Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What She Said . . .

. . . and said again, evidently.

I say the exact same things over and over. It's not in a wise, elder-departing-wisdom sort of way, either. No one will look back and say, "As Mrs always said. . . . "

Ok, maybe God will grant me a few of those, but that's not what I'm talking about here. Case in point:

We were watching Terminator 2. We got to the scene where Linda Hamilton is making her escape and running through the halls of the mental hospital. She's running full tilt when the elevator doors suddenly open, and out steps the Terminator. Completely shocked and horrified, Linda backpeddals as fast as she can, her face a mask of sheer panic.

I added interest to the scene by stating, "You would have to see the first Terminator to fully appreciate her reaction here!"

Ty: "I know, Mom. You say that every single time we watch this movie. In fact, I was waiting to see if you'd say it again."

Well, watch the first one already! Then I can stop saying it!

BT can attest to this. Before our junior year of high school, my mom and I took a trip out to New Mexico to visit family. I picked up some lemon drops for snacking on the drive home.

BT would come over to my house and I would politely offer her a remaining lemon drop.

"Would you like a lemon drop? These are from New Mexico."

It became a joke between BT and I whenever one of us were repeating ourselves. "Did I already say that? Oh. These are from New Mexico."

I forget which movie we were watching the other night, but I suddenly felt inspired to add interest to the story again with a tidbit. This time, I stopped myself. Instead, I said, "I'm about to say something that I've probably already said, so instead I'm not going to say it!"

Tyler laughed and encouraged me to say it anyway. I was relieved to find out it was an entirely NEW statement. HA! I do still have original thoughts!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Today's Quote

From Cybersalt Digest:

Today's Oneliner
This is precisely the sort of thing that people who like this sort of thing will like.

One thing I will Never Serve to Himself

From "Kid Approved Menus for Breakfast and Lunch" off the Menus4Moms site:

Tuna Burritos

1 can tuna, flaked
1 pkg. flour tortillas

Lay tortillas flat. Spread with layer of coleslaw. Add layer of flaked tuna. Roll up and GAG.

By now, I'll bet my friend Gale is laughing her head off. If you want to make the worst meal ever for Himself, fix tuna casserole with peas and onions. I guarantee he'd never darken your door again.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Revenge of the Nursemaid

What does one do when their hubby has a back injury, is lying in pain, and can't move?

Take his picture, of course.

Sitting up is the most strenuous position for our backs. Standing actually puts less strain on the lower back! He finally brought his laptop into the room so he could at least answer emails. And comment on blogs, evidently.

Not very comfortable, but at least he can get some work done. Actually, want to know what's REALLY going on in this picture?

He says he only watches chick flicks because of his daughters. Yes. That's what he says.

I love the frustrated but amused look on his face. My face has no makeup on. If I had worn makeup, I wouldn't have run into anyone I knew at Walmart. Not wearing makeup and having a messy home has greatly improved my social life.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Two Terrific Tykes

We call them The Twins.

Glenna and Will were born only weeks apart. Unfortunately, we moved to Florida when Glenna was 20 months old, so they were only infants in the same town together. We made one trip out to California since then [with the kids] and Will has been out here twice.

All this explains why my heart is so glad to see these two together. For the most part, they get along so well! They play together for hours and hours, laughing and having a good time. At other times, they're like my two Grand-Aunties in New Mexico who used to fuss and fuss at each other, much to the amusement of the rest of the family.

I took Will to Walmart because one of the dogs (not to mention any names) ate his headphones. Granted, he had been warned to put his stuff away, so it wasn't entirely the small, name-sounds-like-Robbs dog's fault. In fact, I am never surprised when a dog acts like a dog. It's just what they do.

So we take Will to Walmart, and suddenly he realizes he's at a store with cash money. This is money his mother gave him, for him to use. He was giddy, I tell you. After pricing and purchasing headphones, he headed straight to the toy department.

This is the scene that greeted me after I put ice on Himself's back last night:
That's Will, and under the coolest coffee table ever is Glenna and Hobbs. They're playing with this Wrestlemania stage that Will bought after hours of deliberation.

"What are you guys doing?"
"We're making a pet food commercial."

Glenna finds this quite funny. Will pretends to be bashful. Trust me, this kid is bashful for all of 5 minutes, tops, then he jumps right in! Note the full attention Hobbs is giving Glenna; after all, she did mention pet food. I think he's planning on his next meal being miniature wrestling guys.

Will sets the stage for some major wrestling (or wrasslin', depending on where you're from) action. As he's explaining everything to me, there's hysterical laughter and commentary coming from under the table.

Is Mom still there with the camera? ACK!

It's so fun to chase a kid under a table with a camera. You don't even need the viewfinder, you just point and shoot.

Any time they start to fuss at each other, I'm going to show them these pictures.

Here's Jack, newly shaved, shampooed, and shining, keeping a dignified distance.

Some of my best memories are the times I spent with my cousins. Each of them are wonderful, special, and I love talking and laughing with them. It grieves me that my kids don't know their cousins as well because we're so far away, but we're really trying to make sure they know who they are! Their closest cousins are in South Carolina.

Do you have any cousin memories?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Oh, His Aching Back!

Could you all please pray for Himself?

About two years ago, he suffered a back injury. Since then, it re-appears from time to time. The only one surprised by this is him! A back injury is pretty much a permanent injury, especially when it involves herniated a disc.

He jogged twice around the neighborhood with Kelly to show her how to pace herself, and he's been miserable since. When he stands, he has to throw his hips forward and he leans to one side. He's going to the chiropractor, and eventually he'll be fine again. It's just hard when there's so much on his agenda, and his job involves riding in a car or sitting at a desk (the two worst positions for your back).

I have a feeling my migraines are nothing compared to this!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Have some Milk. Just don't drink it all!

I may be completely alone in this. I may be the only Mom on the face of the planet who feels this way, but it totally irks me when someone drinks a full glass of milk. It irks me even more (and here I firmly put my foot down) when they have a second glass.

What is this? What's so irritating about it?

Several years ago when things were pretty lean here at the Sandbar, I witness my family go into panic mode when we would run out of milk. It didn't matter that I had been digging through the dregs of my pantry just to put food on the table. It didn't matter that they hadn't seen a meal with side dishes in days and days. When we ran out of milk, it was as if we had just become a third world country.

"We're poor! What are we going to do?"

I assured my family that there were many dietary options to get the same nutrition they would get from milk, but it didn't matter. To them, we were one step away from the cardboard condo at Hooverville.

I hate going to the store JUST for milk. I hate that milk prices are just about $4.00 per gallon! Don't try to tell me that milk is still cheaper than a single latte at Starbucks. I'm trying to make a point here, and everyone knows Starbucks doesn't count.

I started to show my family how we could actually live without milk. They didn't like it. I slowly started to have milk around again, but when we ran out I would NOT go to the store for more until the next shopping day.

This led to my children not eating breakfast because there. Was. No. Milk. Never mind that we had pancakes, eggs, waffles, toast, and fruit. They couldn't eat cereal, ergo they couldn't have breakfast.

Ty gave up eating breakfast all together. Granted, when he became a teen he didn't get up until lunch, but that's beside the point. I'm thankful to say my girls figured out how to make something to eat without milk.

To this day, when we sit down to dinner and a few of my family members insist on drinking milk with their meal, I feel irked. I guess I need to get over it.

Still, I'm not going to the store if we run out.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

These are a few. . .

. . . of my favorite things!

Kate, Jess, Karis, Kelly, Tali, and Allie. How I thank God He brought them into my Kelly's life!

*Update: Last night I made chicken casserole. Will didn't dare come into the kitchen, but instead peered at me from around the corner of the fridge. It was all I could do not to laugh! He finally realized he can check the menu I posted on the side of the fridge, though that doesn't solve the what-is-she-putting-in-it? problem.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What's for Dinner?

Our 10 year old nephew, Will, is visiting us from California. I adore this kid. He's very sweet and has such a teachable heart! I pray he holds on to that for the rest of his life!

It's been quite comical to see him try to make his preferences known when it comes to food. I'm sure he was warned/threatened by his parents to eat everything we put in front of him no matter what and to not complain about the food. Still, a 10 year old boy is a 10 year old boy, and it worries him a bit when he sees me in the kitchen, preparing food.

All of the kids (except Ty, and Kelly less now) do what I call a "flyover" to see what I'm making. They casually stroll through our narrow, galley kitchen and slow down when they get near the stove so they can peek into the pot. I once had this cookbook titled, "365 Meals" and some of the fare was more exotic than what they were used to. Ty used to send Kelly on a spy mission, and she'd run back and report, "She's making something from that book again!" (Groan, moan.)
This is the best picture I could find right now of our kitchen. Right behind Kelly, you see the new fridge. If the dishwasher is open, you have to go out of the kitchen and around to get to the other side. I've also shown you the kitchen after the girls have been cooking so you can appreciate the mess. I have no pride. ;-)

Anyway, Will, (insert southern expression of "Gawd luv 'im" here) has not learned to be so covert, yet he's still remembering he's not supposed to complain about anything I make.

His first attempt came when we were shopping for groceries. He saw me place a package of onions in the basket and his eyes got really wide. "Um. . . I'm not very fond of onions."

Ok, I admit it. I could have ended any torture here by stating that Himself hates onions, too, so I never put big raw onions in anything. I always saute them until they're not really onions anymore, or make them so small before sauteing that they disappear and leave only some flavor.

Instead, I said nothing.

First dinner, I'm making lasagne. Will comes right over and states, "Are you putting onions in that? Because I really don't like anything crunchy in my food and I'm really not fond of onions."

Again, I could have said, "No, no onions in this."

WHY? Why can't I just give the easy answer? My son has asked me this over and over again. Once a girl came to the door trying to sell magazines so she could earn a trip to Cancun if she won the contest against the boys (SCAM. I never fall for it). I entered this great debate with her when she said she was going to "drink da beer" on why I couldn't possibly send her to do that. Ty moaned, "Mom, why can't you just say no thank you?"

In the picture with Kelly, you'll notice a little blue sign near her head with a bear on it. I directed Will to the sign and invited him to read it out loud.

"There are two choices for dinner: Take it, or leave it."

He looked at me. I smiled. He looked at the sign. I turned my head so he wouldn't see me laughing. He walked out of the kitchen. Of course, the lasagne was delicious and he loved it!

Next, I'm making this beefy macaroni and cheese. Will sees the can of mushroom soup and spies the recipe for tuna casserole on the label.

"Uh, Aunt JoAnna? Did you just put tuna in that?"

"Tuna in what?"

"That stuff you're making."

"Will. Read the sign."

Ok, that didn't work, but he's still really worried about what type of food he'll be forced to eat. He tries again.

"So, what kind of fish do you guys like?"

"Fish? We don't like fish at all."

"You don't? YES! But that can says tuna on it!"

"Will, if I were to make tuna casserole and give it to Uncle John, he'd divorce me. Do I look like I want to be divorced when he treats me so well?"

"Oh. Ok."

"And Will? Read the sign."

Last night, I made tacos. I've told the kids over and over not to look at the food as I prepare it, since it never looks appetizing until it's done [to them]. Will had decided that all subtlety doesn't work and he should get right to the point.

"What's that?"

"Dinner. Read the sign."

Friday, July 20, 2007

What Does She Use?

Home school curriculum offers so many options, it's completely overwhelming. Parents who don't have a home school philosophy before going to the convention will find their heads spinning! How to narrow down the choices?

When I started, we were broke. Anything I bought had to be for more than one child and for more than one year. OR, I had to at least be able to reuse the teacher manual. Here's a rough sketch of my criteria:

1. Must be God honoring and Christ centered
2. Must increase a love of learning
3. Must be academically excellent
4. Must be reusable
5. May I teach it to more than one child at the same time?

It's hard to find, say, a math program that would be Christ centered, but I at least found a Christian company! Three years ago, I met Steve Demme of Math-U-See in person, and he's such a great guy. I embarrassed myself by gushing all over him about how he saved my LIFE, and he wanted to put me on their next promotional video. I see him at the convention every year now and he's always so gracious to talk to me.

Later in this journey, I realized almost all the things I use have been written and personally used by home school families. I stayed away from the mega-textbook companies who had non-home school men in suits selling the books. They obviously don't know what it's like to teach at home, and their textbooks reflected that.

Over the years, I have used the SAME math program - Math-U-See. It has saved my life. Literally. (And I don't mean that in a literary sense.)

When I had to teach phonics, I used Alphabet Island Phonics. It was so thorough and wondeful! I miss not having to teach it. :-(

Ok, so what am I using NOW?

For my 6th grader:
Discovering Our Amazing God (Deeper Roots Publications, for Bible, geography, social studies, history)
Math-U-See - Zeta level
Easy Grammar 6
Phonics Zoo Spelling (she's almost done, so for a few weeks only)
The Institute for Excellence in Writing (I teach this in my home to other home schoolers)
KONOS for science
Around the World in 180 Days (Plus various maps from Geography Matters)

I used to use KONOS, a unit study, exclusively for every subject but math and phonics. Now that I have one in high school and one in grade school, I can no longer teach them all together as I used to. I am teaming up with BA and she likes a little more structure, plus I want her to be able to do more on her own at this age. Glenna, that is. Not BA.

For my 10th Grader:
Bible (KONOS History of the World I)
English III Honors (KONOS History of the World I)
Biology Honors (Apologia Biology, a creation science)
Geometry (Math-U-See, of course!)
Art Appreciation/History/Criticriticism (KONOS History of the World I)
History of the World I (Guess what it is? :-D )
Individual and Dual Sports (she's going to sign up for softball. We're excited!)
Personal Fitness (Uh. . . running around the neighborhood, learning about nutrition, making and following a personal fitness program. Yeah.)

OOOOH! And most exciting of all! She's taking an art class with KR, Phyllis's Mom. I've shamelessly begged this woman for about 4 years to teach an art class and she's finally agreed. I have to look up the course codes to see what credit to give Kelly for high school.

Most of my 10th grader's books have been passed down from her brother. Any of the KONOS stuff I received the first year of our home school (John bartered some work for it from the Florida rep) and I've not needed to buy that again. In fact, this year was the LEAST expensive year of home schooling for me, and that's with buying most of the 6th grade stuff new!

And there you have it.

We have quite the home school network here, so I'm so blessed. I have been able to place my children in classes with other home school students, so they have the benefit of accountability to other teachers, working as a team with other students, and class presentations. It's nice to be able to hand-pick people to teach your child!

Kelly has taken an English class with KR for four years. She took a science class with another woman last year, and will take biology with her this year. She also had an EXCELLENT teacher come to our home (with other kids) for Spanish, and then I chained her to the table to get her to do algebra with her as well.

Glenna participated in my English composition class last year and will this year. Hopefully, she'll be able to participate in the science classes when she's in high school. We've also done co-ops with other families every year but one.

See? Us home schoolers DO get out of the house. ;-)

Rest assured, BA . . . .

. . . Hobbs and Jack are getting along fine! Here, Hobbs is resting on Jack while Jack destroys his toy. Sorry about that.

Hobbs got even by destroying the little blue/yellow thing next to Jack. It's a tag-team effort.

Poor Jack. He needs a haircut soooo badly.

I don't know if I can figure out this blog thing. It keeps posting the wrong dates at the top. What's up with that? I try to make these up ahead of time and then send one each day, and it's all whacky.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Glenna's-eye view

When the girls and I went to New Mexico last June ('06), I was able to let them take pictures of anything that caught their eye because of the wonders of the digital camera. There's no stressing over "wasting film" because we can simply delete the ones we don't want. I loved looking through the pictures, the way they framed their shots, and the oddball collection of images.

All the pictures in this post were taken by Glenna, age 10, from our cabin in NC. Some are quite random, but some are quite good!

This one and the one below are my two favorites. Glenna loves all things western, so the wood in these pictures must have really appealed to her.

I suspect this is where she and Rachel played when they disappeared from the cabin. I haven't asked her yet, but doesn't this look like the makings of a miniature Indian village?

This shot was taken from one of the balconies. The "Indian Village" would be under the trees, right where the path ends. Slightly spoiling the shot is the grey satellite dish in the left of the photo. Ah well.

I am up at this hour because my Kelly is coming home from camp! She has been gone all week and I miss her terribly. I need her home. Now.
Ty's waiting up with me and we'll go get her together. He's playing some video game Jeremy brought when they brought the baby food, etc. He tells me, "Don't watch, Mom. It's gory." When does it stop? :-D

Truth Arrives

I was up in Kelly's room with Jack the Schnauzer when the band practice suddenly ceased. I thought the silence meant they were working out a part, but then Himself came upstairs and said, "The drums are here!"

Tyler had done research on custom drums for a couple of years. Truth Custom Drums is the company he has admired the most for several reasons, but their prices were way out of reach for a (then) 17 year old with a part time job.

For his 18th birthday, Himself and I wanted to honor our son with a gift. We thought of a used car to replace his that isn't running as well, but we realized custom drums were something he would treasure long after a used car came and went. Plus, and I'm going to speak like the mom I am, Ty's an incredible drummer. He. Just. Is. The snare arrived first, and the owners of the company had each signed the inside of the drum and included a scripture verse.

Himself came running in with the box. He questioned the Fed Ex guy on the fact that there was only ONE box, but they were all nestled inside each other. This is the stage the unpacking was at when I ran down the stairs. Tyler was so excited, and it meant so much that his band mates were here when they arrived.

These guys are packing pros! I don't know HOW they got the drums, drum heads, and all the packing paper on the right of the picture into ONE box! To the left of the picture is Tyler's bass amp, fondly known as "The Beast." Jeremy uses it when they practice and play.

Those who know Zach will agree that this is his "Pretty Darn Sweet" smile. He uses it when something cool is happening.

Some assembly required! It's all right. He likes it.

Guys always try to act so cool. Here I finally caught the smile that had been playing around the corners of his mouth. He has slight swelling along the jawline from his wisdom teeth, but he was feeling no pain at this point!

Himself was a total kid at this during the unpacking. His phone kept ringing and he would run into his office to take care of it, then run back out to see how it was progressing. Jack the Schnauzer pretty much got in the way.

As with most drummers, Ty's very precise with the placement of each drum. He has sped up this process by marking the specific spot for the pedals on his mat with tape. It's amazing how he can be playing away and yet hear the slightest rattle or tapping that's out of place, stop, make the adjustment, then continue.

Each head is carefully tuned when he puts them on, but with this new set it will probably take a few months to get the exact heads and tunings for the sound he wants. Trust me, friends. This boy protects his ears when he plays (we all do!). He doesn't want to do anything to jeopardize any possible career in music.

A few more adjustments here and there, then. . . . .

A sore jaw doesn't stop the smile after the first hit on the tom. He loves the resonance that goes on and on.

See the cases in the right of the picture? Those arrived on Monday. He got a really good deal on them from Geoff at Truth. However, the kick drum case (not pictured) is so large, it doesn't fit in the door opening to the upstairs! He offered to let us use it for a coffee table downstairs. :-)

For those who know Jeremy, you'll recognize his "Whoa!" face.

Himself again. The kick is completely suspended off the ground for full resonance. He of course had to check it out personally. This is the same guy who has to touch an electric fence to "see what it feels like."

Here's the full band "giving it a ride." This is where and how they practice every week, right in the living room. I love when they're here. I love feeding them chili dogs. I wish everyone could hear how hard they work on their music.

A boy and his drum. A drum and his boy.

IT. . . . .

. . . . IS HERE.

But all the pictures are on the camera. The camera is with Himself. Himself is out of town.

Tune in tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Recovering Ty

Ty's wisdom teeth removal went amazingly well yesterday. He was finished within 40 minutes and didn't even need stitches! We kept him doped up and kept up with the ice on, ice off regimen. If he's going to have complications, it will happen today or tomorrow.

His friends (Zach, Jeremy, and Jess) are the best friends in the world. They came over and brought him ice cream, sweet tea, and baby food. ;-) Then Stephen came over later and brought him MORE sweet tea (we call it "happy juice"). He's in heaven.

So, today he's insisting on band practice! The band is here now, even. Crazy kid.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Beef Sammys

My family LOVES these sandwiches, and some things are just too good not to be shared. I can't take pictures of recipes like the Pioneer Woman does on her site (did I mention you can donate to my camera fund?), but picture this--your family members at the table with their eyes rolled back in their head with happiness, enough food to feed your family and a rock band, and warm leftovers to get through dinner so you don't have to cook that night. Sound good?

I got this recipe years ago from The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet. I did this 30 Day cooking for over a year and loved it. Then I did the Menu Mailer at Saving Dinner for over two years, and now I'm signed up with Menus4Moms. I kind of rotate between the three.

This recipe is so EASY and yummy! Yummy enough to have a teen ask how I made it, and yummy enough to have Himself reacting with hostility to the rest of us when he discovered most of the leftovers were gone. "WHO ate some of this? Huh?"

"Uh, we did dear. It's leftover night, and those are leftovers."

"Grrrr. . . . . "


2.5 lbs beef roast, chuck roast, or thick chuck steak, fat trimmed and discarded

2 pkgs. dry Ranch salad dressing mix

1 c. Water

Throw the meat in the crock pot. Sprinkle the dry Ranch dressing over the top, pour the water over all. (I then turned the meat over once and back over to coat.) Can be cooked overnight on low, or 6 hours on high heat until it shreds easily with a fork. I recommend cooking it on low, though not necessarily overnight. It might cause you to wake up periodically during the night because of the heavenly aroma and invade your dreams.

Serve on buns or hoagie rolls with fresh fruit on the side. We also add a slice of Provolone, because we like it like that. :-)

Caution: Crock pots cook differently! This weekend I started this on high while I was getting ready for church (so, from 7:30 to 8:55) then turned it on low as I headed out the door. It was perfect when we got home. You may want to try this on a day when you're home all day so you'll know how long to make it.


Use dry Italian dressing, or Onion soup mix instead of the Ranch. We've tried them all, and Ranch is our favorite.

This can easily be doubled or tripled. I've made it with 5lbs of roast, 4 pkgs dry Ranch, and 2 c. water. This is the volume that fed the family and the rock band with some to spare.

Let me know if you try it!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

All Things Tyler

Here's me and my man-child. Is it possible I ever carried him on my hip, gave him piggy-back rides, or held him on my lap as we read books together? I'm so thankful he's finished with school, so we can enjoy each other again!

Tyler hates to have his picture taken. It's not like a teen girl, who pretends to hate to have her picture taken but secretly loves it; he really, really hates it. Here he's looking at his Dad in exasperation because he's taking his picture yet again. Frankly, I was with Ty on this one! Please note my way cool walking stick. It's the one thing that saved me on this hike!

We were on the top side of Rainbow Falls here. Tyler grabbed my hand and made me look at the view (he convinced me it was worth it, and it was). Here, he's pointing out the trail he went on last year, following ML and JS, because he thought that was what they were supposed to do (not knowing they were going to jump off the rock face). Ty's experience last year was not only not great, it was downright horrible.

We posed for this picture just before the final descent into the Rainbow Falls pool. I love the look on his face, because unbeknownst to us, it means, "I am not going one step further, and there's nothing you can do about it."

See, last year he followed ML and JS up the "trail." He was far enough behind them that he didn't hear ML warn about the wasp nest in one spot on the trail. Everyone else would take a deep breath, then scramble/run past the spot as quickly as they could.

Tyler climbed casually behind them, taking his time. He didn't stand a chance.

Himself was at the bottom near the pool area when he looked up to see Ty leaping and scrambling down the hill, bounding from rock to rock, waving his hands around his head, and trying not to break a leg in the process. It was so alarming!

He was stung not once, but six times.

There was no way he was going anywhere near that spot again. He stayed at the top of the trail the entire time we were there.

Himself says I light up when Ty enters the room. I can't help it. He's so much more than I ever dreamed a son would be! I know it's his destiny to leave us eventually, whereas a daughter is always with her mom and dad. There's such a delicate balance with a son . . . holding on while letting go. I guess this is why I give him as much room as possible, but grab on to each and every "moment" I can.

And Ty, because he's a great kid, lets me.

All Things Kelly

Here we are, watching crazy people slide down Turtle Rock. Right at the crook of my elbow you can see the rope used to climb up, then (as you'll see later) you slide down the waterfall into the pool below. I use "you" in the "everyone but me" sense, of course. And not Kelly. Or BA. Or Himself. Or Ty, Glenna, and Rachel. Everyone else, though.

Kelly is the one in our family who keeps us all moving. When she's with friends, our house is extremely quiet and we can easily just lie around, take naps, and let the world of excitement pass us by. Since Kelly was a tiny tot, though, she's wanted to be where people are and things are happening! She kindly offers to plan out my days for me, and it usually involves driving her somewhere, or picking up her friends, or heading to every store she can think of for that PERFECT _____________ (fill in the blank). Don't tell her, but I love it. I love it when it's not the last minute, that is. You know, not, "We're leaving at 3 am for five days of camp and I need a swimsuit." That can be exhausting.

It's a rare thing when you'll see this girl without a smile. She's always singing, humming, and smiling. Once, her Dad and brother were moving a heavy bookcase for me. As they did their, "One, two, three, go!" efforts, Kelly couldn't help but scream along with them. She has done that all her life! It's her way of helping.

Here, she was making her way over to her Dad at Rainbow Falls. Mind you, she was swimming against the current produced by the waterfall, so it was quite an effort! She gives you an idea of how big that log was, though. There are spots in the picture because the falls were making this constant mist. It felt sooooo goood!

This picture gives you an idea of the "easy" part of the trail. It was so green, shady, and pretty! I found all kinds of flowers, and I even found wild raspberries (not ripe, very sour). Anyway, Kelly was walking next to ML here. I'm sure they were having some deep theological discussion, but knowing ML, he was probably asking her who she thought the hot guys at church were. He likes to embarrass her like that.

Lord, thank you for giving me this girl. God is my Rock, and Kelly is my rock with "skin." She keeps me sane, she keeps me moving, she is my constant helper . . . .she is pure joy to her Daddy and me!


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