Snow, Arctic Temps, More Snow, Etc.

 Still musing over the extremes we’ve experienced in the last week as far as weather goes ~ at least an 80 degree temperature drop and from zero to about 3 feet of white stuff on the ground. Monday morning brought low temps of -15 degrees.  That night I went to meet a friend for dinner, and in the course of my one hour drive to meet her, I watched the digital temperature reading in my mini van go from 15 degrees above zero to 1 degree below zero.  Yikes!
 Wednesday afternoon I had a bunch ‘o boys over here who made the most of the snow with their Airsoft guns.  Bunkers were built and an all-out war was had.  They didn’t last more than an hour, though, because tromping around in that depth of snow is very tiring.  It’s up past their knees in most places.  Rations of hot cocoa and popcorn awaited their return indoors.
 And then it snowed some MORE.  It started last night while we were all gathered at church for our mid-week potluck dinner and small group Bible studies.  By the time we woke up this morning there were about 6 more inches on the ground.  So….another round of shoveling ~ all done by Robert again this morning.  I was glad we at least made efforts the day before to get the driveway nice and clear ~ especially the end of the driveway where Mr. Snowplow likes to leave tall peaks of HEAVY, DIRTY snow and ice from the main thoroughfare on which we live.  I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow that night.  Shoveling snow is hard work
 But I did find this note on my pillow before my head hit it.  Poor little girl has to remind the “tooth fairy” to leave her some cash in place of her tooth.  It can be difficult to keep up with the tooth-loss-rate around here! Would you believe there was another note under her pillow with the tooth that indicated she would like the tooth to remain under her pillow?  Yep, she likes to keep ’em. 
In other news, a few really fun packages arrived in my mail this week!  Someone gave me an Amazon gift card for my birthday, and I could hardly wait to order a couple of books I’ve had my eye on.  I think it was my friend Jess who turned me on to Christianity Today’s blog for women ~ Her.meneuticsLast month they listed some of their favorite books BY women.  I wanted to order ALL of them, but I’m starting with the ones that appeal to my current thoughts, stages, and struggles.   Can’t wait to tell you about them, but don’t hold your breath, because my reading load is quite heavy right now because of my Challenge 2 class.  A Passage to India, The Gift of Music, Classical Music for Dummies, Biology, etc.  Plus, I’m really putting effort into reading my Bible this year.  Have been in a good habit for a while now, but wanting to read many whole books this year.  Working on Genesis and Acts now and loving it.  
(Oh ~ and I still haven’t told you about my new Bibles.  Soon….)
Another exciting package came this week, too, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see that one!

Gluten Free Friday ~ Beef Stew & Cornbread

(Photo of Emeril Lagasse’s beef stew from Food Network)

More snow today. There must be about three feet of it at our house.  Robert and I went to the gym this morning and there were mountains of snow piled high in the Wal-Mart/Barnes & Noble parking lot, and front loaders actively adding more to the mounds as we approached.  Meanwhile the kids got geared up and busy shoveling the snow at our house, but not from the driveway or walkways.  They did, however, get every last flake off of our trampoline which looked as if it might shatter under the weight of the snow and frigid temperatures.  Priorities, you know.

Since we’ve just returned from a 3 week trip to Texas, the cupboards are bare.  Last night I managed to mine some chicken breasts and frozen peas out of our deep freeze for dinner along with some white rice left in the pantry, but I know the big grocery trip is impending, so I’ve been brainstorming what to cook.  Beef stew and cornbread always comes to mind when it’s cold and snowy.  Plus, its a certified favorite dish around here.  I do not have a written recipe for my version of beef stew, just a hodge podge of techniques via watching others make their own version.  The base recipe comes out of my grandmother’s old Methodist church cookbook, but I’ve changed things over the years, and probably don’t even make it the same way each time.  Here’s what I’ve come up with today as a written version of what I use and how I cook mine. (The cornbread recipe will follow, which is similar ~ no written recipe, just in my head until today!)

Beef Stew

3lbs stew meat (or any roast that looks good, that you can cut into pieces)
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
 4 medium sized potatoes, washed, not peeled, and cubed (Any will do.  Red are nice.)
5-7 carrots, peeled, and thickly sliced
1 small box frozen corn (or half a bag)
1 small box frozen peas (I use the frozen petite peas in a bag from Trader Joes)
1 can tomato sauce
4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Mc Cormick’s Garlic and Herb Seasoning
3-4 garlic cloves, pressed

Place the stew meat into a large stock pot, add the chopped onion, salt and pepper, and cover with water.  Place the top on the pot and let simmer for at least an hour.  Add carrots, corn, potatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, herb seasoning, and more water to cover.  Simmer until carrots are tender.  Add peas and pressed garlic at the end.  (The peas only take a few seconds to heat up and they’ll stay nice and green for serving.  The fresh pressed garlic tastes so yummy, and will help cure or ward off any cold viruses lingering around!)


1 cup rice flour (or GF flour mix)
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs

Stir dry ingredients together in bowl.  Whisk liquid ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Add liquids to dry ingredients, stir until thoroughly combined.  Pour into a greased 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

If you own a cast iron skillet, though, you MUST (because it’s heavenly) do it this way: Place 1/2 stick real butter in bottom of skillet.  Place skillet in preheated oven just until butter melts.  Swirl butter in skillet to coat.  Pour cornbread batter into skillet and bake for 20 minutes at 400.  My kids love it this way, insist on buttering it again on their plates, and then get the honey out for a dessert version of the cornbread!

Sustained in the Extremes

Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil.  Like a flower he comes forth and withers.  He also flees like a shadow and does not remain. 
Job 14: 1-2

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does he prospers. 
Psalm 1: 3
 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.  O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night but I have no rest.  Yet you are holy…
Psalm 22: 1-3

Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God?”  Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.
Isaiah 40: 28-29
 My heart is in anguish within me…
Psalm 55: 4
 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
Psalm 57: 7 
                                    The Lord has disciplined me severely, but He has not given me over to death.
Psalm 118: 18
And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…
Psalm 40: 3
We are home in MA ~ as you can see.  Twinge of sadness this morning over the chill of the weather and the locale and the awaiting responsibilities.  Lifted prayer for a sustaining; a pouring out of grace to transition in these extremes.  He hears.  Both there and here, I could feel the “great reversal” I’ve been asking for being accomplished inside of me.  There is joy.  There is hopeful surrender.  He is purposeful in the lows and abundant in the highs….always good…..always holy.
Praising Him for these gifts.

Texas, Texas ~ Yee Haw! (Part 3: More friends, Gandparents, Oklahoma, and the Preaching Tour)

While all of my Massachusetts friends are braving their second snowstorm in two weeks, the Krum fam is enjoying their final, beautiful, sunny, 65 degree day in Texas.  Hopefully the snow and ice up north will subside in time for us to land in Newark and Hartford uneventfully.  At least our seats are all together this time!
We have packed so much into these three weeks, and are completely exhausted, but in a good, joyful, and abounding-fellowship kind of way.  It sort of has to be that way, as we only travel to Texas once a year, and ALL parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and many dear friends live right here.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch with Jack and Kelly (a.k.a. Miss Riggs) in New Braunfels.  Would you believe that we planned to meet at a Mexican food restaurant there, but requested a switch in venue and menu at the last minute?  Would you believe we had eaten SO MUCH Mexican food, that even the kids were begging for something different?  Well, it’s true!  So, we moved a couple of doors down for soups, sandwiches, and salads, and met up with these dear friends.  We enjoyed hearing more about their recent trip to China and several other nearby countries.  We were showered with gifts from China and Cambodia, as well as new books, and old dolls for Kayla’s collection.  We also loved seeing Jack’s new braces!
Hanging out with the Graf family is always a laughter-filled, and this-is-not-enough-time-to-catch-up time.  Robert and Kevin (who just completed his second marathon!) were college roommates, and so inside jokes are faithfully recounted each year with everyone laughing until they cry.  Now, I want you to take a close look at the above photo.  Do you see me?  Now look to the right of me and you will see the beautiful Emily.  Emily is in the 7th grade ~ same as Cooper!  She is 5′ 10″ !  And her older brother Chandler to her right is in 10th grade.  He is over 6 feet tall and only 6 months older than Kory!  Needless to say, the Krum fam spent the evening feeling like Lilliputians in the land of Gullivers, but it was so much fun ~ Jason’s Deli, (gluten free bread there!) endless conversation, Amy’s ice cream at the Arboretum, and climbing on the concrete cows.
In what has become an annual tradition, we also went out to eat with my grandmother ~ Gigi, and Uncle Chuck.  It is our second year to meet up at P.F. Chang’s in San Antonio and indulge in their wonderful gluten free entrees and desserts, and to catch up with each other.  My dad also joined us which I think is really special, since this is my mom’s side of the family and she and my dad have been divorced for over 30 years.  They have always loved him and treated him as a part of the family.  Uncle Chuck and Gigi are very special to me, as they spent much time with me growing up.  Now that I am an adult and a mother, I am overwhelmed at the time and sacrifice they gave me as a child ~ babysitting, meals, swimming, special outings and trips, gifts, cards, college visits, Oklahoma visits, and lots of teaching and training by example.  So thankful for each of them.
And then there was the “work” portion of the trip.  I must confess that there have been times when I have resented this part, because it involves preaching, and reporting, and fund raising for our church and ministry in MA.  I have wished we didn’t have to rely on others for this thing that we’ve been called to in New England.  Well, as we traveled to each church and scheduled appointment, I became ashamed of my bitterness over what has really been a gift and blessing to us in so many ways, humbled by the long-time friendships, prayers, and commitments these churches have so faithfully given to us.
First, there was Texas Oaks Baptist Church.  Our friend James is the pastor there.  He and his wife, Cathy, worked alongside of us in youth ministry in Austin.  They were the first family I watched homeschool and lovingly discipline their children.  They had me over for dinner every Monday night as Robert was away at seminary on those evenings.  Some people rave about my weekly menu planner on my fridge.  Well, Cathy was who I learned to plan menus and shop for only needed items from.  Now, even thought James continues to be really smart, designing micro-chips and whatnot for Advanced Micro Devices, he also has a Master’s of Divinity from DTS and pastor’s this church.  They have graciously welcomed us each year, and their church loves and prays faithfully for our church in Massachusetts.
Above is Manchaca Baptist Church where Robert had his first ministry position as a youth pastor. This is a fairly new building for them, and not the one we worked in when we were there, but the people are the same!  They seem fixed in time ~ and never cease to welcome us so lovingly back into their congregation each year.  At the end of the evening service here (Robert preached 3 services here!), the pastor (who was not the pastor when we were there!) called everyone up to lay hands on us and pray for us.  I was overwhelmed to tears by the faithful prayers of this bunch that we have now known for 20 years.  God’s people are simply amazing.
Just yesterday we returned from our trek to Oklahoma.  It was a tornadic sweep through the state for us, to be sure ~ a category 3 at least!  
Friday – drive to Oklahoma City from Austin, TX (8 hours), visit Christie and parents in hospital there after her dad’s heart attack, drive on to Stillwater (1 hour) for dinner with Tom and Jill, drive to Tulsa (1 hour) to Aaron and Shemaiah’s house to spend the night.
Saturday – lunch with Shemaiah at Cracker Barrel, visit Aaron (her husband who just had surgery for Crohn’s) in hospital, drive to Collinsville (1 hour) to meet up with group of friends who were all students at OSU while Robert was the college minister there, back to hospital to hang out with Aaron and Shemaiah, out to eat dinner with Shemaiah, and to bed.
Sunday – up at 5am in order to shower, dress, pack, and leave to drive back to Stillwater (1 hour) and preach at University Heights Baptist Church for their 8am early service, 9:30am Sunday school gathering (all classes together to hear Robert’s report on Mercyhouse and church planting), and 10:45am service.  Next, a wonderful lunch with wonderful friends  ~ the Green family at their house.  Then a group coffee date at Panera for more catching up and reporting on the ministry, and then back to Oklahoma City for a dinner with more dear friends.  Lastly, a one hour drive to Newcastle, Oklahoma to stay with even more wonderful friends and parents of a former student.
Monday – drive from Newcastle, OK to Ft. Worth, TX,(3 hours) to meet with a young pastor, his wife, and four children who are interested in church planting in New England. (They were wonderful, and she says she likes cold weather, so that’s a definite plus!)  Then a drive from Ft. Worth to Austin (3 hours) to pick up our kids at the cousins’ house, and then back to San Marcos (1 hour) to my dad’s house and home base!
Before these church visits, there were numerous appointments with other pastors and ministers for Robert, and even a small group teaching time for folks at my sister’s church.
Whew!  If you are still reading, then you might be as exhausted as we are! Rather than regret and resentment though, the Lord provided for me to have a thankful heart for all of this travel and all of these appearances and appointments.  It was a privilege to be with His people and to have my eyes opened once again to just how this 65 degree-loving-lady is able to survive in New England ~ the prayers of the saints who love her and her family and her Lord.  Not only are these amazing folks being faithful witnesses right where they are, they also want to be a part of that in New England.  It blows me away, and spurs me on to continue serving the Lord in the places He’s called me.
Laundry and packing today!  Back in our own beds (and under our electric blankets ~ sigh) tomorrow!

Texas, Texas ~ Yee Haw! (Part 3: My Birthday)

 We haven’t lived in Austin, or even in Texas for that matter, for almost 16 years now, but for my birthday, Robert planned for us to be “locals” again ~ which was really fun.  First on the list was getting up at 6:30am and driving into town in order to have an early morning run around Town Lake.  Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey were nowhere to be found (not a huge disappointment), but there were LOTS of runners out that morning.  Many of them seemed to be training for the upcoming Austin Marathon, as they were in groups and there were water stations set up.  The marathon is next month, I believe.
There were some really nice views of downtown and the UT Crew Team as the sun was rising.
Yes, I ran the entire 4.5 miles with my camera in my hand, so I guess to the real Austinites it was obvious that we were NOT locals. By the way, did you know that “Austinites” is a legitimate Scrabble word even though Blogger has it underlined as if it isn’t? (I mean, of course it is!  Right, Mandy?)
Next, a self-timed photo in the parking lot and then it was off to breakfast at a very “local” place:
There are two Magnolia Cafes in Austin, but this is the original, I believe ~ a five star rating for breakfast cafes in Austin.  And I know you’re just dying to know what I ate for breakfast, so here it is:
Migas!  It just does not get much better than this.  A combination of two of my favorite kinds of food ~ Mexican and Breakfast.  These were special Migas, called Love Migas.  (Blogger seems to think that “migas” is not a Scrabble word either.) Serrano peppers and garlic were sauteed in butter first, then the eggs were added and scrambled.  Tortilla chips were crushed and folded in, and then it was all topped with Monterrey Jack cheese.  There were sides of black beans, salsa, and corn tortillas.  They even had Tazo Awake Tea!  They must have known it was my birthday.
This sign hung almost right above our table. Now, there are PLENTY of vegetarians in Austin, but Texans are pretty serious about their chili.  It is so unapologetically  full of beef, that if any sort of legume makes its way into the pot, it may no longer considered chili. I love to put beans in my chili, but my father has threatened to disown me over this traitorous act.
I got a little tickled over the thought of people asking me what I had done for my birthday…
“Well, first I got up at 6:30am and went for a 4.5 mile run and then went out for a Mexican food breakfast.  Next I went to the Christian bookstore and bought not just one new Bible, but TWO! (I’ll have to tell you about my Bible dilemma later, which involves me not wanting to switch to the ESV, because I love my NASB too much.) Then I also bought a new Beth Moore Bible study ~ Daniel ~ for this year because I had just finished her study on Esther!”  
Doesn’t that sound so exciting?  Well, it was for me, and actually I know that many of you can relate to this being an exciting kind of birthday ~ especially when you live in a “foreign land” almost completely void of Christian bookstores.  Betsy and Karla, if you are reading this, I took the photo of this entire AISLE of Beth Moore Bible studies just for you!  Amazing, huh?
After a little more shopping and lunch a Whole Foods, Robert and I met my sister, Melissa, and my old friend, Mike, for coffee at a really fun cafe called Mozart’s on Lake Austin.  (I almost said Mike was an old high school friend, but really we’ve been friends (or enemies) since 5th grade ~ that’s 30 years of (mostly) friendship!  Mike was just featured on ESPN and you can see why here.)
After coffee we met back up with my dad and the kids and went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants near my dad’s house ~ the Grist Mill in Gruene (“green”) , TX. ALL of the adults ordered the special which was grilled or blackened tilapia.  The kids went for the tortilla soup or chopped steak and everyone devoured their chips and homemade salsa and queso.  (All gluten free, by the way!)  It was all so delicious and the perfect ending to my 41st birthday.
Robert is completely responsible for the planning of this day.  Didn’t he do a great job?  On top of all of these treats, he also gave me a gift card for a manicure and massage at a spa near my dad’s house ~ can hardly wait till Thursday for that!) And just when I thought he may be getting bored with the stuff that I like to do, he said he wished we’d had more time to hang out together in Austin!  I did too, and I think I’ve already told you how thankful I am for him!
Coming Soon ~  Part 4: More friends, family, Oklahoma, and preaching gigs.

Texas, Texas ~ Yee Haw! (Part 2: Jerky, Trucks, Mules, Cows, Guns, and Grandparents)

Well, we said goodbye to Grammie and Paw Paw last Wednesday morning and headed east to see more grandparents, cousins, and aunts in Bellville, TX.  This was about a 3 hour trip on I-10 and is simply not complete without a stop here:
 They say that Buc-ee’s is a business built on bathrooms, and the bathrooms are immaculate, but the food is almost as spectacular. And by spectacular, I don’t mean gourmet, but just….wow.  I am certain I have never seen THAT many types of beef jerky, or venison jerky for that matter.  The kids got various drinks, Robert and I got coffee, and we all shared a bag of their kettle corn.  When I pulled out an individual package of half and half for my coffee (and there were at least 6 types/flavors to choose from), an attendant came right behind me to re-stock and re-align the section my creamer came from.  Click here to see for yourself how serious Buc-ee’s is about cleanliness!
I had to get this picture of the parking lot, because yes, it is the Buc-ee’s parking lot and not a truck and SUV dealership.
 We met Robert’s grandparents for dinner that evening at a local restaurant, and then headed to cousin Susie’s to spend the night.  I didn’t get a picture of Susie or her house, but each of them are beautiful!  We enjoyed our overnights in her completely renovated farmhouse, perfectly decorated in the finest of shabby chic antique ~ complete with Grandma Krum’s silver tinsel Christmas tree and tin ornaments! What I did get a picture of is Susie’s Mule ~ her Kawasaki Mule, that is.  The kids, of course, had a ton of fun cruising around in this, and I know at least 2 children that may never get their driver’s license after what we witnessed of their skill and conscientiousness.  Oh my.
 Our days were spent here with Robert’s grandparents who have lived on and worked this ranch for 75 years.
 They have raised Hereford Cattle here, and still have just under a hundred head on around 200 acres.
 We loved watching the mamas and babies together ~ so cute.
 Grandpa Doug got a couple of rifles and plenty of ammo ready for our arrival the first day, and the boys absolutely loved shooting at paper from the memo pad Grandpa Doug had in his shirt pocket. We stuck it to a tree limb for a makeshift target.  Later, when Robert went back to the office for more ammo, he returned with a target drawn on a paper towel he had found.
 They were pretty accurate, too.  Kayla opted out of this experience, though we gave her plenty of encouragement to try it.  Even though it wasn’t quite as loud as she imagined, she still preferred to hang back with me taking pictures and exploring a little bit.
 She did enjoy this, though!  Actually, they all did ~ even Duke, the dog.  It took a bit of hoisting up, but once on top, they couldn’t get enough of running up and down the bales of hay and jumping from row to row.
 It’s kind of funny for me to watch all of this go on.  It’s like my kids have dual-citizenship in two foreign lands. In one home, the United Nations flag flies in front of the town hall, Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost haunt their old mansions, and folks from anywhere south of there are suspect because of their proximity to the Bush family.  Art museums, organic veggie farms, and gourmet restaurants abound. Boston and New York City are regular destinations.  Subway travel and Broadway shows are old hat.
But in the other home of theirs, the people and the weather are noticeably warmer, weapons are a source of healthy entertainment and a common past-time, there’s a church on every corner ~ even in those one-stoplight towns, and cowboy boots are much more the fashion than Birkenstocks.  Schools have spirit, the state and country flag are waved proudly, and a tractor is a more likely form of transportation than a train. Cedar pollen falls from the air in greater abundance than that white stuff up north, and barebecue and Mexican are much easier to find than sushi.
I’m thankful that this has been their experience, and just love that they’ve gotten to experience the best of both of these worlds of theirs.
(But just in case I’ve confirmed any negative northern sentiments about this place, you should know that since we’ve been here I’ve eaten sushi, vegan cheesecake, and grilled tilapia to die for.  I’ve attended a fabulous concert by a local musician at an historic theater, and run miles with hundreds of fitness enthusiasts in downtown Austin, and on Thursday I will have a manicure and massage at a beautiful spa!)
(More on those things later.)

Our favorite part of this recent trip to Bellville was hearing Grandpa Doug’s (who turns 92 in 2 months) stories about World War II ~ some we had already heard, and some new.  (Grandma Reba helped in the story-telling as well!) He served in Patton’s army, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and liberated a concentration camp in Germany.  He has an old wooden box in which he keeps photos and memorabilia from his time overseas.  We were honored to have him pull it out again, show us each item and tell of his experiences.  It was such a nice visit.
Two weeks down, one to go before we make the journey north.
Stayed tuned because ~ Part 3 = My Birthday!

Texas, Texas ~ Yee Haw! (Part 1: The Land of Extremes)

 After eating Mexican food, and then being offered more Mexican food in the Wal-Mart parking lot, we headed to my dad’s house.  The next day, my brother arrived from California.  Once we were all gathered, we packed Friday with lots of activity.  First on the agenda was a UT Men’s basketball game at the Frank Erwin Center, (I did not participate in these activities ~ just then men and Melinda, my sis) and then a visit to the Co-Op (campus store) and a campus tour by a stellar alumnus ~ his dad.  If Kory was wavering in his thoughts about going to UT for college, I think he may have been totally sold after this visit.  My hopes of small, private, and Christian may be dashed (Wheaton? Gordon? Oh well…), but there is still time for him to decide.  I just can’t believe how little time….sigh.
 Then, what had been in the works for weeks as a special family outing for New Year’s Eve became a reality.  It all started with a suggestion by Melinda, I think….”Why don’t we all go out for New Year’s?”  and then more details were added…Austin, nice dinner, dressed up, staying out past midnight, and why not a show?  My dad chose the restaurant ~ Truluck’s, Melinda researched and found a fantastic show ~ Bob Schneider at the Paramount, and we even entertained the notion of ending the evening with dessert and champagne at the Four Seasons Hotel.  That last part did not happen as we were all pretty tired by the time we left the theater, but it was a wonderful evening with all of the siblings and my dad.  I am blessed to have wonderful siblings who love the Lord.  There was laughing and reminiscing  (Solid Gold Dancer aspirations, MTV videos and Olivia Newton John), and my dad even pulled out a script from the show “Dallas” which he had had autographed for all of us long ago when he was staying at the same hotel as the cast.  He used to supply them with their cowboy hats back in the day.
 Kayla and cousin Madeline seemed to have developed a passion for roller skating at exactly the same time even though they live 2000 miles apart.  They both asked for them for Christmas.  Madeline got some and they spent nearly 2 days sharing Madeline’s pair.  One would skate up and down the driveway two times and then pass the skates to the other.  It was quite generous of Madeline to share her prized Christmas gift in the way, but that’s just the sweet gal that she is.  Well, it became obvious that it would be much more fun if they both had a pair and so I sent my sister, Melissa, to Academy to get Kayla a pair while she was out running other errands.  Oh the joy when she returned with the precious new pink and black skates!  They had a blast skating up and down Grandad’s driveway, and I have a feeling there will be a lot more skating together before the trip is over!

 The boys split their time between basketball games and electronics.  I wish you could have seen my 72 year old dad out on the court with the guys.  And this hip grandad doesn’t just play basketball, but he works out at the gym regularly, still works full time selling those cowboy hats (and shirts, now too), and is a frequent customer at the Apple Store.  The kids all gave him credit there this year so that he could purchase his long-desired iPhone.  Well, on Sunday afternoon he did purchase it and the grandkids enjoyed seeing his new toy that evening.  (I still can’t get him to text me back, though!) Uncle Stu is also one of their frequent customers and brought his iPad along on this trip. And just when we thought Uncle Stu could not get any cooler, he wow-ed the kids and adults with his cool apps ~ most notably the Starwalk App.  Wow!  They all enjoyed going out and staring at the iPad and the night sky simultaneously, finding the constellations and more.  Truly amazing.
 Now we have moved on down the road to Grammie and Paw-Paw’s house in Hondo, TX, a little farther south and west than my dad’s house in San Marcos.  There has been more basketball (Paw Paw whooped ’em, I hear), more roller skating all over the sidewalks at Grammie and Paw Paw’s church, and THEN ~ possibly as far as you can get from steak and lobster in Austin, TX ~ bow hunting in the Texas brush country.
 Actually, they didn’t really hunt anything, but they did do some damage to their target!
 We were all treated to some time at Paw Paw’s friend Pat’s home and bunk house.  Pat is a bow-hunting enthusiast to say the least, and a man of great faith to top it all off.  After sharing a very personal and moving story about how the Lord had worked in his life through the recent death of a close friend, he gave my boys a wonderful and thorough lesson on bow-shooting and hunting.  It was wonderful.
 His teaching was so great, that the boys had immediate success and began racking up bull’s eyes in no time.  They could not get enough.  (And I’m pretty sure this was another selling point in Kory’s college decision.)
Only one or two arrows had to be retrieved in the brush, which as you can see is a “far piece” from the wining and dining on New Year’s Eve.  It’s just all a part of the charm of the homeland!
Part 2 is likely to include more artillery, ammo, herefords, hogs, and the like. I’m sure you can hardly wait!