The Rest of the Week

On Tuesday and Wednesday we went to Springfield, IL to play tourist and go visit Lincoln’s home and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.  We also ate at D’Arcy’s Pint, a restaurant that is famous for their Horseshoe sandwich.  We ended up getting a “Ponyshoe” (which is a smaller version), but it was pretty good.

On the way to Springfield it hailed on us and ended up raining off and on for about 4 hours…weird weather for Mom and Dad, considering it never rains in Texas…

On Thursday we spent most of the day in Peoria doing what Dad and I do best…shopping!!  Thursday night Dad and I went fishing but didn’t catch a thing.  It was late and I think all the fish were already asleep!

They left today around 1:00PM…we had a very nice visit and I enjoyed having them here…

The Lincoln Home

The Lincoln Family themselves...

our "Ponyshoe" (a sandwich topped with french fries and cheese sauce)

D'Arcy's Pint

dad and I fishing



Mom and Dad visit…

My mom and dad are here visiting for a week.  They arrived on Sunday morning and will leave on Saturday (unless we get tired of each other before then)…

Yesterday Paul and I took them to Mattieson State Park to hike.  We had a great time and I think my mom really enjoyed it…despite having to climb over fallen trees, through boulders and rocks, and through a lot of water and mud…

Then last night we did the ropes course at camp.  If any of you know mom and dad you know they are “older” so I was really surprised my dad did it.  But, mom wanted to do it and I don’t think dad was going to let her do it by herself, so he did it, too…here’s pictures to prove it…

Dad at Mattieson

Dad and Callie

Mom and Dad climbing over rocks

Mom thought it was easier to walk through the water then step on the rocks

getting ready to get on

Dad on the 1st element

Mom and Dad doing the ropes course

Dad on the air loops

Mom holding on for dear life...

Dad going down the zipline

Mom on the zipline


Spontaneous Visit

My sister, Leslie, called on Sunday morning and said they were headed our way.  They got here about 7:00PM on Sunday night and left about 11:00AM on Monday morning…In the short time they were here they:

  • chased rabbits
  • caught a frog
  • caught a snake
  • fed the fish
  • played carpetball (and beat one of our campers)
  • played with our neighbors upstairs
  • played XBox 360 with Uncle Paul
  • watched a movie

All of that in about 16 hours!  Thanks for coming!!

Grady being a turtle with the laundry basket

Drake "helping" Grady play XBox

Uncle Paul, Aunt Callie, Drake, and Grady


New Lingo

Webster’s dictionary defines lingo as…”the special vocabulary of a particular field of interest”

Here is some of the “lingo” I have heard this week (I’ll give you the translations, in case you don’t understand)…

“What them is?” (What are those?) They say that every time they see me cooking something they don’t recognize.

“I eat butter” (May I please have some butter?)

“Where _______ at?” (Where is _______?)  You should not end a sentence with a preposition….

“That yo plate?” (Is that your plate?)

Aren’t you proud to see our public education system at work with those phrases…

Here’s some more:

“I like them breads with the brown spots on top.” (I like the rolls we had)

“You be trippin'” (You’re kidding, right?)

“But, he”…with fingers pointing…(This happens every time you try to ask someone if they did something…it’s always somebody else’s fault)

9-10 year olds boys are whiny and always blaming someone else…what a week, what a week!!  Paul will be very glad when Friday afternoon comes around…so will I…

Girls Night Out

Ember and I went to Julie’s Corner Store on Friday night for a Girl’s Night Out…Julie opened up her store after hours for fellowship, food, door prizes, shopping, and her “little blue drinks.”  🙂  Even though we did not endulge in the “little blue drinks” we did endulge in fellowship, food, and shopping!!  I enjoyed dressing up and sharing that time with Ember.  We were the last ones out…closing down the place at 8:45PM!!  Late night, huh?  🙂

Thank you, my sweet friend…

Ember and Callie

Dear Soldier

Almost 19 years ago those two words started a friendship…

In the fall of 1990 I was in the 5th grade at Woodway Elementary.  My teacher was Mrs. Jayne K.  She was an incredible teacher and probably the most memorable out of all my year’s at Midway ISD.  She was about 5 feet tall and full of energy.  She was stern but very loving…an amazing teacher who had a lot of impact on me at the age of 10.

Anyway, that fall we had an English project, I believe, to write letters to soldiers in Desert Storm.  Back then there was no such thing as e-mail, so we actually learned how to write letters (what a novel idea).  Anyway, to practice our letter writing, we wrote “Dear Soldier” letters to those fighting in Iraq and Kuwait.  My letter ended up in the hands of Jamie Gayton…

Nineteen years later, we are still friends…who knew that a young man in his 20’s would ever want to exchange letters with a 10 year old girl…but here we are!  My letters have gone all over the world, literally, as Jamie has served in the Army.  He is now a Colonel with his PhD. and going to Army War College to continue his education so he can teach at West Point.

We exchanged letters for 6 years before we ever met.  We met for the first time in July of 1996; I was fifteen years old.  He had gotten married to Elizabeth and they were having a wedding reception in New York.  I told my mom I was going, this was my chance to meet him, so she agreed and my whole family went.  I remember that being such a surreal moment in my life.  You get out of your car and walk ackwardly up to a man you have never met before I simply say, “You must by Jamie.  Hi, I’m Callie.”  It was such a neat experience and hopefully one I will never forget.

We saw each other again in 1998 when he came to Waco for my high school graduation.  What a surprise!  His wife was 8 1/2 months pregnant and he left her to come see me…what a great friend…

In 1999 I went to visit them in Kansas, when Stephen was just a baby…Then, seven years later, in 2006, he came to my wedding with Teddy, his sweet little boy…

Words cannot describe how much our friendship means to me.  Jamie has given me so many words of encouragement and such good advice through the years…it’s incredible our friendship has lasted so long.  I still continue to write letters to him, although e-mail is becoming our main source of contact.  Who knew…19 years ago a little girl would start a friendship that, I hope, lasts forever…Here’s to Jamie…thank you for being a wonderful friend…I truly admire you and love you very much, along with your family…

(Jamie and his family came to see me last Sunday, July 5th…Elizabeth took all the pictures that day, so as soon as they get settled in their new home, I will get those pictures)…until then, enjoy these from years past…


I also have a picture of Jamie and I at our wedding, but my mom has to send it to me…I’ll put it on here another day…

Blessings to Jamie and his family…

July 1996-our 1st time to meet

May 1998-high school graduation

March 1999

Happy 4th of July


We celebrated 4th of July this past Saturday by sleeping late, cleaning house (Callie), watching Hereos (Paul), and then getting together with friends for a grill-out and fireworks.  We had unusually cool weather for July 4th, 65-68 degrees and pouring down rain for about 8 hours straight.

On Saturday evening we got together with all of our Great Oaks “family” and had a grill-out upstairs at Jim and Ember’s.  We ate and visited (and mostly watched the kids play).  When all of us get together there are 8 adults and 5 kids under the age of four.  Needless to say, it was cheap entertainment.

Then, Jim, Paul, and I took two of the kids to go see fireworks in Chillicothe, about 15 minutes away.  We had a good time, despite the cold weather and raindrops…

Ethan, Ember, and Hannah playing with the fish

The tent was the source of entertainment

the kids jumping on Brian

The Great Oaks girls: Julie, Callie, Ember, and Shannon (with the two little ones)

The Great Oaks boys: Tyler, Brian, Paul, Jim (and three little ones)

waiting for the fireworks

Paul and Callie

Paul and his little friend


Random Observations

Here are random things that I have thought about this week:

  • Great Oaks gets money from the state b/c we offer a Summer Food Program to our campers.  In order to be a part of the SFP you have to follow certain guidelines in what you serve (certain # of veggies, fruit, meat, grains, etc).  The kids don’t necessarily have to eat it; it just has to be on their plate.  All of that to say…
  • I am getting really tired of saying, “Yes, you have to take _______(insert food item).  I know you don’t like it, but you have to take it.”  Or, “Go back and get more; that is NOT a full spoonful of _______(insert food item).”  I think I’m going to go crazy…watch me, after summer I’m going to go out to eat with Paul at a buffet and say to him, “You have to take everything, even if you don’t like it.”
  • I am also tired of saying, “Where are you supposed to be?”  (They answer my question).  My response, “OK, then go there.”
  • 11-12 year olds boys are very messy eaters and they spill stuff ALL the time!  They’ve had to stay after almost every meal and pick up corn, macaroni, eggs, etc off the floor.
  • The past three days it has only been around 70 degrees here.  On Wednesday, July 1st, I wore a sweatshirt and jeans b/c it was only 68 degrees!  Gotta love Illinois!
  • On Wednesday night I slept in flannel pajamas, under flannel sheets and a thermal blanket AND had the space heater running…
  • Why do my flannel pajama bottoms have hanger strings on them?  (You know the ones that some shirts have on them to help them stay on the hanger-you wrap the string around the hanger-)  I don’t think I’m ever really going to hang my pajama pants up and if I did, the hanger strings are in the front and back, not on the sides, which makes even less sense.
  • Did you know that I have only bought one package toilet paper since we’ve moved here?  I’ve been using almost used up toilet paper rolls from the cabins and the dining hall since we moved here.  If the toilet paper roll is getting low, we replace them.  Well, I don’t want to throw that toilet paper away, so I take it home.  So, we have about 10-12 rolls of almost used up toilet paper rolls underneath our kitchen sink.
  • Did you know that if you stay in the walk-in freezer for over an hour doing inventory, your hair freezes?
  • Did you know that if you try to write with a pen while standing in the walk-in freezer the ink will freeze so your pen won’t write?
  • When a 4 year old dresses herself this is what she wears…a red velvet skirt with black polka dots, an orange shirt, one short red Hello Kitty sock, one white knee sock and pink tennis shoes!  I loved it!  (And Jim, just for the record, I made no comment about her socks not matching)!
  • Tyler said we could have a 3 day weekend for the 4th of July.  How’s that going to work when I have to cook two meals on Friday and one meal on Sunday?  He says, “Well, just take a 3 day weekend when you can…”  My response, “OK, that’ll be at the end of the summer b/c I always have to cook on Fridays and Sundays.”  🙂
  • Jim put a new faucet in the kitchen in the dining hall.  It is very pretty and I like it a lot!  Who ever knew I would be so excited about a kitchen faucet?  However, Jim did say I needed to scuff it up, stain it, or scratch it b/c it just looked too new compared to everything else.
  • In the past two weeks my heartrate has skyrocketed two times (the doctor might’ve been concerned)…both times it was because we got a surprise visit from the health inspector, one from the state and one from the county.  Luckily, we passed.
  • Paul has been sick most of this week.  I think he is just wearing himself down and can’t recover…maybe this Saturday will help.  He says he wants to sleep all day and not leave the apartment…we’ll see…
  • Did you know that our bedrooms do not have windows, so if you unplug the clock and shut the door, you probably could sleep all day and night b/c you would have no idea what time it was…
  • My family is having a big gathering this weekend at my mom’s house and we’re missing.  I’m really bummed!!!  If anyone in my family reads this, give everyone hugs for me!
  • Happy 4th of  July!

Well, I guess that’s all for now.  I’m sorry but I don’t have any pictures.  Since we can’t post pictures of campers, I don’t have many pictures…but, I do have visitors coming on Sunday, so with their permission, I’ll have some pictures next week, I hope.