Pardon me while I freak out

I love travelling, particularly international travelling. I love the adventure of it, the excitement of boarding a plane and not knowing what might happen. I find it terribly thrilling and if someone would pay me and my family to travel professionally I would do it in a heartbeat.

I do not love preparing to leave, though.

Inevitably, every time I plan to leave town and, more specifically, the country, I swing into major panic mode about three days before I leave. My plane departs for Tanzania on Friday so right about now is the perfect time to panic. I laid in bed until well after midnight last night thinking of all the things I needed to do. I should have gotten up and written them down because I’ve forgotten half of it this morning, which is making me feel more panicked.


My children will probably eat a lot of junk food today and watch a lot of TV. That is okay. I need to get myself together and I will probably take something tonight to help me sleep so I don’t embark on this trip as a psycho zombie.

So while I go tear around my house like a rabid baboon on uppers (a psycho zombie baboon on uppers…I love good, solid imagery) why don’t you guys enjoy a few things that have brought joy to my heart and laughter to my soul.

My friend Jenni from Avodah Images took family pictures of us this weekend. She is so many shades of awesome I don’t know where to start. I love her heart and her humor and her talent. And I love these pictures. Yes, to answer your question, I did climb a tree in a dress. It was a delicate process and I am grateful to Jenni for not taking pictures while I shimmied my way up.

After we finished with the pictures, we joined the Keiter family for dinner at an amazing Greek Restaurant in Tarpon Springs. OPA! While there, they told us about the following video that has brought so much joy to my life I don’t really know how to describe it. I will never sing this song the right way again. Ever.

I hope Tuesday is kind to all of you. I’m off to clean and pack…and panic.


  1. Those pictures are fantastic. They captured the personalities of your kids so well! it’s no wonder no means yes sometimes, Especially with Landon. The mischeviousness but total adoration in his eyes…oh my. How cute they are!
    I am praying for you! Deep breath. You will get it all done. This is going to be a trip you will never forget!

    • Thanks, Traci. I feel perfectly calm during the day. It’s at night that everything starts to swirl in my head. Gah! 🙂

      Love you guys.

  2. Have a safe trip! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  3. Saturday we told the kids we’re leaving TCCS. Today at drop-off I got hit with hugs and tears and I boo-hooed to the point of a headache. Came home to finish and burn the DVD Yearbook which of course produced MORE tears. Took a brain break to read your blog and smiled “several shades of awesome” then cracked up just thinking about that video. THANK. YOU. For turning my sad day around. I’m going to go watch that video again now. And after that I will edit shirtless salty old sea dogs out of your pictures then burn you your disc.

    • Oh you had a HARD day. I’m so sorry!! Watch the video again…while eating ice cream…and Nutella…and thinking of Lee trying to slide out of that tree.

      That should keep you laughing for a solid half hour at least. 🙂

  4. You and your family look like rock stars in those pics – wait, you are! I love the tree picture and the ones of the kids flying through the air.
    Just wanted to say that I’ve been very encouraged by your posts lately (as I often am). Yesterday’s was awesome – my kids take my no to mean yes, too, and then when Dan says no they’re all, “OK, Dad!” Not terribly encouraging, but sometimes knowing that other moms are dealing with it too makes me feel like less of a loser 🙂
    I also wanted to thank you for sharing your heart even in the preparing to go to Tanzania. You’ve written about things that I’d been praying specifically for you (before you said them), and your words have also challenged me even though I’m not about to head to Africa. I’m so excited for what God is going to do in and through you, Kelli!
    “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

    • Jaime, your words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for your encouragement and your prayers. I can’t wait to share the experiences with everyone.

  5. Awesome awesome pictures!! I love the color scheme and wardrobe choices for all of you! Those are amazing. Praying as you get everything together for your trip!

  6. I am excited for you and my prayers are going with you! No matter how far you are, prayers bridge the distance in an instant!

    Your pictures are amazing. I love your beautiful family!

  7. What fabulous pictures!!!! We have taken a family portrait every year since I was pregnant with my oldest who is now 24! They make for GREAT memories!

    Hope you have gotten most of your to-do list accomplished and have also managed to incorporate some great family time! Praying for you!

    • Thanks, Karen. As always, your words are a blessing and an encouragement to me. One of these days we’re going to need to meet face to face for that cup of hot tea. 🙂

  8. Looking forward to following along on the Uganda trip. My wife Patricia would normally be out there with you, but she gets to follow along with me this time. And can I just say that video made my day. Oh my gosh, laughed so hard! So excited to see what God has in store for you all.