Wednesday, December 28, 2005

We are outta here!

We have finally made a decision, we are going to San Diego for 4 days! The Princess went to Anaheim last year for a band trip, but the Star and I have never been to California. Neither of them can remember the Atlantic Ocean from when we lived in New Jersey, they can only remember the beach as Tampa Bay or the Gulf. We can't have that! So, it is off to San Diego for 4 days of no phone, no computer, no work! I am so excited, I can hardly stand it.

Happy New Year everyone!

Posted by Heather at 5:24 PM 0 comments

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a very happy Christmas, we did! Christmas Eve/our anniversary was spent exactly how I didn't want to spend it. Cleaning house and doing last-minute gift things. The in-laws were coming over for Christmas and since I'm a retentive clean freak, everything had to be perfect. When will I ever stop doing that? However, Christmas was wonderful. We have a tradition where the teenagers camp out in one of their bedrooms (they say because when they were little and shared a room they would talk half the night about their presents) and wake up together (sweet, huh?). I give them a time that is the earliest they can get us up and you can bet they are up the second that alarm goes off (Incidently, the same alarm clock that never seems to work when the Star has to go to school. Don't worry, he still got a new one from Santa. I'm sure that one won't work, either.). We then bring them their stockings to tear apart while we make coffee/tea and try to pry our eyes open. Then, the carnage begins!!

Princess

Star


Santa, the kids and my Brian were all very good to me. There was a new robe (since Tigger chewed a hole in my other one), black Crocs (obviously not from the fashion-consious Princess), $60 certificate to my favorite LYS, a Steelers jersey, earrings, more gift certificates. And more stuff I can't even remember right now. The kids were really happy with their loot. Christmas is a big deal at my house because I don't buy them whatever they want all year. Big things are reserved for birthdays and Christmas only.

The in-laws decended around noon and there was more present opening. Then lots of eating. I made a ham, non-flying sweet potato casserole and fresh green beans that refused to cook. Lots of side dishes were brought over and we all ate way too much. Brian's family is very different from mine in how they celebrate holidays and it bums me out a little, I have to say. In my dysfunctional, Jerry Springer-esque family, the holidays take up the WHOLE day. We get to whosever house is hosting early, eat a few hours later, open gifts and hang out the rest of the day. As nuts as we all are, it is so much fun. The kids play and the adults yap. Brian's family was out the door in 2 hours. It made me miss my crazy family so much. I was SO happy to talk to my step-mom later in the day and she is asking for all the kids to come home next year!! How fun will that be? I miss my Daddy and step-mom so much, I can hardly stand it. I wish we lived closer, but I hated living in Florida.

All in all, it was a wonderful day. The kids had a blast, everyone loved their presents and it was officially my vacation!

The day exhausted Tigger and Olive. Poor things.

kitties

Posted by Heather at 1:10 PM 0 comments

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Presents!

Finally, time to post! As I said before, my birthday rocked! What made it even better was getting together with my knitting friends the day after. There was lots of wine, yummy cheese, cards and presents. Sarah, who shared the birthday celebration, gave me a bag of much-needed knitting notions (where do all those point protectors go, anyway?) that included a way cute sheepie tape measure. Pam gave me a beautiful notepad and a funky box. I love containers. I'll be storing my DPNs in there. The week before my birthday, Kelli gave me the most wonderful present. Something I've been wanting to make for myself for a long time. A needle case that she made for me! I am so touched by my wonderful friends. Thank you again everyone for making my birthday rock!

goodies

As you know, my anniversary was coming up. Brian and I decided, with all the holiday craziness, not to exchange Anniversary gifts. Until, I saw THIS!!

Darth Tater


Yeppo, baby!! We were shopping at Target and as we were leaving, this was on the return desk! I was beside myself (and probably got quite a few strange looks) and Brian admitted he had been looking for one to give me for Christmas (hey, who said just because I'm getting old I'm actually an adult?). So, we went back and bought him and now he is all mine! Now, I just need Spud Trooper to complete the set. See his little potato masher? Freaking hysterical, I tell you. And yes, the teenagers let me know that I am officially insane. Heh. I can't wait to tell my grandchildren one day that their grandfather bought me a Mr. Potato Head for our first anniversary.

Posted by Heather at 10:09 PM 0 comments

Friday, December 23, 2005

A sad day

In the midst of his happy holiday season, today is a very sad day. As many of you know (and my neighbors can attest to after hearing my Sunday scream-fest at the TV), I am a HUGE football fan. I'm glued to the TV every Sunday and have been since I was about 8 years old. My son was born while I was watching the Bucs beat the Bears (I think I might have missed a play or two). I've been a Steelers fan from the beginning, choosing them over the Eagles when living in a small South Jersey town. When we moved to Tampa, I also became a Bucs fan. Every December I would be in my glory because my 2 favorite teams would play. Many times I would get to go, but cheered my Steelers on because they were my first love.

Things started to finally look up for the Bucs with the arrival of a new coach, Tony Dungy. We adored him. He was so much different from any coach in the NFL. He didn't yell, scream and have hissy fits on the sidelines. He was all class, all the time. My kids, especially my son, adored him. Their elementary school voted him Staples Coach of the Week and he won. To thank the kids, he came out for the entire day giving a speech and signing autographs for every single child and adult that wanted one. He hugged the kids and spent time talking with each one. Like I said, he was there all day until each child got to spend time with him. My kids were near last and he couldn't have been nicer. My son has really looked up to him and we have all followed him to cheering for the Colts. I've even said that I would support the ::barf:: Cardinals if he came out here. If it's the Cowgirls, though, he is on his own. It will snow in hell before I cheer them on.

Right now my heart is breaking for the Dungy family. It appears that Tony's son was found Thursday morning dead from an apparent suicide. As a parent I cannot even imagine their heartbreak. Our family has dealt with the tragedy of both losing someone to suicide and nearly losing a very dear friend in such a tragic way. My thoughts, prayers and love go out to the Dungy family. I hope they know how many people love them and are praying for them.

In a time where there is so much fighting over the stupidest shit ever - how we wish someone a good holiday, who gets what present, which family member will annoy you this year, what we are eating, finding the perfect gift - perhaps this might be a good time to hug our loved ones closer and love each other a little better than we have been. Life is so fragile and so short, why spend it in such unhappiness?

Posted by Heather at 10:37 AM 5 comments

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Let the party begin!!

Wooo weee!! I bought the last Christmas present today! Can you hear my joyful song from my roof? Done, done, done! Yipee! If you are looking this way, however, don't look at my house. It is scary in here. I think I've done 437 (or maybe 438) loads of laundry and picked up the same crap 5 times today. However today was not without it's drama (did you expect any less from me?). Brian broke his glasses, so a good $250 and change was dropped at LensCrafters for a new pair. Because we didn't have enough to do and a million other things to pay for. But, he needed them so it wasn't all bad.

Nope. No pictures today. Yea, I suck. Soon as things calm down 'round these parts I have lots to share. Crafty presents from friends (sheepie things!), a little knitting (ok, very little) and general wonderfulness.

To those of my friends that celebrate, Happy Solstice! May today be a day of new beginnings, happiness and love.

Posted by Heather at 6:13 PM 2 comments

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Anniversary

In case you needed more proof that I was nuts, I'll regale you with a story of last year. As you know, my birthday is in December. Which sucks. As a kid I got lots of 2-in-1 gifts. Plus, with all the craziness of December, my birthday is hardly the production it should rightly be. My birthday should be a week-long celebration, people! Like everyone's birthday. Right? Ok, getting back to my story. So, seeing how I've always been a little bummed about my 2 major celebratory events occuring in December, you would think that I would opt for a June-ish wedding. There my dear friends, you would be wrong. Because what can add more stress and craziness to the holiday season than to get married ON CHRISTMAS EVE? In a town 2 hours away? When your parental units happen to be in town? Oy vey. So now ALL my gift-receiving opportunities are in December. Bah! I'm thinking we should celebrate the engagement, right? That was in June...perfect!

To redeem myself, our wedding was gorgeous. If not...chilly. You see, we got married in Sedona. Outside. Where it was barely 35 degrees. But gorgeous, huh?

wedding


Happy 1st Anniversay, babe (a little early). Yep, I love him more every day. And every day he probably thinks I'm a little more nuts. Heh. But I'm funny, right? Right?

Posted by Heather at 7:19 AM 9 comments

Saturday, December 17, 2005

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Because I went to the mall. Can I admit something? Something that will shock my fellow women friends? I hate shopping. Hate it. Really. Brian truly loves this about me. I want to get in, get what I came for and leave. Christmas crowds drive me crazy. But, I braved the crowds at the mall and knocked out all my "mall shopping" for the kids and hubby. I'd say we are about 90% done. And in case you missed it, online shopping rocks and doesn't count toward my hatred of shopping.

See, now that all the shopping is almost out of the way, I'm happy about Christmas! However, I still need to buy the food for the dinner of 13 people and clean house. Oh, and celebrate my anniversary on the 24th. Yes, I got married last year at Christmas. But that, is another post for another day. Give ya something to look forward to, you know?

Knitting? None. Crocheting? None. But I have the week off after Christmas off and I'll knit and crochet to my hearts content.

Posted by Heather at 4:37 PM 3 comments

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Happy Feet

I now have the happiest feet. Ok, they aren't the cutest feet, but they are happy and comfortable. Last night, I treated myself to these:

Crocs


Yep, Crocs. Friends have been raving about these and 2 of our crew members from the bike ride in September wore them the entire 9 days and just thought they were the best shoes ever. Cute? Hardly. Comfortable? Oh heck yes. I have problems with my feet and I can't believe how good these shoes feel. They are surprisingly light, too. I'll be owning many pairs of these in my future. And Brian is thinking they would make good work shoes in the summer (he owns a pool cleaning company).

Of course the teenagers think they are the ugliest things ever made. Which makes them even better in my book. Heh.

No knitting. No crocheting. But there was lots of money spent on Christmas last night. I think we are at the half way point. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Oooo...and look! It is a blinking Christmas light!!

Am I in desperate need of my vacation at the end of the month, or what?

Posted by Heather at 10:01 AM 1 comments

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

11 days?!?

Yikes! How can there be only 11 days until Christmas?!? It is not possible since I have oh, about 25% of my shopping done. And the house is a wreck and I haven't even bought food for Christmas dinner. Did I mention there are ONLY 11 DAYS LEFT?!? Holy kamole peoples. How did I get that 25% done you ask? Online shopping, baby. Let me tell you, next year it is all gonna be online. I used to shy away from the online sink hole of shopping. Afraid of gifts not making it in time, paying outrageous shipping charges and high wrapping charges. Then along came my 2 favorite words this Christmas season. Free Shipping. Wooo weee!! Where is the credit card? Who cares if the $10 Lite Brite costs $4 to wrap? I don't have to fight the crowds to buy it, find a box of the appropriate size, find popcorn so the present doesn't break, wrap the present and then go to the post office to pay shipping. $4 is a steal compared to dealing with all that. Every single member of my family not living here is getting their presents from my new favorite Elves. WalMart.com, Target.com and Amazon.com. I may never leave my house next Christmas. Ha!

My birthday was awesome! I had to work, but it wasn't so bad. I came home to a impromptu gathering of the neighbors with cake, song and presents. Brian cooked an awesome dinner and there were more presents! My tattoo was supposed to be my early present, but the teenagers and Brian also gave me the new Garth Brooks boxed set and the new Scott Stapp (former lead of Creed. Who selfishly broke up and left me.) solo cd. Last night I hooked up with my knitsta friends for a little wine and celebration of mine and Sarah's birthdays. We had so much fun!

Tonight there will be Christmas shopping for the sucking up teenagers. Did I mention the Star has a 2 page (front AND back) color-coded list? 11 days, people. 11.

Posted by Heather at 1:47 PM 1 comments

Monday, December 12, 2005

The weekend

What a wonderful weekend we had! Early Friday afternoon, we headed down to Agua Prieta, Mexico for the annual food distribution. First, though, we attended a birthday party for the oldest girl at our shelter there. She came to the shelter when she was just a little girl and she is growing up to be such a special young lady. She has such hopes and dreams for her future, and so do we! Dreams that would have never come true if she would have stayed in the barrio. It is so funny when we go down to Mexico - all the girls love the Baseball Star. But he is so shy, he hardly talks to them (both the Star and Princess speak a little Spanish). They always chase him around and goof around.

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Here, they caught him on the stairs and they were all laughing. The Birthday Girl is on the top right.

The Princess loves to go down to Mexico because she has really made friends with some of the girls at the shelter. She cries every time we come back home. Her Spanish is getting really good, so she is able to talk with them more.

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On Saturday, we helped hand out bags of food, blankets and children's sweaters to 12,000 people. The lines were unbelievable. People stood in line for HOURS (some lining up at midnight) for a bag containing $9 worth of food and a large blanket. And it was COLD down there. Friday night/Saturday early morning it was in the 20's. We stood in tractor-trailers looking out over the crowds while listening to Christmas music. It was such an odd sight, kind of hard to describe. The crowd was so quiet...it was surreal in some ways. And so sad.

The Foundation I work for has build a neighborhood where 42 families will realize something unheard of in Agua Prieta - home ownership. On Saturday, we participated in a 5th interview (we have a very extensive interview and background check process) of 3 potential residents. And, as usual, we loved them all. Unfortunately, we only have 2 homes to fill. I cried the entire way back to our dorm. I could not stand that one family was going to be left out. No matter how many homes we build, no matter how much food we hand out it will never be enough. And that is very hard to deal with for me.

We also took a tour of our new Child Care Facility that just opened last week. When full, it will care for 160 children. This is quite an accomplishment because there is a huge lack of daycare centers in Agua Prieta. Many times, older children are pulled out of school to take care of their little brothers and sisters. Lack of education is a big problem in Mexico, so this will enable more children to stay in school and also provide the little ones with a safe, clean place to stay while their mothers work.

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The little sinks and toilets just crack me up. In Mexico, children are potty trained very young – 18 months – because diapers are so expensive.

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This weekend wasn't without some knitting, too! I finally picked the Nantasket Basket back up. For some reason, when I was working on it long ago, it hurt my hands. No problems this time, so I finished it on Thursday night and felted it yesterday when we got home.

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Pardon the crappy picture. It is really overcast here and I couldn't get a good shot in the house. Cute though, huh? I think I will run a little florist wire through the handle to keep it nice and curved. I really like the basket. I felted it really tight so that it would keep its shape. I used my favorite felting yarn, Brown Sheep Nature Spun. It felts so well. I can see that I'll be making a few more of these baskets. Wouldn't it make a nice gift with a knitted washcloth and some bath goodies?

On the 4-hour trip to Mexico, I worked on Charlotte. Can't you tell?

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I swear, I can work on this thing for a week and it doesn't get any bigger. Plus, I don't seem to have used nearly as much yarn as I would have thought. I'm starting to think I'll have to do a few more sections. Which makes me want to jump off my roof. It is boring to knit and I want to finish it so badly.

Last night I ripped out the border for the Flower Basket Shawl. I was pretty nervous about it, but it was easy to pick back up the stitches and figure out where I am in the pattern. Here is another crappy picture.

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I want this to be nice and big, so I'm sure I'll be knitting on it for a while. But, unlike Charlotte, this is fun to knit and the pattern goes really fast. I want to wear it with black pants and a white button-down shirt, so I better get moving if I want to wear it this winter. Because we all know I won't be able to wear it when it is 115 here in the summer.

Whew, this has been a long post!! Today also happens to be my birthday! My birthday wish is that everyone would have a warm, safe place to live, enough food to eat, a good job and access to an education. That would be the best birthday present of all.

Posted by Heather at 9:24 AM 14 comments

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The funniest thing EVER

More proof I'm a nutjob. EVERY single time this comes on TV I rewind (gotta love DVR) it at least 3 times and just about fall off the couch laughing. It is so freaking funny, I can't stand it. And now, because of the supreme power of the internets, I will be able to watch it FOR.EV.ER (I can see your eyes rolling from here, Brian.)

I give you, the Burger King Stormtrooper commercial (courtesy of DHADM).

Star Wars Commercial

Posted by Heather at 3:40 PM 4 comments

Sharing my stupidity

I am so glad that everyone has enjoyed the Flying Sweet Potato incident. It still makes me laugh and that damn mixer plug still falls out of the wall when I use it (I refuse to cave and get a new one). Brian will tell you that I am the klutziest person, ever. Shit happens to me that happens to no one. I can trip over my own feet, walk into things and have unknown bruises all the time. Long ago, when I was married to the Snuffalupogus - Snuffy for short - (long story, I'll have to tell that one day), my boss called me into his office. Seems as though managment was a tad worried that Snuffy was knocking me around a bit (ok, that happened later, but not at this point). I was very adamant in telling them that he had never laid a hand on me, why were they asking? Seems as though I was a walking bruise on any given day and they were worried he was beating me. How embarrasing.

One of my finer moments came just a few short years ago. I was nice and thin back then and long, ankle-length skirts were SO in (I bet you know where this is going, don't 'cha?). I was the Executive Assistant to the Sales Director of our office with a holding pen cubicle right outside his glass-walled office. He was in there, working away and I was sitting at my desk typing one of his stupid reports. Little did I know that when I sat down, I had rolled over the long skirt and my chair was holding it down. If you are drinking coffee right know, I suggest you swallow - unlike my boss. He turned to the glass window, called me into his office and took a gulp of said coffee. Since my elastic waisted skirt was under the chair, when I got up and started to walk, half the skirt came down around my knees(thank GOD I had a slip on) and tripped me, tossing me onto the floor in front of my chair with the skirt now around my calves. I thought my boss was going to die laughing. Coffee spewed out of his mouth, all over the glass and he was in hysterics. While I lay on the floor wanting to be sucked into a freaking sink hole.

I got a special award that year at the Christmas Party for being Santa's Favorite Elf and voted most likely to be naked at the office. I worked there 3 years longer and they never let me forget it.

Posted by Heather at 10:05 AM 7 comments

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Oh the memories

Rox asked us today about our stupidest moments. Believe me, I've had my fair share. I'm not what you would call a coordinated person. Brian says he never met anyone who could hurt themselves all alone in a bed filled with pillows. I've fallen over putting on my own underwear. Yes, I am a klutz. So, I had to think of a classic Heather moment. This one is a doosie, my friends.

Picture the scene. It was my first time cooking dinner for my in-law's. I'm nervous, worried about everything. I cleaned the house obsessively for days, planned the perfect menu, had the cutsie Christmas apron. You know how it goes. So, I'm in the kitchen using my mixer to beat the sweet potatoes for a casserole. But the damn plug keeps falling out of the wall. So, I'd shut the miser off, put the mixer down, futz with the prongs and plug it back in. Well, after 5 or so times of this, I'm pissed. I put the mixer down (you'll notice here what step I've missed) and jammed the plug back in the wall. All of a sudden, sweet potato is flying all over the kitchen, it's all over my face, all over my glasses, in my hair and on the ceiling. There is 15 seconds of stunned silence when I'm trying to decide if I'm going to laugh or cry. And his family loses it. Not just laughing, we are talking hysterical laughter to the point I thought my father-in-law would keel over. And they laughed for like a half hour. I swear, I must have picked sweet potato from all over that kitchen for months. It even made it out to the Christmas tree 10 feet from the kitchen.

And they all still laugh about it. It is now forever known as the Sweet Potato Incident.

Posted by Heather at 2:56 PM 3 comments

The Holiday 10

First I have to say that I have the best husband in the UNIVERSE. Just a few more weeks until our first wedding anniversary. I love him more every single day and I am very, very blessed to have him in my life. 'Cause ya'll know I'd be nuts without him (everyone of you that says I already am can just hush).

I still have the blahs, but they are happier blahs. I'm still pissed about the whole SP snarkiness. God, but there are some bitchy/rude/snotty people out there. Dang.

So, in order to lighten things up around the blog, I give you the ::insert drumroll here::

The Holiday Ten (courtesy of Kim)

Instructions: Copy and paste the questions to your blog (with your answers, not mine).

One. What is your favorite holiday movie?
A Christmas Story. You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

Two. What is your favorite holiday song (title and artist)?
Grandmom Got Run Over By a Reindeer. Cracks me up every single year.

Three. What’s the best holiday gift you were ever given, and why?
Well, my favorite part of Christmas has to be seeing the kids faces when they see the tree on Christmas morning. They aren't allowed out of their rooms until I'm up that morning. One of my best gifts has to be the first year Brian stayed at my house in Florida for Christmas. He hung up all my lights and helped decorate. I cried all afternoon. If you were married to someone like my ex and then lived as a single mom, you would totally understand.

Four. Do you have a special someone to kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s?
Yep. My kids and my hubby.

Five. Name of your favorite reindeer?
Rudolph

Six. Favorite Holiday food?
Cherry candy canes, honey spiral ham and cranberry sauce (yea, the crappy one that plops out of the can and still has can marks on it. Sue me, I love it.)

Seven. Snow day — cuddle by the fire, or hand me a snowball?
Cuddle by the fire with hot chocolate AFTER sledding with the kids and having a huge snowball fight.

Eight. What was your New Year’s resolution for this year? Did you stick to it?
I never make them anymore.

Nine. Is there really a Santa Claus?
Duh, of course there is! How else would the presents get under the tree.

Ten. Present, or stocking stuffer?
Both!

Consider yourself tagged!

Posted by Heather at 1:41 PM 2 comments

Monday, December 05, 2005

Blahs

I know, been awhile since I posted. I've tried a few times, but found I didn't have much to say. Things have been quiet around Casa de Cranky Teenagers (everyone, please knock a few times on something wood, toss salt over your shoulder or light candles) since the Princess is still partially grounded and the Baseball Star will likely never be un-grounded (someone please explain why it is so difficult to do your damn homework on time for full credit as opposed to waiting until right before the deadline to turn in everything for partial credit). We are slowly decorating the house for Christmas (we do it late to give the crazy cats less time to destroy it all) and shopping a little. This weekend we will be heading down to Agua Prieta, Mexico for a food distribution that will feed over 12,000 people. Fortunately, after that, things will really quiet down at work for awhile.

Knitting? Crocheting? After my marathon craftiness weekend I haven't done squat. I think my brain (heh, I typed brian) is just shut down. I'm thinking it is time for a vacation.

Secret Pal 6 is officially coming to a close, but not without some drama. Seems as though this round the hostesses have taken quite a bit of abuse from some cranky people (are they all teenagers?). Which I cannot understand at all. The rules are pretty darn simple and spelled out really well. Why would you sign up for it if you have no plans to follow through? I can understand if you have some horrible emergency happen (like a hurricane tearing apart your house) and cannot contact the hostesses. But if something else comes up and you can't follow through, they give you ample opportunity to contact them so that your pal isn't screwed over. I understand things happen that could force you to drop out (that is why every SP has angels to take over as a spoiler), but to just bail and never tell anyone? That is just wrong. And to get all pissy and send threatening/hostile/bitchy emails to a VOLUNTEER hostess? Jeesh man, get a grip. SP5 was my first and so much fun for me! Cece, who spoiled me really outdid herself. I loved all my surprises and really liked chatting with her. I still chat with Mac, who I spoiled and love reading her blog. This time around I was spoiling Jennifer, and let me tell you, she is so funny! I have loved chatting with her and I feel I've made a new friend. I'm still hoping I didn't screw up her last box because I've never shipped to Canada before sending things to her. My pal? Well, I don't know who she is. I got another certificate as my final gift, but she didn't revel who she was. We never talked in email at all and I've never gotten a response to any email I've sent to her. I'm kind of bummed because part of the fun for SP for me is to make new friends. And I love getting boxes! Sure, spending a gift certificate is fun, but I try to send all kinds of things I think my SP will like based on me getting to know them from their blog.

Jeesh, for someone who couldn't think of what to write, I sure have babbled on.

Oh brother. I just realized why the Teenagers are on their best behavior lately. Christmas in 20 days and the Star has a 2-page color-coded (if only he put as much effort into his school work) list. Duh.

Posted by Heather at 10:53 AM 4 comments

Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day

Support World AIDS Day

Posted by Heather at 10:50 AM 0 comments