Saturday, July 30, 2011

Africa is a...

Country Continent! 


Big, beautiful continent full individual nations, each with a rich heritage!

The geography teacher and global cultures conscious person in me goes absolutely bonkers every time a person mentions Africa like it's a country.  I had to bite my tongue and count to ten so I didn't go anal on a kindergarten this week who stated that he was going to draw the capital of Africa.  Umm....no such thing exists!

Treating Africa like its one big country as been seen all over media forms lately with the intensified coverage of the drought in Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and northeastern Kenya.  It irritates me to no end to have such a broad range of cultures and people groups clumped into one with no regard to their invalidity. 

Most of us don't hear folks say they're going to Europe if they are only visiting France.  Most people don't say they're going to Asia if they are only visiting Japan.  These countries are considered unique and special due to their cultures and histories and deserve to be mentioned outside of their geographical context, which is all a continent is.  Even many continents are split into regions and rarely mentioned by anything other than their regions because culturally and geographically they are so different.  No one from Western Europe wants to be mistaken for someone from a former Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe.  So, why do people insist on doing the same with the nations in Africa?  Each country has a special history all its own and not shared with any other country. 

Take Nigeria as an example.  In this large-ish nation, there are over 300 tribes and 4 incredibly distinct ecosystems with several smaller subsets.  How, then, can Nigeria be compared to an entire continent?  The majority of the Sahara Desert is considered part of the Middle East as far as culture goes, just like Central America (a region) is more culturally linked to South America (a continent) than it's location in North America. 

When violence is mention 'in Africa' I cringe because the whole continent is suddenly deemed an evil and dangerous place when countries like Zambia haven't, in anyone's living memory, seen tribal conflict, civil war, or international disputes.  While petty crime and bad people exist everywhere, Zambia is a safe, beautiful country full of people making the best life they can with what they have, with tribal inter-marrying and children commonly learning 2-4 different native tongues.  Why should they have to bear the label that Apartheid left on South Africa or militant leaders have left on Zimbabwe or Libya? 

I realize in the big scheme of life this probably isn't important, but it angers me and saddens me to see such unique cultures clumped into a big loop and their individuality and beauty lost by the world. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

KJOY: Part II

This has been the best week of the whole summer.  The KJOY kids have blessed me so much!

Yesterday we learned about the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.  I think all of the kids had heard this story before, and they were anxious to add what they knew as we read.  We had focused all week on how every single person is our neighbor as we tried to reference the Greatest Commandment story over and over again.  We talked about how differences shouldn't cause us to ignore a person.  These kids are 6, but for only being 6, they really do a good grasp of what this means.  The kids took turns acting out what they might do in real-life situations if they saw someone who needed help.  Their ideas were precious and often hilarious!

We took the door hangers to a local assisted living home, and the kids really enjoyed placing the door hangers on each resident's door.  We were able to visit with a few residents in their rooms, and I was impressed with how uninhibited my group of girls was in their conversations.  Great job, ladies!  Somehow, word had gone around that we were there to sing for the residents, which was totally not in our plan, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity when we passed the activity room and saw about 15 people gathered to hear us.  We asked the kids what they wanted to sing, and they decided on a song from VBS, My God is so Big (one of my favorites whether big people or little people songs), Jesus Loves Me, and How Great Thou Art.  I think the kids would've kept on singing if we would've let them!

One of our darling boys shocked me by waling around to every person gathered to hear them sing and hugging everyone.  He's a cuddly boy, but he had no qualms with walking up to these folks and giving them a great big bear hug.  He brought tears several eyes.  I had a big bear hug waiting for him when we left.  He was so excited when his mom picked him up to tell her about the people he'd met today.

The afternoon was spent decorating travel size pillow cases to make prayer pillows for the kids at our local women's and children's shelter.  Kindergarteners are very meticulous when it comes to their best art work.  They also put together snack bags to give out to folks who need some help when they're driving down the road with their families.  Obviously this activity came with lots of warnings from the teachers, but it's a fabulous idea, and I really hope the kids and parents use the bags.

Today was about yourself since the previous three days had been about Jesus and others. Our Bible story was about Jesus healing the blind man in John 9, and we blindfolded half the kids at a time and had a partner lead them around.  It was a cool experience for them to see what life is like for some people, if a bit silly.  We did have a worker from the shelter come to talk to the kids about the shelter and take their prayer pillows.  Then we went to McDonalds to treat the kids to lunch and playtime.  Yes, Chick-fil-A had been my first choice, but our Chick-fil-A is teensy tiny and doesn't accomodate groups of 14 children and 3 adults very easily.  The kids wouldn't have had room to play at all, so McDonalds it was.  I'm not sure the kids cared, and they were very generous in their thank yous.  It was a treat to do something for them after they worked so hard.

I am so grateful to Terri for allowing me to participate in this week.  My old mantra about kids not being too young to do something was proven true over and over these 4 days, and watching their attitudes change from wanting to play to wanting to do 'something else for some person' was just breathtaking.  I pray their parents continue these opportunities with these darling ones at home to keep their passion sparked for always putting themselves last.  They served me good reminders many times this week, and I praised God regularly for how they taught me. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

K-JOY: Part I

The fabulous Preschool Director at our church had a genius idea to take upcoming 1st graders (Kindergarten is still considered preschool) on a week's worth of mission activities in our community.  Terri and I both share the notion that no one is too small to do God's work, and Terri was ready to prove the nay-sayers wrong!  I'm constantly upset by people who think little ones are too young to get anything out of doing something, or are too small to do any good.  Shame on them! 

I am so, so grateful for the opportunity to come alongside Terri and another darling teacher named Kymberlee to write the Bible lessons and co-plan the week's activities.  I've been excited for this week for two months!


Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12. 

See, kids needs to learn to serve God from the beginning, not later in life.  In theory, parents should be setting an example DAILY, but sadly, our culture doesn't do a great job of exemplifying this.  However, nothing says we can't change things, so changing them we are!  Fourteen families have signed their kids up for four days of K-JOY: Kindergarteners learning to put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.  Our prayer is that they will learn how much God is pleased by this and seek to make it a daily habit, regardless of the influences around them.

Monday began with the story of Jesus telling people the Greatest Commandment (Mark 12:28-34).  It was so fun hearing the kids tell me the commandments before we even read the story.  I had no idea how well Kindergartners could read, and I was very impressed with how well each child could navigate their Bibles.  Way to go, parents!!!  We then went out to our church's garden to harvest tomatoes and peppers to take to the food bank today.  All of the produce that is harvested in the garden goes to the local food pantry.  :)  The kids' "admission" to K-JOY was 4 cans of non-perishable foods, so we then put Bible verse labels on the foods.  They also decorated grocery bags to take to the food pantry so that families would be cheered by the colorful drawings on the bags of food they receive.  The kids also took turns baking cookies and decorating gift sacks for a special treat for the ladies that make quilts each week for the Crisis Pregnancy Center. 

Today's Bible lesson was about the miracle of Jesus feeding 5,000+ people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread (John 6:1-15).  We went to the food pantry to deliver the canned goods, grocery sacks, and fresh produce.  The kids were in awe of the food bank and the process in which the families go to get their food.  I think many of them will be asking their moms to stop by there to make donations now.  They liked looking through the bags of food to see what the families might receive once a week.  Our local food pantry helps about 300 families a week, most of whom have jobs but just can't work enough hours to make ends meet.  The kids delivered the cookie bags to the quilting ladies and were overwhelmed with the hugs from the 'grandmas'.  :)  Those ladies went home very happy today.  The kids also made thank you cards for our custodial staff.  They wrote such sweet things, such as "Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for making my Sunday School room ready for me. and Thank you for cleaning our church".  Sweet Fausto could hardly make it through their darling presentation of their cards as each one wanted to tell him why they were glad he takes care of them and our church.  They also made door hangers for us to take to an assisted living home tomorrow.

I don't have pictures I can post as I don't have parental permission to post them, but just know there are 14 adorable faces being transformed by serving their God this week!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Braveheart

 A year and a half ago, we 'rescued' two gerbil sisters from a friend who had them for a class pet, but had stopped teaching, brought the gerbils home, and then learned her cat thought they would make a better snack than pets.

I had originally planned on taking the gerbils to my classroom, but within a week of bringing them home, our campus told us that to cut costs, air conditioning would be non-existent each day from 5 PM until 6 AM.  Um, in Texas, that just means it gets too hot in a building for critters.  Needless to say, the gerbils stayed at our house.

We knew the girls had been born in February of 2009 and that most domestic gerbils live to be 2-5 years old.  No big deal.

Braveheart earned her name for being so bold, and Sissy earned hers equally as fairly.  Ha!
Bailey was introduced to the gerbils and fell in love!  Sister play time is still a big deal at our house.  Now with Aggie Belle in the family, she loves it too!


Bailey and Braveheart sharing some sibling love.

Sadly, Braveheart reached her full gerbil life today and died curled up in her favorite climbing tube.  At 2 1/2, she lived a full gerbil girl life.  She's now joined Igor in the Ozinga Pet Cemetery in our backyard.  Braveheart certainly kept us on our toes for a year and a half.  She loved to hide behind the piano or tease Bailey by sitting under my curio cabinet-in sight, but out of reach during a game of chase.  Braveheart was a cheeky gerbil!  She even spent two nights inside the metal casing of my clothes dryer while I was in Zambia because Isaac didn't think she and Sissy needed his supervision while he cleaned their cage.  Um, Bailey chases them around, but he's not a qualified babysitter!  After Isaac took a part two sides of the dryer, she made it back to her cage.  The best part of that story is that she came out at night and ate from her food dish that we left out for her, but heave forbid she eat while anyone could 'rescue' her. 
 
Sissy and Braveheart munching on peanuts.
For now, Sissy is still a happy gerbil girl, enjoying as much attention as she can muster from the dogs.  Who knew dogs would love playing with, instead of hunting, a gerbil, but ours sure do.  I love that we get a little taste of Eden each day in our home!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Swimming in Style

After nearly a month of conflicts, we finally made it back to the beach!  This time, the dogs were decked out in life vests because our little swimmers keep getting more and more brave which has resulted in Isaac and me both getting more than a tad nervous lately.  Yes, maybe we're paranoid pet owners to want life vests on our dogs, but we want them to love swimming, enjoy it, and be safe while in the water.  I'm sure we got a few strange looks while playing the surf, but most folks thought the vests were super cool.  The handles on the back seal the deal because it makes it so easy to grab either dog if a rogue wave is heading toward us or someone gets a bit distracted by a passing bird, jumping fish, or cute little kid that looks like he/she needs a good tongue licking.  Ha!

Ready to swim!

Shake!

Waiting for a wave

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wheels Stopped

At almost 4:57 this morning, the last space shuttle mission came to an end when Atlantis' wheels came to a complete stop (wheels stop) at KSC.  STS-135 was a nearly flawless mission in just about every way possible.  God alone can make such smooth work happen. 
I think our friend Mike took this photo from the ISS of Atlantis re-entering Earth's orbit early this morning.  Look carefully in the upper right hand corner and you will see part of the Station. 
Hundreds of NASA employees and their families gathered here in Houston at JSC to watch live broadcasts of the landing happening in Florida.  I'm sure hundreds more were gathered at the landing strip at KSC to watch in person Atlantis arrive safely at home. It was bittersweet to see such a perfect mission come to an end.  While I know of at least 5 very happy kiddos that will be hugging on their daddies bunches today, many of us keep wondering why we couldn't have 'just one more'.  
Touchdown Atlantis
The shuttle program has been an inspiration to the world for 30 years.  Nothing will ever match the majesty of this craft.  All five orbiters are beautiful pieces of art and science that served humanity well.  For those that have poured love, sweat, and tears into NASA for the past 30 years or more, today is a strange day.  In the past, there has always been a new project just months from launch when one program came to an end.  It's an odd feeling.  Our music minister had us in stitches last night telling us his biggest fear is now having space rockets be built in back yards that will blow up this city on accident because folks who have done nothing else for over 40 years have nothing better to do!  That's not quite true, but I know a few folks who feel that way.  :)

Whether Congress realizes it or not, there are too many people like my husband that work at JSC, KSC, and the other NASA sites to let space exploration die.  It just won't happen.  Too many folks have spent their entire lives dreaming of traveling in space, and I don't think they will let ignorance stop those dreams that have driven their work for years.  Besides, I think God enjoys immense pleasure in watching His children explore this dimension of His creation. 

This feels so final, and in ways it is, but I see a huge '...to be continued' stamped across every NASA logo. 

Welcome home, Atlantis, and Godspeed to all that's to come.

*All photos courtesy of NASA.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bike

For Christmas, I asked for a new bicycle.  I think my last memory of riding a bike was in 8th grade when Dad would take us around the new construction happening in our neighborhood.  Mom then sold all our bikes in a garage sale, but for whatever reason, we never replaced the out-grown ones. 

Isaac did get me a bike for Christmas, but it sat in its box next to my truck from December 25th until late May.  Granted, I had wrist surgery December 29th and elbow surgery over Spring Break, but we didn't even get the thing put together until nearly 5 months after Christmas.  I think we have some 'get her dun' issues in our house!

Once my handy husband did get my bike assembled, it was love at first sight!  If you've known me long, it's clear that I am a klutz with a capital "K", so a helmet was definitely in order (though so far, so good!).  I'm also cautious (ok, paranoid) enough that I bought flashing tail and head lights for my bike so that when I ride in the evenings I can be seen. 


We have a 3 mile biking and walking trail in the middle of our neighborhood, and we've become good acquaintances.  Until I came down with a sinus infection and bronchitis on Saturday, I was being very faithful about riding 3-5 days a week.  I don't have any goals of riding in the BP150 or losing any weight.  It's just been fun to ride!  I take my iPod and just enjoy 20ish minutes to myself.  What a treat!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hole

There's a hole in our home, and I feel it intensely if I get still for more than a few minutes.  Granted, "Laura" and "still" don't often go together in the same sentence, but I've been sick for 3 days now (doc has me on a good antibiotic, so this won't last much longer), so I've had some 'still' time.  And no, I'm not talking about Igor, though I know Isaac and Bailey are still missing their Little Blue Buddy.

We're officially financially sponsoring our sweet girl in Zambia, so our access to information about her past has grown exponentially.  We know she lost both parents about 2 years ago.  We know she doesn't know her birth date, and no one else does either.  In some ways, this knowledge could greatly help our chances of bringing her home next June, but we don't know.  My friends that work for CACZ are wonderful about sending me emails with sweet messages from my girlie, but though they bring me such joy, they serve as a reminder of how 'un-right' life is. 
 Isaac and I have no idea what the path God will lead us the next 11 and 1/2 months looks like.  We don't know if God will bring us to our girl permanently or just for a visit while we are there for a few weeks in June.  The thought of coming home with empty arms shatters me to a depth I didn't know existed, but if we don't follow our God, then we will miss out on a grand adventure of knowing Him more deeply and trusting Him more fully.  How can that ever, ever be for naught or a waste of time, money, and energy?  I know that by this time next summer, I will know my Maker's heart even more clearly than I do now because I will have trusted Him to do as He commanded, regardless of the outcome. 


In the meantime, we seek God to fill our hole as only He can, all the while praying that if there is a better family for our girl, that they come quickly so she can begin her time in a forever home, dearly and wonderfully loved and protected.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Aggie Belle and the Newspaper

video 

About three weeks ago, Isaac spent about a week teaching Aggie Belle how to retrieve the newspaper out of our yard.  A few mornings, she's even brought it to me in bed.  For five and a half months old, she sure is smart!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fly High, Sweet Igor

In the Fall of '07, Isaac decided to get a little buddy to keep him company during the long nights of engineering work for classes.  He decided a parakeet was low maintenance but cute and friendly.  Isaac found a young blue and white parakeet, and as he was taking Russian at the time to help him out around NASA, he named the little guy Igor.


Igor and Isaac became good buddies.  Isaac could take him outside to enjoy fresh air, and with only a slight clipping of his wings, Igor would flutter around but not fly too far.  Since he was so young when Isaac brought him home, he quickly learned to trust human hands, and he enjoyed sitting on shoulders, singing along to the TV, 'kissing' human noses, and taking a bath with the help of a spray bottle.


Bailey adjusted to Igor really well when Isaac moved down here permanently.  We were all a bit shocked that they got along so well.  Igor liked our new house, and was even more excited when we 'bought' him a 'wife' named Nika in the Fall of '09.  We knew parakeets did better in pairs, so we had decided to test the theory.  It was correct!  Our little love birds adjusted to each other very quickly and acted just like any other married couple.  One second it was pure bliss in that cage, and the next second they would be squawking up a storm at each other. There were days it felt I lived in a zoo instead of a house, what with the two gerbils as well, but I've never minded the countless lessons God has shown me about Who He is through the lives of our pets.
Bailey meeting Igor for the first time.
Igor and Nika in our Christmas tree.

Today was just a series of errors that amounted in hearts breaking.  I was gone part of the day, and Isaac was busy making a cake for a shower.  The birds were at it, so Isaac opened their cage which always quiets them.  Late this evening, Isaac asked me to go with him to grab a cake box from the store.  We weren't going to be gone long, and when that's the case, Aggie Belle has been left out of the kennel.  Isaac never even thought about the open bird cage, and I didn't know about it.  We came home to a feather-y mess of a house.  Apparently Igor decided to be brave but wasn't fast enough to out-fly a 5 month old, 34 pound dog.  While we had been working on teaching Aggie Belle about the birds, she hadn't learned well enough yet.  Aggie Belle has yet to show a mean bone in her body, and today was no different.  She's a puppy; she likes to play and pounce and chase things.  It's what puppies do.  Sadly, she doesn't realize just how big she is and just how small some of her 'toys' are.

Igor is now buried in our backyard, and there are four broken hearts in this house tonight.  Isaac is so sad to have lost his friend.  Baily keeps looking up at the cage wondering where his blue buddy is.  Nika has chirped and chirped, and didn't quiet down until Isaac had some quality time with her.  As I type, Aggie Belle is laying on the floor with Nika sitting on her paw with Isaac and Bailey closely watching, trying to teach our youngest love that we all need is to just be friends.
Aggie Belle and  Nika learning how we're supposed to live.

I cried when we found Igor, but I cried harder as God quickly showed me that this isn't how life, His perfect Creation, is supposed to be.  In Eden, all creatures got along in peace and unity, but once sin entered the world through one selfish human act, all was lost-for a time.  Yet, as I watch Aggie Belle learn that our feathered friends are to be treated with gentleness, and as I see her now calm manner as she interacts with Nika, Christ is allowing me a glimpse into what is to come and for what I desperately long.  Eden will return; Christ is coming soon, and all the strife and hatred of this world, not just in my house, will be put right.  Satan will be destroyed, Hell locked up for eternity, and Christ will reign.  Come quickly, Lord Jesus, come quickly.
Igor:  Early Fall '07-7/9/11

Friday, July 8, 2011

Atlantis: STS-135

Today is a hard day around Johnson Space Center.  Atlantis, the last currently fly-able shuttle, launched for the final time.  For those of us born since 1981, we don't know life without a space shuttle.  Astronaut EVA suits, plastic shuttles, and mini launch pads have been staple play items for children for 30 years.  As of wheels stop in roughly 12 days, those items will turn into memorabilia instead of hopeful dreams.

The space shuttle program has brought the world so many benefits.  Dr. Michael DeBakey's artificial heart pump, liquid cooling garments, light weight breathing systems for firefighters, safer school bus chassis, mechanical arms that assist doctors during surgery, GPS, better parachutes, and over 1500 other items all come to us from NASA during the shuttle program. 

Besides being beautiful, Shuttle really was ahead of her time, and in many ways still is.  No other nation has been able to create a space craft that can be flown time and time again.  Shuttle's safety record exceeded anyone's expectations, and her payload capacity is unmatched.

On Thursday, Congress announced NASA's 2012 fiscal budget, giving the agency 1.6 billion LESS than in 2011, despite the fact they want a new manned vehicle and rocket ready to go 'soon'.  Umm....?


Isaac and I watched the STS-135 launch from Teague Moratorium at JSC with many other employees and their families.  Chris Ferguson is the father of a former student of mine, and Rex Walheim works with Isaac on many of his projects and his family attends church with us.  We enjoyed seeing familiar faces strapping into the shuttle and then prepare to launch.  Aside from a computer reading saying the oxygen vent hood arm might not be retracted all the way at T-minus 31 seconds, the weather held and the launch was gorgeous.  I know I wasn't the only sappy person in the auditorium shedding tears, but that isn't an odd thing for me. 


It won't be on Shuttle, but this boy is going to fly someday!
 


Shuttle, we'll miss you!  Thank you for the dreams you have inspired and the realities you've made happen for so many.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Aggie Belle: 5 Months

Ok, family, you've been asking for this, and I'm late getting it out, so enjoy.  Now I won't have to get the emails/texts for puppy pictures and stats.  :)

Our little puppy turned five months old on Friday, but she isn't so little anymore!  Aggie Belle is 34 pounds; I've never had a dog quite this large, so I'm adjusting to cold, wet noses being able to reach places I don't expect to see them.

On Sunday, Aggie Belle graduated from Puppy Obedience School.  She is the GT kid that practiced really hard at home so she could show and off and be ahead of the class each week.  Aggie Belle knows sit, stay, come, down (lie down), roll over, Howdy, kisses, drop it, bring it, ball, wait (sit at the curb to cross the street), heel, off, Mr. Elephant, rope, and how to go from the front door to find the morning paper and bring it to me while I'm still in bed.  Aggie Belle has also learned to stay on her blanket when told to at family gatherings.  It's nice to eat in peace and then let the playing begin again!  The dog's smart, folks!

Playtime at school.
She looks very proud of herself for graduating!

Aggie Belle's favorite things are her elephant, her ball, going to the beach, going anywhere in the car, mouthing on her brother's foot, and earning time on the couch with one of us.  She also enjoys the gerbil girls, just like Bailey does.
One night I came in to go to bed to find that Isaac had allowed both babes into our bed for a while.

The darling hasn't picked up too many bad habits, but she noses in the dirt more than I'd like which we're working on, and she HATES getting out of the truck.  She can get in no problem, but she just can't stand to try to get out of it.  Go figure.  Aggie Belle still pulls from time to time on her leash, but she walks perfectly for my granddad when he comes to visit (thank you Dede for saving the day from time to time!), and she can get rowdy, but hey, she's still a pup!
Sibling cuddles at bedtime.

Bailey is doing better and better.  They have cuddled in the same dog bed a few times, and usually eat together now too.  Bailey still relishes time when it's just the two of us, but he's learning that fun things can happen with a sister.  :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th Weekend

I love when Isaac gets to be home with me during the day!  He was able to only work half a day on Friday, and of course he had Monday off as well.

Friday, Saturday, and Monday found us at the neighborhood pool.  I selected some dive toys from Kroger to add to our pool fun, and we rather enjoyed acting like young children, tossing out the sticks further and further to see who could grab the most the quickest without take a breath.  The poor high school aged life guards probably didn't know what to make of our shenanigans, but we greatly enjoyed ourselves.


Friday night was the first date night we had had since before school had ended.  A dear friend had sent us Olive Garden gift cards for a special treat, and with our coupon in tow, we stretched that dollar amount for all it was worth.  Delicious!  I think we've reached the point where a date night isn't complete without some sort of errand being run, which is a bit sad, but we wrapped up the night with a stop to Target for Texas summer necessities: a new belt for work for Isaac, running socks, swimsuits, and sunglasses (mine broke on the trip, and Isaac's had been broken since his brother had a bit much fun with them in Florida in February). 

Saturday was family cook out night at my parents' gorgeous house with a special bonus: Laura's mom Paula was in town and wanted to join us.  Whoop!  We all love Paula, and she's been dying to meet Miss Aggie Belle for 3 months.  I think Aggie Belle has a new friend.  :)

My grandparents attend a different Baptist church than my parents and we do, and Sagemont was having a special baptism service concluding with a patriotic tribute and firework show on Sunday night.  Nanny and Dede are so faithful to attend the musical events in which Isaac and I play and sing, so we decided to return the favor and join them.  We were so glad we did!  Over 10 people were baptized (I lost count, and there wasn't a program), and the music was great!  Anytime a full orchestra and talented choir get together, I'm nearly guaranteed to have a good time.  When Sagemont's music minister told my grandparents that he goes all out when it comes to fireworks, he wasn't kidding!  The traffic on the Beltway nearly came to a complete stop during the show. 



On Monday we went to the movies and then headed to Kemah at the last minute to see more fireworks.  We thought we had gotten our firework fix on Sunday, but decided we were wrong.  The Kemah Boardwalk put on a great show, and we managed to miss all of the traffic!  Ha!

Happy birthday, America!
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