Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Day Fun!

Christmas Day started by joining Trilby, Mike, & boys for Mass in Williamsburg.  Hopefully next year we can get the rest of them to join us.  There is nothing like going to Mass with the whole family.  All of the kids and their families were here to celebrate together.
Trilby, Mike, Payton, Cael, & Nate were here.  
(Nate is VERY uncooperative with picture taking lately!)
Travis, Kerry, & Chance were here.
Tasha, Kyle, & Clara were here.
Trina, Tanner, & Grayson were here.
We ate lunch, cleaned up, then opened gifts. 
We opened gifts youngest to oldest(grandchildren).  Nate enjoyed opening his gifts then setting them aside to wait for the next one.  Cael is opening his gift while Nate waits patiently calmly soberly for his next turn!
Chance enjoyed dessert.

Payton played with his DS. :(
Grayson made funny faces!
And Clara looked adorable in her Christmas dress.
We had a great Christmas!  How about you???

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December Recap Continued

We left for Texas on December 17th.  We drove as far as Wichita where we spent the night. We're just too tired to drive straight through after working all day anymore!!  We got to Dalhart about 1:00.  After saying hi to everyone and changing our clothes we went to Mass and then to my brother's company Christmas party.  One reason we went was so Bud could be Santa at Marybell's.  (Don't know what Marybell's is?  Go here.)  Bud enjoys filling in for Santa and decided to grow his own beard and hair this year.  Well, he did get some looks and comments on our way to Texas, but the best was the little girl in church who was POSITIVE Santa was there.  As we went to communion she was poking her mom saying, "It's Santa, it's Santa!" (I am happy that the beard and hair are gone as of last night!!)

Sunday was Marybell's Christmas.  People began lining up as early as 9:30 a.m. even though the starting time was 2:00p.m.  Approximately 775 toys were given out to children from 0-12 years old.  They got bicycles, trampolines, dolls, kitchens, trucks, scooters, basketball hoops, game tables, etc.  Each child above the age of 3 goes to choose his/her own gift.  Santa had a few words to say and then he mingled and visited with kids and parents.  The Christmas Story was told in English and Spanish, and a band played Christmas songs.  Cookies, hot chocolate, cheese, and chocolate milk were provided.  I took tickets from kids and made sure they went without parents to choose their toy.

After Marybell's we went to the local nursing home where we passed out stockings stuffed with socks, lotions, and other things.  They LOVED Santa.  This lady was adamant about getting her picture taken with Santa.
 She said it was the closest she had been to him in 90 years!
Our family members that worked at Marybell's.
We left for home early Tuesday morning and drove straight through.  I spent Wednesday at the hospital with my sister and brother-in-law as he was admitted on Tuesday.  As soon as he was released Wednesday night we headed to Wal-Mart to finish Christmas shopping and buy groceries.  We got home about midnight and collapsed.  Thursday I wrapped packages all day as Bud cleaned and made party mix.  Then it was Christmas!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December Recap

I know my postings have been few and far between this month.  It has been a busy/strange month.  I wasn't feeling well before Thanksgiving and ended up with sinus infection over Thanksgiving break.  Then I had to report for jury duty.  November 30th and December 1st we spent selecting a jury, and sure enough I was chosen along with two of my colleagues and a secretary in our district.  We started the trial Wednesday afternoon. The trial was for a woman charged with involuntary manslaughter and five other counts of theft, adult abuse, neglect, etc. (To read a little about the trial go here.)Thursday was a hard day, but I felt like I was taking things in stride and looking at things scientifically without getting too emotional.  Friday morning I woke up an emotional wreck and had a tough day.  Each day we were in court left me exhausted!  By the time I went to school to do lesson plans after being at the courthouse all day I was wiped out.  That didn't get me very far along in making any Christmas gifts or cookies!  Saturday I got a call that my uncle had passed away. (more on this later)

Saturday, December 4th we were busy moving Trina, Tanner, and Grayson to their new home.  We put in a long day and went home exhausted.  The next day I was able to do a little Christmas decorating that I hadn't finished.

Monday, December 5th we were back in court and I was still an emotional mess.  At break I answered a call from my brother who wanted us to go to California to my uncle's funeral.  So, I asked the judge to release me and he did.  ( It was really a blessing in disguise for me emotionally.)  This allowed me to be in school Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

We left for Los Angeles Thursday afternoon meeting up with my brother and sister-in-law in Dallas.  I was glad to get the chance to go to LA as I was born there, but had never been back since my parents and I moved to Iowa when I was two.  We were able to do a little sightseeing Friday  before we had to be at visitation.  We went down to Rodeo Drive.
Then we headed to Hollywood.
We did some "touristy" things like a tour of stars' homes.  Which by the way, was kind of a joke.  We didn't really get very close to many of the homes, but we did see a lot of stars' bushes!!  We had lunch at the Hollywood Hard Rock Cafe and looked at some of the stars in the sidewalks.
Do you recognize this building???  
This is where Richard Gere drives up in his limo to pick up Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.  We then went back to the hotel to change and went to visitation.  I spent the night coughing and coughing, so we headed to find some OTC meds for me the next day.

My uncle was my dad's twin.  Dad passed away in 1987 at the young age of 52, so my uncle had 23 more years.  His funeral was December 11th which was their birthday.  Saturday we spent the majority of our day at the funeral and then at my uncle's home.  We spent some time taking pictures and visiting.  We were very glad we went as we were the only relatives who could make it from our side of the family.

After we left there we drove along the ocean and then toured the Queen Mary in Long Beach.  

We then headed over the bridge back to Long Beach to each supper at a great seafood restaurant on the water.  I had lobster for the first time.  It was fantastic!!

Sunday morning we left after breakfast and headed to the airport.  When we left LA they were having highs of 85 degrees.  When we landed in Moline it was -20 wind chill.  What a shock to our systems!!

This gets me to December 13th--at school exhausted and not feeling great, but I knew I couldn't miss school because we had already scheduled to be gone the next weekend.  The week was full of meetings and appointments after school, so again I didn't get anything cook, baked, or made for Christmas.  We left Friday afternoon for Texas.

I think that's enough for now.  More about Texas tomorrow!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Finally, A Day at Home!

It's been awhile since I've blogged because of  lots of things going on this month!  I'm finally at home with the lights on the tree,
a fire roaring in the fireplace,
and since we finally finished our shopping I have a pile of gifts to wrap.
So, this is where I'll be today wrapping, wrapping, & wrapping!
December update will come after I wrap, clean, and bake at least a few Christmas cookies!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Questions

Play Along!

On Laurie's blog, she shared this, you can only answer with one word! Feel free to take it, and share your answers also!

1. Your holiday decor:

2. The weather where you live this time of year: cold

3. Your favorite smell of the season: spice

4. Your favorite beverage of the season: wassail

5. Something you wish you could avoid during the holidays: shopping

6. What you typically bring to the potluck: dessert

7. What you wish people would stop bringing to the potluck: pickles

8. A word to describe how you feel about the word 'potluck': hesitant

9. What is on your feet right now: Socks

10. How many layers you are wearing right now: three

11. Where in the world you would rather be right now: Iowa

12. Something that makes you feel invigorated this time of year:d
13. Something that makes you feel challenged this time of year: checkbook

14. A cold weather comfort food you crave: cappuccino

15. Something you wish you were doing right now: sewing

16. Something you SHOULD be doing right now: wrapping

17. Your opinion of snow: lovely

18. Your opinion of those big furry-looking hats with earflaps: comical

19. A tradition you'll be sure to keep this season: baking

20. A tradition you'd like to start this season: relaxing

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Civic Duty and Stuff

• CIVIC DUTY (noun)
  The noun CIVIC DUTY has 1 sense:
1. the responsibilities of a citizen

jury duty - the civic duty to serve on a jury

Yes, I have been doing jury duty this week.  I have never served on a jury or even been called to jury duty before, and wouldn't you know it, I got picked.  The strange thing is that I am serving along with two other teachers in my building and a secretary from another building in our district.  With a jury pool of 80 to start how could that happen?  It is a big case, and it is expected to all this week and into the next.  I never dreamt it would be so emotionally and mentally draining.   We have put in long hours, so after running an errand or two I haven't gotten home much before 6:30 or 7:00, so I haven't accomplished much this past week.

After spending the day moving Trina, Tanner, and Grayson into their new home yesterday, I finally got some time to sew today.  Years ago when I had four small children I made each of them Christmas stockings.  I never got around to making any for Bud and me, but what did it matter since no one filled them anyway.  Well, after Trilby was married, Payton was born, and maybe even Cael, I added to the stockings.  Long story short, I made one for each son-in-law and our daughter-in-law and each grandchild.  One year I even made one for Bud and one for me.  Last year I made one for Chance for his first Christmas.  This year I needed to make two, so that is what I did today.

Grayson's stocking:

And Clara's stocking:

And all of the stockings handing on the mantle.
I'm sure I will be happily making more in the future! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fall Farewell

Here are my excuses for a final fall post instead of Christmas as everyone has moved on to.

1.  We haven't had snow yet and the oak tree still has some leaves, so it still feels pretty much like fall.
2.  I get tired of everyone rushing Christmas.  I swear the decorations were in the stores the end of September.
3.  Since I was sick on Thanksgiving and Black Friday I am behind on my "normal" Christmas decorating. 
4.   I've also been struggling with slideshow, but finally got it to work!!  I LOVE fall--the colors, the weather, the activities, etc.  and while I also LOVE Christmas I am always sad to take the fall decorations down.  
So, here's one last fall project and slideshow.

I made this wall hanging based on a pattern, but I tweaked it some.  I used only fabric from my stash, so it was free!  Well, at least I didn't put any money out when I made it. I gave a sneak peek of it a while ago with a photo in a post.

I did complete it and it has been hanging on my wall. 
I meanered around the entire wall hanging except the applique in the middle.

 I first put it here:

But after buying a new cabinet for the music library I had to move it.  It looks good next to the window, but no photo!

And one last look at my fall decorating before I decorate for Christmas! 

Good-bye Fall!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with our family last Sunday with a meal at our home.  All of our kids and grandkids were able to be here. My brother and sister-in-law from Texas also joined us for dinner and visited a few hours.    I forgot to get a photo of the table before we ate, but here we are all around  the table after eating.

Cousins played with cousins--
Nate and Grayson played farming.
Chance was helping Clara out.
Payton and Cael managed to stay away from the camera.

I'll leave you with this parting shot of some of the adults.
And what do you think they were looking at??????

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shop Til You Drop!!

Maxine Shopping
This is EXACTLY what we did this weekend.  Kathy, Trina, Trilby, and I began the weekend by shopping at VF Friday night since Trilby had an extra 30% employee discount.  We got GREAT buys, really we did!!  After a late night snack we headed home to bed.

We were up bright and early Saturday morning to head for Des Moines.  We have ladies day out to attend the big craft show at the fairgrounds each year.  Last year we centered our day around pregnant girls. (Well, just Trina that we knew of at the time.)  This year we centered some activities around babies!  Brittany stayed home to rest since Dakota hadn't been sleeping well, and we took two cars so Tasha could drop Clara off at her other grandma's for the day.

We spent several hours at the craft show, and some of us got great buys!  Then we headed for Jordan Creek Mall.  We usually eat at The CheeseCake Factory, but someone(umm....Kathy?) said she didn't really like it, so we ate at Joe's Crab Shack.  We had to find something to do while we waited so we chose to do this:
We agreed to find a new place to eat next year.  Any suggestions???

I forgot to take my camera, so we took a photo with my phone, but blogger won't load it!  
We hit the mall, Target, and Wal-Mart and finally made it home about 9:00p.m.
Good company, good laughs, good buys, and good food made for a great day.  
We'll do it again in 2011!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Family Fun

My mom and aunt came from Texas for a visit, so we gathered together to spend the day on Saturday.  Here Mom is with all of her great-grandchildren except two.  Payton is 10, Cael- 7, Nate- 4, Evan -4, (Chance-14 mos.), Grayson--9 mos., (Kadelynn--8 mos.), Dakota--4 mos., and Clara--4 mos.  Kadelynn and Chance weren't there.

It was hard to get them to all look at the camera at the same time!!
We had a great time with the babies.
Cousins had fun playing together!

And there was a little Hot game playin'.
Mom brought her Christmas gifts for everyone, and the kids had a great time opening gifts.
And a great time was had by all!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What "things" Could You NOT Live Without???

In preparation for something we were going to write for Thanksgiving, I discussed Wants & Needs with my students this week, which is always an interesting discussion.  That along with Trina's post about her piano got me thinking about "things" we love and certainly CAN live without, but would prefer not to.  Trina's would be a piano.  I had to think long and hard about this because I couldn't decide between books and sewing.  But in the end books won out!  Over the years I have gotten so much from books.  They have been an escape when I'm stressed, tired, or just need a break.  They helped me get an education, help me each day in my job, and help me get my credits to keep my teaching license. Many conversations in my life, both professional and social, have centered around books.  They have helped me feed my family great food. They gave me advice about raising my children.  I have turned to them for medical advice many times.  And, I couldn't have learned to sew without my books.  Oh, I could have been creative since I don't always use a pattern, but I need that book to keep my machine going!  I could go on and on...

What "things" can you not live without?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You, Veterans

Thank you to all Veterans!
Take time to thank a Veteran and remember those who have fought for our country and those who have died for our country.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weekend Visitors

We had a couple of little visitors this past weekend.  Clara came to visit Saturday afternoon while her parents went out for supper.
We had fun playing and cuddling.
Then on Sunday Trina and Tanner came down to help with our remodeling project, and of course Grayson came along.  
It was my job to take care of him!
Then Clara came back to visit while Grayson was here.
Clara wasn't too sure about Grayson!
It's always a good weekend when we spend some time with grandkids!