Friday, July 31, 2015

Epic Journey Home

The five of us took one last stroll down the beach this morning - we even saw something new today.  It was a school of tiny fish that must have been chased towards the shoreline, all of them flopping up out of the water, and many of them beaching themselves.  This made us wonder what was in the water that did that.  Madison, Daddy and Ba-Ba rescued a few of the stranded fish, tossing them back into the water.  But there were so many, and Mommy let Madison know that the seagulls needed to eat too.  So we walked away, and sure enough, the seagulls descended down for a nice breakfast buffet.  "Rats with Wings!"

Anyway, it was perfect temperature and a nice morning walk.  But when we returned, we had to go home.  It's a longer drive, so we packed our things and said our goodbyes to Nana and Ba-Ba once more.  We'll see them again in Georgia soon enough.

We stopped two times on the island before leaving.  Our first stop was to say goodbye to the Silver Surfer.

For a time, this was Madison's favorite superhero.  This required at least one stop.  The next stop was at Race Trac:  today was the last day of Sodapalooza.  Yep, it's been a full summer with way too much to drink.  We've been refilling these cups over and over again for three months or so - it seems like forever ago when we got them.  Madison was wondering what to do with the cup afterwards.  Which sort of sets up a story later - foreshadowing there!

Anyway, the drive home was a long one.  It's a longer drive to begin with, but there were storms across the two states today, and that slowed things down tremendously.  Ironically, the biggest traffic of the day was leaving the island this morning.

But at one point in Georgia, just before Lenox and right there at that Dooley County rest area, we saw the sky in front of us looking like an image from a storm chaser video.  We knew we should go ahead and take that break at the rest area - the timing was perfect.  Many, many other cars followed us in.  There's no sense driving in that when you can't see that far in front of you, and the wind is whipping this way and that.

But here's the other part of the story, as shared in an email:

It was a long journey home today.  We went to get our Sodapalooza cup filled up this morning at Cocoa Beach, and Madison was wondering what to do with the Sodapalooza cup afterwards.

There's your set-up.  Just wait for the punchline...

We encountered one incredibly massive storm in Dooley County - horizontal rain and dark, low-hanging clouds, thunder, and close to zero visibility on the road.  So I pull in to the rest area there to wait it out.  And Madison announces that she does have to go to the bathroom while there, and she has to go pretty bad.  But the umbrella is in the trunk.  And it is absolutely pouring, literally flooding the rest area in ankle deep water.  I tell her we have to wait it out.  And we do, but twenty minutes later, there's no sign of the storm letting up.  And Madison is really having to go really bad.  But if we even so much as open that car door, we'll be soaked, drenched, and saturated.

The rain isn't letting up.  Madison is getting to a point where she can't hold it back anymore.

Then Mommy comes up with an idea:  You know that Sodapalooza cup...?

Yes, that happened.  Daddy was in the front seat, just laughing at the thought of the end of our Sodapalooza cup.  Madison and Mommy were laughing too.

We made it home pretty late.  It was a longer drive up than it was down, but we did make it home.  And so the catching up will begin tomorrow.  But we did make it home safely, even through a few other storms that we had to drive through.  Visibility was low, but everyone was smart and drove slowly forward until each one passed.  It just made for a long day.

But again, we made it back, and all was well.  Thank you Lord for a relaxing week at the beach!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Clutch Play

So, we were building a massive hole today.  This was a pool that Daddy wanted to build for Madison and her new friends.  It was deep, deep, deep, as there were four of us digging down into the sand.  We struck water, and the walls were so tall on this that it provided a little shade for those inside!

Anyway, Mommy has not seen a sea turtle all week, and the rest of us have.  And even some of Madison's friends saw one the other morning.  We got up earlier in an attempt to see one along the shoreline, just as the rest of us saw one earlier.  But to no avail.  It's just a bit of chance involved, and sadly, Mommy didn't get to see a sea turtle yet.  But we've been praying for that, because Mommy really wanted to see one.

So as we were out there digging, Mommy came down to the beach to bring us back up for some lunch and some more sunscreen.  And that's when a guy came running up to us to let us know something was happening not far down the beach from us!

It wasn't just one sea turtle - it was a breaching nest!  Their nest is actually called a clutch, and pouring out of it were about 15-20 baby sea turtles.  God was saving the best for last!

Madison and her friend Isabel escorted a few of them to the shoreline, giving each one names like Peaches, Princess Sandy, and King Seaweed.  The king didn't become king until he reaches the water though - until that point, he was just Prince Seaweed.

Madison found a group of seagulls nearby, and shouted her refrain:  "GET LOST!"  None of the birds were brave enough to stand up to her.  Nor were they willing to tangle with any of the other adults there, all of us shuffling along and escorting turtles to the sea.  It was quite a moment, something new for us to see.  And it all happened in broad daylight too, midday.  We were expecting this sort of thing to happen in the night.  But here it was at low tide, where the water was so far from the nest.

There may have been others coming out of the nest, but there were plenty of people there by that time.  We'd seen the majority of them, and were quite content.  Mommy had her sea turtle experience, just a whole lot more than we'd seen until then.  God was saving the best for last!

Mommy and Nana and Ba-Ba went to the grocery store after that, while Daddy and Madison visited the pool.  Madison's friend was there, so she had a great time swimming once again.  A storm came up upon us after about 45 minutes or so, and it was pretty much time for us to get out anyway.

The rain this week has been daily, but it's never interfered with our plans.  The neat thing about being there at the beach is that there is no precise timing involved.  You don't drive up and hope it isn't raining while you are there.  In this case, if it rains, you just go out afterwards.  Which is what we did.  Everything timed out perfectly, including the fact that there were times we needed to come in from all the sun anyway.

Dinner was glorious, with shrimp and salmon and too much food on the table, really.  And a little later, we fulfilled a promise to Madison by returning back to Friendly's for ice cream.  All of us went, and got  something a little different.  We had the same waiter that we did a few weeks ago, and he remembered Madison.  She was quite insistent that she got her coloring sheet and crayons!

Friendly's at Satellite Beach is sort of part of the package deal now.  It's not a trip to the beach unless you've marked Friendly's off your checklist.

When we got back, it was nearly time for bed.  There was bedtime reading, and for Mommy and Daddy an episode or two of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."  We're watching season two again, catching up on it before season three starts in a few weeks.  We all went to bed early tonight, because tomorrow we'll be up early - and ready to go back home.

It's been a great week though.  All the family has been quite happy together, and we'll be sad to have to hit the road tomorrow.  But it's been a memorable week at the beach.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Moonlight Stroll

In an effort to spot sea turtles for Mommy, we took a lengthy moonlight stroll on the beach.  The moon is full and beautiful, hovering over the ocean and illuminating the beach.  We didn't see any turtles though!

Still, it was quite a walk.  The weather was just perfect as the five of us walked along the shoreline.  Madison is so happy to be here, holding hands with us as we walk along.  She loves getting her feet wet, and then of course there are those errant waves that surprise us, leaving us a bit more soaked than we intended.

Madison made some new friends today, and together we helped build some sand castles - a massive complex of spires surrounding a lake we built.  It was pretty impressive!  This picture shows castle #2 of 3 being constructed - the first is done there to the right.  You can see a long canal that stretches the ocean - Madison dug this earlier, quite focused in her little project.

Later, when we needed a little break, Daddy and Madison drove up the street about ten minutes to Ron Jon Surf shop.  You can see a zillion billboards in Florida for the place, even some in Georgia.  It's sort of like Wall Drug in that respect.  But Ron Jon is - some might say regrettably - nothing like Wall Drug.  It's actually a respectable surf shop, filled with lots of items related to surfing, beach life and so forth.  There was even a section of vinyl records there, among them of course an album by the Beach Boys.  Madison posed for a few photo ops, but we weren't there that long.  

Tonight we had another big dinner, and another big game of Clue.  Before bed, we've been reading from Daddy's devotional, and also reading book four of the "Elsa and Anna" series.  We've been doing that each night here.  Daddy's been reading on his own a pretty good prequel book called "Before Tomorrowland."  It's actually better than the movie, in my opinion - lots of fun and adventure.

Speaking of tomorrow, it's going to be another nice day at the beach with nothing in particular on the to-do list.  See you then!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shell Art

In between beach walks, castles, pool visits and even a bit of body surfing, we've been creating art!  You can see above just one sample of Madison's collection, a ballerina she made with sea shells glued to paper.  This calls for more seashells to be found, which we'll no doubt be doing throughout the week.  Now, we're not only looking for the nicest shells - we're also looking for the ones that have a unique shape about them, one that could be used to make a picture.

In other news, Daddy spotted a baby sea turtle this morning.  He scared an ambitious crab away from the turtle, and escorted the little guy to the sea.  Now Mommy is the only one to have not seen a sea turtle, and of course we're praying she gets that opportunity before week's end.

We've been playing cards - and even a game of Clue for the first time.  Madison figured out whodunnit, with what, and where in a special Boardwalk edition of the game.  I had not seen that version before, but in the closet of our condo are a few board games to try out, so Clue it was.  Madison quickly caught on to the idea, and was a pretty decent sleuth in the first go-round.  We'll try the game later on with more players, and see how things pan out.  But she enjoyed it anyway, her first try at this game.  Lately, we've been on a roll, so to speak, with board games for the first time:  Life, Yahtzee, and now Clue.  She loves board games quite a bit, which is great.  Today, we have apps and video games, and sometimes these board games are forgotten because of the effort it takes to set them up and so forth.  This might explain why some of them are so valuable online.  Anyway, we've got a good collection at home, and we'll keep up the board game tradition.

And so, such was our day:  not much going on, really.  But that's what this vacation is all about.  Rest and relaxation on the schedule, with no destinations in mind:  we're already there.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sea Turtle Rescue Team

This morning, Madison and her grandparents went for a walk.  Nana, Ba-Ba and Madison went for a walk along the shore, and wouldn't you know it?  They spotted a baby sea turtle.  This straggler was on the way to the ocean, and Madison was quite helpful in her protection services.  She'd chase seagulls around yelling, "Get lost!"  And despite the tumbling in the surf, the little guy made it safe and sound to the ocean.

But her adventurous morning wasn't over yet - before they returned, they saw a sting ray, caught by a fisherman.  He was returning it to the ocean, but not before showing it off to Madison.

So they got back to the condo, already with some adventure under their belts.  We are staying on the third floor of the Sandpiper Towers, a wonderful view of the ocean before us.  A balcony beckons, inviting us to sit outside and hear the soothing sounds of surf rolling in and out.  Birds fly by, pelicans in formation, a squadron flying low and looking for targets.  And there aren't many people at all.  this may be because of the rules here regarding sea turtles.  No development, and therefore not too much in the way of tourism.  This is okay by us, as we like the less-crowded beaches.

The pool was calling out once more, so we did spend a little time down there.  Madison loves to swim in the pool.  She loves to collect sea shells too.  Mommy, Daddy and Madison walked along the shore looking for sea shells.  There are plenty to be found.

Also on today's to-do list:  Yahtzee!  It was Madison's first experience with the game, and nobody rolled Yahtzee!  So there was no yelling Yahtzee!  This was pretty disappointing.  But Madison did win the game, so there was that to be celebrated.  Some time ago on a Spring Break trip out to Oklahoma, Daddy spent about two hours playing Yahtzee!  There were five or six of us in the back of a van, and that was one of the games we brought along for fun.  Don't ask why, but we were really enjoying this one, and kept playing the game as the van we were in rolled on.

As for today, it has been relaxing.  We loaded a popular app on the iPad called "Dubsmash."

This is Mommy and Madison doing the Trololo song, a video we posted on the social network.  That was fun - and so were the other things we did:  reading (Daddy and Madison did a lot of this), drawing, and a little bit of sleeping thrown in just for fun.

It was a pretty relaxing day altogether.  Just what the doctor ordered!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Begin Your Adventure!

We had a pretty epic day today, all starting out with two services at KidPak, which went really well by the way!  You can see above some of the heroes from our newest adventure series, the ones that are trying to find out the meaning of the medallion, as well as rescue the Professor, who happens to be me. Madison likes the whole series a lot, as does Daddy, who is always into Indiana Jones stuff.  Lots of fun, with great messages.  Today's message was about avoiding pitfalls, or avoiding tempting situations.

We left church today, and instead of driving home... we drove to Satellite Beach.  Yes, that's a long drive, especially when you start the drive at about two or three in the afternoon.  But Sodapalooza got Daddy some caffeine, which really works well when you don't have much caffeine that often.  As usual, we had traffic in Atlanta, and Henry County.  Speaking of which, it just so happens that they have all these billboards there with our adventure theme:

They've got this adventure theme going on with their board of tourism.  This is I believe to offset the image of Henry County that some may have gotten over the years, having endured immensely inconvenient traffic jams (well documented on this blog!).

We made a few stops along the way at various rest areas, but ours was a mission that was straight forward:  get to Satellite Beach before it was too late.  And stay awake, too.  That helps.  The new car did just wonderfully - we listened to all sorts of music on the little nanopod, and Madison was playing games and watching movies in the backseat.

We did see three different rainbows on the way down, the strongest one along interstate 10 - this served to give us a heads up, as we were about to enter a pretty heavy rainstorm.  There was another rainbow, and rainstorm, along I-95 on the way down as well.

But we did make it, and there was much warmth and happiness as we poured into the condo.  We found it entirely based on memory, by the way - no maps.  And no problems either, although we give credit to God for that, and grace over our travels on the way down.

So, just as Henry County's billboards suggest, it's time to 'begin our adventure.'  It's going to be a great week!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Amish Quinjet

So we built the highly technical and very powerful Quinjet this morning.  Out of wood.  Yes, this was one of the requirements of Lowe's, to create this tehnological marvel using only wood, and no electronics as you would see in the Marvel television shows and movies.  Perhaps this is because there's an Amish Avengers team that is being assembled, one that needs more wooden vehicles and weapons.  Amish Iron Man, for example, is a bit more limited in what he can do, resigned to toss around horseshoes at villains, and sort of coast off of some of the taller barns.

We built Hawkeye's Quinjet, part of the Lowe's build-and-grow series this summer, one that has been so popular that each project fills up rather quickly.  This one was full, as were the last ones.  Madison moved quickly on this one, getting all the pieces in place expertly, as Daddy applied the various stickers.  In no time, we had our Amish Quinjet assembled!

The rest of the day was work:  tomorrow, we're hoping to get out of here!  That said, Daddy spent a good amount of time at work, while Mommy and Madison packed for the trip.  Music was put on a nanopod, and movies packed away.  We're doing a time travel series upcoming, so we packed some time travel movies to bring along, just in case.


1.  The Time Machine
2.  Back to the Future
3.  Back to the Future 2
4.  Back to the Future 3
5.  Frequency
6.  Mr. Peabody and Sherman
7.  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
8.  Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
9.  Somewhere in Time
10. Time Bandits

I'm sure there are more.  But we'll check out a few of these in preparation for the new series.  Research, is what it is...!

Friday, July 24, 2015

All That Jazz

Once more balle cam has come to a close, and once more there was a presentation, and a chance for the girls to show off a little bit of what they learned.  Daddy was there with Mommy, both of us with a camera this time to catch our little girl enjoying her dance.

She did well once again.  We're thinking of having her in dance two nights of week this fall, which is a pretty big time commitment, for Mommy and Daddy too.  But she does like it, so we think it may be worth it in the end.

That's her jazz jump, something she learned this week.  No jazz hands though.  She's quite deliberate about how one goes about doing this jump, and happy to explain it at length!  This is a very precise move!

The rest of the day was preparation to get out of here.  We wrote the skit for this weekend, and edited videos - we even made a new video for the following weekend.  We've got quite a bit done, so we should be good to go - literally.

It was a good day, if for only the presentation we got to see. Mommy packed, and Daddy prepared.  But we're getting ready to take off once more, off to the beach.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Aperture Science

Madison tried out "Portals" today, and I'm making a note here:  huge success.  She enjoyed the creativity of the game, while Gladys of course amused the heck out of Mommy and Daddy.  Seriously, this is one of the funnier video games out there - and it has a pretty awesome concept.  The puzzle aspect of the game was challenging, but as with most games, the rewarding feeling of discovery is there as well.

Daddy was working for a bit today, but we also had time for a new board game, a different version of LIFE.  This one was a Jedi's LIFE, something about 'the Path of a Jedi.'  Madison and Daddy each got going on this one, and neither had the temptation to take the route of a Sith.  The fear of disaapointing your Jedi master is too much to try and take shortcuts or steal from others.  But maybe next time Daddy will try it out - at least it would make things interesting.

So yeah, there was ballet camp today again.  Only a few more days of this.  We have to decide about our dance schedule this fall, which is starting to look pretty crowded.  The next level means more time dancing, which I'm not sure we have to give.  But we'll see how it all unfolds.  Fall is looking to be really busy with speech therapy, piano, ballet and everything else.  We'll see how that all works out.

Madison knows her memory verse for this week, and we've been reading the devotional that Daddy wrote some time ago, the one about THE QUEST.  She is very much into that, and it was great to hear her do that memory verse.  So much so that Daddy got her ANOTHER small video game, the World of Kelflings extension that had to do with gingerbread men and candy mountains.  It's a fun little game, one Madison was enjoying until around bedtime.

The rain was explosive today, intense heat building up throughout the day, giving way to tremendous storms rolling across the state.  They cooled things off, providing that relief we were all so desperate for.

Next week, we head south.  We're going on one last hoorah of a vacation soon, back to the Space Coast.  We don't have any agenda, except rest and relaxation.  We'll see if anything else happens as the week goes on, but we'll have to do quite a bit the next few days in order to get away.  Madison is looking forward to it quite a bit!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Taters of the Lost Ark

It was a great night at KidPak!  Idaho Spud, above, was one of the guests at service tonight as we talked about being packed and ready for adventure.  There were some fun games and a good message with a good illustration or two.  Also, the videos helped tie things together - particularly the one where we all went into that cave last week.

Madison enjoyed it.  Daddy went home and got her, bringing her back for the service tonight, and then coming home a bit earlier than usual.  These later nights are drawing to a close now, as school is approaching quickly.

Mommy is packing for an upcoming vacation, a return to Satellite Beach.  Daddy is frantically working on various church-related things, although he'll be doing a bit of work while down on the beach.

Ballet camp continues, with new jazz moves and a more challenging ballet class.  Her summer has been pretty packed, actually.  Thinking about it now, there were only two weeks that she had "off."  There were ballet camps, vacations, Summer Xtreme, art camp, and even on those weeks where there was no camp, we had visits to the library or elsewhere.

It'll be drawing to a close soon - too soon, actually.  But it has been a full summer, filled with adventure!

Pirate's LIFE

Today Madison played her first game of LIFE.  It was one themed off "Pirates of the Caribbean," so it wasn't exactly that close to the LIFE she'll be living later on.  That is to say, it's not your standard game of LIFE with the little cars and the pink and blue pegs, and marriage and kids, and frequent pay days.  In fact, this is a bit more like LIFE in the Caribbean, where you work as a deckhand for a while, if you're smart, then get with the right captain and the right ship and the right mascot, while battling other pirates until you get to Treasure Island.

Madison enjoyed it.  She was thrilled to discover there is a Jedi LIFE game out there as well, one we have in our basement.  I imagine we'll be playing that one next.

ANYWAY, we did some boardgames today, which is always a refreshing sort of thing compared to the usual video entertainment.  Madison lights up at the prospect of playing board games whenever she can, just as we do - it's something different, and in this case new.

We'll try the other LIFE game later this week.  And I just discovered there is an "Indiana Jones" version, which is suddenly on the horizon, perhaps.  It depends on how much I want to spend.  You would not believe how much these older board games are costing online now.  We have a few downstairs, and they are just ridiculous if you want to buy them online.

ANYWAY, today we did tell a really long "Indiana Jones" made-up story on the way to ballet and back home again - it was about a map that fell out of an old book that Marion had.  It led to a valley in South China.  She told her husband Indiana Jones about it, and he was reluctant to follow this map, mainly because it couldn't possibly go anywhere.  But it was supposed to go to the lost treasure of the lost unicorns.  Again, he argued it probably won't lead to anything.  Still, she convinced him to go - and bring along some friends, including Sallah and Madison.  The thinking was that Madison hadn't gone to see her orphanage yet, and so why not drop by there on the way?

So they were off and running, and the adventure went as you would expect.  Madison really liked this one, especially the parts where there was a big party at the orphanage - with ice cream.  And then, the cave behind a waterfall that led to a valley that had real unicorns still alive on earth.  It was all good fun, some of it interactive where Madison shares her part of the adventure, somewhat like a roll playing game.

Anyway, it was good fun today.  Daddy worked, of course.  Madison had ballet camp, as we said, and she's enjoying her jazz lessons.  She's a wonderful dancer.  And we read tonight from Daddy's devotional, which Madison is enjoying a lot too.  Also, we read from the Frozen book, more continuing adventures from the land of Eldora, where it is quite hot.

We might as well be living in Eldora this week, because the temperature has been pretty hot.  The storms have been rolling in though, cooling things down later.  We haven't gotten much of the rain at the house though, even though all around us, things are getting drenched.  Just our neighborhood is dry, for some reason!  At least it cools off.

Anyway, it's been a fun day.  Time to start again tomorrow on a new one!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Baskin Robbins Always Finds Out

We had a bit of a fun day today, as it was a day off for Daddy.  Madison started another week of ballet camp today, which is something she was looking forward to.  She did some new jazz steps, and some ballet as well - so it was well balanced, so to speak.

Meanwhile, Mommy and Daddy went to see the latest Marvel movie "Ant Man."  It was pretty good, with some great characters, fun cameos, super powers, and a few great lines, like this one:

Yep, Baskin Robbins always finds out.  So random this quote was, and it only makes sense when you watch the movie.  But rather than spoil it, we'll just leave it as is and move on.  Suffice to say, we liked the movie.  We were talking about certain action scenes with Madison when we picked her up from ballet camp, and she couldn't get enough of the descriptions.  "Tell me more," she'd say.  Or one of her favorites:  "And?  Go on?"

We went to the library right after this, a planned stop to pick up some new books.  And it just so happens that we knew there was Hawaiian Hula Party going on there.  We figured we would have missed most of it, having just come from ballet camp.  But no, despite getting there late, we still had time to do a lot of the different crafts that were there.  Madison made her own hula skirt, and her own kala'au sticks (using paper towel cylinders), and a girl monkey puppet, complete with earrings, lipstick, and eyelashes.  Her name is Caitlyn, which was a suggested name that Daddy mistakenly through out - had no idea Madison would actually go with that!

Anyway, it was yet another fun day of activity at the library.  This made for quite a full day in the end - we got home and worked on a new puzzle, and had some fun with video games as well.  The days of summer are almost at an end, but we're keeping ourselves always in motion, always with something fun to do.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Quest Continues

"The Quest" continued today, with the addition of the villainous character Sheik Abuti.  Our friend Javier put a great spin on this character, and Mommy had a fun Jafar costume for him too.  Meanwhile, our heroes are trying to figure out who kidnapped Professor Wisenheimer, and what is that this strange medallion is trying to tell them.  

Oh yeah, and Daddy delivered the message.  It went really well this morning at KidPak.  Madison was brought on stage for one illustration, and it was all just perfect, really.  How blessed we are to have those cast members too - it set the stage for such a fantastic morning with great videos, skits, and a message all tied to that bottom line of the morning.

The rest of the day was a bit of resting, eating, and watching another wonderful rain shower descend upon us.  Things cooled off a bit after that.  We played some LEGO Indiana Jones video games, and a bit of this other older game that Madison has been into, "Kelflings."

We've been cleaning out some areas lately, moving a lot of stuff downstairs with the idea of clearing out the house some.  This means saying goodbye to some toys, like Madison's old kitchen or various toys that she's willing to pass along.  We've made some room, and now we're starting to do a bit of redecorating.  Hopefully we can have something great in the dining room soon, and beyond that of course.

Of course, there's so much other stuff going on right now.  It's a funny balancing act.  For example, do we send Madison to two classes of ballet, two times a week - that's the required amount for the intermediate class, the next one up.  But what about piano?  And what about those swimming lessons we desperately need her to sign up for?  And yes, there's the looming surgical procedure for Mommy.  And so on.  We'll tackle all the other issues as we need to.

Tonight we started the next book, which is number three of the series for Elsa and Anna.  Madison is enjoying it already, though she was rather upset that the last book series was over with.  If only that was the biggest thing to get upset about in the world, right?

Speaking of which, here's another entry in the healing-themed devotional that Daddy has been writing for Uncle Dave lately.  Each day, we post one of these on his site, each one written by Daddy.  It's coming along pretty well by this point…

Colossians 4:14 NIrV "Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, sends greetings."
The book of Acts is filled with remarkable testimonies of those healed by God's power! Yet with so many dramatic healings going on, why does Paul still call his dear friend Luke a doctor? The answer is simple: Luke actually was a doctor.
The greater question is this: why even need a doctor? Why would Luke still identify himself as a doctor, when there were so many miraculous healings taking place left and right?
Again, the answer is simple: because we still need doctors! It is God who gives us the talents and abilities - and the desires - to do certain jobs. And just as He did with Luke, God has given many people today a gift of helping others get well through medicine, therapy, and good advice.
Don't refuse their help, just because you want your healing to come a certain way. In Isaiah 55:8, God tells us, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts. And your ways are not like my ways." Just because you're expecting and believing to be healed one way, God can and does still use doctors.
True, you shouldn't look down on doctors, but don't look down upon yourself either. It's not because of a lack of faith that the clouds didn't part, with doves flying down to personally hand you your healing. No, the answer is much simpler: God may have a different plan for you.
Perhaps He needs you to be there in the doctor's office to be a light unto the world. Or maybe your condition is what brings family and friends back together again. Or possibly you'll never know the reason. The important thing here is to trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
And that just might be the kind of advice Dr. Luke would share as well.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Puzzles and Palaces

Our next puzzle Madison has been working on is a picture of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.  This one is going fairly quickly, thanks to the assist from Mommy and Daddy.  Over the summer, we've done about six or seven puzzles now - it's sort of a group effort that starts with one, and then suddenly the three of us are there at different angles, sort of figuring out their own sections.  As it gets closer to the end, Madison sort of takes over, and that's where we're at with St. Basil's.

This image has so many conflicting thoughts.  I mean, first of all, the thing looks like a ginormous ice cream palace.  I get this idea from the Yum Yum Palace at Great Adventure in Six Flags.

I don't think the Yum Yum Palace exists anymore, which is a shame.  But clearly, it was modeled after St. Basil's Cathedral, which has probably the best ice cream in the world inside.

But St. Basil's Cathedral also is pretty menacing.  As a kid, if you were in person looking at St. Basil's Cathedral, that means you might as well have been inside the Death Star.  This was the center of the Soviet Empire, a place crawling with KBG people that were probably ready to grab you and drag you off to some completely grey and gloomy place where people smoked and had terrible Russian accents.  These are, of course, my thoughts growing up as a child.  How could the people of this great evil empire have built an ice cream palace, and have that in their capital?  It's like an evil Disney Castle!

The other strange thought that immediately comes to mind is the Corn Palace.  Have you been there yet?  It's in Mitchell, South Dakota.

Each year, they completely cover this building with decorative corn.  That's corn on the outside, stuck to the walls like they stick things to Rose Bowl Parade floats.  And each year, there's a different theme to it.  Last time Daddy was there was in the 90's, as it is along a highway that everyone travels going out west.  When traveling from Georgia, you can go a few routes.  One passes by the Corn Palace, and another smaller way goes by Alliance, which is home to Carhenge.

Anyway, St. Basil's looks a lot like the Corn Palace.  Or rather, the other way around.  I think St. Basil's was built first.  Yeah, I'm pretty sure about that one.  But one thing is certain:  St. Basil's is not completely covered in corn.

There's a Dairy Queen across the street (or there was), which sort of completes our ice cream and onion dome theme.  The tradition is to stop for ice cream as you gaze upon the splendor that is the Corn Palace.  We love this kind of stuff.

So anyway, we finished another puzzle.  Madison loves the building for what it is, and has no idea what it is at the moment.  Other than the fact that it is in Russia, it's a pretty swirling building.

Today, Daddy had a lot of work to do, as he is the guest speaker tomorrow at KidPak once again.  It'll be a message related to "The Quest," one about packing the right gear for your adventure.  More on that in a bit.

Chiggers.  Have you ever been bitten by them?  We have.  Remember those cool pictures from the cave a few days ago?  Daddy and the other guys started itching the next day, and we figured out that we were attacked by chiggers somewhere along the way.  Were they cave chiggers?  Other than the fact that this would be an excellent rock band name, we don't know where they came from.  All we know is that they relentlessly itch.  At least Daddy is not alone in this battle against chiggers.  Annoying little buggers!

Madison is enjoying the last few weeks of summer, which have been amazingly hot, by the way.  She's enjoying them, as we all are, indoors.  You go out at night time though.  And sometimes there are pop-up showers that thunder through and cool things off with wonderful summer breezes and darkened skies.  Sitting out on the front porch is such a wonderful, relaxing moment, enjoying the cool breeze and distant thunder as the clouds roll in.  Even when the rain comes down, you see the thirsty hot ground rejoice, and empathize with that feeling of gladness.  Especially because you now know you don't have to water the plants!

Speaking of which, our garden is doing well!  We picked a pretty decent sized cucumber this afternoon, and Mommy used it in a salad.  We also have been harvesting some smaller cherry tomatoes, which Madison enjoys popping in her mouth.  Just like Fritz.

It's been a good day - and a long one for Daddy, who went back to work on the message for tomorrow morning at KidPak.  As promised, here it is, the message that Madison will hear as well:

Pack Your Bags


CUE TRACK:  RAIDERS MARCH – shift to something more relaxed gradually.

HOST:  “Hello, KidPak – adventure is out there!  You’ll discover that for yourself pretty soon, if you haven’t already.  There are dangers, toils and snares lurking – but there is also fortune and glory!”

HOST: “Of course, before you go on any adventure, you need to pack your bags and bring the right stuff, right?”

HOST grabs a backpack. 

HOST:  “Inside this is everything I need for my next adventure – you want to see what I have?”

Let audience answer.

HOST pulls out a “THE QUEST” devotional.

HOST: “Got to have one of these.  But what about this?”

HOST pulls out a television remote control.

HOST:  “Do I need this remote control?”

Let audience answer

HOST: “I don’t think so either.”

HOST tosses that aside, and pulls out a compass.

HOST: “It’s a compass.  How about one of these?”

Let audience answer.

HOST:  “I think we’ll need that.”

HOST pulls out a copy of “The Smelly Little Princess.”

HOST: “How about a copy of ‘The Smelly Little Princess?’”

Let audience answer.

HOST:  “Yeah, you’re probably right.”

HOST tosses that aside, and pulls out a pair of binoculars.

HOST:  “How about these binoculars?  You think we need these for adventure?”

HOST pulls out a flashlight.

HOST: “ Yep, me too!  What about this flashlight here?”

Let audience answer. 

HOST: “Yeah, I think that’ll come in handy too.”

HOST pulls out a stuffed Barney.

HOST:  “How about this?”

Let audience answer.

HOST:  (laughing) “Yeah, you’re definitely right.”

HOST tosses Barney aside.

HOST:  “As you can see, if you’re going on an adventure, there are some things you just have to have – and there are things you don’t really need to have so much.”

HOST gestures to items as he speaks.

HOST:  “And that’s how it works in life too.  There are things we absolutely need to have.  We carry other things around with us too, but not everything is really that necessary.  It’s not that some of those things are wrong to carry around...”

HOST looks at Barney.

HOST:  “…except maybe Barney.”

HOST continues.

HOST:  “Anyway, none of that stuff is necessarily evil.  It’s just that you can’t let it take the place of stuff that you absolutely need to carry.  Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.  Let me get a volunteer from the audience here.”

HOST gets a volunteer, and puts an Indiana Jones hat on the volunteer.

HOST: “ This is our adventurer!  He’s a guy, ready to take on the world, and ready to take on just about anything.  And here’s his week.”

HOST puts a basketball in his hands.

HOST:  “He loves sports.  Got to spend some time there.”

HOST puts a video game controller in his hands.

HOST:  “And he loves video games.”

HOST puts a remote control in his hands.

HOST: “And there’s those television shows you can’t miss, right?”

HOST puts a computer keyboard in his hands.

HOST:  “And there’s all kinds of social networks, and online stuff.”

HOST puts a CD in his hands.

HOST:  “Don’t forget the music.  He loves listening to great music.”

HOST puts a pair of sneakers in his hands.

HOST:  “And you have to dress well, right?”

HOST puts a roll of toilet paper in his hands.

HOST:  “Okay, you have to have this.”

HOST puts a stuffed animal in his hands.

HOST: “Don’t forget that pet you always wanted.”

HOST takes a step back and looks at the overly burdened volunteer.

HOST:  “Now it’s time to add those other things, right?”

HOST attempts to add the compass, the binoculars and the flashlight.

HOST: “Wait a minute.  I don’t think there’s room to add these.”

HOST looks at volunteer.

HOST:  “And there’s our problem!  We get so concerned about all those things that we think really matter – and we completely zone out and forget the most important stuff!”

HOST helps volunteer take the stuff out of their hands.

HOST:  “Here, let’s get rid of all this burden.”

HOST thanks volunteer, and hands them some Pak Shak tokens.

HOST: “Let’s give you one of these instead.  Give our volunteer a hand for helping out as they go back to their seat.”

Volunteer exits stage.

HOST:  “We get so busy with our lives, we completely forget about what’s important.  That’s these items right here.  Let me show you something.  Each one of these represents something we should have in our lives.”

HOST holds up the compass.

HOST:  “This first one is a compass.  What does a compass do?”

Let audience answer.

HOST: “It gives you direction.  And there’s point one.”


HOST: “What is one way to get direction in our lives?  Prayer.  Let me show you something – a scripture from God’s word.”


HOST:  “The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives.”


HOST: “Simply put, without talking to God – you’re lost.”

HOST uses compass, walking across stage, following direction on it.

HOST:  “You know how one of these works, right?  There’s an invisible force at work here – you can’t see it, but it is directing you in the right direction.  That’s prayer.”

HOST puts compass into backpack.

HOST:  “And it isn’t this last-minute sort of thing, or that thing you do at the supper table for grace.  Prayer is a lifestyle, an ongoing conversation between you and Our Creator.  If you find yourself lost, maybe it’s because you haven’t started talking with Him lately.  Keep talking with Him – or you’re completely lost.”

HOST spies binoculars and goes to picks them up.

HOST:  “Check these out.  This leads us to point two.”


HOST:  “Bring along some binoculars.  What do binoculars do?  They magnify.  They make bigger.  And that’s what we do when we worship God – we make Him bigger in our lives.  Check out this scripture.”


HOST:  “Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”


HOST:  “When we magnify God we make Him bigger in our lives.  Now to be clear, you can’t make God any bigger than He is already.  He’s the biggest that there is.  What you have to do is make Him a bigger part of your life.”

HOST:  “Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about from one of my favorite cartoons growing up.  Anyone seen ‘The Lion King’?”


HOST: “Remember that scene in the elephant graveyard?  Little Simba, Nala, and Zazu are cornered by something much bigger than they are, and much more dangerous.”


HOST:  “And that’s us, basically. Staring down all our problems that are threatening to gobble us all up.  So what does Simba do here?  He roars.”

HOST roars a funny little roar.

HOST: “And it sounds pathetic, right?  Let me hear you roar.”

Let audience roar.

HOST: “ Exactly!  It’s pathetic, just like that!  Just kidding.  Seriously, just like those hyenas did, the world laughs in our face when we praise.  Because to the world, praising God can sometimes sound funny.  Think about it:  if you’re in the worst situation in the world, why on earth would you be making any noise at all?  You should be crying.

HOST:  “But we’re Christians.  And you know something.  We know something those hyenas don’t!  What’s the next thing that happens in the movie?”


HOST: “ Mufasa!  Say it with me… Mufasa!”

Let audience respond.

HOST shivers.

HOST:  “Do it again!”

Let audience shivers.

HOST:  “Now, it isn’t Mufasa that comes to save you.  But when we praise – even in times of trouble – we have a Heavenly Father that loves us. 

HOST:  (in Mufasa’s voice) “And no one messes with your dad.”


HOST goes over to put binoculars into the backpack, and picks up flashlight.

HOST:  “Now here’s the flashlight.  The ‘torch’ as they call it in England.  It’s a light, and that’s pretty handy.  That brings us to point three.”


HOST: “Bring along a torch.  There’s an old Amy Grant song that I just love, and the words are something taken straight out of a scripture.  Here it is.”

CUE SLIDE:  “PSALM 119:105”

HOST: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”


HOST:  “Without the Bible, we’re in the dark.  We’re lost, and in the dark without His word.  Let me show you something from one of my favorite adventure movies.  Has anyone seen ‘Atlantis?’”


HOST:  “There you see Milo Thatch.  He and his team of explorers travel around the world in search of stuff, and run into adventure all the time.  To begin with though, the others weren’t so sure of Milo.  But something happened when they found themselves trapped deep within the earth.  Want to see what happens?”

Let audience answer.

HOST:  “Me too!  Let’s watch just a small clip.”


After clip:


HOST:  “You and that little book.  What struck me about this scene were a couple of things.  First of all, they were all walking along in the dark – they had no idea where they were going.  The only one who did, was Milo.  See him here, studying while they’re all hanging out?  When it comes to their finding a way out, who are they going to need?”

Let audience answer.

HOST:  “Right.  Milo. Because he knows the way.  Because he’s reading that little book.”

HOST holds up a Bible.

HOST:  “We too have a little book.  It’s called the Bible.  And those who don’t read it are like those others, just walking along – but completely lost!  Fortunately, though it’s all dark around us, we have this light to keep us from stumbling around into the wrong sorts of areas.”


HOST walks over to backpack , puts flashlight and Bible into it, and then picks it up…

HOST:  “So we’ve got three important things packed here.  We’ve got worship, prayer and reading the Bible.  But there’s one thing that’s the most important on this trip.  Our guide.  That’s point four.”

CUE SLIDE:  “Bring along a Guide.”

HOST: “ Bring along a guide.  There’s only one that knows the way – because he is the Way.  Listen to this scripture.”

CUE SLIDE:  “John 14:6”

HOST:  “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”


HOST:  “He actually is the Way.   And there is no other way, either.  That means you need him.  Sometimes when you need someone’s help, you hate to bug them.  But the good news here is that He wants you to bug him.  He wants you to talk to him in prayer.  He wants you to read about him in the Bible.  And he wants you to spend time in worship.”

HOST: “ The good news is that He wants to help guide you on this adventure – and He doesn’t want you to get lost.”

HOST:  “So make sure you invite that Guide into your life.  He’ll never leave you or forsake you.  And He’ll make sure you’ll live a life of adventures without getting lost… on your quest.”

HOST:  “Let us pray.”

Friday, July 17, 2015

Freaky Friday

Today was the end of the first week of ballet camp, and a special performance for the parents.  There are few things as beautiful as watching your daughter dance ballet.  It was all hastily thrown together, of course, being the capper of just one week's worth of practice and fun.  But Madison's dancing was just so wonderful to see, so graceful and new.  She seems to be finding herself in dance, carrying such poise.  It was remarkable, and I was kicking myself a bit for not bringing a camera like all the other parents - they were recording the whole thing on this row of iPhones.  You didn't have to watch the performance because of a row of tiny televisions in front of you, broadcasting the thing live.  Beyond that, the girls danced and the parents gleamed - it was entrancing.  It is amazing how something so simple can be so unexpectedly magical.

So today is National Ice Cream Day.  As such, a proclamation was issued throughout the house:  let there be ice cream.  And there was.  And it was sure delicious!  Madison's favorite flavor of late has been chocolate chip mint ice cream, while Mommy and Daddy were working on a box of caramel and sea salt.

It was Freaky Friday - not that Mommy and Madison changed places today.  But we did see the movie.  It isn't Friday the 13th either, so that's okay.  But the movie arrived in the mail, a freebie from Disney Movie Rewards, and one that none of us had ever seen.  Before going further, we're talking about the 1976 version, which was filmed at a time where there seemed to be a rule at Disney for all live action movies:  there must be an unnecessarily long car chase sequence with silly stunts in it at the end of all movies.  And so therefore, this movie had one.

But the movie was fun in a rather dated sort of way.  It had some great guest appearances in it, including Fritz Feld, that guy who always made popping noises by smacking his hand on his mouth.  I have no idea why he would do this, or why people wanted him to do this.  But that was his thing, what people knew him for.  Somewhere nearby his grave marker is a small speaker that pops from time to time, as those who visit drop by from time to time, making solemn popping noises with their fists and mouths, in memory of Fritz.

Seriously, it was fun.  We had the popcorn and the movie - and afterwards, it was time to conclude the Origami Yoda five-book series.  We only had a few chapters left, and Madison was sad to see it go.  She really enjoyed these for some reason, laughing along with Mommy and Daddy.  Fortunately, we have some Anna and Elsa books to go through next, a gift for Madison's birthday recently.  We have books 3 & 4 next, starting with one where the cast from "Frozen" goes to visit the land of Eldora.  Hope that works out well for everyone.

In the meantime, it's time for bed.  Lots going on lately, and lots to do!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Count Dooku Sudoku

Ballet Camp continued today, and Madison is learning all kinds of new steps for jazz dancing as well.  She showed us a few of the moves she's learning, and all of us parents are invited to come a bit earlier tomorrow when it is time to pick the kids up.  That way we can watch a quick production, always a cute little presentation the girls put together.

It was hot today - no rain this time, although the clouds appeared heavy from time to time.  The weather this week has been hot with severe storms thrown in the mix, making it a bit unpredictable.  Lightning strikes actually sent a few bigger surges through the neighborhood with a sizzling pop sound.

Fortunately the Kinect is intact.  Madison has been really enjoying "Kinect Sports 2" lately, doing quite a bit of jumping around.  She's good at the golf game on that - we watched her get a hole-in-one!  Now that the Kinect is out, we're sort of running through a lot of those games, which are good because they require a lot of movement too.

Tonight we were all a bit tired, and it was pretty hot outside again.  SO we stayed indoors, and introduced Madison to Episode II: "Attack of the Clones."  This was a big deal, as she's not seen this one before.  She took it very seriously, getting her Princess Leia costume on, and bringing down the purple lightsaber that she made a few weeks ago. All set with a tub of popcorn, we sat down for the fanfare, and got to see the whole movie, uninterrupted.  She loved it.

At bedtime, it was back to reading from "Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus," along with some serious foot battles.  Madison sticks her foot in your face, and then Mommy strikes back with her foot in Madison's face, and then "begun, the Foot Wars have."  As for the story itself, it has been a lot of fun, with a great reference to freeze-dried ice cream, something we're familiar with because we just left Kennedy Space Center.

As for the movie, it's neat watching her connect a lot of the dots.  We're not sure when she'll watch Episode III, as it is kind of hard to watch all your heroes - and some villains - go down.  But tonight was a good one nonetheless, and a sort of tribute to Christopher Lee, who passed away recently.  In fact, here's an old Count Dooku column Daddy wrote in 2005 for fun in a publication, pretty much entirely made up of lines from Count Dooku, all strung together:

How pleasant of you to join me.  But oh no, my friend.  This is a mistake, a terrible mistake.  This is madness.  They've gone too far.  They have you imprisoned and you cannot possibly escape... just as I planned all along!

It was admirable:  you showed conviction by standing for what is right, even when others didn't.  That's what true character is all about.  But now you are captured with little hope of escape.  And there is no way you can stop me from taking over this blog!  Ah, I sense great fear in you.  You have hate; you have anger.  But you don't use them.  You disappoint me!  Yoda holds you in such high esteem.  Surely you can do better!

What?  You want to challenge me?  Look, you have fought gallantly.  Worthy of recognition in the archives of the Jedi Order.  Now, it is finished.  Surrender and your lives will be spared.  You are brave, but foolish.  You are impossibly outnumbered.  Besides, I have become more powerful than any Jedi.  Even you.  As you can see, my Jedi powers are far beyond yours.  Now, back down.

Ah, you still want to challenge me?  Good.  Twice the pride, double the fall.  Well then:  your lightsaber, please.  We don't want to make a mess of things.  Besides, it is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the force, but by our skills with SUDOKU!  This is just the beginning!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Adventures in the Copper Mine

So we went to the copper mine up in Dahlonega this morning.  The idea was to film there, and really for our needs, the location was spot-on perfect.  It's just a random hole in the mountain, a tunnel that goes back far enough and around a bend enough that there is zero light at the furthest part back.  It was helpful to walk all the way back there though - a good little distance, really - because you sort of are comforted that there isn't anyone or anything back there lurking in the darkness.

There was, however, some things lurking in the darkness in front of us.  There were spiders, and there were those ginormous millipedes.  Daddy was steadying himself at one point, as we did a little tap dance over the stones and puddles.  He reached out to the wall of the cave, and sure enough there was one of those massive bugs right there.  Perfect atmosphere for an Indiana Jones sort of shoot.

Anyway, that was our adventure for the day.  The neat thing was all the pictures with us and the torches in caves, dressed as adventurous characters.  Lots of fun!

Madison continued ballet camp, meanwhile.  Daddy returned home after filming, because he definitely needed to change clothing.  It was muddy in that cave.  We all had dinner together, talked and played for a bit - and then Daddy was back to work, where things went just fine tonight.

Madison, meanwhile, played Kinect Sports 2 for quite some time.  Yesterday, we were playing Kinect a lot with our extended family, so we still had it out today.  Madison was taking advantage of that, and from this point on, we just might leave that out for a bit.  Every so often, it's fun to plug in the Star Wars game and become a rancor monster.

Anyway, it was a good Wednesday, one with a little fun, a little ballet and jazz, and a little adventure in the cool mining caves of Dahlonega.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cousin Appreciation Day

In January of the year Madison was born, New Horizons was launched with one destination in mind:  Pluto.  We've been watching the calendar for this day, nine years later, the very day that this spacecraft has arrived at the last planet, taking all kinds of amazing pictures.  It boggles the mind how this could even happen - the technology involved, the mathematical planning, the timing, the patience... all of it.  This is simply one of the most astounding things that mankind could ever achieve.  It's simply staggering to thing about, and yet here we are, looking at detailed pictures of a planet over 3.6 million miles away.  And not just the planet - the pictures of Pluto's moon Charon are amazing as well.  Incredible is a word that is overused, but in this case it really fits.  It's fascinating, and captivating.  We're telling Madison that this was launched before you were born, and has been traveling all this time while you've been living your life.  And here it is, finally at its destination.  Incredible.

Okay, shifting gears:  not quite nine years ago, but in fact a few days ago, Daddy's Cousin Bekah left Texas to swing by Gainesville.  This voyage was not to take pictures, but to pay a visit to family in the area.  Daddy doesn't have many cousins, so this was a rare treat - and we decided to meet at Chick-Fil-A of all places.

Why?  Because it was Cow Appreciation Day, and we had cow costumes for everyone!  That's right, the first time we meet our cousin in years, and we're all dressed up as cows.  But it's cool, as she and her family were fine with that, as they are Chick-Fil-A people themselves.

Chick-Fil-A was pretty awesome.  Good people work there, and it's great to go there for the good food and more.

We headed back to the house afterwards with family in tow, including Aunt Shain and Madison's cousins as well.  There, we hit the pool and had a good time there.  Mommy, Bekah and Daddy spent their time at poolside, talking about this or that - and after an hour or so there, we retreated back to the house, as there was a major storm in the works.

It was a perfectly pleasant sort of visit, and a delight to catch up with a distant relative who is only distant because she lives in Texas.  She and her kids are pretty awesome people, and it was really nice to see them as they visited with us.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Madison finished the summer reading program today, completing her fiftieth book with a few weeks still to go.  This time around, the books were much more substantial, including the "Weird School" books and the "Origami Yoda" books to name a few.  Most of these sorts of books were over 100 pages, so for her to keep the fifty book goal in place, she had to be reading quite a bit.  And that she did, of course quite addicted to the "Weird School" books for a time.

We showed up to the library, and that's where she gets to put her name up on the "Wall of Champions."  She also got a certificate, and a free book.  It's the free book that excited her the most.  She got a story from "The Princess Fairies" series, which seems like an obvious topic to write about if you were a prospective children's author.  Fairies and princesses together?  Sure, no problem.

Anyway, we were at the library tonight for a bit, the three of us there to celebrate the big moment.  We also were there to pick up "Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus."  This is the last book - I think - of the Yoda Origami series, and one we are already a significant ways in with reading.  Last night, Daddy had to borrow a copy of it online (our library lets us do that), and we got a few chapters in.  Tonight though, we read from the hard cover book, which is another sort of book altogether.  So far, so good - it's a fun book, just as the previous four have been.  But what else to read after this?  Fortunately, Daddy has also been reading from our devotional, the one Daddy wrote for "The Quest."

Today we started Ballet Camp.  Fortunately, Gainesville School of Ballet is better known for their dancing than their communication, which is frankly amazingly sorry.  It must be a ballet thing, I guess.  Because this isn't the first time or first ballet company to not have mastered the simple art of communicating things like starting times, for example.  Or prices.  Things like that.  Anyway, Madison was there about three hours, as she will be the next few weeks.  She enjoyed it very much, and enjoys being with her teacher again.  It's a lot quieter than the busy ballet season, of course.  That's something we have to make a decision about, coming up soon.  What to do there?  How many classes to take, and what level classes to take as well?

We had a whopper of a storm last night.  Electricity was sizzling in the air - our power got disconnected, and a surge went through one of our sockets attached the computer I am currently typing on.  Everything went down for a bit, but fortunately nothing was damaged.  The surge protector did its job.  But for the next few days, the temperature will go up, up, up - and the rain chances will go up as well.  Severe thunderstorms will persist the next few days - hopefully we can have some clear weather tomorrow, but we'll see.

After ballet, we did some grocery shopping, and picked up a few pizzas, one of them gluten free.  Madison fell asleep on the couch reading.  She was sitting there with a big book, and it appeared as if she was reading - but upon closer inspection, Daddy saw that she was actually fast asleep in a deep slumber.  So deep, she didn't realize dinner was ready.  So deep, that she wasn't waking up with our initial attempts to stir her awake once more.  So we let her sleep some, right there on the couch.  We had to wake her up eventually, as she would have kept on sleeping no doubt!

Madison was overhearing us talk tonight after dinner about yet another candidate running for president. Lots of people want that job, and the next few years we'll see some folks stepping up to try and convince us who is best.  So far, we like the guy who made his announcement today.  But there are a lot of others, and a lot of time between now and November of 2016.  We can't wait for that day though.

Speaking of imperial regimes, we read "Emperor Pickletine" tonight - and from our devotional as well. And soon after that, it was time for bed.  Pretty tired today, actually.  We have lots to do though!  Tomorrow should be a fun day, but we'll try to get in some of the other items on the 'to do' list.  See you tomorrow!