Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

I guess I am still recovering from the weekend...just can't seem to get my energy level back! We had a great weekend, though, starting with a 60th birthday party for Kerry on Friday night. We had several friends over, and Kerry made his "Grill Debut" with his new super-duper grill.


On Saturday, we had four of our six kids and five of the seven was wonderful! Rich & Christi, Aidan & Annaliese had gotten in the night before, and about mid-morning, Jenni & Tater and Bill & Carey, Caleb & Connor came over. The boys all went swimming and had a great time. Tater and Connor tired of the pool sooner than the older two, which suited them just fine since they then had the pool to themselves!

Annaliese sat and had a great time watching the boys splash around.

Then Kerry grilled some hamburgers and hotdogs for everyone, and gave Tater and Connor tidbits of hotdog to nibble on.

After lunch the kids played LOUD and HARD in the house until all the parents decided that it was naptime...and that the kids should have a nap, too!
Our friends Rick & Ann Williams took us to Pirini Ranch in Buffalo Gap for dinner on Saturday evening. It was a continuation of Kerry's birthday. We had a great time, great food, and great company. After dinner, we drove into Abilene to pick up a Wii from Circuit City that we had ordered online a couple of nights before. It started looking pretty stormy, so we started back and drove through LOTS of rain, thunder, lightening, and ominous-looking clouds. Then we got to guessed skies! We got nothing in San Angelo. Oh well.

On Sunday, we drove over to Brownwood for another birthday. My Aunt Nancy celebrated her 70th birthday, and her kids were giving her a surprise party. I got to see lots of cousins and their kids that I haven't seen in several years.

On the way home, we could feel ourselves relaxing, realizing that we had no more commitments for the rest of the weekend. We had the day to ourselves on Monday which we spent doing only what we wanted to do which included going to see the new Indiana Jones movie. Often on Sunday evenings after a hectic weekend, we wish we could another day to relax before going back to the weekly routine/grind. And that's exactly what we had! So we took full advantage of it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Summer Temps and Swimming Pools

What better way to spend the first 100+ day than in the swimming pool? That's right, thermometers hit 101 yesterday. Knowing that it might reach the century mark, I set up the pool while Tater was at Mom's Day Out. After his nap, Grandpa was home...setting up his new grill on the patio...and we went outside to see him. I purposefully stood where he could see the swimming pool if he looked up. Sure enough, he glanced away from Grandpa and his eyes spotted the pool...oh, how they twinkled!

"Go swimming?" He placed his little hands on my cheeks and turned my face toward him. I love it when he does that.

I could hardly get his swimsuit on him fast enough. Here are some fun pics I took of the "first swim of the season."

Monday, May 19, 2008


Well, just as I suspected, the plastic bag did nothing to deter the swallows...they just piled their mud on top of the plastic! So this morning I remembered that I had some mesh netting from when we had new shrubs in the front and we didn't want the deer to eat them (but we took it off too soon, and the deer ate them anyway!). I got the netting and stapled it to the ceiling and wall around the porch light so the birds can't even get to it. I felt so bad...I sat out on the patio and watched these swallows (there are still 3 of them???) as they would swoop in with "nesting material" in their beaks. They would fly up to the netting, fan their wings while they hovered, perplexed, then fly off only to return immediately and do the same thing.

Then they sat on the edge of the roof or the top of the patio umbrella and watched. They did this all morning!

We'll see...............................

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Day with Caleb

Thursday was "Caleb & Nana Day". I miss that little kid after having him every day for two years. I'm glad he gets to stay home with Mommy and baby brother Connor, but I still miss him.
The original plan was to pick him up after I took Tater to school, but Tater stayed home with his Mommy that day, so we had the whole day to spend together...although we did share lunchtime with Grandpa and "Uncle Buck" Smith.

We filled the day with as much fun time as we could. We got out my scrapbooking scissors...the ones that cut all sorts of wavy, curvy edges...and paper punches...hearts & snowflakes, bunny rabbits & teddy bears...and made collages with bits of paper and colored popsicle sticks, fuzzy pompom balls, glitter glue and art foam letters. What fun!

Then he was ready for "active play"...oh my! We played on the deck (baby grass is still growing in the yard) and he wanted me to pull him in the wagon. Tater or Connor would have been satisfied to just sit back and ride while I pulled at a leisurely pace. Not so with Caleb..."Run, Nana! Make me go fast!" It's amazing what you will do for your grandkids...and I'm so glad for our privacy fence so everyone coming down the street couldn't see me running around in circles...because that's all they would have seen, me running around in circles...they would not have been able to see the four-year-old in the wagon that I was pulling! But he had so much fun! Squealing with delight as I rounded the turn around the patio table each time! Then we got out the froggie game and played lily pad hopscotch for a little while and shot foam rockets into the hammock swing. Such simple pleasures for a little boy!

After all that, he was ready for a's how a grandson wraps his nana a little tighter around his finger:

"Hey, Nana...I know what would be a good idea! We could get our snack and go to the park and have a little picnic! Wouldn't that be a great idea!"

That, in combination with a four-year-old excitement in his voice and a couple of big brownish-green eyes peering up at me, was all it took. We loaded up the little cooler with snacks and "Brr" to drink (that's another posting altogether!) and cups and went to Unidad Park. I must say this is the first time I've ever taken him to the park when he did not play on one single plaything. We went over to a picnic table, had our snacks, watched some ground squirrels, watched other kids playing, and just chatted about whatever he happened to think about. Then we played a little game of tag in and around a series of posts that are there before he discovered the mesquite beans. We had gone back over to the table to get a drink, and he spotted the beans hanging in the tree overhead. "What are those, Nana?" So we talked about mesquite beans, and he stood on the table and pulled as many as he could reach. We had finished off a tin of "Nana Cookies" (Pepperidge Farms Pirourette Cookies) and decided that would be a good place to keep the beans.

After we got back to the house, he wanted to play of his favorite things! He has pirate dress-up things at his house, but Nana had to scrounge. A strip of red cloth tied around his head, one of Grandpa's coats, my red belt (with brads all the way around) slung over one shoulder, a old pair of Dana's boots (out of the garage sale stuff), and a straight attachment section to my vacuum cleaner for a spyglass/sword. I was the "pirate girl" so I found a scarf to tie around my head and some hoop earrings and the other vacuum cleaner attachment hose. We fought off many "bad guys" as well as sharks and whales in the living room ocean! Imagination is a wonderful thing!

And grandmothers playing with their grandkids is a wonderful thing! I have been so blessed to be able to spend time playing with my grandkids! They love it...I love's just an awesome opportunity that I won't pass up. Thank you, Carey, and Jenni, and Melynda, and Christi, for allowing me this privilege!


You've heard of the swallows who return every year on the same date to San Juan Capistrano? I've decided it is because they are a very tenacious and stubborn species! We have these swallows who are determined to build a nest on the porch light on our back patio! There are three of them (explain that one???) that have been flying in for about three weeks now, sitting on the top of the porch light or on one of the ceiling fan blades, delighting Tater as they would fly around in circles up under the porch. And I've been watching and inspecting all around the house to make sure they weren't building a nest on the side of the house anywhere. I know they need to nest, but I prefer they not do it on my house! Well, last week it rained, and I guess that is all it took for these swallows to start building a nest (with all the fresh mud around). I walked out on the patio one day as two of the swallows flew off...I glanced up at the porchlight, and saw it...grass and mud plastered to the top of the light fixture. So I knocked it down with the broom and put a paper sack over the fixture. I also turned on the ceiling fan thinking the movement might keep them away. No way. The next day I went out to check on things...they had started building on top of the paper sack! Well, I could sort of understand that...there was a flat surface (the bottom of the sack) up against the wall....perfect for a swallow's nest. Well, needless to say, I pulled down the sack, wiped down all the muddy splatters (and who knows what else) off the walls and ceiling, and wrapped the light fixture with a plastic bag this time. Today we came home from an overnight visit to Odessa...I went out to check on the situation. You guessed it...mud already packed in on top of the plastic bag. Kerry's says they can't build a nest on the bag, and they'll give up. I'm not so sure. I know how stubborn and determined these little guys are! I'm going to watch the building process for a couple of days and see what happens. I just hope I catch it before they get far enough along to lay eggs...I am a preventionist, but not an abortionist!

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Mother's Day Prayer

This is a different sort of Mother's Day writing. I wrote this many years ago when my own children were small. For some reason, I think about it every year around this time and, though I may not have it handy to read, I pray this prayer for these moms...

Lord, what about those young moms raising little children single-handedly. Who tells them they are appreciated? Who buys them flowers? Who takes them out to dinner? Lord, send someone their way.

And what about that mother who lost her baby? She still has a mother's heart. And she's been through a heartache many of us mothers will never share. Lord, give her a blessing today.

And Lord, many mothers are sadly reminded today of their children who are missing. Their reason for mothering has been snatched away from them. Bring the children home, Lord, and bring comfort to these mothers.

Bless the mothers, Lord, of yesteryear; those who sit alone and forgotten in nursing homes and retirement centers; those who have no family to shower them with love and appreciation. Send someone to be their family.

And let's face it, Lord; there is evil in our land, and there are mothers out there who cannot be proud of what their children have done. They may feel like failures when it comes to mothering. But they still love their children, Lord, just like you still love us when we do wrong. Send them a special word of encouragement today.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ook, Nana!

We've been doing extensive work in the backyard since before Christmas and our poor yard has surely suffered for it! What was once a lush green lawn perfect for playing baseball with Caleb or playing in the water with Tater or just watching Tux chase the boys around had become a sparse brown and green mottled expanse. There were patches of grass here and there but not enough to keep the area from becoming a mud pit when it rained or a dust bowl when the wind blew.

About ten days ago we had grass seed blown in, and I've been watering if faithfully...three times a day for about 5 minutes each. Last Friday, Tater and I were out in the backyard, which has become our after-nap-routine. Get some juice, a snack for Tater and a snack for Tux (Bacon Beggin' Strips) and go outside and play till Mommy comes. I had gone over to the edge of the deck, squatted down, and tried to see if there were any little baby grass shoots coming up. Tater came up to me and said, "What doin', Nan?" (His new nickname for me is Nan...I actually think it's pretty cute!) "I'm looking for some grass," I told him. He looked at me, put his little hand on the back of my neck and gently said "'ook, Nana" while pointing with the other hand at one of the patches of grass that has been there all along! I'm sure he was thinking, "Poor Nana, she's lost it, can't even see the grass!" I was laughing so much I almost fell on my face in the dirt!

Kerry has loved this story...which I admit is pretty funny. But it also reminds me that many times what we are looking for is right there in front of us...satisfaction with our life, an answer to a problem, everything we need to live a life pleasing to God. All we have to do is look...and sometimes it takes looking through someone else's eyes...God's eyes.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Who Needs Classy Cleaners?

Last year, the week of Dana's wedding, I hired "Classy Cleaners" to come and clean. Wow! Did they clean...everything from floors and baseboards to air vents and ceiling fans. They did everything with the exception of windows and anything "behind a closed door" such as closets and cabinets. Of course, they were well paid for their services...their regular cleaning fee which is equal to about six month's worth of normal biweekly cleaning. Granted they came in with a team of about six or seven, and they had this house clean, top to bottom, in about 5 hours. But they also drive around in Cadillac Escalades. I decided I wouldn't do that again.

So...I started cleaning. Now I don't particularly like to clean, but once I get started, I sort of get into it and can really get after it. Just ask Kerry....or my girls. I become a regular cleaning machine! I must confess, though, it took me a little longer than 5 hours. I started on Tuesday and finished up on Saturday. It takes a little longer when you have a 2-year-old in the house from 7:30am to nearly 5:00pm. But my house is clean! The baseboards, the ceiling fans, tops of the door frames even! I managed to clean out the pantry, utility room, my closet...even the guest bedroom closet! I've been avoiding that looked like Hobby Lobby had exploded in there! And the top drawer in my chest of drawers which is pretty much a catch-all junk drawer. Well, it had certainly been catching all of my junk! It is now clean!

What I'm saying is...who needs Classy Cleaners? I can clean, and I like to consider myself as somewhat classy! And I'm not nearly so expensive. I would only charge half of what CC charged...I wonder if Kerry would pay me? Probably not...then he would charge me for the meals he cooked while I was in "high cleaning gear" and didn't want to stop for anything...although I did manage to stop to eat!

The only thing I haven't tackled yet are the windows. I'm hoping to get Kerry to help me on that one...after he finishes his list...the one I made for him!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Carousel of Life

just browsing through "carousel" sites and found this....thanks, Aradia