Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday E!

I have this big hang-up that what I do for one child I should try to do for the others. Of course it doesn't always work out that way and children need to understand that life's not fair and not everything can be perfectly equal, but if I blog about one child's birthday I definitely need to blog about the other two!

Therefore, this really should be post-dated, but on November 17th E celebrated her big 4 year old birthday. She is my wonderfully strong-willed middle child. She was that way literally before birth- refusing to come on her due date but instead waited a little over a week. When the doctor decided to have me induced and sent me to the hospital, she came before he was able to start the induction- all on her own terms. That's the way it's been ever since, and I wouldn't change a thing.

For her birthday we did a combined party with her brother at the zoo since their birthdays are two weeks apart, and I certainly wasn't going to plan two separate parties with all the craziness that was going on. It was a big hit. They had a little animal show- totally up E's alley since she is the animal lover of the family (rode a full-sized horse with no fear when she was 18 months old.) Her favorite animal was the snake (that's her in the picture with the boa), and she spent the most time petting it. A few weeks later I was at her classroom Thanksgiving party and when I went to retrieve her backpack, much to my surprise there was our stuffed animal snake in there (big thing- about 3 feet long). I was surprised she had left the house with that in tow and my not noticing it. However, her teacher informed me that E had been telling everyone in class she would be bringing a snake to school that week. She really did. At least it wasn't a live one, but I wouldn't put it past her...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thankful for rest

Can I just say that the month of November has flown by? I've been blessed with family visits (I absolutely cannot get enough of my favorite niece- and my sister and brother-in-law too, of course.) I've also been slowly but surely preparing the house for a wonderful Christmas with my parents and sister's family. It will be the first time all of us have been together since hubby and I were married 11 years ago. (That's what happens with the majority of your family live overseas.) Then there is just life with a husband whose love language is shared time (sigh! football season is tough for me, honestly speaking) and raising and enjoying 3 wonderfully vigorous children.

The biggest "drainer" of my free/ blog time has been my second on-line course for my professional certification in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). This one has been challenging in it's own right, but I have enjoyed it more than my first course (partly due overcoming the learning curve and this one only has one textbook and no 12 page paper- WHEW!) I only have one more course to go in order to get my certification, but I'm going to wait until the summer. It's too much balancing school schedules and being flexible to take a class.

For Thanksgiving we drove 8 1/2 hours (10 + with stops for the kids) to my in-law's house. For various reasons I dreaded the trip- packing for EVERYONE, inclement weather, cleaning the house, classwork deadlines, not being in the comfort of my own home, etc. However, yesterday I realized that I was able to actually relax. When I'm home I can always find something to do- I never just sit. Here I have family to help, and except for cleaning up after the kids who have very few toys here (and this has totally convinced me how little my children really "need" or, better put, that they just have too much at home) I can just enjoy my time with my family. The kids have even slept in past 7 a.m. the last few days, and that is a luxury in itself. This has been a great time to just relax and reflect on what I have to be thankful for.

Perhaps once I get home and finish my final exam next week I will get back to regular blogging...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Pancakes

While there are many things to love about Fall, one of my favorites is the food, namely ANYTHING with pumpkin. Several years ago I was introduced to a fabulous recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes and it instantly became a family favorite. We even have it for supper since pumpkin is technically a vegetable (but if anyone clues my kids in on that fact they will have to deal with my wrath.) In celebration of this season, I thought I would share the recipe.

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup pumpkin puree

4 eggs (my recipe calls for separating them, but I don't do that, too much effort- dirtying more dishes, but if you are a glutton for punishment or a better "cooker" than me beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the batter after mixing together all the other ingredients.)

1/4 cup melted butter

Sift together dry ingredients. Combine milk, egg yolks, butter and pumpkin puree. Stir into dry ingredients until just blended. Pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter onto hot, greased griddle. Cook until tops bubble; turn and cook other side. Serve with warm maple syrup, and whipped cream, after all, syrup is a fruit because it comes from a tree (we use the real stuff) and the whipped cream is dairy- I can justify it all.

On a side note, the smallest size of pumpkin puree that I can find is 15 oz. (approx 2 cups). Instead of having half a can of pumpkin puree left over, I just double the recipe. Then I freeze the leftovers and they make a fabulous quick breakfast for those rushed "school mornings."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Birthday D!

Although this picture is a bit blurred, it totally captures my "baby" who just turned 2. He's always on the go, a whirl of energy, and only stops when he's being read to or asleep. He's 100% boy, getting into anything and everything, and yet he is sweet and tender until his sisters bug him, then he retaliates. However, his sweet, mischievous smile melts my heart even after he's pulled his sisters' hair, drawn on the wall, thrown something, climbed onto the table, locked the bathroom door... Fun times! Happy birthday, D!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

So what was she thinking?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So long summer

Okay, so I know summer ended a little over a week ago, but I just had to share this.

This past March I decided to be ambitious and plant my own, home-grown flowers.

I went to Wal-Mart and bought seeds and two flats that would act as "mini greenhouses" for the seedlings. I planted Forget-me-Nots, Marigolds, Shasta Daisies, Dahlias, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Cone Flowers.
My girls even got in on the action, although they got bored after planting a few seeds, plus it was hard to work with such small seeds.
A little less than two months later most of the seeds that I had planted had sprouted. It was fun for the kids to see the plants grow. Some of the seeds didn't do so well, namely the Cone Flowers and Marigolds, but it was rather painless. When the seedlings were ready and the weather had warmed up enough I transplanted them into our yard.
Out of all the flowers, the Zinnias did best although they were a lot taller than I had expected. My landscaping skills would certainly not get me on the pages of Better Homes and Gardens, but it was the learning experience that counts.
I wasn't thrilled with the way the Shasta Daisy's did, but since they are perennials I'm hoping they'll come back fuller next year.
The Dahlias also did very well and I loved the colors- many different kinds. Next year I think I'll move these to the backyard (since they are perennials also).
I also love how these flowers have made great arrangements in the house. It was a very fun, worthwhile family project.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Remember

I remember September 11, 2001. I had gone to school early that morning to teach my 3rd grade class in Norcross, GA. My husband had gone to work at 3rd Army in Ft. McPherson, GA. My parents were in town visiting and were going to the airport that morning to pick up my sister and her husband who were flying in from Washington D.C.

I remember a fellow teacher coming into my room and telling me that two planes had hit the World Trade Centers in New York City. I remember the shock and horror I felt, knowing this was no accident and wondering who could be that evil. I couldn’t begin to imagine the number of lives that were lost.

I remember hearing about the plane that had crashed into the Pentagon and knowing that my sister and her husband were flying out from D.C. that very morning. I remember the guilty relief I felt when I saw that their flight had landed in Atlanta but knowing that many other families were learning that their loved ones had not been so fortunate. I remember my sister later telling me that they had seen the Pentagon as they flew out of the city, just 30 minutes before it was attacked.

I remember trying very hard not to let my students know that something so horrible had occurred that day. During my lunch break I called my husband, and that was when I first cried because his job primarily dealt with the Middle East. I remember being afraid that he would have to go to war.

I remember the days, weeks and months that followed. My students came with so many questions. “Why had this happened?” “Who did this?” “Why didn’t they like us?” Too many of them had seen the images on T.V., burning buildings, people jumping, and they needed assurance that they were safe. I remember hearing so many stories on the news of acts of heroism and an increased sense of patriotism.

I remember holding my newborn daughter in my arms and watching as we went to war. I remember the mixed emotions that I had and how I selfishly prayed that my husband wouldn’t have to go.

I remember my husband telling me that with his new job assignment would be a deployment. I remember watching him hold our 5 month old son and praying that he would come home alive. I remember the sense of pride mixed with fear and an unexplainable God-given peace as I watched him walk away, knowing it would be a long time before I saw him again.

I remember the year without my husband. Relying on God’s strength for each day, and anticipating my husband’s phone calls, letters, and e-mails, and praying for his and the other soldiers’ safety. I remember feeling God’s hand through the hugs and support of friends and family, offers of help, the simple “Thank you’s.”

I remember him finally coming home, our children running towards him and holding on tightly to their daddy. I remember his strong arms holding me; it was as if no time had passed by at all.

I remember those who lost their lives on September 11th. I remember those in the military who endure time away from their family and friends and who have given their lives to defend our freedom. I remember those who anticipate the phone calls and letters from their loved ones who are far away, and I remember those who will never see their loved one again. I remember and pray for them all.

I remember. I will not forget.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Venezuela Parte Dos

I forgot to mention that the cabin we stayed at was a flower farm. It was breath-takingly beautiful, but sadly pictures will never really capture the true beauty.

We visited one of our favorite hotels, Hotel Lost Frailes, but with the sky-rocketing inflation we didn't stay there. Supposedly it was once a monastery and dates back to the 1600's.

Hotel Los Frailes nestled in the mountains.
The courtyard.

Venezuela Parte Uno

I was a bit taken aback today when I realized we'd been home for 2 weeks. When we got home after our vacation we practically hit the ground running with school starting less than a week later, hubby going back to work, and trying to return to the usual routines of life.

I've been a bit overwhelmed by all the pictures we took (I had over 400 and my parents gave me a CD of their shots- 700+). Even though I had originally said that this was my last trip to Venezuela, in reality this has only helped to increase my desire to return again. If only money grew on trees...

It's hard to pick out just the highlights from our trip. As much as Blogger will allow me, I'll post a as many pictures as I can and try to include a brief description of the trip.

After we got over our exhaustion from the flight, we drove to the Western part of Venezuela where the highest peak is located. It's always been a favorite vacation area for my family and my husband had never seen this area.

We stayed in Rincon de la Venta (a tiny little village) in a cabin that had a fireplace. As odd as this may sound, we needed it. I'm not sure what the temperature was, but there was snow on some of the nearby peaks since it was the rainy season. We all wore several layers of clothing. My girls had the cutest room, beds with curtains.

We drove to the nearby city of Merida where we planned on riding the world's longest cable care. Much to our surprise and disappointment, although it was the peak of tourist season, the cable car was closed due to maintenance. Later we did find out that it is now closed for good because it is beyond repair and must be replace completely. Glad we didn't ride on it after all!

However, there is a lot to do in that area. We went to the ice cream store that is in the Guinness Book of World Records for most flavors of ice cream. They sold flavors such as smoked trout, tomato, asparagus, sardines, and even Viagra. I tried corn, rose and lemon- and it was all good.

We also went horseback riding. There aren't very strict standards of safety, so my 5 year old and 1 year old were able to ride on the horses (helmets were not available). They had a blast. We enjoyed the unique beauty of the area. This plant is called a Frailejon and is native only to the Andes. It reminds me a little of the Edelweiss in Europe only these plants can grow up to 6 feet tall.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

On the Road Again

I honestly didn't mean to be so vague in my last post about our last vacation of the summer. My intention was to do a quick post about our upcoming trip, but as it always does, time flew by and before I knew it we were on the plane headed to Venezuela. Yep, we're in Venezuela, South America. For those who may not know, I'm an MK (missionaries' kid), and my parents are still in Venezuela. What prompted this trip was the fact that my parents are retiring next year, so we would not be able to come to Venezuela and have a free place to stay, plus it's been 10 years since I've been "home" and we still could fly one kid for "free"- with some minor fees.

I consider myself a seasoned traveler having flown since I was a toddler and made this treck from the States to Venezuela many, many times. What threw me for a loop and kept me packing and preparing franticly for an entire week (in addition to school shopping since both of my girls start school less than a week after we get home) was traveling with 3 small children. Thankfully I had a few friends who were able to give me tips for traveling with young kids, but what made my stomach do the most loops was 1.) that we were having to drive 7 hours to the airport- we saved a significant amount by doing that and 2.) that our flight was an overnight flight- we left at 1 a.m. and arrived in Caracas at 9:30 a.m.

We hit the road at 10 a.m. for JFK Int Airport in New York City. On our way there we did stop by and visit some dear friends of mine, the Schloneckers, who hosted us in their home for a few hours (broke up the long drive) and gave us a great route to JFK. We got to JFK just before 9 p.m., checked in with the airline, stood through a headache of a line for security and had about 1 1/2 hours to spare while waiting to board the plane. The kids were entertained by running around the terminal (we were always close by) and exhausted themselves before the flight. I had them change into their pj's and brushed their teeth shortly before we boarded. Fortunately just as they flight started to take off all three kids fell asleep. Unfortunately for whatever reason the flight attendants started handing out food at 2 a.m. and my husband woke me and the youngest two up by excitedly declaring that they were serving a meal. What can I say, men and their stomachs! I was thankful that we all fell back asleep, although since I was holding my son I didn't sleep quite as well.

We had a 1 1/2 hour layover in Bogota, Colombia, which seemed a little short to me, but our flights were on time. Our flight left at 7 a.m. and my son cried practically the entire hour and a half. This time I made my husband hold him. D was just tired and wanted to be done with this nonsense. Upon our arrival in Caracas we made it through customs and got our bags in record time. My parents were even caught by surprise since the arrival board said that our flight had not yet arrived.

Needless to say, we were thrilled to make it in one piece, luggage, kids and all. Our travels went smoother than I had expected, and even the long drive and odd flight hours worked in our favor. We have a week left here in Venezuela and at this point I can't even put into words how much fun we're having. I'll post pictures in the future, but no guarentee that I'll write before we return to the states.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh where has the summer gone?

Perhaps it's having school-age children now or this has just been a very busy few months, but I'm shocked at how quickly this summer has gone by. I really had planned to get more done and relax more and to just have time to do more in general. I'm almost looking forward to having a regular routine when school starts, but I know I'll miss the flexibility. I honestly didn't mean to abandon my blog so much either, but we've been doing "stuff" like hanging out at pools, shopping, scrap booking, traveling, hosting visitors, etc. Our biggest travel is coming up in a week, and although I am so excited, I'm a bit nervous too, but that's for another post at another time.

Here's a brief glimpse of what we've been up to:
The girls took swim lessons and absolutely loved them. They beamed every time they got in the water, and although the lessons were everyday for 2 1/2 weeks, they were well worth the effort and time.

I've also managed to finish two complete scrapbooks (90 pages- front and back, journaling and decorating, etc.) in about 3 weeks. My albums are rather simple, just basically tell the stories behind the pictures, journaling our everyday lives.

I'm able to make my albums rather quickly by laying out the pictures and borders with a Power Layout box. My husband jokingly says that I remind him of the guy on "A Beautiful Mind" because I often have them spread out over every flat surface in the house.
We enjoyed visits from my in-laws and my sister's family (including my one and only beautiful and brilliant niece.)
We also visited my in-laws in Cheraw, SC, and went to North Myrtle Beach. The kids loved playing in the sand and warmed up a little more to the waves. It was a long drive to and from the Carolinas but the kids were troopers and I got some rare "reading time" done. I took advantage of a few Sonic Drive-Ins here and there since there aren't too many in our neck of the woods. (Sorry, Stephanie, but I would have sent you some if I could.)

Like I said before, this summer has gone by way too fast, but I have no regrets about how we've spent our time.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Note to all the little sisters out there

Should you be playing dress-up with your big sister and she offers to make you even more beautiful by applying make-up, think twice about letting her apply green marker in place of eye-shadow. It doesn't come off very easily, and you'll get lots of funny looks while running errands with your mom.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

There's no better way to celebrate the 4th than to welcome an Army unit home. The rest of hubby's unit came home this week. It's great to have them back on our soil, but please keep praying for all of those who are still in danger's way to protect our freedom.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dancin' fools

Due to our "situation" this year, I decided that routines were a must for our household. I also thought it would be a great idea for my older two to have an outlet. However, because it was entirely on me to drive them to and from their "outlets" I also knew it had to be fairly simple (I firmly believe in one activity per child.) Therefore, I was thrilled to find a dance school that had a class that both of my girls could participate in together, and it taught beginner ballet, tap, and acro.

My girls loved it from the start. It was a little pricey but still reasonable, and a few of my friends also joined with their daughters. Every Monday afternoon we went to the dance studio for an hour, and while my friends and I chatted our girls learned the basics of dance and some coordination (which if they are anything like their mother they need all the help they can get.) Also, it was a great thing for their grandparents to give them as gifts as opposed to more clutter, I mean, toys.

From when I signed up I knew there was a recital in our future. I paid for two costumes each (one for tap and one for ballet), and I was pleased with music selection ("Personality" and "Give the Girl a Hand"). I wasn't pleased with a rehearsal on Mother's Day weekend, and I really wasn't happy that the recital was scheduled for the evening of Father's Day. Not sure why it was planned that way other than we had to use a high school auditorium. However, I knew the experience would be good for my kids, and my oldest had been pining for the day when she could dance on stage.

We were blessed that my husband was able to be present for the recital (he wasn't supposed to be back until July), and my in-laws came to watch their only granddaughters dance their little hearts out. Long story short, this particular dance studio offers many classes from little tots to teenagers and participates in competitions. Therefore, ALL of their dancers participated in at least two dance numbers, and the show went on for over 2 1/2 hours with no intermission. I also cringed as I put make-up on my babies faces- just seemed too grown up AND I didn't want them to get any ideas about hitting Mommy's stash of cosmetics. But that wasn't the worst part of it. No, several of the older age groups had, well, rather mature dances. Lets just say that it wasn't really the classical aspects of the dance, and some of the girls just lacked a pole, if you know what I mean. Seriously, one of the ending numbers was "Moulin Rouge," and the girls, beautiful teenagers, wore something out of a "Fredrick's of Hollywood" catalog including thigh high pantyhose. I was very embarrassed to be sitting in between my husband and father-in-law, and SO thankful that my girls couldn't see the show.

My little ones did a great job, and now they can play to their hearts content with their costumes. IF we decide to take dance classes next year it won't be with this same studio- although I really loved their teachers, and I'm debating whether or not to write the director a letter nicely explaining why we won't be returning next year. However, in order to help foster well-rounded children I think playing soccer might be a fun thing that won't require make-up or a fancy costume.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Fun

I meant to be better about this whole blogging thing, really. The last two weeks have been rather hectic, not the laid back summer days I had hoped for. We had family visiting, the girls' dance recital, and then daily swim lessons for both the girls. Also, I managed to volunteer to help with our church's vacation Bible school each evening this week and juggling swim lessons, nap times and all the other "stuff" life throws us. Today I finally uploaded almost 200 pictures from my camera, and I took a breather, reminiscing on the fun that happened just before things got hectic.

Those in the South and other hot, humid areas would probably laugh, but earlier this month we were sweltering in the 90's. For those of us in the Northeast, that's not the norm. We're usually in the mid 70's. Being the mom of three young children, I decided we needed some respite from the heat. I'm not one to enjoy going to a water park with my little kids- too stressful. Trust me, with a 5, 3, and 1 year old I would not get my "money's worth" out of an overpriced water park that they can only play in a small area. So I got the bright idea that I would bring the water park home for a fraction of the price. On a very hot, sunny afternoon I picked up a sprinkler at Wal-Mart and I hooked it up with our slide set.

Perfect, right?

The kids were thrilled and I envisioned exhausted children going to sleep early while my husband and I relaxed and enjoyed an evening with no interruptions. I got them all dressed, lathered up with sunscreen, and out the back door. I turned on the water, and listened to the screams of joy that lasted until my five year old asked me, "Mommy, is there ice in our water?" Apparently even though it's horrendously hot here, the ground is still not thawed out. I even stepped in, and she was right. The fun lasted for about 30 minutes, but they did sleep pretty well, albeit they were rather cranky.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Time Flies

On a much lighter and happier note... ELEVEN years ago today, on an unusually chilly and rainy Charleston, SC, afternoon (I called it our showers of blessings) I married my best friend. Three kids, a cat, a dog, and five moves later, I feel like the same girl, just a bit older and wiser. I know that it's cliche, but it seems like it was only yesterday that I opened the door for him at the Charleston Baptist Association building and introduced myself. After working together that summer I returned to college with a gut feeling that he was "the one" but not having a clue how it would work out since I was in Arkansas and he was in Virginia, starting his career in the Army. Sure enough, less than a year later we were married, and 10 days after the wedding we took off to start a new life in Germany. Our life together has been an adventure, and looking back on it all, I wouldn't change a thing. I love you babe!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Waiting Place

That's where we've been the last few weeks/months. I don't "do" waiting well. I'm the type who will take a longer detour just so I don't have to wait in traffic, and if I'm stuck in the waiting room at a doctor's office, my blood pressure WILL go up if I don't have something to do- give me a magazine PLEASE!!!

What are we waiting on? Decisions to be made about my husband's career in the Army. If things had gone the way we had planned, he would be coming home in a few weeks and we would take off for most of the summer and just have family time. However, I mentioned it a few months ago, but my husband had some health issues that prevented him from returning to Iraq after his two week R&R- a mixed blessing of sorts. It's a very long story, but he had blood clots in his lungs (could have been due to a variety of things) and had to go on blood thinner. Blood thinner and war zones don't mix. This is not the first time, so many questions have been raised and what it boils down to is that he is having a medical board done which will decide his future with the military. In the mean time, we have to hurry up and wait, lots of speculations and no real answers. Plus there is a grey cloud hanging over my head in that he could potentially have to go to a base (the nearest one being 5 hours away) for about 8 months while the medical board is being done. We've already endured a year of separation as a family- is that really necessary to go through another one?

In spite of all of this, I consider us blessed. That realization came when hubby was told by a very well qualified doctor (several degrees from both Harvard and MIT) that he should congratulate himself on being alive. This was after the doctor had reviewed his CT scans and saw how bad the pulmonary embolism (blood clots in lungs) were. I don't want to imagine what would have happened had hubby not gone to the hospital.

Dr. Seuss calls the waiting place a most useless place, but that is where I will disagree with him. Although I don't like it, it is a necessary place. My faith and trust in God is being tested and strengthened. I believe He holds our future in His hands and I trust that ultimately He will work all things together for the best (Romans 8:28). Whether that means we stay with the Army or not, well, that remains to be seen (and not apparently any time soon either.) Isaiah 40:29-31 has been my comfort during this time: "29He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. 30Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, 31Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Before and After

I love those designing shows, you know, the ones where they show the before and after and the place is totally transformed, neat, and oh-so-trendy. Unfortunately I don't have a shred of design know-how in my brain, and I very much admire my friends who do- Jerusalem at My Little Life and Jeanetta at Splendid Things.

When we moved into this house, we placed our desk in the living room. It just felt wrong from the beginning, but there wasn't a better alternative at the time. I'm also a recovering pack-rat and fight the "clutter fires" (ala FlyLady) on a constant basis, so you can imagine how the desk looked more often than not. To add insult to injury both our TV cabinet and desk (located side by side in a prominent area of our living room) were not "quality" furniture and had not fared well in our moves. I happened to come across a fabulous must-have desk in a parenting magazine. It looked like a wardrobe and had doors on it, so when it wasn't in use you could close it up and not see the stacks of papers. I wanted that for some time (along with a replacement for our decrepit TV cabinet, and long story short, after some shopping around we found some good quality replacements for both the TV cabinet and desk.

This is my before...
Here is the after...Now you see it, now you don't.

Somewhere over the rainbow

Today was an "official" pajama day. We woke up to cloudy/rainy weather, and with the "hecticness" of the last few weeks, I felt it was high time I had a "do-nothing" day. Actually, I did do stuff around the house, nothing spectacular, just the basics, BUT I did not change out of my pj's all day and enjoyed time in the house without having to run errands with grumpy kids (having 3 kids basically guarantees that one of them will be grumpy at any given moment). The weather stayed grey and chilly until early evening when we got a glimpse of some sunshine although it continued to rain. Upon further inspection we noticed a brilliant, beautiful rainbow right across the street. Although the picture does not do it justice, this was actually a double rainbow. It was an encouraging reminder of God's promises.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


My home is way, way too quiet. For the last three weeks we have been blessed with a revolving door of visitors. They were all so very special to us, but the last was my most anticipated, though. My sister, her husband, and precious 9 month old daughter (my only niece!!) came for a visit. They live out of country in a place very, very far away. I had never met my niece and it had been three years since I had seen my sister! We had a wonderful time and thankfully they will be in the states a bit longer. We'll have more time with them, although they are now visiting other family. Our time together was fabulous (like we had never been apart) and I couldn't tear myself away from any of them in order to blog.

I have LOTS to write about, but just enjoy the pictures for now.

Oh, and did I mention she's a redhead?