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What Makes a Handful?

"You sure have your hands full!" said the older woman in Target, watching me try to corral four independent-thinking and adventur...

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Few More December 2008 Memories Before We Close This Month

Bill turns 40--just 9 days after Rebecca!

Jane makes his cake (with a little help from Mom).

A visit to the Grove Park Inn...

...complete with award-winning gingerbread houses on display.

Scenes from our visit to SC, to see...

Waiting for the word "go!"

A great gift from Uncle Kevin and Aunt Sumer.

Miriam catches her first fish.

...Grandmama, Granddaddy, Uncle Kevin and Aunt Sumer, Great-Grandmama, Uncle Sammy and Aunt Lillian, and Tina Franklin and Patti.

A Christmas tap dance.

"The Griswalds'" house next door. Our den window is just in line with their well-lighted roofline. "Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you keep us up tonight...!" The kids loved it.

Jack O'Brien makes his entrance.

The girls all surround him. A foreshadowing of days to come?

Mom Cathy is THE best-looking 5-days post-partum woman I've ever seen.

Jack and Jill.

Christmas Eve making sugar-cookie men.


A visit from Mee-Maw.

The American Girl dolls are the best dressed among us. A beautiful two-piece outfit Mayron found at a craft fair in Virginia.

Christmas morning scene at our house while the children are nestled all snug in their beds.

Competition heats up.

Collin and Melissa celebrate their first anniversary.

Jill really loves her bath. She can't wait...literally can not wait...for the next one.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Boys Are Back in Town

Bill with a couple of "his boys": Cooper, left, and Collin, right.

Meri, Andrew, Amanda, Daniel, Collin.

Even though God didn't give us any little boys to raise alongside this quartet of dainty darlings, we've been so blessed to know and watch mature some of the finest, handsomest, kindest, most courteous, hard-working, warm-hearted, loyal, and Christ-centered young men this community has also had the pleasure of knowing.

Several have worked for Bill over their high-school and college years. Most we worship with regularly. A few helped us renovate this house we now live in. All of them have played with, teased, and doted on Emma, Jane, Miriam, and Jill.

Now a couple are married. Four are in the military. Three are away at college. A couple are still at home, but not for long. This weekend was a great reunion as all "the boys" were back: Georges, Carters, and Carlsons.

Ellie and Cooper catching up.

Meri, Melissa, and Stephen.

Jane in Meri's lap.

Melissa and Rebecca.

Miriam, Jill, and Emma enjoy the spread.

Jane holds her own with Thomas, Andrew, and Andrew.

The George family was great to host a dinner and include us in the invitation. (Maybe they needed our girls to help balance the numbers a little, as only the two brides and three George girls would otherwise have been present.)

What a difference a year makes. ...........................Nathan holds Jill 12/28/07 and again 12/27/08.

Had it not been for 2008 being a leap year, this gathering would have been exactly one year to the day of the last time we were all together, at Collin and Melissa's rehearsal dinner last year.

Then the next day, there was dancing at the wedding itself. I'll interject a brief look back, because these are just too much fun to forget about:

Emma dances with Collin, the groom(12/29/07) .....Luke bends over backwards for Jane.

Emma and Jane with Cooper 12/29/07.

Cooper & Collin open their gifts: "No one can EVER have too many knives!"

Andrew and Stephen show off their muscles.

But back to this year's party: There was a LOT of testosterone in the room on this particular night. Wrestling, pushups, military stories, gifts of knives and weaponry.

There was also a lot of tenderness and gentle kindness.

Andrew C. cuddling Jill.......................Luke holds Jill, who gets a smooch from Thomas.

Bill with Jill and Collin with Miriam.

Jane with "her Luke."

It was truly a delight to see them all together once again and to be reminded of the impact the accumulated character of these great guys will have as these "arrows" are being shot out of the quiver to go into the world. Watch out, world! I don't think you know yet what's about to hit you.

From left: Daniel and Amanda Carlson, Melissa and Collin George.

Collin gives details of his upcoming assignments.

Cooper tells about his future plans.

Collin and Cooper will be deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. Melissa will stay on in Alaska most of that time, teaching. Daniel and Amanda are moving to Nevada, where Daniel will continue training as a Predator pilot. Nathan's also continuing his military preparations in Utah. Take a good look and give thanks. These are the men who protect us from outside enemies of freedom. And these are the wives who support, help, and encourage them in that task.

Andrew Carlson, Andrew George (Clemson guys--go Tigers!) and Luke Carter will be heading back to college in a few days. Thomas and Stephen are still at home finishing up high school.

I have to put in another plug, here. Considering that all my girls are still in the single digits in age, I can't do much directly to affect this. But one of the prayer requests one of these fellows had was that God might provide the right young lady to be a wife to him. Hello!? Anyone out there?!

Single young women, wake up! This is the cream of the crop. It doesn't get any better than this.

So, what do you say: will it be Bachelor #1, Bachelor #2, Bachelor #3, or Bachelor #4? And Bachelors #5, #6 and #7 are still around here somewhere.

Wish them well. Pray for their safety and continued maturity, in their daily walk and in preparation for the challenges that lie ahead for them. And Godspeed to bring them all back again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Four months after moving to another town in another state, the Caines family visited just prior to Christmas. Being together again was great fun, and just like "old times." The kids immediately fell back into their routines. It's great how we can pick right back up where we left off. Here are a few pics of the kids:

All the Caines and Cochrane kids together.

Hannah "reading" to Jill.

Emma and Thomas in a fort.

This looks like mischief to me. Best friends Miriam and Jacob.

Abby and Jane.

Jill and Hannah. Two tired babies. They have played themselves out.