How old is too old to have a sleepover? I remember when I was eight or nine years old, I asked my friend's mom why ladies her age didn't have sleepovers, and she laughed and said, "You'll understand one day when you are my age."

At the time, she had three kids, and she was in her late twenties or early thirties. I am 28, and I have two kids. And tonight, two of my friends are going to sleepover at my house. They are each in their early forties. One lady has one child, and the other lady has four children. They are leaving their husbands and kids behind to PAR-TAY with me.

My husband works night shift, so he will not be home until 3 or 4 in the morning. Kimmie is in Illinois visiting my parents and siblings, and Liberty will go to bed around 8:00 tonight, leaving us ladies free to TP the neighborhood or freeze the underwear of whoever goes to sleep first.

The only difference between this sleepover, and the sleepovers of my childhood will be that we're not going to camp out on the floor in sleeping bags. The three of us will sleep on my wonderful king-sized bed, where I plan to start a vicious pillow fight!
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I noticed several funny things while on my way to work this morning that brought me joy, and I drove through town with a silly smile on my face.

1. The Perky Intern: My favorite radio station is based out of the Big City an hour away, and they have hired a summer intern who brings a very upbeat vocal quality to the air waves. She sounds extremely young, although I know she must be in college, and her voice is always extremely happy. This morning, they put her in charge of reading the news.

She read in her cheerful, upbeat voice: "It was dark and late last night when a city policeman was killed in a hit and run. The officer was kneeling outside of his squad car using a radar gun to catch speeding motorists when one of those motorists ran into the back of his car pushing it into his body and crushing him to death. Also last night, a bullet ended the life of a young man, who police are declining to identify before giving the details to his family. The neighbors in the small neighborhood where he was shot are shocked and concerned that this has happened so close to their homes. A presidential candidate is crashing a debate party today. Paul Don (I think that's the name that she said) was not invited to the presidential debate involving many other candidates, so he has decided to throw his own the same building as the debate and at the same time. He is offering free hamburgers and hotdogs to the first 500 people who show up."

I have to tell you, it is hard to take the two deaths mentioned seriously, when the newscaster is so joyful about it. And then I cracked up listening to the Paul Don party crashing. He sounds pretty fun to me. Although, I'm not sure what type of president he would make if he was crashing cabinet meetings all the time, and what would he do if a UN negotiation didn't go his way? Find a creative way around it, or just do his own thing to the detriment of others?

2. The Mismatched Flowers: As I entered town, I drove past a house with six beautiful hanging baskets of flowers on the front porch. Each basket overflowed with dusky pink blossoms, all but one basket that is. The last basket dangled the same flowers, but in a distinctly orange tone that did not match the house or the other flowers at all. I laughed out loud as I imagined the surprised homeowner discovering for the first time that the promising buds on the newly purchased plants were not the same color on every plant.

3. The Practical Joke: On my way to drop Liberty off at her babysitter's house, I passed another victim of the town's ongoing practical joke. Twenty, pink, plastic flamingos perched on thin metal stems on the front lawn of a house, and a posted sign in the yard read in large, black letters, "YOU HAVE BEEN FLOCKED." These same flamingos and sign were in the front yard of a house four blocks away two days ago, and I remember seeing the birds and their accompanying verbiage several times at various houses last summer, too. At the time, I thought it was a practical joke, and I got a great laugh out of it, but just before blogging about it, I decided to search the Internet to see if anyone in town has said anything funny about the incidents. It turns out, the birds are a fundraiser for breast cancer. Townspeople secretly vote on who should be the first victim of the flocking, and in the middle of the night someone sneaks out to the house and flocks the front lawn. The birds remain at their posts until the homeowner donates to breast cancer research. He then chooses the next person to be flocked, and in the middle of the night, the birds migrate to the next nominees' yard. That's the best fundraiser that I've ever heard of!
Our three scrawny baby birds have become fuzzy teenagers overnight.

Yesterday afternoon, when Libby and I came home from work, two fluffy looking birds were lounging on our front doorstep. They were sitting on the threshold of the doorjamb with their backs pushed up against the door. Each bird had picked a corner, and they were hanging out there looking like a pair of gangsters leaning up against a cement wall in the "hood."

I parked the car inside the attached garage, and carried Libby inside the house. Curiously, I peered out the front window to see if the birds were still lazing by the front door. They were, and they didn't seem to be in a hurry to leave. After thirty minutes without movement by either bird, I decided to up the fun factor.

With Liberty balanced in my left arm, I loudly unlocked, relocked, and unlocked the front door. I hesitated. I heard no movement on the other side of the door. I opened the front door just a crack to see if the birds were still there. They were. The tail feathers of one bird stuck through the open crack of the doorway. I lightly touched his tail. He did not move at all. I tried to let Liberty see the birds through the crack in the door, but I didn't want her to get pecked in the eye either. I closed the door to get the teenage robins to hop off the door frame. They didn't budge.

I reopened the door and observed the nearest robin, the one with the tips of his tail feathers inside my house. He was scruffy looking. His feathers were downy soft and fluffed up. His chest sported a light amber coloring and dark brown polka-dots. I assume his chest will darken into the famous rust color of Robin Red Breasts as he ages. I wanted to touch him, but, okay, I admit it. I am scared of birds. Maybe I read Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds at too young an age. Sure, they look cute from a distance, but get within six feet of one, and you'll notice the beady little eyes, the sharp, pointed beak, the scratchy clawed feet.

This robin's beak seemed exceptionally pointed and shiny, maybe because he was so young or maybe because I was so close to him. My eyeballs were about six inches from his pointed beak. I checked that the crack in the door was small enough to keep his body out if I needed to suddenly pull my eyes away from the opening. I ached to touch him, but I decided to play it safe. I picked up one of Kimmie's flip-flops that happened to be near the front door (and shouldn't have been). I figured, if I touched him gently with the shoe and he didn't violently stab at it, then I could try again with my finger. I slid the foam sole through the crack in the door and gently rubbed the robin's back.

In a flutter of feathers, he and his sister fled from my doorstep. As I stared down at the twin piles of waste matter built up on both corners of the threshold, I realized the siblings must have been sitting at my door at least all day, if not all of the previous night. Had their mother been bringing their food to them at my doorstep?

At least real gangsters at their favorite hang-out spots have the decency to find a toilet when necessary. I closed the door to prevent any stray birds from swooping in, and I walked to the cabinet under the kitchen sink to get a scrub brush, thankful that only two of the three siblings had visited my doorstep.
I admit it. I LOVE spying on people. I love watching as they go about their daily business, and I love peering in their windows to see how wonderfully they may have decorated their homes. To my husband's chagrin and my mother's partnership, if any window in any house that I happen to be driving or walking past has open curtains, I will surreptitiously gaze into the room as I continue moving slowly past. In the past, I tried at times to curb my curiosity, and even now, I attempt to mask the direction of my gaze without ripping my eyeballs from their sockets, but people and homes are so addictive to me.

Last week, I stood at my kitchen window, minding my own business and washing the dishes, when I noticed my neighbor in his backyard. He and his wife have recently started a small garden, and it is their pride and joy. Whenever I walk over there to visit, we invariably end up in their garden evaluating just how much the miscellaneous vegetables may have grown over the past few days. This is their very first garden, and they are obsessed with it. (Sidenote: I planted my first garden, named Garden 1, on Mother's Day this year in a small flower bed in the front of my house. As of today, not one flower has grown in my little flower bed, and I am very sad about that. I plan to start Garden 2 later this year.)

As I unashamedly watched out the window (because it was daytime, and no one could see that I was staring like a maniac) Denny carried a sprinkler over to his garden. The sprinkler was the type that creates a swaying arch of water like a lady's old fashioned feather fan in days of yore. (I've been wanting to sneak that phrase into my blog since I started typing, "days of yore.") Anyway, Denny set the sprinkler down in the center of the garden. He stepped back and watched the arch bend backwards and forwards several times over his plants. Apparently, the water was missing a few too many leaves for his liking, so he walked over and adjusted it. He stepped back again and observed. He walked forward and adjusted it. He stepped back and observed; he walked forward and adjusted. After twelve (yes, I was counting) adjustments, he picked up the sprinkler and carried it from the center of the garden to the far left side. He set it down in a strategic spot and stepped back to observe the spray.

A few more adjustments later, I became bored (and Libby was hungry) so I turned from the window and fed her a few crackers. About fifteen minutes later, I walked past our sliding glass doors and noticed Denny was still out in his garden, placing, observing and adjusting. The sprinkler was still on the left side of the garden. I picked Liberty up and pointed our garden-crazy neighbor out to her. We laughed and watched him from the sliding door until the sun began setting. When I decided that the growing darkness would enable him to notice me watching him from inside my house, Libby and I boldly stepped out onto the back porch. "How's it going, Denny?" I called out to him with a grin and a hint of a chuckle in my voice.

He glanced over his left shoulder towards us. "Hi! Just working on watering the plants." He volunteered.

Liberty and I stood on the back deck for a little while chuckling to ourselves, but once the mosquitoes decided I would make a great main course for the evening, we headed back inside.

Maybe that's what my problem with Garden 1 was. I should have asked Denny to come water it!
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Yes, I did drop off the face of the earth, and I had a lovely time floating through space this past month. Actually, now that school is out for the summer, I've lost my rhythm. So many events filled with happiness and fun have distracted me from my blog, and I have so much to catch you up on!

I will strive to update. But I warn you, the random spillage from my brain will not necessarily be in chronological order...or even in logical order at times.

Let's start with my newly found phone. I found it last week, wedged underneath Liberty's car seat. I don't even know how it got into the backseat of the car, but I'm too joyful to investigate seriously.

I'm planning to help decorate the fourth of July parade float for our church this Thursday. I wonder how Liberty will enjoy that fun. She'll probably sit on the lawn and attempt to eat it while I work on the float.

My sister Charity came to visit us this weekend from Illinois. She surprised Jeremy for his birthday. When he came home from work at three in the morning, she was perched on top of the refrigerator. Kimmie and I attempted to hide in a nearby doorway to watch his reaction, but he spotted us right away and asked why we were awake. Charity sang out "Happy Birthday, Jeremy!" from her throne, and Jeremy looked startled and ready to jump into action, but he anticlimactically responded, "Oh, hi."

Jackie and Dave were married May 19th, and I flew down to the wedding in Florida. Our family camped at Lake Red Rock with Dan, Kari and Aaron the following weekend, which was Memorial Day. The next weekend, June 2nd, our friends from college Dan and Liisa and their kids stayed with us on their way to a family reunion in Oregon. Now, that was a lot of fun! Having old college friends spend the night, I highly recommend. They left us with big smiles on our faces and rejuvenated hearts. I miss my fun-filled, college days, but truthfully, I love my current, life-filled, family days more! The weekend after that was my birthday, and we celebrated by road-tripping into the City for fun. The weekend of June 16th, our family stayed home, no visitors, and accomplished some yard work. We have a sad little pine tree in our front yard that needed doctoring. (I've decided to name our homestead Lone Pine, which unfortunately sounds very sad and dreary, doesn't it?) We also found three little blue eggs in a nest in the tree. Kimmie named the momma bird Mary, and we began bird watching that week. Last week, the eggs hatched and we now have three ugly little baby birds who demand food from their muscle-building momma. That lady puts on mileage trying to keep her hungry brood fed. We've got to have a completely worm-free yard by now. That brings us to this weekend, which was Jeremy's birthday and Charity's surprise arrival. Chari left yesterday evening with Kimmie. They traveled back to my parent's house in Illinois, where my brother Nate and his wife Suzy will stop off on their way to our house next weekend from Ohio. They and their two dogs will pick up Kim from Mom and Dad's house, and finish driving to our house. They're going to stay for a week during fourth of July, and Jeremy and I will be taking vacation days from work during that week. Jeremy's dad and Tammy are also supposed to join us during the week of July 4th, so we're going to be having a blast! We even purchased some new games to play! I can't wait!
I just can't keep my phone around me!

Last week, I was without my communication device because I had misplaced my cell-phone charger. This week, I've lost my phone! It went AWOL on Friday night as soon as I got home from work, and I had already told several people that I would call them.

Pretty soon, I'm going to have no friends! (My family has to stick with me no matter what, cuz they can't get out of being my family. Ha!)

To everyone who is feeling slighted by my lack of communication, I am sorry. I really do love you. Really.
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We had a GREAT time camping at the Lake over the Memorial Day weekend! Here are some pictures from it.Our campsite was right on the river. Left to Right: Kimmie, Missy, Jeremy, Liberty (Notice that Liberty already doesn't want to be seen with us!)
A section of the old railroad bridge collapsed during the flood of '93, and I loved the scene created by the remains - perfect scope for the imagination!
We camped with our friends, Dan & Kari and their son, Aaron. (Dan was the photographer for this picture.)
Sunset over Lake Red Rock! Kimmie after dark
We visited the dam...
...and followed the mostly submerged walkway into the water.
Liberty stayed dry with Kari...
...and supervised the bugs.
Later, we pretended to safari.
When we found this deer, we had to take a picture; it was just too funny!

Back at the campsite, Aaron played a new and improved version of Duck, Duck, Goose.

My mischeivous baby cooked up her own ideas.

Hatching the plan

"What? I'm innocent!"

We fished and fished, but caught nothing. Kimmie wanted a fish so badly that she took a picture of someone else's catch.

I accidentally stepped into Kimmie's picture of the shore.

Liberty was happy that she didn't have to eat any fish.

Of course, she is happy just about anywhere. Here she is in the tent.

And here in her Tot-Tot.

Super Baby!

All in all, we had a great time camping...

...and Kimmie was happy to be back home!