Thursday, January 31, 2008


Photobucket In keeping with our strategy of strewing interesting things around and waiting for one of the children to take the bait...err...develop an interest.....I purchased a tie dye kit. Take one kit, add one creative daughter, and wait a few weeks....

Wala - Arielle made a tie dyed napkin (I think I may do this to all our white napkins! LOL) and this cute shirt.
I've been wanting to find the time to learn how to tie dye for a couple of years. Arielle will be able to teach me. LOL
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It is so FUN when friends get new things such as Air Hockey Tables and want to find a home for their old toys.

Thank you Deja and family. The kids love it. It's been getting lots of use....I haven't got the room organized yet to hold it well - but that isn't stopping them. LOL
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Airports, Spreadsheets, Promotions, and Cobwebs

Photobucket There you have it - my day in a nutshell.

A friend stopped by this a.m. to show me what she wanted to order from United. All in all - fairly painless...just a tad time consuming but it will be quicker each month as more and more items are already on our order spreadsheet. I thought it would be much easier to do her order if I hid columns so she'd be right next to the items. Worked great - until I went to put it back and couldn't unhide my columns...then the whole computer froze. It turns out that I "lost" our whole group order....but ROY (big grand poohbah United Coordinator) was able to load the orders we'd inputted yesterday in. ugh. I felt sick. I've done this lots with a normal spreadsheet. It has to have something to do with googledocs. LOL

I hurried from that catastrophe to the base for one of our chaplains promotions.

Then to run boys around.

Cobwebs? Cleaning. This is the dusty area I have ever lived. The kids like to tell me, "Mom, it IS the dustbowl". ::snort::

I ate out with friends tonight at a Country Club that I didn't know existed. ::snort::
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Photobucket In one of the Bible studies I've worked on (maybe I or II Samuel?) we did a quick topical study on pride. Folks like to throw around snap judgments these days, "she's prideful" etc and it was eye-opening to see how Scripture REALLY talks about the issue. There is nothing wrong with taking satisfaction in a job well done or in the blessings or work that God has done in and on our behalf. The problem comes when we COMPARE ourselves to another to make ourselves feel better about ourselves or when we become arrogant. I share that because I'm about to share an odyssey that may well lead some to say "well - she's prideful this a.m. " - but I'm willing to run the risk.
There are times when your children simply amaze, awe, and bless your socks off. Jamin has done that to us lately. He began writing a novel when he was 12. He finished it when he was 16. He's spent the past year revising, polishing, and editing that novel.

We encourage the children to dream. I must say here that we also force them to take ownership of their dreams. When they say they want to do something, *I* don't go find all the info, drop it all in their lap, and then PUSH them towards the goal. We pray with them and for them. We let them know what we know - but they pursue it.

A couple of years ago I heard about the Christian Writer's Guild. I passed that info on to Jamin. He wanted to join their program. He was worried about the $. We told him that many homes spend more than $50 a month on music lessons or sports lessons and that if this was his dream - we didn't have a problem investing in him. (I also explained that with so many of the kids heading to volunteer ministry careers we need SOMEONE to make some money and care for mom in her old age. ::snort::) He took the first year. He was assigned a mentor, T. Suzanne Eller, and he flew. I do not grade his assignments. I do not schedule his assignments. This is HIS dream. He finished the first year with flying colors.

THIS year, money was tight, but we wanted to allow Jamin to continue. HE PAID FOR THE CLASS! We didn't suggest this solution.

In his first year in the guild he heard about an annual conference hosted by the Guild in Colorado Springs. He dreamed of attending. We encouraged him to dream. We said nothing about $, we began to pray and work towards it. Mike was deployed last year at this time and he simply couldn't attend.

Jamin PAID for his conference fee and, when he found out that since he is a minor the conference wanted an adult to attend, he PAID for Mike to attend. He bought the plane tickets, he paid for the hotel. We sprung for the rental car and we are still discussing the fact that we would like to pay for Mike's ticket.
Yes, I'm very proud of this young man. I'm thrilled and deeply satisfied at the character that I observe being formed in him. God planted a dream and he WORKED for it. He took ownership of it and pursued it. We were tempted at times to make it easy, to push, to give as much of the dream as we could to him - but he NEEDED to learn to press hard for dreams. Nothing can rob him of his sense of accomplishment. He's nervous. He's humble. He's excited. I sat at Mom's Night Out on Monday and the speaker said that often times we moms get our egos tied up in our children and that we need to pull back and allow them to own their emotions, their dreams, their accomplishments....and I smiled inside because this once, someone GOT why we allow the KIDS to work so hard, rather than chasing after their dreams for them. LOL

Jamin and Mike left this a.m. We are proud of his drive in pursuing his God planted dream. Regardless of the outcome of his interviews with publishers etc.... we are proud of HIM and who he is becoming as the grace of God forms his character and ambitions.

So photos from the last few days:

Practicing his "spiel" in the garage - these interviews will be HARD for Jamin. He doesn't like change, he's an extreme introvert...but he's prepared long for it. I'm proud that he's willing to reach way outside of his comfort zone for the sake of the dream.Photobucket

The paperwork just KEPT coming. Yesterday he polished up all sorts of proposals etc. Mike bailed Jamin and I out by designing a COOL business card for Jamin...there was simply a LOT of paperwork. I'll clean the library today. ::snort::Photobucket

THEN we had to go shopping. This young man doesn't own "business casual". ::snort:: Shoes, pants, socks, belt, pants, shirts...Photobucket

Jamin chose ALL shades of brown pants. I decided not to push it - he needs to be COMFORTABLE with what he's wearing the next few days. He did branch out and try different colored shirts.Photobucket

The product of months of work! Each packet contains the first 3 chapters of, The King of the Reid, a synopsis of the book, a cover letter addressed to specific publishing houses, a business card, a proposal and synopsis of a new book (he's written 70 pages of it), a self-addressed, stamped envelope and more. He read a zillion books and researched on the web to determine what he wanted to have with him when he meets with reps from various publishing houses.


O Dark Thirty

They're off.....I'm praying this conference is all Jamin hopes it will be. Of course I'd love for a publisher to pick him up - but more than that I want him to drain every ounce of learning and satisfaction from the experience that he can. I believe God planned for Jamin to be at this very spot, in this very time.

They'll be home on Monday. If God brings Jamin to your mind in the next few days, please say a prayer for him as he pursues the call of God on his life.
I've not read Suzanne Ellers works - but here is a link to an interview done by CBD, and here is a link to the Dare to Believe and Real Teen Faith, ministries that she runs. (I am guessing her view of teens and my view of youth aren't going to mesh 100%, but I'm impressed with her interactions with Jamin. I also think it important to note that our children aren't the "typical" youth of their generation so maybe the issues she addresses DO talk to those issues - in fact I know they do from viewing the websites). Several of her books look very interesting to me and I suspect we'll be buying them soon. I love her emphasis on REDEEMED PASTS. Most of her books seem to be published by Harvest House Publishers. Her new books "The Mom I want to Be Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future" and "The Woman I am Becoming" look like they may be helpful in Women's Ministry. Of course, I need to read them before I can recommend them. Maybe I should add them to my 2008 reading list...the ever growing list. ::snort::

PLANT STEROLS? Phytosterols and other such words.

Photobucket Tuesday and Wednesday were a blur. Here are a few highlights.

Tuesday I met with the base nutritionist/dietician again. She had ALL the cholesterol numbers and we charted them. We were able to see clearly why the alarm was raised this year and not last year. I've always had HIGH HDL (good) cholesterol. While my number has hovered at 250, they were content to let me manage with lifestyle as my HDL was high and my overall magic ratio was 4.

For some reason, and the only ones anyone are coming with are genetics, my HDL tanked. Big time. I continued my lifestyle and all expected it to be HIGHER which would have made my ratio LOWER.....but even with workout, limited simple carbs, 13 servings of produce a day blah, blah, HDL dropped by nearly 1/2. This is not a good sign and it now puts my ratio at 5.68 - which is over 4. where they push meds.

Debbie is wonderful. We discussed what I was doing. She told me to continue with flax oil, she thought the fish oil could go as the flax oil is full of Omega 3. She told me about new studies into plant sterols. It seems that there IS research that shows that for THOSE WITH HIGH CHOL. adding CONCENTRATED amounts of plant sterol can lower your number 10-15%. These are found in small amount in produce and vegetable oils. She said that you can't get the concentrated amounts from produce consumption alone - and I didn't want to try to eat any more produce....believe me. She said that there are NO PREVENTATIVE benefits that they've noticed to plant sterols and so she is ticked at how fortified products are being advertised. She said if you HAVE high chol it often lowers it, but it will not keep you from developing high chol.

Debbie said that they've fortified margarine, orange juice and yogurt with this. It's expensive and should be my stash. She suggested I add this in addition to the cholesterol meds. My numbers need to come down at least 30%. I looked and could not find these products in the stores. I did find the FDA article on this....and it seems that they've made a "margarine like" product from soybean oil (which is high in plant sterols)....but I avoid soy. I'm looking to see what products or what form I can find this in that would be fairly natural without a lot of fillers.

Tuesday night was Bible study. I was excited to see women had done their homework and could discuss the book even when I varied from the written homework. That's a wonderful sign that they have spent lots of time in the book of Ephesians. I passed out books and we are well prepared now to use anothers work for a couple of months. In other words we took 3 weeks and I walked the group through doing a complete overview of the book - NOW we can use another's guidance and we'll be on better footing as to what the book is all about. The great news is that the group grew and we ran out of books. I'm hoping more arrive soon.

Wednesday was another blur of activity as we got ready for Mike and Jamin's big adventure. I'll write a seperate post about that.

In the midst of this, I'm learning our new United catalog and how to use spreadsheets, trying to help others figure out how they work (nearly blind leading the blind?), and trying to get 1/2 finished tasks off my plate....and transferring comptuer data from one to another. ::snort::

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Photobucket We finished school. Arielle read the History to Nolan so that I could pay a couple of bills, and do a bit of bookwork.

We continue to transfer files from the library computers to this laptop. I continue to learn a new keyboard. Beware of killer Type O's. ::snort::

Nolan and I were done with school and lunch early enough to RUN ERRANDS before we headed to speech. We went to the bank, Albertsons, the eye doctor for Bre's contact, the post office to mail back an unrequested package of Math U See and a package to the GIRLS, and then speech.
I also spent quite a bit of time sending emails to members of our new United co-op and trying to figure out the new spreadsheets etc. It's about time I learn how to use spreadsheets. ::snort::

In a strange twist of irony, one of my new United members is a mom from SPEECH! Can you beat that? I met another speech mom as she recognized me from reading the blog - Hi Amy? Reading today? ::snort::
After speech Nolan and I ran to Family Christian Bookstore and picked up our Ephesians Bible Study books. I think the women will be relieved to have real homework this week instead of my "mean homework". ::snort::
Back at home the FREEZER was delivered!
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We moved food from the old freezer to the new one.
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ACK - it's Mom's Night Out in 30 minutes.....I ran to Mom's Night Out. I called a friend who I've not talked to in about 4 months and asked if she'd like a ride. It was nice to have that visiting time. Though Mike did call at 10:00 p.m. to see if I was o.k. Oops.

I was too tired to post last night - but here you go - a few hours late. LOL It was a great day. Productive AND fun.....
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Sunday, January 27, 2008


Sunday was a bit different today. We DID have Sunday School. We did attend the Traditional Service. We DID eat at Burger King (ugh). And then the day diverged from the normal plan.

The boys had a paintballing engagement (read below). This meant that I had the little ones. Zander was having a bad day - an OCD/ODD type day. We decided Sunday School and one service was all we could expect....

Mike went to the Gospel service and I took the little ones home. Oh, first we stopped by recycling.

At home we cleaned and did laundry.

Mike got home and we cleared a spot for the freezer. We are also working to get all my files off the "boys" computer and on to the laptop. At this point 90% of the Word files and ebooks have been transferred, Money and files are transferred, and outlook is configured on the laptop. The problem being that photos are still everywhere (the goal is to put them on discs and get them off the computer) and my outlook files and emails etc from co-ops and what not are on the boys computer - but I'm trying to begin using this laptop for all. Mike will then get my computer, which crashed when he was deployed, resurrected and they'll have three computers once again. I will be able to get all my files off THAT computer and put them on the laptop too. I'm not sure what the big overall plan is - I think a server...but this is the first step.

We finished off my birthday cake! I guess the birthday has to end.

I worry about Josiah working 40 hours a week, going to school etc. I know we did it when we were that age. I just worry when I see him fall asleep at Double Dave's. ::snort:: For the very first time tonight.....he had a paper sneak up on him. Oops - it's due tomorrow. Mike jokes that *HE* never forgot a paper until the night before it was due. ::snort:: Yeah, OK - early dementia setting in?

I'll bring the day to a close with this last photo. We have back to back laptops here at the table...but mine's about to be shut off for the night. LOL
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My Birthday Week Continues

Wonderful handmade cards, a new freezer, dinner out -how could it get better?

It seems that Josiah and Jamin had purchased a gift before hearing about the joint freezer thing.

Tonight after they got back from paintballing (a team building thing Cy organized for work).....
I was told to shut my eyes. Do you like the wrapping? They get that anti-wrapping gene from me! (There's been an ongoing discussion around here about genetics and what they may catch from me and Mike based on our family histories. LOL)
Stacia watched me struggle with the packing tape and styrofoam and said, "Wet me help!" She proceeded to open the gift the gift.
Jamin and Jared had bought the 6 pc starter set of the Willow Creek Nativity for me at Christmas. I always leave one set out year round....because we celebrate Him all year...and this one has been out.....but now....Josiah and Jamin bought me the Wisemen too!
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Saturday, January 26, 2008

WOOT! My Birthday Present!

Mike and the kids have been asking me for weeks what I wanted for my birthday. I really had nothing pressing on my mind. I even suggested we wait until March to do gifts.

We've been saving for a new freezer. We gave our big chest freezer away when we moved. We bought a used 14 cu ft freezer when we got here. I discovered I liked an upright freezer, but 14 cu feet is not big enough. I also discovered I like a frost free freezer, as this one isn't. If you store anything in the door, you have to put a 5 gal jug of water in front of it to keep it closed. ::snort:: The freezer I settled on was $749.00. We've been saving....I figured I could get our 1/2 a cow in our current freezer and nothing else. I do have two fridges with freezer compartments, so we were planning to hunker down.
A local friend, Kim, called to tell me that she'd found the same freezer that I had my eye on at Lowe's for $578.00. I began to think that if Mike and the kids just gave me money I'd be able to add other birthday checks to it and be about 1/2 way there. Then Mike suggested we call the company with his backordered Christmas gift and tell them to cancel. He said to put the $ for that on the freezer. I didn't like that idea. I told him it was my tool and I'd be using it most. We realized HE'LL be eating more of the cow stored in the freezer, than I will. ::snort::

We were discussing this when Kim called back and Sears was having a one day sale on the freezer - 20% off/free delivery. We got it for $599; that's a lot cheaper than $749. It's a top pick for it's size from Consumer Reports. It's 20.3 cu ft; NOT as big as our old chest freezers but I think it will work well. It's frost free. We've been planning on this purchase and working towards it for over a year....I have a couple ready to take the old one. They've just adopted sweet Julia and could use more freezer space. I will not have to do headstands to dig things out of this one; though I may need a step stool to reach the top shelves. ::snort::

Here it is: Mike's Christmas Gift, De'Ettas birthday gift, Our Anniversary gift....

We ran into Kim and Brian at Sears - they bought one too and we had some fun fellowship there in the aisle.

We also went to a Victory Rally for Operation Christmas Child today. Mike was on the program.

Gotta get to tomorrow.
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Friday, January 25, 2008

Family Night

It has been rare since the week of Thanksgiving to have all of us home on a Friday night. The boys have been picking up lots of hours at Chick Fil A. However, THIS night all are home.

I fixed a yummy dinner....2 baked chickens, baked potatoes/sweet potatoes, steamed cauliflower, carrots, and green beans and garlic bread.

Nolan proves to the inquisitor that he has eaten all his carrot sticks

Jamin has a writer's conference coming up next week. He will have 3 meetings with publishing houses. Here he practices giving his proposal.

Josiah went out to rent *The Gameplan*. They were OUT everywhere. They had even sold out in some stores....he did find a copy and purchased it for us. ::snort:: What a fun movie.

We topped the night off with an episode of *Hogan's Heroes*.
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

2008 Christmas Quiz
How well do you know us?

Some of you may not have received this yet, but I'm hearing from others who have and I'd like to post the answers so they can find them the first time they check the blog. - To check your answers click on the Answer key/giveaway link.

1. Since the newsletter 5 years ago
a. BreAnne, Krista & Josiah gradated and moved out of our home
b. We’ve moved from beautiful Alaska to sunny West Texas
c. Mike promoted to Maj and serves as the Sr. Prot Chaplain at Goodfellow AFB
d. All of the above

2. Which is not one of our favorite leisure time activities?
a. Coaxing a garden from W TX soil
b. Paint balling, Geocaching, hiking & camping
c. Family read alouds
d. Keeping in touch with friends and family via blogs, facebook, telephone conversations and visits

3. Where have we recently traveled?
a. Josiah and Bre traveled to Boston, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.
b. Krista traveled to Trinidad, West Indies
c. Mike traveled to Kuwait (he’s home)
d. The family traveled to WA, AK, CO and various TX spots
e. All of the above

4. Jamin, our budding author
a. Paid for Mike and him to attend the CWG Writing for the Soul Conference in CO Springs, CO
b. Finished his second novel
c. Published articles in online and print magazines
d. Become a writer for our local newspaper
e. All of the above

5. In which activity has Jared NOT participated?
a. Volunteering weekly with House of Faith, a ministry to inner-city kids
b. Ran for city council
c. Played competitively on a local basketball team.
d. Promoted to SMSgt and awarded Cadet of the Year in Civil Air Patrol

6. Which is NOT true of Arielle?
a. Excels in piano lessons
b. Reads an average of 4 books a week
c. Took a solo parachute jump for her birthday in May
d. Began wearing glasses

7. De’Etta keeps busy by
a. Running produce and natural foods co-ops
b. Homeschooling
c. Teaching local Bible Studies and serving on the Central Region PWOC board
d. Participating in online forums
e. All of the above

8. Which of our children takes piano lessons and recently danced in San Angelo Civic Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker?
a. Nolan
b. Zander
c. Arielle
d. None of the above

9. What has kept Zander (Alexander) busy in 2008?
a. Began school, but is easily bored unless the topics are dinosaurs, whales,or knights
b. Favorite pastime (which he earns monthly) is Play Station
c. Has responded well to a diet with no dyes, artificial flavors or preservatives
d. All of the above

10. Our family vacation included alpine hiking, cave explorations, a castle tour, visits with family and fellow Air Force families. Where did we vacation?
a. London, England
b. Westcliffe, Colorado
c. Trier, Germany
d. Asheville, North Carolina

11. Which has Stacia NOT done?
a. Painted the walls with Sharpies
b. Pushed the Christmas tree over
c. Severely cut her hair
d. Brought zest and adventure to our family

12. Which of the following is NOT correct?
a. Mike and De’Etta will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day
b. Jamin will graduate May 23, 2009
c. De’Etta is pregnant with our 10th child
d. The nucleus of our family (Mike, De’Etta, and at least five children) will move in Summer 2009

13. Where can you find the answer key for this quiz?
a. Phone us deleted
b. Request from deleted
c. Write & request at deleted
d. Visit; click the Christmas Quiz link for key and to enter a New Year’s Giveaway of a $25 gift certificate

Love, Mike, De’Etta, Bre , Krista, Cy, Jamin , Jared, Arielle, Nolan , Zander & Stacia

©2008 D.R.G.

2008 Christmas Quiz Answer Key & Giveaway

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and check your answers to our 2008 Christmas Quiz. Below are the answers.

We'd like to start the New Year off with a Giveaway of a $25 gift certificate to To be eligible you only need to read the quiz BEFORE you read the answers (it doesn't matter if you received the quiz through the mail or read it on the blog), check in here and leave a comment with your score and any other memory or comment you'd care to share. Be sure that we know how to contact you. Every member in your family, who is old enough to take the quiz and comment on their own, may leave a comment and enter once. We'll pick a random winner on my birthday - 24 Jan. That should give everyone plenty of time to do this after the busy Christmas season.

1. D – All of the above. We left Anchorage in June of 2005. Since that time Mike has served as the Sr. Protestant Chaplain at Goodfellow AFB, TX.

The girls have been living in Spokane, WA the past 3 ½ years. They originally went to Spokane to participate in Master’s Commission (MC). BreAnne currently serves as the Executive Administrator for Spokane MC. She plans this to be her last year with SMC. Krista served on staff the past year with MC and is now working and saving for her next grand adventure – a mission’s trip overseas.

Josiah graduated in May of 2007. He is currently ½ way through his second year at Angelo State University. He is also a manager for Chick-fil-A and has the goal of owning one of these businesses in the future.

2. A – our gardening attempts went nowhere. In fact, the timbers to build garden boxes are still sitting on the patio. ::snort::

3. E - The girls have traveled to various church-related conferences, Microsoft conferences and camps all over America. Krista was part of a missions trip/scouting mission for MC in Trinidad. Josiah met up with Bre for a trip through our Nation’s historic locations. At each spot they were taught about the Christian history of our country.

4. E – All of the above. Jamin’s passion is writing fiction. He is perplexed that he’s only published non-fiction. Maybe he’ll find a publisher for one of his novels in 2009.

5. B – We’ve allowed Jared to break the “one outside activity” rule the last couple of years. He has some GREAT opportunities here with the community and homeschool support group.

Jared would like to enter politics. We aren’t sure where to go with that ambition. Does anyone know of a community that needs organized?

6. C – you knew that right? Josiah IS planning to learn how to sky dive with a friend of his. This info may be helpful for the 2009 Christmas Quiz.

7. E – There’s always more to do than there are hours in the day. De’Etta has learned to order her priorities daily: God, family ministry, outside ministry.

PWOC = Protestant Women of the Chapel. This is an international military ministry to women.

8. A- This was an amazing experience for Nolan. Not only did it give him opportunities to continue working on his eye hand/sequencing challenges, but it allowed him to conquer his fear of being in front of audiences. This is a BIG production here in town. The estimate I heard was 2500 people total forl 3 shows. I’m still shaking my head at the audacity of him participating.

9. D – All of the above. We are amazed at how our “alphabet boy” is coping.

10. B – this was an amazing vacation! Mike, I and the five younger children hooked up the Caboose (trailer) and headed for CO. A few days later the girls arrived from WA and Josiah and Jamin arrived from TX. We cherished each moment of our FAMILY vacation.

11. B – yet.

12. C – yet.

13. D – We’ve sent a hard copy of the answers to those whom we know do not have Internet access. Any of the options will work to receive answers – free question!

What your results may mean:

0 -3 correct: Who are you anyway and why are you reading our Christmas letter?

4 – 6 Correct: You just haven’t been paying attention, have you?

7 – 10 Correct: You must be one of our closest friends.

11 – 13 Correct: Are you a stalker or a faith ful blog reader?

©2008 D.R.G.

The Picture says it All!


If you have been a blog reader for any amount of time you KNOW what that hat means. If you're a new blog reader you'll be very familar with our party animal by the end of FEBRUARY. ::snort::

Yes, today is my 44th birthday. I hadn't mentioned it because it didn't seem important to me this year. ::snort:: I even suggested we wait and do my birthday in March or April and ease up on the birthday stress.

I had a PAC meeting. I drove the boys to HoF. I got home and they called. Due to weather (cold and wet, starting to freeze)they had cancelled the club at their school. I drove back to HoF and picked them up.

Bre has always been our "birthday decorator". She makes banners and signs and "does it up big". I didn't expect a thing. I got home from the PAC meeting and Arielle had made signs, a banner, a card, and motivated her brothers to help her hang crepe paper. I was surprised.

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I spent the rest of the day on the phone. I talked to Bre, Mom, Kim, Krista, Charly....a good day! Thanks to all who remembered and sent emails, cards, and even GIFTS at Bible study. I am surprised anyone remembered without my daily reminders and ticker countdown. ::snort::

I chose to go to Double Dave's for dinner. This is not really a low-cholesterol spot...but you gotta celebrate. I did choose chicken and whole wheat crust. ::snort::
"self portrait"
Mike had made one of his famous ice cream cakes for me....he even made the ice cream from scratch. What a man! We'll do gifts on Sunday or something - no one has had time to shop. ::snort::

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