Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Water Sports

We are blessed to have parents/grandparents with a lake house to enjoy with us and a brother who hauls us around in his boat. (Think 11 kids in one boat!) We all have our different skills/abilities/interests on the water; here are some of them:

Riding in the boat.

Trying new things like wake-boarding. (Yum, it's CC.)

Helping drive the boat.

Trying to lean on your buddy-cousin in that bulky life jacket.



Learning new skills.


The common theme here is just time together. Thanks for the fun water weekends!!!

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July 15: A Big Day

On July 15, what Sweet Cheeks has talked about for 6 months finally came true. She turned 6! She woke with a grin on her face. She glided down the stairs much like a Miss USA contestant would. She was given a blueberry pancake with a candle.
Her day was filled with lots of birthday wishes, remembering when she was born, a yummy birthday cake (which her dad picked out to be sure the icing was the really, really sweet kind), and lots of presents!

Happy birthday, little girl! You are not allowed to turn 7!

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011


My sweet mama made a huge meal for us one night (many nights, actually). Firstborn got the idea to bless her. She enlisted the help of her sisters. The plan was that Firstborn would clean up the kitchen and her two sisters would give Grandma a pedicure. The only problem was that we had a couple of Turks helping. One of them kept adding soap products. The other kept turning the vibration and bubbles on different levels.

And there were about 6 feet in the machine.

I don't think Grandma minded.

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I Did What I Shant Have Done

I know it was wrong. But I did it. My sis-in-law in Nashville buys milk from the Amish as part of a co-op. It was her month to drive up to the Amish country and get the milk. I have lived near Amish communities when we lived in Indiana. I know all the rules. No electricity. No cars. No fancy clothes. No photos. But, tell me, how I could have experienced THIS over the summer and not snapped blog photos?

C begged me not to be seen taking their photo! I hid behind the car window and snapped it at just the right time. C had brought them candy and they were very much preoccupied with that. I would have paid a bunch to get a photo of that little doll's face in the front. She was so cute and so barefooted.

A drive to Amish town was a fun diversion for me!

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Monday, August 29, 2011


The kids had lots of play time this summer. We swam, boated, watched tv, went to movies, played with cousins. Their fun cups were filled! Occasionally I will ask them, "What was one of your favorite parts of the summer?" Surprisingly, I will get answers like: selling vegetables at a road-side stand with our cousins or shucking corn or picking the garden. There's just something about going to Grandma's house and getting to be in the country for these city-slicker kids that is very special.

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Short Visit from the Shorts

We had a luncheon at our church one day this summer. We were surprised with a "short" visit from the "Shorts." I can not even begin to describe the shock and joy that both CC and I had at seeing them. Coach Short taught both of us in high school. He and his wife dared to take me as a 15 year old girl to Guatemala to work in an orphanage one summer. It was my first time out of the country. He is a big reason that I live overseas now. CC remembers his wonderful advice, "You can do ANY job as a ministry." And here we are. Thanks so much for stopping by to see us, Shorts. And for giving such good advice to young people.
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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Good ol' Kim

Kim stayed on for another day after LD had to leave. We went out to Chili's.
I let the kids build their own meal from the kids' menu. Main dish, side, drink. Twinkle Toes picked pizza, mashed potatoes, and chocolate milk. I've done well, haven't I?

Big Ben helped himself to Aunt Kim's broccoli. She was a good sport.

And then Aunt Kim treated us to ice cream at Baskin Robbins. I'm not sure what flavor this is. I always go for chocolate. The kids always choose based on color. Anyone ever get the bubble gum ice cream when you were a kid? It wasn't even all that good, but it was just saying you got the bubble gum one.

Thanks for coming, Aunt Kim!
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Friday, August 26, 2011

The Art Musuem House

God provided a home for us to stay in this summer, which looked like an art museum! I have actually stayed in this house before, when I stayed with their daughter,my friend R, but would not have recognized it!

The lady of this house is a precious believer who has created a home that is whimsical and fun. She does all the artwork herself. When we walked in, I said, "Kids, this may look like a place where you want to touch things, but I only want you to touch the toilet flusher or the tv remote!"

But as it turns out, as lovely and decorated and elaborate as her home is, she was one of the most gracious people about her home. She lives the philosophy of my late grandfather who said, "People are more important than things." Thank you, Nitch's!
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The Best of Times

The motto from my university (OBU) was The Best of Times. That's how I would sum it up. I LOVED college. I went to school away from my hometown and did not know a soul upon arrival. But my very first year, I met these two friends who will be my lifelong friends. One always makes me laugh, one is always there for me. They were both in my wedding, and I can't tell you how deeply I appreciate their effort to drive to my city to see me when I am home.
CC agreed to let us sleep in a hotel room for one night, while he kept the Clanskids. One tradition is Dairy Queen. I get it once a year, with these girls. I always get the same thing...Peanut Buster Parfait. LD (middle) reminded me that one year I told the boy at Dairy Queen that he could give me just as much chocolate sauce as he felt comfortable with. That doesn't surprise me that I said that.

Thank you, God, for friends !

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Going Mongolian

This sweet group of friends from my church make me their excuse to get together when I am in town. Some are new friends, some are old friends, they are all special. We all met at a Mongolian Grill restaurant. We had a little lesson in how to build our bowl of food. Meat first. Veggies on top. Then spices.
Isn't she cute?! MA was forced to invite me to a girls' sleepover because I was the new girl in town when we were in 7th grade. (She denies this, but I know it to be true.) I, of course, had to be the class clown, so I jumped off her house's balcony and broke my toe. I know, very cool of me. Many kids and many countries later, we are still friends.

This was where they grilled our food, mmmm! There's just something so girls-night-out-ish about men cooking our food, while we sit and discuss life.

I had a SUPER time! We stayed out til nearly 11PM...that's right, suburban moms. Just crazy!
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Putt Putt For the Fun Of It!

My sis-in-law had a great suggestion. We could book a birthday party package for all the cousins in honor of Sweet Cheeks' birthday. We have enough kids for a package, afterall!

We began with a little game of Putt Putt golf.
Everyone had a great time and was super-sweet to the birthday girl!

I think Putt Putt needs to buy these photos for their ads. So cute.

After mini-golf, we played a round of laser tag. If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know that lasertag isn't something Sweet Cheeks would be drawn to. But like a brave almost-6-year-old, she donned the gear and picked up her weapon, and followed her Papa into the war zone. Midway through, CC might have gotten a little more interested in shooting the green guys than in looking after his little girl, and they became separated. She was crying, the attendant spotted her. He then took off her pack and weapon, helped her find her dad, and the two became a team. I am sure he was still the high scorer even with his little girl's hand in his pocket as he ran!

They provided pizza and drinks, and we brought the cake SC had picked out.

Big Ben had fun scaring his Mimi with his animal mask. When noticing her "fear," he'd pull it off and say, "It just me, Mimi!"

We were given free arcade tokens as part of our package. There was no turning back for Big Ben. He wanted no help shifting or steering. His dad's face says it all.

And perhaps the most fun of all were the unlimited go-kart rides. They even had a go-kart for Sweet Cheeks' age. They were nice and slow. I was so happy to see her try it!

There were bumper boats that sprayed. Loads of fun (and water)!

And go-karts for the big kids were a hit, too.

Lookout world, only 4 more years!

It was such a fun night! This is something my kids have never done before and was a blast for all of us !

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