Tuesday, December 29, 2009

5 Years Old today...

Today would be little Quincey's 5th birthday.
I love that little guy so much.
I wish I could be loving and hugging and snuggling him.
That's all I can say right now.
Because my heart is breaking all over again.
For him and his parents and myself.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday to our Savior. The gift of His birth is the greatest gift of all.

We are spending a wonderfully quiet day together just playing, napping, and laughing. Life is good. I'll post pics soon. I promise!

Enjoy your day with your family. Love to you all.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chipboard Ornaments

Every year I struggle over what to give to all of the the kids' teachers at school. I have 15 total this year and it is always hard to find something inexpensive, yet nice. This year I found these horrid chipboard ornaments at Michael's in a package of 4 for $1. I decided I'd cover them with cute paper and decorate them. They turned out ok - and I am glad to have something cute to show my appreciation to everyone who works with my children every day. For those of you who are "craft challenged", have no fear - these were super simple!!! Here's a quick tutorial:


Ugly ornament before:

Remove string and adhere cute patterned paper. I used Basic Grey - this print was on the front and the red wood-grain was on the back of it. The scraps were all I needed to cover the trunks of the trees. Ink the edges with black chalk ink.

Add a ribbon and a bell. I strung the bell onto the ribbon and placed it through the hole in the ornament, then I used another piece of ribbon for the bow and tied it just above the bell at the top of the ornament.


I used my Cricut to cut these darling labels, and the word "JOY". I did JOY in two different fonts - this one didn't cut very smoothly and I didn't want to have to hand-trim each set so I switched to another font and it worked much better. The bird is hand-cut and inked - I drew stitching on most of them, but this one doesn't show it. The little snowflake is a chipboard piece, but I ended up cutting a bunch with my Cricut, too.


Finished product showing the other font and the other snowflake!
Voila! Easy as pie!







Friday, December 04, 2009

Santa Barbara Pictures

A view of the harbor.


A view of the beach from Cabrillo Blvd. in front of the hotel.


Santa Barbara as seen from the Wharf.

Grandma's roses.



The Fig Tree
aka Frimple's
aka IHOP
Yes, the restaurant really was built around the tree.

The Dolphin Fountain at the bottom of the wharf.



Dad with the cool bottle-menu at Chuck's.



A view from inside the Rotunda at the hotel.
We stayed at Fess Parker's.
It was quite lovely.


This is the view from the cemetery.
I actually told Tom that I wanted to be buried there,
then he reminded me that I wouldn't be LIVING there
and, thus, wouldn't be able to actually enjoy the view myself.
Oh.

The harbor as seen from the wharf.











Tuesday, December 01, 2009

another catch-up post

Wow. It seems like I always do this. Sorry. I'm a bad, bad blogger.

My trip to Grandma's funeral was so comforting and healing for me. I went to Denver on Tuesday night and had dinner with my bestie, Houston. We ate at an Irish Pub - great food and excellent conversation. Then, because I do not know my way around Denver, she gave me hand-written directions to my hotel. She is thoughtful that way. I checked in and tried to sleep. "Tried" being the operative word here. I hadn't slept in 3 nights because Katie had been so sick. I was really banking on getting a good night's sleep before I flew out the next morning. Didn't happen. I awoke at 3 am, finally got up at 4 am to shower, caught the shuttle to DIA, and waited.

I arrived in Santa Barbara at noon. Dad was waiting for me. We got my luggage and went to The Elephant Bar for lunch. That was Grandma's favorite restaurant. She loved ordering their virgin margaritas. Then she'd giggle when she told me that "virgin" meant "no alcohol". Because she assumed at a 35-year-old woman might not know that.

After lunch, we drove to the cemetery to my Grandfather's grave to take a picture of his headstone. We wanted to order Grandma's headstone to match it. When we arrived at the monument business, we realized it was Veteran's Day...and they were closed. So we went to the hotel, then drove out to the pier, along with 50,000 other people because it was Veteran's day and everyone had the day off. Can you see a pattern? We should've planned this better. We were, however, able to order the bouquets for the graves that day. I chose white an pink roses for Grandma's and a bright bouquet of daisies for Grandpa's. Grandma's pink roses were a dusty, lavender-pink color. The name of it is the Faith Rose. It was stunning. Just like my Grandma.

We had dinner at Chuck's Hawaiian Steakhouse that night. Cool place. Great food. Fabulous menu . . . printed on a bottle. Seriously. That was the menu. It was awesome.

Since I hadn't slept in 4 days, I was in desperate need of some rest. Unfortunately, Dad's friend decided to text him at 5 am Alabama time - which is 3 am California time. Lovely. But at that point, what was one more night of no sleep, right?

Thursday, we got up early (3 am to be exact - see above paragraph) and went to breakfast before Grandma's service. We ate at the IHOP on State Street. This may sound boring, but it has historic significance to me. When I was a girl, my Grandpa's favorite breakfast place was The Fig Tree, which later bought and re-named Frimples, which was later bought and renamed...IHOP. The Fig Tree had a huge tree growing up out of the center of the building. The restaurant was built around the tree, literally. Very impressive when you are 4. and 41.

After breakfast, we picked up the bouquets we'd ordered, and went to the cemetery to meet with the coordinator. He had everything set up for us. We were so appreciative of his help. We went to the grave and saw 6 chairs set up. Way too many for our small group - we expected just Dad, me, and Grandma's Bishop. Then people started arriving. People we hadn't expected. The nice man from the cemetery immediately called and had more chairs delivered. By the time the service began, we had 12 people there. Apparently, when I spoke with the Bishop to arrange for him to come and dedicate the grave, he knew there were several people (including his parents) who remembered Grandma so he invited them to come. Then, he gave a short talk and opened the floor (or grass) for comments and stories. It was beautiful. and unexpected. I heard so many lovely things about my Grandmother that I never knew. It was so nice to get the perspective of her friends. By the time we left, my father and I had so many new insights into her life. Again, God is so good and he always knows just what we need.

We went back to the monument company to place our order, and they were expecting us. The owner's mother had been at Grandma's service and had called to let them know we were coming. They took care of everything for us. We felt so loved and cared-for. It was amazing.

We then went to lunch at Brophy Brothers with my cousin, Mariah. Mariah is awesome and I really wished we lived closer to one another. She is a great mom, a great cousin, and a great friend. I adore her. We had a wonderful lunch, then Dad decided he needed to go lay down for a while. I had him drop me off at the Wharf so I could shop and get some pictures. I spent a few hours just wandering around choosing gifts for my kidlets, and photographing everything I could.

We had dinner with family friends that evening (Ray and Diane). Then went to their home to chat for a while. They took us on a lovely drive above Santa Barbara on our way back to the beach, where our hotel was located).

Once again, I didn't sleep well that night. We also needed to be at the Airport by 5 am the next morning so we could both fly home. My flight was delayed in Phoenix for 2-1/2 hours, so I arrived in Denver later than I'd expected. Katie had requested that I bring her just one thing from California: flowers. I was not going to carry flowers on the plane all day so I decided I'd buy them in Cheyenne in stead. On the way home, I called the florist by our house and had them prepare a little bouquet of purple roses for her. She was thrilled.

Katie had been sick before I left, and she was still not feeling well when I arrived home. By Monday, I realized she probably had a secondary infection so I drove her to Ft. Collins to her regular pediatrician. They put her on antibiotics and by Wed., she was able to return to school.

Marc arrived that weekend to attend the Broncos v. Chargers game with Tom. They had a blast. Marc had not decided if he was going to stay for Thangsgiving or not. I decided to bribe him with his favorite cookies - pumpkin chocolate chip. He accepted my bribe...er offer. Sean and Chloe arrived on Wed., we had a nice family dinner on Thursday, Marc left on Friday, and Sean & Chlo left on Saturday. Quick holiday weekend.

Well, that's the big update. I will try to post some pics later this week. If you are a facebook friend, I do have them loaded in my albums.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, and a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Saying Goodbye...

I'm leaving this afternoon to journey to Santa Barbara to say my final good-byes to my Grandmother.
I'm going to Denver tonight, flying to Santa Barbara tomorrow morning, and coming home on Friday.
I am leaving my sweet husband at home to deal with all of the busyness and schedules, and a sick little girl.
I feel guilty, and sad.
Yet excited.
I miss my hometown and I am happy I get to see it again, albeit only for a few days.
I can already smell the ocean and hear the sea.
I can picture the white stucco buildings with their gorgeous tile roofs.
I can feel the laid-back atmosphere.
It will be a bittersweet trip.
But I am going to make the most of it.
I'm going to take a kazillion pictures because I don't know when I'm going back again.
My Dad insists it will be his last trip there.
I want to capture as much of it as I can for him.
My soul is already there.
Hometowns are like that.
Especially when they are as beautiful as Santa Barbara.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

15 years . . .

Tom on our wedding day - looking ever so dapper.

Me on our wedding day - looking happy, but nervous.

Sorry for the weird frame - I couldn't remove the photo from the album matting.

Us with the boys. My, how they've grown since then.

It has been 15 year since our wedding. It seems like yesterday in many ways, in others it seems like a lifetime ago. We were talking this morning about how young and naive we were. And how newlyweds always assume life will be perfect and blissful and easy. It hasn't been any of those things...but it has been wonderful. There has not been one day in the past fifteen years that I haven't thanked God for bringing this amazing man into my life.
Tom was a happy bachelor when we met. He was 28, had never been married, and he had no children. He had seen me having lunch a few times, and we'd been introduced at a birthday party. I had no interest in dating anyone. I had just been through a very difficult and painful marriage and divorce. The only males I wanted to spend time with were my two sons. Then Tom and I ran into each other one evening while we were each out with friends. He asked me out (apparently he'd been wanting to do this for quite some time). I hesitated. He saw the hesitation and quickly blurted out that he wanted to MAKE ME DINNER. That won me over so I accepted.
Basically, he "had me at stir-fry". LOL.
We were married 8 months later. In a small church in Evanston.
I was Mormon.
He was Catholic.
We were married in an Episcopal Church.
By a Lutheran minister.
It was a lovely wedding, full of love and laughter. Our friends and family were there to help us celebrate.
We went to Maui for our first anniversary / belated honeymoon. Tom insisted we take the boys with us. Those ten days brought us even closer together as a family. We always tease the boys that since we took them on OUR honeymoon, we fully expect the favor to be returned when they marry. They insist it won't happen... We'll see.
We have never taken a trip without our children. We haven't even taken a weekend away, except for the year I was VERY pregnant with Katie. So, technically, we had a child with us. It isn't that we don't want to be alone together, but we both know how quickly this time will pass. It won't be long before the two younger kids are in college and we won't be able to travel with them anymore.
Not many women have the opportunity to see what kind of father their husband will be. I was able to. He was amazing with my boys. He was kind, and patient, and loving, and very involved. A few years ago, we got some new neighbors. Tom was out back working on the yard quite a bit then so he had a chance to visit with them several times before I even met them. The day I met the lady, she inquired about our family and commented about the two older boys being Tom's. I replied that I'd already had the boys when we married. And she said, "Yes, but you are the step-mom, right? Tom is their father?". I had to explain that, no, I had actually given birth to them. She was shocked. She said that from the way Tom spoke about them, they just assumed that they were his. THAT is the kind of man he is.
After I got pregnant with Brendan, I had horrible morning sickness - always at 2:30 am.
Every single night.
Each time it happened, I could hear Tom pacing the floor outside the door...apologizing profusely to me. When I finished and opened the door, he was always standing there with a cool, wet cloth and a cold glass of water for me.
Again - every single night.
He has changed just as many icky diapers as I have. He has read to and rocked our babies to sleep as much as I have. He has probably given them MORE baths than I have. He is a hands-on Dad to all 4 of the kids.
Tom drove by himself for 8 hours through a horrible snow storm to go to our first grandbaby's funeral in Utah. He stayed at my former in-laws' home (there aren't hotels there - small town), and went to the funeral home to see and pray over our sweet grandson before his burial. Alone. I couldn't go. I was pregnant with Katie and was not allowed to travel so far away (we had a very high-risk pregnancy). He called me from the parking lot, sobbing with me over our loss. His heart broke as much as mine did.
We don't have "steps" or "half-'s" in our home - we're just family. Period.
I could try for 3 lifetimes and never be able to thank him enough for all of the love and support he has shown us through the years.
There is nobody I would rather my sons see as an example of what a husband and father should be.
There is nobody I'd rather have taking Katie on "Daddy-Daughter Dates".
He is truly one in a million. And I am so very, very grateful that he chose me to journey with through life.
Happy Anniversary, Mr. C.
I love you most.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Still Breathing...

...but still down with the flu. Tom and the kidlets seem to be doing well now. I am almost over it, thank heavens. It wasn't as severe as I'd anticipated, but it just hung on forever. I have some great pics of the kidlets picking out pumpkins and playing in the leaves that I will post soon. Katie has a Halloween party at her ballet studio today. She is going as a barbie witch (pink and black). Brendan will be Spock. They are both very excited. I'll be back soon!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What would I say? - Journaling Added!

The Good Grief Blog has Challenge #5 up today: "What Would You Say?". Here is my layout:





Journaling:

If I could have a conversation with you today, I know it would probably take place right here with me standing behind the swing pushing you for hours. Then I don't think I'd really want to talk as much as I'd like to just play with you all day. I'd watch you run and slide and giggle and climb and swing and laugh and roll in the grass. Then I'd cradle your sweet face in my hands, kiss your little forehead, look into your beautiful eyes, and tell you just how much I will always love you.

I'm not sure when they will be spotlighting this one so just keep checking their site. This will also give you the opportunity to read the stories behind the other layouts done for this challenge as well. But, basically, my thought was that I wouldn't want to talk, as much as I'd just like to play with him. Quincey would be almost 5 years old now, which is so hard for me to fathom . . .

Take care and God Bless!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oink.

Yes, H1N1 (swine flu) has invaded our home. Tom was first, then Bren, then Katie...and I woke up with it this morning. The kids are rebounding well thanks to Tamiflu. My dr. should be phone my rx into the pharmacy today. I. can't. wait. I do not have time to be down like this.

I am leaving you with a few recent pics to tide you over until my return ;oD


Katie polished her own fingernails with her new markers. Lovely shade, isn't it?

Bren and Tom went to the Broncos v. Cleveland Browns game in Sept.

Tom & Sean's birthday dinner: Filet mignon, king crab, lobster, fries, roasted asparagus, saute'd mushrooms, and birthday cake!


Sean and Chloe went to the Broncos v. Dallas Cowboys game on 10/4. Chloe is Sean's girlfriend. She is Katie's pal and our new favorite person. What a sweetheart!!!!!


We got our first big snowstorm this past weekend. Brendan and Katie look heartbroken over it, don't they?!?!



Blessings to you!!! I hope to be back soon!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Layout and Wienie Dog Outfit #1

First up is a layout I did about my Grandparents about a month ago. This picture was taking in 1963 and it is the only photograph I have of my Grandfather. He passed away shortly after this was taken. It was originally meant to be a tribute to my Grandfather, but then Grandma's health declined shortly after I created it so it is even more special to me now. I used all of my faves: Thickers (of course), Primas, bling, ribbon, and my Fiskars Upper Crest punch.


And here is Katie in her Wienie Dog outfit. After reading my last post, I had a few people say they, too, wanted to see the outfits so I thought I'd just put them on the blog. This is a full-body shot.


Followed by a close-up of her barrettes. She loved these so much, she refused to wear only one of them.

Here is a close up of her pant leg. Notice it is the same dog as the barrettes, which is the same dog as the bottom one on her shirt...



...right here.







Thursday, September 24, 2009

God always knows...

I was going through my usual blog-hopping routine and found myself quite bummed that many of my favorite girlies hadn't updated their blogs as of late. Then I realized that I was guilty of that same infraction. Sorry.

I expected this week to be really, really difficult. It hasn't been. Granted, I do miss my grandma, but I was missing her before she died because it wasn't really "grandma" laying in that bed in Alabama. I've been mourning the loss of that sweet, amazing woman for many years now. But I have been so blessed with comfort and peace this week. I am always amazed how God just knows what I need, when I need it. I mean, I KNOW He knows, but I'm always amazed at how He remembers little ol' me, I guess.

This week, God made sure that I would have some really wonderful stories to hear about Grandma. New stories. Never-before-heard-with-mine-own-ears stories. They have caused me to laugh, and even shed some happy tears. But mainly, those new stories gave me comfort and and joy and appreciation for the lovely souls who shared them with me:

Aunt Sandy called first thing Friday morning to tell me she was sorry and that she loved me. She also shared about the first time she had ever seen my Grandma. You see, my mom's parents and my dad's parents were close friends. Aunt Sandy is my mom's sister and she met my Grandma Genevieve when she was a small child (Aunt Sandy, not Grandma - obviously). Anyway, Aunt Sandy told me that the first time she laid eyes on my Grandma, she thought Grandma was a movie star. She looked like she had stepped right out of the TV set because she was so glamorous and put-together. Grandma was always dressed to the 9's and fully coiffed - even if she was just sitting around her house reading a book.

Then my brother called. He was sad for many reasons. First, we lost Grandma. But, he also had a fall-out with our father several months ago. Plus, he's going through a divorce and wanted to complain. Honestly, I didn't want to hear it, I wanted to focus on Grandma. But it was nice of him to call me anyway. I think. At least I was able to comfort HIM though. You gotta take your blessings where you find them sometimes. :oD

Then mother called. She, too, was sad. She had known Grandma her entire life, then she married my Dad and Grandma became another (well, an "only") mother to my mom. They were very close.

Then Aunt Linda called and we shared some hilarious stories about Grandma. I mean "LOL with tears running down your face" hilarious. My Grandma was such a proper woman. She was all about "appearances" in more ways than one. She insisted on the highest of decorum. So when she happened to slip up and do something "human", it was really funny. And the good thing about Grandma was that she would laugh, too - well, most of the time.

Then yesterday I received a sympathy card from my Grandma's step-daughter. She was the sweet angel who cared for Grandma in Santa Barbara before she went to live with my Dad. Diane was a godsend. Grandma was really quite nice when she wanted to be - but she had a very stubborn and mean streak through her, too. And poor Diane got Grandma's bad side more often than the good. Grandma resented relying on anyone and she really gave Diane a lot of grief. Anyway, Diane wrote that "God better be on his toes because he's just received the sweetest and most fiesty woman I know". Diane always tells me I'm wonderful and makes me feel just so darned good.

I've had emails and comments on my blog - all from friends wanting to provide comfort. I really am overwhelmed at how blessed I am. Truly, truly blessed.

The week has also been busy with the kidlets. Brendan ran for Student Council Rep for his class. They were choosing two reps and he came in tied for second place. Then he lost in the run-off. He was sad at first, but I quickly cheered him up. He was laughing at how all the kids in his class kept asking if they could have his poster. Everyone else had hand-drawn posters (which were cute and just fine), but Brendan's poster was a little more "embellished". We cut everything out on the cricut and I was finally able to use up a few of my MAMBI die-cuts from eons ago.

But the funniest thing this week was Katie-ism #1729. It goes something like this:

Marti: Katie, show Daddy your cute weenie-dog outfit Mommy bought you.
Daddy: Oh, that is so cute, Katie!
Marti: I told Houston I'd take a picture of Katie in her outfits and email them to her.
Daddy: Oh, does Houston have a weenie dog?
Marti: She has two: Hans and Edgar. Hans is a Rescue Dog.
Katie: (sudden loud intake of air) Does that mean he can fly?!?!
Marti: (trying desperately not to laugh hysterically at her sweet and ever-so-sincere daughter) No, Katie. That means he was rescued. He doesn't do the rescuing.

God always knows what I need, just when I need it. . .

Friday, September 18, 2009

Genevieve Kienke Rosendahl Green 1912-2009

I received word at 2 am this morning that Grandma had passed away. I am sure she is having a glorious reunion with my grandfather and that they are dancing together on a cloud and catching up on the past 45 years or so. I miss her already, but happy she is no longer bound by earthly limitations. I am so grateful that she was mine.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Grandma G-String

My phone rang at 7:55 this morning. The caller ID gave an Alabama area code. I just KNEW this was bad news about Grandma. When I answered the phone, the caller identified herself as Lela and said she is the nurse who has been caring for Grandma for the past 4 years while she's been at the nursing home. I was still waiting for the bad news. She didn't have any. She said it had been on her heart all week to call me to talk to me about my grandmother. Apparently, they really bonded these past few years and she just wanted me to know how much she loves my grandma. She said that Grandma is the sweetest lady she's ever worked with and that she has been dreading reading the 24-hour reports each morning when she arrives at work because she was afraid they would indicate Grandma had died. We spoke for 20 minutes and I told her all about the woman my grandmother was before. Before old age caused her mind to fade and her memories to dim. Before she was trapped in a body that wouldn't function properly. Before she was dependent upon other people for her every need.

My Grandma was an amazing woman. She was the original Valley Girl. She was raised in the San Fernando Valley in southern California. She met and married my Grandfather and they adopted two children (my dad and his sister, Linda). She was a wife and mother who became a widow while still in her 40's. I never knew my grandfather, but I know he was wonderful.

She was a widow for many, many years before she re-married. Grandma was a hair stylist who, when it became too difficult for her to stand on her feet all day, began styling wigs for her little-old-lady friends. She married Grandpa Oscar when I was in 6th Grade. They had several happy years together and then she cared for him while Alzheimers slowly took him from her.

She continued to live on her own in Santa Barbara, in the little home they had shared two blocks from the beach. She kept her body active until she was close to 90 years old. She used to walk in her neighborhood and down by the wharf several times each week - until she tripped over a crack in the sidewalk one day and nobody would stop to help her up. She stopped walking for exercise after that.

My grandma was my stability during my childhood. I didn't have a lot of that in my home, but I always knew Grandma was just a letter or a phone call away. She took me to church with her when we lived nearby and I always treasured our Sundays together. We'd go to church, then she'd take me to A&W Rootbeer (drive-in) for root beer and chili dogs, then we'd go to the park before she took me home.

Grandma was always very stylish and kept up with the latest fashion trends. Even as a teenager, I would've worn 90% of the clothes in her closet. I was the only girl I knew whose grandmother wore Jordache Jeans. She wouldn't go outside until her "face" was on. I loved to go shopping with her because she had really great style.

The only bad advice she gave me was to marry my first husband. I found myself a teenage-mother-to-be and she felt I should marry my boyfriend. I did. And a year later when we had our marriage sealed in the Salt Lake Temple of the LDS church, my grandma was so very proud. She had a strong faith the church was so very important to her.

Unfortunately, I was married to a man who didn't love and respect me as a person. When I found myself a young single mother 9 years later, she was as devastated as I was. Then, fifteen years ago I met the sweetest man I've ever known. He loved me and cherished me - and wanted to share his life with me and be a parent to my two sons. The only thing he asked of me was a shared faith - and he was Catholic. When I married Tom, and converted to Catholicism, I broke Grandma's heart - and that broke mine. She never complained or lectured me though. She didn't understand, but she didn't judge. After she met Tom, she took me aside and said, "God knows your heart, Marti. I can see you've married a wonderful man who loves you and values you and I am so thankful to see that. Your Heavenly Father understands everything. I love you and I only want for you to be happy.". What a gift that was for me.

When Marc and Sean were 8 and 6, their father and I took them to California for vacation. Grandma, being the stylin' Grandmother that she was, was trying to figure out what they should call her. She liked "Grandma Green" and "Grandma GG". One of the boys called her "Grandma G Green" and his father said, "Grandma G-String?"... and it stuck. So, Marc and Sean still refer to her as Grandma G-String. She laughed hysterically at it, but I don't think she was overly impressed with her new moniker.

Grandma G-String is going to be reunited with my grandfather within the next day or two. It will be a joyous time for them. I know she's missed him so very much. I will miss her more than I can say, but I have so many wonderful memories of her. I am grateful that she's been with me for so long. Not many people live to be 97 years old. I am blessed to have had such an amazing example of love, faith, style, and grace.

Godspeed, Grandma.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sean's birthday...

...was yesterday! My sweet little 5 lb. 8 oz. little guy has grown into a 6'1", 225 lb. man. He'll be coming home in October to enjoy his birthday gift - tickets to the Broncos v. Cowboys game! He is very excited.


I also didn't get a chance to post about the Good Grief Blog . My layout of Quincey was spotlighted there this past week. I will be a guest contributor for a few more of their challenges. If you have suffered a loss, you might want to check it out. They will be doing two challenges each month for a year (at least) and if you follow along, you will have a wonderful scrapbook highlighting your relationship with your loved one. Here is the layout I did of Quincey. Go to the website to see the journaling and the story of little Q.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Boy, it has been a crazy month!

Isn't my new blog pretty? My bestest pal, Houston, fixed it up for me. I love it - and her - so much! Thank you, girlie! I seriously don't know what I did without you!!! I wish you didn't live 2 hours away so I could give you a big hug.

Just a quick update so you know that the pneumonia didn't put me down for a permanent "dirt nap" (as Marc calls it).

1. I got really sick after my last post. The scrapbooking day was fabulous, then I woke up the next day without the ability to breathe. Went to HealthReach and was given chest x-rays, breathing treatments, steroids, cough syrup with codeine, and instructions to rest. The meds helped, the rest never happened. ;oD It still took a few weeks to completely recover.

2. Computer got a crazy virus, which required a trip to the computer hospital for 9 very long days. I was lost without it.

3. Marc is in Kodiak (or is it ON Kodiak) until October 20. No phones. I miss him like crazy.

4. School started for both children. Brendan is in 4th Grade and Katie is attending preschool every morning. They are both happy and loving their teachers and classmates.

5. My Grandma is expected to pass away at any moment. She is 97 so one would think I would've prepared better, but I haven't. It has been a rough week, but I am so grateful to have had her love and guidance all these years. She was my stability when I was growing up. I will miss her so very much, but I know she is looking forward to being reunited with my grandfather, who died over 40 years ago. (expect a nice long post on my grandma this week - she was quite a fun lady).

6. Biggest Loser begins again tonight. I need it. I wasn't able to work out when I was sick and I've gained back 8 of my 25 pounds. Grrrrr.

7. The stomach bug is making it's way through our family. Brendan first, and now Tom and I both feel like we're coming down with it. Ick. Ick. Ick. Hopefully Katie doesn't catch it.

That's all for now. It's good to be back. I've missed my blog.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fun, but busy, week!

Well, the week began with me fighting a chest cold. again. This is the story of my life - literally. I managed to go to work on Tuesday (mainly because Melissa is on vacation and I felt too guilty to stay home in bed). I thought I was feeling a big better on Wednesday, but still awfully congested. Luckily, I had my yearly check up scheduled for the afternoon. That isn't my typical feeling regarding my annual checkup, but it did, indeed, turn out to be lucky for me. The dr. found I have pneumonia in the lower lobe of my left lung (say that 3 times fast). So, she prescribed antibiotics - and a chest x-ray if they don't work - and praised me on my weight loss (25 lbs. this summer) - and sent me on my merry way.

Today I am still in my jammies. I should be helping to decorate for my niece's wedding this morning, but I don't know if I'm going to make it. Of course, if I had showered and dressed instead of updating my blog, I would have a better shot at making it over there, huh?!?! Anyway, decorating this morning. Then rehearsal and rehearsal dinner tonight. Then I've got to get Brendan a navy tie and a hair cut by tomorrow at 2 pm when the wedding begins.

Saturday, I get to go to a fun crop in Ft. Collins. Some of the Denver gals are coming up, several Ft. Collins gals are coming, and a few of us Cheyenne girls are going. It should be a really fun day. I am planning on going 10 am - midnight. Hopefully my health is improved enough for me to accomplish this ;oD .

Tom and the kidlets are going to Ft. Collins with me. They will hang with Uncle Don all day, then we'll stay the night with him and come home on Sunday. Sunday afternoon is my final weigh-in for the summer Biggest Loser competition. I know I didn't win - but I am so thrilled with what I managed to lose this summer anyway. I will continue my workouts and am praying that by next summer, I am back to my old self again.

Well, that's all from here. I'm going to try to take a shower and see if I can manage to go help decorate. If not, at least I won't smell like mentholatum so my husband will hug me again. LOL Have a blessed day!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Herding Cats...

First, this was my birthday gift from Sean. He ordered me a gorgeous pink arrangement, which included a half-dozen pink roses. He is the golden child this week. Heck, maybe even for the next year. The best part of my day? He was actually on the phone with me when the flowers arrived, and thus heard me burst out crying (a very rare occurrence) when I read the card.



Tom and I were asked to help out with Katie's class during the ballet recital on Saturday night. It. was. hell. Fortunately, she has a small class so we didn't have to wrestle with too many kids, but it was truly like herding little fluffy cats for 4 hours.

This is how they started the night - the opening number. Curled up into little balls of tulle. Oh, how I wish they could've stayed like this for the entire evening. Unfortunately, reality hit soon after.


They were playing just fine for a few minutes. There were blocks and coloring books and stickers...


And don't they look oh-so-cute walking hand-in-hand to the stage? This didn't last either. We spent the following 3 hours trying to placate 5 little girls. There are 8 in her class. One girl didn't want to dance so her parents didn't bring her. One girl left after their first number. And one girl went to the audience with her parents until the finale. We had one mother who came into the green room during intermission. We thought she wanted to come and help. We were wrong. She wanted to lounge about on the sofa and talk to all of her friends on her cell phone for an hour. Whilst her son and daughter ran around the room. This same mother showed up immediately before the girls were supposed to prepare for the finale - and set out an entire 3 course meal from Taco John's. In front of 199 other kids who were also tired and hungry. The mother explained that her daughter needed to eat. Tom politely told her that most parents (most SMART parents) fed their children before the recital. Her reply was that her daughter refused to eat before the show. I am personally going to nominate this particular mother to herd the fluffy kittens during next year's recital. I'm done. We did our time. We're now retired from this sort of thing.

Although, the sight of this little face made it all worth it. She received her first "dozen" roses from her parents. She was so happy. Plus, we have the entire show on DVD so we can actually watch the dance numbers. . . and we have footage to use for the purpose of embarrassing her when she is older. Hehe.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

41 Things I've Learned in the Past 41 Years...

Yep, today is my birthday. Last year, when I turned 40, I made a list of "40 Good Things About Being 40". This year, I'm going to list 41 things I've learned in my life. Since I sometimes lack the "smart gene", I don't always follow these like I should, but I try.
1. Time zips by more quickly with each passing year. Cliche, I know - but so true. Cherish it.
2. The above-mentioned "time-passing speed" is tripled for your children's lives. Boy, it seems like Marc was a baby last week and now he is 24...and a half!
3. At this point in my life, I may not be where I THOUGHT I would be, but I am exactly where God wants me to be.
4. Getting lost in a good book can cure almost any ill.
5. Since we can't choose our family, God has given us friends to fill the gaps. I feel so very blessed and humbled by the people He has chosen to place in my life.
6. The voice of a 3-year-old child can carry further than you ever imagined. Particularly when said girl was blessed with my MIL's "stage whisper". And especially when she is referring to something you would prefer to keep quiet - like the size of my bottom - or the hair in her Dad's nose. Yes, she is a keeper, isn't she?
7. Success in the world will never, ever make up for failure in my home.
8. Ironing is "instant gratification". You KNEW I'd have to throw in something about my iron!
9. Cherish your parents. No matter how crazy they make you, you will miss them when they are gone.
10. Wear sunscreen (I am terrible at this one).
11. Exercise - especially as you get older. I am actually doing quite well with this right now and I feel so much better than I did.
12. Clean your kitchen before you go to bed. Your morning will be so much more pleasant.
13. No matter how bad your childhood, you are still responsible for your behavior as an adult. Suck it up. Move on. Get over it. And enjoy your life.
14. Failure in your past doesn't automatically mean failure in your future. You CAN change and learn to make better decisions. Do it!
15. A wonderful smelling shower gel and lotion can create instant happiness.
16. Smile and be pleasant to those waiting on you in stores, banks, etc. They deal with cranky people all day long and your smile may be the only one they receive that day. You literally have the power to make their bad day turn around. Truly.
17. If you know it, call the above-mentioned people by their names. They usually wear nametags and the sound of one's name is music to his/her ears.
18. Rudeness gets you nowhere. ever.
19. Take time each day to be grateful. We have been given so very much in life. Appreciate it.
20. If your hobbies cause you stress, they aren't hobbies. Have something that you do just for the enjoyment of it - and for no other reason.
21. Marry your best friend.
22. Everybody needs a little time away.... (Yes, the song says it best).
23. Focus on your spouse as much as (if not more than) you do your children. When the children are all grown up and move out, it'll just be the two of you left at home together.
24. Pedicures can change your life.
25. The best bonding experiences in life are those that take place while travelling.
26. Your children aren't perfect, don't expect them to be.
27. Your children will NOT learn from your mistakes. They need to make their own. And they will.
28. If you catch someone lying to others, they are probably lying to you as well.
29. The same can be said of gossip.
30. Green-Tea Frappuccinos can cure almost any problem.
31. Tell your family and friends that you love them. When they are gone, you will wish you had done this far more often.
32. If someone is dying, let him/her know what is happening. This person may have something important to say and may not realize they won't have time to do so later. This is difficult, but if you fail to do this, you will always feel that there were things that were left unsaid.
33. Don't blame your problems on others. Take responsibility for your own "junk".
34. Recycle.
35. Life isn't about "things", it is about relationships.
36. Take the time to nurture your friendships.
37. Try to help others in need. You will get far more out of it than they do, believe me.
38. Make it a point to laugh - really laugh - often. Listen to your children, they do this well.
39. Compliment others. We all need to hear that we are doing a good job.
40. Try to be understanding of other people's faults. You aren't perfect. Neither are they. Just accept people as they are.
41. If you guard your heart in order to avoid pain, you will also miss out on the joy. True happiness comes from allowing yourself to truly love and be loved.

Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Quick Update

Katie's surgery went well. We are going to Ft. Collins to have her stitches removed today so she can finally take a bath (she really dislikes showers). We're going to Carino's (Mr. C's favorite) for lunch while we're down there. Then we have to come back to get Katie's ballet portraits taken for her recital. I may try to snap a few with my own camera so I can post them here. Her costume is the cutest thing I've ever seen - all purple and foofy. She looks adorable in it.

I'll post a longer update this weekend.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Surgery...

Katie will be undergoing surgery tomorrow morning in Ft. Collins. She has an umbillical hernia that is causing her a lot of pain lately. She will be coming home tomorrow after the operation and should be back to her usual perky self in no time.

Everything else around here is going well. Brendan is enjoying his summer of leisure. He has been watching a lot of Star Trek, playing DS, and hanging out in the back yard.

Tom is uber busy at work. again. still... I've lost track. He has a couple of pretty heavy deadlines this week and next so Katie's surgery fell at a really bad time for him. He is going to take his laptop to the hospital and work there while we wait for her. I'm sure he'll get a lot accomplished ;oD .

Marti is just holding everything together at this point. Right now I'm waiting for the hospital to call for Katie's pre-op appointment. They are supposed to call between 7 - 9 am. I hope it's soon because I have a kazillion things to do today.

I will update tomorrow night or Thursday morning. Prayers are always appreciated.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Still plugging along....

Katie & Brendan at Uncle Don's pond.

Brendan at Lion's Park. We took the kidlets for a walk around the lake.

Katie at her Preschool's end-of-year performance.


Brendan reading a book to Katie in her room.


Marc and Joon.


So I go for my 4th weigh-in tonight. I am not excited about that, but I'm not dreading it either. I have only lost 5 lbs. thus far (3.5 the first week, and 1.5 last week). Very frustrating. But I refuse to give up. Instead, I've just kicked up the exercise. I walked 4 miles on Saturday and 2-1/2 miles today (I ran out of time before Mr. C had to go to work). My calf muscles are screaming at me, but I am ignoring that. I am determined this time. Even if it takes me a year or more, I will lose this weight.
Summer has been just fabulous so far. Brendan just finished up his religious ed for the year. Well, he's finished his formal program at church - we will still continue to focus on this at home, as well. He was very nervous about going to confession again (they do this each year during summer CCD). Mr. C gave him an encouraging speech all about how wonderful confession is and how much it heals and helps us as Children of God. Then Bren asked Mr. C why he never went. Wow. How is that for a reminder, huh? So, Mr. C is planning on a trip to confession in the next week or two. And he is very humble now. But still as sweet as ever.
Katie went to cheer week at her ballet studio last week. She had a blast!!! She worked on her cheers all. week. long. Or should I say "all. long. week."? ;oD She practiced like crazy at home, in addition to her morning sessions at the studio. The program on Friday was darling and she just loved it. She is so much more outgoing than I was (or am). Audiences and crowds make me nervous and I am never comfortable in front of groups of people the way she is. The kids have the week off, then Katie goes to Theatre Academy for the following two weeks. She is really looking forward to it.
Katie had to go to the ER last weekend due to a hernia in her belly button. She was in so much pain! It was awful!!! We had to wait 2 hrs. in the waiting area before they even took her back to be seen. By that time, the hernia had popped back in so she was much more comfortable. The ran some tests, examined her tummy, and decided that we could leave. They told me I had to call her pediatrician and a surgeon. Her surgical consult is this Friday. I know they're going to have to operate on her and the idea absolutely terrifies me. I'll let you know what we find out.
I'd better get upstairs to check on Katie. I believe she has finished eating her Hannah Montana waffle. Personally, that chick makes me lose my appetite. I cannot stomach her. But, Katie thinks she is awesome. And if that is all it takes to get that child to actually sit down and eat breakfast, I'll keep buying them.
Have a blessed week!



Sunday, June 07, 2009

Summertime has arrived!!!

Well, at least the calendar says it has. You wouldn't know it by looking outside though. Gray, cold, and rainy today. It is expected to last all week. But, the upside of all of this is that school is out!!! And this week the kids have activities so they won't feel too bad about being inside every morning now because the weather is going to be chilly and wet. See! There is always a bright side.

I had the best day yesterday. I went to The Treasure Box for a scrapbooking day with the funnest ladies on the planet. There were 16 of us and we celebrated our friend Amanda's birthday. We shopped, went to lunch, shopped, had cake, shopped, and got a tiny bit of scrapping in, too. Seriously, I got almost nothing done. But it was all good. We laughed and chatted and just enjoyed the time away together. I just love spending the day with my girl Houston. I felt better knowing she didn't get anything done either. :oD We talk and laugh too much. We'll be doing another crop in a couple of months. I am already excited.

I got my hands on the latest Scenic Route paper yesterday, too. Love this line!!!! It is called Garden Grove and it's so bright and Hawaiian looking! Perfect for finishing up my vacation albums from last year. Yes, I am still working on those. I also bought another 9 packages of thickers. These are my favorite alpha stickers ever. I didn't need any more, but I found a bunch of colors/styles that I didn't already own and they just kept calling out saying they wanted to come home with me.

Last week my friend Jackie created a Cheyenne's Biggest Loser group. I joined. Because I need it. We met on Sunday afternoon for weigh-in and a review of the rules. We're doing a 12-week challenge (June 1 - August 23). There was a newspaper lady there and once I confirmed she would be taking no photographs for the newspaper, I relaxed a little bit. She asked for volunteers who would be willing to talk with her throughout the competition and to do a wrap-up in August. I raised my hand immediately. No, I don't go for lots of publicity - I wanted the accountability. If I know Ms. Newspaper Lady will be calling and checking in, I am not going to be as likely to miss my workouts or to cheat on my eating program. So far, so good. We weigh in tomorrow evening. Wish me luck.

We have a couple of busy weeks ahead of us. Brendan has CCD (Religious Ed) in the morning for the next two weeks. I like the summer program better than the every-Wednesday-evening program. Brendan gets so much more out of it. Katie will be attending Vacation Bible School this week at a local church. They always do a really fun program for the kids and she enjoys going. Then next week, she has Cheerleading Week at her Ballet school. She is very, very excited for this. It should be a lot of fun for her.

Marc and Sean came home this weekend. They arrived late Friday night and left this afternoon. I've had my scrapping day planned for quite some time, and I was one of the organizers, so I couldn't miss it. They hung out with Tom and the kidlets all day, then we went to Mexican last night for dinner. Marc got a new puppy named Joon. She is a black lab and is just adorable. Marc will be leaving in a couple of weeks for his Alaska trip. He won't be back until late October. I miss him already. Sean's job is going well, too.

I've been trying to get some creating accomplished lately. I will post pictures this week, I promise. I completed two small wall-quilts for the kids' teachers. I've also been able to get several scrapbook layouts completed lately. I'll try to get it all photographed and posted.

Well, my family just returned from their trip to McDonald's so I'd better get going. I promise it won't be another month before I post again. Have a blessed day!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all moms. I am looking forward to a nice, quiet weekend with the family. Marc and Sean can't come home due to work schedules, again. Sigh. It is really nice to see your grown children become happy, productive members of society, but it would be nice to have them home this weekend. I'll make the best of it though. I always do!

I spent the most amazing day yesterday with my friend, Houston. She is an absolute blast. And I think I've found my long, lost sister. We have way too much in common for it to be coincidence. Seriously. Tom said he never thought he'd meet another person like me - but agrees that Houston is pretty darn close. She lives south and I live north - so we met at Centerra in Loveland, CO for Starbucks, shopping, and lunch. Great day of conversation and fun.

I think we're finally going to see some progress on the fence today. We are scheduled to have nice weather this morning, then rain this afternoon and tomorrow. Tom is determined to get started though. Every weekend since Spring Break has been cold with snow or rain. I am so ready for summer. Just 4 more weeks of school! Bren is getting very excited. Katie isn't. She adores school.

I am going for a Pedicure on Wednesday. I. cannot. wait. I just love pedi's. My stylist gives the best ones ever. Katie has ballet & tumbling, then the afternoon at her friend, Maura's. Every week the girls have dance, then we alternate having the girls in the afternoon. One week I have 2 giggling little girls from noon until 3:30. The next week I have absolute silence. It works well. This week, I'll go for my pedi at 10:45 and then not have to worry about anything else until 3:30. Nice deal.

I got some sad news this week. My Grandma Genevieve is beginning to decline. We've been expecting it (she is 97), but it is a little sad nonetheless. She was my greatest spiritual influence growing up and I've missed her the past several years since she's been fading. Hospice has been called in and will give us weekly updates. I was going to fly to Alabama to see her, but she would not know who I am. I have decided the best thing to do is to wait and go to Santa Barbara for her burial instead. I can't swing 2 trips and I know I'd be more help in Santa Barbara so I'm going to wait. It is hard though. I miss her so much. She wore Jordache Jeans when she was in her 70's and stayed on-top of the latest style trends for years (up until she turned 90). She was such a fun lady. It'll be sad to see her pass away, but I know she has missed my grandfather so very much and they will have a joyous reunion in Heaven. Hospice isn't sure how long she has, but they are going to make her last weeks or months as pleasant as possible for her.

In closing, I want to again wish a Happy Mom's Day to everyone. I am blessed with some amazing women in my life: my Mom, my Aunt Linda, my Step-Mom, my Grandma, and Miss Sandy from across the street. She has been a wonderful surrogate grandma for my kids since Kay died. She is always giving them little gifts and inviting them over to play. I am beyond grateful for her love and influence. Much love to Mom! I hope you enjoy your King-Crab brunch. Wish I was there, too. And not just for the crab ;oD .

Friday, April 24, 2009

Aaaaaah, springtime.

We had a really great trip to Denver with the kids. It was nice to get away and spend some time together just having fun and relaxing. It didn't start out well though. We were halfway between Cheyenne and the Colorado border when our car started acting up. We turned around and I called the dealership who said they couldn't see us until 1:00 that afternoon. We thought it was the fuel filter but we were wrong. It was the Cam Sensor. I'm not sure what that does, or what it even is, but I know that little guy is expensive. $450 and 90 minutes after arriving at the garage, we were back on the road headed to Denver.


Waiting at the Dealership for the car to get repaired.

After the car was ready, we realized it was too late to go to the Butterfly Pavillion that day so we headed to Colorado Mills Mall to the LEGO Store. Brendan found a really neat Star Wars set. As luck (or just really smart store placement) would have it, there was a Build-a-Bear Workshop right next door to the LEGO Store. Katie was thrilled to create her own ballerina Hello Kitty friend, complete with pink panties and a blingy sequinned purse. Yes, that girl can accessorize like no other. There was a major winter storm moving in to the area that night so we went to the grocery store to stock up up things for the next day, just in case we were totally snowed in at the hotel. We also went to Barnes & Noble and got the kids each a book.

Kids snuggled in bed reading their new books.

There were predictions of blizzard-like conditions for Saturday so I was quite shocked when I woke up that morning and there wasn't even a trace of snow yet. It was a little windy and cold, but the storm had made a slight deviation in its track - and ended up delivering a major blizzard to Cheyenne instead. Life was good. for us anyway. :oD

We got another small storm a couple of days later so we weren't able to go to Dinosaur Ridge like we'd planned, but we did manage to fit in all of the other fun things we had wanted to do.

The Butterfly Pavillion was great. Katie had a big orange bow in her hair and the butterflies kept landing in it. Nobody wanted to touch Rosie the Tarantula, but Katie did sit next to her. After the Pavillion, we headed to Flat Irons Mall, then to Benihana. The kids love that place!!!

We spent a fun day in downtown Denver, complete with lunch at The Hard Rock Cafe, an hour or so at The Tattered Cover bookstore, and Dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. If you haven't eaten there, it is a MUST. The food is amazing (their Creme Brulee is TO DIE FOR). The service impeccable. The price is astronomical. But for a "once-every-two-year-splurge", it can't be beat. We went to Ruth's Chris in Maui last year and it was Brendan's favorite restaurant after that. Tom and I had also visited one in Palm Springs several years ago. Anyway.... We had fun.

Our last day gifted us with weather in the 70s. We went to the zoo, then to the Museum of Nature and Science. They had a great exhibit called "Expedition Health". The kids had a blast!!! Here are the images of the kids walking: Katie - notice all of that energy!

Brendan - calm and casual.

We dropped Brendan off in Ft. Collins on the way home. He was going to stay there for a couple of days. The next day, Sean came by on his way to Charlotte, NC. He was driving through Cheyenne and stayed the night with us. It was fun to have him home for the day. He and I went to lunch the following day while Tom and Katie went to pick up Brendan from Uncle Don's. It was nice to have a little time alone with him. We rarely get that.

Tom and I went and ordered our fencing for the back yard, but the weather was cold and wet the remainder of the week so Tom didn't even get a chance to work on it. Instead, he enjoyed a nice, quiet weekend watching The Masters. Easter was grey and rainy, but we had a nice dinner with Steph & Neal, Amy, and Uncle Don. Then we played Pictureka - Katie's new favorite game.

Easter morning on our way to Church.

Last weekend we got another spring storm - and 24" of wet, heavy snow. It melted completely by Monday and was in the 70s for the rest of the week. Tom and Brendan were sick last week with a high fever/sore throat/head cold thing. Katie caught it this week. Katie's "high fevers" are much higher than most peoples'. Her temp got up to 106! Well, one ear said 106 and the other said 105.3. Either way, it was crazy-high. I finally got it to go down late Monday evening and she steadily improved and was able to go back to school yesterday. But it wore her out. She fell asleep at 6:30 last night and has now been sleeping for 12 whole hours.

Well, I'd better get everyone up and ready for the day. Toodles!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Birthday Pics #2

Here are some more of Katie's birthday pictures. She really did have an amazing time with her friends - and she played the part of Birthday Princess quite well.








Spring Break begins on April 3. I cannot wait. We were thinking of taking a vacation, but decided to wait until Katie grew a little bit (2 inches to be precise) before we go to Disneyworld. So, instead we are going to spend 5 days in . . . Denver. Thrilling, I know. We figured: it is close, there is a lot to do, and it is NOT Cheyenne. So, while it isn't a fantabulous, warm, tropical vacation, it is at least some time together doing fun stuff. We'll be home mid-week before Easter and will spend the rest of the break doing something uber exciting. Fencing our back yard. I know. I know. The fun just never ends around here ;oD .

Everyone here is fine. Marc is doing well in school. Only 3 semesters to go!!!! Sean is taking a job in Charlotte, NC until SEptember. Hopefully it works out well for him. Brendan is his same old sweet self. And Katie is, well, Katie. Never boring. Actually, I do have some funny news on that "Katie front". Her preschool is doing a fundraiser selling Subway coupon sheets. They had a table arranged at the local grocery store and the teachers were taking turns manning it. Katie's teacher called and said, "Tomorrow is our day for selling coupons at the grocery store so we were wondering if we could borrow Katie. We figured with her there, we'd sell out!". So, we loaded our daughter up and dropped her off at the grocery store last Saturday. When we came back 90 minutes later, she had made $200 for the fundraiser. Her teacher was laughing about it. She charmed everyone who entered/exited the store. I need to be sure that I route that energy and enthusiasm into lots of worthy pursuits!