"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Ramblings

I decided this morning that if I don’t just sit down and write what’s in my head, then it’s just never going to happen. I always try to wait to blog until the house is clean, but I’m in the mood to write now and I may not be after cleaning the bathroom sucks the creative life from me.

Ryan is working this entire weekend, so Ryley and I have been doing girl things. We went to a farmer’s market on Saturday morning, and the place just smelled like summer in Colorado. Yay!



We planted petunias in the front, then tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, cilantro, and jalapenos in elevated, hopefully-dog-proof pots in the backyard. I call it my “pot garden,” but Ryan warns that I should be careful using that terminology. :-)

We also re-potted one of my indoor peace lilies, and it is amazing how tall it’s grown in its new habitat, just 24 hours later!


It’s funny because we’ve planted gardens before, but this year, Ryley is so involved. She insists that watering everything is now her responsibility. I don’t mind. If she actually keeps up this enthusiasm, maybe we'll actually have something to show for it this year.


And apparently, we don’t make cookies from scratch nearly often enough. As we were melting butter and cracking eggs, etc., Ryley opens the fridge and says, “Ok….now where is the cookie dough?”

“What are you looking for?”

“The cookie dough.”

“Ryley, we’re making the dough. Right now.”


There are so many things like that recently…things she’s forgotten. Here I think we’re giving her all these wonderful memorable experiences, but year after year, we discover that there are things that have been lost in her growing brain. I hope that they’re still in there somewhere…that subconsciously, the happy things we’ve done are still there, affecting her personality, even though she doesn’t remember them. :-) And, I guess we just get to do them again!

I’m glad we went to DisneyWorld when she was five, when she was still young enough to believe in the magic of princesses (she announced this morning that she’s definitely over fairies, but she secretly likes princesses so her friends won’t make fun of her). But now we’ll just have to go again someday, so she can really remember it and enjoy it from an older kid’s perspective!


She’s going through this amazing “helper” phase right now, where she likes to help with laundry and cooking. She calls it “learning to be a housewife.”

“Hey, Ryley, do want to help me be a housewife?”


“Can you please take the clothes in the washer and put them in the dryer?”


It’s wonderful. She even started a load of towels for me the other day, while I shouted out step-by-step instructions from upstairs.

She also feels very empowered in the kitchen suddenly. Her current thing is making pudding. She read the instructions on the box and did it all herself, without me even knowing until I found the chocolaty whisk and mixing bowl in the sink. She is proud that she came up with her own “method,” whipping it for two minutes more than the box recommends. :-) Ryan told her it tasted so good…almost like it was “extra-whipped”…. She just beamed at the compliment.

I’m trying to be more present with her. I had a long list of things I wanted to get done around the house this weekend, like clean out our office, go through a couple closets, and organize all my boxes of piano sheet music and books. But yesterday Ryley came to me and asked me if I could help her create an awesome house for her Sims family on the computer (she has been grounded from TV and computer games for the past month because of the behavior issues at school), and I amazed myself by saying yes. I think it amazed her too! So we sat in the cluttered office for two hours, creating a house on her computer game, and she clung to my neck the entire time. She was almost giddy that Mommy was actually playing on the computer with her. It meant a lot.


Last weekend, on a rainy Saturday, Ryley accompanied Ryan and helped him pass out salads and coupons at a 5k race at Children’s Hospital….



They had a blast! Good daddy-daughter time.

Then, on Wednesday, her class had a Mad-Hatter tea party, where they were supposed to bring and wear a crazy hat. We realized that we had given away the crazy hat she was planning on wearing at last Christmas’s white elephant exchange, so Ryan went out and found this one to surprise her:


Such a good daddy!

Friday was the last day of school. Thank You, Jesus! :-) At her class “awards ceremony,” Ryley won “Most Inquisitive,” which is absolutely her to a tee. Sometimes her questions are quite odd…

While gardening… “How do they get the soil into these bags?” and “What do bees eat? Do they eat the honey they make?” Especially with science, which is not my strong suit, I find myself saying, “I don’t know, sweetie. We’ll have to look it up.” The questions are incessant. Her poor teachers! Haha.

Ryan accompanied her on her field day on Friday. He was the lone parent volunteer for her class. They had a good time, and he learned a lot about her teachers and little friends. Funny how you always wish you could learn this stuff before the last day of school. :-)





Yesterday our church had a children’s carnival after the service:



I was thinking recently that Ryley doesn’t have a lot of Christian friends. Our church is young and still quite small, and I don’t think there are any girls her age. There are some older and some younger, but none within the 7-9 age range that I can think of. So I’ve been trying to think of ways to foster some good relationships with other Christian girls.

Regardless, we went to the carnival for some fun and Christian fellowship.

Full disclosure here: I can be painfully, annoyingly shy. We don’t have a lot of friends at our church yet, so I was really nervous about going to the carnival alone, without Ryan. I even offered to help this week’s Sunday School teachers clean up the trash pit of a classroom after the service, just to minimize the amount of time I would have to stand awkwardly at the carnival. I think they were confused by my offer. :-) Anyway, I finally got out to the carnival, and everybody was already paired off….ladies with no children standing talking, ladies with newborns in strollers standing talking, wealthier couples with “tween” kids standing talking about business, and me, disgusted with my own shyness, floating awkwardly between following Ryley around and trying to strike up a pointless conversation with a new lady who seemed distracted. I’m not good at just walking up to people and joining conversations already in progress. The couple of families that we do know better were not there.

My parents (who celebrated 39 years of marriage yesterday!!) have close friends in every state they’ve ever lived in…friends they can go to lunch with after church, friends that feel comfortable falling asleep on their couch on Sunday afternoons. We have few friends like that. We have lots of acquaintances, but few close friends, and it’s probably because we’re both so shy in public situations. I hope it doesn’t come across as snotty. Anyway, it’s something for us to work on, for sure!  It takes time to develop good friendships. And I’m praying that some families with girls Ryley’s age will start coming to our church.

Anyway, it was really interesting, because after we left the carnival, Ryley and I went to eat lunch at a Noodles down the street, and we were sitting on the patio finishing our meal when a couple from our church parked and walked up and said they were trying Noodles based on a recommendation from Ryan last Sunday. It was so cool! They are probably my parents’ age, and I don’t even remember their names, but we had a friendly conversation right there on the patio, and I was able to give them a BOGO coupon I had, which they were really excited about. I think God used the situation to encourage me. :-) We’ll just keep being friendly.


Lastly, here are some foods we’re enjoying right now…

Roasted garbanzo beans…



Homemade sweet potato fries with garlic, thyme, and olive oil…


More portabella mushroom pizzas:


And there’s no picture, but today we are making our new favorite, BBQ pork in a crock pot. We rub a pork shoulder with BBQ rib rub and put it in a crock pot with kosher salt, pepper, minced garlic, a coarsely-chopped onion, liquid smoke, and root beer. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, drain and shred it, mix with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, and serve on buns. Oh my goodness, it’s delicious! And it smells so good right now!



Thanks for sticking with me through this long, detached, random post. And now that the writing bug is finally out of my system, I am off to tackle the house-cleaning.

Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Strong-Willed Wife

I love my husband. I really do. Madly, in fact.

I love that he's on an eternal quest for knowledge. I love that if I ask him a question (such as, “Can snakes climb stairs?”), he answers a thoughtful, “I don't know.” Then, a second later, I hear the click-click of his iPhone as he types something into the search engine. And long after I've moved on to other topics of thought, Ryan is still sitting in the corner, his face illuminated by the light of his phone while he soaks up knowledge on a random subject. And finally, after perusing various internet articles, he emerges back into my world: "So, yes, snakes CAN climb stairs."

People probably think it’s rude, if they don't know what he’s doing. Maybe we're sitting and talking with friends in our family room, and out of the corner of my eye, I see Ryan suddenly bury himself in his phone. It looks, on the outside, like the conversation is boring him. But not so! Something in the conversation merely piqued his interest, and as a result, he is learning more about it. Give it five to seven minutes and he'll say, "Yeah, so, on average, Florida is the warmest state year-round” or “Yes, there’s going to be an annular eclipse on Sunday.”

We don’t actually sit around talking eclipses or the temperature of our country. Well, maybe we do, but those are merely examples. But I did ask him whether or not snakes can climb stairs. :-)

Ryan is incredibly intelligent. He’s a sponge for information. He doesn’t forget anything he hears or anything he reads. He is naturally shy and quiet, so sometimes his intelligence is vastly underestimated. My co-workers have commented that my stories of Ryan and our life together are very different from the impression they get from him in person. He’s underestimated, simply because he’s not the life of the party. It reminds me of that scripture in Proverbs that says that even a fool is thought wise if he keeps his mouth shut. Only, in this case, Ryan keeps his mouth shut because he’s actually wise.  :-)  That’s something I really admire in him.

I love my husband to pieces, and his thirst for knowledge and quiet wisdom are just two of the reasons why.

I simply say all this to preface my main point, so that you don't think that I think ill of Ryan in any way. :-)


Apparently, in his opinion, I'm a strong-willed wife. Yep, just like the famous Dobson book about the strong-willed child, I'm apparently a bit pushy in my own home (or so I've recently learned).

It all started a couple of weeks ago when I wanted to spend a little bit of our tax refund on registering Ryley for diving lessons and guitar lessons this summer. I asked Ryan for permission, and he said no.

Seriously? Surely, he’s just being obstinate, I thought. Ryan is naturally very obstinate and against-the-grain. He plays the devil’s advocate a lot.

So I gave it a day, and I asked him again.

“Why do you bother asking?” he answered. “It doesn’t matter if I say no. You’ll end up doing it anyway.”

“I don’t want you to be mad at me all summer. I want you to be a part of the decision,” I answered.

“Sure you do. My answer is still no.”

I tried a different tactic. Maybe he wasn’t understanding why I wanted to sign her up for these things. Maybe he needed to buy into it. So I explained that Ryley has been asking for guitar lessons ever since Santa brought her a guitar for Christmas. I explained that she also has said that diving looks so fun when she watches the divers during her swimming lessons. It’d be something different!

“No. It’s a waste of money.”

He was right. I was beginning to think I should just sign her up anyway. After all, he didn’t have good reasoning. The lessons aren’t expensive at all, and I think you just can’t put a price on good learning experiences.

My father-in-law once told me too that he believes the key to raising daughters is keeping them busy so they don’t have time to get into trouble. The time spent in diving and guitar lessons this summer would be much better spent than sitting in front of the TV watching “Sponge Bob Square Pants.”

I gave it another day and asked him again. He just laughed at me.

Then I texted him while he was at work.

“Fine,” he responded.

Later he told me that his reluctance was really just an experiment to see if I’d do it without his agreement.

“I did wait for your permission,” I reminded him.

“It doesn’t matter. Even if I’d held firm, you would have signed her up anyway.”

I hated to admit it, but he was right. There’s a part of me that’s extremely strong-willed, and I just kind of do what I want sometimes.  It’s why we stop at Starbucks on roadtrips, even though he won’t be getting anything. It’s why we continue to fill our DVR with recordings of Little House and Brady Bunch. It’s why our first bed comforter was lavender. It’s why we teach Sunday School.

“Like with food,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter whether or not I like it, you just make whatever you want for dinner, and I eat it.”

As we talked, the list grew quickly of foods that I make that he honestly doesn’t care for (not because I don’t cook well, but because he just doesn’t like them). Cabbage burgers, pizza (Ryan gets a lot of flak for this), tacos, chili, enchiladas, anything spicy….If it were up to him, we’d have variations of meat and potatoes every day...steak and fries, chicken and mashed potatoes, chicken and noodles, spaghetti and meatballs, beef stroganoff.  He has a very subtle palate.

And apparently, sometime during the 13.5 years that we’ve been married, I subconsciously decided that if I wanted enchiladas, then darn it, I was going to make them. If I wanted to get in touch with my German roots and make cabbage burgers, then I’d make them. If I wanted pizza, I’d order it. I’m not going to limit myself and my tastes just because my husband’s tastes are different* than mine. He can just deal with it.

When we go out to eat, we always get chips and salsa. Not because he likes it, but because I insist.

To his credit, he just lets me do all these things, for the most part without complaint. Until now, apparently.

If it were up to him, we wouldn’t have any plans on Saturdays. He’s content with having a free day with nothing on the agenda. I like days like that, too. But I’m also not against having plans when they make our lives richer. It’s ok to be a party-pooper, but not when the party-pooping ruins other people’s parties.

So which is it?

Am I a control freak wife with a massively strong will, while Ryan is an impressively loving husband who gives over to my every whim, despite his discomforts?

Or am I just an outgoing woman who likes excitement, married to a man** who prefers a stress-free, carefree, simple life?

Hmmm. Maybe it’s a bit of both. Maybe we happen to complement each other perfectly.  I’d like to think that I do add a little spice to his life. He’d certainly be bored without me. :-)

But I, too, would lead a boring life without him. :-)

One thing is for sure. I better let Ryan read and approve this post before I go on and publish it!


*Edited to replace the words “pickier” and “blander,” at Ryan’s request

**Edited to replace the words “party pooper” and “homebody,” at Ryan’s request.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mother, who’s not only gorgeous on the outside, but ESPECIALLY on the inside! :-)


I am so, so proud to be your little girl. You and Daddy gave me such a happy childhood, and our home was always filled with the peace and love of Jesus.



My mom is a strong farm-girl from western Nebraska. She went to school in a one-room schoolhouse, and her family even had an outhouse on their farm! I love her stories of growing up. :-) She was the first one in her immediate family to go to a four-year college and one out-of-state at that. She’s a teacher, through and through, and she’s filled with so much wisdom and an amazing sense of humor! And now that I’m an adult, I’m also proud to call her one of my closest, closest friends. :-)

Ryley and her Mammaw:



Happy Mother’s Day to my grandma Honey as well! Here she is with her one-month-old great-granddaughter Ryley:

Ryley's trip to Denver b

And here’s me and Ryley in Glacier National Park, Mother’s Day 2004. She was almost 10 months old. :-)

joy and ryley 1

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers I know! You are all so amazing for the way you selflessly serve your husbands and children. Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Still, Small Voice

This past Sunday, Ryley’s Brownie troop organized a pond clean-up day as part of their unit on water conservation.

I have to be completely honest here. I had been dreading it for weeks!  Pond clean-up’s just not my style.

Lucky Ryan had to work on Sunday and got to miss out on all the “fun”!




It was a pretty disgusting and smelly job! But it was good for the girls in many ways, and we ended up filling nine garbage bags with trash.

So anyway, as we were finishing up and preparing to leave after two hot, sweaty hours of combing the banks of the pond and canal area, one of the dads (an older gentleman who’s actually an adoptive father) said, “Come on, Alyssa, we need to retrace our steps. I’ve lost my cell phone.” 

Poor guy! For a split second, the thought occurred to me that I should help them look for it. He’s elderly, after all, and how sad is it that he spent his afternoon out here helping his little girl’s Girl Scout troop, and he loses his phone!?  But Ryley and Amirah had already run off to the playground, and another parent wanted to talk to me right then, so I got distracted. Then I forgot about it and went to wait in the air-conditioned van, within sight of the girls on the playground.

After a few minutes of relaxing, I remembered and wondered if Bob had ever found his phone. I kept feeling in my heart that I should have helped (and still could), but I tried to talk myself out of it. What are the chances of them finding it? It’s a lost cause. I couldn’t see them (the park is quite large), so I didn’t even know if they were still out there.  I even called his wife to see if she had heard from him, but I didn’t get an answer. Then I called their home number. I know! I was going to great lengths to make sure I didn’t have to go help! How horrible of me!

Then, I spotted them….two heads way in the distance, disappearing and reappearing as they searched in a marshy area about half a mile away. And a storm was rolling in.

Darn it.

I got out of the van. I would be going too far to leave the girls alone on the playground, so I rounded them up and together we headed toward Bob and Alyssa. They were on the other side of the pond from us, so when we were close enough I yelled to Bob and asked if he’d found his phone. Obviously, he hadn’t, but it only made sense to ask first. :-)

“How about if I call it for you?” I called out.

“Probably won’t do any good!” he yelled back.

“What’s your number?”

So he called out his number, and I dialed.

“I hear it!” he yelled, within a few seconds. It was probably only 10 feet from him, in a marshy area he had already searched through.

Bob held up the phone, and all three girls cheered, from different sides of the pond. It was one of those moments.

Wow, God, thank you.

I was utterly amazed that the Holy Spirit had spoken so strongly to me right at the moment that would lead me to Bob at the same moment they were near the phone. And what if I had ignored the prompting?? God cares about these small things in our lives, and in the lives of others around us. We just have to listen to that still, small voice...and obey it. Even if it’s not convenient. Even when we don’t want to. :-)

It was really impactful for me. I think I got more out of that situation than Bob did!


I’ve specifically been praying for wisdom at work….The things that go wrong for our company are so bizarre it’s almost comical! So I’ve been asking God for an extra measure of wisdom every day. It’s been interesting how I see it paying off…

Last Friday was supposed to be pretty cut and dry. My boss was having knee surgery that morning, so we didn’t have a lot going on. I had a clear-cut list of things that had to get done, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Plus, it’s Friday, and Fridays are always fun!

Haha. Fun indeed.

I arrived at the office at 8:15, and by 8:20, I had an office full of angry Mexican men, wondering how they were going to get paid now that “Jaime” is in jail.

“Wait…Jaime’s in jail?”

Now you have to understand that while “going to jail” is nothing out of the ordinary for the vast majority of my co-workers , whenever it happens, it is a pain. A huge pain.

I know. You’re thinking, wow, she’s really lackadaisical about the fact that her co-workers end up in jail a lot. Well, it is what it is. This is my life right now. If a co-worker is suddenly hard to reach, my go-to assumption is that they’re in jail. And sometimes I’m right. It doesn’t change how I feel about them. Jaime is my friend.

So, I called Jaime’s phone. And this stranger answered. This stranger who spoke perfect American English and who said he was on the way to the office to meet with me.


This tall, good-looking, Hispanic guy waltzes in (think Enrique Iglesias), says he’s Jaime’s brother Joaquin, he’s second in command, and he’s here to talk about the future of Jaime’s crews, their payroll in Jaime’s absence, and what jobs they can do for us.

Wait. I know all three of Jaime’s brothers. We’ve been close co-workers for six years, and I’ve never heard of a Joaquin. Why haven’t I met you before?

But to this guy’s credit, he seemed to know what he was talking about. And he could translate  for us, since the angry Mexican crew members were still standing there with their arms crossed, refusing to work until we figured out their pay. Plus, he was very charming.

At some point, as we were coming up with a plan for payroll, job scheduling, etc., I thought, wow, we sure are entrusting a lot into the hands of this guy we met 20 minutes ago. And I began to feel sick to my stomach.

So when he said he was going to go visit Jaime in jail and he suggested Leahh go with him, I insisted that they drive separately. Leahh needed to go on my behalf to get some questions answered for me (I didn’t have time), but I did not think it was wise that she ride with a stranger. I think everyone thought I was crazy! But I had seen the way he looked at her, and I didn’t trust it.

I also didn’t like the way he was watching me as I sorted through my safe, looking for a credit card we could use to fill the crew’s truck with gas. He was just paying very close attention to the locale of important documents.

I started turning a bit colder to the idea of jumping on board the Joaquin train in Jaime’s sudden absence. There was shadiness all over the place, and in retrospect, I know that it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me! I warned my co-workers that I wasn’t completely sold on trusting him, and I think they thought I was really overreacting. But it doesn’t matter; in my boss’s absence, I’m the one that gets to make that call, and I chose to move cautiously.

To make a long story short, Jaime miraculously got out of jail in time to come down to the office and figure out payroll for his crews, and everything ended well. But it turns out Joaquin isn’t Jaime’s brother after all AND he has a key to the office, which I told my boss yesterday. I also changed my hiding spots for all important documents, not to mention the safe. And? He asked Leahh out, then texted her over the weekend, asking her to send him a picture of herself. Exactly what I thought. Creepy, creepy.  In fact, when he called the office today, Leahh asked if I would answer the phone since she prefers to avoid him now.

I had prayed for wisdom, and in that situation, I felt like God really gave it to me. Nothing really happened per se, but I just felt that check in my spirit that we shouldn’t automatically trust everything this guys has to say.

Again, it was that still, small voice that would have been incredibly easy to miss if I hadn’t been listening for it at the right time. Another interesting opportunity for my spiritual growth.

Thank You, Holy Spirit.

He always keeps it interesting; that’s for sure. ;-)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ryley’s Room Makeover

We’ve lived in our house for five years, and Ryley’s room has always, always, always been an issue and point of contention. It’s constantly messy, and no matter how many “Come to Jesus” talks we have about how “everything has a place” and “please put things back when you’re done playing,” Ryley has struggled with keeping her room in any other state besides a pigpen.

In fact, she had this horrible “theory” that having a messy room is actually helpful, because if all your stuff is out on the floor, you can find it more easily.

She comes by it honestly. I mean, when I was little, my room was always a mess, too, and my parents finally gave up and started shutting my door when they walked past it. Yep. ;-) Sorry, Daddy.

But Ryley’s room is so small, and over the past few months, I have been brainstorming ways we could make it seem bigger. We also have had trouble with her big, bulky closet doors staying on the tracks, so when I came across some interesting ideas on Pinterest, I showed Ryley my idea, enlisted the help of my aunt Coleen, and started making plans.

First, Ryan removed the closet doors for us.

Then, Ryley and I had to clean the room. Because we could not walk in it:


I’m not even sure how I managed to get back into this corner to take this picture. I did end up needing a band-aid on my foot though, at some point during the process.


After it was clean, we rearranged the furniture yet again, moving the dresser into the closet, to maximize square footage in her room.


But we weren’t done yet! We left the room alone for a few weeks while we formulated the rest of our plan and did multiple online searches for 84” tension rods and 96” curtains….Finding nothing, we decided we would have to make our own curtains, from sheets.

So this morning, my aunt Coleen and uncle Paul arrived at our house with her sewing machine, scraps, and supplies. We took a little field trip to the fabric store, and soon the girls were up and running on the project:



They worked and they worked and they worked:


Notice Ryley’s new glasses? She got them this morning and is so excited! We think they’re pretty cute on her.

Coleen let Ryley do a good portion of the sewing herself!



Then, after hours and hours of work (during which Mommy and Daddy went to see The Avengers), the closet curtains were finally hung:

108  111

And then the window curtains too….





We also added some other organizational finishing touches to the room:






We are so excited with how this turned out!!!!! Thank you, Coleen, for all of your help! You are so amazingly creative, talented, and patient. It turned out better than I had even dared to hope.

I might just have to post my own picture on Pinterest now!


And one more bonus pic of Ryley reading….this time with glasses. :-)


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Land of the Mighty Cornhuskers

This past weekend, we took a little trip up to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to visit my grandma, “Honey.” We had such a wonderful time, though the trip did go extremely quickly! I wish we could have stayed much longer.

Honey certainly kept us busy!

Ryan had never been to the Riverside Zoo, though Ryley and I have been twice before. So that was our first stop:




I would just like to go on record as saying that Honey and I stayed true to form and did NOT touch or feed any animals while we were there.

036 041 044  079


It was slightly chilly, so we pretty much had the whole zoo to ourselves!

Then we ate lunch at my favorite Scottsbluff restaurant, Taco Town. They’re the “tac-0 the town.” Seriously. My family has eaten there every time we’ve visited Scottsbluff since before I was born, I think. Yum!


Then, after lunch, Honey took us to the North Platte Valley Museum. Scottsbluff/Gering is right on the Oregon Trail, so there are a lot of interesting pioneer artifacts:



We had fun seeing all the weaving looms and ice boxes, etc., from the past. Honey shared lots of stories from her childhood.


The museum had a big display of Girl Scout history, so we browsed through that. Very interesting! Here, Ryley tries out Morse Code:


Any Brownies out there from 1985? This is a replica of my Brownie uniform:


And my Brownie book:


Funny how the brain works….I haven’t seen this book in 26 years, yet the moment I saw it, it all came rushing back to me. :-)


The museum was a great experience! Thanks for taking us there, Honey!!!

Then, because Ryan had never been to the top of Scottsbluff Monument (an Oregon Trail landmark), we drove up there, too:




Playing with fire:


You can’t really see it very well, but 30 miles behind my head is Chimney Rock and the town of Bayard, where Grandpa and Honey farmed and ranched for more than 50 years. Honey still owns the land. We used to spend our summer vacations there, picking sweet corn with Grandpa and helping him shuck it, helping Honey in her garden, learning to sew, riding 4-wheelers around the hills, and swimming in ditch banks alongside the cows. Lots of good memories. :-)


Then, crazy kids that we are, we hiked down the monument, while Honey drove to the bottom to pick us up. It took us about 45 minutes.





I fell behind a lot. :-)


Amber waves of beautiful Nebraska:


We had dinner with my aunt and uncle and attended church with Honey on Sunday morning before heading back to Denver. It was just a really nice , peaceful, fun couple of days.

Thank you, Honey, for letting us come up and crash your weekend! You wore us out in the very best way! We love you! :-)