Every year Cheyenne puts on an elementary school track program for 4th-6th graders; they divide up the 28 elementary schools in town and run track meets for four days at Okie Blanchard Stadium at East High School. Today was Bridget's and Gracie's day, and the weather could not have been more different than the two years Maddie participated back in 2012 and 2013. Then, it was roasting. Today, it was freezing. F R E E Z I N G. But not the kind of freezing where you're prepared for it, really—it was beautiful out early this morning with lots of sunshine, and it wasn't until just before the meet was scheduled to kick off that the cold mist rolled in and froze everyone's bones from the inside out. I actually changed clothes before I left to go over, but I only put jeans and a sweatshirt on when I should have just grabbed my winter coat. I was not alone: a good 75% of the adults there to watch were also freezing, shuffling around in whatever they had in the back of their cars. In theory, good weather for track and field, I suppose. In reality, the Dillow girls were woefully under-dressed for the weather. (Big surprise I'm sure)
Bridget started out on high jump; she did have a coat, but left it in the stands and so as the rounds went on, bribed someone for her sweatshirt. I got overly excited about her clearing the bar in the first picture, hence the terrible, terrible technical quality. Ha. She did not receive a large amount of instruction on high jump form, so employed a strategy that looked a lot like "hurdle and hope for the best." She ended up in 6th place overall.
Gracie's first event was the 70 meter dash, which she fully intended to win after earning the best finish time of any boy or girl in her school during the practice phase. She won her heat handily, and made it to the finals. The poor boy behind her was pretty representative of everyone there for sure. After school she told me a story about how weird it was that the event judge asked her who her grandpa was after the first heat; she said "Richard Willis and Ed Dillow....????" and couldn't figure out why he didn't ask anyone else. I immediately knew why he had asked when she told me—because there is a Duane Dillow in this town who used to teach science at Carey Junior High, and people have been asking me if I'm related to him for 17 years now. Hee. I have never met this man, but I'm kind of dying to. Dillow is a rare, rare name.
In the finals, Gracie was assigned the lane next to the Jessup girl. The Jessup kids (both boys and girls) were on fire in every event. I'm not sure what they're feeding them over there, but they were awesome. They won first in almost everything... except the 70 meter dash, as Gracie blew past them all and finished in 10.49 seconds. She was chattering with cold when she finished but thrilled. If you click on the Instagram link up there, you can see the video Matt recorded (easier to post it to Instagram than mess with YouTube). You can hear me (obnoxious) and Mr. Dixon cheering her on; Matt is not afflicted by bad focusing/framing/excitability.
Bridget was on a relay team next; you can see her in her pink coat and black leggings (which I tried to talk her out of last night—wouldn't she be hot?) Her team finished first but was disqualified because someone accidentally ran out of her lane.
Gracie had long jump next, and while she is great fun to watch and extremely good at it, it was hard to compete against girls who were so much bigger and could fling themselves through the air farther than she could. She finished in 6th place with a 9'8" best jump, which is pretty good for someone her size. The Jessup kid who won the boys' long jump had either 14' or 16' feet something, I couldn't hear which but it was crazy far into the pit for a kid. Gracie informed me tonight that she will not be long jumping ever again because SAND. Sand in her shoes, sand in her leggings, sand in her soul. (They did not practice in a real sand pit to prepare)
At this point she was actually turning purple (I am not exaggerating) so I gave her my hooded sweatshirt to put over top of her fleece jacket and told her I'd hear about the rest of the meet later, because she could have either the sweatshirt or me. I race-walked back to the car in my t-shirt, embarrassing myself with the Willis Cold Weather Whinny the entire way. Bridget made it to the finals in the 4th grade 70m dash and finished 5th, and Gracie's relay team won first. I wish all the other kids who compete this week weather somewhere in between Cold Mist and Roasting.
Timehop reminded me this morning that it was five years ago today that Bridget finally spotted the pink Jeep in Cheyenne.
In the five years since, our little hunt has turned into an epic game of spotting pink cars (and pink other things with wheels, too).*
She gets just as excited as she did when she was almost five years old when we spot one; more than one U-turn has been taken to circle back and get a picture (buried bug, pink Cadillac on stilts are just two). Maddie and Gracie don't even complain when we stop because they know it's not going to matter—when we see one, they know it's a foregone conclusion that there will be a picture. I purposefully have used only my phone to take these, because it's not about the best quality of picture, it's about getting the picture no matter what. It is fun, and it is so totally her thing.
An unexpected part of this project:
I KNOW I'm missing a whole bunch of submitted photos in this collage, but I'm working on finding them all a little at a time.
So many people are playing with us. We have received pictures from all over—from friends in Europe, all across the U.S., even from an American friend on TDY in England (hi Bob!). People often tell me they think of Bridget whenever they see a pink car, and that is awesome.
This one came to us just today, from Air Force friends currently assigned in VA!
Sometimes people even hop in the picture, and that makes our day every single time. Knowing that people stop what they're doing to participate in what started as a silly little quest to hunt down an elusive Jeep makes us happy, like the world is a cheerful and connected place because of these souls who take a risk and buy the pink car. There aren't that many out there, even though we've definitely discovered there are more than we thought originally.
Here's to finding many more : )
*She is wearing leotards in so many of these pictures because we are pretty much always driving to or from gymnastics.
This might have been the longest gymnastics season ever this year—in both the worst and best ways. Despite the wear and tear on all of us from moving around so much the last few years, we've had some truly stellar gyms to land in—good atmospheres, good coaches, good teammates, good parent support, etc. Our year in Albuquerque brought the girls all of those things plus some lifelong friends for all of us. Moving away was hard. The girls went back to their old Cheyenne gym when we arrived this summer; even though things didn't end particularly well before we left in the move of 2013, we decided to give it another chance for multiple reasons: fresh start, new facility, etc.
It ended up being a disaster. For multiple reasons.
We switched gyms to the only other option in Cheyenne right after Thanksgiving (the city-run Parks & Recreation program), after more hand-wringing and advice-seeking and trepidation than is good for a family. We measured distances and cost and time commitment required to travel to Fort Collins, and came up with the same answer no matter how we looked at that equation: CRAZY. For gymnasts who spend 4-6 days of every week at the gym year round, a 50 minute drive at nearly twice the tuition just didn't reconcile right now. It was a difficult decision that came with letting go of a whole lot of baggage (long story) but it was the very best decision that we didn't expect to work out as well as it did. I would say one of the biggest highlights of the year was addressing that baggage, deciding to set it down, and watching it dissipate into the ether almost immediately. It was nothing short of miraculous, and we are so much lighter for it.
Because of the gym switch, Bridget got to compete in two separate seasons: the Colorado circuit which stretches from September to December, and the Wyoming circuit which stretches from January-March. All in all we traveled 4,630 miles to and from meets, including the drive I made to and from Denver to pick up our beloved Gianna who came for a choreography workshop.
FOUR THOUSAND PLUS MILES.
Here are some pictures of the highlights to help ease that craziness.
To avoid having the girls be on their own to choreograph their routines, we managed to hire Gianna to fly up from Albuquerque to run a two day intensive workshop. She is a masterful choreographer, and the routines she designed were wonderful. We miss her terribly but happily got to see her two other times during the season—at Winterfest in Denver, and at Regionals last weekend in Albuquerque.
Bee's First Meet in Sleeves
It's kind of a big deal when you move to long-sleeved competition leos, and Bridget was super-excited to compete in hers as a Level 3 last fall. (Less highlight-y: having to pay for three competition leos and warmups for a gym we left, but as many people pointed out it isn't worth sticking around just because you bought them.) She had a relatively OK season—threw her round-off back handspring at every meet, getting stronger and stronger as the season went on. It was a big challenge that she worked on very hard with her beloved Coach Stacey in Albuquerque before we moved.
Discovering a Secret Tattered Cover
OK, so this isn't exactly gymnastics-related, but it was still a highlight—on the way home from one of the many Denver meets last fall we stopped for lunch at Noodles & Co. in a fancy strip mall (lifestyle shopping center?) and discovered there was A TATTERED COVER NEXT DOOR. Happy days! We enjoyed a post-meet bookstore adventure and our noodles very much.
And then we switched gyms and things got so much better.
Here's a glimpse of that. Seriously. I have more to say about this particular facility in another post, but for now, I'll just repeat it was an #awesomeawesome decision.
The Crazy Sock Christmas Party
One of the benefits of switching was that our new gym has a very active team booster club that does fun stuff like have a Crazy Sock party for Christmas. Gymnasts are solo competitors, but teams are so important and it was nice that Maddie and Gracie especially had some different kids besides each other to look at all the time.
The First Meet of the Season
All three girls were able to borrow old competition leos for their first meet as Cheyenne Gymnastics gymnasts because we had to order them so late into the season. (If you're counting, we have SIX different competition leo + warmup sets now since all this competition stuff kicked off in 2010). They are bright. They are loud. But we've grown to not mind them as much. They lost a lot of time between June and November on skills training, but they felt ready enough to compete as Level 7s (and Bridget got four more bonus meets out of the deal). They qualified to compete at state at their first meet in Casper and that was a huge relief.
Having This Photo on My Phone For a Few Months
So this photo has nothing to do with the Dillow girls, but my dear college friend Alicia texted it to me and it was a highlight all the same. Her daughter trains in the same gym in Texas as Simone, so it's practically like we do, too. Haha. Alicia is one of my gym mom confidantes and I wish we lived in the same town.
That Time Bridget Beat Almost All the Ka-Larks in Casper
That Time We Got To Have Dinner With Jessica in Casper
Jessica is one of my beloved former students from Montana, who is now a full-fledged adult with a family of her own who happens to live in Casper; we were able to arrange to meet for dinner after the second Casper meet and it was so much fun to catch up. The last time she saw Maddie was when we hired her to be a weekend nanny when Jill and Curtis got married in 2003, so that was fun, too. Incidentally, Jessica was Maddie's age when I first had her in class. Time just FLIES.
Winterfest at University of Denver
This is probably my favorite meet of the season; the girls have competed at DU three times now and it's just such a cool experience. Even better: Maddie and Gracie were scheduled for the same session as their G Force teammates from last year, so there were many hugs and much happiness to go around. (Maddie has more pictures of her "bigs" teammates from last year that were there too, but I don't seem to have those handy). We really clicked with that gym and those teammates, so it was wonderful to see them if only for a session. Also: Megan came with us, and that was great fun. She plays hockey, so a gymnastics meet was... not like hockey. She had a good time though!
The first picture isn't exactly a highlight, but it is funny. When we got in the car in Cheyenne to drive the 3.5 hours to Rock Springs, it was around 65º. When we got out of the car, it was a raging snowstorm. We weren't exactly prepared the next morning for the cold weather (because when are we prepared for drastic weather changes in the Dillow house?) but it warmed up later and we even found a pink car parked that was worth a U-turn!
I took the gym photos again this year—smaller gym so not as much time as last year but still awfully fun. I kind of tolerated the warmups, but I loved their bright leos—they might be among my favorite of the six sets partially because they were just so different. You can't miss gymnasts from Cheyenne Gymnastics in a gym. Ha.
Grandma was able to come to Rock Springs with us for state which was fantastic! Less fantastic was that we brought Ellie with us as well, because she just can't handle the kennel anymore. She did not enjoy most of her time in Rock Springs. In fact, she didn't enjoy it so much she decided she would show us for bringing her there and threw a fit of dramatic deathbed proportions. Nothing that extending our hotel room for a night so she could take an afternoon nap on a hotel bed couldn't fix. SIGH. Highlight: she perked right up the minute we headed for home. Grandma enjoyed her time on the road far more and did not throw a deathbed fit, thank goodness.
The good news at state: everyone medaled! The bad news: everyone had something that didn't go right. But the good news: they all mostly shook it off. Maddie's "didn't go right" thing was the most alarming; it's a story better told in person, but it was a horrible, awful, and terrible in every way vault story. She brushed herself off and managed to win two gold medals and a bronze medal, earning fourth place all-around and a ticket to Regionals for Region 3 in Albuquerque.
If you're counting, that's four gold medals on balance beam in four different states, four different levels, four consecutive years in a row. (!!)
Gracie missed qualifying by the tiniest of margins and it was a crushing blow that took some time to recover from. But now she is bound and determined to make it next year for sure, and we have no doubt she will.
Two days after state Maddie catastrophically sprained her ankle. It was bad. Capital B Bad. However...
She did the hard work to get her sprain healed and even though we weren't sure she could pull it off, maybe even to the point of scratching one or more events, she DID IT. All four events, no further injury, and a 9.325 on floor with that beautiful floor routine that Gianna created for her back in September, the one she earned a gold medal for at state. It wasn't her best showing of the season but it was her most triumphant for sure. Our trip to Albuquerque last weekend marked the end of the season. It was really fun to share the experience with some very good Air Force friends who live in Albuquerque (incidentally, some of who are also hockey players) plus some G Force teammates who came to cheer her on. She got hugs from her old coaches, all kinds of good encouragement from her current coach, and the loudest cheering section in the room. Will, who is right in front, shouted in his little six year old Will voice: YOU CAN DO IT MADDIE! NOTHING CAN BRING YOU DOWN! during her beam routine and it might have been the sweetest thing ever.
They all can do it. They work hard, harder, and harder still, and they still love it. Which means I guess we'll be back for another year.
My friend Deirdre posted a picture annotated with a new app called This so of course I had to try it, too... these two were entertaining themselves over spring break and we'll take happy cooperation and smiles any day. This is ridiculously easy to use and fun, too! Note: I didn't notice the random arrow (there are a few different pointer styles) until just now. Pretend I meant to do that.
This week marks the fourth first day of school in a row in a different school/state for these girls—but it's also the least "new kid" first day of school any of them have ever had. Between teachers that know them, friends they met during the summer, friends they're back in class with, or being the younger sibilings of older sibilngs who know each other, this has been a pretty easy transition back to school in Cheyenne. HALLELUJAH.
First up: Maddie!
Maddie who is starting HIGH SCHOOL. (For nostalgia's sake, I looked up first day of school posts in my archives and got all weepy from this one.) There are still teachers and one administrator who remember when I was teaching and pregnant with her at this school, and it freaked them all right out when she showed up. It also freaked out a whole bunch of Montana-born millennials when they had to come to terms with the fact that their old childless high school teacher now has a freshmen in high school. Maddie has a few old friends to spot in classes/lunch/hallways, which makes everything just a tiny bit less intimidating. She lucked out and gets to be in a morning carpool, and didn't have a single bad thing to say about any of her teachers after the first day. I think that's a victory.
Gracie lucked out because she gets to spend an extra year in elementary school, which was a big relief to her—the last three places we've lived have sixth graders in middle school. We made the difficult decision not to send her back to her old elementary school here, but instead to the school where Maddie went for four years; it's a good fit for her and will be just the thing she needs before starting 7th grade. She sits across from an old preschool classmate, which is funny to us. They are both alphas and haven't changed a bit. They were good friends back then with only occasional outbursts of annoyance with each other, and hopefully they'll strike a good balance again this year : )
Bridget has had the hardest time over the last three years of bouncing from school to school, with only 1/3 of those school years working well for her. But this year... this year she has our Fairy Godteacher, same as Maddie had in third and fourth grades and we couldn't be more excited. My mama has always said my third grade teacher was "good for me" (hmph)(my third grade teacher was a structured, organized, rigid woman) but without a doubt, Mrs. Dixon will be good for Bridget. It is possible that Bridget takes after her mama and needs some structure and organization... heh. Good thing Mrs. Dixon is also lovely, patient, and kind. Miss Payerle may have been many things, but I struggle to remember lovely, patient, and kind. I may have been too distracted by the effort it took me to be less flaky and scatter-brained, though : ) Aside: Bridget wins the award for Most Changed since last year.
Ellie was ready to go upon my return from the bus stop. The first day of school is Dog New Year to her, and she and her bad heart were very ready to go on the first proper long walk of the school year. She is the best dog.
I spent yesterday drawing up a list of All the Things That Will Be Done this school year and it is giant. Wish us all good luck!
Bridget turns 9 in 20 days, so it seems like a good moment to make a Bee List.
+ She loves the Cavs, and especially Matthew Dellavedova.
+ She does not love when people make fun of ancient Egyptian names. Like, she takes it very personally.
+ She is tearing through The Time Quintet by Madeleine L'Engle.
+ She read the interview in the back of A Wrinkle in Time and was struck by how many times the manuscript was rejected before a publisher picked it up, and grossed out by Madeleine L'Engle's love of Cream of Wheat.
+ She is very committed to gymnastics, and is heartbroken to leave the gym here (aren't we all).
+ She cannot wait to reunite with her friend Cora in Cheyenne. And also her ENT, Dr. Johnson.
+ She is also excited for the chance to be a student in our beloved Mrs. Dixon's classroom next fall.
+ She is interested in politics and this year's election, and does an excellent Donald Trump impression (he is her least favorite famous person).
+ Taylor Swift is still her most favorite famous person.
+ She likes to call her grandparents on the phone and would talk for hours if we (or they) let her.
+ She is chugging along with piano, and starting to lean toward trumpet when asked to choose an instrument at the end of fourth grade next year.
+ Early mornings are not her favorite or best.
+ She talks nonstop. When you have a Nana who was nicknamed "Buzz" growing up, it only makes sense.
+ She is always up for an adventure.
+ She has recently become hooked on Fixer Upper (haven't we all).
+ She does not care to be rushed.
+ She knows how to turn an outfit into a western outfit, and is excited to do so this summer at Cheyenne Frontier Days.
+ She will have the chance to go to the same elementary school for more than one year for the first time soon; when all is said and done with elementary school, she will have attended five (or possibly six) different schools.
+ She said we could pass along her princess sleeping bag to her cousin, though never her collection of dolls.
+ She apparently has read almost every single Goosebumps book R.L. Stine has written, though she refuses to be in the same room (or house) with the one about Slappy. Same with Grace. I don't have the heart to tell them that Grandma has a creepy old Charlie McCarthy dummy in her basement.
I remember last year February kind of surprised us with its intensity—it used to just be May and December that did us in, but I'm pretty sure February owns its own steamroller outright these days. I joked last year that I would set an alarm on January 21, 2016 to remind me that February was looming but then I didn't do that, and WHOO BOY that was dumb.
When I was digging around in my archives looking for February things I came across a February family update from 2011, in which things seemed awfully busy then, too. [Ed note: I am terrible at foreshadowing. Which of course, is a close cousin to seeing February patterns.] I can't believe how much has changed (and how little has changed, too) since February 2011. So, a little compare and contrast between then and now:
+ Fablehaven still rates up there as one of her favorite series : ) We have another Brandon Mull series book on preorder—it will arrive in March, I noticed. That preorder feature on Amazon is great, because I never ever remember that I've preordered something and then it just shows up. She's been reading scary R.L. Stine young adult books and the Red Queen series; Matt and I were discussing when she should be allowed to scare herself to death with some Stephen King. Maybe next year. Ha.
+ Has been battling injuries this season—first the ankle, then a wrist... she hasn't really had any issues except for that February 2011 when her knees were messed up. The New Mexico state championships are toward the end of March, so she is braced up and doing her best. We're headed to University of Denver next for a meet there, and then state. There are 23 Level 6 optionals on Maddie's and Gracie's team this year. (!!)
+ We missed Georgie's birthday weekend because of a meet but she is awfully excited to at least get to see Georgie during her birthday month on our way home from Denver. Georgie will be FIFTEEN. We have celebrated with her for almost all of her birthdays.
+ I noted in 2011 that no one, including Maddie, was really all that into seeing Star Wars in this house. Some things never change.
+ School is fine, and before long she'll register for HIGH SCHOOL. I will never get over the absurdity that she'll start high school in a place she's already done a year of hard time [in utero] as I taught at Central High School in Cheyenne when I was pregnant with her. HA.
+ Loves her teacher this year, still a rule-follower (even more so since kindergarten if that's possible), and the winner of the cleanest room award at home, usually. Funny how things turn out.
+ She is still happily immersed in the world of big-girl gymnastics, and is holding her own this year, too. She had her highest beam score of the season at the Nadia Comeneci Invitational in Oklahoma City (9.4) and earned a third place medal, which was a pretty big deal at a meet that size—and going against a gym called Dynamo from Oklahoma, which pretty much kicked everyone's rear at every level. Apparently they practice a minimum of 26 hours a week and as much as 30, so we all decided we're good.
+ Just like five years ago, Gracie and Bridget get along famously sometimes and other times... not so much. But mostly famously. They've taken over the living room with Legos, and go to the park on their own a lot. Gracie is very excited for the freedom of roaming F.E. Warren when we head back this summer—she has an ID card now (you get one when you turn 10) which means she can ride her bike to the Shoppette and buy herself a slushie. This has been her dream for years : )
+ As for books... she is never without one.
+ Making things—both arty and science-y—is still very much her thing. She's spending most of her arty time lettering, and most of her science-y time with her Tinker Crate each month.
+ A big new thing: she started trombone lessons this month! Another dream for years... band doesn't start until sixth grade here, sadly, but Maddie's band director agreed to private lessons so she won't be so far behind when she shows up in Wyoming where the new sixth graders will already have a year of band under their belts. Trombone Shorty is still her trombone hero.
+ Bridget is officially a card-carrying member of USA Gymnastics for the first time this year! Her team has four meets (three of which are done, only state left). She has done very well overall—last week she earned second place in the all-around in the 8 year old division. If she can get her best day on each event at the same time for state she'll have a very good meet indeed. She has a good pal on the team and that has made it even more fun.
+ Speaking of the good pal, she is having her very first sleepover that isn't at grandparents' or the Karahalis house over there tonight!
+ Still loves princesses more than anyone I've ever met in my life. Still has a mental catalogue of what she has and what she still needs. Since 2011, we've found Pocahontas and the genie from Aladdin; her newest score was a very clearanced evil stepmother from Cinderella (under $10!) at the Disney store recently. It's a work-release program though, and she has to put in some labor hours before she takes possession.
+ She has the most homework of any of the girls this year, which makes for some ugly late nights sometimes. We are crossing our fingers that the planets align and she will have our beloved Mrs. Dixon next school year in Cheyenne.
+ We're still dealing with shoe-fitting issues. She hasn't worn orthotics for a while but she has outgrown many a shoe this year.
+ She is always up for an adventure.
+ All the grandparents traveled to New Mexico this month to attend Matt's promotion ceremony, which was great fun for all involved. Well, Matt could have done without all the people looking at him as an anti-center of attention type, but it was still fun for everyone else. Still waiting on the official photos.
+ In 2011 I wrote this: "Would very much like a week at the beach; he was even wistfully looking at rental properties recently. As if we'll be able to get away next summer for a vacation between change of command and Frontier Days : ) It's nice to have a dream, though." Substitute change of command with the new job in Cheyenne and we won't be headed to the beach this summer, either. Someday!
+ No dinosaur egg mail lately, but vintage Wyoming postcards show up from time to time. The Ebay King has interests that spread far and wide.
+ Still watching Gold Rush, though I don't really watch that one with him anymore. His favorite show currently is the one hosted by Henry Louis Gates on PBS; it's pretty good. We are anxiously awaiting time to watch 11/22/63, enough to figure out a temporary subscription to Hulu.
+ Not so hobble-kneed now that almost two months have passed since his knee surgery.
+ No mention of Ellie in 2011 because she hadn't joined our family yet. She remains the best and sweetest dog. She has a terrible case of congestive heart failure but is still aggressively interested in the walking schedule, emergency sitting in the sunshine, protecting the neighborhood from evil UPS trucks, avoiding pictures, and using her condition to her advantage to respectfully request chicken or sausage be placed in her bowl from time to time. She is on expensive medicine which seems to be doing its job keeping her comfortable. It's hard to have a terminally ill dog. We can hardly talk about it, we love her so.
+ I just wrapped up a nearly 600 person photo shoot (this is just one very partial screenshot) that I began work on around January 8; it went exactly according to plan in almost every way, and when I clicked send on the last gallery it was all I could do not to run into the street screaming with joy. IT WAS A BIG JOB. But fun. I also squeezed in a maternity shoot with a beautiful family and turned those pictures around, too. My camera has been napping for a few days because I wore it out.
+ I have done more gymnastics hair this month than I ever thought possible... though Matt will point out that he, too, had to do some gymnastics hair when Bridget had a meet in Belen and Maddie and Gracie competed in Oklahoma City. Between both Level 2 and Level 6 teams, we've had a meet every weekend this month (and some in January, too). I have a couple of new tricks: I'm still not the best at gymnastics hair but my new magic wand (no really, a curling wand) seems to be a good disguise for my clumsy hair skills. Everyone has a settled-upon hairstyle for the rest of the season, so that's a huge relief.
+ In 2011 I said my 52 Projects album was way behind. Just substitute 52 Projects with anything else and it's still an accurate statement. Someone pointed out to me recently that we have less than 90 days before we move again and I politely ignored her. Everyone is always incredulous about how we manage when we move so much and the answer is: DENIAL. That's how. Denial.
+ It's been ridiculously long since I've scrapbooked, but I have just the project to get me working with my own photos in a creative way again: my friend J.J.'s Leap Day Project. I'm all in this Monday, and I encourage you to play along, too! After my initial shock that Maddie will be a SENIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL when we'll open it wore off a little bit, I can't wait to do it.
OK! That's enough of an update that I feel like I've dusted off the cobwebs here : )