Friday, November 10, 2017

The Year of Growth: Continued Blooms

Hello all,
It's been quite awhile since I've updated.  Our lives have been hectic and very fast-paced these past few months.  As I sit here on a cool Autumn day with an afternoon cup of coffee, I decided to play catch up on our lives (albeit in letter form).

Preston just finished his first season with a new baseball team.  It's a team he has been wanting to be part of for awhile.  The coach used to be Preston's batting/pitching coach, but is now so much more.  Preston has the greatest respect for him and only wants to improve as a player and person. Sixth grade has been a little rough, adjusting to more responsibilities and tougher academic standards.  However, we feel like we've finally got him into the groove of things and he is doing well.  He joined Running Club, Basketball Club, Movie Club, Four-Square Club, and Bible Club. He is a social butterfly!!!

Kaitlyn is in her last year of middle school!!!!  It's so hard to believe! But she is doing extremely well in all of her Pre-AP classes.  She is taking Algebra as well so she can earn high school credit.  She is extremely independent and studious when it comes to her classes.  We are always amazed at her finished projects and how creative she can be with them.  She is in AVID and NJHS which is already preparing her for college (yikes!).  She's also part of an afterschool theater troupe, Bible study, and is completing a stint as house manager for the school play.  She is almost done with her second season of volleyball and they currently have a winning record.  She has worked hard on her overhand serve and is now known as the power hitter on the team.  She has done amazing!

Craig is heading into his new store's first holiday season.  It's been a lot of work to get a brand new store to the standards that he holds.  His bosses are pleased with all he has done and his associates appreciate the way he runs the store.  He has professional goals he has set and is eager to reach each one.  It's been very special seeing the store transform from bare bones (literally) to a flourishing business.  We are so proud of all Craig has done.  Craig has still managed to find time to support all of us, attend our events and games, and be our biggest encourager through our tough days.

I am in still in school studying music therapy and it honestly feels like I'm never going to be done.  It's hard, it is emotional, and I want to give up all of the time.  But, I know I must stay the course.  Honestly, I feel like I'm just an average musician.  I'm not the greatest singer, pianist, or guitarist, which is totally okay with me.  However, I think my compassion and willingness to always listen will help me be a great therapist.  I have met so many wonderful people at my school and everyone is very supportive and encouraging of each other.  Despite my school schedule and long practice hours, I somehow manage to be the main chauffeur, cook, and calendar keeper (we all have cleaning duties).  Everyone's still alive!!!

Our calendar stays full, but our hearts are fuller.  We are so thankful for the life we are blessed with and that we get to experience everything together.  We have some amazing things coming up next year and we look forward to all God has in store for us.  We have prayed for God to bring us revelations and opportunities and He never fails. 

We hope all is well in your hearts and homes.  May God bring peace and comfort to you and your families as well.  Until next time...

The Kelley's

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Summer Vacation 2017

Another vacation has come and gone and we enjoyed our much needed getaway.  Our trip started with a visit to our 12the state, Kentucky, and ended on the beautiful beach of Gulf Shores, Alabama. 

Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave is the world's longest known cave system.  We chose a short guided tour, but will definitely consider a longer tour next time.  The parts of the cave that we saw only touched on all there is to explore underground.


Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace and Boyhood Home
We always love to visit historical sites.  I discovered a piece of history was not too far from Louisville so we made a quick stop to check it out.  The actual home is encased in a building similar looking to the Lincoln Memorial.  It is a very tiny house.  We had to drive down the road a few miles and there stood Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home.  It is just a small as the other house.

Kentucky Derby Museum
We were excited to take a quick guided tour of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.  Again we learned to take a longer tour next time.  There was so much we wanted to see!!!  After taking the tour and seeing a 20 minute video, Craig and I quickly decided seeing the Kentucky Derby live was going on our Bucket List.  Since Kroger hand sews the rose garland given to the winner, I wonder if we could get some discounted tickets?  Hmmm....




The Ark Encounter
Yes, that Ark.  Well, it's not the exact same Ark from the days of Noah, but it's an exact replica.  It was built according to the same dimensions listed in the Bible.  Some creative license was taken for the inside of the boat, but it was really cool to get a general idea of what it may have actually looked like.

There were 3 levels inside the boat, full of information and exhibits.  Any possible question you could have about the Ark was addressed and answered.  There were lots of comparison between what scientists believe and what creationists believe.  One of our favorite things at the end was the depiction of real life scenarios and the struggles people currently have.  Then at the end, the Salvation message is explained and there are pamphlets on the Salvation prayer.  It was a great ending to the museum.




Louisville Slugger Museum
So the whole reason we wanted to visit Louisville specifically was to come to this museum.  Every baseball loving boy needs to visit this place.  We took the factory tour and loved all the insights into making the famous wooden bats.  The tour ended with everyone receiving a mini bat. Of course, we couldn't leave there without Preston getting his own custom bat (orange) with his name and number embossed on it.

A new city visit would not be complete without checking out some local restaurants.  And if there is a Hard Rock Café nearby, we are stopping there.

Troll Pub Under the Bridge

Hard Rock Café Louisville

After a few days in Kentucky, it was time to head south to our very favorite spot, Gulf Shores, Alabama.  We rented a condo in our favorite place and just took in the sights and sounds of the ocean every chance we got.  My parents and brother even stopped by for a couple nights. 

The jellyfish were very prominent this year and Craig and Preston got plenty of stings.  Thankfully, the stings weren't too bad and didn't really hurt them.  We also noticed lots of dead fish would wash up on the shore every morning.  One gigantic dead fish was found also.  However, I read an article that there is currently a dead zone in the gulf causing lots of marine life to die.  We also had lots of rain this time which we never experienced before.  It was a different trip to the beach this year, but still wonderful.  Kaitlyn enjoyed collecting shells and playing volleyball, Preston and Craig enjoyed the water and building sand castles, and I enjoyed some reading and staying in the shade.



I'm always so sad to leave such a beautiful place and can't wait to go back again.  Overall, it was a fabulous vacation and we were very happy to get away for a little bit.  Now time to plan next year's trips!