Monday, May 30, 2011

Sticks and Stones

Today when we got up bright and early (since there was no school), we got to work on Mary Claire's American Girl library.  Don't your dolls need books? of which have no pages?  She got the new American Girl Doll School (For Girls Who Love to Teach!), and it had tons of stuff to do!
for $17.95 at, you can have the set too!
There are report cards (seven maybe?), cardboard to make books, stickers and labels for the covers and spines, handwriting paper, math and spelling worksheets (with multiplication-I love them!), posters with inspiring words, pictures for a yearbook and "Picture Day", a cursive alphabet, etc.  She wanted to work on the books at 9:30 last night after swimming, but I was exhausted after that chicken ordeal!

So, today, as the sun rose, we made books.  I used scrapbook paper to cover them:
and then we put on labels.  It recommended using a little plastic organizer for the library shelves, and I happened to have one! : )
There were four sizes, these are the last of them!

Stickers : )

the beginnings of the Library : )

And we also made Ethan a couple-he was up early too, and you can't make books for one, and not another!
making his own books!

She put up the posters inside the Library Area.  She even carried the "Library" all over the cemeteries we visited today and to the restaurant for lunch!  Her girl, Megan, is going to be smart!

Then we fulfilled our Memorial duty-I like to make things to put at the cemetery next to our loved ones (and loved friends).  This year, I made crosses from sticks:
tied them with jute strings in the middles and ends, added little bouquets of flowers:
and made matching bows for them.  I only bought four bunches of flowers, but I had enough sticks to make five crosses, and we took the extra (with ribbon only) to a new grave-of a family friend who passed away last week.  She was a wonderful person-and I had to explain to Mary Claire that it was the lady who bought so many girl scout cookies from us this year-her heart was huge, and she'll be missed.

It's always hard to go to the cemetery.  We've lost people close to us..
and even as I made the five crosses, I was thinking of my own five.  Maybe one day we'll have a stone made?  I am content to lay the crosses at the feet of others for now.  It's too close and personal to have anything made.  I saw a school friend's father that I hadn't known had passed, a fried crying at his father's graveside, and I saw the stone of a sweet girlfriend that I'd been in girl scouts with-she was a precious person, and died at 16, longer than her life expectation.  It's so hard to see all the families and people we've known.  We have lived in the same city for my entire life, and most of my parent's lives, so we know most of the families at the cemeteries.  Hard.  It's even hard to see the ones who died in the late 1800's or early 1900's, and they don't have flowers-even the people who knew them and their families are gone.  Some are so old, the dates have just worn away, just stones remain.

Ok, I'm moving on... : )  Memory Lane can be slow, sorry!

Don't forget to register below for the embroidered/monogrammed towel giveaway this Saturday, June 4th!  Make sure you are following so I can find you or your blog, and leave your first name on your comment! : )

Remember to be thinking about your towel color, fabric for the big letter, and thread color!  (These are the hardest decisions, people!) (...ok, maybe just for me!)

Hope your day was blessed with sweet friends, family, and great memories!  And special thanks to our veterans who defend our country with their lives, we can never say thank you enough.  Thank you Kitty, Rodney, Dwight, Travis, Justin, and any I can't remember right this minute!!
Only 2 defining forces have ever offered to die for you...Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

But Ribbon Makes Them Cute : )

Holy Sunday, Batman! : )

We got so much done today--Church, errands, pictures, and finally....Engagement Chicken!

In Bentonville, Ches found a really cool bridge he wanted me to see-he said it was perfect for pictures (he knows me well), so we ran home for the camera, some of us changed clothes, then we drove north.  (We also fit in Build-a-Bear for Mary Claire's $5 birthday certificate and Barnes & Noble for her to use some birthday money!)  We had so much fun.  The bridge he told me about?  Better than he said-he was totally right.  Awesome!
The first two are just for perspective so you can see the gorgeous bridge! : )  Check out that moss growing on the bottom!

And see the cool little "guard shacks" on the outsides?  Very Cool. : )

Sitting on the side, over the running water way down below.

..checking out that water!

against a post on the side of the covered bridge

take 2 : )

take 3! : )

Isn't the stone beautiful?  Clay got this one right before we left : )

And now?  Dinner is cooking!  I finally am making Engagement Chicken.  I stopped and got one more chicken, since I might as well make two at once!  (something about two birds are better than one..or is it **ll two birds with one stone?  Yep, can't do that.  But I'll cook them!)

Aren't they funny sitting in the colander together? : )  Reminds me of two kids in the bathtub together a few years after they should be bathing alone. ; )  Too big for one tub!
They only got funnier. : )

The ingredients (plus chicken, salt, and pepper)

They start on their chests-they just looked like they were on their knees praying, so I had to take a picture.  I guess there's still hope I won't cook them?  (and where two or more are gathered...)

After I stuck the lemons in, their legs went wild.  I had to tie the legs together to keep the lemons in, but I couldn't find kitchen string or jute string (of which I have tons!) so...I had to use ribbon. ; )
( you wanna laugh?  One of the chickens still popped out one of his lemons!  I found it stuck between the oven rack and the door, then it rolled down to the bottom by the burner!)
In the meantime, I peeled seven bananas to make the Secretly Good for You Banana Soft Serve for dessert.  You freeze them, then when ready, break them into chunks, blend or food process them, then sprinkle with cocoa or cinnamon-yum!

They are pretty : )
But...I have to tell you the truth.  I wouldn't fall head over heels with the chef.  Really.  Go find yourself another amazing recipe.  This isn't it.  And the banana soft serve?  Pretty good, really healthy, but tasted like smushed banana with cocoa on top.  The cinnamon tasted wayyy better. : )  If you want honesty, I sell it here.  For free.

Stick to the pretty rotisserie chickens premade (same price), and some yummy Breyer's ice cream.  That's Yum.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Towel Day

Hey, Ya'll!!  Hope your Memorial Day weekend has started with some fun! (it's Saturday!)  ...speaking of...I'm Super Excited to announce the Next Contest!  (Since I *heart* a good contest and giving stuff away!)  Doesn't it just give you tummy butterflies and happy goosebumps to mail away a surprise?  I love it.  So I admit, I get a total high off mailing you stuff I like to make.  Is that weird or self-serving?  Let's just go with it.

Ok.  Here goes:  Contest is for one bath-size towel (you pick the color), and a big appliqued letter of your choice, with the name written across it.  You can pick fabric (color/style, whatever, or you can send me your favorite fabric if it matches your bathroom (or swimsuit!)) too!  You can also choose to do someone else's name, and give it as a gift.  ; )

Here are some picture examples:

You must be following this blog, and leave a comment with your first name, and be thinking what you would choose!  Would you choose it for you or a child?  Last name, first name, or nickname?  Color?  Fabric?  Thread color?  See, this is why I don't embroider or monogram nearly enough-all the DeCiSiOnS!!

I'll pick a winner with next Saturday, June 4th, post it, and if I can find your blog or email address, I'll email you too! : )

and Get This.  I just now googled "towel" to help me with some utterly cool post title involving Towel (but you got this instead!), and look what I found!  I could've just given you the link, but Towel Day?  Too cool!

Towel Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Towel Day
Towel Day
Towel Day 2005, Innsbruck, Austria, where, by his own account, Adams got the inspiration to write the Guide.
Official name Towel Day
Observed by fans of the author Douglas Adams
Type International
Date 25 May
Observances carrying a towel throughout the day
Related to Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Towel Day is celebrated every 25 May as a tribute by fans of the late author Douglas Adams.  On this day, fans carry a towel with them to demonstrate their love for the books and the author, as referred to in Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The commemoration was first held in 2001, two weeks after Adams' death on 11 May 2001.


The original quotation that referenced the importance of towels is found in Chapter 3 of Adams's work The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)
— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

And we just had May 25th (heehee)-we (Clyde Williamson and I) are on the same train of thought (mine is just arriving a little late..)!

So, get registered to win, and we'll have our own Towel Day! : ) 

ps-sorry I had to add word verification-I'm getting too many spam comments! : )

Friday, May 27, 2011

Don't Toss Your Cookies!

We were hit by the Ketone Bug last night.  I feel mostly immune, as it never strikes us...but it did.  I'd changed Mary Claire's site before bed, but she went low (66) right afterward.  I think it was all the playing around immediately before, but she was low nonetheless.  She asked to have this Bunny Pole that she'd gotten at a friend's birthday party for her low.  It looked relatively harmless (maybe under 10 grams), so I let her eat it.  I'd never heard of them, and she ooo'd and aah'd over it, offered me a bite, and I told her to just enjoy.  Now, I can see I should have tasted to see what was in it!  It was a 10 inch piece of sugary something, three colors twisted together.  Now I think it must have been dried buttercream frosting or something!  She was 186 at bedtime, and we corrected her, no big deal.

Around 3:30 this morning, she came in my room and said she felt sick.  I freaked out thinking she was low (even though I dropped her basal to 95%), and asked her daddy to get her meter and a juice box.  Then she said she thought she was going to throw up!  He ran back to get a big bowl, and lo and behold, she did indeed throw up. : (  I rubbed her back, held her hair, and prayed I wasn't getting splashed with icky virus germs.  When we got her washed off and her mouth rinsed out, we checked her.  A whopping 428!  Now, I got the problem.  We checked for ketones, and she had medium ketones (ha!  Between lo and hi ketones.  Love the specific pee strips.)  She couldn't drink, so I gave her a dissolvable Zofran for nausea and a big correction dose of insulin.  I set my alarm for one hour to check her again.

She was 282 at the next check, so I corrected again.  By 7 am, she was 182, and no nausea.  (Although the Zofran works for 8 hours).  Silly me had told her mid throwup that she could stay home today.  But after learning she was just high with ketones (causing the vomiting), I felt differently.  She'd missed enough school (for Disney), that she really needed to go.  She played the "but I'm tired" game, so I finally told her to go lay down, sleep for an hour, and then she'd go to school.  She did, and when she came out, she was all better!  I think knowing she'd missed a little school (we checked her in at 8:30) made her really happy (since Clay and Ethan were already at school!).  Nothing like free time alone at home to brighten your day.  (I kinda like it myself!)

She's been absolutely fine, bunny poles be darned.  I'll certainly think twice before using a random party candy for a low.  Or if I do, I'll check around online for some carb info!  Since I love you, and don't want you to experience Bunny Pole Ketones, I dug around, and they have a whopping THIRTY-THREE grams of carbs!!  Oops.  I totally won't use those for a low again!

Are ya'll ready for some WiNNeRS??  Drumroll please......I have some girl scout cookies to give away!
Roselady! : )
Congratulations, Roselady!!  I have a few choices for you: Do-si-dos (peanut butter sandwiches), Tagalongs (chocolate covered peanut butter cookies), Dulce de Leche (bite-sized caramel chip cookies), or Thin Mint (minty chocolate cookies)!

And since there are enough cookies to go around....let's have Two Winners! : )  Vanessa, choose your favorite too!

Ladies, just send your favorite cookies and your mailing address to my email:!

I love playing games!  So...we shall start another giveaway tomorrow!  I'm thinking a monogrammed bath towel for you or your favorite child.  ; )

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Patriotic Tooth Fairy

We are going to see if this worked...I've had a little play time today.
; )

I uploaded a recipe card for you to use-I saved it as a .jpg file so you can print it as-is with the font.  You'll need to print on a 4x6 index card, or use cardstock and cut it down!  I use tons of 3x5 and 4x6 cards since it's cheap precut cardstock, but you may need yours to be acid-free, and I'm fairly certain it's not! : )  Just use it when the thing can be thrown away eventually.  Anyway, you print, then add a teensy bow, stamp, or sticker to the upper left-hand corner to personalize it.  My friend and I used to add a square of fabric or paper (about 1" square), then cover with a teensy bow.  Come to think of it...I may have some left, I'll go check! : )  Ok, I have some that were unlined:
This one had a square of french writing paper with a black sheer knot.  The scripture is "..and blessed and broke the loaves.. Matthew 14:19

Here is your second thingie: a snack list with carb counts.  It includes both carby and non-carby foods (for those high days!)  I used this more in preschool and the early days, now I have most foods memorized (gold fish: .36g each, cheez-it: .69g each, grape: 1g each, etc.), and for the hard stuff, I use the Complete Book of Food Counts (love it-especially for unlabeled Halloween candy!)

The last thing is a copy of the school note Mary Claire takes with her to school every day.  I make a bunch of copies at a time, then cut in quarters, and clothespin them in the kitchen for her school days.  I write down all her carbs for the day's lunch, total them, and add the bolus amount.  When she checks her blood, she can add or subtract if needed.  There's a place to fill in her blood sugar, and any correction (positive or negative).  This one has her name, but I'd be glad to make a generic if you think it would work for you. : )
(I accidentally shrunk these by 67% one day, and had the copier set to four copies, so I felt like I had to use them, but she *loved* them!  They looked like Barbie poster board..t-i-n-y!

Today was a visit-y day.  I checked Mary Claire out of school to take her to the orthodontist's office (she may get her braces off in July!), and they told me she'd be really sore later, so she should eat a big lunch.  She voted for Chili's!  It was almost her lunch/recess time, so I took her.  We also shared a birthday cookies & cream candy bar they gave her for her birthday! : )
Since we were by Wal-Mart, we ran in and bought some boxes of diapers to take to a friend who is headed to Joplin on Friday.  We want to help!  We stopped over there, and ended up staying over an hour (and when Mary Claire asked to go get Bella (her unicorn) from the car, I couldn't find my keys, and realized my car was still running!)  We had the best time!  Her daughter was home sick (but not very), and the girls just played so well together : )  We vowed to get the kids together to play after school is out!

Mary Claire was most insistent that I take her home instead of back to school (ha!), since she'd lost a tooth last night, and forgot to check under her pillow!  That sealed the deal-I HAD to take her to school, since the tooth fairy had forgotten.  Since she'd noticed all the red/white/blue at Wal-Mart today on the party supplies, cupcakes, and decor, I decided to go patriotic.  I had a new hand sanitizer I'd gotten at Bath & Body Works last week (she collects these things!  I think she has about 11 now?), it was Apple Pie and all red/white/blue.
I had three one dollar bills, so I used one to make a flag (heehee), one for a flagpole, and one for a faux-firework.  It was really bad (folded into fourths length-wise, then flared out at the ends) and it all taped to the sanitzer:

She saw it when she got home, and totally "got" that it was fireworks!  Love that girl. : )  I'm pretty sure she was giving me an out when she "forgot" to look under her pillow, but I like that we know, but don't talk about knowing.  It's more fun that way.

The kids swam then we made dinner for the priests, took it up to the church, and while I was gone, I burned the bottom of our spaghetti sauce.  : (  It really tasted fine, since I didn't scrape into the black, but ick.  I just can't get it all right.  Then Clay's game was rained out tonight, so we played Galaga and Pole Position (and my finger/hand/arm hurts!) ('cause I'm pretty good! haha!) and I remember why I don't play.  They are addictive!

Contest!  Ok, last thing.  We had tons of extra girl scout cookies left (do you want any??), so I bought a few more boxes.  I think we'll have a contest.  Leave a comment with your name, and I'll draw a winner on Friday night, after 10pm.  I'll use to draw.  Winner picks the flavor they want, and I'll mail them.  I have Dulce de Leche, Do-Si-Do, Tagalong, Thin Mint, and I think one box of Samoas left.  They really don't feel comfortable at my house.  Braces scare them, and they like to be enjoyed one at a time, and just don't get the recognition they deserve here.  They want respect!  (at your house!)  And you could give them to neighbors or friends with too little on their waists.  It's our job to keep people healthy.  ; )

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The anniversary we don't celebrate.

Yesterday was Mary Claire's diaversary (May 23, 2004).  Diabetes just turned seven (yes, we lived every minute of it-it didn't fly by).  We did not celebrate.  We celebrated our little life, but not its big ugly birthday.

After blogging about chocolate yesterday...yum!...I had to dip pretzels!  The kids came home, and we melted chocolate.  (This is not something we normally do.  It's reserved for Christmas gifts, company, and PMS..oh, and sometimes emoting about diabetes ; ) We opened a big bag of pretzels and got started.  I had the best helpers.  They got kinda dirty, but they loved cleaning themselves up (with their tongues!).  I was so chocolatey, I couldn't wield a camera, so you'll have to imagine our mmm-ing and and chocolatey-brown-temporary-freckles.
This is after hand-washing and blood-checking.  She's ready to eat some! :o)

We even try to keep it clean-we use whole pretzels, and use one loop to dip and keep it clean, but try to web the other two holes with pure chocolate!  (We have to have an equal chocolate to salty pretzel ratio!)

If you need some, send me your address!  We can't leave these laying around our house-they are dangerous!! : )  (both for me and Diabetes!)

**I have to say, D behaved herself on Sunday for dance recital, I forgot to brag on her.  Totally controlled, and she even ended the day at 107-we didn't know whether to be worried (for a low!) or thrilled we'd made it.**

So last night (during the very bad storm we had again!), we worked more on Mary Claire's thank you notes.  She told me what to type, then we printed, cut, tabbed, stamped, glittered (with a clear embossing sticky pad!), and stickered!  (Yes, in that order.) heehee
my incredibly messy desk while we're working..

*love* this tool!  It comes in a set with two sizes, but it's a glitter tray from Stampin' Up!.  You just pour till your heart's content, then open the little plug at the bottom, and sweep right back into the vial! : )  Easy-peesy!

I know this isn't very clear.  Sorry!  They are made to go into the invitation paper bag book things!  We also added photo collages to the envelopes! : )  We just make these on Wal-Mart's one-hour photo collage page.

So sweet.  She loved her party and her friends, and it was so much more fun to think about pleasant things rather than diabetes things.  Goodbye, D-Day.  See you next year. (and every minute between now and then.)

Ps.  I may have figured out how to post printable .jpg thingies!  WooHoo!  Wouldn't that be fun?  I'll try to make you something for tomorrow. ; )

PPs.  I didn't forget Engagement Chicken.  I purchased all my herbs ($2.88 each if you don't grow them!), and got my chicken, but baseball was from 5-6 dinner hour, so we reconfigured.  I've postponed until Thursday! : )  I promise to let you know how it goes!  ...Will she or won't she get engaged?  Stay tuned...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Today Is Enough

There is so much.  To tell you about, to be thankful for.

Mary Claire had her recital yesterday, and did well, I'll share some pictures in a minute.  The kids swam, and her mascara ran.. creating new dilemmas.

BUT, more importantly, I'm so thankful my sweet Angie in Joplin is okay.  Do you remember us going on Saturday?  All that area is destroyed now (from Baxter Springs to Galena to Joplin).  There was a massive storm last night (hiding under stairs and all, and watching and waiting till it finally dissolved after midnight), but Joplin got it far worse.

Ches has talked to his mom, and they are okay, and his brother and sisters there are alright.  I've talked to Angie and she and her family are okay.  She said she only lost a window and some roof, so fine.  Her aunt and uncle lost their home.  She went out after the storm to help.  Travis is a manager and helps clients live independently who have physical or mental challenges.  The hospital (St. John's) was destroyed (the top two floors are gone), and a couple of the men lived right there beside it.  They went over, dug through rubble for three hours, and found the two alive.  She doesn't even know how they are alive, with so much on them.  Their caretakers are gone, but their cars are there.  She isn't sure if they ran, or the tornado took them.  Can you imagine?

She said it was devastating, and there were people (not alive) everywhere.  I don't know what that looks like, but it's scary.  She has patients that see her for counseling, and she's planning to go to them today.  Travis' office is gone, but hers is okay.  Ches said he heard on the news that 75% of the city is gone, since it went right through town.  Angie's mom was in a neighborhood behind Taco Bell for a church function, and Taco Bell is gone.  I can't imagine what the city looks like.  We were at Pizza By Stout on Saturday, and we aren't sure if it's gone, but it's right there.  Isn't it amazing (and scary) how fast things can be gone?

Two weeks ago, Clay had a doctor's appointment and the young lady who schedules appointments in the office was there, and now she's gone.  She died early Monday morning.  We were there Monday, but when I saw her missing, and had seen a posting on FB about praying for her, I knew.  The next day, the story came out.  She'd been in ICU since Saturday night, but didn't make it.  A drunk driver had been driving the wrong way on the interstate and hit head on.  It all happens so fast.

All this to say, be thankful for today, don't fuss at your kids-be glad you are here, and they are here.  Tomorrow will take care of itself.  Storms are coming again tonight.  What an area we live in-from over 2 feet of snow, to 106 degrees, to deadly tornadoes, to flash flooding wiping out neighborhoods.  We just never know what tomorrow will bring.

Today, I'll be happy with what I have: a beautiful girl with friends:
I'm just so glad she conquered her fear : )  (she's third from the left)

She's fifth from the left (and they are mostly in fourth and fifth grade, so she's kinda little)

Fourth from the left, with her hands up : )  Yay, she made it!

Relief and joy wash over her (and she likes her roses too)

Beautiful girls!!  I love Mary Claire's friends! : )

And Nora was gorgeous too! : )

One more picture before she swims off that make up ; )

I love you, friends.  I pray that you are each safe with your families.  I am thankful for you and the gift of Today.  (and we didn't get raptured, so we are here!)  Go do something crazy fun with your loved ones.  (I'm thinking chocolate all over things..pretzels, marshmallows, ice cream, bananas, peanut butter crackers, pecans, popcorn)  (I'm thinking PMS is talking?)

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Horsin' Around

Today was dress rehearsal-the total run-through (make-up and all!), she looked so cute! : )

Jazz Hands!
Then we picked up Mary Claire after practice, helped her change, and headed to Kansas for a birthday party at Horses of Hope in Baxter Springs!  We used our GPS to get there, and it included some "Unverified Areas" (code for dirt roads!!).  We took the scenic route, and saw corn in perfect rows:
You can see they've had rain too, and where it pooled, it washed away the seeds : (

Then I had to have Ches stop and back up so I could take a picture!  Can you read it?  "Caution: Intersection" Hahahahaha : ) We sat there for about five minutes so I could get a picture (we were actually early!).  No one came.

..And we made it!  Don't you love Gymboree for their perfect themed clothes?  We were all horsed out.  And we didn't even plan it! ; )

They found a BEAGLE!  And were so excited! : )

..and Ethan had to climb in something.  Santa's sleigh!

They had to choose a helmet-Safety First!

back with Benny the Beagle.

Andalynn is trying to talk Mary Claire into riding, Mary Claire is still saying no.

Clay was the first one on-ready to go!

While the first group rode horses, we took a tour and saw miniature ponies.. can you see the running purple ponies on her back pockets (well, they are there!) (the shirt was long-sleeved, but I cut off the long white sleeves under the purple short sleeves.  I'm a rebel like that.)

and a cute mini donkey!

and this one posed for a picture, really! ; )

I just loved this barn, all red and covered in ivy!

It's even all barn-y, and has an owl living in it!

Guess who has decided to ride?!

The ladies are telling her how safe it is and how calm Chip (Chip Chocoholic) is!

She liked it!

The pro is riding alone!  Those lessons have really paid off : )  (she is riding Grip, short for Get a Grip)

..and Mary Claire wants both ladies to stay with her!

but she conquered her fear, and rode.
Mary Claire is reading her birthday card to her : )  She asked for money to support her horse this year, so sweet!

..the end of the day, Ethan having some M&M's with Benny at his feet : )
We then went to Joplin to eat dinner with Ches' mom and stepdad (and Mary Claire was 380 after that cake!!!!), then home to swim till too late (and she ended the day at 141, not too bad).  We are so thankful that it turned out to be a sunny day.  (It was supposed to storm!)  Blessings abound.  (and another friend is pregnant-say some prayers for her please!) : )  God is good.

ps-I guess me and my family are heathen or the rapture wasn't today.  (pps-what time zone was the 6pm in again?) (and what does Mr. Camping say now?)