Christmas Memories

While reading this post, I thought back to this Christmas season. What memories will I hold onto? In reading the comments, I realize how ungrateful I am for the simplest things in life. I beat myself up enough that I do not need to dwell on that, but there are many great memories that I have of this Christmas season. These are in no particular order, but I do hope to treasure them always.

– The best memory, by far, is Caleb referring to our tree as “the Jesus tree”. I have spent countless hours trying to figure out how to make sure Jesus is our focus. One afternoon of decorating the tree while telling Caleb the story of Jesus’ birth changed a Christmas tree into the Jesus tree. After all, it is His birthday we are celebrating. The faith of a child. Amazing.

– Starting/continuing our own little family of four’s traditions. Selfishly, I choose to be home on Christmas, just us. Quality family time is one of our core values, so this naturally fits. I already mentioned in a previous post some of our traditions. My desire is for my children to look back on their childhood with fondness, and I believe traditions are a good way to do that.

– Caleb’s excitement that he was going to get presents. The few days leading up to Christmas, he kept asking when he’d get his presents.

– The sweetness of Chloe not understanding much, but knowing this will be the last year that happens.

– Watching Caleb and Chloe open their gifts on Christmas day. Pure delight.

– Brett working so hard to come up with a gift that I would love.

– Our vacation to Whistler.

– The satisfaction that I (once again, selfishly) did Christmas the way I wanted to. I only bought for Brett and my kids and did not buy the obligatory junk for family members. Thus, avoiding any debt.

– Our birthday party for Jesus.

Unlike a lot of people, our Christmas was actually very wonderful. Thankfully, we have not lost anyone dear to us recently. We are healthy, whole, and loving life. Our families are wonderful. We are truly blessed beyond words. I know every year will not be as wonderful as this one, so I hope to remember this year with such joy and gratitude that in the midst of so much heartache and hardship in the world, I have a gazillion reasons to be thankful.

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Potty Talk

I realize no one wants to hear about my child’s potty adventures. But I want to remember one day that potty training is not as easy as I will remember it being 20 years from now.

We are making progress!! Yesterday (Day 1) was full of accidents. I actually had supernatural patience, but the day creeped by. Caleb was making progress….slowly. Today was a turning point. Around lunchtime, he started going in the potty. And he has had two accidents since (once at nap; once while playing by himself….I broke the rule to follow him around all day).
So we are on our way. It is starting to click. My training guide says day 3 should be the breakthrough day. So we shall see. I went cold turkey….he has not had a diaper on since yesterday morning. Everyone kept giving that advice, which is tough for me…..because it would just be easier to put on a diaper for naps/bedtime. But I keep reminding myself its just a few days of hard….then we are diaper free.

Chloe has not had a pacifier since Christmas day. She is not taking to it all that well, but I think she may be teething. The funny thing is that she did not really care for her pacifier until about 6 months. She cries some during the night, but she falls asleep fairly easily.

Between Caleb’s late night accidents and Chloe missing her pacifier, it has been a rough day or two. But God has given me grace (and a super husband), and we are surviving.

Potty training is the one thing I have feared for a long time, so it feels good to be getting it over with.

On a different note……
Have I blogged about Christmas morning?? Caleb was way into it, which is just awesome. When I took down the tree yesterday, he said, “Did Santa take the tree to his house?” We really did not talk about Santa much, so it was cute to see what he picked up on. He LOVES his gift, as well as Chloe’s. They have been playing with the doll house non-stop. The power wheel has not got as much use because its really cold outside. We did go out for awhile today, but Caleb was a little nervous to drive it.

Chloe had a fun Christmas, too, but she just was not as into it. She is hilarious, though. The faces she makes lately and her smile are just awesome.

I just feel more blessed each day to have my beautiful babies. They are so fun.

Oh, Brett got me a super cute outfit from Express. For once, I will actually have a trendy outfit!

I got his Chiefs jersey framed, as well as his team picture from his rookie year. He liked it way more than I thought he would. He does not particularly like the shrine I have made of his football stuff, but he thought it was cool to see some Chiefs stuff mixed in with college stuff. Although the colors could not clash more if they tried. We went to Florida State, which is garnet and gold. And the Chiefs are red, yellow, and white.

Speaking of Brett, we were having a serious conversation the other night. I asked him what sort of questions he will ask guys who try (keyword: try) to date Chloe in the future. (One requirement we have for dating…in the distant future, of course…is that the person asking goes through an interview with Dad). He said, “My first question will be: Coffin or cremation?”

As you can see, nothing has changed.

I May Be Crazy

Today we decided two things:

1. To break Chloe of her pacifier addiction tonight.

2. To begin potty training Caleb tomorrow.

Am I trying to ruin a perfectly good Christmas break?? Pray for Brett and me!!!

What I Did On My Christmas Vacation

We just returned from the most beautiful place on earth: Whistler, British Columbia (Canada). For our Christmas presents, my parents blessed us with plane tickets to join them for their vacation. My parents own a home on the mountain, and with the exception of the last four years, I have gone there every year (sometimes a few times a yeary) since 1996.

This was the first time Brett and our kids have ever been to Whistler (or to real mountains).

It was awesome!!

The plane flight takes a really long time, so that was a bit of a downer. And Caleb got a bad stomach bug and puked a lot. Chloe puked once. (The irony is that this is the first puking bug either of them have ever had). Other than that, our vacation was better than we imagined.

Brett and I went snow shoeing…..
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(look he’s touching the mountaintop)

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He went another time, as well, but forgot the camera. He walked across a frozen lake that was surrounded by trees. So cool.

We also went sightseeing….
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And rode the (I think) world’s largest Peak 2 Peak Gondola. Which was spectacular. There were about 12-15 in there with us, so I could not get as good of pictures as I hoped. Not that any pictures do this place justice, but it was so cool…..
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You cannot tell how high we are, but trust me, its high. See the little river?

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We had to ride the ski lift to get to it…
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The view from the top was spectacular….
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There was an arctic blast, so it was very cold outside. That mixed with illness, our kids did not get to do much. They had a blast playing with their cousin and aunt, though! So all was not lost.
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Brotherly love
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Hanging with dad….
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Caleb seemed to grow up so much on the trip. He pulled his suitcase through the airport, which was probably one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen….
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Brett and I were really nervous for the flight. Though it was long, our kids did much better than I expected. Thank you to those who prayed for us!

Before we left for vacation, Chloe got her first haircut. It was just a trim in the back. I have heard horror stories of haircuts, so I decided to leave the front alone. She did quite well for her first haircut.
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After (though it only looked different in back)
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And there you have it. A photo blog of our Christmas adventure.

We have a tradition to be home on Christmas, so we flew in the 23rd. I got groceries today. We are recharging. Tonight, we will open pj’s and bake cookies. Tomorrow will be so fun. Caleb is already guessing what his presents are, so he will be thrilled. Chloe will enjoy doing whatever he’s doing! We are going to have a birthday party for Jesus (after our big breakfast and opening presents). And we are starting a new tradition of eating Mexican for dinner. I do not like the traditional meal. Once a year at Thanksgiving is enough for me, so I am switching it up.

Have an awesome Christmas!!!!!!!

100 Things

Today is the day. I have reached my 100th post. This is like my 4th blog address, so I am actually well beyond 100 posts. However, I thought I would celebrate my milestone on this blog.

Here is the 100 Things About Me That You Probably Never Wanted To Know…..

1. I wholeheartedly love my life and am so thankful to God for how amazing He is.

2. I am 100% convinced I married way out of my league.

3. If it is possible, I am more in love and adore Brett more today than when we got married. Life with him is the best!

4. Brett and I plan to have four children. Most people think we’re crazy, but I cannot imagine having less children than that.

5. Sometimes when I am pregnant, I feel guilty that I do not appreciate it more. I AM very thankful, but I complain a lot (I have rough pregnancies….sickness wise, not complications).

6. I have had to have c-sections and get very annoyed when people say, “I wish I would have had a c-section. It would have been so much easier.” I know vaginal deliveries are no walk in the park, but c-sections are not the easy way out. Childbirth is childbirth. It’s painful. Drugs help, of course, but those wear off eventually.

7. I absolutely positively love being a stay at home mom (I dreamed of this job since I was a child). Even when I went to college, my parents were well in the know that I never planned to use my degree.

8. My dream is to be a very talented photographer!

9. And write a book.

10. I have to have a glass of ice water next to me every night when I go to bed.

11. And when I drive in the car. Actually pretty much all the time.

12. You know how some people cannot eat foods because of texture? Well, I am not like that with food, but I am that way with my feet. Some textures on my feet freak me out (the biggest one: cheap rugs).

13. I do not have any good luck charms, or anything that I think brings bad luck. Consequently, I do not believe in luck. But I still use the word a lot!

14. I drink a Diet Coke (almost) everyday at 11 am. Some people call it an addiction. I chose to call it a little slice of heaven. (And even though I drink it from a can at home, I much prefer fountain drinks)

15. In my mind, a road trip is not complete unless I stop for a fountain soda.

16. I am one of six children.

17. Four of us are biological siblings. My sister is adopted. And my parents raised my cousin (so he is my brother).

18. I always loved having a big family and never wanted to be an only child. (My mom is one of 9. She says she prayed everyday to be an only child!)

19. It is really funny to see people’s reactions when they find out Lylia is my sister (not my daughter). For some reason, people are quick to understand if a parent is white and the child is Asian. But the age gap is harder to understand. Which I think means our country’s mindsets are changing.

20. The texture of wooden spoons really grosses me out.

21.  I have this weird thing with food.  Sometimes it is hard for me to eat food that I prepared myself, but I could eat the exact thing if someone else made it.  

22.  It is because the sliminess/smell/look of uncooked things sometimes grosses me out.  Once cooked, I am not very picky.  

23. I am really sensitive. I probably cry a few times a week. Sometimes because I am sad. But a lot of times because I am happy. Or watch sentimental commercials.

24. But for some reason, crying embarrasses me (I do not like the attention), so Brett is usually the only person I cry around.

25.  I feel like I have way too many weird idiosyncrasies, but I think we all have them.    

26. When Brett and I sleep, we do not touch. At all. Ever. We both prefer it that way.

27. I hate when women refer to grown men as boys.

28. I enjoy writing hand written notes to people. Though e-mail is great for a lot of communication, to me, few things are better than a real note of encouragement.  

29. I love talking about relationships. I thought this would change when I got married, but I still think it is so fun talking with single girls about that aspect of their life!

29. At night, I would rather stay home than go out (most of the time).

30. But I do like to get out of the house during the day.

31. I love salsa, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, etc, but I despise tomatoes (whole or chunky).  

32.  I prefer ketchup at room temperature.  

33. I am a warm natured person (meaning that I do not get cold easily).

34. The first time my husband and I kissed on the lips was on our wedding day when the pastor said, “Brett, you may kiss your bride.” (We had kissed each other’s cheeks and forehead).

35. Looking back, that standard was probably unnecessary, but I do think it will be a neat story to tell our children.

36. When our kids are of age, Brett plans to give them their purity talk. As a teen, purity talk from a man impacted me way more than all the ones I heard from women.  (I will give our girl(s) the anatomy portion of the talk).  

37. My children are allowed to watch TV. And to be honest, Caleb has learned quite a bit from certain shows. I hear him responding to their questions. I, of course, teach him, too, but I think TV can be useful (or maybe I am justifying it LOL).

38. I am really weird about house chores. When I’m doing laundry, I find every piece of dirty clothing in the house before starting. On trash day, I have to find every piece of trash in the house. It bugs me to have “leftovers” of that chore. I know, I’m weird.

39. I typically wear a watch. And we have a lot of clocks in our house. For some reason, knowing the time is really important to me.

40. Giving money/gifts/time to others is, to me, one of life’s greatest joys.

41. When I was in high school and college, I would watch movies while studying. I liked the background noise, but I would watch movies I had seen lots of times so that I would not actually watch it.

42. Among those movies: With Honors, Reality Bites, Someone Like You, Indian Summer, Dirty Dancing, Dumb and Dumber, Legally Blonde
43. It is hard for me to sit through a movie without doing something. At the theater, I have to at least have a soda. At home, I usually check my email or something like that.

44. In high school, I did not drink any sort of coke or eat fried foods (except fried rice).

45. I used to call soft drinks “coke” (generic); now I call them sodas. I have no idea why I changed.

46. I love home improvement projects. I lack skills, however.

47. I probably have the quickest gag reflex of anyone I know. Brett jokingly says that if the wind blows wrong, I puke.

48. A lot of things gross me out to the point of puking, but the biggest offender is motion sickness (cars, planes, carousels, anything that moves). But I LOVE LOVE LOVE roller coasters. Go figure.

49. When I was pregnant with Caleb, I figured out that I puked over 1200 times in five months. I was VERY sick. It was not as bad with Chloe, thankfully.

50. If I told people the expectations I have for my life, most people would probably think I am crazy.

51. Mostly because my interpretation of the Bible is quite extreme, in most people’s eyes (I am not a heretic. My views are Biblically sound.)

51. I do not like to clap. It hurts my hands.

52. I really enjoy watching Florida State football.

53. I went to Florida State because I wanted warmer weather. I do not actually like hot weather, but going to FSU was the greatest decision!

54.  I blog mostly to keep a lighthearted journal.  I actually do print off my posts (about 3-4 times a year, I do it all at once).

55.  I do not keep a real journal.   

56. This is the number I have used in my email for a really long time. My first AOL e-mail was “SarahC55” (which I had in junior high). 55 was insignificant; I randomly picked it. When my mom changed our account, I had to change my e-mail to “SarahC56”. And I had that email for years and years…..actually, until I dropped the C and added W. My sister used to call me “C-56”. At times, I use Brett’s football # for things, just to switch things up.

57. I am a creature of habit. I have generally the same routine everyday. I order the same thing at restaurants.

58. In college, I dressed really bad. Usually wearing t-shirts (not the cute kind) and tennis shoes. About a year ago, I decided to reinvent my outer self. Though I am not the best dresser, my fashion has improved.

59. I have experienced the truth that doing what you love is worth way more than all the money in the world.

60. I am typically a rule follower.

61. Unless I do not see the point in the rule. Such as ill-placed stop signs, most airline rules, etc.

62. The fact that I think some rules do not apply to me drives my husband nuts. In fairness, I do not think they should apply to anyone; I do not think I am special.

63. I am deathly afraid of frogs.

64.  I am also afraid of birds.

65.  And squirrels.  And rodents.  

66.  Animals, obviously, are not my thing!  

67. One thing that really bothers me is that when moms say they do not have time to shower (at least most days).

68. Showering daily is something I do not miss.

69. I had straight hair my entire life. Until I got pregnant with Chloe. The same week I got pregnant, my hair turned curly and has stayed that way ever since.

70. I am not a germophobe, but I do like things neat.

71. I love to clean, but my house is not immaculately clean (or anything close).

72. Brett’s college number. I did not fall in love with him until after he had graduated, but when we started dating, I went back through my college scrapbooks…and I had kept a number of things (advertisements, magazines, etc) with him on it. Just randomly.

73. This is not about me, really, but Brett was a part of 3 National Championship teams (he started and played in two of the games) in college. He won one.

74. Brett’s pro number. If you have not been to a game at Arrowhead, you are missing out. Its a fun experience.

75. I am fairly shy, by nature, but once I know someone, I love to talk.

76. Because that is my nature to like things orderly (though, let it be known that my house is in chaos most days!), it is hard for me to understand how people do not like order. (Not in a judging way, as I married a man who does not crave order. It is just interesting to me.)

77. On the same (but opposite) subject, I love how we are all so unique and different. I think it would be fun to live as someone else for a day, just to see how different we truly are!

78. Brett and I often use humor as a coping mechanism to diffuse stress.

79. I sometimes think of really witty things to say, but my delivery is really bad….so I withhold…unless I am with Brett. Then I will whisper it to him, and he will deliver the goods.

80. I do not like pretzels.

81. I nursed both of my kids for a full year, but I am not passionate about breastfeeding. It was easy (for me) and free.

82. I used to debate parenting styles with my sister. Though we still parent differently, I have become more like her (and I am glad for that).

83. I do not fear what the teenage years will be like for my children. I have high hopes of what God will do in their hearts before then.

84. I am not naive. I just have a lot of hope in a big God. And I pray a lot.

85. And if I have to eat my words, I humbly will. But I refuse to give into the fear.

86. My two favorite TV shows are “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Office”.

87.  I also am enjoying “The Mentalist”.  

88. I have a secret desire to be a detective. I feel I am fairly observant, and I am developing my skills by watching The Mentalist. I sometimes figure out who did it.

89. I am semi-obsessed with the psychology of personality. Why people act the way the do. Birth order. Temperaments. Love languages. Etc.

90. I think if everyone understood these things that the world would function must better.

91. My kids’ names both start with “C”, but that was totally unplanned. We will not use C names in the future, though there are a few I like.

92. I picked out Chloe’s name when I was 12 years old. I had a camp counselor named Chloe, and from then on, I always wanted to name my daughter Chloe.

93. I spelled Chloe without the accent. I knew a girl once who insisted her name have an accent mark. It was slightly annoying, and I did not want my daughter to be that girl.

94. I have always wanted to be on a game show.

95. But if I lost, I would be so frustrated that it probably would not be worth it. (Which I know is lame)

96. I like to talk, but I do not like to talk on the phone.

97.  I am a night owl.  So is Brett.  If we are asleep by 11, it is an early night.  

98.  I take about 30 minutes to truly wake up.  Which is why I am so thankful for cartoons 🙂

99. My favorite foods are sushi, chips and salsa, and pizza.

100.  I started writing this post like 2 months ago.  I saw that I was nearing my 100th post, but I knew I would not be able to think of things!

Tidbits of Wisdom

In the last few months, I have been on a quest of change. A very shallow change. I did not want to become a frumpy mom, but I was well on my way. Though I am definitely nowhere near being a fashion icon (and I still wear sweats at home), I have learned a few tricks of the trade along the way. I am going to pass on information that I thought may be useful to the world. These are a bunch of random tidbits of information. Some regarding fashion; some not. Consider a bunch of “Works for Me Wednesdays” in one post.

1. A cute trenchcoat looks good on everyone and can dress up an outfit very easily. Even if you are wearing tennis shoes and a ponytail, it makes you look a lot nicer.

(Which brings us to 2)
2. Shoes make all the difference in the world. My new plan is to buy nice shoes at 75% off. As best I can tell, Dillard’s has their summer clearance the day after Labor Day, and their winter clearance on Valentines. They have really great shoes, but they are very expensive….unless they’re 75% off. Target actually has some super cute shoes on clearance right now. I have started wearing heels more often (though not to run errands, etc), and they really are a lot cuter. And honestly not that uncomfortable, especially if you buy nice ones (on clearance).

3. Also, speaking of a ponytail, I heard on Oprah that it is best to wear a high ponytail. Something about it bringing up your face. I sort of felt like a high school cheerleader at first, but now I agree I do look better with a higher ponytail.

4. Hydrogen peroxide gets blood out of clothing.

5. Pre-soaking clothes in Oxyclean (I got a knock off at the dollar store that I think works just as well) gets stains out better.

6. Find out what clothes fit your body style the best and wear that. These jeans from Old Navy do not cost too much, and I get the most compliments when I wear them. Obviously, I do not lose and gain weight in a day…..so apparently the fit is good for my body.

7. This type of blush is supposedly good for most skin colors. It blends better than traditional blush. I got some at Target for probably $6.

8. When you leave the house, at least put on mascara and lip gloss. It will improve you.

9. Self tanner (aka tan in a can) does wonders. Some brands are more subtle than others. Ones that are actually for your face are typically more subtle. I have been using one that is actually for the body (but using it on my face). It is more dramatic, but it lasts longer. I only use it on my face and neck (in the winter).

10. And, in conclusion of my wisdom from one who is arguably nowhere near the point of giving wisdom, I feel like I should end with something cheesy like smile and have good posture. Those seem to help. Unless you feel odd randomly smiling. Or you are like me and are more comfortable to slump. So instead my last tidbit is to shop at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Yes, you do actually have to look through the clothes, but, girlies, it is worth it. My current trenchcoat had an original pricetag of $400. I paid $40. I think that is like 90% off. They often have BCBG with $200 pricetags for $30. Contrary to some myths, the clothes do not have imperfections (if an item does, it will clearly say). Usually, they are overruns or last season. But, last season in NYC is like two seasons from now in Kansas (joking, sort of).

Well, there you have it. My top ten ways to improve with very little effort.

This is my 99th post, which means the proverbial 100 Things About Me List will be coming soon. Stay tuned. I think I may have misused proverbial but I could not think of the proper word.

High School

My friend, Shannon, semi-tagged me for this. Let me start with saying that high school was not my shining moment. I made some poor choices. Dated a few guys that I should not have. I did not spend enough time with my dear friends because my priorities were off. Fortunately, college was not the same story. Not that I was perfect, but I definitely made much better choices. With that background, here we go…..

1. What was your school’s full name?
For three years, I went to Glendale High School. I transferred to Marshfield High School my senior year. My family was supposed to move in September, so I transferred…..we did not actually move until February (house took took long). The schools were about 35 minutes apart. I transferred for two main reasons…..1. I had never moved so I wanted to see what it was like to be new. 2. My brother had to go there, so I wanted to support him in his move.

2. When did you graduate? 2000

3. What was your school mascot? Falcons/Bluejays

4. Did you date someone from your school? I did.

5. Did you marry someone from your high school? I did not. The love of my life was miles and miles away.

6. Did you carpool to school? My freshman year, my sister took me school everyday. We were late EVERYDAY. I had after school detention EVERYDAY. She never did. My sophomore year, my neighbor took me to school. After that, I could drive.

7. What kind of car did you have? This also has to have background information. When I was a child, my parents said that we could have any car we wanted when we turned 16 if we did not drink or smoke at the time. Though early in high school I made poor choices, I became a Christian and did not drink or smoke. So I drove a red Mercedes Benz SLK. It was such a cute car. The funny part is that I was so embarrassed to drive it that I traded it in for a much cheaper car when I was in college. I did not like the assumptions associated with it.

8. What kind of car do you have now? Chevy Z71 Tahoe. I love it!!!

9. It is Friday night…where are you (then)? Probably hanging out with my boyfriend at the time and his friends. That is one regret I have of high school. I wish I had not dated.

10. It is Friday night…where are you (now)? Ironically, it is Friday night. I am watching TV. Brett is not home. Usually, we hang out.

11. What kind of job did you have in high school? I did not work in high school. I played sports a lot, and I really did not have much extra time.

12. What kind of job do you have now? I stay at home with my sweet kids. I also help write legal forms for my dad’s firm, but that is very few hours a week.

13. Were you a party animal? Definitely not. I am a homebody.

14. Were you considered a flirt? Hmm….I do not think so…

15. Were you in band, orchestra or choir? I completely lack any talent in those areas.

16. Were you a nerd? Not really. But I was not cool either.

17. Did you get suspended or expelled? As I mentioned, I had detention every day, but that was my sister’s fault. I never did anything to get suspended.

18. Can you sing the fight song? Not a chance.

19. Who were your favorite teachers? Two of my English teachers (Mrs. Wimberley and Mrs. Taylor) were my absolute favorites. English was not my best subject, but they taught me to fall in love with it.

20. Where did you sit during lunch? All over the place. Depended on what lunch hour I had.

21. If you could go back and do it again, would you? NO WAY. Unless I could do it differently. I actually thought high school was fun, but like I said, I have some things I would have definitely changed.

22. Did you have fun at prom? It was fine. I do not enjoy dancing, but it was fun to get dressed up and socialize.

23. Do you still talk to the person you went to prom with? No.

24. Are you planning on going to your next reunion? I would like to go. Unless I am big pregnant or just have had a baby. You know, you have to look good LOL.

This is funny to think back to high school. I make it sound bad. I did like high school a lot. I just wish I had more wisdom and possibly made better choices. There were so many fun memories associated with high school. I mostly loved playing sports and all that entailed.

Go ahead and do this…..it brings back funny memories!!!