Mayberry? No, just Roswell

Most people who read this live within a 5 mile radius of me. But for those few who are a bit farther, I must preface my comments with a little explanation.

As my sister puts it, people in Atlanta are the biggest "panickers". We once had school cancelled because they THOUGHT it was going to snow. It never did.

This week's month's panic involves gasoline. Here in Atlanta we are definately a commuter town. We drive everywhere. But now we have to look at this...photo Mark Humphry AP

There is an issue with pipelines, hurricanes, state emission regulations. Bottom line, shortage=panic. People will wait up to 2 hours and pay premium prices to get gas. The search for gas permeates conversations, facebook status and dreams. It is on the news and the radio, and since CNN is based here, the national news sometimes.

Really, it sucks. It is an uneasy feeling when you live in an area dependent on cars. It is amazing how many things we I have taken for granted.

But, there is a silver lining. Saturday, we took the two young ones and walked for our weekend splurge coffee. Tonight on my way home from my 2nd to last carpool run the sidewalks were full! Families walking up to the grocery store, people on bikes. It almost feels like Mayberry. Rhett takes the train more for his 26 mile commute to work, and has read 3 books!

We are all looking at our travel habits and actually changing. Small steps... all it takes are a few small steps... by a LOT of people.

The inner hippie in me is coming out.


civic duty completed

So I have completed my civic duty. Jury duty is over. I spent a long day sitting in a big room. 24 people and I were chosen as potential jurors but never made it to voir dire.

I can just see the attorney now, "There are 25 really tired and cranky people up there who have been sitting in uncomfortable Naugahyde chairs since 8 am. Let's settle this now, because you don't want me dragging their tired asses down here at 3:30." I assume that this plea was successful and that the case was pleaded out. At 3:30 the 25 of us were the last to be dismissed.

Here are the top ten FIVE things I have learned about life and about jury duty:

1. Take that lesson you have learned from special ed and KNOW WHEN TO ENGAGE and when NOT TO! This can be very important when the belching, personal space invading, woman(?) sits next to you and tries to explain the economic crisis to you by reading the subtitles aloud for everything on CNN...all morning long.

2. In Fulton County you are no longer needed for jury service if you are 70 or older. You can be president, but you are not qualified to sit in a big room with 300 people. I say, let's fill the room with retiree's-- they have lots of wisdom and lots of time. And, in my dad's case, lots of opinions--ilyt!

3. Suggest to your lawyer friends that they really need to install a mini cam in the waiting room. Who needs voir dire when you can see/hear what people are really like.

4. Everyone else's life is way more important than yours. They will not stop talking about how important they are and how much this is wasting "their" precious time. You and the 298 other people in the room can sit there...

5. I would suggest that lawyers examine the items potential jurors bring with them-- who comes to jury duty sit in a big room WITH ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?? No book? Newspaper? Crackberry? Comic book? Is this the person you want deciding your fate? You know you are going to have to sit there for a long time... come prepared.

I should really sit here and work on 5 more, but Rhett has gone to bed and thinks I am placing my blog before him...

My lesson for the day, I am glad that I answered the call. As I was headed out to lunch the bells were ringing at the Shrine. Who else gets such a personal invitation to Mass? It was nice, a much better way to spend 1/2 my lunch break. I don't get to daily Mass much now that I am working.

I had forgotten it was the feast day of the Archangels. Even better.

St. Michael, pray for us!

Off to bed!


100 things about me for my 100th post!!!

100 things about me

1. I have 3 younger sisters

2. We are all named Mary…. Simply because someone told my dad he couldn’t do that…

3. I get my stubbornness from my dad

4. I went to 7 different schools by 8th grade, we moved a lot

5. In 1st grade (the first half), I went to Catholic school. My teacher’s name was Sr. Joyce and all the kids were mean to me because they thought we were related.

6. In my second half of 1st grade I went to public school in KC. In Kansas we were not allowed to use erasers EVER. I cried every time I thought I made a mistake.

7. I would continue to quietly cry about things in school until 6th grade when I started to cry when I didn’t know the answer to a math question. Sr. Celestine reamed me out in front of the class for being a crybaby and told me never to shed a tear in school again.

8. I never cried in class again.

9. Some people may harbor anger over something like that. I chose Celestine as my confirmation name—guess I wasn’t damaged too much.

10. In 3rd grade I was bullied by a girl named Maria. She made fun of me because I couldn’t shake my fingers and make some weird sound. Daniel came home doing it last spring – the older ones were annoyed because they said it mimicked shaking down a can of Skoal—they can all do it and I still can’t.

11. I considered my best friend in KC the weirdest girl I knew because she ate ketchup on her eggs and liked to fart in her sleeping bag and then hide in there and smell it.

12. I learned to love the Spanish language after I was assigned to be a “buddy” to a young girl who moved to KC from Bogota in 1st grade. I was her ESOL. We would remain great friends for a long time

13. Years later we would both have dads who transferred us to Atlanta. I think she is still here. I should look her up.

14. I love watching “How it’s Made” on the Discovery Channel because it reminds me of the factory visits on Mr. Rogers. That was my favorite part of the show.

15. I was secretly excited to watch Mr. Rogers with my daughter because they were running reruns from 1971 in 1990, and it was like being 6 all over again.
16. I lived in KC for almost 3 years and I never remember it snowing or being cold, I only remember hot.

17. One of my happiest memories of childhood is sitting on the top of the toilet tank watching my dad shave in the morning.

18. I was an outspoken bull-headed high school girl who ranted and raved about women’s equality in the workplace and then I stayed home for 18 years with my kids—and pouted miserably when I went back to work.

19. I was “Sweet 16 and never been kissed”.

20. I have a horrible potty mouth and am way to comfortable dropping the f bomb.

21. When I moved to Atlanta I couldn’t understand a southern accent, including Jimmy Carter’s…now I don’t ever hear it.

22. My first job other than babysitting was scooping ice-cream.

23. I managed the Pub on campus in college. We were only allowed to serve beer and wine coolers because we were within 100 ft of an elementary school.

24. I was a little sister to 2 different fraternities in college – and not because I slept my way in.

25. I once told a joke that was so funny my friend fell on her face from a standing position (OK, other things may have contributed)

26. My second half of 4th grade was in a split class. I can’t remember if it was 3rd/4th or 4th/5th. I don’t remember anything about that school other than both my friend and I had a crush on Michael Landon.

27. I love to read and spent many Saturdays reading 2 or 3 Nancy Drew mysteries in a row when I was 10 – 12.

28. Bit-o-Honeys remind me of my grandpa who used to keep them in his desk drawer in the basement. He would always sneak me one.

29. I made 2 First Communions – one in KC where we lived and one in Detroit where the family was. I don’t thing my grandparents knew about the first one. I got to wear my dress twice!

30. Despite many years in Catholic school, I still can’t remember the Act of Contrition and get nervous before confession every time.

31. Nothing but a chain link fence separated my house from my school when we lived in KC. We used to climb under the fence to play on the playground.

32. When we lived in Farmington, we had a babysitter that was very heavy. We loved her so we would lie and tell my mom that we ate all the chips and ice-cream so that she wouldn’t get in trouble.

33. I hate Star Trek.

34. I bought a stick-shift in college just so people wouldn’t borrow my car.

35. I am sort of known as the “worst case scenario” person, I don’t think of it as anxiety I just think it is being ready for any situation.

36. In high school I participated as a native speaker in Spanish oration contests and won, even though I am not Hispanic.

37. My bedroom in our apartment my last year in college was actually a sun porch—an un-insulated window-filled sun porch. I coughed through most of my senior year.

38. My friends and I were charter members to our sorority just so we didn’t have to go through rush.

39. I worked in CBD in New Orleans in college and used to walk 5 blocks to the street car ALONE with a ball point in may hand for self defense because I was too shy to ask people for a ride home.

40. For my senior vocation project in high school, all my friends had cool “jobs” like working for radio stations and ambulance services. I worked with a nun in Hispanic Catholic Social Services.

41. I went to speech therapy for 3 years because I could not correctly make the soft “g” “j” or “ch” sound. My maiden name starts with J and I am still self conscious if people ask me to say it loudly in front of them.

42. I loved swimming, and got up at 5 am to go to swim practice before school because our school didn’t have access to a pool. I did this just for HS swimming—never swam year round.

43. My car pool hated me and used to make me walk to the front of our neighborhood (in winter) to meet them – just to be mean. It was the only way to get there so I walked – if my mom didn’t drive me 10 houses down the street.

44. I ended up going to college with some of the guys from my carpool and they still didn’t like me. I still don’t know why.
45. I tore ligaments in my ankle twice in high school, both times by falling down like a spaz I am still a little afraid to wear high wedge heels in case my ankle will turn.

46. I was flashed 3 times my freshman year in college – and I would end up punching my nearest guy friend in frustration just because they had the “equipment”.

47. My second date with my future husband was going to the zoo on a Sunday afternoon. My room mates followed us the whole afternoon with a camera playing spy because they had nothing better to do that day.

48. We never saw them.

49. We got engaged after 9 months of dating. My first answer was “Yes!”…. then “I don’t know, I have to pray on it…. “And I did. Good thing, 20 years later I am still glad I said yes.

50. Unfortunately, Rhett’s grandfather passed away a few days after he proposed. When distant cousins asked who I was, Rhett answered honestly. His sister always chided us for “announcing” our engagement at a funeral.

51. We forgot to choose a wedding song, so the wedding band chose for us…”Cherish” by the Commodores is forever “our song”.

52. My first piece of wedding advice to young couples is to choose a song first!

53. As newlyweds we left a cat at my folks’ house saying we didn’t want to pay a pet deposit but adopted a dog 5 months later. The cat stayed with them. My mom hated cats.

54. I have peed in a parking lot in a bridesmaid dress --- not my most stellar moment.

55. My husband I made a vow NOT to play Pictionary in order to maintain a happy marriage – haven’t played game one in 21 years! (Let’s just say architects and spazzes are not good matches when drawing)

56. My dream house is the Incredible Family’s house.

57. I have a degree in history and know little about European history because I just never cared about it. I have a family that is addicted to the Renaissance Festivals and they are always asking me questions I can’t answer.

58. I am rarely wrong and seldom admit it if I am.

59. I went out drinking 50% of the days during my freshman year in college and I got a 4.0—I wish I could reconnect to that inner intellectual (not the inner drunk).
60. We got pregnant early in our marriage and were both very upset-- it was too early. Then we had a miscarriage and we were so devastated that we got pregnant with Claire 3 months later (Not by mistake!)

61. I hate being late and used to be very impatient when things/people were late. God has put lots of opportunities to perfect this flaw and practice patience--- lots---- and I am now late on bills more than I should be …

62. Sometimes when I get really angry tears come out, I am not really crying, but the fact that it looks like I am crying makes me even angrier and it becomes a vicious cycle.

63. I have always hated brussel sprouts. So much so, that when forced to eat them as a kid I would cut them up in ¼‘s and swallow them whole. My kids do not have to eat brussel sprouts.

64. Chicken pot pies and the smell of Shalimar will always make me think that a babysitter is coming.

65. In college when I was working at Saks and very homesick I followed a woman around the store because she was wearing Shalimar and it reminded me of my mom.

66. I shamelessly quote lines from movies in any situation; especially when the conversation hits a dead spot.

67. I wish I had travelled more when I was young, but wouldn’t trade the alternative (Rhett and kids) for anything.

68. I am personally responsible for my sister Sheilah hating Chinese food because I force fed her nasty bean sprouts from an “a la Choy” dinner when babysitting.

69. I never learned my 12 times tables, I think I moved before we got to them.

70. I am birthday challenged. It is horrible. I don’t want to be, I have gotten all kinds of organizers and electronic reminders to change that, and still I forget. The best is when I buy a card a week ahead of time and still don’t send it. If you are my friend, know that I do think of you on your birthday, I am just incapable of letting you know in a timely fashion.

71. We once spent a weekend reunion with our college friends where we did nothing but play UNO, drink a few beers and occasionally feed the kids. Two days straight of

72. I love to refinish furniture.

73. I love NBC t.v. and can’t wait for the new season.

74. I also love the Desperate Housewives of ______ series on Bravo. Sad, but true. The jury is still out on the new Atlanta series.

75. I used to be able to ride a unicycle. I bet I still can.

76. I am a Martha Stewart addict; you wouldn’t know it by my house.

77. I love flowers, and HATE working in the garden.

78. I wear my extended wear contacts WAY too long.

79. I am 100% Irish American.

80. I love to knit, but I can only knit rectangles.

81. When I was 12 I was on a “water ballet” team, and we performed in front of an audience an entire show to the Grease soundtrack.

82. I love IKEA.

83. I HATE matching socks, I have tried every trick in the book to make it easier and I still end up with a basket full of mismatched socks.

84. I love the smell of Downy.

85. When I retire I am going to take advantage of those programs that let seniors audit college classes for free and I am going to go to college until I die.

86. I have never watched an episode of Little House on the Prairie with out crying, even at 11.

87. I work as an assistant in the special ed program in our local high school and love it.

88. I went to school in NOLA and consider it my second home! Red beans and rice, Barqs, Dixie, mufalettas, Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest

89. I am a movie junkie, sometimes the stupider the better!

90. I love to cook and my kids hate to eat anything beyond the 10-12 meals they are used to .

91. I really don’t like to argue….

92. I have watched all 3 Lord of the Rings-Extended versions in one sitting, THREE times!

93. I am a giant goober.

94. I am an active happy practicing Catholic.

95. I have 4 kids that I love dearly.

96. I have one husband that I love even more.

97. I am an uncoordinated spaz for the most part. The best part is that I trip, but I never fall.

98. I am a fountain of useless knowledge, sometimes called She Who Knows Everything.

99. I got to see sea turtles hatch and begin their journey to the sea.

100. This was the hardest thing I have done in a long time, but I am glad that I did.

missing days

Well it is Friday! Yea, means a little bit more to me now that I am working, not much though. I have been called for jury duty next week. I used to like jury duty. It was a quiet day with out kids where I was free to read whatever pleased me. Now it is just a giant pain in the butt. You know last year my kids had almost perfect attendance. Daniel missed 1/2 day!! This year, when I have to get a sub and only get so many sick days...another story. Thanks to my parents and my sweet hubby we have weathered through the "almost" whooping cough (3 days out) and the pneumonia/strep (5 days out). Luckily I have only used 3 sick days, but now I am out again. How to win friends in a new job ---be the one that is never there.

Oh well. I should stop my bitchin because I really like what I do and it helps cover tuition. There are so many people out of work these days (20 more at Rhett's old office -- 20%!!) Basically, I am blessed beyond measure. Let's just hope I don't get picked to serve. Do you think I can look HYPER OPINIONATED?


PROJECT performs

Ok. So I got so excited about the earlier post and made Sean, my first base player, watch them. This is what he countered with. These guys stopped by our high school orchestra class today to give a mini performance just for our kids. I guess it helps to have a director that is well connected.

I am all about making music interesting and accessible to all kids. Music feeds the mind and soul.

Nuttin But Stringz Top 5 Performance

It's no secret that this family is made up of a bunch of "orch dorks". We have 2 violinists and 2 bass players. One of the best things I ever did is to encourage Claire to look outside classical and really have fun with her instrument. This led Irish fiddle and a totally rockin' band. I saw this group while flipping channels. I am not really into reality shows and actually have never seen this particular one but these guys jumped out at me from the tv.

Totally awesome! The young men are amazing.


Fashion wars

I found a new contest! The Parent Bloggers Network Blog Blast - Mix 'n Match, Pop 'n Swap - where the Parent Bloggers are giving away a $250 Visa Gift Card and a Polly Pocket Mix'n Match Pop'n Swap just for writing about your kids' crazy wardrobe choices!

I have one girl and three boys. Boys, generally don't put much thought into wardrobe choices. Clean or dirty? Doesn't matter until puberty, when they will occasionally sniff a shirt before pulling it out of a pile and putting it on 5 minutes before the bus comes. I have a son who would wear the same pair of shorts EVERY day if I let him (and NO, it's not part of an official uniform).

Girls are another matter. When I was new to this parenting thing, I was much more controlling about wardrobe choices. One big argument hissy fit my sweetie threw involved wearing a Christmas sweater in May. I remember it vividly. I was actually in tears telling my friend how huge an issue this had become, but dammit darn-it I was NOT going to give in! She wisely reminded me to pick my battles, and what was the worst thing that would happen?

At that moment I came up with a great idea. One that I unfortunately never followed through on. I was going to make a button that read "My child dressed herself today!" That way, I could save face. The outside world wouldn't think I was a bad mother for letting a child [gasp] wear Christmas clothes in the spring or mix plaid and flowers. She couldn't read so her self esteem remained intact. Great idea!

Button or not, that self esteem stuck. Fourteen years later she was willing to walk through the judgemental halls of high school dressed like this. Even if it was 80's day, it took some courage. I agree with my wise friend. Pick your battles, what is the worst thing that could happen? She might end up on project runway.


Guess what, Martha (yes, THE Martha) is having a contest for bloggers. How cool is that?

OK, don't laugh, I could be in her league. I know, my towels don't all match-- and some of them were wedding presents--20 years ago. My dog is not fluffy and clean, and well trained. My home is not totally color coordinated-- though I did paint the family room "Martha blue".

But my sisters sometimes call me "Kmartha" because I try so hard.

I AM crafty...

Go on over to Martha's blog and check it out. In perfect Martha fashion, she even includes instruction on how to start your own blog! I love Martha!


journal woes

So soon I will hit 100 posts. This means that I get to post 100 things about me. This is hard for me so I have already started working on it. I am not sure if I am doing it the "right" way, but who cares? I think it is funny.

My original reason for blogging was to prove that I could be as cool and smart as my sister Bridget. This then morphed into a mini-memoir. I think it was my friend Sarah who said she wanted to blog so her kids would know who she was when she was gone. That appealed to my inner anxious ever-ready self. So they (my kids) became my audience.

Successful bloggers find their niche and stay within those confines. I am not sure what niche I fall into. I guess I am a mommy blogger, though I am much more than that. I think.

What I do know is that I have decided that I really like to write.

I used to be in a Catholic book discussion group when my kids were in CCD. It was a great forum that challenged me to think when my brain seemed to leak out with the breast milk. One challenge our moderator gave us was to keep a journal-- and a faith journal. Oh, did I balk at that one. Even though I had faithfully kept diaries through most of my teen years, I was too afraid to write down what I actually thought. What if people read it? What would they think of me? Look at me now, essentially journaling to anyone who happens to Google "responsible one" or "last day of summer" (my most popular hit). Oh, how we change.

I still won't write down everything I think....thank GOD!


seeds of faith

The other day I was talking with my friends Sara and Meghan. I was having one of those verbal diarrhea moments where you just talk and talk.... and I realized I had monopolized the entire conversation. Then, gasp, I realized I had wasted a perfectly good blogging topic by [horrors] TALKING to someone. So what did I do? Tell them frustratingly that I was going to have to blog about asparagus instead.

Pretty sad huh? Sad that I really wished I had blogged about it instead and sad that I don't feel like writing about it because I have already ranted about it.

Now, someone may be sitting at the edge of their seat...what could I possibly decide not to rant about anymore? Let's just say it involves a medical professional, an ER, the Knights Templar, James, early church "priestesses", an 800 PAGE manuscript about the problems with the Church...

Most importantly, Ryan received excellent treatment in the emergency room and a great opportunity to speak up for his faith when he pointed out that Paul was first Saul...I was proud.

In the end, the discussion was tabled and said professional ended the lecture conversation out of respect for Ryan's beliefs. (He and I may have gone on for hours.)

You never know when you might plant a seed. My prayer through the whole conversation was just "Jesus, let him hear me, let him forgive those who hurt him and help me keep my cool."

So, no, there is nothing special about asparagus.

And, Ryan is NOT suffering from a highly contagious disease! Yea! He is still suffering from that nasty curse called asthma. The worse thing? IF it had been Pertussis, the worst thing that would have happened is that he would have coughed until he threw up and/or turned blue, passed out and resumed breathing. Cough and turn blue and pass out with asthma? Don't always resume breathing. Shitty thing that asthma. Wonderful thing...drugs and really good respiratory therapists who listen to their patients. Thank God.


What (cough) a (cough cough) day (cough) it is

My electric boy is not doing well.

What we thought was bad asthma looks like it may be whooping cough. Egad. Apparently it still exists despite immunizing. Poor thing, none of us has had a full night sleep in a week. We kept treating it as asthma with breathing treatments, puffers, inhaled steroids, you name it. Last night he woke up in a coughing fit panicking and trying to yell for me. I met him at the door of his room and he was blue -- his lips were blue, his fingernails, toes. He couldn't get enough air to do his rescue inhaler. Thank God we had the nebulizer.

Now usually I am the EMT parent, the calm one, the first responder. I can handle anything, stitches, asthma, sports injuries... but last night I freaked. I don't like blue children -- unless it's Verruca Salt and then it's her own fault for being blue. When I called the on call doc and described the week, the blueness, the panic (in Ry and me) he said it sounded like Pertussis. That's all the responsible one needed to hear at 1 am. Adrenaline let down and some Google-ing... let's just say it was a long night. Meanwhile poor Ry just keeps coughing away. We won't know for sure if it is Pertussis for another 48 hours. We can thank a nasty nasal swab for that info. Again, poor Ry. We are going to treat it like it is with mega antibiotics. So Ry will be spending the next few days eating lots of yogurt and coughing.

God bless the babies that suffer with this. I can't imagine.


A lazy, but funny post

I have been meaning to write, but nothing inspires me lately. So tonight I opted for the easy way out. Here is my favorite Colbert Report clip. Net Nanny alert--- bad word bleeped out at the end! This is inspired by my conversation with Claire today about her classes and intellectual discussions with friends... Thanks to her for this clip.


run like a gazelle

So I had this flashback to high school PE yesterday. Pretty thought huh? PE "back in the day" at my particular Catholic school was NOT co-ed. We girls had our own gym, locker rooms and teacher. Nary a boy to be found. This should have provided some freedom but really just created an estrogen whine-fest.

So, why did I flash back 25 (shit!) years? Actually, about 29 or 30 years, because this particular flashback went to 8th grade? Well, everyday we walk the track above the gym with our class. Getting some exercise-- walking and chatting a little with our friends. While we walk, the general-ed PE classes are down on the gym floor doing calisthenics -- actually FAKING them. Watching 30 or so high schoolers fake push-ups reminded me of one of the very few high self esteem moments I had in 8th grade.

Imagine if you will, "Alpha Teen". This chick was the bomb in 1979. She had perfectly flipped hair, was one half of the perfect couple, had CLEAR braces -- the only one with them in the school (remember Phoebe Cates on the cover of 17 Magazine in clear braces?), had a teen model contract, too many Pappagallo purse covers, and her parents owned a very popular chain of restaurants. Needless to say, she and I weren't even in the same orbit in high school.

But one day, Presidential Fitness Test Day, I felt like I was the one. Swimming had paid off! I sat and watched while Alpha Teen couldn't do ONE push-up. I can't really explain why this made me feel so good, it's kind of silly when I look back on it. But it did. For one small moment in the most awkward year of my life I felt strong and empowered.

Yesterday a co-worked paid me a compliment and told me I moved like an athlete. What had I been in a past life? Me? It was the best compliment I have gotten in a long time.

OK, YES, I was racing one of our students around the track and he may have been stimming and yelling while running -- making me look like a gazelle. But I'll take a compliment any way I can get one.


OK, how much can I take??

OK, for those of you who are lacking geography skills, here is the latest track for Hannah....guess where she is heading as of 11:30 tonight? Charleston, SC.

OK, so we have family here, the cousins are getting some great fun time getting to visit with "extended cousins" (i.e. your cousin's cousin). Many people came up from NOLA with the contents of their freezer in a cooler, and the families are eating well. This is stressful, but not too bad. Just keep that last bit of storm surge out of Lake Ponchartrain and baby, it's all good.

But my baby is in the path of a hurricane now, and she is 5 hours away from me. I know she is responsible (ahem...she is MINE) and she is quick thinking. She would NEVER have a hurricane party (and by that I mean those fruity red drinks) and laugh at the fraternity boys floating keg boats down fraternity row. She would never look at that college bathtub and decide she would rather die of thirst than drink anything coming from that cess pool. She will not know that you don't walk down the middle of a flooded street--in case the sewer cover has floated up and might suck you in. [OK that might be an urban myth but it kept us out of some NASTY flood water.]

How did my parents not completely freak out when we decided to stay and play when the university was canceled for hurricanes? Am I just a freak (DON'T answer that Robert)? Did my text message to Claire today to make sure her roomies all have full tanks of gas qualify me as a helicopter parent? What about my text about making sure she packs some food for the trip should she leave? [Well, someone I know actually evacuated a hurricane and suffered a 12 hour trip with a 4 foot stuffed animal and no snacks...so food is important.]

I KNOW Claire will be fine. I am sure could be a fun adventure, a bonding experience with her new friends. But I am not going to stop checking in-- it's how she knows I love her!