Category Archives: family

Schmidt Family Reunion 2015

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This month Kelly and I celebrated our phenomenal family at our family reunion in Reading, Michigan. It’s the first reunion Kelly has ever attended and the first one in twenty years for her mother (a horrible example of family togetherness on my part). We had the BEST time of our lives!

I caught up with my cousins who enriched my life as a kid and Kelly found out there are a ton of people she is attached to at a deeper level than any other person on this earth besides her immediate family. And imagine this… they care for her just as much. She has longed to know her extended family and they are every bit as hilarious and crazy and fun and caring as she hoped.

We roomed with these wonderful, wacky people…
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These are the Frank Schmidt’s. My dad was one of eight kids and these are a good sampling of his prodigy.
I hope to God we didn’t shame him. (Highly unlikely). Dad helped institute a new family tradition with his two brothers, Tom and Gerry. It is now continued by Jamie Schmidt and Billy Caverly…. The Martini Club.

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I was too soused to get a really good photo document of this momentous event, but believe me when I tell you we honored our heroes valiantly with some damn good gin and recounting of the best memories. Love you Dad.

We were honored by the presence of the three remaining matriarchs of our family. The vibrant and vivacious Mary Schmidt, Emmy Caverly and Pat Smith.

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These ladies are incredible.

The camp we were at offered loads of fun activities. One of them was a giant rope swing. Easy peasy for Kelly.

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And here she is on the high ropes. This looks easy, but she is 40 feet off the ground. It is freaking scary!

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And hard as heck.

We enjoyed the company of some incredible people. I hope to post more detailed pictures. Heck, I took about 800 shots through out the weekend.

After the reunion we spent a few days in East Tawas. We couldn’t stay without capturing a few special pictures of my girl on the lake.

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We hung out with my mom and my sister (no good pics of Liz… sorry) and my nephew Sean. He and Kelly had a blast.

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Can’t believe how incredible the time we had and how much we enjoyed every moment, every person, every experience.

Happy Summer you all!!

Love
Jeannene

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Festival Of Lights – and Happy Things

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We just wrapped up the the Channukah season.

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Ben passed his first semester at the big school. He was overjoyed. He came home for the four days Walmart hadn’t scheduled him to work. We worked him hard, watched movies and let him talk our ears off. And we fed him the Thanksgiving dinner he missed and sent him back with half the turkey meat. Eat on young buck!!

I loved having him around.

At the same time my daughter did a favor for a friend. She took in their little puppy for the short time they went out of town. The friend couldn’t believe her mom and dad were on board with it. A puppy? A not house broken, up in the middle of the night, cute as a button and more baby dog.

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Who could say no to that little face? Meet Chicken.

No that isn’t a typo. The little girl who owns him calls him Chicken. No idea why, but he really knows his name after a week at my house. He comes when you call him. Comes running with kisses and sharp toothed little puppy nips. Small and full of life and wiggles all soft and cuddly. And when he comes he jingles, because around his neck hangs a little bell. That’s because he can disappear like a roach and we need to be able to find him. “tinkle, tinkle, tinkle”

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Gahhh, I’m such a sap. We loved having him.

We didn’t dare let him off that leash outdoors. Chicken thought the grass was a play field in which he could run, and run, and run, and run. That little dog could run fast for something with such short stubby little legs, too. Cooper raced after him the last time he got away and side-swiped him for me, tumbling him end over end. The little thing rolled and lost his bearings enough he laid on his back, puppy paws in the air, long enough for me to scoop him up.

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Chicken is also now a traveling pup. He loved looking out the window as the miles flew by. If he wasn’t somebody else’s little guy, we’d have kept him for good.

Cooper might have had something to say about that, though. He spent the afternoons keeping out of Chicken’s reach. That meant sitting on the edge of the bed where stubby little puppy feet couldn’t gain enough purchase to climb up.

Then when Chicken went home, the house silent of his little bell, Cooper laid around looking rather depressed. After all those evasive maneuvers to keep out of Chicken reach, I thought Cooper would be glad to have the house and us to himself. Evidently even bothersome puppies can endear themselves to older canines…

… and old men. My husband misses ole Chicken.

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This lovely distraction is just what my tired brain needs. A rest from the book that doesn’t seem to want to be finished and shot of pure puppy joy. It’s what we all need.

Happy Holidays to all. I hope all your wishes come true. I know mine have in my little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

Our Last Day … Loads of Fun

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This was our last day. Four hours of it disappeared on the “fetch the rental car” expedition. A really nice drive to Bay City, but all the same, used up time. Kelly was stir crazy waiting on us and my poor mom was in her chair. We ran her ragged this week. Movie watching was all she had the energy for.

We gathered up Cooper, put on our walking shoes and talked Dad into driving us to the beach-bay-lake. It was time for a walk and Cooper was part of it, though the early morning ride in the car made his day already.

The walk through the city park, a beach side venue, started very nicely. That was until I hit a patch of shade. Yikes! Cold!! The temperature had barely warmed from the day before. The sun was out, but a brisk breeze still kissed our fannies with every step we took.

Shivering through every shady spot we passed we finally made it to the marina/pier.

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Cooper was all frisky and perky still.

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Because his favorite thing to do is scratch and scratch and scratch his back and head on the wonderfully rough texture of ever-loving, marvelously simple concrete.

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Even here he was pulling at the leash. Kelly kept wanting to carry him, thinking his little legs had worn out already.

That was until we took a good look at the trek back. This is a loong pier. You don’t realize how far you’ve walked until you look back down to the return trip.

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I think Cooper felt the same way… his legs gave out before the end of the pier. We can tell because his tongue starts hanging out and he starts lagging behind.

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By the time we reached the last 100 ft of the walk way he was totally wiped. What a wuss. Short legs just aren’t conducive to long walks. See his tongue hanging out? Notice his limp little body? Pooped out.

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And then Kelly took a liking to this craft. It’s half the size of the ones we walked past, but every bit as nice.

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Then, because this was our last day and we hadn’t had enough of the lake or the water, cold as it was, we decided to do something exciting and reckless and dangerous. Did I mention reckless. It was scary to me.

We rented a skidoo thingy and ran the waves on Lake Huron. Geared up …

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… and hit the water. Did I forget to say I have to drive since I’m over 18 yrs? Yep, that’s me in the front. I wasn’t thrilled. I’m the girl who watches her kids as THEY ride the roller coaster. I live vicariously, I tell you. I don’t require first hand thrills. But here I am about to live the thrill. Bob watched Cooper and I had to drive. *shivers*

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Very tame here, on idle as we exit the marina.

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Then it was …. did I mention scary? The water was the deepest navy blue I’ve ever seen directly below me. I gunned it gradually. Then Kelly MADE me gun it again. We went 35mph easy over the surface of that fathomless bay, water spraying in our faces, the wind whipping around us. We traveled at least three or four miles along the shore… off in the deep area. Then we doubled back, skirting the shallower edge so I wouldn’t freak out over the dark, dark blue waters. Water sprayed us and we dried off in the brisk air as we sailed over the waves. I almost got comfortable. Almost.

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Then I glanced at the watch they gave me. We were only ten minutes into our hour.

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Twenty more minutes was all I could stomach. Not to mention my throttle fingers kept falling asleep. Not a desirable attribute for a skidoo operator.

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I couldn’t wait to idle us back into the marina.

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Does that look like a stupid grin on my face? Why, hell yes it is! There are no words to describe the relief pulsing through me as I made my way slowly to the dock. I think I’m getting too old for this kind of excitement. But… this will keep me young.

For the most part, this was an exhilarating day. It was still pretty chilly out there, but the way the skin on my face tingled from wind burn and the sun made me feel alive. And that is always worth the buzz it gives.

Bless you for enduring the updates of my vacation. I hoped to impart some my joy. Thank you for sharing in my little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

A Truly Blustery Day Four In Michigan

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Thursday dawned warmer, slightly, and full of sunshine. We didn’t waste a minute more than needed for breakfast before taking our bikes out for another ride. It was so invigorating the day before, Kelly and I weren’t going to pass it by again. My poor mom. We dragged her out everywhere. This time we stopped at another coffee shop on our way to the Walmart. We needed a couple necessity’s. Ice cream for Hot Tin Roofs, for one. And very few other things, being we were on bikes with tragically little carry space.

By the time we got back to the house, hubby had closed the windows I pre-emptively opened. The sunshine fooled me into thinking the day would be warm, but really it was so chilly even my husband ran from the too-cool breeze. I wasn’t wasting this light, though. Kelly threw on some clothes, we packed Cooper into Mom’s van (along with the cat) and we made for the beach for some more pictures. We found ourselves at the Oscoda public beach. Stunning. Beautiful. Clean. Void of people.

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The wind blew around us like nothing I’ve experienced in the summer. If not for the sun, we would’ve given up for warmer places.

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White caps, the wind-blown look, secretly shivering beneath that thin little blouse and the water lapping at her bare feet. Brrrrrr.

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But the lighting was pretty great.

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Not sure which day we’ll pick, but I like taking pictures of my little girl.

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Naturally we had to include Cooper-duper into our outing. The pier was safe and secure. But the wind blew even harder out here. Thank goodness I didn’t give that pooch a trim before we left Arkansas. He would be shivering, in need of a sweater!

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Last one… take in the color of the water, the way the light winks off the waves or ripples. Imagine gusts of wind chilling you at least another fifteen degrees.

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One last look… just admiring my handiwork.

All that wind and sunshine gave us an appetite. Mom found a little German restaurant down the road. It housed a bakery and only served food until 2pm. Walking into the place, it was old fashioned and in need of an update. Old tables, collector plates lining a ledge on three sides of the room, blankets hanging on the walls. Nothing too fancy. We were hungry and not discriminatory. When the food arrived I was flabbergasted.

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A reuben sandwich on toasted rye, REAL batter dipped onion rings and fresh coleslaw. It was soooo delicious. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Later that night we chowed down on a huge bowl of Hot Tin Roofs…. scrumdilly-icious.

Thanks for spending a moment with me in my little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

Day Three in a Michigan Breeze

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Wednesday started out cool… cold by Arkansas standards, and down right cool by Michigan standards. A brisk breeze blew off the bay, but the sun peeped in and out of fluffs of clouds. In the forecast, rain for the afternoon. No time waste for the day.

We took off for a bike ride first thing in the morning. A ride along the beach path was inviting, having never done it before. Kelly and I straddled those bikes like we did it every day and took off with Mom to the lake. It was a great ride.

We made sure we wore the appropriate clothing.

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The bay was quiet and calm. Quite a sight for a country girl unaccustomed to large expanses of water.

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We stopped into the local coffee shop/java hut and had a real cuppa in a real mug (mine was mocha, of course). Very gemutlich.

We had the sun on our side and still enough time to beat the weather. Then we dressed and packed up and made for the beach. Today was senior picture shoot day. I took a boat load of pictures. A few turned out really great. Here are a smattering.

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The wind blew and the sun winked at us from between and behind the clouds. I knelt in the wet sand and the cold water sloshed over my bare feet as I snapped a LOT of pics. But as you can see, the subject was exceptional. Then Cooper barked at us incessantly.

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We took more pics along the cold beach in the biting wind.

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And Cooper kept up his notes of displeasure. More barking and barking.

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We called it a day. It time to find shelter from the afternoon rains. Thank goodness for diligence. It really rained a lot this afternoon.

Thanks for sharing my little piece of heaven today. It really was a piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

Summer In Michigan

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We finally made it to East Tawas.

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Kelly’s first time to be this far north and lay eyes on one of this country’s Great lakes. Lake Huron.

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Our first full day is glorious and warm and sun-shiny. Michigan revealed all her natural charms as Mom took us on a little tour of the area. First stop, of course, is the bay. Specifically the public pier. Dozens of boats are moored here behind a break wall. Even Cooper didn’t mind the giant expanse of water around him.

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He took the outing as an adventure. Well, this whole trip is his adventure. It’s Cooper’s first vacation.

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Mom took us to see the Lumberman’s Monument here. This area had a huge lumber industry at the turn of the century. My great-grandfather was a lumberman, as a matter of fact. Sadly, this writer didn’t even snap a picture of the monument itself. I was taken by the scenery ….

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… and the opportunity to take a trip down this large hill via a few hundred steps of stairs…

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The park overlooks the Ausable River. Lumber was harvested from the surrounding forests, pine and deciduous trees growing in huge numbers here. The logs were brought to the edges of the river, off the towering edges of the woods along the river, and dumped down long drops into the river to float down to the lumber mills.

Kelly and don’t hesitate a second when that wooden staircases invites us to the river’s edge a few hundred few below us. We take off, with Cooper, of course. He is always up for an adventure.

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Having such short legs does keep him from traveling at human pace. We carry him most of the way.

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At the river’s edge we find a barge replica the loggers lived off of. They cooked and ate on it as they floated down the river. I love history. Especially rustic and manly morsels. I won’t bore you with it all. Then we climb back up the stairs, a considerable more challenging feat than the descent. Very invigorating!

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We found a local fresh fish market and bought fresh caught lake perch and white fish. We fried t up for lunch and ate like kings. As my grandfather used to say, often mind you,”I wonder what the poor people are doing today.” We are rich and blessed. Outstanding flavors of the area. Great idea Dad!

The day wasn’t over yet. A warm afternoon drew us to the beach. Too pretty, my little girl. I love taking pictures of her. I know, I’m shameless.

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Crisp breezes, sparkling water, the pleasant burn of the sun on our skin finds us on the beach with most of the other tourists. Kelly tries to acclimate Cooper to the water, but he isn’t having any of it.

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He may look all right, but in real time his little feet are paddling to keep him out of the water.
Dad and my mom found the most pleasant spot under the trees, a breeze blowing through, to watch. Cooper found it as a safe haven.

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After a late afternoon nap, and I mean all of us, Kelly included, and dinner we finished our day by listening to the community band concert in the park. The constant breeze kept bugs at bay. We had a great day.

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We pack a boat load of stuff into this day because we aren’t sure how often the sun is going to shine this week. Rain has been a constant this summer. Needless to say, we are pooped by the end of the day. Best day ever!!

Thanks for sharing this little slice of my heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

A Rising Star (or so we hope)

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It is always the hopes and dreams of anyone who breeds race horses that their new baby will show promise and that promise will develop into talent. We’re no different from the rest of the breeding world. This March we put our newest baby into training. We named this colt Colonel Frank, for my Dad who passed away almost four years ago. This fellow is strong and elegant. A lot like my Dad.

He doesn’t look much like a baby. He’s big. Pretty powerful looking too. In horse lives he really is only just a baby.

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He’s a two-year old colt. Just a tike in the world of horses. He doesn’t know anything about the world outside of our small farm. Training gets him ready for his job… racing. He has to learn to stand in the bathing stall and allow water to be sprayed on him without getting all upset. He needs to know the world around won’t eat him. All the stuff we take for granted like trucks, and buildings and open spaces, blankets, and saddles, the shiny reflection of a puddle of water, a large tuft of grass, somebody yanking on your leg and pounding on your feet… I could go on and on. To him they are all potential to be eaten.

He especially has to learn to take a rider.

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He’s taking to that pretty well. Our trainer has been putting him in scary places to get him used to all sorts of situations.

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Here Victor is galloping him inside an empty barn! Up and down, past the shadows and the puddles. He was a little jumping at first, but Victor, an experienced jockey, had him settled down in no time. Standing inside that shed row with those hooves pounding the dirt floor as he flew past was thrilling. I don’t deny that pride had my chest swelling as we watched him. I don’t think being his mommy had all that much to do with it.

This fellow has a way of going that takes my breath away. I sound a little swoony. I should save it all for my books, but what the hey.

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After that lesson Victor took him into the neighboring field with large brick monsters and giant light green snakes to further his education. Colonel kept a keen eye on those things in case they tried to gobble him up, turning his head to keep them in clear view. Victor let him look, but made him stick to his job… walking in a big circle in the field.

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He’s learning he won’t get eaten as easily as he thought.

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He’s still out there, alive and kicking. He’s got a lot of class. But, I am biased. Heck, we raised him and watched his every move for two years.

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This is Recil Payton, our trainer. He trains horses in Salisaw, OK. We think he’s doing a fantastic job with our baby. Thanks Recil to you and your staff.

Notice I can’t keep Cooper out of the picture, not to mention our girl. I’m such a mom.

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That’s my little piece of heaven today. I’ll be keeping up with our baby through the months. Bear with me, I like to share with the world.

Love,
Jeannene

Good Times

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To my shame I forgot all about writing this post. Lifeinteruptus caught me up in its vortex. (That will be in another blog.)

In October my daughter and I took a day for girl’s night out. We had a blast!! We went to Luke Bryan’s Dirt Road Diaries tour. It must be said… we are huge country music fans and Luke Bryan is the guy whose song dragged me into the country genre. (I was a closet classical music fanatic for a long time.) When I heard “I don’t want this night to end” I was hooked. There is a line in the song… “You’ve got your hands up, you’re rocking in my truck…” that threw me back in time to my 18-year-old self. I remember doing that. It is a powerful memory.

At any rate, we made this a girls night out. We started with an excellent meal at a local Italian spot. It has a top rate atmosphere, especially on the porch where we braved the fall breezes.

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Whoops! Wine. Drinking with my minor… It was a tasty Moscato. An excellent

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Sorry. Just like to put this girl up. She dresses up any place. Though this spot was fun all by itself.

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A selfie is in order here… barely. Probably the influence of the wine.

My hubby insisted we indulge in a great place to spend the night. Great room with a view of the Arkansas River.

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Us actually at the concert… this is the last shot of either of us because our attention is consumed by music. (The pictures stink because they are off my cell phone, by small camera died two days before this event.)

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First on is Florida Georgia Line… awesomeness in pants.

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Next on is Thompson Square.

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And then comes Luke…

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We sang every song. Really it was more like bellowed out every song, but it was so much fun. The music just goes right through you.

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This barely taps into the vibrance and thrill of all that music. Needless to say, we could barely hear when we got out and it took a while to wind down to finally sleep. T-shirts, expensive as they are, attest to the night and the fun.

Thanks for enduring the shoddy pics as you share in this little slice of HEAVEN.

Love,
Jeannene

Homecoming 2013

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Here I go again. *rolls eyes*

Warning! This post includes too many pictures of my offspring dressed up and made up to be so pretty.

A few weeks ago Homecoming took place. My kiddo wasn’t even sure she was going this year until about two before the event. That meant a frantic search for a sweet little dress with all the requirements. It took us exactly and hour to storm the few shops in our local town to find nothing to fit the bill. Another three-hour search of the internet finally yielded the dress with the right style and the perfect flouncy skirt. The color wasn’t perfect, but we were scraping the bottom of the barrel since time was so late. It is the best dress ever!

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And then there is her date… very nice young man.

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A close up….

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More…

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I’m a silly mom…

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I have to get a full shot of this backdrop. This is an old house on a property close to the fella’s home. It has wonderful charisma.

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This was the nicest Homecoming, according to the girl. Even her beau had a good time. By the way, this is dressed up for him. He’s a good ol’ boy and more comfortable in a worn pair of jeans and a familiar tee-shirt… and the hat, of course.

This is the latest piece of my heaven. Enjoy!!

Love,
Jeannene

Tennis

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We have embarked on an entirely new adventure at our house. Our girl discovered an age-old sport.

Tennis.

And she loves it! She finally found her sport niche and this girl is going after it like a dog with a bone. Even better…. she’s pretty darned good at it too.

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She started hitting the ball around with her dad this past spring, him giving her pointers. (This is one of his big sports. He played great tennis in his day.) While at the school tennis courts one Sunday a woman gave us the number of a local tennis coach holding lessons in the near future. That started the ball rolling and it hasn’t stopped yet.

To give her some practice she started just hitting the ball against the back board and hitting balls off the porch into the pasture. That gives picking up balls a whole new meaning… hunting for tennis balls in the grass ain’t a piece of cake. You have to be devoted to go through that.

Dad bought her a ball machine shortly after that. You should have seen the improvement with that little gem! She went to the local lessons, tried out for the high school tennis team and made it (not an insurmountable feat in football country).

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This summer she took lessons and went to workshops and this fall she played tournaments. Her path to improvement is remarkable and exhilarating because….

SHE IS GOING TO THE STATE PLAYOFFS NEXT WEEK!

We are so proud of her.

Instrument in her improvement is this gentleman. He has been teaching and coaching her the past few weeks. His gentle encouragement has made her grow and flourish as a tennis player. Thank you Bill.

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We just want to say… go baby girl!!

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This is the latest installment of my little piece of heaven. Thanks for letting me share it with you.

Love,
Jeannene