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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Marvin and Lori

Today is my father-in-law and his daughter and my sister-in-law's birthday. I miss them. I wish they were here to celebrate. I would have loved a piece of Lori's favorite, strawberry pie. I don't understand a lot of things...them not here is one of them.

Happy Birthday Marvin and Lori. I'm sure your party must have been over the top today!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sweet Summertime

We've had such a good time this summer. We kicked it off Memorial Day weekend, even before school was out, at the deer lease. Fredericksburg was having a crawfish festival, and we indulged. The kids had a ball on the rides. It was so hot that weekend...102 degrees! Our little deer camp house only has one little window a/c, and we all piled into the "bedroom" where it was blowing full blast to take a nap. We were all squirming around and someone said it was hot. Kelvin looked at the thermometer and jokingly remarked that it was a cool 90 degrees in our room! It did cool down nicely at night, and the mornings were very nice. I got in a couple of pretty long walks. If not for the coolness of the morning, I would have collapsed for sure!

The kids were finished with school on June 2, and the next day, Kelvin's friend from work and his wife invited us to spend some time with them at Lake Sam Rayburn. The kids had the BEST time fishing. We had such a great time.

Carleigh went to Girls camp the 13th through the 17th and had a blast with her good friend, also Carli. They share a birthday as well! They are so cute!

We had a great time celebrating Father's Day with my dad. Kelvin cooked a super yummy fried fish dinner, and we had Dad's favorite, coconut creme pie for dessert. One of these days I will get brave and bake one myself. I cooked a yummy waffle breakfast for Kelvin for Father's Day, and we had a good time lounging around the house.

Last week the kids attended VBS at my friend's church. They had the best time Shakin it Up! The theme was, recipes, learning about God's love and how He wants them to live for him. The songs were great. I enjoyed so much watching them sing on Friday for the parents. My friend and her kiddos came over for lunch on Friday after VBS, and the kids had such a good time. Luke was in hog heaven with two other boys in the house! He was not a happy camper when they had to go home. I enjoyed visiting with my friend of too many years to count! No matter how long it has been since we saw or talked to one another, we always just pick up right where we left off. I love her! Her birthday is tomorrow! Happy birthday, Amy!

We went to a friend's birthday party yesterday. They rented one of those mumbo jumbo water inflatable slides, and the kids had an absolute blast! Even Cora went down over and over again! After we left the party, we headed straight over to another good friend's house to visit and swim. We all must be part fish! We swam until 8:30 p.m.!! Cora actually fell asleep while floating with my friend, and we laid her on the lounge chair. She was out like a light for at least 2 hours. The other kids swam and flipped and dove and did handstands and swam some more. Kelvin finally joined up with us and we all ordered pizza and enjoyed each other's company. I love summer nights!

Today, our friend with the slide said the company couldn't come pick it up until tomorrow, so come on over for round two! The kiddos had a blast again! I will have to get my friend to send me a picture. I went down a few times myself yesterday and admit it is tons 'o fun! Good times!!

Tomorrow starts our church's VBS. We also have a lunch and swim invitation. I'll be busy the next several days planning and getting ready for our vacation to God's country...Colorado. WE LOVE Colorado! It. is. gorgeous. If you've never been, you need to go in the summer and in the winter. It is lovely both times of year. Of course, we can't wait to get a respite from this record breaking heat! Luke can't fathom that the places we're staying don't have air conditioning, but we've tried to explain to him we won't need it being so high above sea level. I can't wait! We'll also get to spend a couple of days with our good friends. The kids love seeing their friends, and we do too!

Summertime is the best. No schedules. Late dinners. Backyard campouts. Living room campouts. Spur of the moment get-togethers. My new favorite...watermelon daiquiris! You've gotta click on the link and visit Sasha at Lemonade Makin' Mama for her recipe. I didn't have any watermelon rum, so I used Malibu rum, and it worked great! Let me know what you think. I make a big batch without any grown-up stuff in it and give some to the kids. They love the watermelon smoothie! Another friend suggested watermelon pops. Two enthusiastic thumbs up for these too! Just blend together watermelon and a squirt of lime in a food processor and pour into a popsicle mold or plastic cup with popsicle sticks and put in the freezer for a couple of hours until frozen. YUM-O! This is the stuff you've gotta love.

We still have to fit in the water park, sleepovers, ice skating and many more evenings outside with friends or family and good food, good drinks, and good conversation. I love summer!

So, what have you done this summer? What are your plans? Where are you going for vacation?

Have I mentioned that I love summer? :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

20 years ago

On this day 20 years ago, I said "I do." As a dreamy-eyed sixth grader, I had a crush on a mega fine eighth grader named Kelvin. I actually remember riding home on the bus one day and thinking about how wonderful it would be to be his girlfriend. A few years later, after my ugly duckling phase of bad hair and crooked teeth, that boy named Kelvin noticed a "new" girl at church. He asked his sister who I was and after a few weeks or months (I can't remember the exact time line), we were sitting next to each other at a youth conference. After the conference each night, the youth group would stop by Whataburger on the way home. Kelvin and I went to different high schools in the same town. Homecoming was around the corner for each of us. I knew who I wanted to take. At Whataburger after the youth conference one night Kelvin told me he had something to ask me. I told him I something to ask him too. We both asked each other to our homecoming dances. After that first date, we were forever together. The October of my senior year, one day Kelvin began talking about his day and how much he had been thinking about me and us. It was all very sweet. He then pulled a beautiful ring from his pocket and asked for me to be his wife. I said yes, of course.

I remember being so happy on our wedding day. I never shed a tear. My mouth hurt from smiling so much. Kelvin is the love of my life, my soul mate, my best friend. We have shared great joy and deeper pain. I am so glad he is the one I am sharing my life with. I am amazed at the man he has become. I love his creativity, his adventure, his zeal for life. I love the way he loves me, comforts me, makes me laugh and cares for our family. I love that he is so generous. I love him more now than ever before. I look forward to the years ahead.

‎20 years ago, the wedding invitation said, "This day I will marry my friend, the one I laugh with, live for, dream with, love." Kelvin Dunnam has made me the happiest woman alive. I am blessed, truly blessed.

This is the photo on the front of our wedding album. Please excuse my poor photography.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the special men in my life!

For my wonderful father..
Thank you for sweeping my mom off her feet and becoming the father my sister and I needed. Thank you for providing so wonderfully for our instant family of six...for riding your motorcycle to work in the rain so we could have the car, giving to families in need when no one knew, working overtime to pay for braces among other things, taking us in the boat to water ski on the river and the bayou, showing us how to love our future spouse. I love you!

For my wonderful father-in-law...
I miss you, Marvin. You were such a good dad. Not only did you raise your own children, you raised your grandchildren too. You were such a good example for my husband. You showed him how to respect a lady, to honor your parents and elders, to take pride in our nation, to love the outdoors, the patience it takes to hunt, and much more. I wish you were still here. I know my husband misses his friend.

For the man of my dreams and father of our beautiful children...
I am blessed beyond measure to share the task of raising our children with you, Kelvin. You are such a fabulous father. Our children have a fun-loving, silly, smart, respected, energetic, man of God who loves them to the moon and back father. I could never have imagined what an awesome father you would have been before we had children. You amazed me with your love and support through each labor and delivery. You were incredible the way you stayed by my side the entire time, holding my hand, encouraging me, and then glowing at the first sight of each child. What a sincere honor it was to watch you hold each one for the first time, to whisper words of love in their ears, to so gingerly change them and cradle them. How fun it is to see you play with them now...wrestling around on the floor, teaching them to fish and tube and hunt, encouraging them to step out on faith and try new things. Demonstrating to them a dependence on God. Thank you for loving our children. That they never question that love. That they feel safe and secure because of you. I love you more the life, Kelvin. You are a wonderful daddy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Backyard Campout

Over the weekend we had the most fun! Kelvin chose a very nice tent last year for his 20th anniversary at work. He popped it up, along with Luke's adorable giraffe tent he received a couple of years back for his birthday, and we had us a good ole backyard campout! Kelvin made a splendid fire, the kids roasted marshmallows, we gazed at the stars, and we all climbed in our tents for the night. The kids did great! I slept surprisingly well, but I felt like I had been run over by a train the next morning. If we would have had one of those blow up mattresses, it would have been much better. Maybe next time. I'm glad our kiddos like to do things like camp out in the backyard. It's one of those things that makes me smile...

This morning, I sent our big girl, Carleigh, off to Girls Camp (GA Camp-Girls in Action) with her friend, Carli. I can't believe she is old enough to go to camp. I remember going to GA camp. We had so much fun. One year, I remember it rained during our free time, and they let us swim in the lake in the rain. We slid down the muddy bank into the lake and had the time of our lives. She will do great and have fun, I'm certain. I hope she misses us just a little bit. Cora already misses her. I hope and pray most of all she learns more about the depths of God's love for her and how to be kind and love her friends. I can't wait to hear all about her experience!

Joining Ann and others and giving thanks for...

#42 campouts in the backyard
#43 limes, cilantro and cucumbers on a hot summer day
#44 squeals of delight from kids playing in the pool
#45 babies with blue lips after playing in the pool when the sun goes down
#46 gruffy voice of my boy
#47 Cora's inquisitiveness
#48 the feel of my true love's lips against mine
#49 the smell of the grill burning
#50 star gazing
#51 dreaming about the future with the one I love
#52 scripture in my memory..."He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."
#53 time with friends
#54 sunsets

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Fare

Tonight we had a yummy dinner. Most of us thought so anyway. I love summer. I love all the seasons. I think summer is great though, because there isn't much of a schedule, it stays daylight for a very long time, and we enjoy being outside and grilling. We had this for dinner tonight...

Grilled Chile-Lime Shrimp
Prep: 20 minutes
Marinate: 20 minutes
Grill: 5 minutes


1 tsp. finely shredded lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice (about 1-1/2 limes)
1 jalapeño seeded and finely minced* (I left this out since the kids were eating this, but I think it would be great with it!)
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. cilantro
1 Tbsp. honey
1-1/2 lb. medium shrimp (about 6 per person)

1. Preheat grill to medium-high. In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except shrimp and stir well. Peel shrimp except for tail, and devein. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Place shrimp in large resealable bag. Add marinade. Through bag, rub marinade into shrimp. Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Halfway through, turn bag and give shrimp another marinade massage. (Do not marinate longer then 20 minutes, or the acidic lime juice will cook the shrimp.

3. Place shrimp on cutting board and nestle them together in groups of six. Using two bamboo sewers for each group, skewer the shrimp together (this is nice for presentation, keeps shrimp from falling into the grill, and makes them easier to turn).

4. Grill shrimp on an oiled grill rack 2 minutes per side, or until opaque. Serve with Toasted Couscous with Grilled Mango and Zucchini, see recipe. Makes 4 servings.

5. *Hot chile peppers, such as jalapeños, contain oils that can burn skin and eyes. Avoid direct contact as much as possible. Wear plastic gloves. If using bare hands, wash hands well with soap and water.

nutrition facts
Calories211Total Fat (g)6Saturated Fat (g)1, Monounsaturated Fat (g)2, Polyunsaturated Fat (g)1, Cholesterol (mg)259, Sodium (mg)320, Carbohydrate (g)4, Total Sugar (g)1, Protein (g)35, Vitamin C (DV%)10, Calcium (DV%)9, Iron (DV%)23, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

We also had

Summer Fruit Salad
Photo by: Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 appetizer servings
COURSE: Appetizers, Salads

1/2 cup bottled poppy seed dressing (I forgot to buy this, so I just drizzled some lime juice and balsamic vinegarette on ours. It was yummy!)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 avocados, thinly sliced
4 cups loosely packed arugula
2 cups halved seedless green grapes
1 mango, julienned
1 cup diced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Whisk together dressing and grated ginger in a large bowl. Cut avocado slices in half crosswise; gently toss with dressing mixture. Add arugula and remaining ingredients; gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Pair with: Tramin Gewürztraminer, Italy or Vouvray.
Southern Living JUNE 2011

I absolutely LOVE cilantro and lime. They are both so refreshing! We've had record breaking hot temperatures around our parts lately, so anything refreshing is a very good thing!

So, what's your favorite summer fare?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy 9th birthday, Carleigh

I spent some time reflecting on the labor and delivery of my first child the other day. It really seems just like the other day when I had my first. Carleigh turned 9 on Sunday. I am struggling with how fast the time has gone by. It's too fast. A friend Kelvin works with invited us to spend the weekend with him and his wife at Sam Rayburn. He is a fishing guide there and wanted to take the kids fishing. They didn't just go fishing, they went catching! I would say Carleigh had a pretty exciting 9th birthday on the lake! We also spent some time tubing. I love hearing them squealing when Kelvin is pulling them around on the tube or knee board. FUN stuff!

Last night we had the FAM over for dinner and cake. We had a fish fry with some those of yummy fish they caught! Fresh fish...mmmmm! We devoured what Kelvin cooked. It was SO good. Carleigh wanted a beachy/luauy theme for her party, and my friend made the cutest cake.

If you recall, in November, Carleigh shot her first awesome 8 point buck. We had it mounted for her, and surprised her with it on her birthday. She was so excited. It was just precious!

She's still celebrating! She got to spend the night with Grammy and Papa. I'll pick her up in a little while. I think she had a great 9th birthday. I hope she agrees.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Batten Disease Awareness Weekend

This weekend is Batten Disease Awareness Weekend. If you're new here, Batten Disease is what stole our precious daughter, Emma, from us way too soon. I miss her every day. My heart breaks just a little bit every time I look at her photos. I yearn to hold her, kiss her, stroke her hair, hear her voice. I yearn for things she never got to, go to the pre-K class at Wee School, ride a bike, go to homecoming, graduate.

Batten Disease is one of the thousands of rare diseases that don't get much attention or funding. Maybe if enough people learn about it, that will change. Could you please post something on your blog or Facebook page about Batten Disease this weekend? You can click here to read Jenni's post about their daughter, Celia, who also has Batten Disease. There are many organizations and businesses listed on her post trying to help raise awareness and money to go toward a cure or treatment for Batten Disease. Thanks for taking the time to read.

Thanks for loving our daughter. My prayer is that others like Emma will learn to ride a bike or go to the homecoming dance because when they are given the diagnosis of Batten Disease, the doctor will also give them the good news that there is a cure.

Please visit Batten Disease Support and  Research Association and Beyond Batten Disease Foundation for more information about Batten Disease and how you can help.

Thank you.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Apple doesn't fall far from the tree

Don't you just hate it when something you did as a kid comes back to haunt you? Well, when I was a brilliant teenager, there was a day when I thought my mother didn't do a darned thing all day. In a heated conversation between the two of us, she suggested I sit down and write out a list of the things she did and the things I did. I'm sure she thought I would see the light as I was composing my list and come begging for forgiveness for my arrogance. To her dismay, and now my embarrassment, the list was quite unevenly distributed. Talk about crushing my mom's spirit...shame on me!

Well, I have to say, I am in t-r-o-u-b-l-e! At least I was a smarty pants teenager when I made my list, and at least I had some responsiblity by that point (job, washing my own clothes), but Carleigh is only days away from 9 years old. One of her chores is unloading the dishwasher. I have not been very consistent with making her do it lately. The other day I asked her to unload it. Oh my, did I get an ear full! After having heard enough, I sent her to her room to cool off and write a report about her behavior while she was there. It consisted of phrases such as, "Dishwashers are just a waste of metal for the whole world," and "God gave us our hands for a reason!" Followed by, "I'll unload it but don't put soooooooooooo (took up 3 lines) much in there!" The second part of her report was dedicated to her behavior. She agrees that her behavior was bad, but she was frustrated and couldn't help it. Here's one of my favorites..."Just like you kind of go over the top when you get mad or frustrated at me or Luke or Cora..." (Oh boy! Nothing like having the mirror shoved in front of your face!) Here's another favorite, "I had told Luke 2 to 4 times!" and "It gets really earting (irritating) when you are only 8 to 9 years old." She did close by saying she was very sorry about all that happend that day.

Prayers please! :) Think I need to spend some serious time on my knees begging for the tools necessary to deal with these precious gifts.

So how about you? Have you had any "apple" moments lately?
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