Monday, August 21, 2017


It was an emotional evening last night... full of happy tears!  "My" boy, Taffy, received his Eagle Scout award!  (Thanks for sharing him with me, Maeva!)  Kotten Kandy and I attended the affair - and got to spend time with the extended family too - which was awesome!  They made us feel so welcome and loved!  I REALLY love this family!
Taffy (aka Tyler - he's 18 - so I can use his real name) is an amazing young man and truly exemplifies the scout values.  He is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.  I couldn't be more proud....
So here's the photo story:
I'm probably most excited about the fact that this young man is an Elder in our Church now!
He wanted a cookie cake....
Mom and Dad are truly proud of their only son!
This is Grandma and Grandpa Coolbear!
This is Grandma and Grandpa Hesloot!
Everyone sang Tyler's praises!
He really is remarkable!
His dad make his Eagle award official with the neckerchief.
It's always special when mom is recognized too!
Taffy thanked everyone for coming.
And his father was his best mentor!
Maeva and Ben sang a GORGEOUS song!
Maeva sounds like an angel!
(I'm super proud to call her one of my best friends!
How lucky am I to find such amazing friends?!
I really have been blessed in my life with dear friends!)
Congratulations to Spencer and Tyler!
An Eagle Scout is a big deal!
I LOVE this family!
And I LOVE these kids!
Taffy - Maple - Apple Muffin
Grandma and Grandpa Coolbear are amazing!  And truly love my daughter!
They have "adopted" her as one of their own grandchildren!
She was excited to add them as one of her grandparents!
Kotten Kandy enjoyed sharing the joy of the evening!
We are super proud of this young man!

Friday, August 18, 2017


 My favorite kids!!!
Apple Pie
Scott and I got him a fishing pole...  
Kotten Kandy got him a stuffed "head."
Happy Birthday to my Apple Pie!  He's 9!  And I love that boy!  We spent today picnicking and enjoying the beauty of the Arboretum with some of my favorite people!!!!  I took TONS of pictures and I will post them at the end of the post....
I have become quite a "critter collector" with Amy....  Of course, I only collect the pictures...  And this bug was so unusual, he made my critter picture collection!  What is he?  I have no idea.  But he's funny looking.  I think I'll call him Klutzy.
And another bug at the Arboretum...  This one was quite pretty:
And sometimes when we look up... we laugh at the view.  It made me smile to see these two looking down at their mother and I!  They are great kids!  Can I adopt them?!
We started a rogue self-reliance class this week.  It is great!  The church really puts out great programs and this is an amazing class that focuses on the temporal and spiritual concepts of self-reliance.  Our group is made up of Scott, me, Amy, Mark, Kotten Kandy, Taffy, and Juice.  We are learning a lot and starting off with finances.  I'm glad we have such an amazing group who constantly wants to better themselves.  Amy and I are calling our class teacher development for ourselves.  It's exciting to be learning, growing and having homework again.  I guess I'm kinda a nerd.
"Mowing is hard, but satisfying work!"
Kiara has learned some great things this year....  And one of our mottos that we reminded each other of often is "I can do hard things!"  I learned that I could mow our large lawn.  It was a wonderful accomplishment for myself.  And Key Lime Pie also mowed the lawn for the first time this week.  She also felt the great accomplishment of doing hard things after the fact.  Yay, Kiara!
I fell in love with JRR Tolkien when I was a little girl.  I've read The Lord of the Rings series of books multiple time.  And so I read all three of them again the past month.  They are wonderful!  Every time I re-read these classics, I am in awe of how poetic and beautiful the language is.  I am amazed at how complex the plot is.  And I'm impressed with the depth of the characters.  This story is not just another epic fantasy set of books, it is genius.  I love revisiting the Shire, Rivendell and even Mordor every few years!
I also re-read  Chaim Potok's The Chosen last week.  (Confession.... I'm not sure I re-read this book or if this is my first time re-reading it.  I remember reading the first chapter when I was a teenager, but I honestly don't remember reading the rest of it.)  And this book is truly awesome!  The story of the relationships between friends and fathers is inspiring.  And I think this book is a goldmine for human relationships and understanding human nature.  This book is a complex book about choosing your path in life.  I cannot praise it highly enough.  I truly love this book!
Here are some wonderful pictures from the Arboretum:

Jelly Bean
Juice was trying to hide from the camera...
We love that the three of these kids are such good friends....
And I love these two kids!
Kotten Kandy and Taffy
These cute kids are adorable!
Jelly Bean loves his Kotten Kandy

She's beautiful!
She's kind!
She's fun!
She's smart!
She's mine!

Sunday, August 6, 2017


Is there anything better than music and books?  (OK, there is a case to be made for adorable little kids who love you and give you amazing hugs... but music and books are pretty great!)
Shanae, Billy and Kiara at the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival
All you can eat sweet corn... YUM!
Kiara got to enjoy the sweet music of Rodney Atkins this weekend.  (And she got to pair it with delicious festival food - ie. Olathe sweet corn!  YUM!)  In her words, "IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!"  And she took lots of pictures for me!  Yay!  So I got to share in her joy vicariously.
Key Lime Pie got a new shirt.
All sorts of food to eat!  How delicious!
Waiting for the concert....
Ain't she cute?
Getting excited!
Rodney Atkins ROCKS!
Friends at a concert!  What a good life!
Unfortunately... Kiara forgot sunscreen....
She paid for it on Sunday.
Before I tell you about a life changing book....  I want to share a few pics from some of my favorite little people:
Raisin fell asleep at our house.
Scott couldn't resist shooting a few adorable baby pictures!
And I love that these kids come running for hugs whenever they see me!  I'm sooooo lucky to be their honorary aunt!
The pictures are a bit grainy - but I'm glad Kotten Kandy took them anyway....
Since Scott is still recovering from his surgery, we have been able to read together a lot.  It is one of our favorite things to do.  And when there is a wonderful book involved, it is even better!  We REALLY loved the book "The Vanishing American Adult" by Ben Sasse.  In fact, both of us felt that it is a game changer kind of book.  We learned a lot, thought a lot and discussed a lot of what we want to do to "finish" raising our daughters and help with our future grandchildren.  This book discusses the problem: That adolescence is no longer a transitional phase in our culture today, it is now the permanent goal.  It's a sad fact that many kids are being raised "soft" and not becoming productive citizens and human beings.  I love his simple solution on teaching five basic habits to our young people:  1.  Overcome peer culture.  2.  Work hard.  3.  Resist consumption.  4.  Travel to experience the difference between need and want.  and 5.  Become truly literate.  Number 5 was our favorite.  The whole book was a call to action to create more virtuous lives and educational opportunities for our families.  This book is one of Scott's and my "classics" now.  We will re-read it and use it and recommend it a LOT!  It is worth repeating:  This book is game changing!  We love it!