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The Birthday Boy

Twenty years ago, I gave birth to my second child…a 7lb, 7oz little boy.

That boy is my Rooster.

He was an easy-going lad from the get-go, slept through the night the first evening home from the hospital, and hasn’t had problems snoozing since.

For the most part, this young man has been laid back.

We trained him early in the ways of life…he has bled Orange and Blue from the start…

He’s got a quirky sense of humor and is always ready to debate…he’s smart like that.

Rooster is quick to lend a helping hand and is eager to learn.

He is spending the summer away from home, interning at the same church in Tennessee that our former pastor now preaches at.

Fortunately, Rooster will be spending his birthday (and a few days afterward) at home thanks to timing that could only have been orchestrated by the Lord.

So it is with much love and gratefulness that I wish my sweet guy a Happy 20th Birthday!

I love you, Rooster.  You are a blessing, and I consider it an honor to be your Mama.

Chicky’s Magical Birthday

Today, Chicky turns the big 22.

It’s her magic birthday because today is January 22nd.

I’ve always heard that when your number birthday matches the day of your birth month, it’s MAGIC.

Time will tell for my girl.

All I know is that from the moment I found out I was pregnant with her, my life was magically transformed.

Preparations were made for the day she would arrive…

The tiny, one-bedroom apartment made things a bit cozy.  I didn’t mind.  She was my first, and I wanted her close to me.

Life was good in the delivery room…after I got my epidural…

Those are what we called corded phones…back in the day.

After a lot of hours of labor…a bit of pain…a couple of unexpected observers (EMT trainees…totally embarrassing at the time but I was too young to know that I could politely refuse)…Chicky was born.

Please note that yes, I am posting my face, but I do not fear because that is the look of LABOR.  I totally look different now.

Also note Chicky’s adoring look of love as she gazes upon my face for the first time.

She knew which side her bread was buttered…or where the moo moo juice was coming from, if you get my drift.

😀

Chicky was weighed and measured and scored a perfect ten on the Apgar test.  She was a beauty from the get-go…

We took her home where we did a lot of this…

And this…

Those long nights left us sleep-deprived, let me tell you, and we caught our Zzzz’s whenever and where ever we could.

Ahhh…the magic of sleepiness, eh?

Chicky did a lot of sleeping on her own too…

Boy, did she love that swing.  It wasn’t fancy because we didn’t have money for the plug-in kind.  We had to carefully and slowly wind that sucker up when it stopped rocking so as to leave her sound asleep without startling her.

She slept a lot during her first trip to the beach.  What a good baby.

We had fun dressing her up for Easter.  She doesn’t look thrilled, does she.  We were, though, as new parents should be!

She was quite the character from the get-go.  Look at that mischievous grin…

Bath time was always fun.  She loved water from the beginning.

Truth be told, she was probably peeing in the water as I was taking that picture.  That’s her potty look.

I do hope she’s managed to outgrow that little habit…

heehee

Chicky was always getting into stuff.  Can you see her looking around for the next thing to put her hands on?  Hmmm…now that I think about it, she may be eying my big behind with the express desire for me to move it.

Trying to select a sampling of pictures to represent my precious girl’s early life was, quite honestly, too big a task for this tired teacher.

It was fun, though, as I relieved each of those moments…precious in their own way.

I became Chicky’s mom at the tender age of 21 (nearly 22), and I can’t really remember my life before becoming a mother.

That’s the magic of motherhood and why I celebrate Chicky’s birthday.

And for you, Chicky, a special message…

I pray that this is your best year yet…that is becomes that magical year we’ve talked about.

You’ve graduated from college and gotten yourself a real job.  You’re on track for a fabulous career.

You have wonderful friends and a life that is centered on the Lord.

You have a family who loves you more than you will ever know or understand…people who will never leave your side.

I pray that you enjoy this time of your life…a transitional time when you discover who you are as an adult.

I pray that you find your soul mate…someone who loves Christ and wants to serve Him in the same way that you do.

I pray that your knee heals better than new and that you continue to pursue your dreams…dreams you harbor deep in your heart and as you’re counting sheep each night.

I love you so much, through thick and thin.

As I used to sing to you before you went to bed…

I love you forever,
I’ll like you for always.
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.

You are precious…a gift that I treasure every day.

Love,

Mama ♥

Happy 16th Birthday, Rooster!

It seems like only yesterday that I was wishing Chicky a happy 16th birthday.

Now, it’s my baby’s turn.

I think Father Time has been running on the treadmill lately.  Whatever happened to my little guy who I could set in the middle of the living room floor and return minutes later to find him keeping himself happy with a piece of carpet lint (he was quite the easy-going lad).

Oh wait.

He turned into the young man who just this weekend found himself sitting fairly still for hours…in front of his Xbox with three friends and his oldest cousin.

Yeah, that’s how he spent Friday…five Xbox consoles, five TVs, and one very hot room with all of that electronic equipment running.

The only time the boys emerged was to grab chicken nuggets from the Chick fil A party platter we’d brought home or to get drinks of water.

Typical boys…give them a game console and food, and you never hear from them.

We went to a movie on Saturday (more about that in my next post), but we’re saving our traditional “birthday dinner out” until after graduation…knock out two birds with one stone.

All around, it has been a fairly low-key birthday, but still a huge milestone.

Rooster is more than a Modern Warfare junkie (that’s the newest and most popular Xbox game).

He is a young man who began going to Wednesday night youth group before Chicky.  He encouraged her to go each week, and finally, she did.

He is a young man who woke up extra early during Easter week to attend church services BEFORE school.

Rooster is a young man who jumps at every chance to spend time at church.  Two years ago, he went to Kentucky on a two-week mission trip, and he is planning on going to an Indian reservation out West for another mission trip this summer.

Rooster is a young man who, when asked to help out fellow church-goers, will eagerly lend a hand.  He recently assisted the youth pastor in pulling roofing off of his house.

Rooster is a young man who gave up two social invitations to spend time with me on my birthday because, in his words, “In three years, I won’t be here to celebrate your birthday with you.  I’ll be in college.”

Happy Birthday, Rooster.  It is a privilege watching you grow and mature into the man God intends you to be.  I consider it an honor to be your mama, and I love you very much.

A Knitter Turns 40

What happens when a knitter turns 40?

Well, if she is fortunate, she doesn’t have to work and gets to putter all day.

First, she opens a gift from Super Sis…

Then, she takes the car in for an oil change, where the attendant does his best to rip her off.

Naughty, naughty.  Don’t people know that birthday girls are not supposed to get cheated on their special day?

After putting him in his place, the knitter might decide to go shopping at a yarn store 45 minutes away.  She has the day off, after all, and the kids are old enough to get themselves home from school.

Because it’s her birthday, the Mr. might tell her to buy something “on him.”  She asks if she has a limit, and he says not to spend $1,000 on yarn.

So, she sticks to the budget (using a 20% coupon she got in the mail, of course) and gets the following…

Malabrigo Sock Yarn

And this…

Misti Alpaca Lace

After four years of knitting, the birthday girl might get lucky enough to finally have her punch card completely punched out, so she earns a $20 gift certificate on the spot.

Because this yarn store is so far away, she decides to go ahead and spend it, so she selects the following…

Cascade Heritage Handpainted Sock Yarn

Totally satisfied, the 40 year-old knitter might then drive home, to find the following in the mail from her friend, Susan

Socks That Rock Sock Yarn

Yep.  Turning 40 isn’t all that bad, if you’re a knitter, that is!

Chicky Turns 18!

My oh my, but it’s a big day in the AuburnChick home.

Today, January 22, is Chicky’s 18th birthday!

Last night, we waited for her to go to bed.  We gave ourselves an extra 30 minutes to ensure she was deep in sleep, and then we let loose with the streamers and balloons.

This is the hallway to Chicky’s bedroom.  We wanted her to feel special from the moment she got up.

The next picture is the view as you enter the kitchen from the hallway.  My house is a disaster right now, but you get the point.  Banners and streamers everywhere!

Even the coffee pot (shown in the picture below) didn’t escape attention!

The den and dining room also feel victim to the decorations…

I finally crawled into bed around 1am.  I couldn’t wait for Chicky to wake up.  It reminded me of her very first Christmas…the anticipation kept me psyched up.

I heard Chicky get up and walk in the kitchen (to get her cell phone, don’t ya know), and she exclaimed, “Think you put up enough streamers?!”

LOL

She was happy, I could tell.

That pleased me because this is HER day.

We decided to do presents in the morning because Chicky has a game tonight.  She opened cards from family first, and she happily discovered a check in each one.  Every teen loves money!

Then, Rooster gave her his gift…

It’s an insulated travel coffee mug!  With her recent foray into this coffee thing, she needed her own cup (she’s been using the Mr.’s), and she needed one that would keep the coffee warm.  Rooster also later gave her his Best Buy gift card…the one he had received for Christmas.  It still has about $8 left on it, and he wanted her to use it for her birthday.  Is that sweet or what?!

Next, Chicky opened the gift from the Mr. and me…

It’s a Visa gift card, and we explained that we want her to buy a Pea Coat or a certain dress she’s had her eye on.

Her eyes gleamed as she told us what she wanted to buy, which she could now afford if she put all of her birthday money together.

I got dressed, and we headed out to spend her $$…

She got herself a 32gb iPod Touch!  You should have seen the look on her face as she opened it up.  As one who loves technology, I have to say that it’s PURTY (as in pretty, but Southern-style, you know).

Next, we decided to go to lunch.  I mean, what can be better than lunch with your Mama on your 18th birthday?  (Yeah, I know that lunch with Guy Friend on your 18th birthday would probably trump the other, but humor me, okay?).

We saw cars parked in the lot in front of the new Panera that’s going up, and we thought maybe it would be open…

If you look closely, you’ll see the sign on the window that says “6 Days.”

Oy!  I do love me some Panera, and my mouth was watering.

Instead, we decided to head to a local eatery that is popular with the high schoolers.  This place serves up sandwiches and other lunch fair.  I’d never been there, so Chicky suggested what to order.

Oh my gosh, but it was delicious!  For $6, I got 1/2 sandwich, a side (black beans and rice), and a drink!  So, it was $12 for the two of us.  Not bad at all!

We chatted about every day stuff.  It was wonderful.

This has been an amazing day.  In some ways, it’s hard to believe that I’m the mom of an 18 year-old.  Yesterday, I pulled out her baby and toddler books, and as I read through them, I was astounded at the memories that flooded in.  I remember writing those words on those pages.  Could this much time have passed already?

For those of you with young children, it is so true when people tell you that time flies, and before you know it, they’ll be grown.  Some days seem to pass by slowly, especially when the children are younger and crying with croup.  But all of a sudden, you wake up and find yourself taking pictures of a daughter in a prom dress or a graduation gown, and then you think about how quickly those days actually flew by.

I’m not going to be a weepy mom.  I’m thrilled that Chicky has reached this milestone.  My #1 mantra as a parent is that I’m training my children to be independent and serve God.  Knowing that Chicky is on the cusp of spreading her wings and flying on her own makes me a teensy bit nervous, but I know that God will watch over my little Chicky as she leaves the nest.

Happy Birthday, Chicky.  You are special.  You are loved.  You were wanted and planned for and appreciated on the day you arrived.

Watching you grow and mature has been the greatest reward as your parent.  I pray that you always put God first in your life, and that you will always seek His will and trust Him through all that life may throw your way.

I love you!!

Love,

Mama♥

Two Birthdays in the AuburnChick House

Today is Rooster’s 15th birthday.  He’ll be getting his drivers permit on Tuesday.  Look out world…another Chicklet will be on the roads!

It’s also the day we have designated as Molly’s birthday.  She’s two years old.

To celebrate, I made two cakes…one for human consumption and one for the dogs.

The tradition in this family is that every birthday cake is comprised of white cake with chocolate frosting.  However, ever since I made a Chocolate Chip Cake for Thanksgiving, it’s become Rooster’s favorite.  And that’s what he requested for his birthday this year.

Here’s the recipe, originally posted by Sunshine’s Mom on KnittingHelp.com.

Chocolate Chip Cake

Duncan Heinz Butter cake mix
1 small package Jello instant vanilla pudding
1/2 bar grated chocolate (I usually use German chocolate – it’s in a green package)
chocolate chips
1 cup oil
1 cup milk
4 eggs
A bundt pan

(Let me just say to start – grating the chocolate is the most time consuming part of this cake. I’ve found that using a zester instead of a grater works so much better. In any event, grate your chocolate first before doing anything else and you’ll be happy you did.)

With mixer, beat together cake mix, vanilla pudding, oil and eggs. Fold in grated chocolate. Put half of mixture into bundt pan, add enough chocolate chips to your liking, put rest of mixture on top (and maybe a few more chocolate chips?) Make sure chocolate chips are pushed into the top layer of cake mix. Lick the spoon, bowl and detach and lick the mixer blades, seriously. It’s that good.)

Bake at 350 deg. for an hour or until inserted knife or toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool in the bundt pan (I can’t stress this enough!). Once cool, tip over onto plate and cover with powered sugar if you wish.

I don’t have a bundt cake pan, so I use an angel food cake pan instead.

Rooster, in his excitement about a hot cake straight from the oven, ate a piece before anyone else…forgetting that we had yet to put candles on it and sing Happy Birthday.  Hence, the missing piece in the picture below:

I didn’t want the dogs to feel left out, so I decided to bake Molly a cake.  I visited Google for a recipe and found this site.  The only substitution I made was Almond Extract.  I didn’t know I was out of the vanilla until I began digging around in the pantry.

Here’s what the cake looked like after I put the candles on it:

I think Molly knew it was for her.  She was so excited when she saw me carrying it around and could not stop smiling!  You do know that dogs can smile, don’t you?

We sang Happy Birthday and helped her blow out the candles.  Then, we divided the cake into thirds and gave each dog a piece.

I think it’s safe to say they liked it.

A Letter to My Dad on His Birthday

Happy birthday Dad!  Today would have been your 65th birthday.  I think of you often and wonder what you would have done with yourself in retirement.

A couple of years ago, Soccer Chick, your first grandchild and the only female one at that, saved her birthday money and adopted a dog from the animal shelter near our home.  You would have been proud of her.  I know how much you loved rescuing stray animals.  She named him Pele, in honor of the soccer great.

We tried to estimate when Pele would have been born, and true to AuburnChick tradition, we matched it to one of our loved one’s birthdays.  You got the honor this time.  What a perfect way to remember you.

Pele

Pele

Pele turns two today.  He’s a laid-back dog…very easy going and tender.  Although he’s the largest of the three dogs in my home, he quickly rolls over on his back when the other two want to play.  He loves to be the center of attention.  When he wants to play, he gets a mischievous look in his eyes, and his ears take on the floppy look.  He jerks his head backward while looking at Aubie, the oldest.

“Play,” he asks?

Aubie often needs a little encouragement.

“Go get Pele,” we’ll tell her.

Off they run…around and around the “circle” in my kitchen.

You would have loved him.

So, Dad, on your birthday, I toast you by hoisting an imaginary glass of the finest wine.  The glass is imaginary because 1) I can’t afford expensive wine right now, and 2) I’m subbing and drinking isn’t allowed on campus.

Always in my thoughts…

Love,

Nathalie

AuburnChick Turns A Year Older

Today, I turned 38. What a great day I’m having too!

We’re at a soccer tournament, which is fitting given that almost everything I do is for my children (except the knitting, which they do not appreciate at all). On our way here yesterday, we stopped very briefly to meet my sister. Look at what she gave me…

This is a name plaque thingy for my desk! I had to crop the right side of the picture because it has my last name on it, and I have to be careful, you know. This gift really touched my heart because y’all know that I just finished college. I am working on passing my state exams so I can have my own classes in the fall. Hence, the apple motif. I love my sister.

While driving in last night, I noticed a Michael’s just down the road from the hotel. What luck! I live in a relatively small place, so every time we go somewhere, I always sniff out yarn stores or any other place that might carry stuff I’ve never seen “in real life” before.

I got up early and made it to the store right after they opened. They had a pretty good selection. I picked up a few items…

Can you see the Lion Brand “Cupcake” in there? I don’t think I’ve seen this before! I picked up a little extra to send along with the Oddball Baby Blankets I’ve been working on. It’s so much fun to get little surprises from the previous knitter. Not that it’s required, but what fun to send stuff too!!!

When I got back to the hotel, here’s what I found waiting for me…

My daughter had set up everything. My son was still in bed asleep…dead to the world.

The bear is blue (for Aquamarine — March’s birthstone). Mr. AuburnChick had purchased it on the sly at M&M World in Las Vegas. The Kohl’s card is loaded with $50! Yippee!!! And the notes…well, they are the work of my daughter and her best friend, otherwise known as AuburnChick’s Daughter #2. I had to cut off the bottom of the picture because some of the girls on the team had signed it. AuburnChick is protective of her girls.

But the picture! Ha, ha, ha! If you look closely to the right, you’ll see the head of a person. The person is pushing a walker…down the hill of life. 😀

Here’s a close-up of the other picture specially drawn for your’s truly…

Apparently, the girls think they have a sense of humor. I think it comes from their fathers.

Then, we went to the game, and the team won! Yippee!

We went out for lunch afterwards, and guess what store happened to be in the plaza? Joann Fabrics. Well, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity, even though the one by my house kind of stinks, so I was doubting that the store would have much. My store is small, and the yarn selection is quite pitiful.

Not so this store! This was the most ginormous (is that a word? who cares) Joann’s I’ve ever seen! Oh my gosh! I would have taken a picture, but I’ve had a hard time getting pictures off of my camera phone (see previous post). Take my word for it.

Here’s what I found there…

I will use the Microspun for the Oddball Preemie Blankets. My real find, though, was the self-striping Sugar ‘n Cream! Oh my gosh!!! I bought a few extra to send along with the blankets. Hubby was NOT amused.

I guess I’ve officially become a stashie.

So folks, AuburnChick is having a great day! It can be fun turning a year older!!

AuburnChick is a Photographer!

I started working on my Greenaway Fingerless Gloves last night. I even completed the first one, but I decided not to post a picture until I’ve finished the second one.

So, not wanting to disappoint my faithful readers, I pondered about what to post today. I have a picture I want to share. It’s on my phone, though. Of course, when I bought my Macbook Pro, the phone software was not compatible. Go figure. I love the Mac…I’m just starting to stare down my phone (I can’t wait until November…contract will be up, and I will get a new phone!).

Anyhow…I turned into computer techno mode.

My children cringe when I get “In the Zone.” You know what I’m talking about…blank stare straight ahead, not really hearing what they are saying.

“Hey, Mama…I’m going out drinking with the guys.”

“Have a good time,” you say to your 13 year old.

So, I was “In the Zone.” I must figure out a way to get these pictures off of my phone. No longer do I want one picture. Oh no…I want them ALL.

I tried using my daughter’s laptop first, feeling pressured because:

a) She does not like letting me “borrow” her computer even though I am the person who fixes it every time something goes wrong,

b) Same daughter keeps peering around the screen and asking, “What are you doing now? Are you being your nosy self and reading my email?”

She’s clearly forgotten that I’m “In the Zone.” She could be planning a rendevous with Prince William for all I know or care at the moment.

The pressure was too much. I decided to use my son’s laptop instead. Daughter nearly tore her computer out of my hands in her desperation to get her prized possession back.

I connected the phone and laptop, and the driver installed. Good so far. Nope…not really. I can’t get the computer to read my phone. Rats. Fortunately, I had long ago installed a little program called BitPim. It’s useful for grabbing stuff off of your phone. You can even use it to install your own ringtones. I’ve done this. Trust me…I’m a computer geek at heart.

But the program wasn’t cooperating. I sink further into “The Zone.”

“Mama, what’s for dinner?”

“You mean you’re not done growing yet? I thought after the age of 10 I didn’t have to feed you anymore.”

Daughter warmed up leftovers.

I start clicking buttons now…out of a sense of frustration. I have no idea how, but all of a sudden I got a green light. This means that the phone is connected! I’ve always heard that God is merciful. Well, okay, I’ve experienced His mercy many times, but it is nice to be reminded that He sees you in all your pain. Yes, even the pain of a frustrated, self-taught computer geek who only wants to grab a few pictures (correction…ALL the pictures) from her phone. Nothing major, you know.

Here are a few of the better ones…

This is the cake that one of my co-workers made for me. My birthday is coming up, and my office has a monthly celebration. A neat tidbit is that I was born on Easter Sunday (just in case you are ever a contestant on Jeopardy, and Alex asks you this question).

I made the next two pictures a little bigger so you can see better.

This picture is Pele, my daughter’s dog. He always stretches out and gets comfortable. He’s not shy, as you can see…baring his entire 70lb+ body…

The next picture is one you’ll have to look at real closely. That’s my Molly. There was a bone on the counter, and you better believe that she knew it was there. The dogs had been taking turns climbing on the couch and trying to figure out if their bodies were long enough to reach it. You could see the wheels in their brains turning. These are, after all, AuburnChick’s dogs. They ain’t dumb.

Sometimes, I like to take the dogs with me when I pick up my daughter from school. Imagine three not-small dogs in a Jeep. Should be cute, right? It is, until all of the high schoolers start walking out. Then the dogs start barking like crazy. My daughter is not amused.

This is Aubie — best dog in the world. She is so good…you just have no idea. She’s the oldest. You can talk to her like she’s a regular person. She LOVES going for rides!

Pele likes riding…to a point. He’s the whiner in the bunch. He’s the biggest baby you’ll ever see. But he’s so big that you just want to carry him around like a teddy bear.

And here’s Molly. This picture makes her look like the rascal that she is. She’s the child you have when you’re 40 and thought you were done. Yep…she’s my wild-child, but we just adore her.

And the last picture…well, it really is random. This is a dessert that I got when we went to San Diego for Thanksgiving.

Why in the world would I take a picture of food? People…it’s CHOCOLATE! It was so delicate and pretty. I had to share it. It looks like something from a TV food show. It was delicious too.

So, that’s it for now. I hope to have my other glove done tomorrow so I can post pictures!

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