Here is a picture of a mandolin that I just purchased yesterday.
It is a very beautiful instrument, and (supposedly) pretty sturdy. The brand name is Kentucky. It also came with a very nice HARD case (well, I had to pay extra, but not much!) I know a handful of chords and still have a whole book of chords I can learn...right at my finger tips! Yesterday, I was on the computer looking for mandolin chords, and hand copying some I had found, when my kind brother, Caleb, came into the room. Guess what he had? He had a mandolin chord chart book! I wasn't really paying attention to what was happening in the room, but several of my siblings were gathering. Also, when Caleb was handing the book to me, Abby had to take a video [15 second longs] of me! Ah...I dislike being on tape. But that is history. Caleb was originally going to give the book to me for Christmas, but he decided to give it to me early (probably because he saw how excited I was!). What loving and kind brothers and sisters I have! Anyway, I now have a mandolin & a book to help me learn the chords! I'm pretty excited about it, too. I've been daydreaming about "what I could do when I learn how to play the mandolin"!
Well that is probably enough for now.
P.S. Right at this very moment, I am listening (in the background) to Johanna plink around on my mandolin, in our room. I think all of us are pretty excited! (Especially me!) Joel even showed somewhat of an interest in learning to play. :)