Monday, July 28, 2008


Mackenzie has poison ivy. A really bad case of it. She started breaking out with a few isolated bumps several days ago, and I though it was bug bites. Yesterday she got really itchy and rashy, and this morning, she looked like this:

No, she's not winking at the camera. Her eye is swollen shut. :(

We took her to the doctor this morning, and she got a shot (ouch) so hopefully she'll be feeling better soon. Today she is pretty miserable.

She asked if I was going to put this on my blog, because when Katie had the chicken pox last year, I posted a picture of her, too. You can see it here.

Birthdays, birthdays and more birthdays

Michael isn't the only person in our family who celebrates a birthday on July 18. Elijah's Webkinz, Spot, also shares that date for his birthday. So, since we couldn't celebrate with Michael, we had a party for Spot.

Spot even got a couple of frog-themed gifts, in his favorite color, green. Katie sewed him a lilypad bed and pillow with a green fleece blanket.

Now, in case any of you think I've completely lost my mind, or just don't have enough to do if I have time to throw a party for a stuffed frog, I have two things to say in my defense:

1. This was a a good distraction to keep me from feeling too sad abut the birthday I wasn't getting to celebrate with Michael.

2. There is not a bad reason to eat cake.

I do have to say that this did test Dan's ability to be a good sport. He's a great dad. He kisses Eleanor's baby dolls goodnight when she asks, plays games, "eats" play dough cookies that are served to him, and all kinds of other things, but the birthday party for the frog was just foolishness to him.

He ate the cake though. :)

On Sunday, we celebrated a very special family member's birthday. My dear grandma, Eileen Allen, turned 85.

The birthday girl. Isn't she lovely?

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:10-31

Happy Birthday, GG!

We love you!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Birthday greetings for Michael

Anyone who isn't Michael might want to skip this one!

Happy Birthday, Michael!

Today is Michael's 19th birthday, although I guess in Iraq his birthday is already over.

Here are a few pictures that I think really show the difference two years has made. My little boy is all grown up... sniff, sniff.

Thanks to Pvt. Swim, who I "borrowed" some of the pictures from.

Happy Birthday, Michael! We love you and miss you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More fireworks video

Mom was talking to one of the men who puts on Newman's fireworks show and mentioned to him that I had some video clips of this year's display. He wanted to see them since he never actually gets to watch the fireworks (too busy making sure we don't burn the park down). Since I've never figured out how to do anything with my camera videos except post them here, that's what I'm going to do. There's not a lot, but here's what I have:

So, Mr. D.K., this post is for you. Thanks for the great fireworks every year. It is one of the highlights of our family's summer!

Friday, July 11, 2008

July 5th fireworks

On the fifth, we joined my family in Newman to watch the fireworks there. Newman usually has its fireworks display during the festival, but they were postponed due to the flooding we had in June.

We have a tradition of having a pizza picnic in the park a couple of hours before the fireworks start. That way we get our favorite spot.

My cousin Tammy brought these three-foot sparklers from Texas. Everything's bigger in Texas.

I may be prejudiced, but I think my hometown puts on one of the best fireworks shows around. It's not too short, not too long, there's no crowds, and it is an impressive display. Here is a sample of what we enjoyed:

The grand finale.

July 4th fireworks

On the Fourth, we celebrated with some dear friends who have some property on the Twin Lakes in Paris. The kids enjoyed playing with their friends, and then we watched fireworks from their dock. It was very nice.

I took these pictures with the fireworks setting on my camera. The girls are blurry, but I thought the effect of the sparklers was really cool.

Ellie on the dock waiting to watch the fireworks.

Her overprotective mother wanted her to wear a life jacket.

Oooooh. Aaaaaah.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Last week, we had the most amazing rainbow in the sky just before the sun went down. It was a complete arch, and so vibrant. We all dropped what we were doing to go outside and watch it until the sun set and it faded away. Gorgeous.

Speaking (or writing) of smelly things...

A couple of weeks ago, my sister-in-law, who works at Eastern Illinios University, calls me and says, "I don't know if you've heard about this, but the greenhouse here has a plant called a corpse plant, and it's getting ready to bloom. When it blooms, it's supposed to smell like a decaying body. They're really rare. I don't know why, but I just thought that sounded like something you guys might like to see..."

Well, YEAH!

So two Sundays ago, we loaded up after church and went to Charleston to see the Titan Arum, better known as the "corpse plant."

We missed the full bloom, which occured through the evening on Saturday. From what I understand, it was pretty stinky. People reported smelling it blocks away. On Sunday, you could still smell it, but it was much milder. The scent was like hamburger that has gone really bad.

The greenhouse had an impressive collection of plants other than the Titan Arum, although it was clearly the focus of the day. Mackenzie was fascinated by the Venus Flytraps and Pitcher Plants. She wants one of her own to grow.

Feed me, Seymore!

51 Chevy

Dan is one step closer to realizing a long time dream of restoring his great-grandfather's '51 Chevy pick up truck. He recently had it moved from the barn where it has been stored for over thirty years, to a storage shed here in town. Let the tinkering begin!

Well, it might need a little more than tinkering. Many, many mice have called this truck home in the last thirty years. When Dan opened this door, let me tell you a powerful stink wafted out. Be thankful that technology doesn't yet allow smells to be transmitted over the internet. This was foul.

Dan has talked about fixing up this truck for as long as I have known him. I knew he really liked me when he took me to see it. There's a lot to be done, but it will be a labor of love.