Partially Dirty is the New Clean

Right now as I'm sitting here typing, I have spit up in my hair.  Kerrington had impeccable aim and my dodging reflexes were slow.  I fed her.  She spit.  I got nailed.  Now a small section of my hair is a throwback to the 1980's scrunched and gelled style -- just a bit crispy to the touch.

Let me be perfectly clear here: I have a thing for cleanliness and order.  I thrive on organized closets and aligned contents in cupboards.  I function better when my space is structured.  Still, the perpetual quest to keep things neat and tidy can be exhausting, especially because kids live in diametric opposition to this.  Just watch a child for a moment and you'll realize that there's something freeing about embracing mess, even if it gives me a headache.  Kids will get into dirt, sit on the floor, and let the art supplies scatter across the table and roll onto the floor without ever noticing.

They're in the moment, rather than distracted by the thought of holding things together.  They're fully invested, rather than concerned about keeping up appearances.

The other day my daughters played with Play Doh.  It started on the table, but somehow they ended up on the floor.  One sat and rolled Play Doh snakes on the linoleum.  The other lay on her back, holding Play Doh shapes aloft in the air. I  scanned the floor.  The Play Doh was being dredged through typical kitchen floor grit: dried out shredded cheese that escaped my sweeping after from last night's dinner, random fuzzies, crumbs from toast, scraps of paper from the day's earlier craft project, and a few once-soggy but now shrunken Cheerios.

The girls didn't care that their clothes could get dirty or their hair would get messed up.  They were too busy living.  So, what's a mom to do?  I found myself a space on the floor and joined them.

It'll all come out in the wash.

Displaced Responsibility

Kerrington, now two weeks past the sixth-month marker, may be losing her standing as the child in the household who is never responsible for messes and problems.  She clenches hair and grabs at people's faces with those inquisitive fingers of hers, a practice that everyone in our household can tolerate with one exception.

That exception is Brooke.  At two-years-old, Brooke is observant enough to be cognizant of Kerrington's newfound baby antics, but she's not quite old enough to be gracious about them.  She's getting kind of chippy.  She's starting to blame the baby for things.

A tower of blocks gets knocked over.  Brooke is quick to identify the culprit.  Kerrington did it.  Books are scattered across the floor.  Stop it, Kerrington.  Who spilled the water on the kitchen floor?  Of course.  It was Kerrington.

In Brooke's mind, it doesn't matter that Kerrington wasn't in the room -- or even awake -- during these moments of deviance. 

I'm actually impressed.  For a baby who doesn't yet crawl, Kerrington sure does get around.

Thanksmas: Our Family Tradition

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, I've never been one to set my alarm and arrive at stores when their doors open at 4 in the morning.  I'm still sleeping in a warm bed, ready to be woken up by something much more natural, as in, my kids who love to snuggle their way into our space and then promptly demand breakfast.

There's a reason why I don't need to interrupt my regular morning routine with the Black Friday rush.  By the Friday after Thanksgiving, my Christmas shopping is already done.  Presents are already wrapped.

No haters, please.

You see, the Friday after Thanksgiving is an entirely new holiday with my husband's side of the family.  Since we won't get to see each other in December, we devote the day to celebrating Christmas. 

We call the day Thanksmas.  We segue from turkey and stuffing on Thursday to leftover turkey and stuffing -- and the gift exchange -- on Friday.

It's seamless.  It's festive.  It's convenient.  And it completely messes with my internal calendar.  I return to work after Thanksgiving wearing a new sweater, receive a compliment, and say, "Thanks, I got it for Christmas," forgetting that to everyone else Christmas was eleven months ago.  I'm ready to wish people a happy New Year.  I've been thrown for a holiday loop.

When we started Thanksmas a few years ago I wondered what effect it would have on our kids.  I broached the subject with Joel, asking if he thought that they would find it strange if we celebrated Christmas twice.  He looked at me as if I had grown another head.  Strange?  What kid wouldn't love two Christmases?

He had a good point.

But what about waiting eagerly for Christmas morning?  What about the feeling you had when you went to bed on Christmas Eve as a child, knowing that Christmas was just one night's sleep away?  What about sneaking downstairs and hiding behind the couch while your parents, who knew you were there all along, went along with the game?  What about the tradition of going into your sibling's room the morning of Christmas, running down the steps together, and then dashing back upstairs to dive into your parents' bed while they burrowed under the covers just a moment longer and mumbled something about needing coffee? 

What about all that?

I mentioned this to one of my sister-in-laws, who provided me with a wise perspective.  "Your children won't have your childhood traditions.  They'll have their own."

She's exactly right.  All my recollections of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning -- how my brother and sat behind the couch each Christmas Eve, our mad dash downstairs, my father starting the coffee pot every Christmas morning -- make up the tapestry of my childhood holiday memories.  Reese, Brooke, and Kerrington will develop a set of memories from the traditions that we're setting up now.  They'll be different memories from how I experienced Christmas, but ones that are just as special, ones that are uniquely theirs.

Many years from now when my girls are grown and have husbands and little ones of their own, it's quite likely that they'll revert to celebrating only one Christmas.  They might call each other and ask, "Do you think it our kids will find it strange that we just have one Christmas?"

Hopefully, one of them will supply the others with the same good insight I was given.  Just because it's different, doesn't make it any less significant.

Giving Thanks

Title: Giving Thanks

Subtitle:  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

A Different Kind of Currency

In the past few weeks, several people have asked me to help with various projects.  Individually, each request has been relatively small, requiring just several hours of my time, but collectively the requests became overwhelming -- especially considering that my regular responsibilities of parenting and work are still ongoing.  I caved.  I had to say no to some tasks and some people even though I wanted to say yes.

Saying no isn't always easy.

Technically, I could have fit everything into my schedule.  I could have finagled child care, cut out time from my own pursuits, mulitasked while playing with my children instead of focusing on them, or deprived myself of even more sleep to get it all done.

There would have been a cost associated with this.  I would have placed myself in a pressure cooker, looking for someone to turn the release valve, ready to blow.  Joel would have regarded me warily as I paced the house, clenching my jaw and muttering abstract threats: If one more person asks me to do one more thing.  All of my ugly could have poured out on some unsuspecting soul, likely a small child who had the audacity to ask for a refill of milk in her sippy cup. 

Not good.

The worst part about it?  No one on the outside would have been the cause of my tension.  It would have been my responsibility, my own doing to myself.  I would have failed to guard my time, and by virtue of this, I would have offset my own well-being.

Of course, the demands on our time aren't always left to our own choosing.  Sometimes our phase of life means that we're in "crunch-time" all the time.  As a dear friend once said, sometimes life feels like you've been riding Space Mountain for two straight weeks, and it's simply time to get off and get a funnel cake already.

Time is a funny kind of currency.  We're given 24 hours each and every day.  Unlike money, we can't save time for later use.  We have to spend it all.  How we choose to spend it is up to us.  We can squander it, lavish it on ourselves, or donate it to others.  I want to be a wise spender of my time, and on some days, this might actually mean saying no to good things.

Psalm 90: 12 says, "Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom."  I'd like to take this one step farther and pray this each morning:  Lord, teach me to number my hours.  Help me to plan every facet of this day so I do only what You would have me do, not get bogged down in unnecessary,  distracting pursuits. 

If I have to spend it all each day, I might as well spend it well.

Losing Sleep in the Name of Reserach

Shortly after Kerrington was born, Joel and I were invited to join a longitudinal research study that examined the sleep habits of infants and their parents.

University town.  What can I say?

It sounded interesting.  Lured by the promise of compensation and just a bit of clouded judgment due to new-baby euphoria, we signed on the dotted line.

There you had it.  Our child would aid scientific research.

It worked like this: When Kerrington reached her one-month birthday, she, Joel, and I each wore a watch that recorded our movements for one full week.  We were required to click a button on the watches whenever we went to sleep and whenever we woke up, both for nighttime sleep and any naps we took.

Apparently, the recordings would discern the restfulness of our sleep based on our level of movement.

It sounded simple enough.  That is, it sounded simple until you consider how many times a one-month-old falls asleep and wakes up over the course of a day.

Keeping track of my own sleep was more challenging than I had anticipated, too.  Each night I would settle my head on the pillow and click my watch, knowing that I'd be awake again in a few hours to nurse the baby.  Intermittently I'd steal a look at the red glow of the alarm clock, growing more alert with every glance.  Now it's 11:14.  Now it's 11:32.  Now it's 11:49.  This is not good.

Dyslexia would set in.  Oh man, it's 12:34 already.  Or was that 12:43? 

Days would blur into one another.  Last night I woke up twice.... unless that was two nights ago.

Just like focusing on blinking or breathing -- two natural activities that deteriorate into unnatural ones and spiral into hyperventilation and unsightly eye-twitching when you overthink them -- focusing on sleep exposed a latent predisposition to insomnia.

Whenever I felt cynical, I contemplated violently shaking my arm to skew the data.  Joel suggested that we ought to wear the watches on our ankles and see if we could convince anyone that we were on house arrest.

In addition the watches, we documented all naps and nighttime sleep in writing, answered demographic questionnaires, and completed a daily phone interview with the researcher.

Did you take any naps yesterday?  How long did it take for you to fall asleep?  How many times did your baby wake up last night?  How many times did you wake up?  For how long?  When you woke, how refreshed did you feel?  Could you rate the quality of your sleep?

I'm especially ill-suited to answer questions like these.  I possess no skill in pinpointing answers on sliding scales.

Strongly, moderately, slightly?  I have no idea. 

Scale of 1-7?  My mind goes blank. 

When I looked at my folder of questions, knowing that it contained hundreds of these prompts, my head spun.  My opinions disappeared like mist once the sun rises.

In hindsight, this is nothing new for me.  Even while in labor, I found myself internally wrestling over the "on a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is your pain?" question.   

Eight?  Nine?  Seven?  This is pretty awful, but I could handle more, right?  So would that be a six?  And a girl's got enough to think about during labor, so come on, could you please just send in the anesthesiologist?

On the final night of the week we measured our cortisol levels by collecting saliva samples.  Not that I'm competitive, but I originally hoped that the researcher would contact me to share that I had the lowest stress levels ever recorded in the history of recording stress levels.

So far, this hasn't happened.  There's something about sticking a paper swab in your mouth for 90 seconds while watching your newborn gum hers into a mushy pulp that you'll slide into a test tube and store in a Ziploc freezer bag next to your frozen peas and chicken nuggets that doesn't aid relaxation.

At the end of the week we submitted our forms and watches.  Then we promptly forgot about the study until Kerrington turned three months and we repeated the process.  Just this past week, we completed our third week-long session to measure Kerrington's sleep at six months. 

The researchers didn't say this, but I'm pretty positive that she's blowing other six-month-olds off the charts.  To celebrate, I plan to get a good night's sleep and indulge in a nap. The best part?  No clicking necessary. 

My cortisol levels already are going down.

Short and Sweet: Unencumbered

Best explanation I've been given this week in 100 or fewer words:

Each night Brooke climbs into her bed after a long day. (She’s no longer on the floor.) She’s always dressed in pajamas – footed ones with frogs, cozy ones with ballerinas, or my favorite, cuddly fleece ones with monkeys.

Each morning she wakes up and enters our bedroom, rubbing her eyes, announcing “good morning,” and wearing her diaper.

Just her diaper. The pajamas are long gone.  Apparently she takes them off during the night. Why be encumbered?

What I like the best is her explanation: “I want to wear my belly button to sleep.”

Apparently, not much else.

Why Moms Need Inservice Days

Before I began my current job teaching college students, I taught twelfth grade English at a relatively small, rural high school.  Back then, just like now, I always loved the month of November.  It was the stealth month of days off -- Veterans Day, Thanksgiving break, the first day of buck season (I told you it was rural), and then the sweetest gift: an inservice day.

Of course, the bulk of an inservice day is devoted to seminars and meetings, but if you were lucky, there would be a portion of time built into the day where you could simply work in your classroom.  By yourself.  Without any students. 

The bells still rang according to schedule, but nobody was there to file in and out and cause commotion in the hallways.  You could arrange the desks into perfectly straight rows, organize a bookshelf, sort through piles of paperwork, update grades, and plan for upcoming lessons without interruption. 

It was glorious.  The time always was too short, but how remarkable it was to spend an hour in a studentless classroom.

On occasion, I'd like to extend this practice to my house -- to temporarily live there without kids, to marvel at the silence, to clean the kitchen table and have it remain unsplattered by yogurt, and to not wonder why the dishwasher is taped shut, how a half-eaten banana ended up in the middle of the stairs, or why a Strawberry Shortcake figurine, several crayons, and a soggy cracker are in the bathroom sink.

A mommy inservice day.  We can fit it into November, right after buck season.  And then we can send those kids back in to mess everything up again, right where they belong.

The Glaring Gap in my Daughter's Education

Reese comes home from kindergarten and dumps the contents of her backpack onto the floor.  She sorts through her papers, shows me her library book, and talks about her day -- playing at recess, getting ketchup in her hair at lunch, and sitting behind the boy who got into trouble on the bus.  Nothing strikes me as unusual until this sentence:

"I'm the only person in my class who doesn't have a brain."

Run that by me again?  Who told you that you don't have a brain?

"Look, I'll show you.  I'm the only person who didn't get a brain," she repeats as she hands me this worksheet.

She's got a point.  She has no brain.

What Pictures will Reveal

Kerrington, our little one, turned six-months old today.  Reese (who, as I mentioned last entry, is all about half-birthdays) announced that Kerrington is finally a "whole half."  Her description is one that likely would make mathematicians cringe, but I like it.

A whole half.

As I flipped through some photos this morning, that word "whole" resonated with me.  I lingered over the pictures of the girls when they had just come home from the hospital.  Their little faces, wrinkled and red, peeked out of tight swaddles.  Their hands, so fresh, balled into tight fists.  Their feet, soft and supple, rested unwalked upon.

In each of these pictures, I'm beaming.  I can't help it.

And then I spotted a picture of that revealed something.  It's a shot of Joel lying on the floor next to Kerrington, and the two older girls are climbing onto his back.  But here's the kicker: his head is buzzed -- and I'm the one who did it.

I had entirely forgotten about this haircut of his.  It had been a week or two after Kerrington's birth, and Joel needed his hair cut.  I had cut his hair numerous times before, but this day I forgot to raise the clipper length as I worked.  I buzzed his entire head without flinching.

There's an unstated rule here for husbands: namely, never let a woman who's just had a baby anywhere near your head when she's wielding a razor. 

But, to me, the picture revealed even more.  It reminded me that I've come a long way in these last six months.  Sure, I still misplace my car keys and have days when I don't know which end is up, but I'm more pulled together now than I was then.  My emotions are more stable, more whole.

My smiles in those early pictures are genuine, but if the camera had been flashing at other points, it could have captured many other facets of motherhood, too.  There would have been tears.  There would have been surges of anxiety.  There would have been times of self-doubt.  There would have been moments when I felt utterly overwhelmed.

Whatever its degree and whatever you call it -- baby blues, postpartum depression, loss of hormonal equilibrium, temporarily losing your emotional fortitude -- those early days and weeks home with a baby aren't always easy.  You're recovering.  You give all that you have during the days, and you still face long nights awake with the baby.  You're deprived of sleep.  You're hormones are surging.  And the most beautiful, precious little life you've ever seen has been entrusted into your care as you're in the midst of it all.

Admitting that the transition into motherhood (or the transition into mothering more children) is difficult does not make you less of a mother.  It does not suggest that you don't love your child.  It's doesn't mean that you're a pessimist.  It is not a sign of weakness, a lack of faith, or an indication of being unfit to parent.  Don't believe those lies.  Talk with people who can help -- friends, your spouse, your doctor, and other mothers who've been there.

Six months ago I was in a hospital bed cradling my hours-old baby, exhausted, amazed, and in love.  Today, I'm still tired, amazed, and in love -- but now I'm wearing regular clothes, running after my older girls, and playing peek-a-boo with my baby as she smiles at me.  I understand the routine and rhythm of days with three children.  The new has become normal, and the normal is very, very good.

If I were Joel, I still might be wary of handing me the hair clippers, but I can trust one thing: 

I'm whole.

A Reminder to Let Go

Today my daughter, Brooke, turned two-and-a-half.

For the record, if you are ever trapped in your house on a snowy day that also happens to be the half-birthday of your firstborn child, do not throw an impromptu half-birthday celebration as a way to entertain that child, reduce the day's tedium, and use the eggs that were due to expire to bake a cake.  Your oldest child will remember this on all subsequent half-birthdays -- both her own and those of her family members -- and will request full-blown celebrations with gifts, decorations, and party guests.  You will not have the time or the patience for this.  Just don't go there.  You will thank me.

At any rate, as of today Brooke is halfway through two.  Two is an age which gets a bad rap.  No other year in a person's life is preceded with such an unpromising description. When I exhibit a less-than-stellar attitude or behave badly, no one shrugs, sighs, and offers, "Well, Robin is in the terrible thirty-two's."

Two is an amazing age, actually.  A two-year-old's vocabulary expands exponentially.  Communication becomes easier.  You see little glimpses into personality and temperament that you hadn't noticed before, and by golly, you take a good look and realize that you've got a little person on your hands.

Our little person is now into climbing.  She pushes chairs over to our counter and climbs to open the upper kitchen cabinets.  She stands on the back of our couches.  She's always trying to go higher, higher, as if an elevated altitude is beckoning her.  And like all of her two-year-old peers, she wants to do everything herself.  She announces this with great conviction multiple times over the course of a day:

I do it myself.

The other week, I sat on the corner of Brooke's bed with Kerrington in my arms as Brooke played with her big sister's Polly Pockets.  The Polly Pocket figurines are small.  Their clothes are difficult to pull on and off.  I watched her struggle.  Her fingers weren't adept enough to easily do the task, her dexterity not developed enough to manage the small details. 

She grew more frustrated.  I asked if I could help.  Of course not.  She would do it herself.

So there I sat: perfectly capable of fixing the problem, perfectly willing to offer my skilled fingers, and perfectly aware that I could not wrestle the toy from her hands.  She would have to yield.  She would need to choose to let go.

The more she struggled, the more frustrated she got.  The more frustrated she got, the less likely it became that she would achieve her goal.  She was adamant that she would handle things, yet she was incapable of doing what I so easily could have done for her to rectify the situation. 

If only she would hand it over, I thought.  I could fix this.

At that moment, I wondered how many times God has thought the same thing as He's watched me struggle.

Just as Brooke was grappling with a physical toy, I've spent hours wrangling my thoughts, mulling over difficulties, and toiling to get a problem "dressed."  But my fingers sometimes lack the ability to make all things right.  I don't always have the power to put the pieces in the places where they belong.  I've grown frustrated, unsure why my efforts weren't getting anywhere, and yet I've continued the struggle.

I've had the same mindset:  I'll do it myself.  I've resisted God's patient invitation to hand problems over.  I've overlooked the fact that His hands are more skilled, his resources more vast, and his timing more opportune.

This never gets me very far. 

Brooke threw the Polly Pocket down, her cheeks flushed from exertion and frustration.  She had created a mess.  She knew that she was outmatched.  That's when I gently asked one more time, "Honey, would you please let me help you."

This time she yielded.  She handed over the toy and let me do the task that was beyond her ability.  She trusted that I had the power to repair the mess that she had created.

I think that God is sometimes asking us the same question:  "Would you please let me help you?"

He's able.  He's willing.  We sometimes need the reminder to let go.

Short and Sweet: Splattered

An observation on today's lunch in 100 or fewer words or less:

Kerrington is rapidly nearing six months.  Like most babies her age, she's drooly.  We think she might be teething.  On top of this, today she blew raspberries for the first time.  This newfound ability adds a heightened level of liquidity to encounters with her -- and provides a new mental picture for the phrase foaming at the mouth.

What I especially admire is that Kerrington didn't just blow raspberries.  That would be mere child's play.  She blew raspberries while eating her rice cereal.  I considered wearing a poncho.

Everything worth doing, even splattering, is worth overdoing.

Personal Space

There is very little personal space when you have small children.  Kids don't understand spatial boundaries.  They reach out and touch your face when you're talking with them, they twirl their fingers through your hair, and they open doors to occupied bathrooms.  They weasel their way onto your laps when you're typing or reading.  They sidle up beside you when you're pulling hot dishes out of the oven.  They feel compelled to be close while you're folding laundry, wriggling in ways that undo all the folding that you've just done.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Last night, Reese woke up repeatedly with pain in her legs.  She must be growing.  Joel and I alternated going into the bedroom to calm her, and on my last visit I simply laid down in bed with her.  I wrapped my arms around her and drew her close.  I put my head on her pillow and brushed her hair out of my way.

I invaded her personal space.

Within minutes I sensed her body relax.  Her breathing calmed, falling into the slower rhythm of sleep.  She's a child who is always on the move.  She jumps off furniture and tears through the house, but finally I had found a moment where I could simply hold her.  I waited until I was certain she had fallen asleep before I slipped out of her bed, tucked the covers around her, and returned to my own bed.  I could have stayed much longer.

Perhaps this is why kids invade our personal space.  They want to steal moments with us when we're not on the go, when they can simply reach out and hold us -- just like we want to hold them.

This is My Daughter's Hair

Title: This is My Daughter's Hair

SubtitleThis is my daughter's hair on static.  Any questions?  (Sponsored by Partnership for a Static-Free America.)

The Extra Hour

Although I've never been fond of the sun setting earlier, I love the day that we fall back for Daylight Savings.  It's one day during the year when you feel ahead of the game, a day when you are given the gift of an extra hour to use at your discretion.  Plus, as of today, my watch (which has been off by one hour for the past six months) is once again on time.

It's genius.  Thank you, Ben Franklin. 

The only glitch -- and it's a sizeable glitch -- is that you cannot reason with children to sleep in an extra hour.  They are perfectly content to wake at 5:30 in the morning, totally disregarding the pitch-blackness outdoors, and the bleary-eyed parents must spend the rest of the day tweaking the schedule to get everyone back on track.

Franklin proposed the idea of Daylight Savings at the age of 78, which makes sense.  By then, his children were fully grown.

On Headcolds

As a mother, I have the right to say this:

My children are currently disgusting.  They're in the throes of headcolds, or as Reese aptly put it, they're noses are leaking.  They're not feverish.  They're not sick enough to be pancaked flat on couches or take extra-long naps.  They're not achy.  They're just drippy, and they're kind of cranky about it.

This morning Kerrington sneezed on me while eating her rice cereal.  Brooke walked past and wiped her nose on my shirt sleeve.  Reese, the one who is old enough to use a Kleenex by herself, blew her nose and then set the used Kleenex on the table.  The table!  The kitchen table!  The kitchen table where we eat!

I'm trying not to think about this.

When everyone around me is sick, I don't know whether to fight with all my might -- excessively washing my hands, bathing in Lysol, chugging orange juice -- or simply to live normally and sensibly, trusting that my immune system, which has faced over 10 years of teaching and 5 years of having kids, is strong enough to avoid a simple head cold. 

It's like the difference between slowly wading into frigid water -- that torturous process that delays the inevitable -- or simply diving in and instantly immersing yourself in the coldness.  Whether I tiptoe around their germs or just embrace the kids as I normally would (snot and all), I'm going to be exposed.  Might as well dive in.

But that Kleenex on the table?  That is where I absolutely draw the line.

Exactly the Same, but Completely Different

One of my friends recently posted this status update on Facebook:

"(Insert name) has met with 50 students or so in conference so far this week and is becoming increasingly terse in her criticisms of sentences like this: 'The articles are similar and different for many reasons.'"

Roger, that.  This friend and I both teach undergrads, and our goal is to help them advance clear claims with well-supported, precise, and stylistic language.

But anyone who's ever struggled to put the right words down on a blank page or to utter coherent sentences (myself included) knows that it can be challenging to figure out what you're actually trying to say.  Even if you're a five-year-old.

Case in point:

Yesterday evening I glanced out our sliding glass door and saw a hot air balloon in the distance.  I automatically called the girls over.  Reese, who, unbeknownst to me, became an authority on all things pertaining to hot air balloons, took the opportunity to educate her younger sister.

"You know, Brooke, you have to be sixteen to ride in a hot air balloon.  That's because you have to be sixteen to drive a car, and cars are kind of like hot air balloons."

I braced myself for her comparison.

"You see, cars have wheels and drive on roads.  Hot air balloons don't have wheels so they can't really go on roads, I guess, but they do go in the sky -- and they have have baskets." 

She leaned her forehead against the window and slowly continued, "And cars don't have baskets, but they do have seats, and seats are kind of like baskets." 

Then she paused, and I wondered if she was having a hard time keeping up with her own reasoning, but she stepped away from the window and concluded her argument, "And that is why you have to be sixteen to ride a hot air balloon:  It has a basket and it moves in the sky like a car.  Unless you have to be eighteen."

Brooke seemed perfectly convinced.

Just like I thought.  Cars and hot air balloons: they're similar and different for many reasons.

What I Did This Morning

Title: What I Did This Morning

Subtitle:  Best exercise of the day.
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