Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blame them


This weeks question:
Who are the top 5 most influential people in your life? Who has helped define who you are, and why?

I have to say that I am having an unbelievably difficult time writing this post. Not because I don't have anything to say, but because there is so much to say that I can't seem to focus and figure out how to say it all. I apologize in advance if things get a bit muddled.

Hmmmm...I guess the easiest thing to do is just to list the biggest influences in my life and then see if I can come up with a coherent explanation of why I chose the people that I chose. FYI- I have decided there is no possible way that I can narrow it down to 5.

Anyway, here goes...

1. My Mom
2. My Dad
3. Ciara
4. Kevin
5. My Grandparents
6. My Brother & Sister
7. My cousin Joy

Now let's see if I can explain (I'm going to have to make it quick because I've been trying to write this for nearly an hour and now it is very late and I need to go to bed)

My parents are 100% without a doubt the most influential people in my life. They created me, and then took on the responsibility of raising me and teaching me how to navigate my way through this crazy world. They taught me everything that they could about life and then trusted me to use the information wisely. I am who I am because of who they are as people and as parents.

Ciara is another unbelievably enormous influence in my life. I know that sounds odd, because I'm supposed to be her influence, right? The truth of the matter is that I learn something new from her every single day. Becoming a parent changes everything. I want to be the very best that I can be for her.

Kevin is my best friend. He taught me what it is to Love. Over the years he has helped me to come out of my shell and taught me to believe that I am worthy of love. Our relationship teaches me more and more about myself every single day.

My Grandparents helped to raise me. There are no words to explain what I gained from having them in my life.

My siblings- if you have any yourself you understand. If you don't then I feel a little bit sorry for you. There is nothing in this world that compares to the relationship you have with your siblings. They may get on my nerves, and I may make fun of them on occassion- but NOBODY had better try to mess with either one of them unless they want to experience my wrath.

My cousin Joy...Oh goodness, how do I explain Joy? Joy is the one person in my life that brings out the crazy in me. She can get me to do things that no other human on the face of the planet could ever convince me to do. I have no clue how she does it. I guess she's just cool like that.

Ok...off to bed!



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Monday, September 29, 2008

You're too kind


Let me first make it clear that I absolutely adore you guys!
You are some of the sweetest, funniest, most creative people I've ever had the pleasure of communicating with.

That being said, as a motivational tool...y'all suck!

You're just too nice.

I need someone to be like...
"Shannon, you're such a lazy, fat ass loser. Get off your big butt and get moving. Lay off the potato chips for 5 minutes, get off the couch, and go clean your house or something. Heaven knows it could use it. And what about those goals you mentioned like a month ago...you still haven't even tried to think of any goals, have you?"

Then I can be full of righteous indignation and be all...
"Lazy, fat ass loser?! You don't even know me. How could you be so cruel to someone you've never even met? I'll show you who is a lazy, fat ass loser!"

Oh wait, it would probably be something more like this...
"I can't believe they called me a lazy fat ass loser! Even people who've never met me know that I'm a loser. I thought that I could at least be cool in a virtual world. Who am I trying to kid? I might as well just go grab that bag of Lay's Salt & Vinegar chips and go back downstairs to watch crappy reality tv and wallow in self-pity."

Hmmmm...yeah, maybe we should just forget about what I said before. You guys are so awesome! Thanks for making me feel better about myself even when I'm in the middle of beating myself up over not taking better care of myself. It's nice to know that someone understands how difficult it can be to make time for everything that needs to get done as a working Mom...and how usually taking care of ourselves falls way to the bottom of the list.

Last week I pretty much failed to even pretend to diet. I ate a ton of junk and didn't really even attempt to find time to get some exercise in.

The good news is that even with all of my bad behavior, I did apparently manage to lose rather than gain. This morning the scale says that I weigh 5.5 lbs less than I did at my initial weigh in.

I'll take that...and I'll try to make an effort to do better this week.



Sunday, September 28, 2008

Please Don't Go!

I'm not sure what's up with me lately, but I am in a terrible slump.

I feel like I should be blogging something, but when I go to start...I've got nothing.

I know that there have been several moments over the last few days when I've thought "Oh, I need to remember this moment so I can blog about it later!", but then when I get home, somehow it just doesn't seem interesting or relevant any more.

My stats are totally sucking it up right now. They've never been anything special, but I had a whopping 3 hits today. OUCH! To top it off, I lost one of my "followers". I hate to admit it, but I'm not sure who it was. I really do care about each and every one of you. I just didn't get a chance to really see who it was that thought I was special enough to follow. Please come back to me! I promise I'll be more interesting.

I'll do anything to get you back, really. Just name it and it's done.

Wait. Unless it's because of my Joey McIntyre obsession.

I know it's kind of silly and a lot of people find it pretty pathetic...but that's just not something I am willing to give up. It's been a part of me for nearly 20 years, and as much as I love the blogosphere, well I'm really sorry but I just can't. So if that's what drove you away I guess as much as it pains me, I'll just have to get over this hurtful little breakup of ours.

To the rest of my faithful 15...Thanks for sticking with me! I love you all to pieces. Please don't leave me. I know I've been a little boring lately, but I promise I'm trying really hard to find some inspiration. If you find yourself feeling excited about some other blog and you start to wonder if you have time for both of us...please tell me what I can do to fix our relationship before you up and leave me. I mean, no relationship is perfect, right? The secret to success is open and honest communication...so really, if you're not feeling satisfied, go ahead and let me have it!

Alright, I'm feeling a bit better now that I've got that off my chest. I'm going to go to bed and try really hard to think of something brilliant to write tomorrow.


Love to my remaining peeps!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meeting Joe Mac

I've been experiencing a bit of writer's block lately...hence the lack of posts.

Today I have been filling in for my boss in the office at work and I've had very little to keep me occupied. I've been trying not to be a total slacker, and actually do work related things...but there's only so much that I can do. So anyway, as I'm sure you can all understand, I eventually turned to blog surfing.


As I was surfing through the new posts on my blogroll, I came across this post by McMommy and was inspired to finally tell my own story. I have mentioned the experience a few times in past posts, but I've never actually told the whole story of what happened. (Huh, come to think of it, I'm not sure that I've ever told the whole story to ANYONE up until now)



So here it is... the story of how Joe McIntyre had to get his posse to tell me to bug off...in all it's humiliating glory.


If you are one of my 3 regular readers, you obviously already know that I was a big fan of New Kids in my youth. I went to several concerts in my teens, and continued to be a fan right up until the end (Ok, well obviously not the end since they have now reunited, but whatever).
I was a freshman in college when Face The Music came out. I probably wouldn't have gone out to purchase the CD myself, but my Mom sent it to me in a care package and I did listen to it a couple of times. I still thought Joe was the hottest guy on the planet.

I didn't really pay a lot of attention to what was going on with them at that point, and didn't take much notice of the break up. I met my husband not that long after and had plenty of other things to keep my mind occupied.



Then in 1999 I discovered that Joe was releasing Stay the Same. Again, I am pretty sure that my Mom sent me the video or something along those lines. However it was that I found out, I was instantly sucked right back into lusting after him with everything I had in me (much to poor Kevin's dismay).


I found a bbs dedicated to all of the other maniacs like me out there through his website, and was soon spending hours and hours chatting about all things Joe with them. That is where I met my accomplice.


In May 0f 2001 Meet Joe Mac was released. When I learned that Joe was coming to the area for an in store appearance, my "friend" and I decided that we absolutely had to be there. She lived a few hours away in downstate Illinois, but was more than willing to make the drive up here to have the opportunity to actually "Meet Joe Mac". We had never even met each other. Our only contact had been online, and maybe we had a phone conversation or two.


We assured each other that neither one of us was a psycho (except in regards to Mr. McIntyre of course), and made the plans for her to come stay the night at our apartment so that we could go to the CD signing together.


The day of the signing arrived, and we were both giddy with anticipation. We arrived at the mall where the record store was located several hours early and got in line to receive our official numbers. We spent the next few hours wandering aimlessly through the mall, and chatting with fellow fans until the store told us that we were allowed to begin lining up.

The line was huge. It snaked all through the store and out into the hallway. We were somewhere in the middle. Everyone was given a yellow sticky note and told to write their first name on it, and have the CD insert opened to the page we wanted him to sign in order to help speed the process along. (Not that it really worked)

The wait seemed to last forever. Of course, all of the waiting left me with
way too much time to think about what I wanted to say to him when we finally came face to face. Such a terrible idea!

I've never really been one to become starstruck. As far as I am concerned, people are people no matter how famous they may be. Why should I feel all nervous and goofy just because a lot of people happen to know who this one particular person is? Really, I'm totally calm and collected, and
normal... unless of course that person happens to be Joey McIntyre.

I really thought that I was going to be fine. I mean, he's just a man, right? Just because I spent years of my life fantasizing about how fabulous our lives were going to be once our paths crossed and he fell hopelessly in love with me...that's no reason to think that I would behave in anything but the most dignified manner...right?

Yeah, that's what I
thought.

The reality of this little tale is that I finally made it to the front of the line, and saw this...


(look at that freaking arm...seriously, I could just melt right here and now just looking at that bicep)

and then he looked at me kinda like this...


(alright, he may look a bit daft in this picture, but I'm sure he was just trying to be polite and pay attention to what this girl was saying to him)

and smiled sort of like this (except better) with those AMAZING blue eyes...


and my brain turned to complete mush.

He signed my CD liner


and my friend took this picture...


(my only proof that I was ever this close to him...and I'm totally cut off)

Then as I was walking away I realized that this was probably my one and only chance to actually speak to this man. I knew that I needed to say something fairly normal. I didn't want to scream or cry, or gush on and on about how much I love him...he gets that garbage all of the time, and come on, I am just way better than that.

So this was it, my one chance for him to see how cool and brilliant I am and it was slipping away. I was down to mere seconds before someone would come and push me along to keep the line moving and I knew I had to come up with something amazing to say.

So what did my brilliant mind come up with?


"Thanks for keeping it real Joe"

Seriously. THAT'S what I said to him.

Brilliant right? Totally normal and not at all dorky.

(Please stop snickering)

Everything after that is sort of hazy.

I'm sure that we must have waited around for a bit, because I know that we were there to hear that he was going to be leaving. I remember walking out into the parking lot and seeing that his limo was right there...VERY close to where my car was parked. I remember seeing several other girls run to their cars to start following and thinking that it seemed like a good idea. I'd heard so many stories from other people on the bbs about how they met up with him and he was so cool and would just hang out and talk. So why not me?

I really wasn't trying to behave like a psycho...I just thought that we would follow the limo and see where he went. I wasn't going to harm anyone or drive dangerously or anything like that. I swear!

Anyway, I ended up being the first or second car in line behind his as we were waiting at a traffic light to get out of the mall. It is possible that I cut a car or two off slightly in order to make a light and not lose him...but I swear, it wasn't anything terrible. I wasn't even really speeding.

Shortly after leaving the mall, the limo pulled into a parking lot and brilliant girl that I am, I pulled in after it. I parked in a parking spot and my friend and I just sat there. Then the door to the limo opened, and a stocky gentleman got out and walked over to my window...and very calmly and politely (though very sternly) asked me to please give his client some space.

I apologized profusely for my behavior and promised to leave him alone. Then I put my car back in drive and got the heck out of dodge.

My friend and I made the mutual decision to keep the story of this little adventure to ourselves. I really didn't think that I was ever going to figure out how to stop blushing with shame.

I have never felt more like an idiot in my life. Well, except for maybe the time not that long after this story happened that my sister and I got in a fist fight in front of my entire family and I called her some very rude words right in front of my Grandmom. That may have been worse.

Not by much though.

I hope that I haven't lost whatever respect I may have had before telling this sordid tale...or any of the few faithful readers I may have had.

You still like me, right?





Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday musings

Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts regarding my week from hell.

I am happy to report that so far this week is looking
much brighter!

I feel like I haven't posted in about a million years. I'm not sure if it was all of the garbage that I dealt with last week, or just a general case of the blahs, but I just haven't been feeling remotely inspired for the last several days.

I think it's time for me to get back in the swing of things.

First off, I have some business to attend to...


So, I totally forgot to weigh in this morning. I guess I'll have to do it tomorrow and let you know the results later. Please feel free to give me a virtual slap on the wrist.

* Update...
Looks like I gained 2 of the 4 lbs I lost last week back. (Picture me giving my scale a big raspberry)

Things went
ok last week. I did a much better job with my water consumption! I also managed to cut way back on snacking after work. Those are my two biggest obstacles...so, YAY me!
I didn't do so great with the whole exercise thing though. I worked about a gazillion hours last week, and I just couldn't find the energy to try to get back off my big ol' butt once I got home.

However, I did go for another long walk on Saturday afternoon. This time I went alone. Well, I had my trusty camera at my side of course, but other than that. I think I probably walked somewhere between 2-3 miles when all was said and done. (Hopefully those miles will show up as lost pounds on my scale in the morning!)

This time I did a little experimenting with black & white, and lighting. It was late afternoon when I was walking and there was a lot of cool stuff going on with the sun and shadows. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day...

This one isn't anything terribly exciting, they just have about a million of these signs posted all over the trail. This one was right at the beginning of my walk and I wanted to see how it would look in b&w.

This next one I took both in color and b&w. These trees struck me as sort of beautiful and haunting as I was walking past them. Looking at the photo freaks me out a bit because I feel like it has a bit of an optical illusion thing happening. The way the trees all bend almost at the same point sort of gives the illusion that the bottom half is a reflection or something. Is it just me, or do you see it too? I don't know, my eyes just have a difficult time taking in the whole picture I think.
These flowers were just full of bees, so I thought I'd see what I could capture with the camera. It was difficult because I couldn't see the screen due to the glare from the sun. I tried to look through the view finder, but since I had it zoomed in, I couldn't really tell what I was taking a picture of. I thought this one came out sort of nice in spite of all of that.
I really liked the way the sun was filtering through the trees in this one spot. I wasn't able to capture it quite as well as I had hoped to...but I guess it's ok.

I know that I had some random thoughts that I was going to write about, but I can't for the life of me remember what they were at the moment. Plus it's almost midnight and I should really get some sleep. I've got a long day tomorrow.

Love to my peeps!



Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not my week

I'm not sure what I did to deserve all the bad Karma, but I swear I'm doing my very best to reverse it! It's terrible. It's not just me either, it's like everyone who is even associated with me is getting totally screwed this week!

First there was all of the stuff that my friend from work has had to deal with.

Then Ciara went and smashed her face against the door frame (the bruise is looking mighty pretty right now, btw).

We had the one good night with Ciara making it through the night without an accident...but it's been completely mixed results since then.

Tuesday I was outside on the playground with the kids and when we came back into the classroom I noticed that my chin was feeling a bit odd. It didn't hurt and it wasn't really itchy...it was more like a tingly sensation. I touched my chin to see if I could feel anything and discovered a small, pimple like bump. In the 2 seconds it took me to look in the mirror, the bump had taken over my entire chin. I have no idea what bit/stung me, but whatever it was, I'm definitely allergic to it. I took some children's benadryl (the only option available at the time) and hoped that I wasn't going to need to take a trip to the ER (especially since there was no one around to cover the class I was in). My chin got all hard and red, my entire face felt sort of tight and strange, and I had a light-headed head achy feeling for about an hour. Then just as quickly as it started, most of the symptoms disappeared. The only thing that took a while to go away was a bizarre tingling sensation in my lips. I took some more benadryl that night when I got home, and by the next morning you couldn't even tell that anything had happened. BIZARRE!

Last night as I was just about to fall asleep I heard an all-mighty crash come from my daughters room, followed by the faint sounds of crying. When I got to her room she was lying on her bed crying hysterically (though quietly), but couldn't tell me what had happened. I think that she stood up while still half asleep and tried to straighten out her blanket, and then fell and bumped her head on the wall. I couldn't find any signs of injury and she fell back to sleep almost instantly once I got her to stop crying. I was a tad worried that she had given herself a concussion...but since she seemed to be ok, I ended up just going to bed.

I woke up this morning with a lovely Migraine. Ciara threw an hour long hissy fit because I told her she needed to wear shorts instead of a dress because she had her gymnastics class today. Took some excedrin and managed to get Ciara dressed and in the car.

Just before my boss was getting ready to head off to the airport to go visit her father and new baby brother (& basically leave me in charge for the next 2 1/2 days), she got a phone call that her Grandmother had passed away. Now she's still taking the next 2 1/2 days off, but will not be travelling and will instead spend the time mourning with her family.

I was left in charge of setting up our staff ice cream social today. I went to retrieve an ice cream scoop and in the process managed to have a glass baking dish fall from a substantial height directly onto my spine. There's no bruise, but it hurts like a MF...and seems to be getting worse as the day progresses.

I also had the pleasure of signing at least 3 accident reports today. 1 scraped knee (not so bad), 1 bite (ugh), and 1 case of a child getting sand thrown in his eyes by another child (crap!). Fortunately all of the parents seemed to deal ok...though I didn't get to see the parents of the child with the sand. I guess we'll see how that turns out tomorrow.

Oh, and then tonight I was talking to my sister on the phone and learned that a close relative is dealing with some seriously fucked up shit right now. I don't feel comfortable getting specific, but it is truly awful.

Seriously- what the hell?!



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

WWWAT- Beginnings and Endings




This summer I became fascinated by photography and began experimenting with my camera. I loved the vibrant colors of the flowers in my back yard and they became a frequent subject of my experiments. When I heard that the latest WWWAT topic was going to be beginnings and endings, these photos immediately came to mind.
I am tired and doped up on Benadryl at the moment, so I'm just going to let the photos speak for themselves.







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Please visit Rachel @ American Mum for more WWWAT fun!




Looking up

Woo Hoo! Ciara woke up DRY!

Let's hope the trend continues.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Rough Day


Top 5 reasons that today sucked...

1. After 2 days of steady rain the remnants of Hurricane Ike swept through over the weekend causing substantial flooding throughout the entire metro area. (Though I'll take this over what the people in Texas are dealing with any day)

2. I decided that yesterday was a great day to try to get Ciara completely out of pull-ups. She ended up having an accident sometime around 12:30 am. After cleaning her up and getting her back to bed I ended up having a long, intense conversation with my husband...causing me to wake up this morning with puffy, swollen eyes and feeling like death warmed over.

3. While I was working in Ciara's class this morning I had the
pleasure (read that as dripping with sarcasm) of watching my child trip and fall face first into the corner of a door frame.



4. Shortly after Ciara's fall I got to take a phone call from my friend and coworker (Ciara's teacher and my former co-teacher) in which she informed me that she fell over the weekend and broke her tailbone. The poor girl just can't catch a break. She fell and injured her back several months ago and then had to have surgery to repair the damage and on top of that both of her Grandmothers have passed away in the last 5 months. She recently began having issues with her ankle and was told that she needed to have surgery to repair torn ligaments. Her surgery was scheduled for last Thursday morning. On Wednesday morning her Grandfather passed away. She elected to go through with the surgery on Thursday and then on Friday afternoon while still recovering from said surgery, she attended the wake for her Grandfather. Saturday she was going to the doctor when she fell. I sure hope that this marks the end of her horrible streak of bad luck.

5. After 9 1/2 long hours at school/work, I asked Ciara to use the facilities before getting in the car to go home. I glanced over at her as she was preparing to sit on the potty and discovered this...


She's not sure how it happened. I know it wasn't there when I gave her a bath last night. I'm assuming that it happened when she fell this morning and she was so distracted by the pain in her cheek that she didn't even notice that she'd hurt her hip as well.

Loving life.


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A bit of success


Wow! I can't believe it! According to my scale I weigh a full 4 lbs less than I did at this time last week!

I full expected to be hanging my head in shame this morning. 2 days ago when I last stepped on the scale I was up 3 lbs from my initial weigh in. Granted, it was a totally random time of day- but still.

I did
ok with sticking to my goals at the beginning of the week, but by Friday my plan was pretty much shot. I at least have continued to think about every piece of food that I put in my mouth though.

I have to make this quick because I need to get ready for work and get Ciara up and ready as well, but here's a quick rundown.

Exercise- Ciara and I went for our really long walk (1 1/2 hours). It was more of a saunter, so I definitely can't classify it as cardio...but at least I was up and moving instead of sitting around watching tv.
The next day I got a workout by moving books and furniture around at work. I was definitely using my muscles, and I was sweating by the time I was finished. Heartrate went up for sure.
I never did use OnDemand for a workout. Gonna have to attempt that this week.

Food intake- Better than usual, but not good. I did however refrain from buying a bunch of junk at the grocery store yesterday. I've been trying to eat breakfast every morning- just something light like a banana or a bowl of cereal. Still struggling with snacking after work. I really need to work on finding ways to occupy myself besides watching tv. Need to reduce soda consumption as well.

Water- MUCH better!...well, at least for a few days. At least now I feel like it's possible.

This week's goals-
1. At least 2 workouts
2. Make an actual meal (rather than convenience food such as frozen pizza) for dinner at least 4 out of 7 days
3. Drink at least one 32 oz bottle of water every day
4. Shave off another 2 lbs from current weight
5. Make list of rewards for reaching mini-goals

Ok, seriously have to get dressed or I will be late! Good luck everyone!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina Fey + Amy Poehler = Pee my pants funny




'nuff said.


"We hope you get your ring this year"

Yesterday Ciara and Kevin went into Chicago to go shopping with a friend.
While shopping at the Apple Store they had a little brush with celebrity.

Just in case you're like me and you don't pay any attention to sports...
that would be Ken Griffey Jr.

Shortly after this photo was taken, Ciara apparently tried to plow the poor man over.

Fortunately he thought it was funny.




Friday, September 12, 2008

What's in a name?




What Shannon Means



S is for Sensual



H is for Handy



A is for Astounding



N is for Neglected



N is for Nerdy



O is for Outgoing



N is for Nice


What Does Your Name Mean?

Seems crazy that some random word generator could know me, but most of that actually seems pretty dead on (Even the damn computer thinks I'm nice!). Who'd a thunk it?




Thursday, September 11, 2008

In remembrance

of all those who perished unnecessarily 7 years ago today.

You are not forgotten.

I thought of you today as I laughed with my daughter and saw the sparkle of innocence in her eyes.

I hugged her extra tight today as I remembered the unbelievable terror of that morning.

I was thankful today for the health and safety of all of those I hold dear, and my heart ached for those who must still grieve for the loss of their loved ones.

You will live on in our hearts and memories always.

Rest in Peace


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Walk to Remember

Today the daycare gods smiled down on me and I was actually able to leave work early. I decided to make good use of the extra time and spend it with my beautiful little girl.

Just across the street from where we live is a huge nature preserve. I've been meaning to take my camera out and experiment. The weather was absolutely glorious today and it seemed like the perfect time to go out and enjoy it for once, so Ciara and I decided to go and take a walk. I really had no idea what a lovely time we were going to have.

We set out...Me with camera in hand, Ciara clutching Lamby in one hand and a baggie full of goldfish in the other...or sometimes both in one hand.

We held hands as we walked down the street together and chatted about nothing in particular.
Then we crossed the street and stepped onto the bike path that runs through the forest preserve. It couldn't have been more beautiful. The sun was shining in a stunningly blue sky filled with puffy cotton candy clouds, birds were singing, insects were chirping peacefully to each other, the smell of fresh cut grass and flowers hung in the air...it was everything you could ever hope that it would be.


At one point along the path we came across a sweet little bench set off to the side. I insisted that Ciara sit and allow me to take her picture. She was reluctant, but I really wanted to capture the memory of the afternoon, so I begged and begged until she gave in.

Shortly after that we came around a bend in the path and I noticed a large spray of gorgeous yellow flowers in the distance. As I stopped to take a picture, Ciara and I suddenly saw a butterfly take flight out of the flowers near by. At first I thought that it was already gone, but we decided to backtrack for a moment and see if we could find it. I was so excited when I saw it sitting quietly on a flower. I was so scared that it was going to fly away again before I could capture its beauty. Then I was unbelievably annoyed when the glare from the sun made it impossible for me to see if I had the camera pointed at the right spot. Fortunately, I did actually manage to catch it.

We continued walking along, just enjoying the stunning afternoon and the good company. We would pause here and there to take in a particularly lovely sight before walking on.

I kept asking Ciara how she was doing, because we had been walking for quite some time at this point. She assured me that she was fine and that she wanted to keep going. I was hesitant because I understood that we were going to have to walk just as far to return home even though she didn't.
Then as we were walking I heard an unexpected sound...a rooster's crow. Ciara was delighted and wanted desperately to go and find the rooster.
The other day as we were driving home from someplace I had noticed a bunch of chickens in a yard just on the other side of the woods we were currently walking through. I knew if we continued on the path we would reach the road that the house is on and be able to walk past it while heading home. There are no sidewalks on this particular road, but I was willing to take the risk to see my daughter's face light up with that amazing smile of hers.

It was a tad nerve wracking walking along the side of the road with her. Fortunately there isn't a whole lot of traffic on that road, so it wasn't so bad. It was a little bit sad to see all of the junk and litter on the side of the road though. Not only did we find this lovely little gem
but there were also some old tires just laying around a few hundred feet away from there.

Still, the beauty of the day remained intact...
and we found the chickens and the rooster.
By this time Ciara and I were both fairly tired and ready to get home again. She was starting to get hungry and cranky, and I just couldn't wait to be able to walk on a sidewalk again.
Once we made it to the sidewalk we knew that we were nearly home and we started to relax and get back to enjoying ourselves.

We watched 2 squirrels chasing each other around
Ciara got to be "the Leader"
We saw the moon hanging in the sky
and watched a group of birds at play

It really was an afternoon to remember. There was absolutely nothing extraordinary about the walk itself. It was just really nice to spend some honest to goodness quality time in the company of my extraordinary little girl. It was a lovely reminder of the things that are truly important in life.

I think that I needed that.