Monday, January 30, 2012

Christmas morning

I added lots of pictures to my blog site yesterday so . . .maybe I will remember to write some posts. I have to report to the courthouse tomorrow morning at 8:30 . . .my first time to possibly serve as a juror. I'm not sure I want to go . . .but I'll have my Iphone at least and a book . . .

Total change of subject . . . here is our christmas tree. I thought that our tree was beautiful. We've been buying our tree for years from the Boy Scout troop near our house. I purchased some tinsel this year for use in a project and afterwards I decided to put it on the tree. Reminded me of my childhood!!  I had some great wrapping paper.  I love buying the good wrapping paper from one of the school kids.

Glenn gave us a good list this year . . .here he is opening one of his presents.  We make gift lists in our family and if you don't make a good list . . .you get really random presents.  Glenn made a good list.
This was our first Christmas morning . . .with Lauren!!   She is a wonderful addition to our family!!  I've heard horror stories about other daughter-in-laws . . .I'm glad that Lauren is our daughter-in-law!!  She made a good list also!!

It seems like we have one really fun and quirky gift every year.  Laura wanted a pink snorkel . . .can you tell that she made a list??
and pink flippers!!!  Aren't they cute?
I'm not sure what Mark is opening but I love the look on his face!!
I feel so blessed!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Christmas decorations 2011

I know this is a silly post . . lots of mine are . . .but this is a "point of reference" post for me. Next year I will try to remember what decorations I used and I won't be able to remember so . . sure come in handy!!

This was new this year . . .as our family grows, I can't get all of the stockings to stay on the mantle.  Last year all of the decorations fell off because of the weight.  I was very thankful that my sister and I were standing there and we caught it!!  This worked really well!!

I loved the front door decorations.  When I was in Fairhope, all of the shops had this wonderful "screenlike" wide "ribbon" - I loved using it on the front door.
We spray painted the containers for our little trees.  They were white and they just didn't look that great.  It always amazes me what a can of spray paint can accomplish.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why did it take me a year to figure out this one?

I cannot believe that we have been meeting with these young adults for almost two years. The time has flown.

I'm a list maker and so I have no idea why it took me so long to think of this . . .but after a whole year, I made an excel spreadsheet of menus for our Tuesday night group. The menu even includes a grocery list for each time. This is one of their favorite menus . . .chicken fingers and homemade mac and cheese and green beans and salad. YUMMY!
Here are just a few pics of the group.  Nathan and Kendall are engaged now . . .so they will be moving on to another small group after October.  I'm happy and sad.
These sweet girls joined us this past fall and I've enjoyed getting to know them.
Laura and Dustin were actually making faces at me so I can't believe I caught Laura with a regular smile on her face.
Here are some of our other girls.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why lookey there . . .what is that in our yard???

Just in case you didn't know this . . .I am married to a hunter. He was a hunter when I met him . . .and he is still a hunter 29 or 30 years later!! His family has a farm that is about an hour and a half away and he has spent many Friday nights and Saturdays at that farm.  (funny true story - he arrived to take me on a date . . .and we had not been dating long . . .and his car smelled HORRIBLE.  I couldn't imagine what the smell could be.  He told me that it was SKUNK (yes, I did indeed say SKUNK) scent . . and they had to use skunk scent to mask the human smell.  Thank goodness, they don't do that anymore - now they have clothes with charcoal in them that has to be heat activated in order to remove the human smell!!  I was so in love that I overlooked that skunk scent.  I fell head over heels for him!!  I remember telling my step-mom about how he went hunting every weekend and she said, "at least he is not out in some bar somewhere!!"  Perspective!!  (wonder if she remembers telling me that!!)

Back to the present . . .Mark went hunting during one of the first weekends of December. I was here alone and was cooking and messing around in the kitchen. I was standing at the kitchen sink and looked out the window and there was a deer in the yard. My immediate thought was that Jance (our next door neighbor - also a hunter) had put a target deer out there and was shooting at it. I even thought to myself, "surely he would not be shooting toward our house." About that time, she moved.

I realized that she was R.E.A.L. and in our yard. We live in the middle of a neighborhood and we are surrounded by other neighborhoods. When we moved here, that was not the case. There were woods all around us. There are still some woods behind us - but you have to go through two yards and cross a major road.

I thought to myself, "oh my gosh. I've got to take a picture and I need the camera." I wasn't sure my I-phone would be good enough. I ran through the house and grabbed the camera and then ran out onto the deck - in my pajamas with my hair sticking out all over my heard (and I didn't care!) I snapped several pictures but by then she was in our backyard neighbor's yard. I have blown up the picture so you can see her so the picture quality is not very good. The whole time I was thinking, "I can't believe that Mark has driven an hour and 45 minutes to kill a deer and there is one in our yard."

I was so excited to show the picture to him that night and I said something about "he" and "little." Mark said "he" is a "she" and "she" is a "big" deer.

It was so exciting to see "her" in our yard!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Three birthday celebrations in one . . .used to be two -- now three!

I am slowly moving forward with our end of the year pictures -- you would think that a middle aged mom would have plenty of time to blog but I think I am busier than I have ever been!!

Glenn and Laura both have November birthdays and now we have three!! Lauren's birthday is also in November. I love "three-in-one" celebrations. We already do that in August for Mark and George and Bill and and we do it in July (if we get to see Susie) for Grandmother, Paul and Susie and we get to do it in March for Rebecca and Ben and Thomas. That is amazing!!

Our birthday celebration was small this year because we celebrated while Glenn and Lauren were home and George and Alice and Grace were already out of town. The number of people might have been small but the number of cakes was large. Grandmother baked a German Chocolate cake for Lauren and a pound cake with icing for Glenn. Laura wanted a funfetti cake so I baked it. (because grandmother would never bake a cake using a cake mix!!)  The first cake is Laura's cake.
This is Glenn's cake.
This is Lauren's cake (which also happens to be my favorite!!) You have never had German Chocolate Cake until you have had Mark's mom's. It is unbelievable.
We had enough folks to fill up the dining room table which is always nice. I love celebrating in that room. Laura's friend, Dustin joined us for dinner and the celebration.

We have purchased lots of meat and steaks from Costco over the years and it has always been delicious. We purchased steaks for the celebration and they were horrible. They were tough and chewy - not good at all. We were so disappointed and it is a little embarrassing when you serve something to "company" that isn't up to par. We were telling our friends about the steaks and they had purchased steaks at Costco in Montgomery during the same week and theirs were not good either. I think that Costco must have purchased a tough old cow or two that week.
I love pictures of folks blowing out their birthday candles . . .so here is one of Laura blowing out her candles.
Lauren was admiring her cake and candles!
Glenn and his cake.
Here is the stack of presents.  The big box is an ice cream freezer - one of Glenn's gifts.  The girls both received purses from Aunt Susie that she bought while in Spain this fall. 
Two of the presents were from Mark. He bought two Auburn Championship knives -- one for Laura and one for Glenn & Lauren. He warned everyone that the knives were incredibly sharp. Dustin was trying to help Laura separate the blades in the display case . . .and he sliced his finger open. It was a big cut!!!! Yes, I actually said, "don't bleed on the tablecloth" but I also showed much compassion and helped search for bandages, etc. Laura got out her trusty first aid kit that she takes on her bike and had most all of the supplies needed. It took a while for it to stop bleeding. Always excitement at a birthday dinner :-)

I think it was a good celebration and I think all three felt our love. I can't believe that I am old enough to have "children" who are a quarter of a century old. I'm still pondering that one!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

This is the Dispatcher for the Citrus County Sheriff's Department . . .

Many of you have already heard this story . . .but I want to write it down so that I won't forget!!

Laura has a new hobby. She has been riding her bike for long distances. Over the Christmas break, she and her friend, Dustin (pictures are courtesy of Dustin) drove to Ocala, Florida and then rode their bikes for about 180 miles (rails to trails) to St. Petersburg, Florida. This is my girly girl daughter . . .who is now camping (primitive!!) and sweating and even falling and getting scraped up. I'm proud of her.

On Sunday night, January 1, I was sound asleep. I had stayed up late the night before (will post about that at some point!!) because it was New Year's Eve. I had served communion and taught Sunday School and been to visit an aunt and uncle and I was tired. We all went to bed around 10:00 that night. Becky was still visiting with us. Around 11:30 p.m. our phone rang. In my sleepy stupor, I answered the phone, "hello." The voice on the other end of the line said, "This is the dispatcher for the citrus county sheriff's department. We are calling about a car that is registered to Laura Elliott at this address." (or something like that) I don't know how I had enough sense, but I said to the lady, "I was sound asleep. Let me walk around just a moment and get a piece of paper and a pen." I have no idea why I said that but I did. Actually, that did give me just a moment to wake up. Let me just tell you . . .that is not the kind of phone call anyone would ever want to get in the middle of the night. Scared me half to death. The dispatcher then proceeded to tell me that my daughter's car had been parked in an unusual location all week and the sheriff was at her car right then and he wanted to make sure that she had not been abducted and/or he wanted to verify that her car had not been stolen and deserted.

Luckily (or maybe I need to say, "Thank God") I had texted with Laura earlier in the evening and I knew that it was Laura that I was texting with - not someone who had her phone, etc. We had only really talked to Laura once during the week and at that time she had told me that the park/trail ranger had told her to move her car from the original parking place to this second location because of safety. The dispatcher had given me the Citrus County Sheriff's department number and she wanted me to get in touch with Laura and have her call them so that they could verify that she was indeed alright. I'm thinking to myself that she probably won't answer her phone and then we wouldn't know for sure if she was ok. Just as an aside . . .Mark is still asleep as is my sister, Becky. :-) I'm the only one up in the middle of the night talking to the sheriff's department. I told the dispatcher about the text from earlier in the evening and I also explained what Laura had told me about moving the car. The Dispatcher wasn't sure that was good enough so she patched the actual sheriff who was at Laura's car into our conversation. I had to go through the whole story again and finally the Sheriff decided that she was probably ok. He did specifically ask me when she would be picking up her car (the next day) and he said that he would check on his rounds the next night to make sure she had arrived back safely. As soon as I hung up the house phone, I grabbed up my cell phone and sent a text to Laura. She answered immediately (which is a miracle in and of itself). I felt much better after texting with her.

Our phone call turned out fine but there are many middle of the night phone calls that aren't good. I am so thankful that the Citrus County Sheriff's Department cared enough to get in touch with us and that they were patrolling and doing their job. I am even more thankful that my baby girl made it home safely from her latest biking expedition.

Thought I would throw in a couple of pictures just so you could see --

Oh - I never did wake up Mark or Becky. We all had to get up at 4:45 on Monday morning because I had to take Becky to the airport to catch her flight home. I figured that some of us should at least get some sleep. It took me a long time to go back to sleep that night . . .so I was very thankful to have a holiday on Monday . . .and time for a nap.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thanksgiving . . .

Heck, I'm further behind that I thought!!  I was looking in my picture folders and realized that I haven't written about Thanksgiving or about Glenn & Lauren and Laura's birthday celebration . . .and of course, Christmas!!  I love Thanksgiving.  I think it is my favorite holiday.  I love the food - turkey and dressing and gravy - one of my all time favorite meals.  I love the decorations.  I love the fellowship of family and friends without all of the craziness of gift giving.  Here are a few pictures from the weekend.  This is our table.  I love pilgrims.  My friend, Donna Nelson gave me one of the big sets several years ago.  Mark's mom brought one set from the Amish "country" in the Pennsylvania area.  I have purchased several other sets.  The deal with Pilgrims is this.  If you want some and IF you see some, you have to buy them right then.  You can't think about it.  They will be gone.  So many people want to rush the holiday season and decorate for Christmas at Thanksgiving (if you do that, it is ok with me . . .but it is not for me).  I used brown burlap as a runner.

I love the turkey!  He is actually supposed to hang on the front door but his wooden feet continually bang on the door every time the wind blows . . .so this year, he had a home in the dining room.  Isn't he cute????
I love pinterest.  Yes, I know that my thought processes are all over the board tonight.  I found this turkey vegetable tray on pinterest and just had to make it.  It was so easy and looked so cute.

I know this is a weird picture but we love olives and I wanted y'all to see these gadgets.  Behind the can, there is a white thing-a-ma-jig.  It is a jar opener!!  The little silver spoon is an olive spoon.  My mother-in-law has some of the coolest serving pieces and as I was putting the olives on the tray, she handed the spoon to me!  Too cute!!
Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without a nicely browned turkey.
These cute turkeys were at everyone's place on the dining room table.
Here is a picture of Mark's mom's table.  You thought that I had a lot of stuff!!!  She has tons of stuff.  Look on the server behind the table . . .more decorations.  We have to eat dinner rather than lunch because she wants to light the candles :-)
This was the year for George and Alice and Grace to be with Alice's family. We understand but we are always sad because that leaves so few of us. This year was great thought. Glenn and Lauren were home so Lauren's mom came over to eat with us. Laura's friend, Dustin, didn't want to travel to his home state so he was with us. We ended up having a nice table full of folks. We always end up telling old tales. Mark's stories have become my stories because I've heard them so many times that now I can tell them. I think it is so funny that we laugh so hard at stories we have heard so many times.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration and we have much for which to be thankful!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

A new year . . .

I am so far behind in my posting.  I will have to go back and catch up some from the end of the year . . .because those posts about our family and the mundane stuff are for me.  Someday my memory may be shot and I want to look back and "see" what we did and who was at our house and I want to remember how much fun we have had.

So the new year sneaked up on me (is that correct - "sneaked up on me"???).  For the last few years, I have experienced this strange phenomenon.  We have a day off for Labor Day and I blink and it is the new year.  Does that happen to anyone else?  It seems like the time from the first of September through the end of December FLIES by.  We went on our annual "friends" beach trip in September (much fun) and then this year I went to Austin in October for work.  Mark and I went to Nashville for a wedding in October.  Then we celebrated three birthdays - Glenn, Laura and Lauren - and we celebrated Thanksgiving.  The parties started in December and boom - the year is over.  Mix in some every day life - going to work, preparing a Sunday School lesson and a Tuesday night lesson and meal, spending time with friends, supper club once a month - and the time just flew by.

Now it is time for the new year.  Do you make resolutions?  I haven't even thought of them until this morning.  I got up at 4:45 to take my sister to the airport and didn't go back to bed when I got home so I was sitting here in the totally quiet house thinking . . .thinking about all sorts of things.

A friend of mine chooses a "word" for each year . . .like "joy" or "embrace."  This year she has chosen "order."  As I was reading her blog, I started to think about my own life.  What word would I choose?  Maybe "do."  Do more things . . .like a bucket list.  I want to see the Harlem Globetrotters.  They are coming to Birmingham soon.  Seeing the Harlem Globetrotters is on my bucket list.  Why?  I don't know except that I have always thought they are sooo cool!  Maybe I need to "do" it - order the tickets.  Do - Maybe I just need to "do it" and lose some weight.  Instead of talking about it, "do it."  There are all sorts of things that could be added to a "do" list - do something about my desire to learn more about photography, do something once a month with an individual friend . . .

Another good word would be (actually it is two words - a phrase!!) - "Be still."  You know the scripture - be still and know that I am God.  I'm always on the go (which I love) but maybe I need to take more time to "be still."  Be still and spend time in prayer and study each day.  Be still and really listen when others are talking to me.  Be still (and quiet) when others are talking and don't interrupt.

I also like Mo's word - order.  Order in my office, order in my scrapbook room, order in my Sunday School teaching - plan it out for the year (what a novel idea!!).  Order for Tuesday nights.  I already have a menu on a spreadsheet - in addition, I could plan out what we are going to study on Tuesday  night.  Order in my weight loss and exercise (that goes back to "do it" also).

"Joy" or "fun" would be good words.  I love to laugh and spend time with friends.  I could spend more time doing that!!  Joy is that deep feeling that goes so much deeper than happy.

So maybe I need to lump it all together.  Maybe for 2012, I need to "Be still" and spend more time with God.  Maybe I need to "do" more - especially in the area of taking care of myself -  and increase "order" in my life.  Woven through all of that would be a thread of joy and stitches of fun.

So . . .I know there are only a handful of folks that read my blog . ..but if you are reading, I would love to hear from you.  Does the last quarter of the year fly by for you?  What are your plans for the new year?  Do you make resolutions?  If you could choose a word (or two or three) for the new year, what would it be?  And why?

Happy new year to each of you!!!