I bet you can't watch just one.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

These are, by far, the cutest videos of Isaac ever.

First up, you have Isaac saying "turtle." We have flashcards, a toy turtle and in a pinch we'll pull up a picture of a turtle on the phone like in this video. He loves turtles all of the sudden.

Here Isaac is very perplexed by the material surrounding his wrists and ankles. Long sleeves and pants?! What is going on Mom?

Over night it seems Isaac can now climb up and rock on his rocking horse. I remember when he could barely sit on it. :( He's such a big boy now!

This is Isaac being annoying and whiny because he really wanted to flip the switch! For what it's worth, I did get up to hold him so he could turn the light on and off. :)

Isaac doing a happy dance with Tony. Cutest thing ever. Don't ever lose your joy bud.

And finally, Tony tickling Isaac resulting in Isaac saying "tickletickletickle." Makes me so happy.

Tomorrow I'll hopefully be back with a real post! Things have been super busy at work and we're off for the day to enjoy the State Fair as a company. So much better than a company picnic!

Isaac | 16 Months

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The answer to this post is: dipping buttered toast in ketchup!

That's right, just like his Mama my boy loves ketchup. I used to make my Stepdad cringe by asking for ketchup with my steak, among other things! I will for sure eat ketchup on my eggs, potatoes, and meat, although some of my sketchier pairings have disappeared as my tastebuds expanded.

Ahh, the delicacy that is ketchup.
My Stepdad used to joke that I would put ketchup on ketchup if I could.

Isaac, you're such a big boy now. I totally understand my Mom's pain in looking back on our baby pictures. It happens too fast. I want nothing more than for you to continue growing and gaining strength, both physically and mentally. I just wish it didn't tear a hole in my heart to see.

Your smile is still our world. I hope you never ration it from us.

You're so mischievous and inquisitive, just like your Daddy! I have a feeling you're going to hate hearing that.

You're a million times better in every way than we ever imagined. Ever.

We pray that we can give you the life that you deserve, but ultimately our prayer is that we can raise you to know the Lord. That you will see Him in us. Your joy radiates from Him.

Currently you love to climb anything. Including this ladder, the couch and your high chair when we weren't looking [oh yes, you were pleased as punch that you made it up, but wanted food!].

You've been mimicking all of our words lately, including "Dang it" and "turtle." Super glad that we don't swear or use much more choice words than dang it and frick/freaking, because I'm sure my ears would be burning by now! You delight us every day by picking up something new. It's crazy how fast you're learning.

We love you so much bub.

Isaacisms of the Day

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Isaac has been picking up words like crazy lately and we're just loving every minute of it! Unfortunately some words only seem to be retained for a day, but Isaac has been doing really well with "Ish," as we say ishy to things that are gross.

After having a particularly crappy day, I was sitting in the chair where I edit photos [super ergonomic, not] and Isaac came up to the side. He was being a bit clingy, but I didn't mind . . . until he started poking me and then it happened. He poked my side flub and said "Ish."

Oh yes, my son said ish in regards to my body. Awesome.

Forward Progress

So . . . this past Saturday marked one month since the beginning of our loss. It lasted roughly 5 days and then life was peachy keen. Except, it wasn't. Unlike the dreaded 2 week wait, the past month has been ripe with uncertainty. Being absolutely stuck in an unknown place without any guidance.

Some days I am upset about the months lost and not solely our child. It doesn't make sense to me why our unexpected February child was taken from us, when in reality, for my budding photography business the timing couldn't have been more ideal. I would have been able to recover and look forward to a busy summer of bookings and now . . . now, thinking about trying for our next child seems like plotting a path through a minefield of wedding dates.

In the back of my mind though, I return to my purpose behind naming my photography business as I did. Leah Maria Photography. Light, sing-songy and kid friendly. I wasn't going to do weddings, so no need for a reflective name. All of that responsibility? No thanks. But the opportunity to be so involved in such an important day and craft beautiful photos lured me in. I'm wondering if this isn't the anchor dropping into portraits and lifestyle sessions? It's something to consider.

All that being said, I think at least one small aspect of the unknown has been revealed. It may be a little early but I think the long awaited cycle has returned after 34 days. For once, I'm actually happy to have it. Finally, some progress.

Pictureless Post about Photography

Monday, August 23, 2010

Can I have another, please? Oh dear God, please may I have another, because I surely did not have more than 6 hours to myself. It's all worth it, I know it is, but man alive.

Things are ramping up in the photography realm of my life. There's been a lot to be excited about. More sessions to challenge me, opportunities to network and choices to make about myself among many other things.

Friday night I had a 2 year old session with Max, a friend and old teammate from high school's son. Oh my goodness, there were so many differences between him and Isaac, it's crazy how fast they develop at this age! The session was literally over with in under 30 minutes. I was holding my breath if I shot anything decent, because the child did not sit still and why would he?! There was a whole park to explore! :)

Saturday I spent the whole day with my best friend and it's a good thing she is, because I'm not exaggerating at whole day! Gina and I drove down to Rochester bright and early and I did not return home until 12:06. You better believe that was exact. Oh did I want my bed! We really did have fun though and it was a fantastic wedding, it just made for a really long day without my boys.

Sunday I got to do my first boudoir session with my October bride! She totally rocked it out and I'm thinking that she's going to surprise the heck out of her husband. I rented the studio that I previously have used for my spring mini sessions and it worked great for our purposes!

Today now I just wrapped up the final consult before my Saturday wedding and I could not be more excited for the couple! They are super sweet and are totally trusting of me, whether they should be or not. She originally booked me to just do their engagement session, as her cousin's wife was going to do the day-of photography. Shockingly at the end of their session Robin asked me to draft a contract because they wanted me to shoot their wedding! Today she filled me in on a ton of the details they've been working on, like: homemade graham crackers and marshmallow favors, a bonfire, "etch a sketch" cups and a wine barrel beverage station!

Super duper excited, excited enough that I forgot about how tired I was just typing the beginning of this post. God has certainly blessed this endeavor!

Awesome Sauce!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I can think of exactly two times that I have won something by random. The first being sometime before 10 years of age and the details are fuzzy. If I remember right I submit a color sheet for a coloring contest hosted by Cub Foods. At the time I'm certain I thought it was for my skill, but I'm pretty sure that there were other factors at work. The anticipation for my prize was definitely more impacting than the prize itself. I can't remember what it was . . . but I was disappointed.

The second instance happened just a few years ago while I worked at Target Corp. I said I was interested in the Target Suite tickets that came available and I won! I couldn't believe it. In fact, I kind of still can't. It was the most amazing sporting event that I've attended. I could totally do it again.

Then bam-bam on Monday. I won not once, but twice via the internet. My first giveaway winnings! The first being tickets to the MN State Fair [only days away and you better believe I have my list of must have food all ready written!] and the second being personal stationary from Birdy Blue Design via the Love, Milk and Honey blog! Rachel of Birdy Blue is a fantastic designer, who just wrapped up a California trip and designing a friend from high school's photography business identity. Check these lovelies out. [Don't mind my late night snap]
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I whole heartedly recommend that you check out her Etsy shop in addition to her design blog.

Thanks again Rachel!

Day of Hope

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Today is the Day of Hope regarding pregnancy and infant loss, as hosted through this blog. It is an opportunity to speak up about a shrouded subject, one filled with speculation and uncertainty. It is not something that women should have to shield from one another, it is not contagious.

Tony and I have been so supported through our experience with losing Josiah [or Josie]. Honestly, the love from others and gracious offers to get out of the house for distractions have always been in perfect timing. Some days though . . . I really feel like everyone just wants me to get over it and move on. What's a few months to wait? I don't begrudge people this attitude, as I haven't given many people reason to think that I haven't moved on. Poker faces aren't just for winning money.

And I'm sure at some point, I will "get over it." The pain won't be as pressing. The EDD of February 21st will pass in 2011 and so many more to follow after it, and I wonder at what point I will forget? God willing, there will be another pregnancy and another child to help ease the pain, but I do say another child. Because that's what we lost, our child, someone who could have very easily looked just like Isaac or the exact opposite. Someone who may have had my blue eyes or again Tony's hazel. We didn't lose a few months.

We lost our child to miscarriage and today I remember my baby.

Tuesday's Have a Whole New Meaning

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yesterday I started a new family tradition. Since I don't feel chalk full of tradition in other senses, sometimes I just crave stability and structure. This should definitely do the trick!

Tuesdays = Meal Planning [shopping + prep] + Financial Peace University [at least one video lesson]

I'm so flipping thrilled about this! And I know that Tony absolutely loves me even more, just for coming up with it. See Tuesday is the day that our new e-mealz plan comes out of the week, so we've all ready been regularly shopping and prepping lunch items on Tuesdays, but we just couldn't quite figure out how to schedule in FPU. And then it hit me, which I have to say took me remarkably long to think of it, they are both money saving activities so why not combine them?

Viola! Tuesday nights have an identified purpose, which we will definitely schedule around from now on.

This week's e-mealz was projected to be a grand total of $46.00. We again dropped the fish meal because it included items as staples that we do not readily have available and then added our lunch and snack staples, which were:
Dried Cherries
Sliced Cheese
Grapes [or some other sort of fruit]

And in total, our whole bill for 4 dinners, lunches and snacks was . . . ::drumroll:: $46.00! We shaved off $7 from our previous shopping with lunches included. I can't tell you how much we love this and I know I talk about it a lot, so I'll just say I'm not being compensated in any way!

As a side note on accountability. Remember my Insanity posts? Remember how excited I was? Yeah, crazy Leah started doing Insanity the day after the completion of my miscarriage. Apparently I don't respect my body much, because I'm certain that I got sick due to the lack of recuperation given to my beaten up body. So I rested and tried to eat well, but man oh man, enough was enough. I started back up again this morning. Bright and early. Running is so much easier . . . I'm not quite so bushy tailed and bright eyed after these workouts, but it'll work if I work. So here's to Insanity Day 1, again.

The Weekend

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So, as I mentioned in my last post Tony and I were separated for 4 days while he trekked it up to Canadian border to go canoeing in the BWCA with a group from our church and my brother. This left me a very sad girl, but unlike similar events in the past I did not bring out the shot gun, nor did I retreat to my Mom's! I stuck it out at home and boobytrapped the house. I figured someone would make a ruckus trying to gain access to our bedroom by at least stubbing a toe or two and allow me enough time get Isaac in the closet before going for the shotgun. ::what? they always tell you to have a plan!::

I have pictures of Saturday's festivities and boy were they jam packed! First we met up with AJ and Colin at Teddybear Park in Stillwater! It's an amazing enclosed park that is pretty much intended for tots, so there are very few areas of caution.

Colin was due just a week before Isaac and was also born a week early, just like Isaac, therefore keeping there one week distance! Check out his killer blue eyes . . .

The boys had so much fun! Even if they didn't play together per se, they enjoyed themselves immensely. AJ and I got there a bit early, so it worked out perfectly to leave just as the park became more crowded, the sun intensified the heat and the boys were ready for their naps.

Isaac fell asleep in the car, so I bought a Wendy's premium salad, went to the house to grab some checks to deposit, came back to the house and kept the car running with the air on as I ate my Wendy's salad, all in effort to prolong Isaac's nap! It worked out great! Gina came over and Isaac was in the best mood!
from Gina
[Clearly Gina took these!]

Oh I love my boy so much.

Soon enough, we were ready to move onto our next event: antiquing in Anoka with Gina and my Mom! I haven't spent a lot of time antiquing, but both my Mom and I get swept up in the history of stuff, some would even call junk. :)

At the end of the month Gina will be doing some headshots and a family session for us and I knew that I wanted some cool antique cars for Isaac to play with. At our first stop I found exactly what I was looking for! That didn't stop us from meandering our way through the city though.

We ended up at Avant Garden in Anoka and stuffed ourselves on the most amazing Panini grilled bread. Holy crap. We were not prepared for how good they would be! Isaac and Gina also flirted. I love the picture of Isaac laughing, because Gina was tickling his side.

The fun didn't quite end on Saturday with Anoka either, as I met up with my friend Rachel from church. She has two sweet girls and was also a BWCA-widow for even longer than I! Her husband is a great photographer who yearly goes up to the BWCA for a week at a time to shoot with friends. I think I forsee the same for Tony and Levi . . . We visited as the kids played and had a great time getting to know each other better . . . without our husbands! Although it's fun to know that we are both secure in our marriages to act the same as we do both with and without. :)

Sunday then I attended church by myself and took some pictures of another couple from church as they dedicated their son Gavin. Of course I don't have these pictures with me though! :( I then went out to eat at the Holy Land with my parents, step brother's girlfriend and nephew. Yum, yum, yum. This is the deli at which I buy my feta for my favorite shrimp salad! $4.5/lb.

Dusty's face says it all! It was a great weekend of friends and family, even without Tony.

Again, though the day didn't end with lunch, as I packed up Isaac and met Nadia with her family to do a family session in Big Lake . . . more pictures to come.

Don't Pick a Fight You Can't Win

Monday, August 16, 2010

After 4 long days of separation, Tony came home last night! He and my brother went to the BWCA with a group from our church and from the sounds of it had a fantastic trip. We've endured times of separation before, but without the added strain of presented in this trip: no communication.

There will be more on my weekend coming up, but this post is about the bombshell dropped when Tony and I got to talk again. He no longer has a job, again. Scott, Tony's friend and business partner, spoke with his uncle who has demanded that if he is to continue allowing the money that he loaned to go without repayment that Scott has to be the only owner. With that said, Scott has told Tony that there isn't enough business for both of them to be involved full-time.

Tony was almost excited to tell me. He truly views this as a blessing in disguise. There are no guarantees that their current venture would pan out and this eradicates our tie to a substantial debt. That being said, you can imagine that I wasn't so quick to be as thrilled. When I wrote this post and in closing mentioned that while buried the dream would be close at hand and shallowly buried, it was because I still held out hope that we would be successful. I still believed that even if not with Isaac, that I would be staying home with future children.

I'm not so disillusioned now. Tony needs a job. There are no fanciful daydreams. This is reality.

Tony wanted me on board, oh he wanted nothing more than for me to offer a quick smile. I had to walk away though and retreat to the bathroom. I shed a few hot tears and raised some shouts to God, most specifically I was mad. How have we been through so much? Situations that leave people scratching their heads that we still remain positive and have survived with absolute resiliency, only to arrive here again?

I heard Isaac and Tony giggling and laughing through the door, the solid door of our remodeled bathroom in our house that truly is larger than our current needs and again dwelled on my "unstuck" blessings. Not to make you think I'm blowing rainbows and unicorns up your butt, but I was almost able to release the death grip on my despair, only I didn't want to let it go. I had a right to my sense of dejection. In my best whiny, bratty teenage inner voice I berated God, telling Him with my utmost audacity: I don't want to be resilient any more.

With this mantra in my head, comforting me in only a derogatory way, I went to bed. My sadness absolutely engulfed me. I deserved wallowing. God couldn't expect me to face this in a cheerful mood and silly smile. And even if He did, clearly I had reason not too. Tony took a hold of my hands, made me look him in the eye as he did his best to comfort me. With conviction he told me that "We will be okay." I only responded with an "Uh huh."

This morning I tried to continue my dialogue with God regarding resiliency and my frustration that it should be extracted from a terrible situation, again.

And then I got body slammed. I didn't realize God was in the wrestling business, but obviously I've missed a thing or two.

Clear as day, He spoke directly to my soul: You are resilient because I have fostered it in you by leading you through these situations.

He didn't let up from there: Who am I to be sick of resiliency, when the only reason I have strength to be resilient once again is because God's hand has clearly been on our family? He has provided for and blessed us, which is the only way we have survived to have the opportunity to rise up again from this situation. How ungrateful am I?

Woosh. You could hear the hot air leaving my head. Woosh. There went every sense of entitlement to my sour mood.

How could I have been so blind to His hand?

It will be okay, more than okay.

Stuck | Unstuck

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tony and I have this incredible feeling of being stuck right now. It's really affected our ability to see past our circumstances and embrace our blessings.

.*. We're stuck in a teeny tiny house that we never should have bought.
[We have a roof over our head that increases our chances of being close to each other.]

.*. We're stuck in work positions that either leave dissatisfaction or who's future is unknown.
[We are paying the bills, and more than that, paying down debt.]

.*. We're stuck in a process that may take months to recover from in losing Josiah, worst case.
[We have been blessed by two beautiful pregnancies and have Isaac to show for one.]

.*. We're stuck driving my Dad's old truck, which is a daily question mark.
[We have the opportunity to use a borrowed vehicle.]

.*. I'm stuck in a place regarding my photography business that makes me want to cry.
[I have not even operated my business for a full year. Patience.]

.*. I'm stuck in a place regarding my body that makes me unhappy.
[I wake up safe with all limbs operating.]

We're not exactly stuck at all.
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Anniversary Date | Merry Christmas

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tony and packed Isaac up to my in-laws for the evening last Thursday, so that we could dine in peace at Azia. Levi had given me a gift card for Christmas and with the news that Azia would soon be closing, we felt that our anniversary was just as good a time as any to use it!

We started out with some edamame, which apparently Tony had never eaten before!
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There were all sorts of questions from him, like do I eat the shell? Why don't they call them soybeans? Are they good?

Despite this face, he really liked them though.
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He uh, didn't appreciate my use of the camera after the above picture though. A swig of beer helped him get over it.
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Next up, we tried the cranberry wontons. I'd had them before and knew they were good, but again Tony was skeptical.
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Clearly, he was won over.
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We then opened our cards and I was apparently a bad wife who did not get Tony a present.
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Tony planned a weekend to coordinate with my alumni game so that we can go on a trail ride in Fairfax and then eat at a super fancy restaurant in my old college town!
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*Unfortunately he didn't see a Friday wedding on the schedule and we may need to reschedule. :(

We had some great conversations, some sad topics and all around reflection while at dinner.
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*Not staged which is why I love it so very much.

No idea what in the world we're discussing here!
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It's amazing to me how much we've changed and yet how much our love remains. As I wrote on Tony's facebook anniversary post [lol, why is that even important?] "Every year brings another adventure. :) Love holding your hand through it all, even when I don't let you hold my hand.
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All in all, a fantastic evening spent with my love. To top it off, when we picked up Isaac he did his happy toddler dance which just makes us feel like the coolest people ever! :)

I'm in a Fort, Ma

Monday, August 9, 2010

If you don't think this is the cutest thing ever, there is seriously something wrong with you. On Thursday when I went to pick up Isaac from my Mom's, she greeted me at the door with a whisper and directed me to the dining room table.

This is what I found:

Isaac was sitting in his fort [a sheet over the dining room table], reading his book with a flashlight.

Seriously. Cutest sight ever!

This Past Weekend

Friday, August 6, 2010

Last weekend Tony, Isaac and I drove down to a tiny city just outside of where I went to college to mingle with his 100 first cousins [guestimate] and celebrate his grandma's 90th birthday party. Just before we left for the 3 hour trip I had to change Isaac's diaper, so I unloaded all of the bags I'd strapped over my shoulders and went to work. After he was good to go in a clean butt, I loaded back up and waltzed out the door . . . without my camera bag! I was soooo heartbroken, you have no idea! Continuing on though, let me tell you, that Stella? She is an amazing woman. Not only did she properly raise 13 children, but she has also supported her 96 year old husband for the past decade after he suffered a stroke. The woman is completely sound in both mind and body and it is just a treat to visit with her.

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Our family was one of the first to arrive at the community center and were anxiously waiting for more people to arrive. Soon enough one of our favorite cousins came with their daughter Sydney, who is just one more older than Isaac. It's so funny that we feel that we are close in age, when realistically only Laura and I are while Tony and Johan are almost 5 years apart [Tony being older]. We don't get to spend much time with them but have so much in common and always have a good time visiting. Laura was very sweet to ask how we were doing and was very supportive of our loss, since she's been by her sister's side during a miscarriage and when her sister loss one of her twins in utero.

There had been a facebook status by Laura regarding Sea Bands, so I was slightly prepared . . . but that being said I was not prepped for her to respond to my sister in law's questioning regarding their next child with a due date in March. Nothing would have helped the situation, it just sucked to hear. To know that we would have been pregnant together, just like before. Of course I offered my congratulations, because I couldn't be happier for them! Unfortunately I think in addition to my congratulations I said a few more candid things from my hurting heart that I shouldn't of, but I hope that I was more sensitive to what I was saying than they were. Honestly, someone had to be the first to share of a due date close to Josiah's and I'm glad it was them. They are a couple who I at least can congratulate whole-heartedly and love so very much!

Isaac has never had so many sweets as he did over the weekend! At one point, during the program [did I fail to mention the talent program?], while I was desperate to have Isaac quiet I literally took a glass of watered down ginger ale pineapple punch and filled his sippy cup.

He barely came up for air.
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The rest of the weekend was so much fun! Tony and I drove around my old college town, stopping at HyVee to pick up their brand Southwestern chip dip. Ahhh, the memories. We drove past the campus and oooh'd and ahh'd at all of the improvements. We continued our drive past my old dorm building, soccer house and the apartment I spent my last two years of school living in. There were so many things that had changed, but just as many that had stayed the same. It was very soothing somehow.

Sunday morning we stopped at the little coffee shop and treated ourselves to some drinks!
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Chai for me and the strongest coffee Tony or I have ever tasted!

Isaac thought this board game of Tic Tac Toe was cute, but didn't want to do anything with it other than stack the pieces.
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Tony's shot of me that made me call and schedule a hair appointment ASAP.
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Isaac was very intrigued by this sign and was disappointed he couldn't some how be left unattended. He tried unsuccessfully to be deemed unattended by running away from us before we finally had to pack up and ask for our drinks to go because of our wild son!
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One last shot on the way out . . .
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Isaac slept the whole 3 hour trip home, but Tony and I were so exhausted that we dropped him off at my Mom's to catch a quick nap! It was the best choice we ever made. :)

Anniversary | My Truest Blessing

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I love you.
Not as I did then.

But with the fervor of 4 years of marriage. 1460 days that we've shared our thoughts, dreams, heartaches, ideals, battles and victories with each other. We were so little then, but our love had such momentum. It carried us through both great and difficult times. It also grew. Maturing and developing, our love now shows itself in many forms. I know you better than anyone else that I've ever known. It seems unreal to me that you've only been a part of my life for 5 years.

Tony, you are everything good about me. I wouldn't be myself without your strength, love or faith. We said it in our vows and I will believe it until I can reason no more, "You are my truest blessing."

Read during our ceremony by my StepDad:
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which bind them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Summer Cold

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I've been pretty laid out from a nasty summer cold. I was rocking the man voice over the weekend, but got bombed by the cough and overall "blahs" on Monday. I made it to work at 9:00am on Monday, but left early. I tried to get to be early on Monday night . . . but I kept waking up to my body's weird suppression of the cough. I can't even describe what it sounded like, but thankfully it didn't wake Isaac or Tony . . . just me. Due to this it was an extremely brutal night and I stayed home from work yesterday.

I slept off and on through out the day, but really wish I could have slept more.

I can tell I'm beyond exhausted and sick because:

a) I found the coffee pot in the fridge without any recollection of putting it there.

b) I didn't want to eat.

c) I wrote out the check at Walgreens to the dollar amount, instead of to Walgreens.

d) I text messaged my boss that I received her Mom's check, instead of Gina since I'm shooting her sister's wedding this weekend.

Yikes. I'm in work this morning. Thankfully last night was better, but I really feel like I'm going to fall over and sleep without warning.

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