Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So what is the talking stick?

It just occurred to me that in my previous post I did not describe what the talking stick is. Well here is how it works ...

At the Family meeting we will put a talking stick in the middle of the table. Ours is just an old tree limb about 18 inches long and an inch in diameter. When the boys get back we will decorate it. You cannot talk at the meeting unless you are holding the stick, when you are finished talking you lay the stick back down on the table. The next person that picks up the stick can then talk. This keeps people from talking over other people's thoughts and feelings with their own thoughts or opinions. It also forces that all important silence after someone has expressed themselves giving people time to ingest what was said. I hate how it feels when you spill your guts to someone and before your last word is even all the way out they are jumping in with what you know they have been thinking about the whole time you were talking.

At our first meeting we did great about picking up the stick to start a new topic but there was still too much interjection while others were talking. Consequently we would end up going on tangents and the poor soul that had the stick never got to finish!

We will do better next time. ; )

Sunday, December 27, 2009

First Family Meeting

First Family Meeting today and it was a huge success! The boys were not here, they were with Bobby but we still enjoyed it. As a matter of fact the things that involved the boys were best discussed without them so that we were all on the same page when we talked to them. Allison totally got into it ... getting her thoughts on the table is her cup of tea. It energizes her and you could just see any concern about her not having any say so in this thing we call life melt from her expression!

We discussed:

Knocking: To remind the boys how important it is to knock we are going to have them make signs that say knock and hang them on all bedroom and bathroom doors.

Respect for space and stuff: We reviewed what is private space and what is public and how it is important that we treat the private spaces with a hands off mentality unless invited. We also talked about picking up after ourselves in the public spaces so that everyone can enjoy them.

Working the kinks out of grocery shopping: We talked about the shopping schedule and the learning curve we will have regarding what and how much to buy.

Who's the boss and when?: We talked about there being too many chiefs and not enough indians for Matthew and Braeden and we need to let Jennifer take care of the discipline when she is here. Grandma and Grandpa will get involved when asked to. Allison has been freed of her responsibility to discipline them and instead will be a big sister and a confidante for them.

We talked about the use of the talking stick and used it some but we do need to work more with it! I do not think we followed the rules too well! ;)

Backpack Holder's and Pancake Breakfasts

Okay, it has been proven! I had a feeling but now I know it! Experiences create the memories that make the fabric that make the mortar and bricks we live in, a home. Does that make sense? It is my dream to make a home with experiences and not stuff because it is the experiences that change the house, not the stuff. We have a tradition of Saturday morning being pancake breakfast and have done that for a couple of years now. We are carrying on the tradition that Louis's parents did before us. The kids love it and they hold us to it. Matthew keeps close track of the days so he can assure himself we do not forget! Jennifer said when they moved into our little house in Roaring Springs where many pancake breakfasts were held the first thing Matthew asked her was when was the Saturday pancake breakfast? You see when he walked into the house it was not the furniture or the pictures that generated the warm feelings of fun but rather the memories. Here in Fort Worth they immediately discuss the many experiences and memories, not the color on my walls or the new lamp! I want my house to be the house they bring their kids to and memories flow as they reminisce about wonderful childhood experiences.

We went shopping yesterday for cubbies for the entry hall so that when they get home from school they have a place to put backpacks, etc. so we do not have the constant yelling from one end of the house to the other, "Wheeeerre is myyyyy baaackpaaack?". Or any other things they will misplace if they do not have a place for it. We found this great shelf unit and Matthew and Louis put it together last night. Louis texted me, "A kodak moment in the garage", so off I went camera in hand. When it was finished Matthew came to get me to come look at it and I do not think he could have been walking any taller than he was. He was so proud! Oh it was great and so perfect. I explained to them how we were going to use it and said let's take it in the house. In a tone as grown up as a 7yr old can put out there Matthew said, "Do you want to help Grandpa carry it in or do you want me to?" Now to appreciate this you have to understand this was not a lightweight shelf unit. I said how about if we both help Grandpa, he cheerfully said OK! Braeden then wanted to help and so I let each of them grab a corner and I followed close behind to help if needed. Braeden just had the proudest and contented look on his face as we carried it in. Kids expressions tell the whole story ... nothing is hidden like we tend to do as we get older. He looked back at me with a look as if to say I already know the answer but I am going to ask so I can hear you say it. He said, "Are you and Grandpa glad to have sons?". I said Grandpa and I are very glad to have "grand"sons! We continued into the house and positioned the shelf in its place by the door. I took a picture of the builders and then when Allison came in Braeden said "LOOK! It is a backpack holder!"

We had a really nice visit with Laverne and Larry today as they passed through on their way to Roaring Springs from Kentucky. I made the traditional spaghetti dinner Mom always made, Spaghetti with meatballs, salad and peas. We had nice conversation but the thing that sticks out most is a story Laverne told that drove home the point that even when we do not think our kids are watching us and learning they are. The examples we set are so much more important than the words we say.

Watch what you do ... you are being watched!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas night ... a time to reflect.

Christmas night ... Have you ever noticed Christmas night has an ambiance all it's own? There is something about the way you feel on Christmas night, the way the house looks, the tree, the decorations, the shadows, it is hard to explain but it is so different to me it is thick in the air. Only a night ago when you turned on those lights there was a lift in your step because of the anticipation of things to come. On Christmas night the mood is so different, especially for the creators of the moments (adults). Now the kids are still in perpetual motion, playing with their new stuff with a different type of energy from 24 hrs ago. The adults are more closely compared to marionette puppets and nobody has hold of their strings anymore! Just fatigued piles of clothes and body parts! ;)

Christmas was great this year ... it always is and I think what I love the most about our Christmases is that my kids and grandkids are the most unspoiled and appreciative people I have ever known. We never seem to have the money we hoped to have each year. But if you were a fly on the wall in our living room on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning you would not be able to tell the difference in the enthusiasm of my kids over the kids down the street that get every electronic and expensive gadget on the market. The exuberance in their voices is as heartwarming as it gets. And the sincerity in their voices when they say "This was a good Christmas" will bring tears to your eyes. I know that for my family Christmas is as much about being with family and the knowledge that it is a celebration of the birth of Christ and not so much about the gifts. Do not get me wrong though, they do like the gifts too though. After all Matthew did remind me that Jesus got gifts too!

Well for all of you that think this arrangement is going to be all hunky dory I have to burst your bubble. Jennifer and I had our first big loud discussion. You know one of those discussions where hands flail, fingers point, voices rise, doors slam and then long periods of silence. This is then followed by, I'm sorry's, hugs, and I love you's. You know what I mean right? We will have to work on what gets us to these moments. I am very direct and Jennifer is very sensitive. There has to be a way to meet in the middle.

Over the last few days I have had some things where I thought, "I need to put that in the blog when I sit down to write." I felt certain it was so important I would never forget it but here I sit ... totally blank! So I have set my blog up to accept text posts. This way I can do more blogging on the go so if you see some here and there that are very brief please check back later for the more expanded version.

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas ... we sure did!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We are all home after a visit in Flomot

Welcome to my new follower Joe! Joe is one of my very dearest friends from work and one that I will really miss in my retirement. I wish I had known he was a blogger as I am enjoying his blog. How can you sit by someone day in and day out for as many years as I have sat by Joe and not know what a talent he has and more importantly how much I did not know about him. Joe you are such a multi-faceted person ... I am glad to know you.

We went to Roaring Springs yesterday and got the kids. As I suspected they really liked the Suburban. I am not a little boy and never have been but I think an SUV type vehicle is more like a fort than a utilitarian vehicle used to transport you from one place to another so it is a little boy thing that becomes a guy thing ... ya know, do not come between a guy and his truck!

Louis, Jennifer, Matthew, Braeden and I went to Flomot and got to see Grayson and Salina. Yep that is what happens Salina, when the grandkids come on the scene all of a sudden your name moves from the top of the list when telling the stories. ;) The focus shifts to those little ones. I don't know about anyone else but for this Grandma my grandkids are the chance to put into practice all of the things I wish I had done with my kids. For the most part by the time you get here you have figured out what works and what doesn't. And yes the girls are quick to point out what they missed when they see the grandkids get something they didn't.

Grayson melted my heart last night. He took me by the hand and marched me to the play room and we played legos, telephone and hide and seek. He loved hide and seek. He was so receptive to me and I was a safe place for him, throwing those arms out to me, smiling so sweetly. It seems hard to believe but maybe he remembered me from when we babysat at the wedding. A couple of years and he will be Grandpa's little shadow, the kids always flock to him as they get older, but for right now Grayson likes me best Grandpa and I am going to enjoy it! ;)

We also saw Everett, Clois, Kathy, Russell, Marion, Christi, Dwain, Emily, Hailey, Chase, Kristin, Kathryn and Wyatt and got some great pics. Not often we have this many together at the same time. It was a great visit with great food from Kathy as usual. She is the BEST hostess! Love to all of you and Merry Christmas!

This morning we loaded up and as I suspected again the boys made their nests in the 3rd seat. Braeden made a point to tell Grandpa he sure did think the Suburban was cool. It sure did make traveling nice. 6 people and 3 dogs and everyone still had space to be comfortable. No complaints, minimal whining after the 200 mile meltdown. 200 miles we have decided is Matthew and Braeden's limit but today it was better with the extra space.

We had pizza, cake and ice cream for Allison's birthday tonight and then watched a couple of movies. Very nice evening!

A quick funny. In conversation it came up that we have 4 houses and Jennifer said "4 houses and we all live in one!"

Pictures to be posted I hope ... let me see if I can remember how to do it! ;)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Decorating

Well I am now officially 50% ready for Christmas! I have the decorating done. Still have some shopping to do. I know, I know, why did I wait so long to decorate? Well, lots of reasons, aka excuses! ;) The main one was that I wanted to wait til the kids got here so we could make it an event. Then as it got closer to Christmas Megan said we are not even going to have decorations up for long if we wait for the kids. So I decided to do everything but the tree. Then Russell called to say he and the kids were coming and so then I thought I can't not have the tree ... what would those girls think of a treeless Grandma!!??

So today I was up before daylight and now it is dark and I have been going non-stop! I have a tree, lights, etc. and I am so excited! I love this time of year ... sometimes I wish I could leave the decorations up year round but the preparation for Christmas would be lost and that is such a part of the fun. I get really attached to some of my decorations. So much so that when I pull them out of their boxes I am so glad to see them again. Now do not laugh, I even speak to some of them ... "Hi there Mr. Snowman", "Hello Baby Jesus",and so on and so forth. Every year I am excited all over again, especially about the ones I have had for years because they have so many memories. Memories of people, places or events!

When I decorate I like to step back and see it thru the eyes of the kids. To make sure it sparks some imagination ... something that might come alive for them for a moment.

I have been talking to Jennifer daily. She is packing boxes but I have told her that this is going to be a great time to declutter their lives and make sure they only bring what is most important and most necessary. Storage upstairs is not in abundance. She is looking forward to me helping her maximize with the least amount of "stuff"! ; )

We are going out to get them tomorrow. We will head out to Flomot tomorrow evening and see family including Salina, Joe and Grayson! I cannot wait ... I see pictures of Grayson all the time and it feels like we miss so much. ;(

Well, the real blogging about kids with kids moving in is about to begin! 2 more sleeps!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Birthdays and Southwest

Happy 13th birthday Allison! I love you so much it makes my stomach hurt! ; )

We sent Allison flowers with balloons and teddy bears to school today for her birthday. She said they were awesome. When she called I told her I could not wait to see her in a week and with a hint of breathlessness she said "I can't wait to live there"! I am so glad she is so in to this because at 13 I know it is hard. She is a super resilient kid ... always has been.

Jennifer told Allison we would have another more formal birthday party when we get to Grandma's and Matthew asked Jennifer if that was because she did not know how to organize one. ;) I am usually the one that does it so I can see why he thinks that! I guess the next one I will have to let Jennifer take the lead so she can get up to speed.

Louis and I are excited about having regular events, eg. Friday pizza nights, Sunday movie afternoons, Sat morning pancake breakfasts ... etc. I think kids thrive on traditions like that.

8 more sleeps to the kiddo invasion ...

I cannot believe how close I am to my last day at Southwest. Three and a half days or 28 working hours and I will be a Southwest Retiree. I am so thankful to be a Retiree because I will always have that connection. Southwest will always be a part of my family. It has been different the last couple of weeks ... for so many months it seemed I would never get to this week and now it is not as exciting as I thought it would be. Very bittersweet! I have absolutely no regrets about my decision but I did not expect to feel this melancholy. I believe it is the same feeling someone would get if they were told they only had a few months to live. All of a sudden everything and everyone becomes more important. It is as if all of the negative feelings are gone and it is replaced by positive. So this is becoming more difficult than I thought.

But it does not change the fact that I am so excited about the future. It is so weird ... there is a very defined line in the sand at 10:30am Friday morning (that is the end of my last shift at SWA). The same intensity of sadness I will have at 10:25am will be replaced by an equally intense feeling of happiness at 10:35am.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Visions of Sugarplums dance in my head ...

We officially have the Grandkid Mobile. I drove it to work this morning for the first time and found myself looking in the rear view mirror several times imagining the kids faces back in the seats. They are going to be so excited. I can see it now ... first thing they will do is establish their "territories" and then setup all of their treasures ... Cars, books, assorted toys, cell phones, stuffed animals, pillows ... I predict there will be a few disagreements/heated discussions. I can almost hear it ... Look Braeden! Look Allison! Look Matthew! And then one of them will say something like, "Grandma, is this our truck? Do we get to keep it?"

We have not set a firm date yet for going down there and bringing them here. Around the 22nd. I am waiting to do decorating until they get here. I want us to do it all together ... fire in the fireplace, cocoa, cookies ... everyone dressed somewhat Christmasy, after the decorating we watch a Christmas movie, awww so perfect. Anyway that is my Hallmark Channel vision. I will let you know how it really goes! ; )

About 13 more sleeps ...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Long time no type ....

I have a new follower! Welcome Judy and thanks!

I cannot believe it has been 6 days since I was here! My time and my thoughts have been consumed by vehicle shopping. Looking for a used vehicle is such a taxing experience. When you start out the anticipation is great. You search the internet for just the right one. The pictures always look great, taken strategically so that you only see the best. And time and time again you get to the location of the vehicle and find all of the stuff that was NOT in the picture. You want to say to the seller, "Really? Are you kidding me? You call this a clean vehicle?" You have to ride this roller coaster several times before you get to the point that you tell your husband to just go look at it ... if it is half way decent buy it, write a check, whatever! ;)

So that has been our week. Go to work, go look at cars, go to sleep, start again. The house is a wreck, I hope I have not totally blown anyone off and have not realized it yet! We do have a 99 Suburban, low mileage and great condition lined up for pick up tomorrow. I will tell all about it then. I cannot wait to see the kids faces light up when they see it. All of us being able to ride together in one car will be a huge deal to them. When we are in separate cars Matthew and Braeden get so concerned if the other car is out of sight (lost). Some of my best memories of my childhood are trips in the car as a family.

Only 14 more days until school is out!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ticks can be good things ...

I was taking a shower and I found a mole type bump on my shoulder. I kept looking at it and then I would look up at the ceiling, then I would look back at it and then back up to the ceiling ... I was trying to remember if that was there before and if it was was it that big. I finally decided no and then the thoughts started racing thru my mind. Oh my gosh I can't go vehicle hunting tomorrow I have to go to the doctor ... I can't believe this, I can't have cancer ... when Judy's friend found a bump on her shoulder she died in only a few months ... what about Jennifer, how am I going to help with the kids if I have cancer ... I cannot believe this, finally retiring and everything is great and now cancer ... how can I have cancer, I eat right and I drink odwalla ... how can this be? Then out of the corner of my eye I realize it is only attached partially. Oh so it is a scab ... how did I get a scab, anyway I tried to pull it off and at that point I thought ... It is a tick! I called Megan to the bathroom and when she started doing the ewwwwweeee dance (she hates ticks) it was confirmed for me ... it was a tick ... not the C word! She pulled it off with tweezers and then bragged on me! "Mom, I can't believe how calm you were, you never freaked out about that tick!" I said well of course I was calm ... it was only a tick!" She said, "Only a tick?!!" And I said, "Yea, I thought it was cancer!" ;)

I made a few observations after this event. First, it is interesting to note that all of that in the previous paragraph took place in at most 3 minutes. It is amazing how the mind works and how it can process that much information so quickly.

Second, it also is a lesson in perspective. On any other day a tick would have had me doing the ewwwweeeee dance. On this day a tick was the best thing in the world!

Lastly, whenever I have heard about someone I know having cancer I have often wondered what goes through their minds that moment that they find the lump or whatever the symptom may be. I have always felt like I would be very calm ... ya know que sera sera ... but I do not think that is the case now. There is just too much to live and live healthy for ... like those Grandkids setting up camp here soon!

Be healthy everyone!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sticky spots, dirty socks, loving thoughts

The holiday is over ... back to work tomorrow. Just got to thinking, I have only 2 more return to work Mondays after tomorrow! WOW!

The kids are gone back home, the house is very quiet ... remember in my first blog when I said Life is about to change? Well after this past week I can say that again much louder! But ya know just think how much more meaningful this quiet will be when it is chaos more often then not. ;)

Last night we cooked outside over the firepit and Matthew said "I love everyone in my family and I love cooking outside with my family". That was so sweet! The socks and shoes everywhere, the sticky spots on the kitchen floor, the running upstairs that makes you feel certain someone let the horses in, it is all worth it when you look around and everyone is perfectly content to be right where they are at that moment!

Still no luck finding a vehicle but we have a couple we are looking at closely ... hopefully by Wednesday we will find something since that is when insurance stops paying for the rental!

15 more school days left ...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Firepit, Car searching, and Dads ...

This morning Matthew and Braeden went with their Dad (Bobby). It was supposed to be for the night but he changed his mind and brought them back after spending the afternoon. I told Jennifer that we are okay with that ... just more time with the boys! And I am sure they will be good with it too. When Jennifer told them this morning they were going with their dad they said is Grandpa going? We laughed!

We went vehicle shopping today. I always look forward to this heading out but by the end of the day .... ugggghh! So I told Louis, okay if we even half way like the next one we look at I am good with it! And to all of you reading this, if you ever sell a car just tell the truth when someone calls and asks about it. Because if you do not when they show up and realize you were not entirely honest they will not believe anything you say about anything else! And for the first seller we met that was a costly mistake. None of what was wrong with the vehicle was a deal breaker but because he misrepresented it we just did not trust him and so did not feel good about doing business with him.

Allison went with us ... she checked that all the seatbelts worked and that the CD and radios worked.

It was a perfect evening to test our new fire pit. It is just cool enough to make the warmth of a fire welcome! We did the hunt for sticks to roast marshmallows but it was not long before Braeden looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Lets just use hangars, you just bend them up!" So okay, modern day marshmallow roasting we did! ;) We learned that next time we need to make the fire a little smaller ... a relaxing fire is not so relaxing when you are chasing around and stomping those little pieces of fire that fly out of the pit and onto the ground. Matthew and Braeden were oblivious to that stress though ... it was great fun for them!

Allison is at the movies with her dad. They are seeing New Moon. I am sure she will have a great time. She loves hanging out with John ... he is pretty funny!

It is funny but have you ever had this happen? It is late, the kids are rowdy, lets put in a movie to get them to wind down. Next thing you know you look up and it is you that is engrossed in the movie and the kids are as rowdy as they ever were. So much for best laid plans! The movie was good though!

On this visit,` all I am doing is gathering my thoughts for a successful family meeting ...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving ... giving thanks

I am so stuffed and so I do not know why I keep going in the kitchen for more of something. It is like I do not want this miserable feeling to end! ; )

What a great day! Jennifer and the kids were here as was Megan and we made it thru the whole day without a single hiccup, yea! Matthew actually ate pretty well and that is a successful day in itself!

Megan got attacked by a dog at work (she works at a Vet) yesterday. The dog bit her on the mouth. She said the only thing that popped into her mind was "I hope I am going to be able to eat tomorrow". Funny ... we must have priorities, right?

Allison was a huge help with the meal. She made the fruit salad, the sweet potatoes and helped with the mashed potatoes. She is a natural at it. Jennifer made the green bean casserole. Jennifer and Megan cleaned up. The teamwork was great!

It is very apparent that things will change when they move in but one thing about all of the kids is they do listen to Grandpa and I very well and you do get the feeling that they are as intent on making this work as we are. Louis went to the store and took the boys and so the next time he took Allison. He told the boys it was Allison's turn. I fully expected AT LEAST a whine out of one of them but not a peep. They may fuss as siblings but they do care about each other and want the best for the each other. It is very obvious.

Louis talked about how we should be writing down the agenda for the first family meeting as we think of things so we do not forget. That is a great idea! And we have to write down even the littlest things that are important to us because it is little things adding up that sink ships!

Megan talked about making cubbies for each of the kids to put shoes, homework, backpacks, etc. in. That was interesting because just yesterday I was thinking the same thing. It is my goal to make the evenings before school and school mornings look like one of those videos you see where to show the evolution of a story they fast forward it. People moving like synchronized swimmers. That is my dream ... the reality is that it will probably start out looking more like bumper cars!

A funny ... Louis and the boys were in the shop and Matthew discovered his bike was flat. So he asked Grandpa if he could fix it and Louis said yes but it needs a tube. Matthew said, "Go ask Grandma if it is okay if you go get a new tube". So they came in and Matthew said, "Grandma, Can Grandpa go to the store and get a tube for my bike?" We laughed, he knows who the boss is around here huh? So I went along and I said, "OK as long as he comes straight home." Matthew looked at him and said, "She said you can go." And then turned to me and said "Thank You"

Everyday find at least one thing to be thankful for or for at least one thing you have learned. You will find no day is wasted.

Only 15 more days of school!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shopping for a new car ...

Not a lot of time for posting this week. We are shopping for a new vehicle since the Jetta was totaled. Have you ever had a car that you can say was totaled AGAIN? Well the Jetta has been. We are gonna let it go to the Vehicle graveyard this time though and buy something that will be more suitable to our new family commune. We need something that will seat 7!

Plus it is Thanksgiving week so that will use a lot of my blogging time!

Check out my other blog too. It is new, it is to post all of the great things our kids say and do. So if you have something to add please email me at

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Time Travel, Transitioning, Teachers

The day was cut short by my horrible headache this morning so we did not get started as early as we would have liked. This was not just a headache … it was a HEADACHE. I sat up and my head was throbbing so bad that it seemed like there was a metronome inside my head ... back and forth ... side to side. It was hitting the inside of my temples so hard that if someone were watching me I feel certain they would have been able to see my temples pulsating as the metronome moved from one to the other. I do not think this was a true migraine but I took an imitrex (migraine medicine) anyway.

I then lay back down with a hot wash rag on my face, waiting for the imitrex to do its magic, and we start talking about how old the hotel is and how neat it is that they kept so much of the original structure in place. The suite we were in was the barbershop back in the day and the original mirror was there with the ledge I am sure the barbers used to lay their tools of the trade between uses. Even the old cabinets built into the wall that they used to store their supplies in at the end of the day are still there. It was so easy to imagine the barber chair with the customers in them, all lathered up, while the barber sharpened the straight edge razor on a razor strap. It still blows me away that they used straight edge razors. We were so much more trusting of our fellow man back then. ; )

We talked about hearing people walking outside the window. Maybe we did or maybe we didn’t. But in that moment it was almost like I traveled back in time and I could hear the horses and the wagons outside and could see the hustle and the bustle of people up and down the street, men in boots and hats and women in those long dresses and hats.

Then I took the washrag off my eyes, saw the time projected on the ceiling from the alarm clock and my trip back in time was over … my headache started to subside.

We went to our little house in Roaring Springs where Jennifer is staying because the plumbing in her house is kaput. Thousands of dollars to fix her house so this is the workaround. A very small house for her and the 3 kids but she has made it so homey … I am so very proud of her. Louis said that under the circumstances you expected to walk in find a chaotic mess with not enough room but it was not at all. It felt so comfy and warm and cozy. It felt more like home than it does when it was our getaway waiting for us to show up for a visit. I did not want to leave. You go Jennifer!

Oh and the guy that had Jennifer’s broken car brought it back still broken but he said “I have a workaround, if you loosen the radiator cap you can drive it to Matador and back as long as you check the water before you go and before you come back!” You know a person is not spoiled when that is the best news in the world! Love you Jenn, can’t wait to start our new adventure!

We also visited Kathy and Clois and Dad Shorter. What a great visit! When will I learn? Every time I go out there and see them it is so awesome and I leave feeling like all I got was the appetizer and not the whole meal! We NEVER seem to allow enough time out there. That perfect quiet love and acceptance from Everett, that perfect not so quiet meanness from Clois, although he was very nice today. He did say it was killing him to do it though. That is ok it was still very nice and I know he loves me! ; ) And my girl talks with Kathy … they leave me so ready to tackle anything I have on my plate. She gives me so much wise counsel. I am so blessed to have my sister’s … they are all so different. The wisdom, support, and humor I get from each of them in different ways makes it possible for me to take on anything and enjoy everything. Love all of you!

When we were leaving Matthew hugged me forever, I know it is feeling like forever to him. But we are almost down to counting sleeps which means it is getting very close. That is an easy way to make kids understand, I learned that from one of my sisters! Just another way of counting down …

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fall Festival Queen ....

I have my first follower! Thanks Linda. ; )

Today Louis and I drove to Roaring Springs to see Jennifer and the Grandkids, specifically to see Allison as a Fall Festival Queen nominee. She looked so beautiful.

Laverne made it possible for us to have the Heritage suite at the Hotel Matador and talk about nice. Oh gosh! I thought it would be nice to take Allison over there to get ready. She was ecstatic when she walked in that room. She has never seen anything like that.

Jennifer and I, not being girly girls at all, struggled. "Do you know how to do her hair?" ... "No I thought you did" ... So off we went, first Jennifer worked on it, then I did, then she did, then I did. Then while she put the pretty pearl pins in her hair I tried to dab a little blush on her face. For all of us it was at best clumsy but the finished product was not the least bit clumsy. And then the pictures, we did some but then Linda and Dominic there at the Hotel Matador showed up and started taking some. Oh gosh, it was great and it went so well because Allison was so in to the moment. She was on cloud nine, she was a movie star. The dress, the shoes, the necklace Louis bought her, that hotel suite to get ready in. If she did not get crowned Queen it did not matter. She was already a Queen! Allison's joy in this experience was so thick in that hotel room.

We took Allison up to the old gym to do the bio so that when they present they can say things about her like favorite food, color, hobby. Even though I heard that info on every other contestant, when I saw Allison walk down that red "carpet" I was so in awe of her that I did not hear a word that gal with the microphone said. And Allison just sparkled, her bubbly personality just poured out of every part of her.

And the Fall Festival Queen is ... Allison McCoy! Yep, that is my Granddaughter! You should have seen the flashbulbs flashing. It was like a movie star!

I watched her and I thought is she going to be okay leaving this community ... really ok?

Then I was taking her to change clothes, to turn back into a little girl from a little lady and she said I can't wait to move to y'alls house. I am not worried about starting a new school and making friends because I am easy to be friends with. And she is right, she is. And Fall Festival Queen? What a great way to end an era and start a new one!

Off to post a few pics for those who are waiting patiently, then visit more with the kids and then time to hang out with Grandpa!

Not much longer and we will be able to participate in all kinds of activities with them ... counting the days ...

Are you a carrot, an egg or a cup of coffee?

This is not my regular daily post but these are a couple of things I thought were important!

In my post yesterday I talked about how I keep a positive attitude and I forgot to mention the most important reason ... Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

And I wanted to post this because it seems so fitting right now for my daughters ... and for all of us.

This came from my sister-in-law. A reminder that how we react to situations can make a difference in our lives and others.

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee. You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were
so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, 'Tell me what you see..

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hardboiled egg...

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this:

Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
> Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A dedication post to my Husband ...

My brother sent me an email today saying my Hubby was Husband 10.6 which, if you have seen the joke that circulates, is a top of the line version. I cannot tell you how blessed this family is to have Louis as the Patriarch. He is the most giving and unselfish person I have ever known. And as you read my posts in the future keep in mind that he is not Jennifer's biological Dad but the love and the care he shows for her and her kids will make that almost impossible to believe. I often say that when those kids get old enough to put 2 and 2 together as they do the family tree they will love Grandpa even more than they do now if that is possible! We love you Hubby, Dad and Grandpa!

A long day ...

It started about 1:15am when Megan's dog (in the mudroom) started sounding like a dog in a padded cell. Bang, Bang, one door and then the other, ... I thought Megan must be home but what was taking her so long to get in the house so I got up to check. She was not home but Korbin was very ancy so I let him out. Since Megan was driving my car I was a little concerned that she was not home and I would need the car soon so I called her ... and I called her ... and I called her! I tried to go back to sleep but my head hurt and I was irritated that she was not home so I got up and started getting ready for work. Then she called ... she had had a wreck ... she is okay. The car is most likely totaled though and we were already juggling 2 cars for 3 people since her car needs a transmission so now we are down to 1 car for 3 people! (I did find out later that we would get a rental car from insurance, whew!)

I told that story mostly so that I can tell these stories though.

I tell someone my story and since she knows about all of my ups and downs over the years she says, "You must have nerves of steel, I cannot believe you do not need xanex"! I told her well I was not quite this calm earlier! Overall I do stay pretty positive because I do always find there is a silver lining in every cloud. And I believe this one will have one too.

So the plan was to take the car to Jennifer this weekend so that she can drive it back here for Thanksgiving. You see her engine thrashed on her car so this was our solution to make sure she can come home for Thanksgiving and Louis is off this week so he does not need a car. So I call Jennifer and I tell her the story about the wreck and after she confirms Megan is okay she listens quietly and patiently to my philosophical speech but the minute I take a breath she goes "What about next week and the car?" We laughed about the way she wanted to cut to the chase and she jokingly said yea it is all about me. Now we do not have a car to leave her. Choices you make, things that happen affect so many, you think it only affects you but that is not true.

Louis will drive down and pick them up on Wednesday. It is just important to have them here.

So then Megan says it was so weird the way you woke up and called me like that. It was your motherly instinct. You started calling right after the wreck. I said no it was your dog that sensed that ... he woke me up. Korbin stays in that mudroom all the time and this is the ONLY time he has woke me up like that. I think dogs are something else!

I am glad to move beyond this day so I can keep counting down ...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Such a happy buzz ... and Mom's Boot Camp

And I do not mean the buzz that I would have if I had just drank a couple of glasses of wine. ; ) It is the buzz in the air about the future. Everyone is so excited here and the people I have told about the plan and my blog are adding so much to the happy energy.

I thought of a couple of things I forgot to mention in earlier posts. Jennifer has been having a pretty tough time lately ... one thing after another and so I would not only pray for her to have the strength and the positive attitude to push on thru but I would also pray for her a break, just some kind of a break. When Louis and I were discussing whether this would be something we could do I finally just said ya know maybe we are the "break" I keep praying for. After all of the positive feedback I feel confident in that.

And a funny. When I told Jennifer about my blog and why I wanted to do it she was very excited and then her voice changed and she said "Oh great, I guess I better create a blog to tell my side of the story". We laughed! So keep an eye out for hers. ; )

Jennifer called me today ... she is so ready to make life changes, get healthy, get on a schedule with the kids. She wants to get back in touch with who she is and her happy place. So she wants me to feel comfortable saying what needs to be said about things to help her learn. She said she wants it to be like boot camp ... Mom's Boot Camp she said! Oh my gosh I am so there ... watchout! No, I won't be mean, but I am so happy that she is so ready! ; )

She is also apprehensive ... it is a big change. She loves working for Laverne and Larry, they are so good to her. Working for someone else will be different. We talked about getting her started in a housecleaning business. They are in short supply out here so that might work. Lots of things to consider!

Can't wait ... counting ...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It is funny how things happen ...

I am retiring from my job in December ... December 31st is my last day but Dec 18th is my last working day. That also just so happens to be the last day of school for the Grandkids. Ya know having a house full of kiddos was not what we had in mind for my retirement though. We were thinking more like gardens, sitting on the patio leisurely drinking our morning drink of choice, projects, crafts, going out to West Texas for grandparently type visits, you know what I mean. Well that changed and it is okay because I think everything falls into place perfectly. This would not have been an option if I had to work.

We can still fit in our other dreams but now we are also going to look forward to getting to take the kids to all of those entertainment type things we see and say, "Gee I wish the kids were here". We are looking forward to the noise, believe it or not, the noise. The "chaos" ... I love the chaos in my sister's house with her kids. It makes it feel so homey. She will say I am crazy when she reads this! ; ) She will get it someday.

I talked to Jenn today. We are going to see them Saturday to see Allison as a Fall Harvest Queen nominee. I hope she wins but even if she doesn't she will be beautiful. Jenn was wondering if we wanted to take the bunkbeds back here Sunday. That might be a good plan. We are going to make the office the boys room and move the office downstairs.

Jenn and I also discussed computers. I told her I did not want computers in bedrooms, only in open areas. She was good with that.

Oh and did I mention that my youngest daughter lives here too in the garage apartment? We are going to be a family commune I guess! Megan is very much into the idea of having her sister, niece and nephews here.

The countdown continues ...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Life is about to change ...

My husband and I have decided to start a new adventure! Our daughter Jennifer and her 3 kids, Allison, Matthew and Braeden are going to move in with us which will allow her to get on her feet. It may be for a few months ... it may be a few years. ; ) I am new to blogging so bear with me while I learn!

We are excited and apprehensive at the same time. We are so anxious for them to get here, to have our first family meeting so that we can talk about the hopes, dreams and expectations of this arrangement. My sister suggested making the family meeting a regular event. I like that idea. We are looking forward to having family meals, to get them involved in school activities, to watch my daughter find her happy and successful place knowing that while she is out there figuring it out she can be at peace knowing the kids are in a good place.

The countdown to their arrival begins ...