Chatbooks {This Photog's FAV From-Your-Phone Photo Albums}

   I cannot stand commercials! I simultaneously watch two TV shows at a time so I can flip back and forth. In fact, I consider myself somewhat of an expert of this art form...

   I’ll be watching a show with my husband, and he’ll get so irritated with me – “Turn it back, we’re missing our show!” he’ll request.  “Nah…we’ve got another 30 seconds – at least…” I'll argue.

   And when I’m on YouTube my finger hovers over the Skip Ad button in the bottom right corner of the screen just anticipating the countdown…5, 4, 3 – and I’m already tapping the button. How annoying are the ads you can’t skip????

   So it is VERY rare that I find an advertisement I enjoy – and even more rare when said ad will convince me to purchase a product. So Congrats to Chatbooks for having the BEST, most effective commercial I’ve seen…possibly ever!

   Chatbooks is an App that keeps track of your Facebook, Instagram or Favorited photos on your phone and once you have 60 they create a photo album for you to tangibly hold and cherish.

   The commercial is so perfect because it might as well be a video of my life! I’m a busy mom who has a 100 percent success rate of FAILING at every Pinterest project I’ve ever attempted. I have out-of-control children (I’ve actually had to rescue one of my kids from the ledge of a window before.) And I NEVER print photos off my phone, which is where 99% of my pictures live these days.

   As much as I loved the commercial, and the concept and the price – as a professional photographer myself, I was a little leery of the quality. But I figured, at the price, even if they weren’t any good it wouldn’t be a huge loss. You guys, these books at GREAT! I opted for the hard covers for some added protection from my kids, and they have held up. The photos transferred to the paper well, and are vibrant and crystal clear.

 

Chapbooks takes your Favorited images off your Camera, Facebook or Instagram account - and creates beautiful albums to cherish forever! If you don't want a personal photo cover, they have adorable seasonal and themed covers to choose from! As you can tell next to my phone above, these books aren't huge (the softcovers are 6x6-inch squares and the hardcovers are 6.25x6.25-inch squares) but they aren't too small. They are the perfect size for coffee tables or bookcases.

Chapbooks takes your Favorited images off your Camera, Facebook or Instagram account - and creates beautiful albums to cherish forever! If you don't want a personal photo cover, they have adorable seasonal and themed covers to choose from! As you can tell next to my phone above, these books aren't huge (the softcovers are 6x6-inch squares and the hardcovers are 6.25x6.25-inch squares) but they aren't too small. They are the perfect size for coffee tables or bookcases.

You have the option of a hardcover book, which is a MUST with my kiddos...And you can personalize the spins :)

You have the option of a hardcover book, which is a MUST with my kiddos...And you can personalize the spins :)

   As a professional, I’d kindda wished I could have formatted some of the pages – even though I too want to beat a hammer against my computer sometimes – but I ended up loving the clean design of one image per page. And the App gives you the option of editing your books before they’re ordered!

   So, check them out at chatbooks.com or find them in the App Store

 

I love the clean design of one image per page! You can add captions below the image / utilize the descriptions from social media. I wish I could have reorganized the order of my images (I wanted to have books for each season and seemed to have a Spring photo that wanted to sneak into my Winter album), but you can add or delete photos.

I love the clean design of one image per page! You can add captions below the image / utilize the descriptions from social media. I wish I could have reorganized the order of my images (I wanted to have books for each season and seemed to have a Spring photo that wanted to sneak into my Winter album), but you can add or delete photos.

Ash Wednesday... Worship on the Throne

I’m not sure why, but some of our most memorable family outings are in the restroom…Hey, don’t judge! When you have three small girls it is all about divide and conquer; so we have a standing reservation in the Family Restroom!

            I have VIVID memories of the five of us in the family restroom at our niece’s cheerleading competition…I was in the stall with one of the twins trying to assist her after she dropped half of her coat in the toilet, while Chuck was helping the other twin at the sink – as she sprayed water all over his face. Meanwhile, Bianca had gotten a hold of our umbrella and was using it as a weapon, whacking Chuck in the shin… All of this happening at once, but seeming to be occurring in slow motion. Chuck was trying to hold it together, while holding a child, and reprimanding another; and he looked over at me to see what I was doing to help the situation…and I was sitting in the bathroom floor laughing uncontrollably – wishing I had a camera crew with me to document this MESS that I call my life.

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Pillow Fight

How many of you can honestly admit that you fight with your child?

Well, you should be ashamed of yourself!

Now, I can completely understand fighting with your kids about bedtimes & boyfriends, vegetables & video games; but what I’m about to admit is pretty embarrassing. You see I’ve stooped so low as to fight with my daughter over a pillow.

Yes, you read that correctly – a pillow. And not even a fancy pillow. No, it’s pink and small and filled with some sort of unidentified, granular object that could be anything from cornhusks (or kernels…. or seeds…whatever you call those un-popped, popcorn looking things that fill the bags people play corn hole with) to BB pellets. Actually, this pillow’s ‘filling’ is too light for either of those objects, so it’s probably filled with some sort of man-made, plastic product that I’ll soon learn leads to cancer – just like most everything else I enjoy in life like fried food and the sun.

Fast food…BB guns…Pillow! (Man, am I scatterbrained! I hope it’s not whatever’s in my pillow:)

So there’s this pink pillow that floats around our house. It usually lives in my room, where I intentionally hide it behind all my other pillows when I make the bed, but every-once-in-a-while it will escape my clutches and wind-up in Bianca’s room. Why? Probably because she’s under the impression that the pillow belongs to her. And why is she under this impression? Well, probably because my mom gave it to her. And when I say gave I mean let borrow.

Yes, I am fighting with my four-year-old over a pillow that doesn’t even belong to us.

Here’s what happened:

Bianca goes to daycare three days a week after preschool – where she has naptime after lunch. All the little boys and girls bring in their pillows, blankets and stuffed animals for this ritual. And becoming trendy at the ripe old age of three, Bianca just had to have a Pillow Pet when she moved up to the Three & Four-Year-Old room. You know that annoying commercial, It’s a Pillow…It’s a Pet…It’s a Pillow Pet?

Anyway, every Friday the pillows and blankets come home to be washed. And it never fails; every Monday I usually forget to take the darn things back to school.

On this particular Monday I was working at my mom’s house, which is closer to daycare, when I realized I’d left my child with no snuggling devices; so she suggested I just borrow a blanket and pillow from her house. ENTER THE PINK PILLOW!

About the same time, I was coming to grips with the fact that I was going to have to part ways with a loyal, dear friend of mine…the Blue Pillow. This pillow had been with me almost four years. He (I assume he was a He…. I mean, he was blue after all) was there for me every night, he went on every vacation with me… But after years of trips through the washing machine, he was beginning to get tired. I mended him several times, but I knew it was time to let him go when his stuffing – his were white, little, round things that looked almost like Vanilla Dippin’ Dots – began to fall out. So it was only fitting that a new pillow had come in to take his place. She (duh, she’s pink) was new and pretty and despite it taking a few evenings to get used to her, she was the perfect armrest for a peaceful night of sleep…. Until that child came along and STOLE her away from me! 

Ya’ll, obviously I have a slight flair for the dramatics…but I’m serious as a heart attack with what I’m about to say next.

Over the next few months, I got by with hiding the pillow at the base of my headboard. (Lord, at this point I think the darn thing needs a name….) And if Bianca ever did ask about her, I would usually get by with shrugging it off with comments like, ‘Gee, I don’t know’ or ‘Maybe you left it at school.’ Really? I’ve stooped so low as to lie to my child?

On the occasional night that she would watch TV in my bed and find the pillow, of course she would want to take it to bed with her. I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t wait until she was asleep, sneak into her room, and steal the pillow right from her own two hands! Awesome! Now I’m a liar and a thief!

And here is the real kicker of all of this…. I could go to any Wal-Mart, CVS… heck, even a truck stop and buy a pillow of my very own! I could even buy two & then return the one to my mother that doesn’t even belong to me. I could buy a whole rainbow of colors, one for every night of the week. After all, they cost about ten dollars.

But NO! I want MINE! Mine, Mine, Mine!!!! (Let’s face it – there’s a little toddler left in all of us.)

Last night I realized I need an intervention. Bianca came and climbed in bed with us around 5 a.m. I asked her to go try to potty so she wouldn’t have an accident in our bed (Isn’t potty training overnight SO much fun?) and while she was gone…I hid the pillow down under the covers so she wouldn’t see it when she got in bed. (Honest to God) Oh, it gets better!

She stumbles back into our room, half asleep, and climbs into bed to cuddle up next to me. In her soft little voice she asks, “Mommy, where’s my pillow?”

I LIED to my sleeping baby and said, “Oh, I don’t know.”

She rolled her little no-pillow head over on the bed to go back to sleep and the guilt washed over me!

“I found it!” I LIED again to cover-up my first lie and pulled the pillow out from under the covers.

“Thanks, Mommy! You’re the greatest, bestest mommy in the whole world.”

 

I’m taking the pillow back to my mom’s today.

Silent Night

Last night I stood in the back of my church sanctuary – holding one of my precious twins – and cried uncontrollably as I watched my four-year-old sing Silent Night with her classmates.

About twenty of them total – three and four-years-old – dressed up like kings and shepherds, stars and angels…My sweet Bianca was dressed like an angel with beautiful wings dipped in gold sequins that sparkled in the sunset flowing through the stained glass windows.

Tears fell as I imagined this entire group of children – innocent, precocious and full of life – erased from this canvas. Then I watched their teachers, Miss Tracy and Miss Laura, patiently guide our children through their song… And I imagined them being gone too. And in an instant, the entire sanctuary had been transformed. Because if you took these people away, you immediately amputated a part of every person in the audience…

And then my thoughts drifted to Robbie Parker, the brave father of Emilie Parker, who somehow found the strength to step in front of the news cameras to tell the world about his beautiful little girl only hours after learning of her horrific death in Sandy Creek Elementary School. I thought about how Robbie somehow found the compassion to offer his condolences to the shooter’s family – letting the world know that the only way to survive this tragedy would be through forgiveness and love.

And as I thought of Robbie Parker and his sweet Emilie I cried not only for them, but also for the events that had happened earlier in the day at my own house….

 

To say that my daughter’s End-of-the-Year school program was a disaster last spring would be a vast understatement. We’d hyped this performance up for weeks, inviting extended family in for the festivities.

Bianca and I had walked to school the night of the recital – her in her bright blue shirt and yellow headband, me following her with my camera. We sang We’re Following the Leader as I marched behind her, grinning ear-to-ear.

We got to church (the place she was baptized, where she attended her first vacation bible school, a place she should feel completely safe) and I left her in the all-purpose room with her teachers and classmates taking my spot in the front of the sanctuary so I could record her performance.

The back doors of the sanctuary opened, and I immediately heard a collective Awww as moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles caught first glimpses of their little ones.

But the wind was knocked out of my sail as I watched Bianca approach the front of the sanctuary with tears rolling down her flush cheeks. What happened? I wondered as my mind raced. She was fine twenty minutes ago….

These are the moments that make you wish there were some sort of Parenting 101 that was mandatory before the hospital allowed you to bring your child home…. Like there was a professor at the hospital grading your exam at the exit doors before allowing you to leave with this most important, super-fragile, human being you’re now responsible for nurturing, guiding, teaching, loving…No Pressure!

They probably don’t offer that class, because they know the majority of us would fail miserably…. Because parenting is the NUMBER ONE example of On-the-Job training….

The truth is, none of us…. even that Super Nanny from Great Britain…. have a clue when it comes to these snap-decision, last-second-play moments.

As I watched Bianca’s procession into the church, I proceeded to run through what I have since come to refer to as the Four-Stages of Stage Fright Damage Control…

1)   Avoidance & Denial – Yep, I sure did continue to smile and videotape as my daughter decomposed on stage, holding her little flag up over her face to try to conceal her tears instead of waving it like her classmates… her little shoulders shaking uncontrollably.

2)    Consoling – After what felt like twenty minutes of this (I’m pretty sure it was more like twenty seconds) I realized I could no longer ignore my child…. So I rushed to the front of the sanctuary and knelt in front of her. It’s all okay, Bianca…. Mommy’s here

3)   Bribery – After several attempts to utilize my sweetest, most-understanding voice – I realized she wasn’t buying it…. So I immediately shifted gears and began whispering that I would buy her pretty much anything she wanted as long as she would stop crying and participate in her program…. Now if that’s not Grade-A parenting, I don’t know what is!

4)   Anger – (The following is not my proudest parenting moment) By the time I realized nothing was working; it was time for Bianca to pair-up with her partner for part of the program. Obviously that wasn’t happening, so here stood one of her classmates wanting to participate…. with no partner. I was so mad – and looking back, six months later, I’m still mad. But now my anger has shifted onto myself.

Why on Earth was I upset with a THREE-YEAR-OLD for having stage fright? I’ll tell you why, because I thought it reflected poorly on me. If I’m being totally honest with myself, I have to admit that I was worried about what other people were going to think or say. Awww, that poor little girl. I wonder what’s wrong with her? I wonder what her parents are like? As I write this I realize even more vividly the absurdity of my thoughts. But that’s what happens sometimes when we’re parenting, we don’t think rationally.

 

Looking back, I should have done things so much different. Like getting up on stage and making a complete fool of myself in order to make my little girl feel comfortable. Or, just rescuing her from the stage and pulling her down onto the floor with me where she could have watched or participated from a much less threatening vantage point – without hundreds of people staring at her.

 

So when the calendar rolled around to Bianca’s Christmas program, my husband and I joked that we weren’t inviting anyone…. We just didn’t want Bianca to feel any pressure this time around. We were downplaying the whole thing –so it wouldn’t be a big deal if she decided not to participate.

But Bianca seemed really excited as the event approached, practicing her songs as she frolicked through the house, so we decided to invite our parents. We talked to Bianca about her program, and she insisted that she wanted to sing and dance with her classmates.

And here we were… The Big Day had finally arrived. I was much wiser now – learning from the events six months ago, right? WRONG!

Bianca began acting-out as I tried to get her dressed. You know, the normal kicking as you try to get them in their panty hose, thrashing as you try to fasten their shoes, threatening that they’re Gonna Scream if you don’t stop!

I tried to remain calm, diverting Bianca’s attention by asking her to practice singing her songs for me… That went over like a ton of bricks as she fell to the floor and insisted I do NOT know the words to Away in a Manger.

I finally got her into her white tights and tank top, which was like dressing an alligator, and we moved in to the bathroom where I attempted to give her two French braids. Do you know how difficult it is to French braid a head as it rotates like Linda Blair’s in the Exorcist? If you’re the mother of a four-year-old girl, I bet you do.

I was quickly reaching the end of my rapidly fraying rope when Bianca looked at me in the mirror and said, “I don’t want to go to my program!”

Did I say she said that she didn’t want to go to her program? What I meant to say was she screamed, whined, cried

What happened next is another one of those parenting moments I am less than proud of…

I clenched Bianca’s braid, put my lips down by her ear and proceeded to tell her – in a less than loving tone – that she was going to PERFORM in her program…or ELSE!

As I raised my eyes back up to the mirror, I caught a glimpse of my daughter fighting to hold back her tears… And I saw an ugly mother staring back at me… And then I saw Robbie Parker… What would Robbie Parker give for one more Christmas program with his little girl? I thought before becoming completely unglued.

I wrapped my arms around Bianca, carried her to the toilet where I rocked her as I repeatedly apologized. “You don’t have to do your program if you don’t want to, Bianca,” I cried. “You can sit in the pew with me if you want to.”

“I’m sorry for being a bad girl, mommy,” Bianca cried too. “I’ll sing in my program.”

 

And sing she did. Not animated and loud like some of her classmates, but quietly and reserved – in her own voice. She shook her jingle bells, she rumpa pum pummed her drum, and she sang Silent Night – as I stood in the back of the sanctuary and cried.

 

I have no doubt that every parent out there tonight feels an indescribable feeling of sadness for all of the families in Newtown, wondering how in the world their lives will ever go on after such horrific tragedy…But I also know every parent out there has felt like they were at their wits end while dealing with their testy child – on more than one occasion.

And it is a very difficult position to be in… As parents we want more than anything to cherish every second with our children. But we also want to guide them and shape them into mature, respectful human beings. And sometimes that means we have to discipline them, which means – at least for a brief moment – we are not their favorite person.

On a daily basis I pray that God gives me patience while dealing with the ‘melt-down moments’ happening on a regular basis in my house. But I also thank God daily for bringing these miracles into my life.

I heard a quote recently that said, “Be child-like, not childish.” I think that sums up what I need to keep in mind while parenting. Bianca is child-like when she acts out, speaks up and jumps around like a wild banshee. I have to remember not to be childish while parenting to that.

And I think we can all agree that after the horrible events in Newtown, the most important piece of parenting advice we can take away is to make sure we tell our children how much we love them…even if we might not like them very much at the moment.

RIP: My Chad-Man Fought off the Evil Eye

When I was younger I showed American Saddlebred horses (think of dressage horses, but wound a little tighter without as many fancy tricks.) One of the common practices when working with these horses was to put blinkers – or blinders – over their eyes to keep them from spooking or getting distracted by something off to the sides or behind them.

You see, horses vision in primarily peripheral – due to the fact that their eyes are located on the sides of their head. So when they had these blinkers on, they were putting all of their faith in their rider to not lead them astray – blissfully unaware of what was happening around them. (Or terrified, depending on the horse.)

 

Anyway, I sometimes feel like I’m walking through life with my own set of blinkers on…you know – tunnel vision, denial.

Call it what you will, but some days the only way I make it through is to pretend that the things around me just aren’t happening. That is, until reality reaches back and slaps me across the face, saying, “Hello! You can’t ignore this any longer!”

 

My girls have an aquarium in their nursery. It’s not like I had an aquarium on my baby registry or one of my eleven-month-olds specifically asked for fish in her room. No, they are leftover from when the nursery was my youngest son, Brennen’s room. (When we found out we were having twins, everyone had a bedroom switcheroo – except our goldfish.)

Now, I have never been a fish person. In fact, I was pretty perturbed when Chuck and Brennen brought that plastic bag from the fair in to my kitchen and tried to ‘sneak’ the fish into a Tupperware bowl. But what did I do the very next day – after I specifically made it clear that I wasn’t taking care of this fish?  I got attached to the darn thing. And despite the fact that I knew this fair fish probably wouldn’t last a week, I accepted Chad as a member of our family.

 

Weeks turned into months, and months turned into years – and Chad was still here. Through trial and error we learned that goldfish need aquariums – with filters, water treatments, water cleanings (That was an interesting lesson learned while my mom was fish-setting and the glass bowl Chad was living in turned brown and cloudy. When I showed up at PetsMart, the man asked me, “Don’t you know you have to change the water in a fish bowl?” No, no I didn’t.) Through all of the algae blooms, dying friends, ammonia outbreaks…our little Chad-Man turned out to be the Fair Fish that Could. We even joked that Chad was one of those indestructible, un-killable fish.

 

So last week when I walked into the nursery and noticed Chad hanging out at the bottom of the aquarium instead of up top waiting for breakfast, I kept my blinkers on. I had to get the girls ready, drop B off at school, and get to work. I didn’t have time for fish woes. And besides, like I said above, Chad’s survived EVERYTHING! He’s fine – swimming down that river of denial.

 

The next day when I walked in and found Chad floating lifelessly, his body twisted sideways and his gills working painstakingly as he unknowingly bumped into his castle and the aquarium filter, I felt HORRIBLE! Life reached up, smacked me, and said this fish is really sick!

 

When I told Chuck, he had a normal person’s reaction – “He’s lived a good, long life. And he survived a lot longer than we ever thought he would.”

 

I, on the other hand, headed straight to my go-to for all things from parenting advice to medical diagnosis…Google. When I began typing ‘lethargic goldfish’ into the search bar, would you believe I wasn’t the first person to search for this? In fact, there are multiple websites devoted to the health and well being of goldfish. And they not only offered me advice, they gave me a feeling of hope.

According to the Internet, Chad either had a parasite or a bacterial infection. And there are medications for both, so I jumped straight in my car and headed to the fishy pharmacy. About sixty dollars, two cancelled work meetings and three hours later; I was home getting Chad set-up in his ‘sick tank’ – a tank where you house the sick fish so they don’t infect the others. I dropped the Tetracycline, which I’m pretty sure I took in high school to clear-up my complexion, into Chad’s tank…. and I waited.

 

And waited, and waited.

 

I’d find myself sneaking into the kitchen – as if seeing that he’s died slowly would be easier than if I quickly approached the kitchen counter where the aquarium was resting.

Sometimes I’d walk in to find him actually swimming and I’d get a glimmer of hope that he’d survive. I even leaned down by the plastic wall of the tank and told him, “Chad, if you can make it through the night I think we’ll be in the clear.”

Really? Now I’m a fish doctor?

 

At one point in the afternoon I became really alarmed when I walked in to check on my patient and found a yellow foam coating the top of the aquarium. I frantically rummaged through my plastic, PetsMart bag searching for the Tetracycline box to read about the side effects. I was relieved to learn that foam may form along the surface.

 

At another bed check, I found Chad suctioned to the bottom of the filter. I quickly unplugged the device, and to my relief Chad swam away.

 

When I finally went to bed that evening, I was pleasantly optimistic Chad might pull through.

 

Sure enough, that next morning when I stumbled into the kitchen – having half-forgotten about Chad in the sick tank – I was shocked when I found him floating on his side against the side of the aquarium. He was gone, and I was entirely too emotional. I mean this was an animal I had never even touched. We’d never gone on a walk, or played fetch in the front yard. Chad had never slept at my feet getting fish hair all over my bed. And Chad had never given me a big, slobbery kiss on the cheek. My mind immediately went to Homer, my 12-year-old Shar Pei-mutt. If I’m this upset about a fish, I don’t even want to be around myself when something happens to my dog.

 

Bianca was the first person I told about Chad’s unfortunate departure. She came bouncing into the kitchen, saw the aquarium and walked over to check on Chad. “How are you feeling this morning little, baby Chad?” she asked in the same voice she uses when she talks to her sisters.

“Honey, Chad’s in heaven,” I said gingerly.

“No he’s not, he’s right here,” she answered.

“Well, his little fish body is here, but his spirit’s gone to heaven,” I retracted – realizing the absurdity of this conversation.

Don’t most normal people just flush dead fish down the toilet and play dumb when their children ask where they went. “What fish? I don’t know what you’re talking about….”

Bianca and I – okay, I won’t hide behind my child – I decided to make a casket for Chad. I thought an earring box might do the trick, but quickly realized Chad had gotten bigger than I realized. I found Bianca’s Hello Kitty Band Aid box, perfect!

Bianca did help me in the decoration. We wrapped the box in white paper and drew a fish and water along one side. Bianca had just finished a worksheet at school with fish on it, so we cut that up and taped it on the other side. I wrote Chad’s name at the top and his birthday and date of death on the other end.

 

Bianca asked if we needed to put some water in the box for Chad – an honest question – so I decided we could use wet wipes to keep him moist without disintegrating his casket.

 

We waited for Chuck to get home to remove him from the tank, and as Chuck lifted the net out of the water, Bianca tried to sneak a kiss. “No, no!” I said. “He was sick, and you don’t want to touch him.”

 

We sat Chad, securely fastened in his Finding Nemo decorated, Hello Kitty Band Aid box on the counter to wait for Brennen to get home from his ball game. After all, Chad was his fish and we didn’t want to bury him without Brennen.

 

I recovered pretty quickly from my mourning, and was sitting on the couch with my computer in my lap when Bianca came towards me with what looked like tissue in her hands.

 

“I had to kiss Chad goodbye,” she said handing me what I quickly realized was our dead fish.

 

“Chuck!” I yelled down to the basement, “Bianca’s been kissing Chad!”

 

Chuck ran upstairs and got Chad put back in his box as I got Bianca into the bathroom to wash her hands –and arms – and brush her teeth. I’m usually not a germaphobe, but something about my daughter kissing and hugging on our parasite, bacteria-ridden dead fish just kind of grossed me out.

 

Bianca cried, I gagged a little, and Chuck rested Chad on the ledge of the microwave…we were still waiting on Brennen.

 

Well, I hate to admit this…but we forgot about Chad. (Blinkers again, I guess because I remember being a little concerned I might cook Chad while sticking something in the microwave. I remember resting my hand at the top of the microwave making sure it wasn’t getting hot.)

 

It wasn’t until the next afternoon when Brennen came upstairs and told us he found out Chad had died while checking Facebook on the computer. (Chuck and I handled that well. About as well as we handled telling our kids that we were having twins – by my brother blurting it out when we were all on our way home from dinner one night, assuming that the boys already knew. ‘What did you just say?’ I remember Blake asking my brother from the backseat of the car.)

 

I watched from the deck as Chuck and Bianca took Chad out to the tree in the back yard where Brennen wanted him buried. Chuck got a little embarrassed as I yelled a prayer from the deck as the neighbors worked out in their yards – I didn’t want to have to get myself and the babies dressed-up for a funeral, so we stayed at the house.

 

After Chad passed, I’d decided I wanted to get out of the fish business. “Do you think we could find somebody wanting an aquarium with one fish?” I asked Chuck about our lone-survivor.

 

But then I was listening to talk radio in my car later that afternoon, and I heard an interview with a family in India. They were talking about how most people in India have fish in their homes. These fish are symbols of protection against evil spirits that might try to enter the home. The little girl being interviewed said that if anything evil tries to enter the home and harm the family, the fish will take the evil spirit into their body and die to protect their family. I immediately thought of Chad – and I felt a little at ease thinking he died protecting us.

 

So, I think I might keep a few goldfish around. Because knock on wood, things have been going pretty good since Chad came into our lives, and if fish are a symbol of protection…then I’m all for bringing a Chad Jr. home soon.