Archive for the 'Katie' Category

As Gomer Pyle would say,

“Soo-PRAZZ, soo-PRAZZ, soo-PRAZZ!”

Katie moved from Charlottesville to her new (actually quite old) cottage in another town on Tuesday, November 1. I am quite certain she moved that day because once she was somewhat settled in and partially unpacked on Tuesday night, she sent me a panoramic photo of the interior of her new house. So very fun! I also knew she’d have several days off before starting her new job at Montpelier the next Monday, and she had told me she’d be using that time to shop for furniture, get things set up, and maybe take in a national park or two.

Wednesday night, I got home from church about 8:45. I walked into the dining room, and Katie was standing there!!! Looking at me and smiling. Or. . . was it just someone who looked a lot like Katie? I was so totally stunned!  How could she be here? She was in Virginia! Was she even real?!? And how on earth had she gotten here?!? I couldn’t believe it! I just stood there and cried.

She had driven 15 hours that day, having left home at the unheard-of hour of 6:00 AM. She drove all that way just to surprise us and spend three days with us. WOW!

We had so much fun together. On Thursday, she and I went exploring and took a delightful, all downhill walk on Reno Springs Road and Reno Hollow Road. We were so far out in the boonies that we covered parts of three counties, and in so doing found a deserted sheep ranch, a gorgeous yard with a suspension bridge out front, and a series of mystery pipes. Then we drove all over the place to figure out exactly where we had been and how the roads connected. (Robertses love to explore off the beaten path.)

That night, Andrew’s Team Extreme volleyball team won their match for us, and on Friday Katie and I hit EIGHT thrift stores in Branson, picking up various items for her house, after which she treated me to lunch at Wendy’s. It was a glorious time. That weekend we had missionary guests from the Philippines plus a Take the Challenge fundraising dinner at the home of one of our ministry board members. Katie was a great help to Scott in preparing various technical things for his presentation at the dinner (which was a super success). She was able to spend most of Saturday gallivanting about Springfield with Josiah, and we even managed to play one game of Beans and two games of Dominion, so I think it’s fair to say we maximized her three days with us. She drove back to Virginia on Sunday, thankful that the time change was in her favor.

It was great to have Katie home for a surprise visit, and although everyone who knows me well knows that I hate surprises, I loved this one! It was the best surprise I’ve ever experienced!


What should follow a foot washing?

Katie was home this weekend.  The real purpose for the visit was for her to attend a friend’s wedding reception Sunday afternoon in Branson.  We’re really glad Melissa got married, ’cause we got to have 48 hours with Katie!

Thanks to Southwest Airlines, which now flies from Dulles to Branson through Chicago Midway, the airport drives are now only 20 minutes on her end and 25 minutes on ours.  This is truly WONDERFUL!

I think we were quite effective in maximizing our family time.  Between noon on Saturday and noon on Monday, we enjoyed the following activities and foods.

~ Katie made us soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.

~ We took a wonderful three-mile bike ride from Shadow Rock Park to Empire Park and back.  We made many wonderful memories on that excursion.  Maybe it deserves its own blog post.  = )

~ Scott grilled a honey/mustard pork tenderloin, plus we had baked potatoes and green beans and Kathy Tedder’s cheesecake for dessert.

~ We played King and Slave, and we won’t talk about who kept ending up where.

~ Ping pong was a major event, both doubles and singles.  We attempted Around the World, but the Pelican was not nimble enough for group success with that one.

~ We went to church, where we heard a challenging sermon on No Fruit, Fruit, More Fruit, and Much Fruit.

~ One child managed to stay upstairs long enough to avoid helping prep for our traditional Sunday lunch salad.

~ Katie went to her wedding reception, Andrew helped clean the Rendezvous, and I loaded peat moss and potting soil into eight big planters for our tomatoes.  I also moved the seedlings from the attic to the porch for their requisite “hardening off.”  Scott cut up a lot of tiny boards to prop up the planters for drainage.

~ The three of us had red beans, rice, and cornbread for supper; Andrew ate at McDonald’s on the way home from his cleaning job.

~ Katie printed out instructional blurb and taught Scott and me the rudiments of three-handed pinochle, a brain-sweat game that I think has potential.

~ Katie and I snacked on Always Save sour cream and onion potato chips, doing a significant amount of damage to the contents of the bag.  I urged her to take the remnants home, which she did.

~ We all four played Forbidden Island, and we made it off the island!

~ Katie and I worked in the library, culling some fiction, educational, and world history books, some of which will go to the Taneyhills thrift shop, and several more of which were posted to paperbackswap.  Within six hours, six books had been requested.  = )

~ After helping Katie pack up, the three of us walked down to the creek, and a the low part behind Stearns’ house, Katie went wading.  It was cool and refreshing!  However, she didn’t want to put her wet feet back into her shoes, so Andrew and I each dried a foot with our shirts. . . because really, a foot washing should always be followed by a foot drying by people who love you.



More Virginia trip details

*  After the baccalaureate service, we were privileged to meet and visit with several of Katie’s professors.

*  Of note is the fact that, without exception, they went on and on and on about what a great student and wonderful person she is.  Dr. Spinney and Dr. Favelo also said how thankful they were that they’d be keeping her around and that she’d be working for them.  What did that mean?!?  It seems they have hired Katie and Leslie part-time to help proof freshman papers (the incoming class is about twice as large as theirs was, and since all PHC students take history classes their freshman year, the history profs are anticipating an unusually hefty workload) and to help tutor freshman students in writing history papers.  Knowing that these top-notch profs want and value your daughter’s help definitely does a mom’s heart good.

*  Furthermore, the history profs, realizing that their four graduates – yes that’s FOUR history majors (allegedly the most difficult major at PHC) out of 57 graduates – had done highly commendable work, wanted to give them some tangible reward for their exemplary efforts.  They pulled the students and their families together and gave Katie, Leslie, and their two classmates each a genuine 1946 Congressional Medal Of Honor, which had been awarded to combat veterans of WWII.  WHAT an awesome and appropriate gift for those history majors!!!  Katie wore her medal on her gown the next morning when she graduated.  I smiled through tears.

*  For me personally, Friday night was the high point, but Saturday morning was great, too.  The service  was long and numerous people spoke.  Katie graduated summa cum laude with high honors and a 3.94 GPA.  I was terribly proud and happy!

*  In addition to Scott, Josiah, and Andrew, these friends and family were present for the Big Event:

~ From North Carolina, Grandma Roberts, Aunt Becky, and Aunt Kristy

~ From Arkansas, Grandma and Grandpa Varner

~ From Delaware, Dave, Sue, Ryan, Courtney, Emily, and Rachel Brown

*  It was challenging to try to figure out how to best accommodate and please so many people (who had all come from so far) in such a short span of time.  We have learned, in this graduation season, that these kinds of events bring together groups of people who are all close to the person being celebrated, but not necessarily close to each other and sometimes that can be awkward.  We opted for a picnic lunch at a nearby park.  Turns out we snagged a pavilion that another couple of PHC grads had reserved for their party, so we cut that short.

*  Katie’s apartment is small, but quite functional for the three young ladies.  They will make it their own in no time, and I’m sure it will be a blessed home base for them in this season of their lives.  I won’t mention here how high the rent is, other than to say that we’ve never paid that much a month for anything!  I guess when you live in the most expensive county in the continental U.S., you simply have to trust God, work hard, and deal with a cost of living that is so far over the top that it makes my head swim.

*  The Browns left after the picnic, my folks left later in the afternoon, and the North Carolina, Missouri, and Virginia contingents retired to their hotel.

*  The Aunts took Andrew to Starbucks.  Why did they feel compelled to start him on this habit?!?  He now claims to like coffee, but I’m pretty sure he really only likes all the stuff you can put in it.

More to come, including that mysterious man on the bed. . .

I’ve enjoyed our summer with Katie

We have gotten to do a number of things that are fun together:

~ culling the library

~ watching ball games

~ playing Take Two

~ playing pool

~ collecting children’s church stuff

~ sorting the games

~ cleaning the playroom

(do we detect a theme here?)

She has also played Bridge (with ANDREW as her partner), Scattergories, and a few other odd games, and she has graciously fixed numerous computer issues for me – including making Andrew’s math score spreadsheet calculate.  Whew!

In general, Katie makes me smile.  What a nice lady to have around!

Just peachy

Last Friday night, Scott and the boys and I came home from our group meeting, and there was an index card taped to the breezeway door that said, “Mom!”  and at the bottom was the word ” over” with an arrow to the right.   After we hauled in all our stuff, I went back, grabbed the note, turned it over, and read the following:

NEWS FLASH!  I have a mom that’s great,
one who I sure appreciate.
To make sure this she’s realized,
a treasure hunt I have devised.
The first clue’s where all hunts must start:
in the wooden box that’s a work of art.

I was stunned.  I have spent the past fourteen years writing rhyming clues for children’s birthday treasure hunts, but I don’t think anyone’s ever done one for me!  I was really excited!  About that time Katie showed up in the living room, grinning.  She had worked late at Silver Dollar City and so hadn’t been able to attend the group with us.

I then followed the following clues around the house:

You know, my mom is really great.
One way I know that, is the care she takes
to make sure we have all we need
for when we hurt, or burn, or bleed.

My mom loves photos and she takes
lots and lots, for memories’ sake.
Some of the best we proudly display
In a frame that changes throughout the day.

Yesterday we played a game
of state fun facts and presidents’ names.
I played my best, but I’m sorry to say
my mom BEAT me, at the end of the day!

Because my time is drawing short
this treasure hunt I must abort.
But I’ll give you one more clue before the end.
Look where abandoned items we send.

I know my mom loves me a bunch
because she bought me junk food and things for lunch.
I thought that I’d return the favor
With ice cream in her favorite flavor.

BOY HOWDY!!  When I read that final clue, I made a beeline for the freezer, hardly daring to believe that it might possibly, just maybe, was I dreaming. . . ?  YES!  A big bowl of peach ice cream was sitting there staring me in the face.   Ahhhhh!

I told Katie that that ice cream reminded me of David’s the water from the well at Bethlehem – but that I wasn’t about to pour it down the disposal.   = )  Instead, I sampled one long, luscious, sweet, creamy spoonful, and saved the rest for a future treat.  Then I asked her how on earth she had gotten the ice cream home.

While employed at the City, Katie got a discount on food and merchandise, so at the end of her shift, in 95 degree heat, she carried her lunch bag from the break room (at the lower back end of the park), hiked up to Hannah’s Ice Cream Parlour (on the square at the top of the park near the front entrance), and bought me a big bowl of peach ice cream.  Note that Hannah’s is the ONLY place I know of that always sells peach ice cream.

She placed the bowl in the insulated lunch box and walked quickly (I don’t think employees are supposed to run on park) back down most of the length of the park and out to her car in the employee lot.  The car was roasting hot, surely well over 110 degrees after sitting there all day, so she cranked the air on full blast, set it to blow on her feet, positioned the lunch box in the passenger floor well, and (I surmise) put the pedal to the metal, so to speak. She then drove slightly faster than the speed limit in order to get the peachiness home more quickly than the seventeen minutes that full compliance with MODot regulations would require.

Tearing into the house, she shoved the partially melted prize into the freezer and proceeded to write and hide the above clue.  I don’t know when I have felt so loved and special.  Thank you, Katie!

Can I claim that I taught her how to drive?

This evening, Katie came home from working at Silver Dollar City on Memorial Day Sunday and said that she’d gotten to do something new and different at work today.  No, it wasn’t cleaning up a “spill”  (SDC term for puke patrol).

Because of lightning, the rides closed for a while this afternoon, with the result that a lot of people left the park.  Since she was not needed to run rides at that time, she was told to go up to the main entrance area and help with crowd control.  Arriving there, someone in authority asked if she had a driver’s license (yes), and told her to bring up cars from valet parking. I was suitably impressed.

She said she got to drive some really nice cars.  Our own cars are more than adequate, but even though we own a small fleet of them, none of them would be considered “really nice.”  I’m glad she got to spend a few minutes in some luxury mobiles.

Katie’s employed again, yet, and still

After a week of way too many job interviews (NOT her favorite spring break pastime), Katie has a couple of jobs lined up for the summer.  For full time joy, she’ll be operating rides in the Grand Exposition portion of Silver Dollar City.  Because SDC has long workdays, she expects to get in her 40-hour workweek in four days, which will leave her time to work another part time job, possibly at Cold Stone Creamery.  (Brings back memories of my own very first job, dipping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins.   Come to think of it, there may well be a genetic component; Scott dipped ice cream at a shop in York Beach, Maine.)

She also has applications pending at some other places, and there’s always a possibility that something will come of those, but unless it does, I think she’s pretty settled on the above-mentioned two-job combo.

Katie truly shines in an office setting, and while I don’t think SDC or Cold Stone will fully utilize her very best skills, I am sure that she will be one of the most dependable and productive workers either place has had in a long time!  Also, as it stands now, neither  Cold Stone nor SDC will quite match the hourly wage of her job last summer at VillaGIS,  but I think between the two of them (or whatever other job scenario she cobbles together) she will surely earn enough to make a solid dent in the fall college bill.

I’m really proud of her for her tenaciousness in the job search process, and I may well find myself spinning in teacups and eating ice cream more than I had planned to this summer.

Can’t compete with Katie

Not only does she grind me into the dust at Lexulous, but her town is expecting 24 inches of snow tomorrow!!!  And they’ve already had about six inches.  The forecast there is for 24 (some reports say up to 40) inches of snow, with high winds, causing visibility to be less than a quarter of a mile.

She is very thankful that her on-campus job is in an office, but she really feels for the students who work on the grounds crew.  Playing in a blizzard would be one thing; working in it would be a whole different thing.

In any case, classes are already canceled for Friday, so maybe she’ll have time for me to try to beat her at Lexulous.  = )

I came very close

Katie’s home (YAY!!!) and we played Take Two this afternoon.  The first round, I beat her by some 60 points, but that was due not to my great skill, but to an error on her part.  She had crafted a nifty puzzle that included a word starting with H.  The problem was that the H she used had a T in front of it and nothing behind it.    I think she had originally had some word there like THAT or THEN, but had later disassembled it to form something else somewhere else.  Then, when she went to count her points, she realized that that whole section of her puzzle had to be discarded (boo hoo).  To add insult to injury, it had included two Xs that were both used twice.  Major bummer.

Well, Katie was NOT willing to stop after that, so we played another round.  A round in which she staged a grand comeback.  But get this, the final score after both rounds was:  Mom 580, Katie 590.  I came very close.

T-minus eight inches and counting

Shortly before she headed back to Patrick Henry for her sophomore year, Katie asked me to cut her hair.  This did not initially seem to be an unusual request.  I have cut our kids’ hair since Katie was about six years old, and every few months, she asks me to whack off a couple inches of split ends.  Being a wise and thrifty woman, she has never seen the need to pay a “beautician” for what Mom can do in 30 seconds at no charge.

This time, I was little surprised at her choice of the verb “cut,” rather than “trim.”  It turns out that after growing her hair long for a number of years – and it was approaching her waist – she wanted it cut much shorter.  She was hesitant to make a major hair change while Jessica was away on a mission trip, because she and her sister are like Twinkies with their long hair.  Jessica’s is longer, but they enjoy wearing it the same way and causing people who don’t know them well to mix them up.

However, after much analysis and contemplation, Katie decided that, as the Walrus said, “the time had come.”  So, in two stages, I cut away eight inches of hair.  That’s a lotta hair!  And she looks WONDERFUL!  It’s about down to her shoulder blades and I’d say “cute and sassy” would describe her new look.

Even if Katie were to mourn her missing tresses, not to worry; her hair truly grows like a weed.  I bet she’ll regain three inches (in hair length, that is) by Christmas.

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