Friday, December 30, 2022

We are at the Ranch!!!

We left for the ranch at 2:00 on Wednesday afternoon and stopped on the other side of Dallas for a late lunch at Whataburger!

We were really hungry!!

The only other stop was at HEB and that didn't take too long.

Still, it was dark when we got to the gate!

It's always a special moment for me when we arrive!

Dean had called and warned us that there wasn't any water to the camper OR the big bathroom due to broken pipes.

The cold water pipe to the shower and busted all the way down even though Louis Dean had insulated it well.

When we got in, it didn't register on me that the girl bunk wasn't down flat.
Dean had to get under that for some repairs he had been doing inside the camper before we arrived.
I had let the cats loose and figured I'd make the bed up with fresh sheets after we unloaded the truck.

Sherry put all the food I'd brought in the fridge for me while they guys were checking out the broken pipes. That's when I noticed the cats were outside!!!
So then we were all out there chasing them!!! 
As it turned out, Dean discovered a really big water break from the faucet they use for the ducks.
If he hadn't been out in the field with a flashlight looking for cats, he would not have found this until the next day!
He was able to turn that water off and repaired it the next day.

The cats were enticed to come in and all was well.

We had one faucet outside that worked from the rain retrieval system so we filled containers with water from there and settled down for the night.

Thursday the guys went to Waco to the Home Depot for parts.

Louis Dean looked cute sitting out there waiting for Dean to come up and go with him.

I stayed at the ranch and walked down to see the critters and visit with Sherry.

All of them survived the Arctic blast of last week.
The black on the roosters comb is frostbite.

Dean and Sherry had just finished getting hay into the new shelter for the goats only one hour before the cold arrived!

They put all the goats in one pen.

I'm sure the mops love their heavy coats in the winter!

Thursday night a wild storm blew in and it rained HARD!!!!

We brought all our fall pumpkins down to feed the critters.

I heated up a big bowl of turkey and dumplings for Louis Dean ....

and I had a salad.

I'd set up the art table and painted some before bed.

I have some new paintings planned so I want to finish up the two from this year before it's over!

Bless his heart!
I took this picture on Thursday night - he's trying so hard to get the water fixed.

Today (Friday) I did not take one single photo.
Louis Dean and Dean worked all afternoon and still no water.
LD repaired the shower and when Dean turned the water on - the water heater fittings were pouring out water! They had to drain the heater and take it out of the work room - so Louis Dean had to practically 
move all his tools and such out to the front deck!

I went to the girl bunk and stayed out of their way for three hours reading.

Tomorrow is another day and hopefully they can get the water back on.
I see another trip to Home Depot and this time I'm going, too!

I'll close tonight's journal entry with something my friend, Mary, put on her Facebook.
I just love this!

At birth we boarded the train
and met our parents, and we
believe they will always travel
on our side.
However, at some station
our parents will step down from
the train, leaving us on this
journey alone.
As time goes by,
other people will board the train;
and they will be significant
our siblings, friends, children,
and even the love of your life.
Many will step down
and leave a permanent vacuum.
Others will go so unnoticed
that we don't realize
they vacated their seats.
This train ride will be full of joy,
sorrow, fantasy, expectations,
hellos, goodbyes, and farewells.
Success consists of having a
good relationship with all
passengers requiring that we
give the best of ourselves.
The mystery to everyone is:
We do not know at which station
we ourselves will step down.
So, we must live in the best way,
love, forgive, and offer the best
of who we are.
It is important to do
this because when the time
comes for us to step down
and leave our seat empty
we should leave behind beautiful
memories for those who will
continue to travel on the train of life.
I wish you a joyful journey on the
train of life.
Reap success and give lots of love.
More importantly, thank God for the
Lastly, I thank you for being one of
the passengers on my train.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Tuesday Night Art Class!!!

I usually go out to shop for lights the day after Christmas - but I slept so late and then 'rested' the rest of the day! No make up - no hairdo - I didn't even get out of my nightgown.

Today I woke up earlier - at noon!!!

After our 'morning' routine, we made a run to Home Depot to see if they still had any lights left!
I am trying to buy mostly LED ones and I am now all fixed for lighting up 2023!!!

My very BEST find was this white tree!!!!
I actually LOOKED for one right here at Home Depot earlier in the season but couldn't find one and now here there were - FOUR of them - and half price!
(I only bought ONE!)

We did a few errands on our way home and then Sabrina and Rayne brought Taco Casa for us before art class.

She used to do that back in the days when I hosted art class every Tuesday evening.
I have been painting since 1976 and started teaching what I had learned a few years later.....
and continued to do so until ?? Maybe 2012 when the quads were born?
I know I took time off when we were in Katy after they were born.

I believe I continued until Ruth Ann moved to Breckenridge which was several years ago now.

But we were BACK in class tonight!


.This was Rayne's second oil painting and she chose a dog, of course!
I knew it would be that or a horse!
She did her first one when she was 6 years old.

It was like old times smelling the turpentine and concentrating on our art.

Our goal tonight was to base in the canvas and that's just what we did - all three of us.
Sabrina and I both painted a horse!

While we couldn't finish it in one session - oils dry slowly - we will be doing art again next week - this time on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.

Sabrina's !


and Rayne's!!!!

It was so much fun doing art tonight!
We've made a lot of memories over the years - right here around the art table.

We cleaned up and they went home and Louis Dean and I settled down in the den to watch one more Christmas movie.....

Filmed in 1988 and one we've never seen before.

We are about to go to bed now and tomorrow we will head down to the ranch for a few days!
I can hardly wait!!!

Monday, December 26, 2022

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day....

Christmas Eve was as wonderful as it could possibly be! 

I was surrounded by all my children and all my grandchildren

Christmas Eve was such a happy night.
All smiles and laughter and the hum of voices!

This year everyone brought something to the table - from appetizers to cranberry sauce to dinner rolls and candy and wassail.

Summer brought the rum to spike Sabrina's homemade wassail!

Everything was delicious!

These are the caramels the Bell Grand Girls helped me make!

We gathered early on Christmas Eve to watch the Dallas Cowboys football game - and it was such a GOOD one!!! Close but we WON!

Some stayed in the den to watch the entire game while others drifted in and out.

I spied the girls hanging out in the living room together.

I know it's blurry - I am not the best photographer - but it's the only one I got of Pam and Amber together.

My first born son Jesse and Logan and Faith and Levi.
My first born grandchild Sam, now a grown up man, was sick and couldn't be here.
He was missed and he and I have already made plans for a second celebration on the 8th of January!
I'm keeping all my decorations up and it will be like Christmas Day one more time!

I had not baked a turkey in several years but I used the recipe from my friend, Deanna,  at Creekside Cottage and it turned out perfectly!

Amber and Benjamin helped get it out of the oven and pour off the drippings so I could use that in my dressing.

When it was all ready, Mike carved up the bird - although the meat was falling right off the bones!

It was a sit down dinner but after one went through the buffet line!

The dining room table was full! No more 'Children's Table' now.
Everyone sits where they can!

This is the table in the den where I sat with the girls.

The gifts followed!!!
It was a lot of fun and all the gifts were all so special and genuine.

My very favorite is the sound of my loved ones voices.......
my special treasure of this Christmas Eve.

NUTS games followed with Levi wining FOUR games and Logan ONE!
Alas, I did not win ANY and I used to be the Queen of NUTS!

Still, it was SO much fun!!!

Rolling sugarplums was next on the agenda - but it was late and I sent the dough and sprinkles home with Amber to roll later this week.

It was a perfectly lovely Christmas Eve and the entire evening was such a comfort to my soul.

Everyone was gone by 10:00 and Louis Dean and I picked up the house a bit before going to bed.

But before I did - Benjamin sent me this photo of him enjoying his Christmas socks!
He lives out of town so I was happy to see he got home safely!

I went to bed on Christmas Eve with a grateful heart....
for my children and grandchildren, for my husband and our health....
for blessings too many to count.

Even so, I cried as I went to sleep.
This is the first Christmas Morning without Nita.
No excited anticipation of meeting up with my siblings and and loved ones and eating a breakfast brunch together. No seeing her pretty face and hearing her voice welcoming us all.
No Chinese Christmas tree and all the fun we've had with that over the years.
Above all - I was missing Nita.

I stayed in bed until early afternoon before getting up and moving around a little bit.
It didn't take long to set the house to rights and then I went back to bed and took a little nap.

We arrived at the Bells around 6:00 to join them for dinner along with the Senior Bells.

The appetizer table was LOADED!!!

The fireplace was glowing and everything looked so festive!

Amber and Mike made a great dinner of ham, roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, rolls, salad and so much more!

It is a tradition to watch a Christmas movie after dinner on Christmas night......
this year it was Spirited and it was amazing!
So much fun!

It was a very merry Christmas this year.

I admit to being blue at times and crying in secret more  than once or twice.
I totally expected this as it is the first Christmas without our sister.
I can't explain exactly how I have felt this month.
Can one feel sorrow and joy at the very same time?
I think that's what I have felt.
Along with an emptiness and dullness right there with a heart overflowing with love and gratefulness.

I've kept Nita in my heart this month as my Facebook memories came up and I relived December from last year. That's her red top I'm wearing in the photo.

As much as I have looked forward to this Christmas season - and I have treasured every single day of it - I am just as grateful to be turning the corner towards the new year.

This day last year I never once dreamed that Nita would not be here today.
We do not know the number of our days so it's important to love and embrace one another and live in the present moment as much as we possibly can.