As many of you know, my cousin's daughter, Kayla, is a freshman at the nearby university, SIU-E. That's short for Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. So, this summer, I've been blessed by many visits from that side of the family. I know they're here to see Kayla... but I pretend they're excited to see me too! :)
Today is Kayla's birthday, and she is now 19! And, this past weekend, it was the family visit weekend for the campus - a perfect time for more family to be in town. So, Sheila, David, Brittany, Stacey and Dave drove on down and stayed with me. (Actually, Brittany took advantage of some sister bonding time and stayed with Kayla in the residence halls, but all of us enjoyed a visit at my house Saturday evening and Sunday morning.)
Here, after our homemade pizza supper, are proud Mom Sheila, proud Dad David, and the birthday girl Kayla.
Across the table are Brittany, Stacey and Dave.
I inquired about Kayla's favorite cake (cherry chip with whipped icing), and we enjoyed that delicious treat - decorated with all 19 candles - before opening presents. Here, Kayla is showing off her fantastic new stereo.
We got a late start on the homemade pizzas, so we finished the party pretty late. And, before we knew it, it was time for bed. But, we gathered the next morning for some sausage gravy and biscuits and some more visiting before heading to church. No matter how many times I told David to just leave the dishes for me to tidy up when I returned from services, he wouldn't listen. I was thankful for his help... and the help of everyone who left the kitchen so clean. It was a relief to walk in the door that afternoon and be able to rest and reflect on the wonderful weekend.
I know Kayla's family - especially her sister and best friend, Brittany - misses her very much. But, I have been very thankful to have my cousin so close and to have her attend worship services with me each weekend. Now, we just need to find a way to persuade Brittany to move here!