Monday, December 26, 2016

Our Christmas

Our week before Christmas was full, but nice! It started off with the church choir performing on Sunday. The music for the most part was the same they do every year, but a new addition was "It's bout the Cross". I love this song! It's so good! The concert ended with the Hallelujah  Chorus. Which is always good!

Sunday night we had several friends over to play games. I was able to get two games of Ticket to Ride in - won one; lost one...  The teenage boys played Risk. One set of friends played Canasta.  All in all, I think everyone had a  good time.  And we had several yummy treats!

Monday was a day Melissa and I had been looking forward to for months!! A dear friend of ours had here baby! His name is Gabriel and Melissa and I adore him!  He's so cute!!  We're looking forward to holding him again!



Tuesday we attended a friend's retirement from the Air Force. It was a beautiful ceremony. Later that night I was able to delivery my niece's t-shirt quilt finally done. She gave me her high school t-shirts back in August. I told her then I would try to get it done by Christmas.  I finished earlier in the month - I'm so glad it came out well!. She loves it!

Wednesday Melissa and I had another we had been looking forward to: her senior year portraits.  A friend of the family's is a great photographer and we had her do them. She had some inside and outside.  We'll go back in a few weeks to see the proofs. I have a feeling it's going to be hard to decide which ones to purchase....and Drew has already given me a budget....

Thursday I cooked for the friend with the new baby....we just had a relaxing day. And got to see the baby again.

Friday Drew took the day off! - yea!! I love it when the alarm does NOT go off at 5:40!! Drew and the boys went out for lunch the saw the newest Star Wars movie: Rouge One.  We all enjoyed it - the lunch and the movie!

Christmas Eve we stayed home and cooked.  I made gingerbread and sugar cookies while Drew used his new electric smoker to smoke salmon for our Christmas Eve dinner. The salmon turned out a little more salty than we all liked, but not a bad try the first time to smoke fish.  After our dinner, we attended our church's Christmas Eve service.  Instead of the normal candlelight service, this year the service had a  festive feel instead of a sacred one.  After we tortured the kids after church by driving around to look at Christmas lights, we opened our presents when we got home. I think they were overall happy...nothing too big at this time. 

Christmas morning we had to wake up the kids.  That's like with teenagers... the days of them waking us up at the crack of down are over!  William's big gift was a chair for his dorm room he asked for, Melissa got a new cell phone, and Benjamin got money.  He never could come up with a gift we would agree to, so he got money. 

After church in the morning we drove over to my parent's house for the afternoon. It was a nice time with my family...and of course, good food.

Today - Monday - we enjoyed sleeping in again!  Sadly, Drew's alarm will go off early tomorrow morning again, so we definitely enjoyed sleeping in today. We both did some more cooking. Also, a neighbor came over to taste our food and play a few rounds of a new game Ben gave Drew for Christmas called Sequence.  I have yet to win!! May not be my game..... 

The kids are currently out shopping to spend some of the money got received from Christmas while Drew and I are watching a movie.  I am contemplating de-decorating the house....but just contemplating it...got all week, right?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sweet in the Bitterness

One of the great things about living in north Louisiana is being able to spend the day with my parents....especially knowing they don't have many years left. My dad has had dementia for many years now and our relationship is much different than it was ten years ago before his stroke. 

While he can't really carry on a conversation that someone else starts, if he has something on his mind, he'll try his best to tell a story. Usually with me he tells the same story about this huge black cast-iron pot they have in the back yard. It came from his grandmother.  I'm not exactly sure what she did with it...I tease dad and call it the witch's cauldron since that's what it reminds me of and I ask if she cooked chickens in it over an out-door fire. 

But this week for my visit Dad's mind was on other things than the black pot. He told me about how he got the mantle clock....how he saw someone throwing it out, but dad offered him five dollars for it instead. He, also, told me he has the best wife in the world. 

Yes, Dad!! YOU DO!!  Mom takes such good care when of him! Dad, then, said the best line ever: We didn't kiss on that first date, but we kiss everyday now!

Yep, Dad! I'm sure y'all do! Maybe that's the secret to being married over 53 years....don't kiss at first, but then kiss everyday. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Adventures of My Morning

When you hear what you think is a fighter jet that sounds like it's going to land on the van you're driving, you quickly realized it's not a fighter jet. Nope. It's the van. Or rather a tire. 



 

Guess I'm getting a new tire for Christmas. 



But I did get to make a new best friend. His name is David and he works for Roadside Assistance. 


 


Monday, December 5, 2016

More Dinner Conversations

Tonight at dinner I noticed Benjamin's plate was missing the green vegetables that was on everyone else's plate. So I asked him, "How come there's nothing green on your plate?"

His answer: "But my eyes are green."

Deep sigh....that they are, my son, that they are...

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas is Up!!

Our house is finally decorated for Christmas...well...sort of...all but the tree.  And at the moment we have decided not to get a tree this year. Not sure if that decision will stand...we'll see. In the past we have  picked it out before Thanksgiving and then gone back to the Christmas tree farm that's close by after Thanksgiving to actually cut the tree down. But this year we never did go and pick out the tree.  And with the rain this weekend, we didn't want to buy one wet. So...that leaves us with no tree right now...   I do have an artificial tree upstairs at the window - that just may do for this year. 

I actually have several small trees throughout the house. At one point in time some of them were in the kids' rooms, but now they seem not to care if they have their own or not, so they have stayed in the front of the house.

And they don't seem to care about us having a big one downstairs....so......we'll do easy this year.

I like easy.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Conversations at Our Dinner Table

Last week when Melissa came home from her trip she left her backpack and her suitcase out on and around the kitchen table.  One of the items left out was a bag of goldfish that her friend gave her so she would have a snack on the plane ride back home. Melissa's mistake was leaving them in the kitchen...and not wrapping them up and putting her name on them or putting them in her snack basket in the pantry.

Nope...she just left them by her other things....where her brother could see them...and the temptation was  great for Benjamin.

While he sat and played computer games, he ate a few of those goldfish.  And a few more....and a few more.  Over the course of an afternoon, he ate the whole bag.

Yep. There was screaming by the girl when she found the empty bag.

Tonight's dinner conversation she reminded him that he owes her food.  Goldfish would be preferable.

This is not the first time one of her brothers ate her food....and probably won't be the last....

Monday, November 21, 2016

I've Tried!

I really have tried to post in the last week or so, but I was using my phone and it was NOT cooperating!  I type several lines and then it closes out the blog app. Very, very annoying.

All in all, my phone annoys me.  The battery only last a few hours now. I've even tried to order a new one and Wal-Mart was the one that didn't cooperate. On-line they cancelled the order and in person they didn't have the right "sim" card.

For right now I'm stuck with a phone that does NOT want to hold a battery charge...or let me use some of my apps...and that freezes...  First world problems, right?

So. Back to what I WAS trying to post!

Ben - high school soccer is alive and well - and keeping us busy. There was talk among the coaches about playing Ben on varsity, but by the time of the first real (not a scrimmage) game they decided to just have him on junior varsity. Which is TOTALLY fine with us.  Being on JV means he play just about the whole game.  Being on varsity means playing only a little.  I do think that IF he plays well, then when the JV season ends he'll be moved up to varsity for the last weeks of it's season (which is about two more weeks).

Melissa - is flying home as I type.  For her 18th b-day she wanted to go sky-diving.  Which for a brief few days, we actually thought about letting her do.  But a friend that was a para-jumper in the Army talked us out of it. I'm sure at some point in her life, she will jump out of a perfectly good airplane. We just want her to be older. And for her to pay for it. As her "cancelation" prize, she got a plane ticket to see her best friend from Guam that now lives in St. Louis.  This was the first time she traveled by herself.  And I think she's enjoyed every bit of it.  I'm so looking forward to hearing all about her trip tonight when she gets home.

William - he's home from college and totally relaxing...sleeping and playing video games to all hours at night.  We supposedly have our internet to turn off at 9:45 pm, but we have a sneaky suspension  that the boys have figured out a way around our limits.

Other happenings...we hosted several dinners in the last weeks.  One for the office - have a great time! One for friend as a baby shower and card game. I did have  good time at that one, too, but was annoyed when people didn't RSVP!! urggg.  I knew they probably won't do that, so I put "regrets only". And still.  People didn't.  So, we have over a dozen baked potatoes left from our bake potato bar which I made into potato casserole Sunday after church.  As Drew said: at least it wasn't some too expensive.

And I've been working on a tee-shirt quilt for a niece.  I'm almost done with the piecing. Today I bought the fabric for the back and the batting.  As I was working on it last week, I misjudged pin placement and the needle went through my finger. Yes, there was blood . And yes, it hurt.  And thankfully, I'm good with my tetanus shot. I did NOT go to the doctor as I was able to pull the tip of the needle out myself....but thought for a moment I would have to bug  a neighbor to help me....

That's life here...we are all looking forward to Thanksgiving with all the family!!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Shocked and Mismayed

Today at lunch I ran into a classmate of William's from high school. We got to know this family during the three years or so the boys played soccer together. I think around junior year this friend quit soccer to focus more on school and other activities that could help get him a scholarship for college.  I had not seen him in probably a year - and haven't seen his mom in about two  - maybe even three - years.

But I was shocked at what he told me....  He basically flunked out of college (even though he's really smart!), had no plans at the moment to go back, and his parents has split up. She living in another part of the state, the father in Texas, and he stayed here and was living with his grandmother and was working.

Frankly, I pretty much lost my appetite for my lunch.

I don't know what happen between this couple...didn't know them well enough to say what type of relationship they had...but just find it very sad....upsetting... This is the third couple that I know that have called it quits just this summer.

It mystifies me how some make their marriages work, but others don't. While it takes two to make a marriage work, it really only takes one to walk away.  I've seen friends fight with everything in them to save a marriage only to have the partner throw it all away. Other friends get totally blindsided when the spouse walks out.  And I have to admit,  Drew and I have a few friends that we are totally amazes they are still together at all!

But however a marriage ends, the end always saddens me....and my heart breaks for both parties. And especially for the kids involved.  Divorce scars run deep.

I tell my kids that they have a special legacy with not only their parents still married (in December Drew and I will celebrate 26 years), but both sets of grandparents have been married for over fifty and even sixty-five years of marriage. Also, both of my grandparents celebrated over fifty years.  Such a special legacy...not many have this today....and not this young man  that I saw today...the divorce scars are new to him...and very apparent today....he seemed a little lost... I'll be praying he finds his way.





Friday, November 4, 2016

Book Update

I read another book in the Julie Garwood series. The mystery itself wasn't an interesting as some of the other ones in the series -  I did pick up on the one hint as to who was the bad guy.  Maybe the other books had hints and I just didn't pick up on them....or maybe this book wasn't as good as some of the others.

I did have problem with the part of the love story. The hero was partner of the heroin's brother. This brother and some of the others were not as protective as I thought the author would have them to be. Just excepted it to be part of the story....maybe that was part of the reason I was slightly disappointed in this one.

And yes, it pretty much went by her "formula".

I did read another book  this week that was delightful: Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell.  I really liked the story.  The author is from California and I think she needed to do a little more research about the state of Louisiana. At one point she mentioned a "county" fair.  Now...anyone that's been actually IN Louisiana knows we don't' have counties...and so....we don't have "county" fairs.  We have State Fairs and festivals....lots and lots of festivals. And as one friend pointed out, most of our festivals are named after food. Maybe a few animals....especially the ones we can eat...  But the story itself was very nice.

But since I know she got a few things about Louisiana wrong, makes me wonder what she got wrong about Paris (where the majority of the story takes place), but since I've never been to France, I don't know what's right and what's slightly off.

The author took an old French legend and wrote how she thought the real story could have possibly played out.  It was just a delightful book!

Monday, October 31, 2016

This and That And Halloween

I hate Halloween. 

Part of it is because of the history of it...and part of it is because as my kids were growing up they really didn't get into it (yes....that may be part of my fault!!)  William never liked anything the least bit scary.  Halloween is getting scarier and scarier as the years go by.  But, also, none of my kids could eat the candy they would have gotten trick-or-treating due to food allergies. 

Now -or at least in my part of town - Halloween is just a reason for people - teenagers!-  to be flat out wild and crazy.  Urggg..

So...I'll be back in my bedroom with all the lights off tonight.

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I have been making my way through the contemporary murder/romance series by Julie Garwood.  As I read back-to-back books by the same author, I can see her "formula".  For the most part the ones I have read all have the same things in common: the hero and heroine are totally opposites, the heroine is knock-out-gorgeous; the hero a total "man's man" (very macho - like lots of muscles), and  many being in some type of law enforcement, some bad guy wants to kill the heroine and so the hero needs to be by her side constantly.  Which, of course, makes them fall in love - BUT!! They fight it.  They usually do end up in bed, but both say it's only gonna happen that once - then for different reason, the hero has to leave the heroine usually because they think they have the bad guy.

But, then, no. There's another guy that's REALLY the bad guy.  But in the end they do get the real bad guy. And yes, the hero and heroine decide after a near-death event, they can't live without the other.

So, why do I keep reading?  Ms. Garwood has been very creative on the mystery part....I'm enjoyed seeing what she comes up with. Also, the humor between the characters is very entertaining...and I LOVE when characters from other books make an appearance...it's like seeing an old friend.

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Speaking of old friends...yesterday I was able to have lunch with one of my best friends from high school who was, also, my maid of honor at my wedding.  We talked and talked....like the years of separation had never happened.  She was in town for a college reunion event, but may have to come back on town due to work....I hope so. I would love to meet up again.

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Just to update any one that was concerned:  I found Benjamin's soccer shorts.  They were in a plastic bag deep under a ton of stuff that is slated for the Goodwill. 

Good thing it's been awhile since I made a donation to the Goodwill.... I seem to remember giving him the bag of soccer stuff so that it could get into his soccer backpack...yea....that didn't happen.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Current Going-Ons

I found a new author at the library this week: Carre Armstrong Gardner.  The first book in her series is All Right Here. It's about a couple trying to find their way when their married life didn't go as planned.  I've already have the second book in the series on hold at the library - hope to get it today!

I've, also, been reading a lot of Julie Garwood. For many years she wrote historical romance, but around year 2000 she began writing contemporary mystery/romance. I do remember reading the first when it came out, but not any of the others. I'm working my way through them all currently.  And so very thankful our library has all of them - which is like 16!


I am reading a lot because work is slow right now...I'm not putting in many hours at all.  I am, also, sewing some. I made my mom a bag she asked for. I love how it came out! I think it's so cute! If all goes well, then tomorrow when I'm at home, I'll start a new quilt while the laundry gets done.

The other current events around here is soccer - of course.  The high school team has been doing conditioning since late June. Then in September and October  many of the team did a local recreational team. This week was the official start to the high school league.  Which means on top of conditioning, they are, also, practicing with the ball. For the most part Benjamin loves it, but it makes it a long day when he doesn't get home until after 5:30. We all think he's playing better than he did last year...and hoping that means he'll get more play time....

His problem this morning was not being able to find two of his uniform shorts....I know at the beginning of the summer when we went through all his gear, we had them. We placed our gear order back in June, and when it came in last month, I really didn't go though it to make sure we got everything we ordered.  Then this morning Ben says he can't find his white or purple shorts. Great...just great...  And of course, the coach had us order through some special store that's not taking our orders anymore....urggg...

This weekend we will celebrate his 16th birthday.  Benjamin's choice of a party? Paintball.  I'll be the one sitting off to the side - with a good book!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Our Birthday Girl



Ever since my kids have become teens, it's been hard to buy gifts for them. Especially the boys. But there have been times I have struck out with Melissa as well. 

But not this year!!

I made a deal with a friend of mine who knits. (Or crochets...I can't tell the difference...) I would make her a quilt if she made Melissa a mermaid blanket. 

Melissa was very happy!!



Here's the quilt I made in the deal: 



But her other gift actually brought Melissa to tears! First the back story...she really wanted to go sky diving. Yep. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane. 

Drew and I just couldn't pay for that..,nope. Not gonna do it. 

Instead we're buying her a plane ride ticket to see her best friend from Guam who now lives in St. Louis. 

She was totally thrilled!!!



(She also enjoyed getting money from several family members - money is always a good choice with her!)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

End of the Weekend

This weekend went about how I thought it would...

....we all got to sleep late Saturday morning (which is the BEST day to sleep late)

....we watched Benjamin play soccer (he got no goals, but did have some great passes)

....my college team lost (which I was pretty sure would happen)

....my NFL team lost (which we did NOT get to watch)

...I did get a great Sunday afternoon nap (which is the BEST day to nap!)

...my Sunday night New Believers' Class went well (I am co-teaching for the first time and LOVE IT!!!  We're using new curriculum and we're so enjoying the this set of kids - great bunch!)

But one thing happened late this evening that I DIDN'T think would happen - our renters in old house on the East Coast decided to renew their lease instead of moving out. YEAH!!! Thank you, Lord!! We are so happy! And love how it's off our list....well...for now...we're now hoping and praying  that when they do move out the market will be back up as we might try to sell it. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

End of the Week

The end of the week was very welcomed.  Thursday was so frustrating....and that was before I even got to work.  I realized earlier this week that the doctor back in July at Benjamin's annual visit didn't give him more than one inhaler of his asthma medicine. Usually we get enough for a whole year.

What doctor only gives one inhaler to last a year???!! 

So, I called on Monday to get the prescription renewed and the nurse called me back on Wednesday as I was driving back from helping my parents. I almost went by the pharmacy then, but a nap was calling my name loud and clear.

First thing Thursday was to swing by the main pharmacy on the base  take care of this....but I realized that only one med was taken care of, but not the asthma one. I tried to take care of it then and there, but it was taking too long and I had to leave for work.

I was so frustrated!! 

Then I went to work.  (I do enjoy my job, but waiting around for people is not my best forte.  But the right people showed up and payroll was taken care of.)

Today we went back to the problem of Ben's meds... After a call to the pharmacy, I had to call family practice. Again.  Late today a nurse called me back  She is just as baffled as I am.  She said she talked to the doctor and he agreed to approved the inhaler. But when she went to check on it after I called again, she saw that he cancelled the order. And of course, he was gone for the weekend when she realized this. 

urgggg..

Good thing Ben has enough for the weekend.

She'll deal with it first thing Monday morning.  Still it just doesn't make sense that the doctor this summer didn't get us enough meds for a whole year.

But we did have some good news today - Melissa got her official acceptance letter from her first choice of colleges.  Well....actually, her only choice....she had no back-up plan...not that she needed one.  So, next year she'll be off to Ole Miss....following in her parents' footsteps. 

We're ending the day with magic.  We typically go out for dinner on Friday nights, but Drew worked late...and liked what I cooked for the kids, so we ate at home.  Now we're watching magic shows on the DVR.  There's several magic shows on TV now and Drew loves them all. He watches a trick then rewinds it so see how it was done.  For the most part he can figure the trick out.

Tomorrow is all about sleeping late.  And the start of rec soccer....I'm sure it'll be close to 100 degrees on that field....but Benjamin is looking forward to playing.  I'll be the one covered in sunblock and sitting under an umbrella.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My View

This has been my view for the last 24-hours. It's the view from my dad's hospital room. 

Mom took him to the doctor's on Monday because he was coughing, wheezing, sleeping too much. The doctor wanted him to see his cardiologist, but he was too busy and so, to the ER they went. Where he was admitted to a room. 

And when I changed my schedule and made arrangements for the kids (because of course Drew is out of town!) & came over. 

They ended up changing some of his medicine. As of now we think his echo is clear -which is great news! (But the echo has not been read officially.) 

The doctor has told us that we can go home - much to dad's joy. Hopefully, all the discharge papers will be processed fast. But it's a hospital. Nothing fast really happens. 


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fall

It's currently 86 degrees with the heat index of 96. 

Fall feels very far away. 

But I bought my first pumpkin today. I'll keep it on my counter for a week or two, then cook it. I gave a great pumpkin roll recipe. But I so need some cooler temps. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Downtown Issues

The main problem with my job being located downtown is parking. Our building has a small courtyard in the back off the alley where we can get three cars into. And up until last month we could park in an empty lot two doors down from us. 

Then the lot got new owners. Who put in a chain across the opening totally blocking anyone from parking in there. Actually, one of my co-workers got locked in the lot!! Her husband came with a crow bar or something and busted her out!!!! Crazy. Not gonna park there! 

So, for several days I parked on the street and feed the parking meter money. But you can only be in the same spot for two hours, then you have to move to a different spot or risk getting a ticket. 

After doing that for several days, I gave up and started to park two and half blocks away at one of the large parking garages owned by a casino. 

So...yea...looks like I spend my days at a casino. 

I've actually enjoy the short walk....of course, I wonder how much I'll enjoy it when the weather turns colds. And rainy. 

 I get to see all sorts of things on my short downtown walk. Like this relic from the past. It's missing a few pieces...and looking a little worn and tired. 




Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My Empty Driveway

Tonight my driveway is empty....for the last month my driveway had a nice blue car parked there. But today was the day for William to return to college for his second year. 

I think he was excited....but William doesn't show much emotion unless it's anxiety....or irritation at me. 

One thing we both were upset with is we learned the "friend" that asked him to be his roommate  decided to get an off-campus apartment.  And didn't tell him until William text today...as we were moving in... I felt bad for William.  

But praying that he'll find new friends and even build stronger ties to the people he met last year.

His dorm room this year is in close to his old building- pretty central to everything.  I did get to meet two of the three new roommates.  These two are older, but seemed nice.

May he have another great year.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Books, Books, Books!

This summer I have taken a dive in the reading.  In June I came across a new author at my library, Karen E Olson.  I ended up reading her books in reverse order. At the library I found her newest books, Hidden and Shadow. This new series of her is about a computer hacker.  They are very good!!  Then I read her second series about a tattoo artist in  Las Vegas that has a knack for stumbling into murder scenes. I again found this series very entertaining.   I didn't really know a lot about the tattoo world, since I don't have any tattoos or any plans to get one. So, a look into this world  was interesting.  Then I read first series Olson wrote.  Well...hmm...yea.  Not as good as the two newer ones. It was about a forty year old single women who was a newspaper reporter.  I read the first book, but really didn't like the language, but thought it was get better. It didn't.  I started the second book of the series, but within a few pages the language was just as bad.  So, I didn't complete the book nor started the third of the series.

I know myself.  I don't want to say  cuss words, but I know myself.  If I hear them in tv shows or read them in books, they get in my head. If they are in my head, then they WILL come out in my mouth! Because of this, I really try to avoid books and shows with bad language.  Just not worth it .

This summer I have, also, read the Bible through with an on-line group. We started June 1 and finished by the end of August. Yep! That's fast.  We didn't stop and get bogged down by the parts that we didn't totally understand.  We wanted to get the over-arching story of God's redemption plan. This is the fastest I have read through the Bible.  It took about 30-45 minutes every day.  Most days I did my reading in the morning, but there were a few days where I had to read a little at a time through out the day.

In the past week or so I have read a series by Susan May Warren - her Deep Haven series. I found that I read two of the books in the past.  Each of these books can stand on their own in that they don't give away too much of the other story lines. I really think she wrote better as the series went along.  My favorite books were the books 4 (My Foolish Heart), 5 (The Shadow of Your Smile) and 6 (You Don't Know Me).  I had read book 6 several years ago and just realized that it went with this series. (Book 2 Tying the Knot was the other book I had read before.) Warren is a Christian writer and in each of these books, the characters dealt with issues of faith.

Last week I also read the first in a series by Ronie Kendig, also, a Christian writer. This series has military members as a theme. I waiting for the second book to be available through my library.  While the book (Digitalis) was enjoyable, there were a few parts that were just not realistic. Entertaining, but not realistic....sort of like some of the James Bond or Jason Borne movies that are out in the theaters now.

All of this reading means that I have not watched a lot of tv....mainly because, there's not a lot of good new stuff on the tv during the summer.  Also, this summer I worked on a photo album project and a quilt that's almost done. I try to quilt at least an hour most days.  The quilt I working on now just needs the binding added....so...it should be done this week....hopefully....unless I find more books to read!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bonus Year

This is my Bonus Year with Melissa.  Most of the kids in her preschool class (at church b/c she didn't really go to real preschool) are going off to college this fall.  At that time we were living in Virginia the cut-off date for entering school was Melissa's birthday.  I never wanted her to be the youngest in her class. 

I did toy with the idea of letting her go to kindergarten that year, then have her re-do kinder the next year in our new location after we moved.  But the school district that year made kindergarten full day in stead of half day. She just wasn't ready to be gone all day. And neither was her momma. So, that year she and Ben went to a  little mom's day out once a week and played with me the rest of the time. It was a good year.

Now, here, we are just a few weeks before her eighteenth birthday and starting her senior year while other long time friends go off to college.  But I am so okay with that.  I have never doubted the decision to wait to start school...she just needed more time...there really was no rush. 

She has really thrived over the years being the oldest instead of the youngest in her class. And I think having those extra months in age and maturity has helped her as we have moved every few years. 

This senior year she planned to do some great things...but already some thing did not work out.  She has really enjoyed being on student council in high school, but she found out tonight she lost the election and would not be student body vice president.  Nor would she be a representative either....sadly.  The school changed the teacher sponsors and they changed how a few things worked.  In the past if you lost the election, then you could be a class representative. But this year this is one of the rule they new teachers have changed. If you lose your election, then you out of luck - and will have no part of stu-co - even if you had in the past , even if you had already put in several volunteer hours for different things.

Melissa was oh-so disappointed. I'm sure she'll find other things to fill her time....but right now it's feeling a little raw.   I am looking forward to seeing what my "bonus year" will bring her way....I have no doubt that the Lord has a great year planned her for.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Heavy Heart

Life is such a roller-coaster at times. In the last week or so we have rejoiced as deployments have ended for friends and with a family as they finally were able to meet their new son through adoption. But tonight I  have such a heavy heart tonight as I see friends walking the road of loss. 

Some are facing divorce ...a few totally blindsided....others by mutual agreements....some just tried of fighting to be their spouses one and only.... Each couple have such a different story, but each has heartache. All have children...I wonder the effects that will visit each of these.

Some friends are facing the loss of a parent in the near future...others dealing with ill children. 

Then I look at the news headlines. So depressing. I don't think CNN had one positive story in their news feed tonight. 

Good thing we have been told how the story ends...I know good is in the future. But at these times I think the only thing to say is "come, Lord Jesus, come." 


Friday, August 19, 2016

This and That

Today ends the second week of school and so far both are doing well. Melissa will have an easy senior year with her only hard class is AP English. She is taking a class at the local Vo-Tech that involves learning business and life skills such as writing a resume.  The rest of the day she has a job working at the middle school office.  And is very happy!!  Next semester she'll have a typing class, so it'll get even easier!

Benjamin on the other hand has a tough load this year. Right now he has pre-AP English, Trig, pre-AP Biology, and Spanish 1.  After meeting his teachers, we decided he probably won't learn anything in Spanish...yea....that teacher is not a winner...  But we did like his other three teachers.  His English teacher is one the other two have had and we just love her! She goes to our church and is in charge of the spring school play. Ben will be learning in there!  His biology teacher goes to our church as well and we think a lot of her and her family. I have had two of her kids in my new believer's class at church.  Of course, being an Ole Miss Alumni helps!  His trig teacher is a Cajun - full-on accent and everything! He's new to the school, but seems to know his math....just hoping he'll be able to pass on that math knowledge in a way Benjamin can understand.

William right now is in a computer/video marathon.... Recovering from his six weeks of being a camp counselor (and computer/video-less)  He really seemed to have enjoyed his time at the camp. He's opened to doing it again next summer, but hasn't made up his mind.  Drew and I would like him to work the full 12 weeks of summer or get an internship in his field of study. He has awhile before he has to decide.  He moves back to school Labor Day...he'll be ready to get back into a normal routine, I'm sure.

The rain...yea....we're getting lots of it!  So far around our house and area, the rain  hasn't caused any flooding.  Of course, in the south part of the state, that's not the story. Yesterday we got a really bad storm and lots and lots of water! The ditches on our street were near full, we had a nice moat around the house (again) and one neighbor's driveway was covered in about 6-8 inches of water. But when the rain slowed down and then stopped, the water drained into the nearby lake without causing any issues. It looks like rain will continue on and off until Tuesday....hopefully, we'll see the sun again before then.

Work for Drew and I both is going well. Both of us are getting some projects done and off our desks.  Last week Drew was working in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  I sneaked off and stay over with him for two nights. We were able to catch up with one of his brothers and a friend from college.  As much as I love my children, it's nice to just be Kelley and Drew for a few hours instead of Mom and Dad.  He'll be off again next week - this time to DC....wish I could join him there! I did so enjoy my time in DC last month....just wished it could have been longer and had been able to see a few more friends in the area.

We do have few trips planned for this fall....trying to get a few football games in, but not sure if Ole Miss will be in the mix...the calendar is already getting full.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Adding Character

Several years ago when William was learning to drive, he backed into a lamppost late one night on our way to DC for Thanksgiving. I was not very happy with him to say the least. He just calmly said, 'Mom, I was just adding character to your van' 

Hmmmm. Yea. I could do without that. 

Thankfully, my father-in-law was able to show the boy how to get the mark of black paint off my van. And somehow, I survived him and Melissa learning to drive. 

And now it's Benjamin's turn. For the first few months I just refused to ride with him. My nerves just couldn't handle it. So, Drew took over the teaching. As with the others he is getting better every time he drives. 

Yesterday Benjamin and I had several errands to do to prepare for school starting on Monday. I knew he had not driven in well over a week, so I made him my chauffeur. 



Overall, he did well. I did make him let me drive at one point because he needed to back out of a tight spot at a strip mall. With a large truck on one side and an SUV on the other and not a lot of room behind us, I just didn't trust him to back out without hitting something. 

I think it hurt his feelings....oh. Well. Better than hurting another car!

Then we headed home. And he drove into our garage. And was looking at the wrong corner of the car. I yelled, "You're gonna hit the house! STOP!"

Too late. 


  But today he learned how to sand and repaint wood. And those marks on the front of the van? Not paint like his brother added. On, no. Not that easy. That's the metal under the paint. We'll be painting that soon as well. 

I guess now we're adding character to Benjamin. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Summer Happenings....

One of the things we have each summer is soccer workouts - "conditioning".  While there's not a soccer ball around, it's usually pretty brutal...weights...running... lots of each.  I'm so glad it's not me!

After the second day I asked Benjamin how it was, he replied it was better than yesterday.  I asked why was that?

He responded that he took both his asthma meds.

Really?  Hmmmm  What a great idea!

I said, "Ok....let's hear it: Mom, you were right."

Benjamin looked at me and said, "Mom, you were right....this time."

Oh, that boy!

___________

Melissa was one of two girls to represent her school at Girl's State.  She was so very thrilled! She had been worked very hard to be in position to be one of the ones that got to attend. Over all, I think she had a good time.  She made some new friends.  But I do think she and the other girl from here were very surprised at how secular some things were and how mean some other girls were.

They had to sing chats through out the week.  A few were done at in the closing ceremony and I was not really thrilled about them. One was done in honor of the dance which was the only time the boys of Boy's State and the girls were allowed to talk and mingle.  The chant talked about being unhappy that they were all "cold sober". Hmmmmm.....hello! These are 16 and 17 years old!!  Why encourage alcohol drinking at this age???!!!

In Girl's State they practice government.  Melissa was a district attorney and even had to try a case. Now, the case was silly.  It seemed some one stepped on a crack and did in fact break her mother's back.  (As I said, silly! But it gave the girls a sense of how trials work.) Melissa talked about how some of the judges were just down right mean.  So mean, that they had to be told to stop by the counselors.   Melissa was not use to that! 

But as I said, I think she had a good time over all.

_________

Both Melissa and Benjamin went to youth camp with our church. Both had a good time - as usual!  The speaker/preacher turned out to be a former Ole Miss football player. Melissa did get a chance to tell him she was planning to attend Ole Miss.

The last day of the youth trip, they spent the day white water rafting.  I think they had a blast! Which proves that have lots of their daddy in them!

____________

Last week we put Benjamin in a soccer camp.  There might have been a slight miscommunication between Benjamin and I....He knew he had camp...and just never asked about the details....I knew the camp was all day...and just never thought to tell Benjamin that it was all day...  Imagine his surprise when at lunch time he didn't go home...but continued to play soccer...in 100 degree heat....

Ben's not usually very animated....well....yeah....he was VERY ANIMATED! "Mom!! I could have died!! It's hot. I thought this was three hours - MOM, IT'S SIX HOURS!! SIX HOURS!!"

I was a bad mom and just laughed. 

I'm happy to say that he did in fact, not die.  But did do a lot of soccer. Hopefully, we'll see some results this fall during soccer season.



Okay - that's a few of the things going on this summer....which is close to an end.... School starts August 8.


Oh - William.... yes, I do have that other child.  He is in Texas working. We have heard from him once....I thin he's called his sister more.... Which is par for the course with William...

Thursday, June 30, 2016

My Yesterday

My yesterday actually started the night before as we were leaving for soccer and William's car would not start. Dead.  As a door nail, as we say in the South.  The remote wouldn't even unlock the car.

So.  We moved all the soccer gear to my van and off we went. On our way William called his dad - whom, of course, is out of town.  Of course, he is.  Something breaks is a sure sign of that.  Anyway. He and his father had a long conversation. When he got off the phone, William said, yeah, he said we should jump it and take it to the dealership. I said that was an awfully long conversation. William said "I just shorted it to the important stuff."

Remember that as I go on....

So, we got up Wednesday and went about my original plan: deep clean the house with free manpower: my two fully-able-body teenage boys.

Can you feel their excitement??  I'm sure they are now planning for jobs that pay enough to hire a housekeeper.

Yes, they complained.  Yes, they grumbled. And yes, they probably did not clean as well as I would have liked, BUT! getting at least one layer of dirt off the baseboards, crown-molding, ceiling fans, is better than nothing.  And I didn't have to do it my self.

I did other cleanings....scrubbed the kitchen, laundry, floors... Sadly, even after we cleaned for several hours and were very tired, I could still see things that needed to be done.  But we'll just have to wait another day.  It was after lunch and we needed to still deal with William's car.

Since it's a hybrid, things like the battery work differently.  So, we pulled the book out and read how to jump it off.  I texted my friend with the jumper cables to come on over. 

About that time William said something about weren't we to call Toyota??  Maybe set up an appointment??  I was like....no.....they can just work us in...it's just a battery. I'm sure they do this all the time.

Then Drew called.  Yea....apparently, he and William talked more details that William told me.  (Are you surprised? I'm not.) 

Backstory: About a month ago we took William's car in for normal stuff like oil change.  And here's where the communication failed.  I remember the discussion being that the hybrid battery was low and would need replacing at some point soon and it was 3K. ouch! So, we would wait.  The boys remember the story as the regular battery was low and they didn't have one in stock and so, we couldn't take care of it and so, we would just wait. 

Which is why Drew told William last night to call Toyota BEFORE we took it in to see if they had one in stock and if not, then order one.

All that was not told to me.  ME - the one  was talking care of all the details.

So, I texted my friend NOT to come over, I called Toyota - and was put on hold.  Then it took hours for someone to call me back.  But they did have one in stock and we could come on down.

But of course, its not that easy.

We did get my friend to come over with the jumper cables....it took longer than normal, but we got the car started and drove it to the dealership..

Who acted like they had no idea why I was there.

Urrggggg..

Lessons of the day:  Bad teenage cleaners are better than no cleaners.  Always, ALWAYS get the details from the husband....not the teenage boy.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Lazy Weekend

I love lazy mornings... and very glad today is one of them. Not much has happened this week...I did get a few things done, but with a few migraines, I read more than being productive at cleaning my house or working on a new quilt (that I have cut out, but have not had the motivation to start to lay out and piece together.) I even had the time off from work, since summer is a slow time for us.

I did come across a few new authors and have read them this week: Lisa Phillips and Karen E Olson.  Both write mysteries...and I enjoyed both.  The Olson book had a smattering of bad language, but not so much that I gave up on it. I'm looking forward to finding more from both at my library.

Today's main goal is to get Melissa ready for camp that starts tomorrow.  She has some scholarship opportunities through this camp and her and Drew will be finalizing those applications today.  She's a pretty good writer, but her dad? He's GREAT at editing things.

And tonight's main goal??? To make it to the James Taylor concert on time!!!  Should be a very entertaining concert!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Father's Day Weekend

We were able to spend this past weekend with Drew's family.  Christmas was the last time the kids and I were able to visit. It was nice seeing the new house my in-laws now have.  It's perfect for them!  

We were able to get a few chores done for them (ok - to be honest I did not really do any chores...but a few of my sister-in-laws did and Drew and the boys did....Melissa and I got some shopping in...). Also, we got a few morning walks in and were able to watch the sun set over the Mississippi - both are favorite past times in Natchez!

We ended the weekend on a sad note as we attended a funeral for a beloved uncle. It was so nice to see so many of the extended family, but hated that it was at a funeral.  But Uncle George lived a long and happy life....we're trying to focus on that.

One of the funnier moments of the weekend actually happened before we left town.  I had the kids give Drew his father's day gifts before we left so we wouldn't have to keep up with them.  All the kids are very un-inspired when it comes to gifts: they all gave him chocolate.  But, at least, he shares with me!  The funny moment was when we read the card the kids gave him.  William signed his first  - AND LAST NAME!! As if there was another son named William?? And while Benjamin didn't write his last name, he did put his last initial.  Once again, as if there was another son named Benjamin.

Who knows what these boys are thinking!!  (And maybe perhaps even funnier - this is not the first time William has signed a card to one of his parents this way!!)





Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Few Pictures From Our Weekend Away

I love driving out of Louisiana and into Arkansas. Where Louisiana is flat and boring, Arkansas is hilly and beautiful. Or at least to me.  I love when we can go - even if it just a long weekend like we did this part weekend.  Here's a few pictures....

For Melissa the weekend was all about taking good pics to post on Instagram.

 
Hiking...look at all those beautiful trees!!

 
St. Anthony's Chapel....absolutely beautiful! Wish I could attend a service here....

Taking a selfie with all the family.

Our new hobby..."escape rooms"....you have to solve puzzles within the allotted time in order to "win" and get out of the room.  What a blast!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Things That Make You Say WHAT?????

Today Melissa was searching for some kind of special green tea. She's on a health kick. So, she called around and our local health food store had some.  When she returned home, she was laughing.  Apparently, this week they are celebrating their anniversary by giving away free samples of products to customers.  Here's what they gave Melissa....who is obviously a teenager....







Sunday, May 29, 2016

Solving Problems

Late Thursday William made it home from his week at orientation at the camp he'll be working at later this summer. Over the weekend I was doing some of his laundry and saw some underwear that I didn't recognized.  When I asked  him about it, he said, "Yeah, I bought them."

"Why? I thought you had plenty."

Him: "Well, I didn't have enough to last me a full two weeks until I did laundry."

Me: "But you could have just done laundry early....."


Him: "Nah..."

Like other males in my family, he bought new instead of cleaning.

Problem solved.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Conversations with Melissa

Last Friday Melissa had a doctor's appointment for a physical for a summer camp she's attending this year.  As we were getting out of the car, she tried to give me her military ID - which is required for her to be seen at our base clinic.

I said, "No, you keep it. You need to go up to the desk and show them your ID and say you have an appointment at 9:20."

Her: "Mommmm, quite making me do adult things!"


Nope.  Never.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Conversations with Benjamin

Me (last week): Hey, Ben - next Tuesday night you're going with me to Melissa's graduation from BYL (a youth leadership program she was selected to participate in this school year).

Benjamin: Ok

Me: Then on Thursday you'll go with me to her Ring Ding.

Benjamin: NO!! Not Ring Ding!! Why do I have to go!!?

Me: Because Dad's leaving town and I don't want to go by myself!

Benjamin: Then take William!!

Me: He's at college. 

Benjamin: But I don't want to go!!!

Me: Well, neither do I and I'm not suffering alone! You're going. 

Benjamin: urggggg

Such are normal conversations around here. The ceremony tonight was nice - even came with a dinner (picture below ....would have been more pictures but my phone died shortly after we got there & when I picked up to use my real camera I realized Melissa forgot to put the memory card back in it.)

Hopefully, we'll survive Ring Ding on Thursday. 

We never heard of Ring Ding until we moved here. All the kids declared it as stupid. But Miss Social Butterfly doesn't want to miss an opportunity to dress up and see friends. So. We're going...it is intetesting how Drew plans his trips....and misses some of this 'fun'. 





Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My Boys

My youngest got his driver's permit today. If there was any doubt before, there's none now: he's a baby no longer. 

Shortly after we got home he was on Sykpe telling his big brother all about it. (I LOVE that they are so close!) While Ben was talking to William he realized there was a mistake on his permit. They said he has blue eyes instead of green. 

Then he said, "I wish I had blue eyes."

Me: "Really?? You don't like your green eyes!???"

Ben: "But blue is my favorite color."

Of course. That makes perfect sense. 

Then through Skype William adds, "But at least your eyes aren't boring brown like mine."

And you thought only girls think of these things. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Typical Morning Conversation

As Melissa and Benjamin are walking out the door I hear: "We're leaving!!!"

My answer: "Okay! Have a good day! I love you!!!"

Their answer:


Yep. Crickets...well, after the door slams.  Have I mentioned that my children are NOT morning people???

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Comversations From Benjamin

On the way home from an after school study session, I noticed that Ben wore shorts to school yesterday.  A sure sign that summer is coming. I can't remember what comment I said, but I do remember what Ben said.   He informed me that he wasn't going to wear shorts to school again!  Apparently, too many people made comments on how skinny his legs are. 

Believe me. They are skinny...but I think they are cute!

So, I said, "But they are cute! Besides they look sort like your dad's and I think his are cute, too.
Ben's response? "Mom, you can't say those things to me!"

"What? Why not? I think everything about you is cute...well...except the surly attitude. That's not cute."

He just shock his head.

Later as we were getting ready for dinner I leaned my head on Drew's shoulder as I was waiting for him to finish using the ice dispenser on the refrigerator so I could get some water from. As I had me head on his shoulder I kiss him - after all Drew is my husband! 

But Ben saw it, "MOM! Stop!! NO PDA!!! You can't do that around me!"

Really?  Of course, his indignation just makes me want to show more PDA....just to see him get all embarrasses. (#badmom)

Monday, March 28, 2016

What Am I?

My parents came over this weekend for a short visit. Saturday we went out to eat. Melissa sat down across the table from my father. He looked at her and said, "That's where my wife sits."

Melissa said, "What am I? I'm your granddaughter.  She can sit next to me."

We all laughed! Dad wasn't too happy. But he got over it.  This is just normal George...since his stroke he has become so reliant on Mom. At times we try to give her space - even if it's just a chair over.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

What Do You Hear??

I thought I said, "I'm baking bread." 

Probably what I saw: "I'm bakin' bread."

What the kids heard when they asked what I was doing: "Bacon bread."

Needless to say, when they realized there was no bacon involved they were highly disappointed! 

But still took a bite of the bread. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Good and the Ugly

Another quilt done!


The Good:  I love the elephant! This was my first time using a technique called 'paper piecing'. It took a little while before I got comfortable with it, but when I did I enjoyed it.  I would use it again! I don't think that elephant could get any cuter!! 

The Ugly: puckers. (Deep sigh...) the gray was left over from my owl quilt and I forgot that I had cut this fabric in the bias- which means it stretches. A lot! But I totally remembered when I put the borders on...and saw all the puckers.  Frustrating. Oh, well. It's done. 

With this elephant pattern as well as my owl quilt, I feel in love with the pattern first. But sometimes it's the fabric that inspires me. I have some beautiful gray fabric with pink flowers that reminds me of Japan. I'm not sure what exactly I want to do with it....I bought two yards - which is enough to be a focal point of a quilt. While I think about it, I'll do another scrappy quilt....as I'm always trying to keep a handle on how much fabric I have...really don't want to be a hoarder of fabric! 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Oh, The Love

Wednesday William had his wisdom teeth taken out.  All four wisdom teeth.

Let's just all say, "ouch" now!

I was lucky enough that none of my wisdom teeth had roots, so I never needed mine out. So, I had no idea what to except with William's surgery.  Thankfully, it all went well.  It was pretty fast  - less than an  hour.  Afterwards at home, as long as we keep giving him the pain meds, he was fine.  He did sleep a few hours right when we came home, but stayed up the rest of the day as well as all day on Thursday.

When Melissa and Ben came home from school,  they both asked, "How's William??"

Then they wanted to know if we got any funny video of him being loopy on all the medication. When I said no, they were HIGHLY disappointed!

Sibling love....gotta love it!

Friday, February 19, 2016

When Bourbon Street Has a Baby...

South Beach Miami....this is what happens when Bourbon Street and Latin America has a baby... just call her Trashy. 

Yes, I was surprised.  I know.  Even Benjamin was like "Mom? Really?  It's SOUTH BEACH!!"

But yea.  Not really what I was excepting.  Not sure why...probably too much "Million Dollar Real Estate" watching for me, I guess.

But Key West?  Loved it.  Would go back there again.

Miami?  No, not really....would pass on that.

But I did enjoy myself!  I'm glad we went.

So. Why exactly was I surprised about??  I guess it was how the sidewalk restaurants were set up. Any other time I have seen tables outside a restaurant they were on a sidewalk but next to the restaurant.  In South Beach there were also tables between where you walk and the street. It made it seem like you were walking right through the restaurant.  We even had to dodge the servers with their trays of food. At times you had to stop to let the servers or others pass and it was like you were joining the costumers during their meals.

And the hosts??  Most of them were in your face asking if you wanted a table for two or telling you what was on the menu. Sensory overload for me, I guess. (And I could really have done without the two guys offering us cocaine...and yes. We did PASS on that offer! We just kept walking - fast!!)

And the size of some drinks we saw...wow.  Why? Seriously? Does a table of two really need a gallon of alcohol?? Just another sign of America having to have the biggest, I guess.  But when you see a girl with her head on the table and half the drink gone, you have to wonder if she's really having fun.

One of the funniest sights for me though was one of the bouncers. This particular restaurant at one point had a  host/bouncer stand at either end of their part of the sidewalk to block traffic so a "lady"  (aka: drag queen) could perform.  One of the bouncers just stood there with his head in down and he was rubbing his forehead with his hand - it was like he was saying to himself, "How did I get here?"  It just struck me as funny.

As I said earlier, we loved Key West - There were several things we didn't get to do due to time, so I would love to go back.  But not drive there....While the drive between Miami and Key West was beautiful, its a drive you really only need to do once.  Two lanes....slow drivers....yea... just once, please.

Over the long weekend, we had some great food! That did not disappoint!  The weather was just so-so....a few nice days, but also a day of rain.

We did one of those bus tours on the open top bus.  We've done several of these through-out our travels, but this is the first time we were unhappy.  The tour guides were just not that good...maybe too young?  Or maybe Miami just has a boring history??  But once again - the bus tour of Key West was very enjoyable!

Overall, it was  a great way to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary! 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Movies of the Holiday Season

A little late....but it seems I have a terrible time getting a turn on the lap top these days....  BUT! Over the holidays Drew and I saw several movies....

1. Spectre with the famous 007 James Bond.  I have seen all the James Bond movies, I think. Grow up seeing them with my mom.  But walking out of this one, I told Drew I didn't need to see anymore.  I'm done. 

2. Star Wars - yep - remember seeing the original ones in the theaters as a child as well with my brother and cousin.  Surprisingly, I like this one.  The humor was very spot on! I liked how the old characters returned and I liked the new faces.  Very well done.

3. Hungry Games: Mockingjay Part 2 -  I read the book - several years ago.  Overall, I liked this movie...this third book was my least favorite of the three, but the movie was well done.  I liked the ending....giving us a glimpse of where the characters end-up in the future.

4. Bridges of Spies - My favorite movie in this bunch! The story is a trade between the US and Russia over spies based on a true story.  Really well done...should be enjoyable for a wide range of ages.

As I look at the list of movies in theaters this week, I see nothing that I want to see...maybe we can find something on the DVR....or I'll just grab a book to read!  You know I always have a one around that I want to read!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

More of Benjamin


As I was explaining to Ben & Drew the four types of personality a speaker spoke about, I said that one type was called a Mary Jane. 

Ben got a confused look on his face and said, "That's not good...after a dead person?"

What do you mean??

"Wait...what do you call a dead female that you don't know her name?"


That's a Jane Doe. 

"Oh. Okay. Mary Jane's okay then." 


Yea....

Monday, January 25, 2016

Books So Far in 2016

So far in 2016 I have read six books.  As I said this year I want to re-read some children classics. I have read the first two in the Narnia Chronicles.  And enjoyed both.  I had forgotten some of the details over the years. 

I have also read a series of three by Lynette Eason called Deadly Reunions. 1: When the Smoke Clears 2: When A Heart Stops 3: When a Secret Kills.  I enjoyed how the author wove the on going story through-out the series.  All were on the light side...an easy read, if you will.  While they are under "Christian Lit", I will say they are not overly Christian.  Lots of references to praying, or "God", but not evangelical at all.  And no sex scene at all! Which is very nice  I know what goes on in the bedroom - I don't need a play-by-play!

The book I finished this weekend is called Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I only read this book because a friend asked me to - several times! She first gave me the book back in the summer. I tried to read it, but just couldn't get into it.  When I tried to give it back, she said - "no! I really want you to read it so we can talk about it!!'

Ok.  Fine. 

So, I forced myself to read it.  It's heavy on descriptive narratives to tell the story (what little story there it - it's mostly these non connecting stories)....very little dialogue. The story is told by an older man who is at the end of his life and wants to make sure his young son knows certain things about him and the town they live it.  The old man - a preacher - tells stories about his own family, the town they live in and the son of the preacher's best friend.  It seemed to be it wasn't until the end of the book that you learn the story behind this son of the friend. 

It just had too many descriptive narratives for my taste....yes, there were some beautiful sayings, but I won't be reading the companion book that tells the full story from this friend's son. I'll be skipping that one...and just go back to my children's classic or my light fiction....or maybe even a memoir....haven't read one of those yet this year....or one of the Christian theology/living books that's on my nightstand...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Grilled Oysters, King Cake, Friend and William

Drew and I got a craving for grilled oysters.  It's one of the dishes we love getting when we're are in New Orleans. Drew called around here in town and found a place to buy them fresh by the bag. 

Next item was to find friends to help us eat them. Our good friends, Tim and Tricia were on board...until soccer wrecked my schedule and we had to change nights...to a night Tricia had to work. 

So, we asked several other friends, but they turned their noses up at oysters. But two couples - one from Drew's work & one from church - decided they were up for some. The couple from work use to live down on the coast and not only liked oysters, but the husband was an expert at shucking them - yea!! And in the end we needed that help!! Takes awhile to shuck a bag!

The other couple had never had oysters before, but were brave in helping  shuck and at eating them. They are now believers! 

And the King cake? Oh, so, yummy!! This one was strawberry and it had slices of fresh strawberries in the jelly filling. I'm hoping there's more of them for me in the festival season. 

But the best part of the evening?? A visit from William. It was so nice to see him. Of course, he was really just in the house because of the oysters. But still. A nice visit! 


Monday, January 11, 2016

A Benjamin Story

Benjamin has a bad habit of losing things....books, his wallet, his kindle, lunch box... Most of the time he doesn't realize he's lost the item for days. 

The other day I told him he had an eye doctor appointment latter in the month. He said, "That's good 'cause I don't know where my glasses are."  

Great.... So, I rescheduled the appointment for today. Hopefully, the new glasses won't take the full two weeks to come in. 

Of course, that's not all he's lost in the last few days. We're currently looking for the house key he misplaced as well... Lovely. 

Books 2016

Book one of Narnia done...on to the book two 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A William Holiday Season Story

William loves eating poptarts for breakfast...which his sister knows....and decided to hook him up for the rest of the quarter semester. As you can tell from his big smile, he loved his gift! Isn't great when you get the perfect gift???



The funny thing is I was going through some old papers and found an old picture of William....eating a poptart! Guess some things you never out grow. 



Another Holiday Story



This is Matt & Mo, our nighbors. They moved in the past summer and we have so enjoyed getting to know them!  Matt works for Allstate who was the sponsor for the Sugar Bowl. It was great fun seeing them at the parade as well as getting to share dinner with them before the game. Mo, Tennessee girl at heart, is learning to love some good Louisiana food - she ordered cheese & grits - and loved it!! We'll make her a Louisiana girl yet! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Another Holiday Season Story



This is a picture of one of many steet entertainers we saw on Bourbon Street & French Quarters during our New Orleans trip for the Sugar Bowl. 

Yes, I took my teens to Bourbon Street. After dark. On New Year's Eve. 

I know some would criticize that decision. Obviously, I disagree. My kids have been on Bourbon street before - probably never after dark though. But Drew and I both wanted to go. And besides: if I'm with them the first time, I can comment and help them process all they saw. Now the mystery is gone....I don't think it'll now hold the allure that some have of this grand place. Besides, we were back in our hotel room by 8:30 - well before things got too crazy. 

So. We saw lots of musicians...really wish it had been warm enough for us to find a place to sit to enjoy the music. Also, we saw people dressed in all sorts of ways...from wearing their team's colors to formal dress (as it was New Year's Eve!).  We, also, saw others dressed ...well....interesting is the only word that comes to mind. To be honest there was one person I couldn't tell the gender... Drew said I should have looked closer....but it was a..hmmm...'plump' person in a bikini and I really didn't need THAT cluttering up my mind. 

There was a person in a Minion costume, Star Wars' Storm-trooper, and Chi-baca. 

But on the way back to our hotel things got interesting... Melissa and I popped into a McDonald's to use the bathroom. Drew and William stayed outside to wait for us....and got to see a drug bust. 

Drew thought it was over meth. 

Well now. That's something we don't see everyday!

Then. The next night. We were walking to the Super-Dome for the Sugar Bowl... William was leading us and got hugged by a drunk (or high) guy asking if William had a 'cig' and wanted to know what drugs he had. 

William asked, 'I got nothing, man'. (Which is the ONLY correct answer when your family is with you!) 

There was a police officer following this guy and quickly told him to 'leave these good people alone and move on'.  It all happened so fast! Too fast for any of us to really say or do anything. The guy moved on....and so did we!

The irony is Drew has his gun with him most of the time he travels. Not this night. But in the end we got to the Dome safe and sound. 

Yep, my kids got the full New Orleans  experience.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Best Books from 2015

My reading goal for 2015 was to read twice as much non-fiction as fiction. And I did!  I read a total of 76 books, 53 non-fiction and 23 fiction. (Yes, I read fast. Yes, I love to read. Yes, you make time for what you really want to do! And I really enjoy reading!)

Here are some of the best:

Non-fiction:
The Bible...of course, I think it's the best book! And I really did read it through twice in 2015.  The first time was with my everyday translation, The Holman - pretty much beginning to end, but did skip around a little. The second time I read it through I use the Message and I read chronologically. 

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Outliers - by Malcolm Gladwell
Women of the Word by JennWilkin
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nebeel Qureshi
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
The Billion Dollar Spy by David E Hoffman
How Dante Can Save Your Life by Rod Dreher
7 Men and Their Secret of Greatness by Eric Mataxas

Fiction:
Two really stood out to me this year:
The Martian by Andy Wier - and I enjoyed the movie...I mainly read it because of the movie version. I'm very glad I did!! I will give a warning though: the language is salty!!! Like a sailor!! But not in a vulgar way...sadly, the main character spoke like many people do today. But the amount of science in this fiction book? Amazing!  My whole family enjoyed the movie as well....might even try to see it again.
The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah  - she is probably the top fiction author for me.  I think I have read everything she has published and have enjoyed each one. This one to me is her best work.  This would make a GREAT movie as well!

For 2016:
In looking ahead to this New Year one of my reading goals is to re-read some children classics. I'm looking forward to diving back into The Narnia Chronicles as well as The Borrowers. I, also, have my eye on some of Madeleine L'Engle books.  Some of these I read as a child and others I read with or to my children. I think it'll be refreshing to re-read these classics. I'm, also, looking into reading a few books that will be released as movies this year. (And yes, I know.  The book is always better!)

What did YOU read in 2015??  What do you want to read in 2016???