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Sparrow's Room - Updated!

31 August 2012
I just had to show you pictures of Sparrow's updated room. We didn't change anything except that we finally got the crown moulding up over his map, so it looks like it's in a picture frame!

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We measured the map, cut it at Home Depot, and brought it home. My mom had a miter saw which we used to make the corners angled like a real picture frame. Unfortunately, my dad and Hawk measured the wood or got the angle wrong or something. But luckily Sparrow's bed blocks off a corner of the map where there's a good 2 inch gap between wood pieces. None of the corners came together, but I folded pieces of paper into triangles and painted them the same color as the wood, and you can't even tell.

Right? Right??

We printed out two 11x14 pictures of Sparrow dressed as a missionary and put them up on the sides of the wall. I think it really brought the room together. I wish now that I had gotten brown frames, or painted the map frame black to match the rest of the room, but oh well. It matches the bed and I had a ton of Semi-Gloss Bittersweet Chocolate paint to use up!

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Now his room is finished! Hooray!

Now I should probably work on the rest of the house.

Blessings of Integrity

22 August 2012
I wasn't going to post about this because I don't want to seem like I'm boasting or tooting my own horn or whatever. But it turned out to be a good story so now I'm going to toot away.

A few weeks ago, we were out of money and we had about a week until payday. This happens sometimes, and it's not usually a big deal, but this time it was because we had run out of most of our food storage. I mean, we are so blessed and have a nice house and electricity and air conditioning and we have canned soups, but you know how it is. Sometimes canned soup only goes so far, right? And Sparrow was mad because he wanted milk and eggs.

So anyway, I sat down to read one of my library books and as I opened it up, out fell $10 in cash. What! (I immediately flipped through the rest of my library books to see if I could find any more money. Then I re-opened the first book to see if maybe it was spontaneously producing cash. No luck.)

So that $10 bought us bread, milk, eggs, and my allergy pills. Yay! And we made it to pay-day a little more comfortably and everyone was happy.

Now, if that were my $10, I would have felt bad about losing it. So I went to the library and asked the librarian if she could look up who had the book before me. She did, and I gave the librarian an envelope with the money and a little note for the patron. I said something like:

I found your $10 in this book. I know it's an inconvenience to lose money, but in this case it was a huge blessing for my family. Thank you so much, and here's your money back. Love, Kris

And I figured that was the end of it.

Today I went back to the library to pick up some holds and the librarian came over. First, she yelled at me because I guess one of Sparrow's library books got water-damaged. Crap. Then she says, "the lady whose money you returned came in last night and asked me to watch for you. She gave me this card to give to you, and said that if you ever need a friend, her number is in there."

I took the card out to my car and opened it. This beautiful woman had enclosed a $25 gift card to Walmart. She writes: "I haven't been able to stop thinking about this all week. I had completely forgotten about that $10 and you could have just kept it! But I wanted to thank you for your integrity," and she signed her name.

Wow. What a nice thing for her to do! It's kind of neat to be rewarded for doing the right thing, but really I just returned her money because I'd want someone to do the same for me.

And here's the thing. Money is getting tight again, and so this $25 will really help out. We just paid our tithing on Sunday and I still have such a hard time doing that - the Lord is truly pouring out the blessings when I follow His commandments. I just have to remember to trust Him and it will all work out in the end.

And someday we will be done paying off our $75,000 son and money won't be such an issue anymore! Yay!

Weirdest Cats Ever

10 August 2012
We are the proud parents of two of the weirdest cats on the planet.

Bamboo came to us via Craiglist in 2007, two days before we planned to move 1300 miles. (Coincidentally, I am not allowed to go on Craiglist or the Pet classified section of our local newspaper anymore. I'm also not allowed to visit pet stores unsupervised.)

When we brought Bamboo home, he meowed at us all the time. I thought it was because he was lonely, so we found Panda (also via Craigslist). Panda was...well...damaged. He didn't know how to purr. It hurt my feelings that I couldn't make a kitten purr. It took over a week before he figured it out. He would also get lost in the one-bedroom apartment we stayed in when we first moved to Arkansas. He still gets lost, but it's not so pathetic because we're in a 3 story place now. We'll sometimes hear him yowling upstairs and yell "we're down here!" and he'll come bounding down the stairs like "I THOUGHT YOU WERE GONED FOREVER."

Our cats are both ridiculously needy. I have never met such friendly, love-needing animals. They don't understand that they are supposed to be aloof. Bamboo will literally yell at me if I don't pick him up when he wants to be held. Bamboo and Panda were born only a week apart, but they are so different. Panda is challenged in the brains department. Bamboo is a freaking super-genius and scares me sometimes. His currently trick is pulling up the vents on our floors so he can go into our ducts. He also enjoys opening drawers and doors.

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But Bamboo's favorite place is in the shower. With me. I took my camera into the shower so I could document this.

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Both cats love baths and will stalk Sparrow in his bathtub. Heaven help me if I decide to take a bath - then I have to deal with swimming felines. Bamboo, once he is wet, will chase his tail until he is so dizzy he falls over.

It really is like living with dogs.

Despite their total and complete weirdness, I love these two babies with all my heart. They were my only friends for MONTHS when we lived in Arkansas and would follow me into the bathroom every time I threw up, nuzzling me and meowing to ask if I was okay. I often wonder if the reason they are so loving is because I was pregnant right after we got them, and maybe my hormones changed something about them. (It's a documented fact that animals can sense pregnancy and some animals' brains send out chemical signals to chillax around pregnant women.)

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Sparrow is just 4 months old here

Sparrow loves them too. Bamboo doesn't like Sparrow much but tolerates him. Panda thinks Sparrow is his little brother. Panda would go to the ends of the earth for Sparrow.

But Panda would also go to the ends of the earth to hoard our shoes, so who knows with that weirdo.

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I want to be a missionary now! I don't want to wait until I'm grown.

04 August 2012
Last week we had an appointment to do photos at Fotofly. Back in February, my brother Daniel was preparing to leave for his mission to Australia and we took him to Fotofly and got some missionary pictures of him. Well, Sparrow remembered that with great fondness, because he begged to dress "like Uncle Daniel!" at our photo-shoot.

And so Sparrow became Elder Sparrow, if only for a few minutes.

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We enlarged two of these pictures to hang in his room. I guess it could seem weird and sacrilegious that we let Sparrow dress like a real missionary (complete with authentic nametag action!) but really, I can't think of anyone I'd rather have him emulate than his uncle Daniel, uncle Tony, and these wonderful, brave ambassadors of Jesus Christ that serve around the world.

I miss my brothers, but I am so grateful to them for being amazing role models for my son.

Psst! As a side note, if you're interested in reading about a missionary's life, I keep blogs for both of my brothers. They are updated weekly and just contain the emails they send home each week. Elder Reeder is serving in Australia and Elder Trevino is serving in Paraguay.