Snowy Day


Santa was here!!!

Winter wonderland

In freaking Texas!


To my daughter's friend:

You are such a special, wonderful girl. You have been a part of our lives for what feels like forever and I wanted to give you a token of what you mean to me, to us. You were there for Brittany during her darkest hour, and I can say with certainty that without you, she wouldn’t be us today. Thank you for that.

I know how difficult your life has been…how hard it is to not feel wanted or loved. You are wanted. And you are loved - certainly by us and so many other people in your life. I know that you want to be taken care of, to feel appreciated, to have things feel easy for once – and it is the experiences that have made you feel this way that are going to make you the most fantastic adult, the most loving parent (please not anytime soon!), and the best friend a person can have.

Remember these things, and do not sell yourself short. In spite of how you sometimes feel, you have so much to offer someone, and you deserve to be treated well, to be appreciated, to be wholly and completely loved for exactly who you are.

Merry Christmas. Love, Charlise, Brittany (and the rest of the Kindsfather clan)



In my running hat dressed like bumble bee


Oh, The Things I Can Do!

This is totally lifted from An Ordinary Life:

I have highlighted the ones that I can do in bold.

1. Build a Fire
2. Operate a Computer
3. Use Google Effectively
4. Perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver
5. Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle
6. Do Basic Cooking (I am actually a very good cook)
7. Tell a Story that Captivates People’s Attention - I am not sure I am that good at this...
8. Win or Avoid a Fistfight – I suppose I can avoid them just fine, as I have never been in one outside of my brother...but I am also quite certain that if I were to get in one, I would get my butt kicked.
9. Deliver Bad News. This I suck at.
10. Change a Tire
11. Handle a Job Interview (I have Microsoft to thank for this - their process was HARD, YO)

12. Manage Time
13. Speed Read
14. Remember Names
15. Relocate Living Spaces
16. Travel Light - although I do tend to check baggage at the airport because of contact lens cleaner and such
17. Handle the Police
18. Give Driving Directions - I can give them, however I am very limited in where I know how to get without google maps or my GPS. God, I love my GPS.
19. Perform Basic First Aid
20. Swim
21. Parallel Park
22. Recognize Personal Alcohol Limits – I just don't drink anymore. At all. So it is pretty easy.
23. Select Good Produce

24. Handle a Hammer, Axe or Handsaw
25. Make a Simple Budget

26. Speak at Least Two Common Languages - While I have learned Spanish, I promptly forgot all of it...ahhh, the mind is a funny thing, no?
27. Do Push-Ups and Sit-Ups Properly
28. Give a Compliment
29. Negotiate - this is a funny one. I don't like to negotiate, or so I claim, however I am actually quite good at getting what I want, so I must possess this skill in some fashion, right?
30. Listen Carefully to Others - always a great skill to have and one I have to personally work on ALL THE TIME. Huh? Were you just talking to me????
31. Recite Basic Geography - Hey! I do to know where Texas AND Indiana are. Also, Tazmania, Fiju, the Congo, and Prague.
32. Paint a Room
33. Make a Short, Informative Public Speech
35. Flirt without Looking Ridiculous - What? This comes in handy. Shut up. It does too.
36. Take Useful Notes
37. Be a Respectful House Guest - at least I think so... god, I hope so.
38. Make a Good First Impression
39. Navigate with a Map and Compass - I have not done this since, oh, grade school, but that counts, right?
40. Sew a Button onto Clothing
41. Hook up a Basic Home Theater System - perhaps I could, but I don't have to - Todd does that. Thank god.
42. Type
43. Protect Personal Identity Information
44. Implement Basic Computer Security Best Practices
45. Detect a Lie - I am quite good at this. Ask my kids. They get away with NOTHING.
46. End a Date Politely Without Making Promises - you have no idea how happy I am that I don't have to do this. I really am not a fan of dating.

47. Remove a Stain
48. Keep a Clean House
49. Hold a Baby - am also good at eating babies feet - NOM NOM NOM (yes Laurie, I am thinking of Abby)
50. Jump Start a Car


If our kids are a reflection of us, then...

I can see quite clearly where my children get their sense of humor: dry, quick, ruthless.

I can tell when they are approaching tired, as they get a little bit wild, slightly grumpy, just a tiny bit more reliant on us.

I can sense their frustration build when they are doing something new or difficult.

I can feel them pull away as they try to prove their independence, wanting so badly to be perfect, to do everything right the first time, to exceed expectations always.

I wish our children had only inherited the good strong qualities I possess. I want them to have an easy time with things, to feel confident, happy, challenged enough to stay interested in life. However that is not how life works, is it? They have the good and the bad - and along with that they have the typical inescapable human qualities we all become burdened with. I suppose the key is how we equip them to mold those qualities and deal with the world around them. Please don't let me fail at this...