Sunday, December 31, 2017

All is Calm....All is Quiet......on this New Year's Eve....

While we meant to be partying with Dean and Sherry down at the ranch, we are enjoying a calm and quiet New Year's Eve right here at home.

Last night we slept under our electric blanket for the first time this season. I set it on High so it was nice and warm when we slid under the covers. We quickly lowered the setting so we would stay comfy through the night. And we did. So much so that we overslept and missed going to church. I have been waking up early for the last several weeks and didn't set the alarm. Oops!

This may have been for the best because the streets were iced over this morning and everyone knows that Texans simply cannot drive under icy conditions!

So we did our Bible readings and had coffee together in front of the fireplace in the den.
Then HE went on to watch hours and hours of football.

I stayed busy with puzzles and word games and reading. And feeding the fireplace.
I have our Bible Basket all ready for the first day of 2018. And I worked on a Chapman Family Monthly Budget for 2018. Everyone needs a budget and ours is just about done. It was time for a new one. Excel has several to offer and I found one that was 'Linda Friendly.'

It's been a cold day here in the DFW area!
I wanted to chill a bottle of bubbly for toasting at midnight so I just set it outside the kitchen door.

Louis Dean cooked black eyed peas in the pressure cooker this afternoon.
Last New Year's Day he was cooking them and the pressure cooker exploded!
That was quite a mess to clean up.
He promptly went out and bout THREE new pressure cookers - in varying sizes.
The peas turned out good. A tiny bit mushy.
I prefer to cook them the old fashioned way - on the stove where I can tell how done they are!

He added a couple of diced Jalapeno peppers I picked off our pepper plant yesterday.
We thought they were all gone but two remained!

I had other peppers I had picked and put in the fridge so I used them to stuff with cream cheese and wrap in bacon.

They are yummy!

I made up a batch of homemade cornbread and Louis Dean cut off a few slices of ham from the big picnic we will be cooking tomorrow. He baked them in the oven and - put it all together - it made for a wonderful New Year's Eve Supper.

Give this man cornbread and he is happy!!!
We will be watching Kennedy and Jesse Watters see in the new year in NYC.
 The TV is on and I can hear it. 
Louis Dean is in his music room practicing a song so I may take a quick hot shower before we both go back to the den and pour a toast to 2018!!!

Happy New Year from the Chapmans to YOU!!!!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Slow and Easy Eve to New Year's Eve....

It seems to be cold over much of the country right now and Texas is no exception.

It's now 36 degrees and may go down to 19 tomorrow night.
We meant to be tucked into the camper down at our son's ranch by now but we decided to wait until next Saturday when the weather starts to warm up again. It seldom stays cold for long in Texas!

I painted this canvas when Benjamin was just a baby - nearly 30 years ago.
It continues to be one of my favorites and especially so in the winter time.
It hangs in our dining room.
We won't be getting weather like this snow scene but there is a possibility of patchy freezing drizzle tonight and tomorrow. I bundled up (meaning I put on a jacket!) and filled all four bird feeders up.

The candles have been burning all day.

We have kept the fire going in the den. Not once have we turned the heat on today and yet it has remained very comfortable in the house. Outside it is 35 degrees and a cozy 73 degrees in the house.

I've spent the day doing a little of this and a little of that.
I stayed in bed until nearly noon! Reading, playing Scrabble and Words With Friends and visiting blogs - all while sipping hot coffee while propped up on pillows in my warm bed! Ah, the luxury of it all!!!
I took Christmas debris out of the laundry room and packed it away.
Our washing machine broke a couple of weeks ago and I think Joe is coming to check it out in the next day or two. 
I also changed out all the Christmas CD's to Andean Fusion, Kenny G, and The London Symphony Orchestra. I've been using my new Echo named Alexa, too. Just not at the same time.

Louis Dean took a nice long hot bath and when he went back to the den, he fell asleep.
I took a hot shower, fixed us some hot chocolate and we watched a little TV.
Still figuring out the new Direct TV. We like it - just trying to get used to it now.

I'm wearing my new Granny gown from Summer tonight.
(This photo is for you, Sandra aka Mad Snapper!)
Speaking of Summer......she had a follow up doctor appointment Friday regarding her MRI.
This is from her Facebook page.....
MRI & CT do not show the source/cause of the pain I’m experiencing. Next step is an myelogram. This will show the nerves and any blockages/or areas impeding the nerve. Once done, I should have a diagnosis and a plan of action, praying to have my old life back.

We are so grateful for the prayers being prayed for her.
This was the last stop. Thankfully the doctor is doing everything he can to find the cause.
IF the myelogram is good, he said it will confirm his diagnosis. However, we can't remember the word he used for it but it has something to do with the brain and the pain being on a loop.
There are options to treat that if it turns out to be what it is.


I am getting our 'Bible Basket' ready for 2018.
Tomorrow will be our last day  for what we are currently doing.
We have one more reading in Revelations and then we will have read the entire New Testament this year as well as Psalms - twice - and Proverbs.
I put the Bible, Prayer Book, devotional book and such in a basket that we can pick up and carry to the gazebo or the den or where ever we want to have our coffee and read.

I will close with a bit of good news!
Louis Dean and I go through life looking for things!
BOTH of us do this!
He lost his camera months and months ago.
Not really lost it - he just couldn't find it!
He thought he had packed it away or left it at the ranch.
Finally, on our way to the beach last August, we stopped and he bought a new one. Not as fancy or as expensive as his old one, but he wanted a camera!
This afternoon, I sen him to the post office to mail some things and I set about looking for my prayer book and our out loud reading book we were doing before Christmas. While I have not found them yet - I DID find his camera!!!
HE didn't put it anywhere! I did!! It was tucked under the table in here in the sewing room - right beside my desk where I sit writing now!
I was so excited to tell him I found it that I was waiting outside on the porch when he got home holding the camera behind my back.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Quad Thursday and Friday in Fort Worth.....

We had company Thursday!
The Quads came to spend the day with us and we all had such a good time!

I served a late lunch that was a mini version of our Christmas Eve Dinner.
I made up fresh veggies and Logan picked what fresh flowers she could find in the gardens and placed tiny bouquets at every place......

 while Trystan wrote their names with decorations on the place cards.
This eliminates any quarrels about who is sitting where.
They take turns doing this and it works like a charm.
They even drank their lavender tea from small stemmed glasses.

We kept busy and played lots of games!
An I Spy puzzle, Upwords, Bingo, and Pick up Sticks.....

The kids requested a new Rules of the House - now up to #13 out of  21!

You can see how tall they're growing!

Harrison is reading as well as Louis Dean does!
Aunt Sherry and Uncle Dean bought the complete set of Little House books for them a few months ago. We gave them to the kids that afternoon. Harrison set right down and started with the first chapter of the first book. It was a moment I treasure and will long remember.

Amber came to pick them up and as they drove away, she paused the car and rolled down the windows. They all shouted out their goodbyes and ended with a big round of HO HO HO's!!!

The house seemed so quiet after they left.
We put our feet up and watched a Gunsmoke.
That's such an old program that many young people have never heard of it!
It ran for 20 years from 1955 to 1975.
We see lots of actors that went on to fame and stardom.
Last night it was Harrison Ford playing a smart mouthed villain!

This Friday morning I headed to Fort Worth like old times.
I used to visit Mother every single week.
On my way to the nursing home, I stopped in at Hobby Lobby and loaded up my basket with 80% off of Christmas debris! I chose some white tulle and lots of greenery with pine cones among other things. I have a plan for the gazebo and front porch next year and now I have the debris to do it!

Mother and I had a nice little visit along with Lillian, her room mate.
Mother goes through more make up than I do and let me know she needs some more. 
I promised to bring some on my next visit along with a couple of new writing pens.

My sister, Luann, and I met up for a late lunch at Abuelos.
While we are half sisters - same mother/different fathers - she was adopted when she was about 4 years old and her mom had a stroke this year. So....we were both in Fort Worth visiting our mothers before we met up! She is such a sweet sister and we do love each other!
We hope to meet every month in 2018!

I stopped by Nita's on my way home.......
This is their back 'play room.'

I was happy she hadn't undecorated yet!
I didn't get a chance to admire this on Christmas Day so I was back to take a look.
See all the gifts under the tree?
They are all past Christmas gifts of Mike's from his childhood.
He's kept them all. Box and everything.

Their home is a treasure of fascinating antiques and collections of dinosaurs, fossils and all manner of cool stuff!!

Mike keeps everything in pristine condition and it's all documented and cataloged.

This set was under his Christmas tree when he was about 3 years old.

You can see it here in this old photograph.

So many wonderful memories!

I enjoy every visit to their 'Playhouse!'

I came home with a full heart.
Families can be complicated. Most are.
Ours is. 
Still, we have all forged a good life for ourselves and we love and support one another.
I'm so very grateful that all six of us siblings are believers in our Lord Jesus Christ and each of us is strong in our faith and walk with him.
We are all so very blessed!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Little More Christmas Eve and Christmas in Fort Worth

Before I move on to Christmas Day, I want to include a couple of pics and a video of my granddaughter, Faith, singing Santa Baby for us on Christmas Eve.

Logan was especially impressed!!
She kept telling me, "This is REAL!"

Faith also played a song for us that she wrote herself.
I predict she is going to be doing some serious music in her lifetime!

I love seeing these two together!
All three kids seem to really enjoy one another.
I'm so glad I have photos. I'm sitting here smiling so big as I write just looking at them!

We were up early on Christmas Morning and drove over to Fort Worth to Nita and Mike's home.

They host the Family Gatherings now. Deanie and Charlie did that for years and years before handing the baton off.

Nita and Mike!
They make hosting look easy but it's not.
It takes a lot of work and we are so thankful to them for doing this time after time.

Brother Lonnie and his beautiful wife, Michele.

Nita's daughter, Leah and her husband, Patrick.

Summer and Gay - a cousin by marriage. Never mind they divorced - we still claim her as a relative!

Sabrina and Rayne both arrived with Summer but I cannot find any of my pics of Sabrina.
As a matter of fact, I had to go to Facebook where I had posted several the day after Christmas to snag these! I know I had them because I posted but they seem to have disappeared from my computer. Maybe I forgot where I put them. That could happen!

We all had a huge Christmas breakfast and then lost ourselves and all track of time in talking and laughing. We forgot that Sabrina and Rayne had another celebration that afternoon!

Andie kept us rolling in laughter. Just seeing HER laugh made US laugh all the more!

No better sound in all the world than laughing!

Andie is a real treasure to our family and especially to her MiMi, Deanie!

Now it was time for the Chinese Christmas Tree!
Nita let everyone pick a number out of the hat.
If you brought a gift, you got a number.
The gifts were spot on excellent this year as always.

Andie was the final winner of the Chimney Santa while Nita won the Red Cardinal and Barn.
We came away with a toaster oven, some Pioneer Woman tea towels and a sugar/creamer and salt/pepper set! AND I got a Dot that will go with my Echo!
AND Summer ended up with a vacuum cleaner (which would be hard to take to Puerto Rico) and traded it to Trish for the quilt Leah had made. THEN she gave the quilt to ME!!!!
I was so excited!! I don't have a photo of it but I will fix that soon!

Nita and Mike decorate everything up big for Christmas!

It's all so beautiful.

The train scene was new this year.

Nita's favorite gift bag goes under the tree every year.
They have more than one tree!
I'll be going back to Fort Worth on Friday and am going to stop by and take some more photos before they take it all down after the New Year.

Later that afternoon a bunch of us went to the nursing home to visit Mother.
Summer, Louis Dean and I met Deanie, Charlie and Gay there.

Mother hasn't seen Summer in a long time.
She knew Summer has been in pain for over a year now.

When we got to Mother's room, Deanie suggested we all go to the family visiting room so everyone could have a place to sit. I used the extra wheelchair that was in the room for Summer since every step she took was a painful one.

I made Mother and Lillian satin covered pillows so their hair wont get messed up!
Plus a little lap throw.

Nita gave Mother a most beautiful sweater!
Soft and silky and just the perfect weight!

Summer had a special lap cover made for her Granny - and it was the kind Mother always loved!

Then she gave us all matching nightgowns!
Mother REALLY loved hers!!

Deanie and Charlie!
Both of them looking so GOOD!!!
Deanie continues her recovery which the doctors tell her will take a very long time.
Still - she's finally going in the right direction!

I glanced over and saw Louis Dean sitting there looking especially handsome!

Be still, my heart!!!
I am still so happy he belongs to me!!

We took Summer to Sabrina's sister's place where there was another party going on.
It was a day chock full of celebrations for both of us.

We came home to rest for a little while before going over to Quadville for Christmas night dinner.

While Louis Dean rested, I was invited next door to sit around the fire pit with my neighbors.

Beautiful Neighbor Stephanie and her equally beautiful daughter in law.

I really look short these days!!
That's Mark aka Markie on the left and his wife on the right.
I love them both!
I have known Markie since he was born and have watched him grow up, join the Marines, prayed for him while he was in Afghanistan, attended his wedding and I even love his dog, Ashur! He is my honorary grand dog.

Then it was time to head to Dallas and dinner with Amber and Mike and the the quads.....

I walked right into a Nerf gun fight!
Uncle Mark (another favorite Mark of mine!) had given the kids Nerf guns and a great big box of 'ammunition!' I was handed a weapon and told to defend myself!

And thus ends our Christmas celebrations.
I have one more on Friday when my sister, Luann, and I are getting together.
Both our mothers are in homes and we will be seeing them and then seeing each other.

Louis Dean and I have been enjoying the calm after all the big get togethers.
I went out yesterday to Home Depot and bought a year's supply of lights.
Then today I stayed in bed until 1:00! I only got up then because my hair stylist worked until 2:30 and I needed a fresh hair cut for the New Year.

And now I'm off to bed!
It's really cold in Texas and will be dipping down to the teens in nights to come!
But it's even colder in other parts of the country!
For once, this weekend will be colder in Texas than it will be in Helsinki, Finland!