Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Currently craving Maui

I want to go back to Maui. ASAP. Was just looking at my photos, and they take my breath away every time. I've never seen anyplace like it - even in pictures. Truly stunning.

Here I was taking in the view from our porch in Lahaina. Wish I was back there.

And because so many of my dear friends are planning honeymoons or second-honeymoons to this magical destination, I will post soon my vacation planning secrets. Including Maui for 6 nights for 2 people for under 3k (including whale watching slash parasailing)!

I'm sorry, Rusty, but I just HAD to!

Yes, I must post this photo. I know I said I wouldn't because it was mushy and may make Rusty appear less manly. But I cannot help it. I love it. We didn't even notice the camera, and that makes it sweeter. (Sorry, Rusty.)

Monday, December 29, 2008


So, I'm obsessed with this song and the FABULOUS corresponding video and dance. And today, Heidi says to me: Have you seen the version of the little girl doing the dance video?

Um, no, I have not! This is amazing. Watch it.

She may be my child I didn't even realize I had.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tedd-E's world wide web debut

Here's little Tedd-E, Joni's doggie. He came to Joni with heartworms, tons of fleas and lots of fear. Now, he has a clean bill of health and a whole new, happy life.

Little fluff ball.

Update on Baby Hailey

Thought I'd post a post-Christmas update. Baby Hailey is doing well. She's continued to lose weight though, and is now just under 2 lbs. Poor teeny thing. But, she is eating every hour now (via her feeding tube) and is no longer getting any help to breathe. She's back and forth under the light for her bilirubin.

The best news, though, came on Christmas eve. Chris and Natalie were able to hold her for the first time, and take their first family picture. Here it is:

Rusty and I went to visit Hailey again on Friday night. We took some video footage and plan to make a Hailey music video. Stay tuned.

And, as always, please keep Baby Hailey in your thoughts and prayers. She's got a lot of growing to do!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

There is a puppy at work today and it's amazing

Ahh, Charlie is so cute. She's going to be someone's Christmas gift. But for today, she's a gift to all of us at work. We are taking turns hogging her.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas, Baby Hailey

What child is this, who lays to rest,
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This child is Hailey, daughter of my dear friends Chris and Natalie. Hailey came to us about nine weeks early, due to severe anemia.

And this Christmas, as I sing Silent Night and What Child Is This I will feel Christmas in a new way. I'll think of this little miracle and the struggles she's surpassing, not so different than the circumstances into which little baby Jesus was born that night long ago. This holiday is all about a special baby's birth, and I think we often forget that.

I pray that Chris and Natalie can have the best Christmas present ever - the blessing of holding Hailey in their laps while she sleeps. I know Hailey is watched over by angels, in addition to the prayers of so many who are thinking of her. And I know those nurses at the Duke NICU are her shepherds, keeping watch.

Congratulations, Chris and Natalie, grandparents and aunts and uncles (this includes 'quasi' aunts and uncles like me)! Hailey is precious and a gift to us all. Let us know how we can support you and help prepare for the happy day that you will bring her home.

I love you three!

Hailey Brianne Raplee
Born 12/19/2008
2 lbs. 11 oz.
14 inches long

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What tugs my heartstrings...

Animals. All kinds.

In the days following Hurricane Katrina, I sobbed in front of my TV seeing all of the animals abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Watching the Planet Earth television series, I'd cry seeing the suffering that humans bring to some of the species we share this planet with.

I gave to the Humane Society of the United States. And they keep me very well posted about the issues taking place impacting animals in our country. And they provide a means for me to help - which helps my heart feel a little better.

Here's a video recapping their successes this year. It's pretty powerful stuff. And yes, I'm in tears at my desk as I watch it.

I heart animals.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Peoples International Airport

Thought I'd share with you what Dad has done back home! He's set up the Peoples International Airport in our yard - complete with a hovering helicopter and a windsock. I cannot wait to get home and see it in person! Mom said even the trash collectors backed their truck into the yard to take pics with their cell phones. Ah, that's quality decorating right there!

And to think, I had to BEG as a child to put one little strand of lights on a bush outdoors. :)

But, does this top last year's burst of holiday spirit?

Friday, December 5, 2008

'Tis the season

I tore my house up and redid it again - for Christmas! Hip hip hooray for Christmas! Christmas, oh how I love you.

There's my tree! Covered from top to bottom in my little collector's houses. Glad my mom got me started on those about 25 years go. Makes for a meaningful tree. This year, the new edition will be a cute little nursery.

Look closely and you'll see my pretty glass unicorn. My most prized ornament. The box still has my grandma's handwriting on it, explaining that it was bought for me from Macy's in New York City. I was a kid in love with unicorns.

The origin of this little guy remains a mystery. It may have come from my grandma years ago (mom to confirm). But I noticed while brushing my teeth the other night that Christmas is spelled wrong. Devastation!

More puppies! Ah, relief!

As you may know, the precious puppies I introduced below are starting to go to their new homes this weekend. Mr. and Mrs. Feet (the owners) are going to keep one, I believe, and have it remain online.

However, there is no need to fear the puppy withdrawal. A new family has put their lovely pups online! Look! Enjoy! Melt away the stress.

Video chat rooms at Ustream

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Such wonderful things surround you!

So, thankfully we weren't under the sea.
And the pirates with us were only there to play.
Check out all the fun I had with the Kroboth family,
During a very busy Thanksgiving holiday!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kaytan Grooving with Pirate Minnie

Here's a super cute video clip of Kaytan (Rusty's niece) dancing on Pirate Night with Minnie Mouse! (Kaytan's in green.) She really got into it! So precious.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I went on vacation with an iPhone (and it wasn't mine)

Yes, friends, it'd been a full four months since my wacky Jamaican experience and I was ready, oh so ready, for my Disney Cruise Line vacation over Thanksgiving break with the Kroboth family. I was excited to embark on another adventure with my favorite vacationer. I laid in bed at night dreaming of the fun airport antics, people watching and commentating, photo ops, Disney moments - you get the picture.

So, imagine my surprise and disappointment when I found myself on the back burner for my favorite vacationer's new favorite thing - the iPhone.

To be fair, I did steal a moment of attention while the iPhone went through the security machine at the airport on the way to Orlando. But other than that, it stayed on in-flight (hidden from the flight attendants), provided music as we boarded, flew, un-boarded, found a lunch spot, etc. Oh, and it tracked every second of the UNC/NCSU game during lunch (which I didn't mind that much because we were beating the Tarholes).

We met our private driver in Orlando to take us to the port and the iPhone wanted to use that time to test its new GPS app. And then later that night, the iPhone wanted to be fancy and use the UrbanSpoon app to question my dinner spot recommendation. (Never question what comes highly recommended on TripAdvisor, I say.)

The next morning, the iPhone boarded the Disney Wonder along with my favorite vacationer. Again, I had a fleeting moment of attention as it went through the security machine. The iPhone remained with me throughout the entire cruise. It demanded to test its GPS app each night. And at any point that things seemed too 'dull', it'd fire itself up and occupy my favorite vacationer. Meanwhile, I was relaxed, drink in hand, entertained by everything around me on the beautiful ship on a lovely ocean. (I wanted nothing to do with my Crackberry, for fear that an accidental email would slip through!)

And one last note, after the cruise, the iPhone tried to guide my favorite vacationer to our hotel in Savannah via its fancy apps and directions. But it didn't work. Nope. They were mislead and got lost. However, in my car, with my trusty old, well-rested Blackberry Pearl and it's old-fashioned Google apps - we found our way right to the hotel. Hmm, that iPhone is such a show off.

My favorite vacationer asked if I wanted an iPhone for Christmas. My reply - "No, thanks. I've spent enough time with yours."

All you app developers out there, I challenge you. Write something that tracks the user's amount of time on the device and sends out auto love notes or cutesy messages to us neglected ladies during long periods of iPhone-ness. At least then we can pretend that we're not being ignored.

Here are few pics of the great time I had on vacay with the iPhone.

(Editor's note: Don't be fooled, the iPhone was in use here. It's just out of this shot. I mean, who could need any further entertainment when being jammed in a car full of peeps, including an adorable three-year old?)
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