Sunday, January 31, 2016

Celebrating LIFE With my Siblings, Cousins and Mother! Saturday and Sunday!

Saturday was a fun filled day!!!

It was our first Get Together of 2016!

It was just one year ago that Deanie, Nita, and Lonnie and I decided to set a time every other month or so when we could all get together and visit without it being a funeral, wedding - or as we like to joke - a multiple birth situation!!! How often over the years have we all said, "We should get together!" while attending a funeral? I remember saying these exact same words at least twice in the last 10 years.
I'm glad we actually started DOING it!!!

It was in the spring of last year that we reached out to some of our cousins and they joined us in this commitment to spending a little quality time with each other throughout the year!

Oh, we have had so much FUN!!!

This time we all drove out to Mineral Wells to Cousin Pam's home and let me tell you - the eating was sure good!!!

Nita and Mike posing before they dug into their food!!

Our hosts!!! Nick made Armadillo Eggs that were out of this world!!
He wrapped a shrimp up in the cream cheese stuffed pepper with bacon and it was YUMMY!
I ate FIVE of them!!! He was so good to us! He scraped out every single seed in the peppers so we could eat them without tearing up!!! 

Here's my brother, Lonnie! He's the Birthday Boy!

I wish everyone could meet him in person! He is SO FUNNY!!! And SWEET and KIND!!!
Here he is telling us about how he worked in a bar when he was just 11-12 years old washing glasses!
All of us girls had left home by then and Mother's boyfriend had got him a job there.

His punch line was that when a fight broke out, he had to get out or hide when the police showed up because -"an unsupervised child of 12 years of age in a bar was unheard of back then!!!"

Oh, he kept us laughing even though it was kind of sad at the same time!!!

It was so much fun listening to the stories everyone was sharing!
Anthony was telling about the Thanksgiving Dinner when he was in Jr. High school.
He didn't like the English peas that was served along with the turkey and dressing and potatoes in the cafeteria so he decided he would eat every single one of those peas FIRST!
"So they wouldn't be there staring him in the face" as he put it and he could enjoy the rest of the meal!

Alas, by the time he had the last pea eaten - the lunch break was over and it was time to go back to class!!!! Gay says he STILL isn't fond of English Peas!!!

We smiled and laughed all afternoon!!!!

We love Pam and Nick's house! It's all so open and such an easy floor plan for entertaining!!

It just felt GOOD to be together!!

This is Gay and Joyce and they are sisters in law.
Joyce lives here with her daughter, Pam.
Joyce is a beautiful lady inside and out. Quiet and elegant.
Gay is feisty and funny. I love how we all have different personalities and strengths and weaknesses and together - we are FAMILY.

We are comfortable with each other. 
We pray for each other.
We encourage one another.
We love being 'Family!'

Toni Sue and Pam are two of the 'younger' cousins!

We are an age integrated bunch!

Pam let us tour her lovely home and see the new additions she's made to the decorations and furnishings! 

Pam is a professional quilter and loves everything that has to do with sewing.
The Singer sewing machine that was in this cabinet is on display in her living room - about 8 photos above this one!

This antique quilt is a Princess Feather design and was made around 1890 - 1900 by Pam's step father's grandmother!!
The quilt is actually red and green. The green dye fades to brown over time because of the natural dyes they used back in that time.

What a treasure - and Pam DOES treasure it!!!

There are so many beautiful things to look at in her home, I could do a blog post a mile long!!!
I am just in love with this gorgeous pink glass lamp - which I BELIEVE she said came from our favorite store - Goodwill!!!

Pam has a room for her grandson and it is just adorable!!!
Lots of charm and many things from thrift stores!!!
She is a diva at finding great things there!!!

Dear patient, loving husbands - Charlie and Louis Dean!!

They are so good natured and they love these visits just as much as we do!

They know to just sit back and relax!
The afternoon flew by and it was time to go home!!!

THIS is what you see when you open the front door!!!

A beautiful country home!!

Even the yard is charming!

Nita, Deanie and Pam!
Thank you SO much for the lovely afternoon and the great hospitality!!!

I love that we are a family of strong people who have all overcome hard things in life but those things did not make US hard! We ALL must 'overcome' to succeed in life! Overcoming really is a life long process!

Now it was time to get back to Fort Worth and pick up Mother and bring her home with us!

She was ready to go!!!

She settled right in to the guest room like she'd been there forever!

We had stopped to pick up pizza on our way home so after we ate we put our feet up and watched back to back episodes of Alaskan Bush People!
We really like that show! I took a little quiz I found on their site about which member of the Brown Family you are most like. Guess what one I got? Noah!

This morning, instead of going to church, we stayed home and watched The Winning Walk on TV with Ed Young, Sr. I really wanted to attend church but Mother generally uses a walker and I thought it might be just a little too much for her. We did our Bible reading afterwards and so we did, indeed, worship today!

They look like they were pretty engrossed in the sermon!

Afterwards we ALL did the Karate exercises!!
Mother included!!!

She's a really good sport!!

Louis Dean made brunch for us!
Homemade biscuits, fried eggs and bacon and, coffee, of course!!!

This has been one of the most relaxing Sundays I've had in a long time!
I have napped and read. I am trying to find a book I can get into and that's not as easy as it seems!
I have picked up and put down two so far today. Put down as in throwing them in the Goodwill bag!
I have stacks and stacks of books in this house and am bound and determined to get involved in a good book before I turn my bedside light out tonight!

This afternoon we caught up with all the Alaskan Bush People episodes and then watched Madam Secretary. Tonight's program was about the death of the secretary's husband's father and how his family handled that. It made me glad my siblings and I are so close and that we spent the day together yesterday. We took a break and then finished our evening with Downton Abbey!!!
The perfect ending to this Sunday night!!!

Now it's time for me to close all the doors and turn off all the many little lights I have on in this place! Lucy is in her kennel snoring behind me as I write at the desk in the sewing room.
Maddie is crunching her cat food and will want to go out in another minute or two.
Mother went on to bed and Louis Dean is in his music room where he said he would be cleaning and clearing for awhile. You can barely step through the door and it is a mighty narrow path to his computer! Oops!!! I can hear him singing along with You Tube so I'm not sure how much work is getting done in there!

Well, tomorrow is another day!!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Ready for Mother!

Mother is coming home with us tomorrow to stay for a few days!

She has been living with Deanie and Charlie for the past 16 months and before that she lived with Nita and Mike for 7 years. It will be nice for all of us to have her visit! Deanie and Charlie can get a break and Mother will have a change of scenery.

We have a brand new mattress and I put fresh flannel sheets on the bed topped with a velvet bedspread and a VERY heavy warm furry blanket if she gets cold. The bed is a little on the HIGH side but I have a step that I used in aerobics and I may put that beside the bed to make it easier for her.  I scrubbed the window inside and out! Amazing how dingy dirty the windows get and what a difference it makes after they're cleaned!You may notice the large canvas over the bed that looks kind of like an abstract painting. I hauled this home after finding it on the curb one day in the neighborhood! One the back side it says, "FREE!" I'm planning on painting a seascape on it soon but in the mean time, it may as well hang on the wall!

I even cleaned out two drawers for Mother to use in the bedroom and one drawer in the bathroom.

Granted, our home will not be nearly as comfortable for her and Nita's was and Deanie's is. No TV in the bedroom. No easy chair in the bedroom. We have two rooms that are step downs.
No private bathroom. Still, I think she can handle that!

Tomorrow we will all be meeting together at our cousin's home in Mineral Wells for the first Get Together of 2016. We're all looking forward to seeing each other and catching up on things and just visiting and laughing and talking and eating!
Now that I actually started writing the book, I have a few questions I hope the older cousins can help me with. Simple things like the Christmas I remember in 1954 when we went to my Aunt Alice and Uncle Truman's house. It seemed like a long drive so I am hoping they - with THEY being my cousins - will remember where they lived. It's a wonderful thing to have family to talk to and jog each other's memories. 

We will also be celebrating my brother's birthday!
That's what started our getting together every other month or so! Last January we decided if we don't PLAN it - we will never DO it! By spring of last year, we had reached out to our cousins and added them to the mix. It has been wonderful to visit and share and laugh for no other reason than just being together. 

While we missed lots of years, we are making up for it now!

I do have to say, my cousins are some of the nicest people I know!

We have all had our share of bad things that happened in our lives but we also know that God has been with us each step of the way and has brought us to THIS time in our lives when we look forward to seeing each other -'just because!!'

Louis Dean and I joined forces in the kitchen this evening and made a great big bowl of potato salad to take tomorrow. I've been texting with my sisters as to who is going to ride with whom. I've even laid out my clothes for tomorrow and will wear one of my new pairs of shoes!
It's nice to have things to look forward to!

After our visit is over, we will pick Mother up and bring her home with us!
Win! WIN!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wonder Woman Wednesday and Recovery Thursday!

Yesterday morning Little Trystan was ringing the bell at the front door.
When I opened it, she said very sweetly, "Mama said it was my turn to get to ring the bell!"

I love that they take turns more often than not and they TOTALLY get what it means to be 'next!'
I had the Play Dough all ready for them. When they were here over the weekend, Trystan requested they play with it when they come on Wednesday. When she saw it, she said, "You remembered, MeeMaw!"
Of course, I did!!

They played at the table for a long time!

It was well worth the mess I had to clean up to see them so absorbed in their play.

Some of these Play Dough tools are hard for even adults to use!!
Have you tried pushing some of that stuff through the sieve to make 'hair?'
THREE of the four played at that table for over an HOUR!
That's a long time for three and a half year olds!
Guess which one left?

Kailey Girl was all about following her Granddad around!
He was doing some wiring so we can have Internet in the den.
When he squatted down - so did she.

When he stood up - so did she!

She does have a special bond with Louis Dean!

We had a good lunch of bacon sandwiches before we all bedded down for naps in the den.
I always read a chapter from the Little House books first.
We generally sleep or rest for the better part of two hours!

We haven't done any crafts lately but we did do some art appreciation.

Our first one was Tornado Over Kansas, 1897 by John Stewart Curry.
I'm surprised by how many details the kids notice.
It's important in Texas to learn about tornadoes!

The second one was The Calling of the Apostle Peter and Andrew by Duccio.

Normally I only feature one work of art but the kids love playing the 'What do you SEE?" game!
All three girls had a lot to say about Le Gourmet by Picasso but it was Harrison who said this was a little girl and not a grown up in the picture. When I asked him why, he said it was because of the table. "See? She is LITTLE!" Pretty observant of him!

We put some blueberry muffins in to bake and then we all went outside to play for awhile in the back yard.

Trystan and Harrison are great play buddies!

Logan helped me take the decorations down in the gazebo.
The squirrels have done a number on our gazebo by chewing holes in the cover.
I had red wooden bead garlands up and they had bitten through the string scattering beads all over the place! That afternoon I had read the chapter Indian Camp from the Little House on the Prairie where Laura and Mary find colored beads in the deserted camp. When Logan and Trystan saw all those scattered red beads, Logan said, "Look, Trystan! We're picking up beads just like Laura and Mary did!"

Harrison does love his dinosaurs!!

Logan says her mommy calls her 'Cutie PaTOO-ie!!!

MeeMaw needs to quit asking the quads questions when their mouths are full!
My bad.....

We enjoyed our blueberry muffins!
Granddad included!

While I put dinner in the oven, Granddad taught the kids about money.
They do love their play money and cash register!

Granddad is morphing into his teacher mode these days.

Trystan asked her mommy to NOT come back and get them until they had played outside!
They don't really count the back yard as 'outside.'
Harrison asked, "Can we play in the GRASS?"
That would be the FRONT yard! 
No grass in the back!

Good times!

Granddad is always good for a Paw Patrol!
Dinner and baths followed.

Amber is my personal shopper! She is the one who steered me to Skechers back in December and I have been wearing them ever since - almost exclusively!

I only had the one black pair but I wore them with my Sunday clothes as well as on the ranch and for every day. Amber found the other two pair yesterday as she was out doing errands.
Win! WIN!!!

I gave 100% on Quad Wednesday so today was a Recovery Day!
I slept late and lingered long over our coffee and reading.
It was after 2:00 before I got dressed and made up the bed!

While I meant to do some housework today -

I ended up spending all late afternoon and early evening in the gazebo and back yard!
Louis Dean burned some trash in the fire pit, filled the bird feeders and cleaned out the back water pond.

The birds were singing in our back yard today!

I cleaned the gazebo and took down all the lights and put up fresh new ones.
This time I used warm white LED Martha Stewart lights along the top.
I can get on board with the LED when I can get WARM white!!
No spring 'debris' out yet although I laid my eyes on them up in the storage building this evening but decided I'm just not ready to get them down yet!
It felt like spring today with blue skies and birds singing and - MOUNTAIN CEDAR in the air!!
While I meant to blog from the gazebo, my allergies kicked in and I cried Uncle and brought my party inside!!!

I left the lights on, though!