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A Picture and A Piece of News

Here is the picture…
The piece of news is: starting in January 2011 I will *try* to have a new blog with new themes and an all-new focus! 🙂 This is my resolution, anyhow…


Tinsel Ben

My first photoshoot with Benjamin

Okay, so maybe these photos aren’t the best–but it is rather hard to get a seven-month-old toot on the verge of crawling to sit still and smile for a picture. 😉


He was infatuated with those blue bulbs

Isn’t he a darling? I may be biased, but I think so!

Benjamin completely shredded my tinsel with his two sharp teeth

Originally, the bulb and tinsel had been on my personal tree (I do a different, somewhat outlandish color scheme every year–this year it was blue and silver). After the photos were taken, many of my bulbs had been smashed and the tinsel was ripped beyond repair. 😦 

He's so fat and sweet and smooch-a-licious! 🙂

Merry Christmas 2010! May this baby remind you that God sent His Son as a baby to this earth that mankind might be saved! Jesus is the reason for the season!

   I had an inspiration…of the four of us, I can safely say I have them the most often. They don’t refer to me as the “schemer and dreamer” of the group for nothing!
   My inspiration was as follows…
   An off-season get together! (After all, these are my “track” friends! Any period between track and cross-country, and vice-versa, is off-season, and sadly, we are all together very little during the off-season as C and I live on the opposite side of town from D and E.)
   In fewer words–a Christmas party! 😀
   Ever the perfect little party planner (I loooooooveeeee organizing events; I consider it a niche) I had the night detailed from arrival to departure the following morning. When they arrived, we would bake and decorate Christmas cookies with dough I had made from scratch beforehand. After that, we would have dinner with the family before embarking on a brisk stroll around the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights.
   Once home, I decided, we would have cocoa and the world’s largest marshmallows with the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life. I supposed that at that point we would retire to my bedroom to play games and talk and eat more junk food (i.e. FAKE CHEESE!) until three in the morning, when we would promptly retire to bed so as not to be too grouchy come morning.
    Everything changed, though, bit by bit. Nothing went quite as planned, but every party planner must have a great deal of flexibility (at least to some degree) and I went with the flow and found…they’re my best friends–why on earth did we need a schedule? Answer: we didn’t!
   First off, Mom (who hates planning parties, I think the gene must skip generations) decided to host the family party on the same night so as not to do it over the following weekend.
   Yay! I thought, Now my grandparents can meet the fabled “Core Four”, or Danielle Lindsey, Christina Van Rheeden, and Ernestina Maldonado. 
Later, the neighbors got invited over as well, and suddenly we were in desperate need for some party games, which came together without a problem. After all, what is not to love about a White Elephant gift exchange (my fifth of the season at that point–I was running fresh out of hilarious ideas and old junk, but I still did my classic bulb-with-someone’s-face-on-it. That time, it was Grandpa Newton). Also, Mom asked me to create Christmas carol Mad Gabs, which I worked on for–like–forever, yet still were not a hit with my uncles. Two examples are “Wreath Geek Rings hover ye in tar” (We three kings of orient are) and “Ice aw maul mark is sing Sandy Claws” (I saw Momma kissing Santa Claus). Get it? GET IT?! 
   My relatives were not amused, apparently. Epic fail.
   That aside, I also should have foreseen the disaster of four best friends who haven’t seen each other all together since the end-of-the-xc-season-fellowship trying to roll cookie dough and catch up on life at once. There was a lot of laughter and talking, and a lot of wasted dough. Oooopppsss…should have seen that one coming. (Not to mention the fact that Christina and Ernestina are nutrition freaks and spent the entire time mushing dough–not eating it like other people–and gabbing away about this new book they were enthralled in: Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads, or something like that!)
   However, with all the attendees to the party, the buffet line was loaded. Literally. There was Domino’s Pizza (yumness!), sausage balls, chips and queso (FAKE VELVEETA!!!!), rice krispy treats, fun-sized chocolates, our sugar cookies, these little weenies that had been marinated in this heavenly sauce, fruit and vegetable trays plus dip made by moi, tamales, Italian subs, ham sandwiches, and jalapeno poppers (double yumness!)
   With all the guests milling in our kitchen, my friends and I ate on the front porch, donning our sweaters whilst sipping Fanta and dipping the crusts of the pizza in cheese sauce (at least, that’s what I was doing!)
   Later we went in for the games, in which we played the doomed round of Mad Gabs wherein I was criticized mercilessly for my awful combinations, and the White Elephant gift exchange, where our next door neighbor, of all people, drew my gift with the Grandpa’s face on it. However, there was a bright side…
   Long story short, every few years Mom goes on one of these let’s-remember-the-true-meaning-of-Christmas kicks and to gravitate away from the selfishness of the season, we are allowed one gift. Only one. Well, I knew I had to choose carefully as this would have to last mean until my birthday–in July, might I add–so I asked for what any sixteen-year-old girl would: a pair of 10 lb. dumbbells. 😛 
   I know, rather unconventional, but I needed to build up the upper body strength for track! (Besides, what else could I ask for? A sweater? A book? I get those every year, and it was time for something useful!)
   However, things were looking bleak as it was the week before Christmas and a trip to the attic had confirmed that the dumbbells were not what was going to be wrapped under the tree this year. As it turned, though, the very first present unwrapped was a pair of what looked to be three-pound dumbbells!
   I just about had a spastic fit, right there. At once my friends and I began whispering plans to insure that I got them and that they stayed with me, as the stealing rule was in place. My aunt Lisa stole them first, and Christina, being a very good friend, stole them next. I immediately took them from her, thus locking the gift. Huzzah!
   After the games, we decided to go on our walk. We linked arms and strolled the block not once, but three times, as we are all the outdoorsy type and loved the cool, brisk night air and I loved the cold pavement under my bare feet. Eventually D & C migrated ahead and left E and I to our own devises, in which we threw back our heads and sung “Mary did you Know” all the way down one street and “The Twelve Days of Christmas” up the next. We met again, and the other two made us simmer down, to our regret. 😉
   Later, we watched a very non-Christmasy Tim Hawkins DVD over cocoa and–yes–the largest marshmallows Wal-Mart carried. 🙂 The movie we had wished to see had twenty holds on it at the library, no joke, and I probably should have put it on hold some time in September. While the other watched, I sneaked down stairs for a shot of Pepsi to keep me awake.
   At midnight we retired to my room in our pajamas and whipped out the games! Time flew by as we hopped from Quelf to Imaginiff to Clue to Beyond Balderdash and to Life while refilling our plates with food from downstairs while the rest of the house slept. We could scarcely believe our fatigued eyes when my alarm clock read 5:57! It was almost dawn!
   “Alright, that’s it,” I said at last, “We need to squeeze in at least two hours of sleep. Everybody up!” By “up”, I referred to the olympic queen bed where we would all sleep sideways to fit. Unfortunately, by the time we dropped off to sleep it was 6:45 and the sun was already peeking its first rays through my window. Grrrr. 😛
   In the morning, C and E were unusually chipper for having had only one hour of sleep and dragged me out of bed for another walk around the block. Lucky D snoozed onward. When we returned, Mom had a steaming breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and fruit waiting for us at the table. Groggy as we were, it was still a neat treat! 🙂

Christina, Ernestina, Andrea, and Danielle! 🙂

Christina closed her eyes! Nooooooooooooooooooo…. 😀  

 Human pyramid! (Po reminded us it was actually more of a square!)

Poor Danielle looks soooo tired, she didn’t even put her glasses on…but the cocoa and flapjacks were worth it!

   An update on Quenton Solomon “Po” Lee…he is still our six-year-old naturalist, chemist, backyard observer, and rocket scientist. Anything mathy or science he can not only survive, but thrive in as well. He spends hours in the bathroom with his test tubes creating “concoctions”. His most recent creation involves hydrogen peroxide, petroleum jelly, hair conditioning spray, Tilex, witch hazel, toothpaste, and a dozen or more things you find in our bathroom, all mixed together and heated in a beaker (just kidding about that last part, although if Po had the means to heat and vaporize his experiments there is no doubt in my mind that he would).
   When he was four I put him on my knee and showed him the computer and all its wonders (BIG MISTAKE, MIGHT I ADD!!!) Within the next few days he had practically disassembled the whole contraption–he was creating documents, renaming folders, moving pictures, deleting important files, and printing pages and pages of his favorite Clip Art, all in that wonderfully expensive colored ink. Joy.
   Later he would discover how to record his favorite TV shows on our DVR which included Curious George and Martha Speaks…if there wasn’t enough room in the system, well hey–why not just delete some of Dad’s programs to make more room for his? At any rate, nothing techy ever slips past this boy. Yet, despite his intelligence he never ceases to amaze me with his thoughtfulness and tender spirit.
     Po, you are and forever will be my closest comrade and bestest buddy. I love you little nugget. 🙂
     However, as geniuses go, he has no time for anything as trivial as sports, and is probably the non-jockiest kid in the Lee home. When track was over and Greyson was brandishing his medals, I was ranting about cross-country season, Richmond was begging for soccer, and Daylon was the basketball’s best buddy, Po decided he needed to fit a sport into his agenda.
   “Sign me up for T-ball, Mom!” begged Po.
   “Are you sure, Po?” Mom quizzed him. For Po, this seemed a bit odd. Perhaps an older brother had put him up to it?
   “Yes, absolutely, without question, undeniably, positively, definitely,” Po said…(or something like that).
   So, we did…with disastrous results.


Po in the midst of one of his games…shading his eyes from the sun while his teammates rush about catching and throwing. Nothing fazes this kid.

A butterfly on Po’s shoulder.  This picture is the epitome of Po’s love for anything living (that he can do experiments on!)

 Po showing me a bug (it has a binomial nomenclature which Po relayed to me, but I forgot…) on his arm which he coaxed all the way home. (Coaxed is comparative, though, considering it went home in a plastic cup!)

   While his siblings flipped through a Toys-R-Us catalogue circling toys they wanted for Christmas, Po found a homeschool science magazine and circled some test tubes, beakers, flasks, and a sheep’s heart (yes!!) so that “he could dissect it.”
    That Po! Excuse me while I go give that precious nugget a hug right now…

XC in a Nutshell

   Well, I survived! Cross Country is over, and although I never would have been able to believe it even six months ago, I can officially run long distances.
   Maybe I’m not elite.
   Maybe I’m not even above average…
   But. I. FINISHED!!! And I am so very glad I did.
   It was slow going at first, as I am a sprinter at heart and couldn’t fathom the idea that running miles on end might be fun or relaxing (not that sprinting is that relaxing either, but I considered it the lesser of the two evils.)
   The first practices were excruciatingly hot, and I guzzled water like it was the life source which kept me putting one foot in front of the other–and I guess it was.
   I found a list of several points which follow the statement, “You know you are an XC runner if…” and decided to use these to better explain the “sport” of running.

1. You roll your eyes when people say, “You run three miles…at once?” *Rolls eyes*…yes, I’m guilty.
2. You get irritated when more than half the people you know don’t know the difference between cross-country and track. Let’s start with my own family here! Mom, even up until my last meet, was still calling cross-country “track”. I don’t even have to try to explain the differences…it should be obvious!
3. You come up with weird answers to questions like “Why do you run so much?” For example, “I don’t know…I guess I’m just wired differently.” 😉
4. The most enjoyable time you’ve had all month is a day off from practice. Actually, I enjoyed practicing, whether with the team or by myself. My legs start to itch if I let them remain immobile for too long.
5. All your socks are either stained or torn. Haha…YES! This is so true. Cross Country wreaked major havoc on all my running socks.
6. You can spit while running. A lovely talent I have acquired. 🙂
7. You finish the race looking like you wrestled a bear and you don’t care. True that. You can’t care too much how you look while running because I usually look like I’ve wrestled a bear and lost when I cross the finish line.
8. You spend more on training clothes than school clothes. Being homeschooled, of course, I don’t have school clothes, but actually I was always dressed for a run in case I could sneak an extra one in. Often I would spend the entire day in my running shoes so that between subjects I could do a few laps around the block.
9. You have running withdrawal if you don’t run everyday. Like I said earlier…a day without running meant legs itching to get outside.
10. You wake up every morning in pain. And different kinds of pain, too. Some days it would be in the calves, some days hamstrings, others quads, and even abdominal muscles hurt!
11. Gatorade is your drug of choice. I couldn’t get enough of it.
12. Your Saturdays for the entire season are ruined. Seriously, every time I was invited to go somewhere on a Saturday I couldn’t because of cross-country meets…but that’s okay 😀
13. You enjoy running hills. Well, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed running them… 😉
14. Your favorite food group is carbohydrates. Bring on the pasta!
15. You are always hungry. Seriously, during the season I was a bottomless pit. I was raiding the fridge night and day.
16. Track is the other “sport”. Yup.
17. You think sprinting is for wussies. Actually, I have to disagree with this one, being a sprinter myself 🙂 Sprinting is just a different sort of hard.
18. You don’t know what an “off-season” means. If you are training year-round, then this is definitely the case.
19. You have shin splints. The third week of cross country I got my first official shin splints. Somehow I had managed to avoid them in track 😦
20. You find yourself saying, “it’s not really a hill…” This is so true. My friends and I rated hills by their steepness and length. Some were “molehills” and others were “half-mountains”.
21. Your feet are comparable to rawhide. Ick…yes 😦
22. Watching the New York Marathon on T.V. made you get up and go for a run. Who has time to watch TV when you could be running…just kidding 🙂
23. You can say “I like to run” in four languages. I like to run. Ich mag zu laufen. J’aime bien courir . Më pëlqen për të kandiduar.
24. Your calves are bigger than your biceps. Pshh. Way bigger. 😀
25. Your toe nails are falling off. Give me more time…one of them is well on its way.
26. You’re proud that another team has quadrupled you’re score. Because diehard XC fans know that the team with the lowest score wins. 🙂
27. You have a strong desire to save used popsicle sticks. Only a race runner would understand. 🙂 (Alright, for any non-xc’ers–the popsicle stick is given when you cross the finish line with your “place” on it.)
28. You run through puddles instead of around them. Ah, yes, such excellent training.
29. You know at least 3 different ways to tie a shoelace. Only three? I know at least seven. 😛
30. You know exactly what a difference .14 miles can make. Oh, yes! Every little bit hurts.
31. Water is everywhere. I will rephrase this…water is LIFE!
32. Your team is like family. Perhaps a dysfunctional family…just kidding 🙂
33. You have more inside jokes than a stand up comedian does. *Laughs*
34. You have almost or have gotten hit by a car. Almost, not quite 😉
35. You can add up miles and meters in your head, any other math you need a calculator. Very true
36. You go through cases of water/Gatorade in a week. More like truckloads
37. You know what sweat taste like. And blood. And vomit. And all three mixed together. :/
38. You’ve become a professional at popping blisters. Blister-popper extraordinaire right here!
39. You have some cool looking tan lines. Let’s see…how ’bout substituting the word “mortifying” for the word “cool”??
40. You and everyone on your team have some corny ritual before a race. I wouldn’t consider praying a “corny” ritual…
41. You know the location and state of decomposition of all roadkill in a 5 mile radius of your school. Change that to my house, and yes, I do.
42. You measure a distance in time. Actaully, I first I found this difficult but eventually I was able to pick this up, too!
43. You tell how old your shoes are by how many miles are on them. Mine need replacing, but I want to see if they’ll stay together through track season. (Running shoes are so crazy expensive, it is not even funny!)
44. You can run 6 miles while singing the entire way. Correction: I sing the first two miles, I whistle through the third, I can generally keep something like a conversation through the fourth and fifth, and if I dare run a sixth you can bet I won’t be making much noise. 😉 
45. You’ve been ever so thankful to find a disgusting, stinking, hasn’t-been-emptied-in-months porta-john at just the right time. As disgusting as it is, that thing is glimmering diamonds when you really need it.

   Well, I hope through the above forty-five statements I have been better able to explain cross-country. Will I do it next year? Of course! As strenuos and awful as it was at the beginning, it really paid off at the end. And, as #18 correctly states, there is no “off-season” for a runner…you just got to keep plugging away at those miles, BUT…now I am varying my long distance runs with shorter, faster sprinting work-outs. YAY!! I can’t wait for track!!
   Also, one might wonder why there are no pictures of me for cross-country posted. Let’s just say I look like a dying platypus when I run and don’t really want to post them!


   Okay, whether or not anyone finds this amusing…this was a mock report I wrote in 2009 0n our then new dachshund, Theodore Roosevelt. I am simply posting it so I will always be able to find it.
   While I’m at it, I will give an update on our little dog. Currently, Teddy is still a tree-climber (I am constantly having to climb the oak tree in the backyard up after him when he gets stuck on a limb). Sometimes he gets stranded in precarious positions, and our only hope is to lure him down with a piece of pastrami.
   He and Max still have not decided who is the Alpha dog, and brawl over this slight differnece in opinions quite frequently.
   Teddy, we’ve discovered, is also decidedly more fond of food than people, although he is quite amiable. However, nothing stands between him and his dog food bowl, or the occasional turkey carcass. 😉

 And here is the article: Article on Teddy (Written July 2009)

Family Photos 2010

   Our family photographer has met with us for two consecutive years at a park in San Antonio so we can pile on our favorite tree for family photos. I would love to post every single one of them, but that would take up way too much room. I would also like to post every single one of Daylon, who managed to look unbearably cute in every image, but I can’t do that either. 🙂

 Getting situated takes at least fifteen minutes…

Rather then try to find matching shoes for everyone, we went barefoot!


Moi (Yours truly)

He looks sooo precious in blue jeans!! I love him s.o. m.u.c.h. 🙂


There were a million of him to choose from. Daylon (3) is just so cute!

The Wacky Pack (from left): Po, Richmond, Benjamin, Greyson, Dad, and Daylon

Mom, Hannah Grace, and I–“The Girlz”

   I would like to save the other individual shots for another post, perhaps. This one is becoming too long, as it is!  


   Since the birth of Benjamin Asher, our family has devised a sort of buddy system. The original plan was for each older kid (Richmond, Greyson, and I) to take partial responsibility for one of the younger three boys. Hannah, falling in the exact middle, would somehow drift from buddy duo to buddy duo, helping where needed. Responsibility meaning, of course, that when we went on outings we were to watch out for them, help them find their toothbrushes, read them stories when they ask, and all the other cozy familial things siblings do.
   Our system, however, quickly turned into a 20/80 society, with 20% of the people (i.e. me) doing 80% of the work. While everyone was eager to pass Benjamin around, cuddling him, fetching his favorite toys, and changing his diapers, the other two toddlers sort of clung to me. By “clung” I mean, they moved in–literally.
   After half a dozen bed-swaps, I finally ended up with an olympic queen which takes up most of my bedroom, but comfortably fits Po, Daylon, and I.
   I laid down some ground rules right from start. 1) Don’t forget whose room this was originally–mine!–please respect the carpet and leave your paints and markers downstairs, 2) Touch nothing on the nightstand, and 3) If I step on another truck with my bare feet, we will have a merry bonfire in the backyard and use the accusing vehicles as kindling. Thank you.
   Within the first five minutes, genius Po had figured out how to reset my alarm clock several hours forward, and when I entered my–our–room to set things straight, I found Daylon riding my horse figurine around the bed in circles. Both the clock and the horse had originally been on the nightstand.
   All in all, though, I have to say that gaining these two new roommates has been a change for the better. I love hearing little Daylon whisper, “Good-night, Andi,” in my ear after I’ve brushed his teeth, tucked him in with Bunny (his most beloved stuffed rabbit) and Up (purple bear), and told him and Po their favorite stories. I enjoy watching Po put together puzzles on my bedroom floor, and *gasp!* the parking-lot-fulls of trucks, cars, and motorcycles lined up along my bureau and nightstand are sort of growing on me. As a matter of fact, I wonder how I ever could have lived without them!

Daylon, one of my buddies and roommates, age 3 🙂

   I love lists. I love lists about things I love even more. So what could be better than a list of a hundred things I love?? To broaden my horizons, I will not list a hundred animals I love, a hundred soft drinks I love, or a hundred activities I love, but will try to be extremely specific. (If it is on the list, I must really, really love it!) Also, God, my family, and my friends are sort of a given. And, these aren’t in any order. Okay…here goes…

1. cherry 7-up
2. putting together abstract mosaics
3. waffle fries
4. dancing in the rain
5. the color purple in various hues
6. camping in a tent
7. starting novels (I didn’t say anything about finishing them, unfortunately)
8. hotdogs with ketchup-mustard-relish-chili-cheese and onions (all at once)
9. star-gazing
10. comfy gauchos
11. running competitively
12. milking goats
13. brownies dipped in marinara sauce
14. ocean blue
15. cold weather
16. family theatricals
17. kicking a soccer ball around with friends
18. wild horses
19. organizing events
20. forest green
21. guzzling Pepsi
22. boys who can maintain an intelligent conversation
23. going barefoot
24. summer storms
25. dogs of all breeds and sizes
26. inside jokes
27. classical music
28. dried fruit
29. cooking in the kitchen
30. archery
31. missionary stories
32. freshly baked bread
33. quiet moments of introspective solitude
34. sweet and sour chicken
35. standing in front of a concession stand for ten minutes, and then inevitably walking away with a bag of skittles 😉
36. Pixar movies
37. studying other cultures
38. pizza buffets
39. kayaking and canoeing
40. shooting hoops with my brothers
41. laughing so hard tears come to my eyes
42. painting a watercolor sunset
43. blogging (when I have the time)
44. wildlife photography
45. doing preschool with Daylon
46. overalls
47. wading in cold rivers
48. sour lemonade on hot days
49. driving four-wheelers
50. homemade jam
51. getting handwritten letters
52. curling up with a good book
53. dark chocolate (the bitterer the better)
54. people I can be myself around
55. word games (read: Scrabble, Balderdash, Apples to Apples, etc.)
56. the literary masterpieces of C.S. Lewis
57. the cold side of the pillow
58. tangrams
59. finding money I forgot I had
60. family road trips in the Green Mono (15-passenger),
61. people you love so much that just hearing their voice makes you smile
62. wildflowers in grassy meadows
63. wet hair in braids
64. volunteer work
65. sleeping in on rainy days
66. games involving glow-sticks
67. roller coasters
68. subtle wit
69. spicy salsa
70. tobyMac
71. pushing elevator buttons
72. cardinals (the bird and the football team)
73. the fresh scent of school supplies
74. yard sales
75. tower bedrooms (or ones with balconies!)
76. running through other people’s sprinklers
77. book lights for reading under the covers at midnight
78. tire swings
79. The Sound of Music
80. libraries
81. blowing bubbles
82. strong, dark, bitter coffee
83. weenie roasts
84. those random spurts of creativity you get at two in the morning (doesn’t everyone??)
85. oxymorons and paradoxes 
86. fudge pecan pie
87. song lyrics printed inside CDs so you can sing along without having to guess your way through the next stanza >.<
88. lime green duct tape
89. meeting someone and finding that you have a lot in common
90. winning really competitive games
91. perogies
92. having an empty house all to myself so I can sing as loud as I want to, and nobody will ever hear   
93. wrapping myself in warm towels fresh from the dryer 
94. listening to elderly people talk about their childhood
95. making the most of every opportunity
96. waking up and realizing I still have an hour of sleep left 🙂
97. replaying wonderful conversations over and over in my head
98. roller-skating at a rink
99. finding pennies on the sidewalk
100. zip-lines

Blue Bathroom!!!

   The kids’ upstairs bathroom has been repainted a most lovely shade of sky blue!! I am ecstatic, elated, jubilant, euphoric, and just plain thrilled! Everyone needs a non-dramatic change in their lives now and then and our new beautiful blue bathroom is one of them. 😀

I don’t know if you can tell from the pictures, but the walls are blue! *Sigh!*

It is ridiculous how terrible I am at gymnastics. That is definitely one thing I am NOT gifted in!

 This picture must be proof of my oh-so-graceful landing 🙂 Ack! Point the camera somewhere else!

Hannah executes a perfect cartwheel…well, you can’t say the Lee’s have no agility genes 😉


   Guilty, guilty, guilty…that’s me. My last post was in July, and it is already September. Sadly, this blog has fallen on the wayside as last of priorities on my ever-filled to-do list. 😦
   The honest thing to do would be to recap my summer with as much brevity as possible. We shall rewind back to that fateful day on May the 1st. After the flooding of the Lee home, we were stranded in a hotel for two weeks (more or less) before realizing we were also stranded in San Antonio for the entire summer as–gasp!–there was no vacation on the agenda.
   However, I believe we still had an a.m.a.z.i.n.g summer, vacation or not. June was somewhat slow, but with the help of my trusty library card (I finally paid off my thirty-some dollars in racked-up fines 😛 ) I somehow made it through…*dramatic swoon*.
   July got more exciting as I counted down the days to my sixteenth birthday and summer camp whilst running two miles every night in preparation for cross-country. On July 25th I had a chocolate sheet cake made by my amazing mother, and it was heavenly. Actually, I think heavenly is an understatement.
   At the end of July I went to a summer church camp up near Waco, Texas with my brother and my cousin, who attends the church that was hosting it. My last-minute decision to go to camp was one of the best I made all summer because the camp was dynamic!! Zip-lines, paint ball, kayaking, randomness with glow sticks, and awesome worship!! I came back completely refreshed and ready for August.
   The following weekend I had a belated birthday slumber party with one of my besties 🙂 We stayed up late playing games and downing chips, skittles, m’n’m’s and all those great forbidden foods you only have on special occasions, right?? 😀 Also, we had a great weekend at “Camp Cousin” where I learned to drive a four-wheeler and rode shotgun in a private aircraft. Good times, good times 😉
   And now I am 16, a junior at Lee Academy, and currently have 39 college credits toward a degree in psychology. (So if you catch me staring at you weird, I’m really just analyzing your personality. 😛 ) And, of course, cross-country!! Okay, so I may love sprinting in track way better, but I proudly don the Patriots uniform and keep on running all those endless miles…because I enjoy a good challenge, and I love my xc friends to death. Come to think of it, if I keep running like I am, death may loom near….or not. 🙂
   Okay, so my summer in a walnut-shell!! And yes, despicable me will try to post more often. Well, ta-ta!

Me and my purple and green birthday balloons 🙂

There’s no such thing as an “ordinary” outing in our family >.< heehee

Practicing the piano with Baby Benjamin is my idea of multi-tasking!! He loves Diabelli’s Sonatinas 🙂


   Ciao! It is that time of year again…our annual “Day In…” Bright Light’s Bible Study with a theme in another country.
   Last year it was the dazzling City of Lights–Paris. This year, we kissed the Eiffel Tower and  Arc de Triomphe goodbye in exchange for spaghetti and fresh garden salad, O Sole Mio, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Our Day in Italy party was an absolute blast!
   When the girls entered our street, they could spot our house right away. We had a grandiose Italian flag hanging from the roof, an Italian chef–Signore Spaghetti–taped to the front door. Once they waltzed their way inside, they could behold red, white, and green crepe paper hanging from the ceilings, decorative grapes on the tables, and cut-outs of Venice citizens plastered to the walls.
     To accompany the grapes, our Bible Study was on the verse, “I am the Vine, and you are the Branches.” Also…in honor of the grapes (I assume Italy=grapes 😉 ) the girls decorated and sewed purple hand-bags out of camisoles.
     All in all, I believe the girls had a wonderful time, as did I. I am looking forward to next summer’s adventure abroad–and yes, my mother’s sauce was quite authentic.

Optical Illusions

I think my favorite chapter in psychology is the one on perceptions. Just looking at these optical illusions was enough to make me cross-eyed!

As I continue my training for the painful sport of cross-country, I have found an inordinately helpful website I must post before I forget! ~~Cross Country Stretches~~