Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Vacation By Numbers - Part 1

Whew!  I'm back!

And slowly, slowly our house is beginning to settle back into our normal routine ... whatever that is.  On Tuesday we sailed into the drive way, the van threw up in our living room and we darted back out the door to celebrate a buddy's birthday.  On Wednesday, I re-distributed our belongings back to where they actually belong, found the floor, vacuumed it, enjoyed some extended family time and fell into a tired little heap.  Today has been much more like a typical day in the neighborhood ... much more low-key and dry than the previous two weeks.

To give you a little glimpse into our wonderful whirl-wind week away, here is our trip ... by number.

2 vans loaded up and headed out ... we loved traveling with Gramps & Grammy.

2.5 days of driving east ... felt like more.

2 hotel pools on the trip out ... getting acclimated to chlorine water and getting the "we drove all day" wiggles out.

2 surprise mini-DVD players ... thanks, Daddy!

8 episodes of Phineas & Ferb watched ad infinitum.

I-80 highway through the flatlands ... emphasis on flat.

6 episodes of Car Talk ... hundreds of calories burned laughing.

1 Wendy's restaurant, squeaking in with our order just before the bus of 130 unloaded.

7125 - our room number at Glacier Canyon Lodge - our home for the following five days.

8 suitcases to load and unload ... and load again.

19 family members all eating and laughing together.

60 zipliners zooming past our balcony every day (at $45 a pop, that's a good business!)

80 degrees, the average high temperature for the week (aaaahhhhh).

60 years of Tommy Bartlett ... a circus on water skis ... 90 minutes of fun!

3 unscripted, near-death experiences by one performer ... a little less fun.

5 water parks in 4 days.

2 water parks in 1 day ... oops ... not our best family togetherness time.

9:30 pm - the average bedtime for our kids (that's 90 minutes of overtime).

4 utterly exhausted and driven to tears children (and nearly 2 adults).

4 dinners altogether in one condo.

4 Perplexus balls in constant motion.

9.4 seconds for Brett to knock over the water bottles with the pantyhose-pendulum hanging from his head during our "Minute to Win It" night.

2 trips down the Scorpion Tail at Noah's Ark Water Park ...

2 thorough sinus rinses into the bargain!

$10 worth of emergency french fries to keep the little people going.

7 tiny loads of laundry in the tiny washer and dryer.

1,000 gallons of water dumped over the kid's splash area every 3 minutes.

1 ding-a-ling bell to warn of said deluge that Lydia quickly learned to listen for.

2 Wal-Mart runs.  Enough said.

6:36 am - rude awakening of one small child trapped at the foot of her bed, leading to

1 long Wednesday.

4 post cards we never mailed.

1 afternoon with zombie kids, drying out and watching Tron.

And we're only half-way through ....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Connecting with Life

Well ... the tour of the BIG APPLE ends today!  What a fun and wild week it's been!

Today our tourists will learn that Jesus has big plans for their lives and that He can do big things through them ... even if they're little.

It's going to be a great day filled with music, munchies and mayhem!!  For the Friday Traffic Jam (the closing rally) each of the age groups gets to sing one of the songs for their parents and recite a verse.  Then at the end of the morning, our tourists and their families can join together for a picnic lunch and slip-n-slide fun!  It's a great tradition!

As promised, Gloria and Nancy have their final visit ... with a sweet, silly surprise!


Day 5
Nancy is organizing her news stand.  Looks up at audience.

Nancy:  Hey there.  Guess what ... I have some good news!  Gloria went to her audition yesterday and she sent me this video.  Do you want to see it?  All right ... let me see if I can load it up for you on the big screen ... hmmmm .... there it is.

Nancy:  Well, there you have it.  Keep your eyes open for Gloria in the next big Broadway hit ... I think Jesus has big plans for that kid!  And today at VBS you all get to learn how to live for Jesus, too, because He has big plans for you as well.


My family and I are connecting with life ... and each other ... in our van right now.  We are heading out for a long day of driving.  Lincoln, Nebraska ... here we come!

I will be enjoying a little break from the blogosphere ... but there are plenty of old snapshots that you can enjoy while I'm gone.  And then when I get back, be ready to hear about ....

the Kellums and our water slide marathon,
what happens to kids when they've been in a van for 2.5 days,
if indeed we can "Face the Cookie" during our Family Minute to Win It night, 
And more ...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Connecting with Others

Today is probably the toughest day of the VBS week.  Everybody (tourists and tour guides alike) are all starting to run a little thin.  Some of the tricks of the trade to keep everybody happy and busy start to wear out.  And name tags start disintegrating!

But it's an important day of VBS as we get the opportunity to share with the kids how their lives can be a blessing to those around them ... opening their eyes to a bigger world.  The story that we learn today is about the Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at the well and returns to her a village a changed woman, ready to share her experience with others and share the blessings of knowing Jesus personally.

So, hang in there, teams and guests ... let's keep going strong!

Gloria is exuberant this morning with fantastic news ... she can't keep it in!  And her world just a little bigger, too.


Day 4
Nancy is talking on her cell phone.  Gloria runs in squealing and spinning.

Gloria:  “Yippee! Yahoo!  This glee I can’t fake!  They asked me to come back ... This could be my big CHANCE!”  (happy dance)
Nancy:  Uh, Mom ... I’m going to have to call you back.  Bye.  Wow, Gloria, what’s your big news?
Gloria:  This morning, I was eating my favorite breakfast, those yummy little sugary bites with the mulit-colored marshmallows that dissolve on your tongue when ... oh, never mind.  I was eating breakfast when the phone rang and it was the casting office for that play I auditioned for yesterday.  And they want me to come in today.  Again.  For another audition!  I’m just a little excited.
Nancy:  Yes ... I can see that.  I’m excited for you, too.  What is your plan for the audition?
Gloria:  Well ... actually, I’m kinda surprised that they called me back at all.  I wasn’t sure that I had done a very good job at all.  I forgot one of the lines and dropped my script half-way through the screening.  And then I called the director Bob instead of Bill.  Yeah ... it didn’t go well.  But, I tried to just be me and I guess it worked.
Nancy: That’s great.  Being you is always a good idea.
Gloria:  But you know what, that wasn’t even the best thing that happened yesterday.  When I was waiting in the casting office there was another girl there waiting to audition and she was even more nervous than me ... which is saying a lot.
Nancy:  I can only imagine.
Gloria:  Exactly.  So while we were sitting there, I got to thinking about why I felt so calm and BINGO! (Nancy jumps) I realized it was because of Jesus.  So, when she asked why I could just sit there with a smile on my face, I got to tell her about Jesus.  I even used one of my new poems ...
Nancy:  Oh boy ... really?
Gloria:  Yeah!  I told her, “Jesus loves me, It is true, And if you trust Him, He’ll love you in the exact same way.”  I think it made her feel better ... or at least it made her laugh.  Although I don’t know what was so funny.
Nancy:  Gloria ... you are a good friend.  Sorta silly, but a good friend.


This is a bittersweet day for me, too.  We are headed out after VBS this morning for our family reunion in Wisconsin.  Which means, of course, that the Kellum clan will be missing out tomorrow.  Not the best calendar planning on my part!  But don't worry ... Gloria will be back tomorrow for one last visit!

It has been a wonderful, faith-stretching, exciting, heart-touching, hair-pulling, invigorating, exhausting experience!  It's fun to be so worn out for a good reason ... but I'm also looking forward to having my brain back and to be connecting with others.  "Others" being my family! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Connecting with Trust

Today's VBS is fun a for number of reasons:  the kids are settling into the routine so the rotations go a little smoother, we get to build taxis out of yellow zinger cakes and the kids get to rap!  The song for today is my Aaron-boy's favorite, hands down ... rapper hands down with that little "yo-yo" motion. :)

Also, we get to check in with Nancy and Gloria and learn how hard it is to be a poet as our Broadway wannabe searches for a word to rhyme with "be".  Apparently it's harder than it would seem.


Day 3
Nancy is reading from a newspaper.  Gloria shuffles in sighing dramatically.

Gloria:  “Oh brother,  Oh bother, Oh what will I do?  The Big Apple’s a tough place to be.  Oh fiddle, Oh diddle, Oh what will I do? I really just want to be ... who I am.”  (sigh...)
Nancy:  Uh-oh.  What’s the matter Gloria?
Gloria:  (perks up) Oh!  I was just practicing this dramatic scene that I’m writing for another audition.  We had to write something about a time when we were having trouble.  I was thinking back to my first days here in the Big Apple.  What do you think?
Nancy:  Well ... you definitely had me convinced that you were in trouble.  But ... ummm, didn’t you just get here like 3 days ago?
Gloria:  Yeah ... that’s probably why it came to me so easily ... because the experience was so fresh.  It was really hard that first day ... But, I’m so glad that I had Jesus to help me through.
Nancy:  You know, Gloria, maybe you could use your trust in Jesus as an example for your audience of what faith looks like.
Gloria:  Hey ... that’s a good idea.  What if I wrote something about how Jesus helped me?  About how I can trust Him?
Nancy:  That’s an excellent idea!  Today our tourists are going to learn about the ABC’s of becoming a Christian.  Have you ever heard about the ABC’s?  Maybe you could work that into your poem?
Gloria:  The ABC’s?  Yeah ... let’s see ... “If you know your ABC’s, You can trust in Jesus, too: Admit, Believe, Confess your faith, And Jesus will stick by ... your side real close.”  (looks to Nancy with a smile)
Nancy:  It’s really close, Gloria.  I think you have the right idea ... you just need to work on that rhyming again.
Gloria:  (sighs)  It’s harder than it looks to be a true poet, Sometimes the words get stuck, don’t you know it?  (walks off stage)
Nancy:  Gloria ... you just rhymed.  Just now.  Gloria?  Oh well ... such drama.


We would appreciate your prayers as we negotiate the closing rally and the checking-out process.  It's a tad bit crazy to get all 190+ tourist back to their parents in an orderly fashion.  Here's hoping our new plan works well! :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Connecting With Love

Wow!  God' blessed our socks off yesterday by sending us 190 kids!  That would be 36 more kids than we had planned on as our "dream high" number.  Socks.  Blessed.  Off.  And in the midst of the traffic jam of kids at the BIG APPLE ... we had a lot of fun!  Amazing leaders.  Fantastic youth.  Servant-hearted volunteers.  Socks.  Blessed.  Off.  Again.

We are headed back today for another wild morning.  Keep praying!  We need energy, quick transitions from rotation to rotation, energy, enough supplies, energy, good times to connect with the kids and ... energy.  But, it's good to be poured out and exhausted for God - truly satisfying in your soul to be able to say ... "Okay, Jesus ... it's up to You."

Of course, Gloria and Nancy will be back for some more antics.  The kids got a kick out of her failure to rhyme.  I heard a few kids shouting, "frown" as I walked off stage.  At least they got it!

Poor Gloria ... will she forever be rhyme-challenged? :)


Day 2
Nancy is trying to tidy up her messy news stand, Gloria walks onstage absorbed in a book.  She plops down on the park bench, ignoring Nancy’s obvious need for help.

Nancy:  This place is a pig sty!  It was windy and then rainy and then windy again and I have papers everywhere!!  If only I had an extra set of hands to help me.  (glances at Gloria)  I said, “If only I had an extra set of hands to help me!”
Gloria:  (startled from behind her book) What?  Did you say something?
Nancy:  Yes, I said, “If only I had an extra set of hands to help me.”
Gloria:  (laughs) Oh ... well that would be weird.  Extra hands?  Where would they come out of?  Out of your feet?  Hey, that could be another poem!  “Extra hands to help you out.  To make your place look neat.  Where would these helper hands come from?  Maybe out of your ankles.”  Ankles?  No, that’s not right.
Nancy: (exasperated)  Gloria ... you have two extra hands that could help me.
Gloria:  Me?  Oh ... right.  I guess so ... it’s just that I was reading this book on “How to Prepare for Your Big Apple Audition” and well ... you know.  I’m kinda busy.
Nancy:  Well, I see that, but it would sure be an extra help to me if you could lend me a hand ... and I know that it would make Jesus happy, too.
Gloria:  What?  How would my helping you out make Jesus happy?
Nancy:  Have you ever heard about the lady in the Bible who showed Jesus love by washing His feet?  She loved Jesus by serving Him and that made Him happy.  In the same way, when we do things for other people by serving them, sharing our things or honoring our parents, Jesus is happy.
Gloria:  Wow!  Well when you put it that way.  I’d love to help you out!  (Starts organizing papers.)  Hey ... I feel another poem coming on!  “Jesus loves when we help our friends,  He really thinks it’s neat, Whether sharing or serving or lending a hand, Or even washing their ... uh, tootsies.”  What do you think?
Nancy:  Well ... it’s pretty catchy.  Can you take this stuff to the recycling for me?  Thanks ...  (shakes her head, laughing)


Who else will join us this morning?  I don't know ... but I'm certain God will be there!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Connecting with Faith

This week is VBS ... we're headed to the BIG APPLE!  It is a fun-filled week ... emphasis on the "filled" part!

I thought it would be fun to share a series of skits that I put together for the opening rally each morning.  A silly way to get the kids excited for the day, introduce the day's theme and get a few laughs.  At least, that's the goal!  With kids you have to be willing to put aside your pride and be a bit goofy ... much to my own kids' pending embarrassment.

My friend Beth agreed to be a bit silly with me.  She is playing the roll of Nancy and she runs Nancy's Good Newsstand.  In her New York accent, she'll sell you a newspaper, magazine or a bottle of water ... and also help you solve your life's problems by pointing you back to Jesus.

I am playing the roll of Gloria ... a Broadway wannabe.  (I considered naming her "Camille" after the famous silent screen actress/drama queen of whom I was also nicknamed as a small child ... I can't imagine why ...)  My "look" involves a feather boa, ginormous sunglasses and my sparkly, purple bag.  I am hoping to make it big at the BIG APPLE!

This week we'll enjoy some snapshots of (my made up) life in New York inspired by one of my favorite movies.

This is truly one of my favorite flicks,
Two men famous for slap-stick and gaffes.
Following their lead and playing along,
And hoping to hear lots of ... giggles.

Yep ... it's that good!

Day 1

Nancy is working at her news stand, Gloria walks onstage working on poem.
Gloria:  “New York, New York!  You never let me down, You gave me a smile, In place of a .... hmmm ... I got it!  A pouty face!”
Nancy: Uh, Gloria ... what are you doing?
Gloria:  Oh ... I’m just working on a poem for an upcoming audition.  We’re supposed to have an original piece to share with the director.  Something about how the Big Apple has changed our lives!  What do you think?
Nancy:  Well ... it’s nice, but ... it didn’t rhyme.
Gloria:  It didn’t?  Smile .... Pouty face ... huh.  I guess your right.  Oh nooooo .... I’ll never make it to Broadway!  Never ever, ever, ever, ever!  (dramatically drops to the park bench)
Nancy: (sitting beside Gloria) Gloria ... come on now.  Don’t be so dramatic.  And don’t be so hard on yourself.  With a little work and a little faith in Jesus, I’m sure you can do it.
Gloria: (sniffy loudly)  Do you really think so?
Nancy:  Yes.  You know, our tourists today are going to learn about someone from the Bible who had faith that Jesus could do anything and Jesus proved him right!
Gloria:  Well, I have faith in Jesus.  Maybe Jesus will help me with this poem.
Nancy:  That’s the spirit!  Now you keep working on rhyming and then come back by later.  I’d love to hear what you and Jesus come up with.
Gloria: Okay!  Let’s see ... “New York, New York!  You never let me down, You gave me a smile, In place of a ... grumpy look?”  No ... that’s not it ... (walks off stage mumbling to herself...)
Nancy:  (chuckles) ... Gloria, Gloria ... oh, my ...


More tomorrow ... I'm afraid it only gets worse better from here!

I'd appreciate your prayers for this week ... good health, unlimited energy, connecting with the kids, lots of time to talk, sing, eat, craft, play and learn about Jesus and FUN!

Friday, June 10, 2011

This Little Light ...

Today I have the distinct pleasure of guest posting over at (in)courage ... a lovely site full encouraging and life-breathing words.

Pop on over and see what even just a little light can illuminate!

Night Light Fights

P.S.  A little thank you to Terry K. for pointing me in this direction! :)

Food For Thought ... Revisted

Last night, Brett brought to our kitchen table six little, lovely, lip-smackingly sweet sweet-peas from our very own garden!!  What a delicious treat!

This little taste of green, crisp garden goodness gets me super excited for this summer and the promise of eating more from our garden.  This year we have tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, radishes (little white ones Ashley picked out), carrots, cucumbers, rhubarb, butternut squash, a variety of herbs and ... sweet-peas, of course.  Oh my .... when you list it all like that, it can be a bit overwhelming.

In fact, last year's crop was rather bountiful and I found myself searching for recipes that would help us eat, enjoy and not waste any of our goodies.  Here are a few of the favorites from last summer ... enjoy!

Summer's Bounty

What do you do with all the fresh produce in the summer?  
Share some of your favorite veggie dishes!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Delightfully Diaper-free!

Last week I celebrated being diaper-free after nine years of wipes, changes, blow-outs and bottom ointment.  And it is a celebration, indeed!

Here's how I got here ...

Operation: Potty Pro

Be prepared ... it's not for the faint of heart, body or mind!  Even from this distance of a few months ago! :)


Writing Prompt #1 ~ Six word memoir.  Elaborated .... in this case, it's also elongated and exhausting!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Just What We Do Around Here

In our house, there is a constant buzz of gymnasticking.  Yes, it's a noun.  You can also use it as an adverb.  For example, "Norah cartwheeled to the bathroom and gymnastickly retrieved a kleenex."  I have also been known to use it as an adjective, like when I say, "Can we keep our gymnasticky tricks out of the kitchen while I'm cooking.  Thank you."

I have yet to use it as an exclamation, but I don't doubt that, "Great Gymnastics!  You have to stop somersaulting in your bed," could just roll off my tongue.

In light of this condition, I thought I would share with you our girls most recent gymnastic endeavors.  Ashley and Norah have participated in several meets this Spring.  It has been fun to see all their hard work showcased ... and it's been a shot in Mommy's arm, too.  All those hours of practice and driving to and fro are so very worth it!

Here is a SmileBox of Ashley's two fun meets.  It's obvious that she is having a good time!  I love how pointed she makes her toes ... she's at least 2 inches longer!

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This next video is from Norah's home meet this past weekend.  We missed seeing it because we were on the Eastern Slope, but, thanks to our wonderful family, we have this to show!  Thanks for being there and cheering on our girl!

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Yeah .... I'm a just a little proud of my girls! :)

And if you are not family and you actually watched those videos ... you need another hobby! :)  Thanks for pausing a bit and listening to me ooze about how amazed I am by them!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Name is Getting Tired!

We are in our second full week home from school ... and my name has been hollered from every room in the house by every kid and what seems like every minute of every day.  Most recently ... about 45 minutes ago when I was trying to start my breakfast ... Norah yelled my name repeatedly for 30 seconds from the bath tub.  I don't think she even took a breath.  And it wasn't an emergency.

So, we need to work on that, I think.  Or else I run the risk of running away!

Here is a post I wrote last fall ... and it has inspired me to crack down on this drastic over-usuage of my precious name.  Hopefully it will ...

- help you to see that you are not alone in sometimes hating the sound of your own moniker,
- encourage you to train up your kids to use your title respectfully, and
- give you a good laugh!


That's My Name, Don't Wear It Out!

Monday, June 6, 2011

What a Trip!

Whoosh!  Zooooom!  Pheeeeww!

What a weekend!  We are back from our marathon, whirlwind, go-go-go weekend on the Eastern Slope and it was terrific!  But seeing as I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry, vacuuming, VBS, kids with money burning in their pockets and a possibly inevitable trip to Wal-Mart (shudder....) I have abbreviated my otherwise wordy and detail oriented "What I did this weekend" post to a simple top 10 memorable moments.  With a few snapshots for fun!

#10 - Time with Gramps and Grammy.  Even though our time with them was a bit short, it was definitely sweet.  Two slow mornings chatting at the breakfast table and time to play games on Friday night meant that we had lots of time to laugh and catch up.  And cuddle for book time.

#9 - Double Yahtzee!  I'm not sure about how much fun anyone else had, but I enjoyed the dice games!  I don't think I've ever gotten two Yahtzees in a game, much less two in a row on my first two rolls.  It kinda sealed the deal.  Thanks for finishing the game with me anyway!

#8 - Piano lessons.  In spite of all Mommy's efforts to convince her otherwise, Ashley is convinced that Gramps taught her to play Chop Wood on the piano.  Also, they were not playing a duet ... they were playing together.  So there, Mom.

#7 - Car Talk.  Aaron has developed quite an affinity for those crazy Tappet Brothers, Tom & Ray.  He repeatedly requested their radio show as we drove to Colorado Springs.  And back.  And home again.  Every time those silly men got the giggles, so did Aaron.  And I wish I could have captured a snapshot of his goofy grin whenever the theme song for "Stump the Chumps" came on.  Totally made my day!

#6 - Surprise wedding guests.  As we pulled into the parking lot of the church, I burst into tears ... and out of the van.  (Once it stopped, of course.)  Getting out of another van were two roommates from college.  Sweet friends I hadn't seen in several years!  Throughout the rest of the wedding and reception, it was like a mini-UNC reunion.  Thanks, Krystal, for getting married so we could see each other!

#5 - Kids who did great.  With three kids in tow, we found a row near the back, pulled out the iPod (just in case) and eyed our escape route, if necessary.  Ashley was mesmerized by the beauty of the ceremony.  Aaron remarked that he, "was totally going to do that sand thing at his wedding.  Awesome!" ... and moaned a bit with all the, "repeat after me" stuff.  Lydia proclaimed a loud, "Amen!" when the bride's father finished praying for them ... and happily did her puzzle game on the iPod.

#4 - Unintentional coordination.  Imagine my surprise when the candle-lighters walked down the aisle in matching dresses ... that just happened to match the dress I was wearing.  I was fully prepared to sneak out the back and change back into my jean shorts and t-shirt if the wedding party was also wearing the same dress.  I haven't shopped for a dress for myself in 2 years ... and when I do, look what happens!  I guess it's proof of our amazing good taste. :)

#3 - Sixteen years later.  This snapshot was a must ... for obvious reasons.  Does she look beautiful, or what?  And by she, of course, I mean us. :)

#2 - Chronicling our drive home.  Aaron and Ashley took pictures of our return trip.  These truly capture the thrilling experience it is to travel in the back of a van for 5 hours.  It's awesome.

#1 - Being home with our Norah girl and hearing all about her amazing weekend.  More on that soon.  It's always lovely to land at home, un-pack, un-grunge and un-wind.

It was a great time away ... and now to get busy!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Food For Thought ... Revisited

In light of the sheer nuttiness of the Kellum Clan, this Friday we are going to revisit a yummy post from last summer.

I was reminded of this recipe when my neighbor's grandma showed up at our door yesterday with an enormous bag of fresh spinach from their garden.  Enormous.  Knowing that we were going out of town and even Brett and I, the spinach lovers that we are, couldn't get through it in a day ... I had to salvage it somehow.

Ah-ha!  Pesto!

Now we have a large tub of spinach pesto, some leftover salad from last night and a few leaves left-over.  Not too bad!

Here is my post from last August for making your own pesto with basil .... or your neighbors spinach!

Enjoy ....

Pesto ... on Everything!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's Bittersweet

 Diaper-less after nine years.  Finished .... aaaahhheeeeekkkbooyeahsigh.


Writing Prompt #1 ~ Six word memoir.  Uhhh ... that last "word" might be a bit of a streeeeeeetch, but it about sums it up.  

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Time-Warp Wednesday

This weekend is exciting!  And not because we are in the midst of the final countdown to VBS or because we are driving to Denver or because we are leaving behind Norah with family for her home gymnastic meet.

This weekend is exciting because one of my college roommates is getting married!!  Yahoo!

So for today's Time-Warp Wednesday, I thought we would take a quick trip back to our college days ... when we were young, care-free, and wearing each other's clothes!

Our little blue house with the crazy seed-pod tree.  Our little blue house with the awesome rec room.  Our little blue house that I repeatedly locked myself out of.

Four friends sharing rooms, chores, food and responsibilities to "feed the cat".  Four friends who learned how to be friends ... and were pretty good at it!  Four friends on tight-budgets who still made time for dinner at Roma's (mmmm .... the "Nutty Idea"), filling each other's Christmas stockings (oh look ... it's an ... orange?), trips to Denver to go dancing ("We'll help you with your paper ... promise!") and celebrating birthdays!

One of my favorite roommate memories is captured in these photos.

Well ... not this moment exactly, but the evening in it's entirety.

Turning 20.  Eating Chinese.  Coming home to a surprise Murder Mystery Party ... with all my favorite people (including my hubby-to-be).

Laughing.  A lot.

Here's to many more years of laughter, Krystal ... with your sweet hubby!