Sunday, November 30, 2008

Deck the Blog

We've had a busy weekend decorating the house for Christmas. I already have a great stash of Christmas photos to dress up the blog for the holiday season. I'm sorry about the ribbon cutting across my post. Couldn't seem to get around it.
Funny Story
The master helped us get the tree decorating started, but then he had to go up to the church building to prepare for evening service. The kids and I put the finishing touches on the tree. As I was placing the angel on top of the tree, Ian warned that I should be careful because if it fell, it would break. I reminded him that since our angel is paper mache, it would probably be o.k., even if I dropped it.

Later in the evening as we sat around the Christmas tree sipping our hot cocoa:
The master: Too bad I had to leave before putting the angel on top--that's my job.
K: Yeah, it's tradition!
Marina: nonchalant Nah. It's paper.
complete cast: LAUGHTER
Marina: indignant It is so paper! Mommy said!
Hey, at least she was listening for once.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, November 24, 2008
Outside My Window...Still those darn leaves.
I am thinking...about how being a pastor has to be one of the hardest jobs on earth.
I am thankful that every once in a long while do the right thing without being asked.
From the kitchen...messy kitchen. I've been out of dishwashing detergent for three days. But the master brought some home, so after the homemade pizza, I will once again restore order and cleanliness.
I am jeans, T-shirt, no shoes.
I am creating...technically still creating quilt since the quilt has been started, but not completed. In the active sense of the word? Not so much.
I am going...home for Thanksgiving. We just can't swing the trip to Illinois, even with gas prices as low as they are.
I am reading...Happy to announce that we wrapped up Trumpet of the Swan and are moving on to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle tonight.
I am hoping...that our possible rent situation works out. PLEASE hope with me. I'd also like to hear about a possible teaching position after the holiday. I dread putting Cara in daycare, but four months in the classroom would certainly help us pull out of our financial nose dive, and it would mean the master could quit the side job. The children would once again have a two parent home.
I am hearing...The last murmurs before Cara succumbs to sleep. The diswasher, hallelujah, the dishwasher is washing away. Ian has on his super hero jammies and is role playing as Superman--involves entirely too much running for indoors. Bathroom doors closing. Marina is doing a cheer. Now she is coming to say that Randy climbed the bathroom shelves and brought down a whole stack of towels...oh, my.
One of my favorite things...this week? Dishwashing detergent.
Around the house...Readying the rooms for the madness of the holidays. Washing up clothes for our upcoming trip.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...Visit with Cari tomorrow, and baking (I'm responsible for mashed potatoes, pecan pie, and deviled eggs). Wednesday, still more doctor's appointments, one for Cara and one for Ian (he has lost his hearing AGAIN), late night drive to hometown. Thanksgiving Thursday, Friday clean out shed and garage of old house (because we will have renters, right? We are acting in faith), Saturday head home, swinging by tree farm on the way.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

The kid likes shelves.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Was It Something I Said?

I was doing a little surfing, killing time until the master came home from P*p* John's, and since Debbie has a HUGE blog role, I decided to try out some blogs that I don't normally read. Quite by accident I discovered a post from a blogger named JOY (never visited her blog before) that was addressing a negative commenter. Do you remember the sad situation I mentioned earlier in the week--where the adoptive parents had just found out that the birthmother was having second thoughts? Well, the adoptive mother's name is Adrienne, and the birthmother did decide to parent. Anyway, Joy was saying that a commenter--ANNIEMAC--had used both Joy's and Adrienne's blog as a platform for her views. Intrigued, because ANNIEMAC is a first/birthmom, I decided to find out what "views" these were. I must really have too much time on my hands....
After reading ANIEMAC's comment on Joy's blog, I clicked over to see if I could find the offensive comments on Adrienne's blog, because, quite frankly, ANNIEMAC's writing was not completely coherent, and I hoped that in reading her other comments, I would better understand the point she was trying to make. Long story not so short, I noticed while skimming the hundred's of comments on Adrienne's blog, that my two comments--one of congratulations and one of condolences--have been removed. Or at least, I'm assuming they have been removed. I can't find them anywhere. I know for certain that the first comment I left published. On the day I posted it, I went back to read the string later in the day and it was there. I'm not sure about the second one.
I can't remember exactly what I wrote on each one. The one I left when they were waiting to hear if the birthmother was going to parent was something to this effect:
"I am so sorry you are going through this. I'm praying that the birthmom will be given wisdom to make the right decision."
Do you see anything wrong with that? The first comment (from when everything was going great), might have been a little more controversial. Adrienne kept referring to the baby as a "gift" and saying that the birthmom was "giving" them a baby. I gently (or so I thought) shared with her what I have read and heard directly from birthmothers first: this adoption language is inaccurate at best. They don't "give" adoptive parents their babies; they give their babies the gift of adoptive parents. I said how that change of perspective had been meaningful to me as an adoptive mom and made me feel very special. I hoped it would make her feel special, too. Hmm...guess it didn't.
I'd like to get some honest feedback on this. This family is in a crisis situation and I would feel terrible over saying anything hurtful. If ya'll think I have written something insulting, I would like to apologize to Adrienne. But presently, I'm at a loss to know why my comparatively mild comments (to my way of thinking) were trashed, while other comments--like ANNIEMAC's rants--were left.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Method to My Madness

How do you clean your house? I'm an erratic cleaner to say the least. It bothers me to do the same thing in the same way every time. That's why I didn't make it as a postal employee. But keeping this house even semi-sanitary requires some organization, and here are a few methods I alternate.
1. Room by room-like Mama taught me. Only, then the work was split among the four of us and I only ended up with one or two rooms. I probably use this way the most, but it has definite drawbacks. For instance if you aren't able to complete the entire house, your left with some spic-and-span rooms and some pig-sty rooms. One pig-sty room ruins the entire house.
2. Daycare clean--the daycare period was by far my shining star for housekeeping. People do not want to leave their children in a messy house, even if their's looks like a tornado went through. You have to keep everything tidy to please your parents and everything must be bleached to please your licensing agent. Following every meal, I swept, immediately cleared and washed dishes, put away food and disinfected tables, chairs and counter tops. Each day after naps, everyone--toddlers and up--put toys away, threw away trash, and followed me from room to room while I vacuumed and dusted. In the evening, I mopped and scrubbed toilets, my own children were not allowed to play inside the house, because they might mess it up before daycare. This method takes discipline and stamina. You must be satisfied with HAVING a clean house, not LIVING in it.
3. 10 Minutes To Clean--The kids and I love this method. We set the timer for 10 minutes and clean like crazy. When the timer stops, we're done with that room and reset the timer and attack the next room. I must resist the urge to continue with the few undone items left. Rules are rules, and if Mom is breaking them, chances are the children will clue in that they are actually working, not playing. The kids are all amazed at how clean the room is after "just 10 minutes." I really ham it up with comments like, "On your mark, get set, clean...." and "Two minutes and counting..." etc. If you use this method occasionally, you will have enthusiastic helpers like I did two Saturday's ago.

4. Lavern Clean-Named after the master's best friend's mother. Who, according to my sources, upon hearing that guests were expected, would pull out large hampers and begin filling them with clutter and mess. Dirty dishes, dirty clothes and all manner of household items were dumped in the The full hampers went in a closet, and when the door was closed, PRESTO, clean house. I think the drawbacks to this method are obvious, but I've had to use it more times than I care to admit. So if you ever drop by the house on a few minutes notice...don't open any closets. Steer clear of the garage, too. You've been warned.

I'd love to hear your tricks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Those Three Little Words

I love you. How many times have we told her? A million. In a million different ways. It was our constant refrain those first few months after she came home. We love you! Daddy loves you! Everyone prayed for you! Everyone loves you!
I love you.
Oh, she fought that love. To some degree with her daddy, but most violently from me. I would cuddle her; she would stiffen. I'd look at her with my heart in my eyes; she would stare through me with hatred. I'd whisper words of tenderness; she would scream and claw at my face. Though I had laughed when first reading them, I found myself repeating the scripted words of Holding Time, "You are strong. But I am stronger. My love is strong enough to hold you." It became my mantra for 18 months. Looking back, I don't think it was true. Only God's love is that strong. Strong enough to hold both of us.
Long after the rages subsided, she could not respond to our verbal expressions of love. She could talk--in sentences--yet somehow those three words eluded her. "I want oatmeal." "Where is my book?" were no problem, but at night when we would tuck her in and whisper, "I love you," she would reply, "cabritogel," or some other nonsense. It never sounded like, "I love you." Not even close.
It wasn't until Abby and Marina became roommates that display of passive resistance disappeared. I tell you, that child cannot bear to be excluded from anything, and occasionally that works to our advantage. I would say, "Goodnight, girls, I love you."
Abby: I love you, Mommy!
Marina: expressionless I. love. you. too.
Empty words, disconnected and meaningless.
I'll never forget the day last spring when Marina crept up behind my lawn chair. We were out with the daycare kids enjoying the beautiful sunshine. She put her hand on my shoulder, "Mommy." "Hmm?" "I love you." I couldn't believe my ears. Did I just imagine those words? I pulled her around to face me. She couldn't look at me in the eye, she stared at the ground, embarrassed. She said it! She actually said it! She LOVES me! Breath, Jessica, breath. Act like this is commonplace....DON'T OVERREACT!!!! "I--I love you, too, Baby." I gave her a quick hug, and she smiled and ran off to play. I cried.
The next day was the Hair Cutting Day. A day that will live in infamy. On the following occasion Marina told me she loved me, she painted the side of her bed with blood-red fingernail polish. The third time, she followed her expression of affection by destroying a half dozen of our outdoor playthings. When she was spanked for her actions, she grabbed the spoon from my hands and tried to attack me.
I may be slow, but I'm starting to see a pattern here. Sunday, out of nowhere, Marina looked me right in the eyes and said, "Mommy, I love you." "I love you, Marina." And while those words still hold so much sweetness for me, I dread the sting. Sure enough, she pushed all my buttons yesterday. Thank goodness the master didn't go into P*p* John's. He ran interference for me in the evening, when her acting out had reached a crescendo. You see, armed with my new suspicions of how this whole "I love you" thing was playing out, I was able to keep my cool. And she was growing desperate.
In the end, she succeeded. Her daddy put her to bed at 8:00 and told her to lay down and be still, so she did the opposite. When I went to get the baby up for her 10:00 bottle, I found her jumping like a maniac around the room she had trashed. She had opened all of her sister's special treasures, and gorged herself on a sack of hoarded Halloween candy. I haven't found any signs that she urinated on anything, but it doesn't mean that I won't. I could tell she was glad to finally have been discovered. I admit, I lost it.
The master administered her actual punishment, but I found myself yelling at her: "I know why you are doing this. I KNOW WHY! You told me you loved me yesterday. And now you are trying to push me away. You can't make me stop loving you! It doesn't matter what you do! I love you, and you are stuck with me! Do you hear me? I am your mother FOREVER!" Not the usual choice of speech for a butt chewing, but that is what is overflowing from my heart in those angry, confused, frustrated moments. And for her, them's fightin' words. She is afraid of the love she feels, the love she needs.
I don't know how to handle this. But I know when I'm yelling, she is winning. This is a battle she cannot afford to win. Heaven help us, how would her marriage survive the honeymoon? Based on my research, the best approach would be to not react negatively to her negative behavior (so far, I've been a total wash out with that) and have her spend every waking moment with me following any vocal expression of love. This ought to make for some interesting notes to the teacher:

Please excuse Marina for her absence on Tuesday. She told me she loved me on Monday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, November 17, 2008
Outside My Window...I can't see them, but I know that my yard is covered in fall leaves.
I am thinking...about the blog post I just finished reading. An adoptive mother who has spent the last three days with the newborn she expected to bring home today posted, "The mother is having second thoughts. Please pray."
I am thankful for...This will sound terrible, but at this moment, I am feeling very thankful that C.C. did not have a choice. Technically, she chose us, and I will be forever thankful for that, but in any case, she would not have been allowed to take Cara out of the hospital. I am thankful that C.C. willingly signed over her rights immediately, thereby making it possible for Cara to escape entering the foster care system.
From the kitchen...mmmm, good stuff. The lasagna is almost done. The french bread and corn on the cob are on the stove. Desert is chocolate peanut butter fudge (and it is good for you!)
I am jeans, T-shirt, tennis shoes. (I didn't have to retype that. It is the same thing as last week. Sad.)
I am creating...custom blog headers (see below). This weekend I figured out how to sew my own baby slings and I have already made two. Cara and I will make quite the fashion splash. Her sling is most useful for our all day trips to the Big City. Especially when I have Marina and Randy along. I can carry her in the sling and still have both hands free for hand-holding.
I am going...I'm changing this one to "I went" this week. I went to my hometown this weekend to visit my mom and attend my friend's baby shower.
I am reading...The Trumpet Of the Swan (kid's bedtime book. I think it is time we finished this book). Ephesians.
I am hear something regarding finalization this week.
I am hearing...Cara is beginning to fuss. K is arguing with Ian. Abby is practicing the piano. I hear the lasagna sizzling. Marina is singing something, but I can't quite make out the words. Now, I hear drumming....
One of my favorite things...My "Hungry Girl Cookbook" Great buy ladies, and it is where I got my chocolate fudge recipe.
Around the you can tell from the "I am hearing" section, it is pretty chaotic.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...Get the last of the church directory in the mail, and crop on Friday and Saturday.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...
I'm a fashion plate.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

For Cari

Here is a blog header I created for my friend Cari. I'm posting it here, because she seems to have trouble opening the link from e-mail. I love scrap blog!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, November 10, 2008
Outside My Window...drippy leaves and overcast sky. Texas winter has arrived.
I am thinking...about the Masonic Lodge. But why I am thinking of that most random topic is a spaghetti bowl, that I'm not prepared to delve into.
I am thankful for...good in-laws. We got to spend time with the master's family this weekend. Having an extended family you genuinely love--not just tolerate for your spouse's sake--is a true blessing.
From the kitchen...freshly mopped floors. Some meat out to thaw. The refrigerator is bare, so it is time to do some more cooking.
I am jeans, T-shirt, purple sweatshirt and tennis shoes.
I am creating...a quilt and badge vests for the children's mission group.
I am going...again making another trip to the big city for Cara's appointment. I'm going to wear out the roads between here and there.
I am reading...The Trumpet Of the Swan (kid's bedtime book). Galatians.
I am hoping... From last week **for the Spirit to work in my oldest daughter. She is passed the age when I accepted Christ. Older than her brother was when he was baptized. She isn't even showing a hunger for spiritual things, and maybe that is what concerns me the most. About a month ago, I drew her aside, and said that I hoped she would truly start to listen with her heart during service, and that if she had any questions, her daddy or I would be happy to answer them. But nothing has come from that ** Update-twice this week Abby initiated a spiritual conversation--once with her daddy and once with me. This is most encouraging, and I am now hoping for more work of the Spirit soon in her heart. She seems to be struggling most with having to come to Christ on His terms and His alone. In her mind, she has some very good ideas on how things should work that make perfect sense. She is waiting to see if she and Jesus can have a relationship that doesn't involve her 100% total submission.
Aye, yiah, much they have to much they have to teach!
I am hearing...I am straining to hear the wind that I see is blowing outside, but this house is so well insulated I can't. The children are all down for an early nap, otherwise I couldn't be blogging.
One of my favorite things...changing Cara's diaper. Never thought that would be one of my favorite aspects of parenting, but Cara LOVES having her diaper changed. She coos and kicks and giggles, and her eyes light up and dance. And that is when I know that whatever damage might have been done to her body in utero, her mind is whole and healthy.
Around the house...Sleeping children and quiet clutter.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...Tuesday ECI is coming to start Cara's evaluations, Wednesday the aforementioned Big City appointment, Thursday WIC. Oh, and I had to move the crop to the NEXT weekend (Novemeber 21st and 22nd)
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

My own Matryoshka dolls. Why is Cara always screaming in these group photos?

This meme brought to you by Simple Woman's Daybook

Friday, November 7, 2008

Flashback Friday

There is a challenge floating out there to post referral pictures. I'm always happy for an excuse to share cute pictures of my kids!

Here is Marina's referral picture. She is 5 1/2 months old. My apologies to the folks who had to endure 3 months of pushing this same photo in your faces, but look at this way, you've had almost a four year break! We also had a video. The video is better, but now we have no VHS player, so we need to see about getting it converted to DVD. When we went to pick Marina up, an earlier photo was also given to us--around two months old--but it is even smaller and you can't see much of her face.

No referral picture for Cara! When we drove down to south Texas, our worker Denise, had not yet been able to visit the baby. All she could tell us was that, "she heard she was beautiful." That was a true rumor if ever there was one. Someone (social workers? nurses?) snapped a poor quality Polaroid picture of her at birth, that I saw the night we met C.C., but there was only one, and I taped it to the inside of our birthmom book. I'm glad I did! I remember being embarrassed that she had such a crummy photo, and felt sure that we would bring her a whole stack of wonderful pictures the next day to replace it. But by the next day, she was gone. Here is the first picture we took of her with our camera. Notice how big the newborn binky looks compared to her head. She was so little!
The earliest photos of the rest are sonogram, and they pretty much all look the same :0). Funny side note: The Christmas we were waiting for Marina, was emotionally tough for me. I made an ornament with her referral picture and hung in on the tree--symbolic of my hope that she would soon be with us in person. Every year when we trim the tree, I let Marina hang her special ornament (Yes, it still brings a tear to my eye!) And every year one of the older [birth] kids will whine with jealousy, "Where's my referral picture? Why don't I have a referral picture?"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In His Considered Opinion

My oldest is an odd duck. Take these two conversations from this afternoon for example:

I was comforting Randy in the kitchen. He has been clingy and wanting lovins throughout his sickness. I was the same way as a child. I used to beg Mom and Daddy to come sit next to me when I was sick, and I remarked how Randy and I shared that trait.
K: That is the opposite from me. I prefer to be left alone when I am sick.
This was the latest of a long series of, "I like to be alone" statements, and I said, "You seem to be mentioning that a lot lately. You want to be alone to eat. You want to be alone when you read. Now you want to be alone when you are sick?"
K (remember he is only nine years old): Mother. I am the oldest of six siblings. I am never alone. It is perfectly natural that I should feel this way.
Allrighty then.

While discussing with Abby that I hoped by using a professional upholstery cleaner we would be able to save the couch from Randy's Heavin' Siege of 2008.
K from the dining room: Perhaps in light of recent mishaps, we should offer the love seat alone when seating guests.
Again, he is NINE years old.

I am either raising a brilliant therapist, the next Emily Post, or one heck of a good hermit here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Simple Woman's Day Book

FOR TODAY, Monday, November 3, 2008
Outside My Window...pitch black darkness at 7:48. I hate the time change.
I am thinking...about the future of our great nation on the eve of the presidential election.
I am thankful for...a college education. I turned in my substitute application today and in every school I visited the secretary asked me, "Are you certified?" To which I could reply, "Yes, I am." That was a good feeling. I felt employable (is that a word?), and it renewed my commitment to keep my teaching licence current. You can substitute teach without a teaching license, but certified teachers with classroom experience are more in demand. I am also thankful that before the end of the year, we will have paid off my student loan. It only took us eight years! I'm sure Dave Ramsey would be horrified. I'm pretty horrified, myself. EIGHT YEARS in bondage to Sallie Mae for one stinking semester! And it was my student teaching semester! I was working and paying them for the privilege. AUGHH!!!!
From the kitchen...Pretty messy. Cluttered counters, full sink, and a few treat bags from Friday.
I am wearing...PJ's
I am creating...not much. I did some scrapbooking this weekend. Which reminds me, all blog readers withing driving distance are invited to a crop on November 14th and 15th at our church.
I am going...absolutely nowhere. According to Dave, I'm not going anywhere for a VERY, VERY long time. But when we are debt free? Oh yeah, baby, the world is my oyster.
I am reading...The Trumpet Of the Swan (kid's bedtime chapter book), blogs, and not much else.
I am hoping...for the Spirit to work in my oldest daughter. She is passed the age when I accepted Christ. Older than her brother was when he was baptized. She isn't even showing a hunger for spiritual things, and maybe that is what concerns me the most. About a month ago, I drew her aside, and said that I hoped she would truly start to listen with her heart during service, and that if she had any questions, her daddy or I would be happy to answer them. But nothing has come from that. I don't know if I should say more or wait for her.
I am hearing...Randy's hacking cough from the sickness mat. He is still puny. Poor guy.
One of my favorite things...I'm sure I've posted this before, but I have an ongoing love affair with hot chocolate.
Around the house...every piece of bed linen has been puked on, washed, dried, aired, and placed back on the beds at least once. Several sofa cushions will never be the same. This being the first time ever, Randy has had the stomach virus, he has not been schooled in the fine art of MAKING IT TO THE POTTY.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The that I have that application turned in, I'm pretty free. We have family pictures on Saturday, so I have to put the finishing touches on our coordinating photography wardrobe.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Big Papa and little Princess take a snooze together.

This meme brought to you by: Simple Woman's Daybook

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Mamaporuski, a new blog friend, has tagged me for seven random things. I've done one before--"eight random things"--and I'm not confident that I can come up with 15 things total about me. I parent six children. Am I really an individual at all? I guess this is a good opportunity to get re-acquainted....
1. O.K. I've got a shocker....I actually (occasionally) get annoyed with my husband's righteousness. I do! Honestly, what does that say about me??!! How much more perverse could I be? That, not only do I fall short of holiness, I gotta begrudge someone else's? It happened just today: The master has been working nights at P*p* John's delivering pizza (we're attempting to make up the two house payments shortfall--whole different post). We haven't enjoyed a family meal all week. Yesterday, I prepared one of his favorite meals, chicken and dumplings and a special dessert he LOVES for Sunday lunch. I didn't get to go to church (Randy has a mean case of stomach bug--yuck!). But when he arrived home, I had the table all prepared, like the dutiful, submissive wife I am, waiting expectantly for his compliments. His response to my dinner call? "I'm fasting until after Tuesday's election. But I will drink some iced tea." So, I am aggravated by his act of spiritual devotion, and even more angry at myself for being aggravated. Am I not a hopeless case?
2. Lullabies and bedtime songs I sing: "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"; "Before I Knew Your Name"; "Come Ye Sinners"; "It Is Well With My Soul"; "Softly and Tenderly"; "Snuggle Puppy"; "Bring Back Marina" my adaptation of "Bring Back My Bonnie" it goes like this, "Marina lies over the ocean, Marina lies over the sea, Marina lies over in Russia, Bring back Marina to me." Don't worry, in the last verse she "flies home with me." Which, as you know, she did! ; a Cajun-French song my nanny sang to me when I was a baby. Don't know the title, it is only written in my heart. Mama says that it is about a drunkard and his nagging wife. In the song he is telling her that when he dies, he wants to be buried under the sweet potato vine...strange lyrics for a lullaby, but in French it sounds lovely.
3. I have fat sausage toes. But, I think they are kind of cute.
4. I have chin hairs. Gross, dark, disgusting chin hairs. I remind myself that I need to be nice to my children, if for no other reason than I'm going to be dependent on these people to come to the nursing home and pluck my chin hairs.
5. Pet peeves: little girls with ragamuffin hair, repeating words and phrases, someone writing with a dull pencil, incessant sniffling (get a tissue!!)...
6. I was coming up dry for the last two, so I asked the kids to tell me something about me. I begged them to be kind. K said, "You're a great mom, who knows what she is doing." Abby said, "You're loving." Aww, shucks....
7. I asked the master to name something random about me to finish off the post. He offered the CAMP SHOES. I have a pair of once white Keds which I keep at the lake that I have owned and worn since I was 15. WOW! That is exactly half of my life. They started out as my twirling shoes and over time came to reside at the lake house. I wear them at all times while there, because they can be worn in and out of the lake. They are a dingy, non-descript color, with several holes, and after that first dip in the reservoir, they don't smell too great. Throughout the years, my family has tried to persuade me to replace them with a new, old pair of sneakers, but I refuse. They are just getting broke in. The master says that this is random information because, "you are not normally a nasty person....and those are some NASTY shoes."

I tag: all readers of this blog, which according to my comments numbers, is only 6-7 people.
Cari, Tami, Carla, Christine, Suzi, Allison, and Kathy F. (you can do your random things in pictures. That will be interesting.)