Aug 8, 2011

Letters from camp...

This is one of many we've been getting in the mail.

  She was thrilled to get a care package we sent.

Here are my instructions on how to care for Little Zeus, Conni's turtle, and her 14 remaining snakes at home.

  Keep them tame, indeed!  Do I look like Steve Irwin?

Her letter to Bear.  How in the world did I miss his birthday?  Just must not be on my radar, but she sure remembered it!  It's not everyone that would spend $.44 on a letter to their dog!

Now for the "need" list.

This is Conni's letter to Abe.

$.44 for a 5 word letter.  Nothing like getting a little dig in to Abe, too.  We just laughed.

Favorite quotes:
"Getting mail is, like, the best part of the day.  Tell everyone to keep it comin'!"

"I really like Nancy and LeeBo.  (camp owners)  They are like our grandparents.  They are always there ready to give a hug, a kiss, or a word of advice.  We all love them."

"Only 1 snake is still alive."  (love this one!)

"Everyone borrows clothes and accessories from everyone else.  I love it here!"

"I would DIE without my canteen!"

"I think everyone likes me and I like pretty much everyone."

"I wish I had brought more candy and snacks."

"I should  probably stop writing now or else I will have to send this via UPS." (after an 8 pg letter)

"In riflery I got a 33 which is pretty good!  I was the highest in my group.  The second highest was a fourth-year and she got a 30.  I am sending my target to you guys so you can see how AWESOME I am!"

I really do miss her, but I'm so glad she has this opportunity.  She's such a special, unique girl.

Gotta love your kids!

Aug 7, 2011

Down to four....

For just 3 weeks.

Conni is gone to summer camp.

She's attending Camp Lachlan near Lexington, VA. We dropped her off there on Sunday, July 23. It's a 3 week camp.

Here she is with her counselor, Megan.

First thing, Conni got to pick her bunk from the 2 remaining bunks.  This cabin has 6 girls and 2 counselors in it.  It is one of the smallest cabins.

Then Megan showed her how to make her bunk and how she would be expected to make it every morning.

Of course, Conni chose the top bunk.

Notice the trunk in the foreground in the above picture.  My grandma Stamper gave me that before I got married.  For 15 years or more, it has been the "dress-up" trunk.  Full of dress-up clothes.  Now, they are all in large trashbags in the basement while Conni uses it for camp.  They were asked to pack in a trunk and this is what we had.  It's a bit big, but it worked.  She had to take all her bedding, towels, sleeping bag, clothes, etc. 

Then we walked down to the face washing, tooth brushing trough.  It is thigh high and has little spigots all down it.  Each girl is assigned a number for camp. They will use that same number for various groupings and activities.  Also, it tells them which cubby is theirs.  They keep their toothbrush and toothpaste in their cubby.  As you can see, this is outside.  Just has a little awning/overhang on it.  For toilets, they use outhouses.  For showers, they use the lake!

 Back in her cabin with her bed made and ready to roll.  What I forgot about until later was that hidden in her pillowcase was a Tupperware container with 5 of the 18 baby snakes in it.  Thankfully, she was allowed to keep them and they are now residing in the camp terrarium.

Hugs goodbye!  How did she ever get this big?  Wow.  Three weeks is going to be a long time.

I miss her, but I know she's having a great time.  I'll share exerpts from some of her letters soon.  Too funny and so Conni!

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying having the house to myself.... for a little while.  Getting projects done, having lunch with friends, etc.

One thing I've noticed that I don't like.  The kitchen table just keeps getting bigger and bigger!  There are only four of us!  We have to reach to pass stuff.  Maybe I should just take a leaf out.  No, she'll be back soon.

Enjoy your kids, folks!

Aug 5, 2011


This is usually synonymous with lots of food, lots of people, corny jokes, singing, random sports, and lots of people talking over the top of each other. Don't worry about the heated conversations; it isn't really arguing. It's "discussing" as the true blue original Cottens say. Those of us who just married in to the bunch have learned to adapt...with patience. It's actually quite entertaining to sit back and watch and listen to a subject be beaten to death, buried, then resurrected again! Gotta love them all! The interesting part is when our kids who are half Cotten, half something else get going in the middle of it too. Try putting Earl Stamper and all his carefully remembered and documented details in the middle of a fast-paced, noisy Cotten discussion. Like I said...entertaining.

We all got together in honor of Phillip's 50th birthday. It was up in Madison at Phillip and Ronda's. What a great time. So good to be with them all.

We started out with the guys shucking corn... lots of it!

Aunt Laura and Conni.

Phillip proceeded to burn himself while cooking the corn.  Man, it looked so painful!  This is Ronda bringing him a bowl of ice water to put his hand in.

And of course, whenever there are Cotten guys together, there will be basketball.

Little Emmett Cotten.  Wade and Amy's son.  So cute and so full of energy!

Tori, Aubrey, and Angi.


Grandmommy cutting up Phil's meat while he keeps his burned finger in a cup of water.  Pretty funny.

Wade, Amy, and Emmett.

Some of the young married girls.

  Jeannine.  My niece, sister, and best friend.  She's pregnant with her 5th boy!

Cory and Brittany.

Sonda Amyette with her granddaughter Kamryn.  She's such a smiley little girl!

Wade and Russell cutting watermelon - straight from Mississippi.

Little Rory Dunavant enjoying some watermelon.  Look at those eyes!

It was a great evening.  We had a great time and of course, great food.  What do you expect with a bunch of Cotten ladies in the kitchen?  Russell did an awesome job on the brisket, too.

Let's see.  Whose birthday is next?  When can we have the next family gathering? 

So thankful for them all.  Glad I'm married into this bunch and accepted as one of them.

I may not be able to "discuss" things like they all can, but I guarantee I can get to a point quicker than all of them!  :)

Love my family!

And then there were five...

A new milestone in our lives; a first for our family.

We who were six are now five.

Angi moved out on July 5.

We loaded her car and the sub with all her stuff. I thought it would all fit in the sub - piece of cake. I was wrong. She had more than I thought or it was bigger than I thought or something! There was a bed frame that she had claimed from our attic since she was a little girl. She had refinished that and an old cherry end table from the attic too. Along with her nice leather chair and ottoman from her room, there were several large pieces. Oh yeah. Also, the full length mirror she got a few years ago for a birthday gift. It was (precariously) perched on top of the load. We prayed for no sudden stops. We made the heavily laden trip to Richmond. Got there just as she was finishing up painting her room. With Marci and Abe and John Roy to help, we got it all carried in rather quickly. She is living in an old house on Monument with 4 other girls. She has her own room; shares the rest of the house. Tim hung her mirror and Abe and I hung some wall decor. Marci bossed.

We miss Angi very much but are so glad she's come home every weekend. She's pursuing her doula career in Richmond. As of yesterday, August 4, she signed her very first client and has several more interviews lined up. Yay! So proud of her. I'll let her keep us all posted on how things go from here. Hear that, Angi??!

So life goes on. The remaining 3 kids toss for Angi's place at the table. There's no one to make her awesome salad dressing. No book and Bible left on the window sill by her place at the table. There aren't 3 iron skillets to wash up behind her every morning. The spinach goes bad before we use it all. I never hear the banging of her toothbrush on the side of her sink every morning and evening like clockwork. There's no early morning coffee smell. There's no one to yell at Marci when she forgets to replace the TP roll.

And worst of all, the piano is silent.

Angi, you've left a huge hole.

We love you and we know you'll be back home fairly often if for no other than these 2 reasons:


Well water.

Still adapting. Learning once again to move on.