Monday, December 26, 2011

A Special Gift from Santa

Of course, having Charlie with us this Christmas was the best gift of all. He loved the excitement of all our festivities, though he's too young to really understand what's going on with all of it. I'm sure next year will be much different for him. For now, Madi is his "gauge," and if she's happy, he's happy.

Madi chose not to send a letter to Santa this year. Clearly aware of all she's been blessed with, she told us that she wished for Santa to give her toys to other kids who needed them.

Madi has a heart of gold, but she's also a very smart kid, so we think she kinda knew that Santa wouldn't forget her.

And so, on Christmas morning, we found this, along with the letter below, straight from Santa himself.

Dear Madi,

I understand that you’ve been a very good girl this year.  I’ve also been told that you’ve decided not to send me a list because you wish for your toys to be given to little girls and boys in this world who have none.

I want you to know that your generous request has provided Barbie dolls, games, and clothing to children who needed them very badly.

Now…back to you, my dear Madi.

I know how much you love having a lemonade stand, and I understand that—in the past—you’ve raised money for various acts of charity.

For this reason, I have decided to send you a special lemonade kit that will help you to draw attention to your causes.

May you continue to be a blessed angel on Earth doing good things for one and all.

Yours truly,
Santa Claus

Her kit came complete with a personalized sign, pitcher, tray, and cashbox. We went outside today and Madi raised her first $30 (including a sizable donation from Bubba). Her charity of choice for today is the Ronald McDonald House. We are very proud of her!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


A song written by Madi 
(and translated by Mommy)

The tim is hire 
(the time is here)

it is crismis Ev 
(it is Christmas Eve)

The Buls are ringing 
(the bells are ringing)

crismis is so fun 
(Christmas is so fun)

it is not a bot tos 
(it is not about toys) 

it is a bot jesis 
(it is about Jesus)

if you are lukey a lf will kom to yr hos 
(if you are lucky, an elf will come to your house)

But not ares 
(but not always) 

if you havit wune tim it wil com bak 
(if you have it one time, it will come back)

crismis is fun
(Christmas is fun)

it is a bot shiring a bot ciring and loveing to
(It is about sharing, about caring, and loving, too)

so crismis is for evebudey
(So, Christmas is for everybody)

Monday, December 19, 2011

'Tis the Season... be jolly. Except I've been quite grumpy. As much as we've tried to embrace the meaning of Christmas around here, we've still managed to get caught up in the whirlwind somehow. It's such a busy time of year, isn't it?

And this week, school is winding down. Shopping is finally done (started last night). 

Prepare for the coming of Christ.

It's time to truly focus on Christmas. Better late than never.

Though we set out our Advent wreath on time this year, we've not been so good about adhering to our tradition. I guess because Charlie goes nuts when he sees candles. He must think a party is in order. I think he expects that we'll all break out in the Happy Birthday song. And then he refuses to eat dinner, because he's much too busy trying to blow out the candles from across the table.

Maybe next year.

I am happy to reflect, though, on the things we've done thus far to celebrate the reason for the season.

We took our annual visit to Bethlehem. A local church sets up an amazing living nativity each year, and we've ended up going with our same group of friends for the past four years together.

Bubba and Grandpa treated Madi and me to the Christmas Pageant at the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale. They put on an amazing show every year. If you ever have a chance to make it to this show, DO IT. It is a must-see and there is nothing like this show to put things in perspective and remind you of the true meaning of Christmas. Here's the link in case you want to put it on your list for next year:


One night last week, Jimmy and I stuck the kids in the wagon and walked around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. We were stocked with popcorn, hot cocoa, and a warm blanket for the kids. Our walk was cut short by rain, but good thing Bubba had a trusty giant umbrella to help us out in case of emergency. We'll venture out again this week, I'm sure.

We were thankful that our Christmas elf, Peter, decided to come back this year. This was a subject of wonder in our house for most of the year. We weren't quite sure whether we deserved to have him back or not.

Now that I think about it, since he did come back, maybe that means we haven't been so good, which would explain why we're under surveillance again! Hmmm...

Luckily for us, he showed up the weekend after Thanksgiving. Madi is always on her best behavior when Peter's around. It's amazing how things change when he's in the room.  Totally hilarious.

The morning he arrived, she pulled up two chairs for her and Charlie, and they sat there for a good half-hour staring at him, while she explained to Charlie what the elf thing's all about.

He seems to have embraced it, because he loves finding Peter's hiding spot every morning, too. He points at him and says, "Pow Pow." It's very cute.

I am just fascinated at how Peter manages to find a different stake out every single day, especially in this little house!

Sad to say that Christmas cards aren't making it out of our house this year. I'm not going to sit here and make excuses. We'll just say "Merry Christmas" to all of you, and we'll enjoy reading your cards this year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wedding Bells

Grandpa Murphy has a new bride! He met Suzanne (a.k.a. Miss Suzanne to the kids) after we came home from China with Daniel in 2010. She was very supportive to him during the toughest of times, and having been widowed twice before, she knew exactly what he was going through after losing Grandma Pauline.

They started out as companions and ended up falling in love.  In an intimate church ceremony Saturday night, they tied the knot, and Madi was honored to be the flower girl.

Miss Suzanne is a wonderful addition to our family. She adores the kids and they love her, too.  We are so glad that Grandpa found such a special person to spend the rest of his days with.

Charlie wore a suit for the first time (thank you, Amanda. It finally fits him!) and I had to post this adorable picture.

He knew exactly how cool he looked...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

And the winner is...

Several weeks back, when I picked up Madi at school, she asked me with excitement, "Mommy!  Do you know what a Nook is?"

Before she allowed me any time to respond, she then said, "It's something that can help you read!  And we can get one for just one dollar!"

"Really?"  I replied with a chuckle, already aware of the upcoming fundraiser at the school book fair.

So I took the opportunity to teach her how a raffle contest works and explained that her dollar would not get her the Nook, but rather a chance at winning one.

The next day, we filled out eight entries and tucked them into her school folder along with the money.

When I greeted Madi at school this afternoon, she came running at me full throttle to happily announce that she won the raffle!

The story was too cute. They first announced that the winner was a Kindergarten student in Miss Maldonado's class. Madi described how all the children crossed their fingers and how she tightly closed her eyes in anticipation of the results.

Then they did a drum-roll over the loudspeaker, and finally announced that Madolyn Murphy won!  Her gleeful expression when she told the story indicated that she must've been over the moon. She walked proudly to the Media Center to collect her prize, accompanied by the two class messengers for the week.

We are so thrilled for her, though neither Jimmy nor I have a clue as to what this Nook Tablet can do yet. We are in the process of setting it up tonight, and it looks pretty darn awesome! And not a bad deal for eight dollars!

I can't wait for the day when she can download Daniel's story on her Nook:)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bubba and Grandpa are back!

When they left in May, it seemed like it would be forever until they came back from California.

And now, like the snap of a finger, they're here again. My how time flies.

Madi accompanied me to the airport late Thursday night. There's no way we could have held her back from collecting Bubba.

We got them home and settled. Madi was in bed by midnight and needed her first late pass (anticipated in advance) the next day. Totally worth it.

Bubba surprised Madi and came with us to our Girl Scout outing to the Humane Society after school on Friday.

They do unbelievable work there at our tri-county no-kill animal shelter. They truly are angels.

Each of the Daisies and Brownies in our troop made blankets to deliver to the animals. The cats seemed to take to their blankets right away. It was a neat experience to see how loved and well cared these homeless animals are.

We spent Friday evening getting back on track at their house.  Charlie was re-introduced to them and to their great, big bathtub. He loved it though he was literally up to his ears in bubbles at times!

Charlie loves walking around with Grandpa's cane. In fact, both the kids do. Madi named one of them his "candy cane," so Bubba helped her turn it into one by decorating it with red and white.

We've wasted no time throwing Bubba and Grandpa right back into the mix of things. We're so thankful that they are back:)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Mayor

At the end of Mass on Sunday, a very kind man--with a chuckle--said to me, "He walks around like he's the Mayor--shaking hands and kissing babies!"

I was so relieved to here this.

Because from my perspective, Charlie seemed more like the chief organizer of some extremist political protest. He was boisterous (at all the wrong times), and he was definitely a "stand out" in the crowd.

I had been very busy in the pew that morning trying to keep him occupied while he grabbed at his sister's crayons and incessantly cried out, "Choo Choo, Choo Choo"  when I pulled his Thomas book from our bag 'o tricks. Big mistake.

Unfortunately, that was all I saw. That is, until the kind man pointed out all "the good" in Charlie's actions.

He actually did deliver his sippy cup to a crying baby. He did shake hands and wave at people around him (including Father Ridore), he did pucker up for anyone who looked willing to kiss him back, and he did strut down the aisle as if he were "well-connected."

I love how the Holy Spirit sends messengers to "keep it real," and I'm grateful for it.

Perhaps Charlie will be Mayor someday...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tree Angel

The angel atop our Christmas tree has a new look this year. She's holding a Chinese Love Knot in her arms.

The Chinese knot has come to be the symbol of reunion, luck, harmony, and love. Traditionally, a Chinese knot must be bent, tied and crafted from a single red rope, to express the endless circle of happy life and its red-color represents beauty, happiness and wishes.

This love knot was given to us in China when we brought Daniel home.

It will stay in her arms forever now, on our tree, and will serve as a sweet reminder that Daniel's with us at Christmas time.

It was a busy weekend of preparing our home for the holidays. We put up our tree yesterday, and Madi put on all of the breakable ornaments while Charlie was napping.

What a sight for him when he woke up. He came into the living room and said, "Woooowwww!"  I'm sure he's not seen anything like it! He jumped right in and helped to decorate the tree while we danced around to Christmas music.

Yesterday marked the beginning of Advent season in our Catholic faith, and we are focused on the coming of Christ and preparing, in joyful anticipation, of His coming.

Friday, November 25, 2011


There are some things that could make my heart stop.  
This is one of them.

They asked me to come outside and photograph their "Kodak moments."

I reluctantly agreed.

And managed to get some great shots for her to remember.

Then I had to leave, because I couldn't stand it anymore.
She's such a daredevil...unlike her mother.

Madi's down now. 
Mommy's all better.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So much to be thankful for...

This morning, as I reflect upon how fortunate we are to have been born in this country, in this day and age, I feel so very blessed. 

We know nothing of the struggles of our forefathers.

Or of those in other countries who suffer from hunger, illness, and poverty each day. 

How did we get so fortunate?

These thoughts remind me just how thankful I am for:

my God - my husband - my children - my parents - my relatives - my friends - my angels - my health

For each and every blessing I've been given in my life, I am so thankful.

Wishing you a very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Big Boy

I think I'm in trouble here.

Baby boy, as we speak, is napping in his "big boy bed" for the first time.

What in the world did I just do?  Oh my, how I think this will bite me in the you-know-what.

When we went in for his nap, he grabbed his blanket (which he's become quite attached to) and climbed up into the bed.

I put his jammies on him, and then prodded him to get into his crib.

He made sounds of displeasure at the very idea, and I...well...I caved.
I'm such a sucker...

I gave him a kiss and closed his door. When I went back to check on him 15 minutes later, he was sound asleep.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. The thought of my two-year old out of his crib makes me crazy.

I wonder if I can warm him up to the idea of napping in the bed and sleeping in the crib at night?

Oh, Dear Lord I hope so!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Evolution of a Kiss

When we brought Charlie home 8 months ago, he didn't seem to know what a kiss was.

For the next couple of months that followed, he began to "accept" our kisses by leaning in.

At month four or so, he began to kiss back by pursing his little lips ever-so-slightly.

And now...he's finally at full pucker:)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turned the corner

Just one day after Charlie made it perfectly clear that he wants more Mommy time, he made huge strides at Mommy & Me class this morning.

For months, he has chosen not to participate preferring to sit on my lap as an observer. It was almost comical because we would get home and I would catch him practicing some of the moves.

I started to believe that Charlie thought it was my class, not his.

But this morning, he turned the corner. Different kid altogether.

Charlie did everything. He participated in every song and every movement. He was vocal, and he was engaging.  This morning, Charlie Murphy emerged from his shell at the YMCA, and it made me very happy.

So happy that I didn't expect to react the way I did. I couldn't have suppressed the tears if I'd tried.

It was just so very rewarding to witness such a transformation...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Totally not worth it.

I posted in July, after my knee injury, about how I took Charlie to the baby room at the YMCA, and he was absolutely fine with it. In fact, he seemed to enjoy it.

Charlie has had quite the opposite reaction the last two times I've taken him back to the playroom.

Absolute meltdown.

I mean, he can't catch his breath meltdown.

Totally. Not. Worth. It.

Not for this Mama, anyway.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not judging those who leave their children in a playroom. I'm just fessin' up that I'm a bit weak in this department. I'm all for a good workout, but not at the expense of my son's emotional state. I'm not willing to put Charlie back into an "institutional" setting with lots of kids and a few caretakers when (just my opinion) I believe it's an all-too-familiar setting for him.

And it's obviously way too close for comfort.

Maybe I'm over-analyzing, which I'm famous for 'round here. But I don't think I am.

So it's back to taking nice, quiet strolls in the morning for us, and I will embrace every moment of his attachment process.

Until Bubba gets here on 12/1, that is. Then maybe I'll get to sneak out for an hour or two a week while Bubba and Grandpa enjoy some quality bonding time with their Grandson...

With flying colors...

...Charlie passed his Early Steps evaluation last week.  It's an amazing program in Florida (and other states) for early developmental intervention, and we've suspected for a while that Charlie has delays in speech (for various reasons). So I made an appointment and took him in.

While the therapists acknowledged delays in the speech department, they believe the delays are totally expected given his background and the short time he's been home with us. They want him to have at least a year to catch up before considering intervention services.

Charlie passed in every other area, too. He was so cute during the evaluation, and I loved watching him interact with four therapists at once. He knows how to work the room!  They had bubbles in their possession, so he was pretty thrilled to play with them.

There were a couple of times when Charlie became uncomfortable and began to cry, so I scooped him up on my lap, kissed him a hundred times, and gave him the reassurance he needed. After that, he was fine and resumed his evaluation. I was a very proud Mommy.

Even though Charlie was denied services, I am so glad that I took him in. It definitely gave us some peace of mind about his development, especially his speech. And we were given some great tips for helping him use words. One of them is the "delayed response" technique in which I need to hold out on what he wants until he stops crying/screaming and actually uses a word. Yikes. That's usually when I cave!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Strawberry Patch

Last weekend we took the kids to the strawberry patch,
a local country store with much to see. 

The berries aren't in season for picking yet,
but it is still a really neat place for kids.

They house swans, donkeys, tortoises, and a plethora
of wild birds that have been rescued. 

Charlie was totally fascinated by all of it. Especially the ice cream.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chasing dust

I love how children are drawn to the simplest things. Bubbles, of course, are a continued "big hit" in our household.

And we've made two new discoveries: 

Much like a kitten, Charlie is mesmerized by the beam of light produced by a flashlight. I think he could chase it for hours. He had a ball with the neighbor kids on Halloween running around our driveway and chasing the light.

This morning, he's discovered dust. Yes, dust. And there is plenty to be found in this house. But he is particularly drawn to the dust particles that float in the air and are only visible in a certain light. I caught him turning himself in circles pretending to be a speck of dust himself.

Hopefully he won't land on a piece of our furniture;)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A beautiful morning

Most mornings are pretty crazy 'round here. Dropping Madi off at school. Hustling to the YMCA for Mommy and Me class or a scheduled playdate. Or just running errands in our "spare" time. Added to my (self-inflicted) distractions of modern technology, it hasn't given us much down time.

Class was cancelled today for renovations in the kiddie room at the Y.  What a blessing.

After drop-off, Charlie and I came home and ate breakfast (quietly) together. I made a bowl of grits for each of us. He insisted on pulling up his chair to the table, like a "big boy." Then, after I fed him a bite--he returned the favor. As we took feeding each other bites, I saw a familiar gleam in his eye. It  reminded me so much of Daniel.  And it brought back moments with Daniel that I'd forgotten. Lo and behold, we'd done the same thing together.

After breakfast, Charlie and I took a stroll around the neighborhood. The weather here today is simply amazing. Cool (high seventies, maybe?)  and breezy. Just a taste of what we should soon feel on a more regular basis.

When we came home, we went out in the backyard to play. We started rolling a ball to each other, but then Charlie wasn't thrilled with the feel of the grass on his legs (again...much like Daniel), so he ambled over and plopped on my lap.

As I sat criss-cross applesauce, and he was perched in the middle (facing me), I held him against my chest and we hugged each other. For about five minutes--in total silence--we held each other tightly and listened to the beautiful sounds around us. We watched butterflies flutter, and large birds soar in the blue sky.

It was perfect.

Then, of course, Charlie became squirmy, so I picked him up and carried him over to see Daniel's plaque. He proceeded to kiss his hand probably ten times and touch Daniel's face. It still amazes me how connected those two boys seem to be...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick and Treat

So I procrastinated just a tad this year with a Halloween costume for Charlie. We've been so busy, and quite frankly...I don't know what I was thinking. Apparently, I wasn't....

Yesterday afternoon, I dragged Madi around to six stores, and absolutely nothing struck us. Nothing. Everything was either the wrong size, looked cheap, too expensive, or just plain ugly.

In a desperate state, I called our friend Emily, and she bailed us out with a cute little construction worker vest and hard hat. It was perfect, though I knew he likely wouldn't wear the hat, and it saved the day for Charlie's Halloween party at Mommy & Me this morning.

My first school party

I think I like these things called cupcakes.

And I love my first Teacher, Miss Lora

Then Mommy got the ultimate "trick" for Halloween.  I returned from working with my editor this afternoon to hear from Diane (our friend, neighbor, and sitter) that Charlie was stirring. He was "stirring" alright. Those of you with weak stomachs might want to sign off here...

When I walked into his room, shortly before it was time to pick up Madi from school, I was blown over. Little Stinker (literally) had gone number two, and it was everywhere. And I mean everywhere. On every blanket (five of 'em), both of his musical toys, his bedding, his clothes, his feet, and it didn't stop there. He had finger-painted all over the crib rails.

Sorry for being so graphic, but if I gotta live it, you gotta read about it. That's part of the deal here. And why would I share such disgusting information? Because someday I want Charlie to read about all the crap (pun intended) he put me through;)

Realizing that there was no quick fix to the situation, I immediately speed-dialed Emily to pick up Madi from school.

Seriously folks--I was paralyzed. This has never happened with Madi or Daniel, at least like this. I tore his clothes off, scooped him up from underneath his armpits (holding him out at a safe distance) and ran him into the bath to get cleaned up.  It took me a good half-hour to get him and his crib squeaky clean, and I didn't even gag once. Now that's true love. Oh--and I should credit Charlie with this: Not once did he cry or show any sign of trauma. That was all me...

The "treat" of my day was that on my way home from meeting with Marilyn, I made a quick pit-stop at Toys R Us as a last resort and lucked out totally. I found the cutest, softest Tigger costume HALF PRICE! Best $8.00 I've ever spent. And Charlie absolutely LOVES wearing it!

Good thing he's so darn cute...


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our Angel Madi

One of the challenges of Kindergarten (for me, anyway) is the abundance of projects. The kids had to come up with their own Halloween costume idea and make their costume for a grade. No store-bought costumes allowed.

Madi came up with the idea of an angel. The costume came out great after a few weeks of stressful planning. Actually, I stressed about it, and she really didn't.

Her project also required a written component, and when I asked her to write why she wanted to be an angel, she wrote, "Because my little brother Daniel is an angel." God love her.

We used a pillowcase for the dress, and Madi hand-painted hearts, peace signs and crosses on it.  We made wings out of foam board, which she also painted, we strung them together with elastic. We used pipe cleaners for her halo. We propped a little white peace dove on her shoulder and added some sparkles to her face. She looked beautiful.
Before we left for school, I remembered (thankfully) to snap a couple pictures. When I asked where we should take them, she replied with excitement, "Out in the backyard with Daniel and Schroeder!"

Jimmy and I had the honor of attending a fun little Halloween performance in her classroom Friday. The kids all looked great in their homemade costumes, and they were so excited about their big show. 

Madi loves her costume so much, that she decided to wear it for all of our Halloween events over the weekend, so the effort paid off on our wallets, too:)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thank you, Faith

Our first picture of Charlie. He looks good in pink.

This time last year, we had just received a call from our agency about Charlie's file. We were reeling.  It was so hard to process such a joyful beginning on top of such a difficult ending.

It still amazes me how we found Charlie--or how he found us--I should say, by the Grace of God. 

Let me put it to you this way...I was looking for Faith and Faith led us to Charlie.

A friend of mine (Carmen) had sent me a Facebook link to a wonderful well-known organization called Love Without Boundaries last Fall. I had been perusing their postings regularly and fell in love with countless faces on their website. I inquired about several children who I believed could be ours.

Then I saw Faith. I fell in love with her instantly. Faith was from the same province as Daniel. She was the same age. She even had the same heart condition.  Our agency felt it was "too close" for us. I didn't. I wanted to find that little girl, so I called our agency again and again hoping that they would locate her. But they couldn't.

On the morning of October 23rd, 2010, our Holt agent, Beth, signed on to her computer and began looking for Faith's file, once again. But then up popped a photo-listing she had not seen before. It was Charlie.

Beth said she knew instantly that he was "The Murphy's baby."  He seemed the perfect fit for our family, but where did his file come from?  He'd entered the Shanghai orphanage in December, 2009 and babies in China become adoptable after six months, which would have been June, 2010, just after Daniel had passed away. So why did his file just pop up in October?

Perhaps our guardian angels shuffled some papers around and kept his file--which must've been locked by another agency--under the radar until we were ready. 

Or perhaps there is another family out there--who we need to thank--for releasing Charlie's file after four months of contemplation about him.  

Either way, God found a way to get his file in our hands when He was ready, and when we were ready.

So, now we have Charlie. And we still have faith:)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


This post is for my dear ole friend, Renea. 

She loves to pester me for updated blog posts.

And insists upon updated photos, too.

Apparently, we are one of her favorite reads with her morning coffee.

So, how's this for a photo?

Do those kids look familiar?

The picture isn't exactly updated. It's more like...well...outdated.

Do you realize that picture was taken thirty-some years ago?

And we were sporting my mom's old sixties duds.

Cute, huh?

Love you for being a follower:)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Fever

We definitely have it here today!  The weather is absolutely gorgeous, and we're hoping this is a sign of what's in store for us this winter.

Last weekend, we took the kids to the Cason United Methodist pumpkin patch. It's a tradition of ours, and it was so cute to see Charlie traipse through the hay in the parking lot trying to pick up even the largest of pumpkins.

Madi had so much fun showing him around and putting him into the decked-out carriage. He seemed to like it; although, we detected that he was a bit unsure about the whole scenario, since we couldn't get him to smile much.

We took time to search for our perfect pumpkin, and while we were checking out, Charlie ran over and grabbed the white one shown in the last photo. Of course we couldn't say no...


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bubble Time

SO GLAD these Crayola colored bubbles are WASHABLE!  

Especially since our 6-month post-placement photos are due this weekend!! 

Friday, October 14, 2011



We finally found a toy that can occupy Charlie's attention for a reasonable amount of time...trains!

We made this discovery last week when we attended a school book fair/fundraiser at Barnes and Noble, where they have an elaborate train table set up with all of the possible bells and whistles.

Charlie was very comfortable in this new element. Let's just say he was, well--a little too comfortable...and...ahem...filled his pants.

As I made the startling realization that my son's dirty diaper was wafting through the play area, I was even more horrified when I realized that I didn't have a single supply in my possession.

No diapers. No wipes. Nuthin. Nada. Zilch.

In an attempt to remedy the situation with a "quick fix," I desperately panned the store for women with babies, but the only baby in the store was a newborn. I knew there was no way our little chunker monker was going to fit into a swaddler diaper. Not on a prayer.

My friend, Carmen, kindly reminded me that we were surrounded by stores in the area, so while she tended to the little stinker (literally), Madi and I sprinted out the door like we were on an episode of The Amazing Race and found the nearest Walgreen's. We gathered all of the necessary supplies, checked out, and made it back to the book store in five minutes flat.

Problem solved.

Please forgive my ramblings about my poor parental planning skills, but the up side was finding out how much Charlie seems to like trains!  So, we went over to Bubba and Grandpa's house and pulled out all of cousin Matthew's trains from years past and set them up here for Charlie. So far, so good.

As I sit here posting, I ask myself, "Have I learned anything here?"  Apparently not enough. My purse still lacks supplies, the diaper bag still sits in the garage, and I've neglected to stock the van "in case of emergency."

Guess I better sign off now and take care of things before Murphy's Law strikes again...