Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Summer's Smile......

Look who came to see me today!!

Sabrina dropped Summer off here at the house so we could visit while she went on to a doctor's visit.

She hasn't lost her beautiful smile!

But don't let that pretty face fool you!
She is still in a good deal of pain.
This is what she posted on Facebook this evening:

 I'm having lower back injections (again) tomorrow and hoping I can be pain free. It was good to see my Momma! Missed seeing everyone at Thanksgiving, the pain issues have literally kicked my butt!

She was in a fairly good amount of pain when she left so hopefully the next round of injections will push the pain back a little more. 

When Sabrina got back we sat out in the gazebo for a nice catch up visit.
AND we made some plans for the month starting with art next Tuesday!

After they left I fixed us a salad supper using our Christmas plates.
The day has felt long and it turned cooler - so much so that I shut the doors.
I was tempted to burn the fireplace tonight but the den is still in chaos and I would want to take a pic of our first fire this season. So maybe tomorrow night. The Cowboys play then and the den should be decorated. I hope to finish decorating the bedrooms and bathrooms all by Friday night.

Summer helped me put the lights on the living room tree while she was here AND she fluffed the branches. There are 1,100 white lights and 400 colored LED lights on there. 
I am waiting to finish decorating all the trees until I get the house done.
I will have some extra hands to help me this 40 little fingers on 8 small hands.
I'm saving a couple of trees for them to do and one of them is in the guest room.
It is a bit taller than they are and it stands on the floor.
I will have a box of unbreakable ornaments, tinsel and garland and will let them decorate it all by themselves. Kailey requested colored lights be on it instead of white so that much I will have done.
The rest will be up to them!
This will be fun!
When Amber and Benjamin were growing up, they had trees in their bedrooms which they decorated by themselves. They would put them up a week before Thanksgiving. 

As I've been pulling out decorations from years past, it's been a walk down Memory Lane.
This year marks the 50th Christmas I have spent in this house.
Lots of Christmas memories when my children were little.
I like that some traditions remain and 'new' ones that started years ago are now old ones.
Each year I change things up some. The den is the only one that gets decorated in much the same way year after year. That's the room I will be working on tomorrow.
Turning on all the lights in the morning and off again at night takes a little longer during the Christmas Season.
It's time to lock the doors, turn off the lights and head to bed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Baking and Decorating....His and Hers!

This morning Louis Dean was up hours before me! I knew what he was up to the moment I opened my eyes! He was baking!!! This is one of his all time favorite things to do. It makes his eyes sparkle and shine. AND it makes our place smell like the best coffee house in the world!

A double batch of bread rolls!

What better meal than freshly made bread, butter and cheese???
If it had been later in the day - there would have been wine!

Now I shall tell you the tale of the batch that didn't make it.
Louis Dean and I are in our twelfth year of marriage. Early the second year we were married, we found ourselves shopping at Sam's and salt was on the grocery list. It was the ONLY thing that we were not going to buy - because it ONLY came in a 20 pound bag! Still, for whatever reason that I can't remember now, we were pressed for time and didn't want to have to stop again at a grocery store for this ONE item. We bought the 20 pound bag.  We still have over a quart of it. I have it in a plastic container and it is marked SALT! Did I mention that Louis Dean got up early? We don't DO 'early' well. At any rate, his first batch was not 'proofing' like it should so he took it out and pinched off a piece to test. Salty! He has used a half cup of SALT instead of a half cup of SUGAR!
No problem! He was off to the store to buy more yeast.....and flour!

By 4:30 he had the cinnamon rolls proofing in the oven and we took a break in the gazebo.
While HE had been baking, I had been decorating!
He brought out some potato chips for our snack and said he was sorry he couldn't find a BIG bag!!

While every photo of Louis Dean is good - and you may have noticed that I only used HIS photos in last night's post - he took one of me and I am posting it WITHOUT make up!
I did 'soften' it, though. 

Lest you be envious of having a baker for your husband.......

he does not come without a price!
I am not even going there tonight!
It got WORSE after this photo so I will be better off to tackle the clean up tomorrow!

Tonight I dressed up the front door as well as the front porch for Christmas.
I am going through tub after tub so nothing is really DONE yet.
Still, progress is being made and I am past the overwhelmed state and into the spirit of decorating!

While the cinnamon rolls were baking, Louis Dean helped me put up the big living room tree!
The one that I bought at a thrift store two years ago and that was prelit and burned out and that Louis Dean spent hours and HOURS clipping off the old lights!

As he was trying to get around to go to the other side of the tree - he found himself virtually boxed in!!!

He really is my Knight in Shining Armor!

The tree stands!
AND we are having cinnamon rolls for supper!
Win! WIN!!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

It Takes TWO! Christmas Decorating!

I am in the throes of decorating for Christmas!!
It starts out overwhelming and completely trashes the entire house.
We unloaded the Christmas House storage and, since it was to rain Sunday night, we had to haul most of it in the house and that made for every room to be stacked high with tubs and bags of debris!
It slowly gets better as I go room by room.
Sunday was the dining room. Louis Dean is a saint! We have a pre-lit tree that no longer works so he sat for over two hours clipping off all those dead lights.

By the end of the day, the dining room was cleared of most of the tubs and was looking pretty good.
We have a tree in every room but I don't decorate any of them until I get the house done.
Then I can go back and really enjoy seeing all the ornaments as I hang them on the trees.
Every tree has a different theme that has formed over the years.

We closed out Sunday in the gazebo together, sipping a glass of wine before bed.
Since rain was coming and I didn't want my freshly decorated gazebo to get messed up, Louis Dean climbed up and zipped all the rain curtains. It was so cozy in there, we sat for a little longer.

This morning I was awake before Louis Dean so I took my coffee back to the gazebo to see how it fared in last night's storms. Not one thing out of place!

Today we proceeded to the sewing room and then the kitchen.

It was a blustery sort of day with some pretty strong winds which blew leaves into the room.
LD had a good idea. Instead of vacuuming them up - he used the blower and blew them back outside!! Win! WIN!!

I made some head way in the kitchen while Louis Dean went out to the front yard to pick up all the pecans the winds had blown down.

I took a break and went out to help him crack them.
Actually I do most of the cracking and he shells them.
We make a good team.

I had filled the purple tin completely full of cracked pecans.....
and while I finished in the kitchen, he shelled the entire tin!
It must be a sort of therapy for him!

It has always taken me a week to decorate for Christmas and this year is no exception.
I haven't put make up on since Thanksgiving Day because I haven't been out of the house.
It will be the weekend before I'm done and then we can sit back and enjoy everything all month long!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Dressing Our New Gazebo for Christmas!

While we meant to go down to the ranch for a few days, rain had come in down there and the ducks were swimming in Dean and Sherry's front yard! Combine that with the fact that I continue to choke, hack and cough - we opted to stay home and I don't intend to leave the house until I am well.

I spent all morning watching Hallmark Christmas movies!
By 2;30 I felt like doing a little something so I opened up the Christmas house where I store all my decorations. It was scary! A bit overwhelming to see it all crammed so full! I have to take everything out just to find what I'm looking for. This year I will NOT be using every single thing in there - as I have done in every single Christmas Past. Times are changing and so are my energy levels.

A daunting task!

Made easier by my saint of a husband!

He melts my heart doing things like this!
The gazebo was our 'room' of choice today.
I am decorating one room a day......this will take awhile.

I usually do a Snowman theme in the gazebo but since this is the first year for our NEW one -
I thought to go with red and a bit rustic.

Every corner is cozy and just waiting for a friend to come sit a spell with us.

There are two rockers plus mine and Louis Dean's chairs but there's room to bring in more seats from the kitchen deck.

Louis Dean loves colored lights and especially the LED ones.
That's what we used here.

I love how cozy it feels......

That middle Santa needs to have his beard tamed so we can see his face, 
I will do that very thing - tomorrow!

A manger scene I found in an old trunk I've had for a few years.
 It was wrapped in paper dated 1985.

The only Snowman in the gazebo!

We LOVE the way it turned out!!!
I told Louis Dean as we were decorating, "I feel like we could be in a Hallmark Christmas movie!"

This is where we ate our dinner tonight. We weren't ready to go in.
You can tell we are in Texas. Where else do you have citronella candles lit to ward off the mosquitoes while you decorate for Christmas??

It turned out even prettier than we imagined it would!

While I am not going to be hosting a big ladies tea as I have done for the past several years,
I will be hosting smaller teas and gatherings.
This is a year for changes.

And now for a nice glass of wine!!
Tomorrow we will tackle the dining room!

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Ladies Day.....

Today I celebrated two ladies who played an important role in my life.

This morning I hurried through our morning routine and then prepared a soup and salad lunch of
Butternut Squash Soup (Trader Joe's) and Basil Pesto Salad and Suddenly Ranch Pasta Salad....
along with Dilly Bits, Tex Mex Smoked Gouda Cheese spread, crackers and ice tea. And Pumpkin Spice Cookies!

Meet my friend, Melba!

She and I met when we were both homeschooling,
I was teaching Amber and Benjamin and she was homeschooling her granddaughter.
Melba now lives in Oklahoma but some of her family remains in Texas so she was here to visit over Thanksgiving. We have such good memories of our adventures together!!!
I loved homeschooling and it served my two youngest children well.
Amber started college at 15 and graduated at 20 years of age with a 4 year degree from Texas State.
I call that a success! Melba made a huge difference in the life of her granddaughter - despite the fact that during that time she battled and won her fight with breast cancer along the way.

What a gift it is to spend precious time with treasured friends.
After our lunch, Melba went on to visit an old friend of hers here in Irving with whom she has been friends with for years and years. 

Life does not always turn out as we expect.
It didn't for Melba's friend.
And it didn't for my friend, Reaoma.
She and her husband, Doug, were my neighbors for 17 years.
Amber and Ben loved Doug like a father.
We spent a week in August every year after they moved to East Texas to their log cabin home.
Doug took them fishing, taught them how to shoot, let them ride his horses. He was amazing.
Reaoma was a big part of our life. We all love her.
Doug passed away in April 2012 just as Amber was going into the hospital where she would stay for 2 months until the quads were born.
Not long after that, Reaoma began to have vision and other problems and her daughter, Pam, moved her back to Irving where she lives in an assisted living place.
Pam spent Thanksgiving Day with her mother. Alone. Just the two of them.
This is from her Facebook post.....

I had Thanksgiving with my mom today, just me and her. First time in 52 years it was just me and her, we had pizza, because that was what she wanted. It is really sad to me that her other children can't even show up for a short visit or give her a call. This is my reality now, and sometimes it really sucks. So if you have family members that can't get out and about anymore, don't forget about them.

I have thought about this....and I admit to letting the hustle and the bustle of life crowd out what is important. So this afternoon I bought a chocolate milk shake and visited Reaoma.
She is as dear and sweet as she has always been.
We laughed together and visited and then just sat comfortably as old friends do.
We reminisced about all the Thanksgiving Days that she and Doug hosted with Pam here in Irving.
They invited everyone and if you were alone on Thanksgiving, there was a place you were welcome.
Many times we were there. Even if we had Thanksgiving Dinner at our our house - as in the first year Louis Dean and I were married - we arranged it so we could go see Doug and Reaoma. 

I came home and Louis Dean and I spent some time cleaning out the other side of the storage building. Louis Dean is older than Reaoma. Life does not always turn out as we expect.
I am so grateful that, at 80 years of age, Louis Dean is so active and healthy.
Life can change in the blink of an eye.
All we have is the present. Here and now. Don't waste the moment. Savor and treasure it so there will be no regrets later.

We meant to go to the ranch this afternoon.
Dean sent me a message that they had a lot of rain and it was MUDDY.
We opted to wait until tomorrow - hoping it will dry out.
Louis Dean is allergic to mud!
If we don't go - the scene is set for Christmas decorating!
I hung colored lights in the gazebo tonight and one stocking on the rocking chair.
I am celebrating each and every day as much as possible for as long as I can.
Who knows what the future holds?
It's not always what we think it will be....

And THIS is what my friend, Reaoma, is doing!
Let it be so with me......

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving in Fort Worth - 2016

Thanksgiving is all about counting our blessings and we do have so very many!
It's also a good time to gather the family over a meal as we give thanks to God for all those blessings.
My sister, Nita, and her husband have hosted our family Thanksgiving Day for over 10 years now.
Deanie and Charlie did the hosting at Mother's house for about that many years before handing the torch over.

We have plenty of food!
More than enough to fill everyone up and send Care Packages home with lots of family members!

We also enjoyed some really exceptional wine.
Leah brought a bottle of homemade coconut wine from one of her friend's vineyard.
We couldn't wait to chill it so Nita dropped a few of those new refreeze-able ice cubes so we could enjoy a glass right away!

The kitchen is the main center for everything.

There's plenty of spill over areas at Nita and Mike's!
This is their gorgeous living room.

This is the table Nita sets up on their back porch.
It's a great place for the young people to gather.

Every room in their house is special.
I forgot to turn around and take a picture of the table and stools that hold other diners.

So that's the setting for our Thanksgiving Celebration today.
Now for the family who gathered today!
I totally missed Deanie and Charlie's daughter and her family!
And how in the world could I have missed taking a pic of Deanie's beloved granddaughter, Andie?
However, here's the ones I did get!

This is Andie's dad and I call him 'Handsome!'
He looks and SMELLS so good!!!
No, Louis Dean does not have to be jealous!
I can't help it that I love Larry!

This is Charlie's son and his beautiful family!
Talk about Pretty People!!

And then there's our beautiful Leah!
She is Nita's daughter and gets prettier with her every birthday!
How does that even happen??

Here she is with her handsome husband!

My youngest son has a soft spot for his Aunt Nita!!
It's always so good to see him!

Everyone knows Kailey but this was the first time for Charlie's children to meet the quads.

Harrison never fails to squeeze my heart!!

Trystan arrived in her Dallas Cowboy jersey and pants.
I asked her how she was dressed and she said, "Spoirty!"
She loves the 'oi' sound. She pronounces dirty as 'doirty!'

My sweet Logan.

I just love the looks on Trystan and Logan's faces!
Sisters in every sense of the word.

I could not decide WHICH photo to use of Deanie and niece I used them all!

Mother and daughter......

Amber, Deanie, Nita, and me.

Another mother/daughter photo moment.
Mother is 90 years old now so every Thanksgiving is special.

Not only does Nita and Mike have a fascinating home - they have a big, beautiful back yard!

I admit to loving every single pic I can get with my son!

I hope they stay in touch for all their lives.

I was happy to have my youngest two with me today.
My heart missed Jesse, Jr. and especially Summer.
Jesse and his family are enjoying a week in the mountains of New Mexico as they do this time every year. Summer wanted to be with us but she is still in very fragile condition. The injections she received the other day have not really kicked in - yet. Hoping and praying they will soon.
We also missed Trish, Deanie's daughter. She was ill and needed a day of rest. So prayers for my daughter and Deanie's as they seek to regain their health.

This was a good shot of Amber as she was watching her kids play with their Dada.

Nita always keeps toys on hand for young visitors.
Note the vintage toy box.

It was a great afternoon!

The quads made themselves right at home thanks to the things in that wonderful toy box!

When the quads are older, a visit here will be a real educational boost.
It already is!
Fossils, dinosaurs, trains..... so many interesting things

The day began to fade and so did Mother.
It was time to go home and couple by couple, family by family, we all left.
Amber and family along with Louis Dean and me were the last to leave.
Today was a treasure to cherish and remember.

Louis Dean drove us home. I was tired and went straight to bed for an hour or more as soon as I got in. LD had recorded the Cowboy game - even though we had already seen the first half in Fort Worth, he watched it again. He woke me up to see the second half.

Nita sent me this photo of her fridge.
She has THE cleanest and neatest fridge EVER!
Although Deanie has one that is a close rival!
Mine is a mess!! Always!

This is Nita's kitchen tonight.
She cleaned everything up and it is all neat and tidy again.
She will start her Christmas decorating this weekend and it will be beautiful!
Thank you, Sister, for hosting our family and making it such a memorable day!!!

And then - just to make this Thanksgiving even MORE special - 

Not only a Cowboy win but 10 STRAIGHT wins!
First time in Cowboy history and they did it with a rookie QB and Running Back!!!

It has been, indeed, a Thanksgiving to remember!