Kimmie enjoys displaying her artwork in her bedroom. She painted, sculpted or drew everything you see here. She excells at anything creative. The white etching around the mirror in her headboard are flowers and leaves.

This is Kimmie's room. She hung Christmas lights at her windows. The sheer curtains are beautiful during the daytime. I'm not sure why this is underlining.

Living Room


Dining Room

This is the view from our back porch. The farmer who lives in the house that you see pictured, came over one day and helped us mow our yard with his tractor. He's really nice. I told him that I was going to bake some brownies for him to say thank you, but I was nine months pregnant at the time, and he asked me not to. :-)

Here is my brother Zach. He's wearing my youngest brother, Pete's coat to be silly. As you can see, it is pretty small on him! Zach is standing near the fireplace in the living room, and you can see the kitchen over his shoulder.

This is my mom in our dining room. Mom, Dad and my three youngest siblings came to visit when Liberty was born. My sister Faith had just finished using the sewing machine (which was a gift from Jim, a friend of mine) to make the two pillows that you see on the table.

More pics coming soon!

My husband has got to be the best man in the world, and my dad is not far behind!

Jeremy and I poured Draino into our toilet this week, and it sat mocking us from the toilet bowl for two days. (How long does it take Draino to work?) So we took a trip to our friendly Walmart and purchased a snake. (We originally chose a sink auger because it looked cooler with the round container that the flexible part can curl into, but thankfully, Jeremy read the label before we left the store, and we went back for the toilet auger that looks more like a fishing rod.)

Armed with our new fishing pole auger and our vast toilet un-clogging experience (which includes and is limited to me seeing my dad un-clog a few toilets in the past) we began our experiements with the Throne. We pushed and pulled and cranked and prayed. Nothing happened. We pushed and pulled and cranked and prayed some more. Still nothing happened.

Plan B: Call DAD! Jeremy held the auger, and I held the phone. It felt like a 911 call.

Dad heroically talked us through the operation over the phone. The toilet magically drained itself, and Dad never even charged us for his phone consultation!

My Heroes!!!
While Kimmie, Liberty and I were on the way to our shopping trip last night, my wedding ring flew off of my finger. The darkness in the car prevented me from seeing exactly where it landed, but I heard it fall between my driver's seat and the console. When we got to the store parking lot, we turned all of the car lights on, and searched. Not a ring in sight! I focused on the tiny area between the seat and console, but still couldn't find it, and it was impossible to get our hands into that space. We must have looked pretty funny while we searched, because we had opened the car doors and were hanging half in and half out of the car, contorting our bodies in order to see into the various crevices. We spent about 30 minutes searching, and finally gave up for a more pleasant activity...CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!!! I decided that I would have to take it to the dealership and have them dismember my poor Jenny to get my ring back. (Jenny is my car's name.)

This morning, I dropped Kimmie off at school, then took Libby to Rhonda's house. (Rhonda is her babysitter.) As I was getting back into the car, I spotted something in the middle of the driver's side floor that my foot was about to descend onto. My right foot hovered over the floor of the car while I balanced on my left foot outside the car, and I looked closer to see what was on the floor. IT WAS MY RING!!!!! Yay for me! Now I don't have to get Jenny ripped apart! Yay for Jenny!

Still no sign of snow...
Keeping it short and sweet, cuz I'm very busy today...and because I took some sinus medication that is making me very drowsy. (Don't look too closely at my spelling and punctuation this time!)

Kimmie's at my office right now. Tomorrow is her last day of school, and she has two exams in the morning. This morning, she had an exam and only an hour of school. She thinks she did pretty well on the exam...we'll see! We're hoping to leave early today to get some shopping done!!!! Fun times!

You know how much I've been hoping for snow at Christmas, and it has been so warm here for the past week. Yesterday, they were predicting rain in the afternoon turning to freezing rain overnight. Kimmie's school even announced a possible two hour delay for this morning! I was skeptical, but hopeful, and when it began raining yesterday afternoon, I was ecstatic! I could hear it pouring rain all night, and I was so happy, but this morning when I woke up, it was 43 degrees outside!!!!! Not cold at all!!!! Now how am I going to get snow if the temperature won't go down?

So everybody, please open your freezer doors tonight...hey, it could happen.
Well, our toilet is stopped up. It has been since Saturday or Sunday; I can't remember for sure. Thankfully, it's not nasty looking or smelling! But it is very inconvenient, let me tell you! Jeremy and I have faithfully taken turns plunging it two or three times a day to no avail. Jeremy even has this cool plunger (he was so excited about when we first got it, that he ran to show it to one of Kimmie's friends who had come over to spend the about embarrassing!) Hee-hee!

The plunger is like a bicycle pump fitted with a plunger head. You stick it over the hole in the toilet bowl and then start pumping. It is really long as I don't have to operate it. Jeremy loves it. And even that is not helping us! I think I'll go buy some Draino, and see what that does. My dad used to have an auger or a snake that he used to un-stop drains. I wonder how much those cost?

So I have two things to be thankful for:
1. The toilet has not yet over-flowed. Although, now that I have said that...will everyone please knock on wood for me after reading this!
2. We have a second bathroom, so we have not had to resort to digging a hole in the backyard for an outhouse yet!

Yay for us!
It's funny how people react to Christmas. I conduct a lot of phone transactions throughout the day while I'm at work, and usually, it's just business. But now, all I have to say is, "How's your Christmas shopping going?" and I get an entire conversation started...and not necessarily all about Christmas either.

On a phone call to Hartford Mutual Funds, I chatted with a customer service representative named Lourdes. While we waited on her computer to spit out some necessary information, I asked the magic question. She told me all about her husband and brother-in-law and brother-in-law's fiance. Then she described to me the relationship conflicts between the brother-in-law and his fiance, and a set of pajamas that she and her husband are going to buy for the brother-in-law. It says, "It's all about me." She predicts that he will wear those pajamas to a restaurant with his fiance, just to embarrass her. (I wanted a follow-up on that story, but unfortunately, I did not get Lourdes' direct line.)

When I called Dell PC to get a FREE replacement for some hardware that is still under warranty (yipee!), I asked Debbie the magic question while she waited on a VERY slow computer. (You'd think Dell's service center would have really fast computers so they could brag about that on their incoming calls.) She branched off into the former sleeping habits of her now grown children. We also discussed the likelihood of chocolate to melt while resting in Christmas stockings hung over the lit fireplace...something that I was grateful to have pointed out to me ahead of time.

Later, a computer guy came to our office to update some of our virus protection software, and HE asked ME the magic question!!! (Ha!) We then discussed the joy of finding the "perfect" gift for someone. Along with Louisa May Alcott books, what we thought of pandas, and the stirring of imagination when viewing a good painting.

I love Christmas!
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Several people have asked about Kimmie's basketball game. They won: 51 - 37!!! But more importantly, she was REALLY surprised when we showed up! There was a JV game at 6:15 and a Varsity game at 7:45. We skipped the JV game, and she assumed that we were not going to come at all. In addition, she did not know that Jeremy was off work that night, so it was a double surprise, AND I made sweet tea for her before we left the house, and brought it to her at the game. So it was a TRIPLE surprise!!!!! We have pictures of her cheering, so when the camera is developed, you'll be seeing those.

Jeremy and I spent an inordinate amount of time joking between ourselves about the other team's cheerleaders. They were pretty funny because they didn't seem to have it together. There were five girls, and no matter what they tried to do, at least one girl would be out of touch. When our team was at their end of the court to make a basket, they all raised their arms and waived their fingers...all but #2 who was busy picking at her fingernails. Later, their team made a basket and they all started a cheer...all but #5 who was tying her shoes. And so on, you get the picture. Maybe you had to be there, but it was hilarious to Jeremy and I.

Liberty made friends with the couple behind us on the bleachers, and she managed to spit up all over my sleeve. I'm not sure why she feels compelled to aim for the parts of me that are NOT covered by the spit-up cloth, but she is very talented that way! She must be practicing to become the National Watermelon Seed Spitting Champion.
Ah, the winters in Iowa, all snowy and frosty...NOT!

It has been in the high 50's the past few days, and we're all going around in short sleeves!! I'm beginning to wonder if someone bopped me on the head and transported me back to Florida when I wasn't looking. They say we almost broke a record on Thursday.

We're not "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" yet, but I still hope we will have a "White Christmas!"

Kimmie's cheering at a home basketball game tonight, and JEREMY'S OFF OF WORK!!!! So we're planning to surprise her at the game. She asked me this morning if Liberty and I were planning to be at the game, and I tried to give a non-committal, miscellaneous grunt so that I wouldn't lie, but also not ruin the surprise. I LOVE SURPRISES!!!!
Who can ignore a smiling baby? Obviously not Kimmie or I. Let me tell you a story...

Last night at church, Liberty smiled and talked to everyone who passed her. Of course, not one of them could ignore a smiling baby, so we met lots of new people. In fact, Kimmie has realized the power of a smiling baby, and she is now using Libby to help her make friends. She holds her, and walks around the room as though she weren't really all that interested in the people there. Then everyone crowds around her to see the baby, and Kimmie introduces herself...they are snagged! Once people meet Kimmie they like her, so there you go! Automatic friends!

There was no nursery, so I brought Libby into the prayer meeting with me. She sat on my lap and gurgled and cooed and smiled and drooled. At first I held her over my shoulder. She had just eaten, and I was burping her, but apparently she made friends with someone behind us, and she began vocalizing her friendliness...and when she's joyful, she's loud! I brought her back down into my lap to quiet her down (who really wants to quiet down a funny baby anyway?) but that didn't work. She saw Kimmie and I smiling at her, and she just started laughing and talking to us. When we realized that she was responding to us, we tried to ignore her, but she just got louder! It was so hilarious! Kimmie and I tried VERY HARD to contain our giggles, but when the man in front of us snorted from trying to hold his laughter in, it was all over!

I haven't been sending out my emails recently because I had to stay home from work on Monday with Libby, and then Tuesday, I was swamped!

My poor little baby has been very sick. She went to the doctor on Friday, and he said that she had a really bad cold. Nothing serious, but we needed to watch out for an ear infection. A Nothing Serious Baby Cold is a lot different than a Nothing Serious Missy Cold. I wish I were sick instead of her. She is so miserable; it is very pathetic to hear her cries. Poor Jeremy is sick, too. I think I told you that he was sick on Thursday. Neither one of them was able to sleep; they felt so awful that they just kept waking up. Poor Liberty would be sound asleep looking very peaceful, and out of nowhere, she would scream in pain. But they are both on the mend now! Libby slept quietly all night long, and this morning, she smiled and talked to me the whole time we were getting ready. I'm so glad to have her back, and Jeremy rubbed my back last night at 3:00 am, when he came home from work, so he must be feeling better!

Since we moved, we have been looking for a good church to attend. This past Sunday, we tried a new one, and we LOVED it. The adult Sunday School class is studying the kings in the Old Testament, and we all discussed how the things that happened back then applied to our lives individually. Everyone had a different way that the Bible applied to their life, and it was so cool to be with a group of people who all loved God and wanted to be closer to him by putting His Word into action in their lives! Since we have been visiting other churches, we have found several where the people seemed like they were just meeting because it was a Sunday habit, not because they wanted God to be first in their life. It was very refreshing to visit this church!

Kimmie's teen class is studying the book of Proverbs, and I looked at her Sunday School book with her after we got home on Sunday. It has a section of verses to read each day, and then some questions to answer each day based on the verses. She is really excited about it because she has never had a devotional book before. This is Wednesday, and so far, she has been working in that book everyday. She just told me again that she is really enjoying it.

We are going back tonight for a prayer meeting. They are also having a potluck supper tonight before we pray, and I'm very glad because while I'm typing this my tummy is growling!
Yesterday, I arrived at work only to find that our internet and phone lines were down. Craig and I started out very chipper (chipperly? Hmm.) We can now catch up. No phone calls to interrupt us! But our chipper-ness quickly turned to plodding. (There is a reason that the filing has stacked up to three feet high...we hate to do it!!!) Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea.

By 11 o'clock, we had all of the non-phone and non-internet work done (it is amazing how much we rely on technology now), and Craig decided to do some errands around town, work out, then go eat lunch. Since I had brought my lunch from home, I chose to stick around the office. The sad part is, I normally keep a book to read, or Logic Puzzles (which I'm addicted to), or at the very least a To-Do list from home in my bag. But I had taken all three of those things out the night before. (Why does that always happen?)

So I heated up my lunch in the microwave, created a menu and grocery list for next week, and cleaned my desk drawers. I thought about going for a walk, but it was -10 wind chill and I didn't want to lose any ears.

At two pm, we decided to cut and run. I picked Libby up from her babysitter's house, (Kimmie had cheerleading practice until 7 pm, so I wouldn't need to pick her up for a while)and we drove home. Jeremy was pulling on his socks when we arrived, and I quickly packed his lunch for him. He's throat has been hurting him since Tuesday, so he garbled out a "Thank you," and "I love you," kissed me on the forehead so he wouldn't contaminate me, and rushed out the door. I got to see Jeremy twice in one week! Yay for me!!!

Liberty and I sat and talked with each other for a while before her nap. She has just realized that she has hands even though she's not quite sure what they are for. It is hilarious to watch her sit and stare at her hands so intently. We've been trying to teach her how to grab things, so we hold a rattle in front of her. She'll stare at it for several minutes, then her body starts quivering with intensity. After a while, both arms begin randomly flailing at her sides, no where near the rattle. Usually, her right arm will find the general vicinity of the rattle first and hover in jagged patterns. (Unfortunately, I think she's going to be right-handed. I keep telling her how awful it is to be right-handed, but she doesn't seem to be listening. It's her daddy's fault; he keeps filling her head with nonsense about how great it is.)

Yesterday, she finally grabbed the rattle and lifted it out of my hands! Then she promptly bopped herself in the face with it, and looked very startled. Babies are so fun!
Guess what? Kimmie's school paper is going to publish one of her poems!!!! Here it is:

Turn The Page
by Kimberly McCullen

You say you don't get my life story.
Won't you open up the book?
It tells you everything you need to know,
need to know about me.

Turn the page.
You see me fall down.
Turn the page.
You see me high in the air,

Keep going.
Turn the page.
My life is awesome.

Just turn the page
to see what
Libby sleeps very well. She's been sleeping through the night since she was two weeks old (which I am very thankful for!), so although I am tired, it's not really her fault. (It's Kimmie's fault, because she won't let me take naps or go to bed early!)

The hardest part of having a new baby is that my life is completely different now. I used to go play whenever and wherever I felt like it. Now it takes twenty to thirty minutes longer to go anywhere, and everything needs to be planned instead of spontaneous because of Libby's schedule and who will take care of her if I want to do something that involves my hands or my undivided attention or absolute quiet? I absolutely love having her, but it has definitely changed my style. Sometimes I miss spontaneity; life with Libby takes some getting used to.

She's so much fun, though! She has now started smiling and cooing at us, and Kimmie has gotten pretty good at getting her to laugh. It is fun to just watch them together. Be prepared for another influx of pictures soon. Every time I turn around, Kimmie has the camera in her hand, and she is "posing" Liberty in a new position. We just finished off a disposable camera last night. Kimmie told me yesterday that she wants to take Art 4 next semester because it is all about photography. I think Kimmie could easily get a job as a photographer at a store like Sears or JCPenney's to help support herself when she goes to college. I can just picture her (no pun intended) with the kids, and she would be great at that!

I'm enjoying my Christmas decorations more this year, because I know that next year, Libby will be walking (and reaching) so I'll be rearranging the way we decorate in 2007!

Jeremy was part of a JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) fundraiser at work yesterday. He and I spent Tuesday afternoon peeling, chopping, boiling and mashing enough potatoes to feed 60 people. A few other people at his work also made mashed potatoes for the fundraiser meal. The fundraiser was very successful, and they ran out of food due since so many people came! Yay for Jeremy! (And it was wonderful to see Jeremy during the week! I love him so much!!!)
Inspired by the festive atmosphere at work, I dug out my second tub of Christmas decorations at home.

We had put up our Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving, and I had a small tub of Christmas tree decorations and miscellaneous house decorations that I put up then. I knew that I had another tub somewhere, but it wasn't with all of the other decoration boxes in storage. After a week of thought, I finally realized where the tub was, and I dug it out last night.

My house is now beautifully Christmassy!
Guess what? When I came in to work this morning, there were Christmas decorations up in the office!!!!! My boss's wife must have come in over the weekend...either that or the cleaning lady felt like being really nice this weekend! :-)

Yay for Christmas!!!!!
It is so beautiful here today! The sun is shining, the sky is a happy blue. It's dead cold, -3 wind chill, but sitting at my computer, looking out the window, you'd never know it. How gorgeous!
How are you doing?