Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Little Daredevil!

If you look closely, you can see Amanda and Mason on a swing together (white coat, Mason has on a black stocking cap).  Maddie is in the pink coat with multi colored cap flying off on the left hand side of the photo.  This was taken at Silver Dollar City.  I wanted to add it to my blog to remember what a daredevil Miss Maddie is.  She also rode the big roller coaster and loved it!  She cried when she was told that she was 2 inches too short to ride the biggest roller coaster in the park.  She absolutely loves thrilling rides and speeds.  When I asked her if she was going to ride the small roller coaster in the kids area, she gave me a major eye roll!  Mason, on the other hand, was not so sure about the big rides.  He enjoyed the train and the mine ride.  If you knew the kids personalities, you would guess the opposite was true.  Maddison is looking forward to a trip to Six Flags this summer.  I think I will sit that one out!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mr. IPad!

Mason is infatuated with the Ipad.  It is hard to believe that a 4 year old can master the technology of this little machine.  When he comes into our house now the first thing he says is: "Can I play with your Ipad?".  He loves the talking character apps, and the "Tap the Frog" and "Angry Birds" games.  For Christmas, Randy got an "Otter Box" which is supposed to make the Ipad almost indestructable.  I hope it works because Mason really gives it a work over.  I can't even begin to imagine what kind of technology will be available for us when he gets in high school!

Silver Dollar City Trip

The day after Christmas we headed to Branson, Missouri.  Jessica made arrangements to rent a couple of condos there only a few miles from Silver Dollar City.  The condos were decorated in a mountain/rustic theme and had a view of Lake Taneycomo.  In addition to our little unit, Amanda's Grandma, Sherill, came along.  She had Branson lights on her "bucket list".  It was a great trip and we got to meet up with my sister and some of her family at SDC.  The lights were spectacular! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

I know it has been weeks since I have blogged.  I guess I have just been too occupied with other matters to collect my thoughts and blog.  December is a busy month for us with 2 birthdays to celebrate as well as the holidays.  We recently had to purchase a new computer, so I have been familiarizing myself with that.  Excuses, excuses!
I think I am ready for the holidays.  I have neglected a couple of old traditions this year, including mailing out cards and baking cookies.  See what I mean, I just could not get it together this year!
We are doing something a little different this season.  After the holidays, we are traveling to Branson for some R and R and to see the lights.  I have never been there around Christmas, so I am excited to see what all the hub-bub is about.  It will be a family trip and Jessica has rented a condo for us.  We are also making a more concentrated effort to give back to our community and the people who live here.  The funny thing about this is that it has brought us so much pleasure to help others. 
So, until I blog again, Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lucky Seven!

My sweet Maddie turned 7 last week.  It was a week of celebration as her Papa had a birthday, as did her cousin, Gabe.  Maddison is really into horses this year and wanted a horse cake.  As part of her birthday gift, Aunt Bea and Uncle Scott got her riding lessons.  The first such lesson will happen this week.  She is very excited about learning to ride.  On Saturday, she had a girls sleep over to celebrate.  7 little girls spent the night with her and did crafts, made pizza and generally reeked chaos!  She seemed to love the party, her mother, however, was completely worn out by the experience.
On a different note, I have been negligent about blogging lately.  I have been fighting a cold for 2 weeks now, and feel worn down by the cold and the busy activities of the season.  I am hoping to shake this congestion soon and get back to "normal".

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Just Checking In!

This is definitely a busy time of year. We finally got our tree up and a few other decorations put out. I am not one who does a lot of fancy displays at my house. We hope to put some lights on our porch and I need to get some greenery to add to my decor, but that will be about all we do to the house. I goaded Randy into helping me wrap some gifts this morning so we would have something to put under the tree. I had a surprise visit from Josh and Maddie and Mason this morning. Josh and Randy and Mason went "hunting" and Maddie and I baked some cookies, played Yahtzee and watched "Cupcake Wars". I enjoy spending time with her. She is almost like having a friend around. She is so grown up and really likes to do adult type games and activities. We often play school together, but that is one activity she will do on her own.
I am going to work on my Christmas cards and letter this afternoon, and then we have a work party tonight. Randy and I are both fighting a cold, so we probably will not be out late. Somehow the weekends just fly by these days. We have a couple of birthdays to celebrate this week, a Christmas program, a baby shower and my sister and brother in law will be in for a bit. The last few years I have had the attitude that I will do the holiday activities that I enjoy and skip the rest. There have been too many years of stress just trying to do and be everything. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Cooks Best Helpers!

The 3 most special ladies in my life took charge of Thanksgiving supper this year. All 3 are great cooks in their own right. Jessica loves to try new recipes and especially enjoys making appetizers and dips! And boy were they good! Amanda is a meat and potato kind of cook. She always makes homemade noodles and this year she tried her hand at pies. I sampled the pecan pie and it was delicious! Maddie also enjoys helping in the kitchen. She loves to set the table (with special delight in hiding her Papa's utensils and napkin!) and she will stir anything available. My role in the meal was much less this year (fruit salad, green beans and rolls) and it was probably the best meal we have ever had. Who says too many cooks spoil the broth? NOT ME! I welcome all the help I can get. It was a wonderful day spent cooking, visiting, eating and playing games. Oh, and we managed to spend a good deal of time looking over the ads. I hope your holiday was just as lovely!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Lifelong Impact of a Teacher

Please accept my apologies in advance for the wet spots on this blog. I am about to write a very emotional post about a wonderful lady, a teacher, wife, sister, friend and mother. . . specifically my mother. My mother passed away 25 years ago at the age of 52. She lost an 18 month battle with breast cancer. Prior to her death, she spent 25 years of her life teaching 2nd grade. Mom was a very humble person, who never thought she was exceptional at anything. She had a wonderful gift of compassion and love that she gave to everyone she met. Mom knew what it was like to struggle in school and at home. The youngest of 3 children, she lost her dad when she was 8 years old. She attended a strict Catholic school and remembers being severly disciplined by the nuns when her academic work didn't measure up. She had to repeat 1st grade due to prolonged absences for ear infections. I believe that these experiences helped to mold her into the kind of teacher who had empathy and compassion for ALL students, poor, dirty, slow or unloveable. Her favorite expression was: "The children who are the least loveable are the ones who need love the most".
Growing up, I used to be jealous of my mother's time. Anytime we went out in public, parents and children alike would corner my mother to talk. It would take hours just to get through the grocery store. My mother always had time to listen, laugh and encourage her students. I remember that before the school had a breakfast program, my mother would quietly take breakfast food to her students that came to school hungry. She would take mittens, spare socks and stocking caps to kids who were sent to school without. Her teaching techniques were uncomplicated. She loved to share books with her classes, but what she really gave them was so much more than books could provide. She hugged them when they came to school, when they left for home, when they had a success, or when they were having a bad day. She was probably the most genuinely kind person I have ever encountered.
As I write these words, I imagine the readers maintaining some skepticism about the truth to this tribute. Of course, you may be thinking, you would feel that way, after all, she was your mother. Any daughter would be bias when telling about the attributes of a parent. And of course, you would probably be correct. However, I am getting to the substance of this post, the photo shown above. I still reside in the same town in which my mother taught. I know many people in the area, and quite a few have shared stories with me about the influence my mother had on them during their elementary years. I have had grown men and women become teary eyed when telling me how my mother affected their lives and education. This week, however, I was given a very concrete example of the impact my mother had (and still has) on her students. While away from work recuperating from surgery, a former student of mom's (I will just call her T) left the pictures posted above for me with a lovely note. In the note, she explained the collection of photos in the frame and what each picture represented to her (The keys were her Grandpa's. . . he helped raise her, the cat is her daughters, the rock a gift from her son when he was in preschool, and the ribbons and bows represent her and her daughter's youth). I won't share all of the note, but in it she writes; "Your mama loved me and hugged me when I truly needed to feel safe and loved. She was Jesus to a lost and broken little girl." I remember Mom talking about T and the rough home situation she was in. Her grandparents ended up taking her in and raised a wonderful young woman. T and my mom never forgot each other. We would see her around town and Mom would always hug her and ask about her life. I knew they had a special bond.
In the note, T mentioned that she made a copy of the framed photos and donated it to the elementary school library that was named for my mom. T is now in her 40's. It has been probably 36 years since she had my mother in 2nd grade. To say that my mom had a life long impact on this woman would not be an exaggeration. She has raised two children of her own and works in the field of education. I know she would not want me to cry over her gift, but tonight that is just what I did. I shed tears of happiness that I was blessed with a mother like I had, I shed tears of sorrow that we lost her so young, I shed tears of regret that she would never be able to see all the impact she had on so many young lives, and I shed tears for the courage and thoughtfulness it took T to open up her heart and soul in the way she did. Even now, after writing all this down, I have feelings I can't explain welling up inside of me. . . I have had 25 years to come to grips with my mother's death, but this unexpected gift has brought so many memories back that I have tried to bury.
I think that it was no accident that this came to me during the week of Thanksgiving. I am truly Thankful for my mother and the gift she was to me and so many others! I love you Mom. . . and I hope you know how special you were to so many.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tis the Season!

Every year I like to get Maddie and Mason a Christmas decoration or Holiday Tradition starter. This year (with the help of a little elf I know), we got them the "Elf on the Shelf" book and shelf sitter. The idea is that the little elf is placed in a different place every night (after the kids are tucked into bed) and when the kids wake up, they are anxious to see where the little guy is hiding out. The elf watches and listens to the kids the month before Christmas and reports to Santa about their behavior. Amanda is going to take a daily photo of the elf and the kids interactions with him (yet to be named) and we hope to put together a photo book to share with them someday. I can't wait to see how this goes. It sounds like a lot of fun!!!

Josh is not a "cake" person. His favorite dessert is home made apple pie. Maddision insisted that we put 30 candles on it for her Dad's celebration. The smokey look of the picture is due to all the smoke! The menu for his birthday celebration included lasagna, salad, rolls, apple pie and apple crisp. I still can't believe that my baby is 30!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Heigh Ho

Yesterday I got the okay to go back to work on Monday. The follow up Dr's appointment was quick and contained no surprises. He told me that the lingering pain in my side and the feeling of being constantly bloated were perfectly normal and would eventually go away. I am going to be glad to get back into a routine and tackle work issues. This last two weeks has allowed me to decide that I am not quite ready to retire yet. (By our company time line, I have 6 more years until the minimum retirement). Of course being sick is not quite the same as feeling good and being retired! I have had the chance to watch every cooking show featuring thanksgiving food on the planet! (The big question is: to brine or not to brine the turkey. . . . I was overruled and we are frying ours this year). I could probably wipe anyone off the face of a trivial board. I have watched/listened to and read more news than I ever care to again! My house is clean since I have had bursts of energy when I have taken one area and cleaned it. . . plus I bullied my husband into vacumning. I have even done some on line Christmas shopping (nothing purchased yet).
What I haven't done is spend quality time with Maddie and Mason. Josh broke my heart yesterday when he told me that Maddison was sad the other night and when he asked her what was wrong she said; "I am missing Mimi". Boy am I missing her too!! And her little brother!
So I am finishing up my convalescense time at home. I will quickly be absorbed in the 40 hour work week again. It will be a stark contrast, but I think I am ready for it. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My weeks of recovery

Pictured is sweet little Maddison sorting and reviewing the get well cards I got while I was in the hospital.

I know I haven't posted in awhile. What the heck have I been doing home all day recovering from surgery? Almost 2 weeks ago I had surgery for a leaky and finally ruptured appendix. I have tried to be a good patient and follow Doctor's orders (which in itself can be challenging!). I have rested, slept, taken all my medications, taken it easy and in general been rather bored. I have debated about writing about my illness and it finally occured to me that I should put the experience on record for my own benefit of memory. So, here is a warning: read at your own risk. I generally do not like to complain about health issues, knowing that no one really wants to hear about someone else's aches and pains. However, since this has been such a BIG part of my life in the month of November, I shall write about it and then put it in the memory books.

I was registered for a computer update training the first Wednedsay, Thursday and Friday of November in Jefferson City (about 70 miles away). I made it fine on Wednedsay but had a rough night Wednesday night. I got up almost every hour with a pain running in my lower abdominal area. I had been fighting a sore throat for several days before this, and I just thought it was a complication from some type of flu. When the alarm went off at 5 on Thursday morning, I told Randy that I was thinking about staying home. It was a rainy cold day and the drive to Jeff seemed almost insurmountable in my current state. To be on time, I would have to leave at 7. . . maybe I would feel better by then. Finally at 7:45, I decided to go ahead and go to Jeff. I had left my notebooks there, and I didn't just want to be a no show. The stomach pain came and went, so I felt like I could "tough it out". I was 45 minutes late, and during the morning the pain kept coming and going. When we broke for lunch, I told the instructor that I wasn't feeling well and that I thought I should head home. After a LONG rainy drive, I made it home and went right to my bed to rest. I slept for almost 2 hours and when I got up, the pain had intensified. I took my blanket to the couch and waited for Randy to get home. When he came in, I think he knew instantly that I was not up to par. While he heated up some leftovers, I took a warm bath (after all, a warm bubble bath can cure anything, right?). I laid back on the bed, and when Randy came to check on me, I was feeling worse. He asked about the need to go to the ER. I said not yet, and asked him to get me a heating pad. About 20 minutes later, the pain was almost unbearable and I could not get comfortable in any position. He took control of the situation (I tend to be stubborn about things sometimes. . . . I know, who would guess?) and told me to get ready to go to the ER. During the trip, I was able to get in a position where the pain was less, and I asked him to turn around and take me home (the trip to Columbia is about 30 minutes). As embarrassing as this is, I had convinced myself that I was just constipated! Fortunately, his good judgement overruled my bad judgement and we continuted on.

Once at the ER, a male nurse from Moberly took me in for a triage. Long story short, I eventually was taken for a CT scan and the diagnosis was made. By this time it was close to midnight. I was taken to a room and kept on pain medications until 7 the next morning when they took me to surgery. The 45 minute proceedure took close to 2 hours when they discovered that the appendix had burst and been leaking for some time. I am so thankful for a skilled surgeon that was able to do all this laproscopically, saving me from additional pain and discomfort. The first night in the hospital, Randy slept on the couch. . . or I should say was on the couch, I don't think either one of us slept much. When I got out of surgery the next morning, Jessica was the first face I recognized. . . I will NEVER take family for granted after this experience. Being in the hospital in an emergency situation is frightening. . . eased only by having the people you love with you.

I ended up spending the rest of Friday and most of Saturday in the hospital. The room where I stayed was part of a brand new addition and it was beautiful. Every room is a private room, and the surroundings are very peaceful and serene. If you have to be sick, it is a nice place to be.

On Friday night, I had the nurse/tech team from hell. Actually, the nurse was pretty good (after she scolded me for having unopened lemon mouth wipes on my tray. . . . which had been brought to me by another nurse for dry mouth. She said that they were "not allowed" in the hospital. I was left to wonder how they got there, because I certainly didn't bring them in!). The tech, however was a different story. In no uncertain terms, she let me know that her rules were the rules we were going to operate under during her shift. I couldn't do anything the way she thought I should. She came in for vitals at 3, and to try to ease the tension I commented that there wasn't much to watch at that time of day. Her reply was: "You mean they have 64 channels on that TV and you can't find one thing to watch?" Aye, yah, yah! That is pretty much how it went the whole 12 hours shift with her. I was never so glad to see the staff change in my entire life!!! It seemed like everything the nurse told me, the tech disputed (crossing legs, how much to drink, how to mange the pain etc.)

So, here I am, back at home recovering from the most surprising health issue to visit itself upon me in 54 years!

This experience has made me thankful for so many things, but most of all family and friends who offer comfort, support and care when you need it the most!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dear "A"

Dear "A", We did alright together for many, many years. You stuck by me and did your job. . . I stuck by you and did what I was supposed to do. What really happened between us? I don't remember any one specific time when I did anything to make you want to part ways with me so rapidly. (Although I have to say, I am not sure what your job was exactly, I was just happy you kept on doing it). Up until last week I thought you were happy and content. You certainly kept me happy and content.
Now we have parted ways and permanently separated our future together. You have gone your miserable way and I am going mine. There is no future for us and I might add that you have caused me considerable pain in my present state. If I had know it was going to end this way I would have considered booting you out a long time ago. As for now, it is good riddance from me and a not so kind goodbye.
May you rest in peace my irritable, leaking, ruptured appendix. May I soon be able to forgive and forget the pain and suffering that you have brought to me. . . without provocation! I am declaring independence from you and a new life without your association. RIP Friday, November 4, 2011.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ironman and Miss Vampire

Mason was dressed up as "Ironman" for Halloween.

My favorite little Trick or Treaters take a second to pose before their big outing. The weather was perfect for Halloween!

Maddie really played up her role as vampire. I am not sure she really understands what a vampire is. . . but she played it well!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Great Pumpkin Part II

Carving the eyes. . . such intensity!

I am not sure what Mason is doing, but he is having fun doing it!

The finished product. The star like eyes are a signature feature on Maddison's faces.

It's the Great Pumpkin!

Maddie took the whole "pumpkin carving" activity very seriously. She wanted it to be just so, and she put forth a great deal of effort to get it just right.

Mason loved the pumpkin carving tools. He scrapped, punched, outlined and sawed every inch of the pumpkin that he could sneak by us. The finished product has quite a few "flaws" in it that he was very proud of!

Maddison "sketched" what she wanted the jack-o-lantern's face to look like. She is a perfectionist when it comes to art. She spearheaded the project from sketch to finish!

The kids had a hard time believing that the meat of the pumpkin was what pie was made from. Papa tried to get them to try a bite. I caught this look on Mason's face at the thought of eating that "yucky stuff". I took a mouthfull to try to get them to sample it, but they would have none of it.

We looked for the ugliest, biggest pumpkin that we could find this year. This is the backside of our beast before we did anything to it. We thought about keeping it just like this. Mason pointed out that it already had a scarey face!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Easy Rider!

I know, I know. Kids and lawnmowers don't mix. But just once, before the mower is put up for the season, Papa took the kids for a ride (mower disengaged, of course!). Shy, quiet Maddison is our thrill seeker. She loves the fastest, steepest, scariest rides at the amusement park. Little daredevil, Mason, holds back when it comes to stomach flopping events. He will walk on any cement wall and will jump from a dining room table, but he tends to be cautious when it comes to moving objects. Anyway, Maddie persuaded her papa to take her for a turn or two, and then Mason spotted them and wanted to try. Maddie could have gone in circles all day if Papa had been willing (is it my imagination, or is that pure joy on her face?).

On a separate note, we attended a most wonderful wedding last weekend. Jenny and Rhys got married in front of a standing room only crowd. But the best part was the dinner and party after the wedding. We entered the reception hall to a gloriously decorated feast for the eyes. The colors were black and white, and the tables held trees trimmed with crystals and flickering globes. Behind the head table was a modern piece (made from twigs) of lights. There were slushie fountains of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, a buffet with 3 meat choices (including boiled jumbo shrimp) and a dessert table with tuxedo white and chocolate covered strawberries, cake, cupcakes, mints and a great nut mixture (special recipe of the grooms family). Each place setting held a treat bag with two dipped jumbo pretzels rolled in a nut mixture. I am telling you, it was spectacular. I got to visit with a cousin I don't see often (Hi Toma!), and an aunt. After the meal, another cousin DJ'd and we enjoyed watching the dancing. The bride and groom filtered through the crowd visiting with the guests. This is the second wedding in two weeks, each event special and different as the couples hosting them. The very sad part was that I forgot my camera, so I have to be as descriptive as possible to share the event. Both weddings were memorable and oh so much fun! When growing up, I remember weddings as rather somber affairs with a mostly punch and cake reception. I have to say, I rather prefer the way things are done these days (of course, as long as I don't have to pay!). Cheers to a long and happy married life!

Black Sunday

Okay, the title is a little misleading. On Sunday I had 3 little munchkins show up at my house all dressed in black. Maddie and Mason brought along their 2 year old cousin, Haley, for an afternoon at the farm. They were very protective of her and had a good time showing her the "ropes" at our house. We fashioned some more animal shelters, rode bikes and took a spin in the 4-wheeler. We have been so blessed to have a long run of beautiful fall weekends this autumn. I know winter is coming, but we are sure enjoying this great weather while it lasts.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hey Mister Squirrel!

The kids got me a squirrel feeder for my birthday. We got it hung last weekend, now we are waiting for the little mammals to find it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Through the Glass

Maddison helped me clean last weekend. I snapped this when she went outside to clean the full glass front door (hence the glare on her face). We have such a great time when Maddie and her brother come to our house. Maddison is usually our activity planner, and Mason and I are happy to follow along. Papa can usually be prodded to get out the 4 wheeler or help us have some other outdoor fun. It is kind of sad when nice weather gives into winter and cold days. We still get outside to play, but it is not as easy as it is in fall and summer. The fall in our area has been wonderful. A little shy of rain, but the weeks have been warm and sunny. I am not sure what will be on tap this weekend. We have another wedding to attend, but other than that we have no plans. Randy and I took some time off today to do a little early Christmas shopping. Wish us luck!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Wedding Extravaganza!

Maddie is waiting for her turn on the dance floor with the groom, Jesse.

Josh was a groomsman, and Amanda was a bridedsmaid. They looked great in their coordinating colors.

We enjoyed a relaxing fall evening at the reception. After the outdoor wedding, the guests were treated to snacks while they waited for the photographer and wedding party to finish. Then an excellent supper was served followed by a DJ and dancing.

Mason does like the girls. He had his eye on Macie, the flower girl. Mason danced with her and then spent some time with her collecting roses off the cake table.

It was a wonderful family event. Jesse and Mandy (bride and groom) are good friends of Josh and Amanda, and the rest of our family. They hosted a great wedding and reception! Congratulations to them!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Times Are A Changing (or not)

A funny thing happened to me on my way to Subway this week. As I was walking in, a tall man in a baseball hat was walking out. "Hey" he said, "Aren't you Diana?". Well, yes I am, I said. "I am sorry, (said I) I don't recognize you". He shared his name with me, and I realized that he was a long lost friend from my early college days (Jr. college, now called Community College). I told him that I should have recognized him since he looked the same as he had since those college days. He lifted his hat and showed me that he had quite a bit less hair these days. I asked him how he recognized me (after all, it had been 35 years or so since we had seen each other) and he said: "Well, you still have the same hairstyle".
Yikes! I had to laugh at that remark. My family, especially my daughter in law, who happens to be a cosmetologist, often remind me that my style, especially my hair style may be a tad bit behind the times. I mean, who keeps the same hair style for 35 or more years? Oh I had a brief period of trying to grow it out and wear it in a page boy (that sounds so old fashioned, don't laugh). And I have recently been highlighting it to cover some of the grey. But for the most part it is short, brushed to the side (a bad habit I am in) and brownish blondish.
So, on Friday, I made an appointment with said DIL and told her that I was ready for a change. She highlighted, cut and curled. She styled, sprayed, greased and teased. I went home looking pouffed, curled, quite grandmotherly. My husband never noticed (or maybe he knew it was futile to say anything since it wouldn't last). This morning the style is all gone. I can guarantee that when the "do" is washed, it will look nothing like it did when I walked out of the salon, and totally like it did when I walked in. That is just the kind of hair I have. Hair dressers love my hair. It is thick, coarse and absolutely will lay just the way it should. However, what they don't know (and I do) is that it does NOT like to change. No matter how hard they try to make it into what they want, it will ALWAYS go back to where it wants to be! A cold, hard fact that I cannot control. So, I should have taken a photo of my glammed up do, but instead you will (or maybe will not) get to see a picture of me after I and my hair have had their way. I will try to post soon (even though I don't like to post pictures of myself), so you can see this independent and stubborn head of hair that tops my oh so round head!
And for the long lost friend. . . we talked for almost an hour and really caught up. He has two college aged children, is active in a small country church, farms and does software on the side and seems to have a great life. His wife has a U-pick berry patch and even wrote a cookbook. Funny thing is, we have lived 15 miles apart all this time and this is the first time we have run into each other. He is a genuinely nice man and I was glad to see him again. I have his wife's business card, so I may just wander to his place come spring and pick some berries. I can almost bet that my hair will still look the same!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list? I never really thought too much about having a wish list of places to see and things to do before I leave this good earth. But having just turned 54, the realization has hit that most likely I have lived at least 2/3rds of my life. I am in good health and have limited responsibilities (children are grown and gone), so this is the time to start marking the items off my list. Trouble is, I don't really have a list yet. So, not wanting to get the horse before the cart, I need to actually make a list. Here goes an attempt to organize my random thoughts on things I would like to do before I expire:
Visit Alaska/preferably on a cruise ship, so I can take care of two desires in one trip. I never really thought much about Alaska until family and friends journeyed there and told of the raw beauty of the country. I hope to convince Randy to go next year.
Learn more about gardening. I am ashamed to admit that I have a horribly brown thumb. I grew up helping garden and grow flowers. But somehow it all went wrong! Randy and I are taking baby steps to green up our lives. . . needless to say, we have a long way to go!
Fit into the same jeans I wore in college. . . I won't say how long that will take me, but I have a ways to go. I would also love to walk a half marathon. These items also go together, but it is much easier to write about them than to do them!
Stroll the San Antonio River Walk. I have been to the Branson riverwalk, but the festiveness of San Antonio appeals to me.
Visit Oregon with my husband. He talks with the fondest of memories of spending time on Crater Lake as a child. . . I would love to re-experience it with him.
Put together a book of memories for my children and grandchildren. I think I am actually working on this with my blog. I just need to get it on paper so they can look through it and remember. . .
I think this is a very doable list to have. I may add more later. What is on your bucket list?

My kind of "Tea Party"

Maddison got an old tea set from a friend of her Great Grandma's. It was a 1980's set complete with candles and napkin holders. So, on Saturday afternoon, we had tea. I don't usually like pictures of myself, but this photo with Mason was too sweet to pass up. He enjoyed the fun, especially the chocolate covered raisins we had!

Papa even got talked into coming to tea (in spite of the Mizzou game being on!). These are the memories that I hope Maddie and Mason will keep with them all their life. I know I will always remember these moments!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Maddison is showing off her "crafty" hat. She made the hat at the annual Parks and Rec Fall Festival. I think her season is fall. . . the colors highlight her beautiful red/orange hair.

Mason is such a ham! He loves to be the center of attention and is willing to be silly to accomplish that.

I love the way Mason is learning to write his name. My favorite letters that he makes are his "a" and "n". He is very meticulous when he writes. The kids have been enjoying playing school with the easel.

Clowning Around

Who doesn't like a farm and home store? Even the kids enjoyed our recent shopping trip to the big "O". We didn't end up purchasing these hats, but it was tempting!

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's a Parade!

Last weekend was homecoming in our town. Randy's brother, Jim, was in for his 40th year reunion. We enjoyed a little small town parade while he was in. Maddison got to practice her parade smile in the convertible with Grandpa and Uncle Jim. Mason takes a free ride on Aunt Bea's shoulders while borrowing Jim's hat to keep the sun out. Mason (top photo) and his buddy, Ava line up to watch the parade march by! It was picture perfect weather, the local team won, and the reunions were a hit!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Beauty Beyond

I love to watch the sky and see the changing colors and cloud formations. This is a fairly new hobby of mine which I have acquired in the last 2 or 3 years. My favorite sky is a fall sky. It almost forecasts the coming winter and offers a rememberance of the summer. Pictured above is the scene I witnessed last week one evening on the way home. The beauty of God's world can stop me in my tracks when I least expect it. I have said this before, and I will say it again. . . if I don't do anything else in my life, I hope I can open up my Grandchildren to the beauty of the earth around them. So many of us take it for granted. . . and I hope they never do!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Monkey Business!

Amanda and the kids were out last weekend and made "monkey cupcakes". It was fun, chocolately mess.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


We had lots of fall fun this weekend. A little bit of water (1 and 1/2 cups), 1 teaspoon of Borax and 4 ounces of glue combine to make. . . slime, also known as goop or flubber. We couldn't decide on the color, so each grand put in 2 colors and this is what we ended up with. I broke out the Halloween shirts (clearance from last year) and we purchased a big pumpkin to reside on the oak tree stump. All in all it was a great weekend. The weather was fine and so was the company!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Grandparents Day

I was honored to be invited to the 1st graders Grandparents Day at Maddie's school. After a rather unusual breakfast of sausage pizza, applesauce and milk, we visited the book fair. Maddison selected 2 books for herself (one about dolphins, one about ponys) and a book for her brother. Each teacher had a "wish" list of books they would like to have for their classroom. We picked out "The Interrupting Chicken". This is a great new book that I would recommend to anyone with young children. Maddison presented the book to her teacher, Miss Johnson (is it my imagination, or are teachers getting younger every year?) Last year I blogged about Maddison letting me hold her hand at school. I wondered how long that would last. Fortunately, she led me through the school halls holding my hand again this year. I remember well when my kids no longer wanted to be seen holding their mom's hand. A sad day, but of course a normal part of development. I am going cherish all the hand holding moments I have with Maddie and Mason. I hope there will be many, many more!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chouwda and Lobster Rolls!

Our first stop in Mass. was in Plymouth. We arrived at the visitor's center and struck up a conversation with one of their staff. This woman was a wonderful representative of the area. She pointed us toward some sights and steered us right on the best places to get a lobster roll and clam chowder. Unfortunately, they were not in the same restaurant! So, we went to the Lobster Hut first (pictured above) and ordered a lobster roll. It was my first such sandwich, and it was delicious! We sat outside and ate it while watching the sail boats come and go. Then we went to the Crabby House, a short distance away, and tried some of their "chouwda". I love clam chowder and can honestly say that I have never tasted any quite this good.
I knew right away that my diet was going to be in big trouble on this trip!