…a big fat NO!

So here I am at 8:15 with the night ahead of me…PARTY!!!

I was a little worried about bedtime. Greg usually helps out with Abby and Phoebe, he likes to spend time with them after a long day at work, but he was working tonight, so it was yours truly and three moody little girls. Oddly enough, it worked out just fine. Phoebe and Abby went to sleep without any problems (probably the reason they were both a little testy ALL DAY) and Cecilia was out within 45 minutes. I have the night to myself. I can’t complain about that!

Rhetorical Question Time: Should I be worried about her poses in these two photos…is this a glimpse of what her father and I are to expect in 8 years???

Now I am editing photos and rocking out to The Steve Miller Band ‘JET AIRLINER”!!! I have half a mind to wake those kids up and make them dance and tickle them…this is the song I should have used!!!! How can you be a sour puss with Jet Airliner on in the back ground????

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day…until then, I will be dreaming of this…

SEVENTEEN…this holiday season

Every once in a while I will have a moment with my family where I am teleported from my body to somewhere else in the room. I can see the girls chasing each other and giggling, Greg is preparing dinner and listening to music and Bear is trying to go unnoticed so his tail might survive yet another night. I just take it all in. These small infinitesimal moments where I am allowed to sit and just watch the beauty of family, my family…it’s a gift.

It’s that time of year where reflecting and acknowledging the gifts we have as a family starts to make me feel appreciative and sentimental. I have been feeling appreciative today watching Greggy make dinner. I enjoy watching him prepare a meal, he meticulously cuts up each vegetable and takes care in arranging them on the grill, dousing them in salt and pepper. I know what you’re thinking…how can someone making dinner evoke such powerful emotions? It does seem a tad bit over-the-top, but that’s what this time of year does to me…I might as well put on my prairie dress and run up a mountain twirling and singing ‘the hills are alive…’. I revel in the time before dinner when he connects with me in conversation while the kids are playing and laughing in the background…I am a sentimental sap this year. I almost start to cry when he snaps off the cap of a bear bottle, in this moment he seems so happy. He looks over my shoulder to peak on the girls who are now at full volume singing their rendition of the Barbie surfing song…and just laughs. I can see he enjoys seeing his girls play together and get a long so well. It is such a beautiful sight to see someone you love enjoying his family. Great moment. He is a family guy and I am a thankful girl! (tears are streaming down my face in a moment of gratitude…ok that is over-the-top)

I was also watching Phoebe and Abby play together today after being on one of mommy’s crazy unplanned shopping trips to a nearby outlet mall.

SIDETRACK MOMENT:

I have one word…CATASTROPHIE! Sawgrass Mills Mall in Fort Lauderdale. Would have been a glorious experience had my trusted shopping buddy been with me. Might have been better had I known a little about the destination…like maybe the fact that it is a ginormous maze! Out of a gazillion stores, I pretty much spent an hour in the car ONE WAY with the kids so I could go to the same stores I would normally go to if I were in Pigeon Forge. What is that all about? Who does that? And to top it all off, I spent a disastrous hour looking for my car. MAZE. It was a disaster. But the girls were so awesome. No one complained about anything. Phoebe and Abby enjoyed riding on the little blue elephant, red choo choo train, yellow sports car and red fire engine rides we would happen upon while skipping from shop to shop. Abby walked. Cecilia slept the entire time. Phoebe smiled and giggled and played with Abby. And they both sipped on their little strawberry banana smoothie woothies. Abby coined that phrase…seems perfect to me. Needless to say, we are spending the entire day tomorrow doing Abby, Phoebe and Cecilia activities! The whole day!

Once I found my car, I really had to take a moment a laugh to myself…a quiet personal moment of inner embarrassment and humility and the success of finding my car after nearly having a panic attack was at last, funny. I was explaining to Greg when I got home exactly what we did for 5 hours and that most of the time was spent looking for my car with three strangely calm children in tow and with a mother who is definitely sweating and trying to concoct the best explanation of why exactly I cannot find my motor vehicle to a mall cop…luckily it didn’t come to that. I know, if my friend Karla could have been there with me, we would have laughed until we were in tears. Thankfully I have three awesome girls who see the bright side of most everything and who are enjoyable to be around.

Back to my original story about Abby and Phoebe playing together…I find utter joy in watching them run and hide in their little Dora tent waiting for Daddy to come scare and tickle them…their squeels are so intoxicating. Cecilia and I were watching the moment unveil from the doorway. There was a moment where Phoebe stuck her little head out of the tent and peaked around the corner to look for her Daddy…She jumped off the ground completely startled when he stuck his head over the tent with his ‘boogaloogaloo’. It was such a joyous moment. I was overwhelmed with love I almost cried. I was thankful I was able to be an outsider looking in on such a happy moment with our girls. Yet another moment of sentimental appreciation…

And then there is Cecilia. As I was drying her off after her bath tonight, her most favorite time of the day in case you were wondering. She was all about making eye contact and smiling and giggling. Just when I think I couldn’t love her anymore, she goes and does her thang! She is an amazing little girl. In the little time I have known her, she certainly has a little something that makes her extra special…I have no doubt we are all going to learn many things from this amazing little bundle of goodness. Maybe it’s the fact she may be our last child…I am really writing everything down and trying to breath in and soak up her yummy goodness! She is my little sidekick, we go everywhere together. I went to get my hair cut a couple of weeks ago and everyone wanted to see her. Everyone made such a big deal about sweet little Cecilia, I was beaming with pride. Everyone wanted to know who she gets her blue eyes from and commenting on her scrumptuous button nose and sweet cheeks. She put on quite a show for everyone too; showing off her smile and how big her little peepers get when you say something that has the letter s in it and giggling at the best times! ‘My cup runneth over’…I think that’s the quote…I am feeling it this season. I am thankful for my little moments I get with my family. How did I get so lucky?

Oh ‘Journey’ you with your ‘don’t stop believing’…..YES! Inside I am screaming to get up in this dark living room and rock it out! ROCK IT OUT!!! ‘…Strangers waiting…street lights people…some will win some will lose, some were born to sing the blues…hiding somewhere in the night…don’t stop believin, hold on to that feelin’. Yup. I am in it now. And then there’s Paul Simon…’I’m gonna watch you shine, gonna watch you grow gonna paint the sign so you’ll always know…there could never be a father who loved his daughter more than I love you…’ just the kind of father I always wanted for my girls…and luckily….thankfully I married him!

in it.

I am.

I am thankful this holiday season!