Wednesday, January 31, 2024

High Five Hodgepodge

Thanks to Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for this week's questions!

1. January 29th is National Puzzle Day. Do you enjoy puzzles? What kind (crossword, jigsaw, sudoku, etc)?  How often do you work a puzzle? I have worked puzzles in the past but not in a good many years. When my mother-in-law was in her early 80’s, she loved them and would have them spread on a table and we could place a few pieces for her. The last puzzles I worked were Spidey puzzles at Christmas. Our younger granddaughter loves Spidey and we worked her new ones with her.

2. Something you currently find 'puzzling'?  I find people puzzling. You know? I just don’t understand some people and their behaviors.

3. What's your go-to dish to take to someone who needs a meal (new baby, bereavement, etc)? Since Covid, I have done a lot of take-outs rather than cook. If I cook, I usually make a chicken pot pie or a pork tenderloin or poppyseed chicken or homemade lasagna. I have also made Taco soup or Creamy Chicken Noodle soup for folks. Mark is in charge of dinner on Monday nights for his mother and her caregiver. He cooks pork tenderloin a lot because it is easy. I’m taking dinner to someone next week and I need to decide if I’m going to make something or buy something. I can’t wait to read everyone’s responses to this question. I might ask for some recipes!!

4. Do you watch any HGTV and/or The Food Network? If so, what's your favorite program there? We don’t have HGTV or The Food Network anymore and I miss it! We watch America’s Test Kitchen (Samsung TV) sometimes. We’ve also watched Luke Nguyen who is a Vietnamese-Australian chef. He has a series where he is traveling in India that is really good. Mark has enjoyed watching Andrew Zimmern and we both loved Anthony Bourdain.

5.  Wrap up your January in five words, with a five word phrase, or with a five word sentence. Cold, Warm, Rainy, Sunny, Finalizada!!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Sunday! Sunday!

 I am joining up with the other thieves -- Bev stole these from the League of Extraordinary Penpals!

1. What are your plans for February? We don't have any major plans. Mark is to have eye surgery this week to see if they can restore his vision from that retinal tear. The repair of the tear is actually holding but there is a lot of stuff floating in his eye that is making him almost blind in that one eye. I will continue on with my American Lit class. We have plans to eat out one night with friends and we have plans to go to our neighborhood supper club.

2. Did you ever have or go to sleepovers as a kid? I remember having a few friends spend the night over the years and I remember going to a few friend's houses. I spent a lot of time with my friend, Karen, and her family. Our daughter had far more sleepovers than I ever had.

3. Which books would you pick for a book binge? I would want it to be a series with some suspense and some humor. Jana Deleon has a great series about a couple of retired female soldiers and a CIA agent who was originally hiding out in their town. I'm up to date (I think) on the series but I could sit down and read all of those back to back.

4. What features do you love most about your home? I love that our home is just the right size to welcome others for dinner and fellowship. I love our kitchen. We have a really cool bar area. I love that we have an actual dining room yet it is open "somewhat" to the kitchen and family room. 

dining room open to entry hall and family room

dining room on other end opens to
bar and kitchen

kitchen island with extra seating

5. How often do you try something new? I'm sure I don't try new things often enough.

6. What type of sushi is your favorite? My favorite sushi is the kind that someone else eats. I don't eat sushi but the rest of my family does.

7. Do you prefer to relax or go on adventures during vacation? I like a mix! It is nice to have a week at the beach to relax but I love traveling to other parts of the world which is more of an adventure!

8. Which colors look best on you? I love green, bright blue, fuschia/pinks.

9. Do you like brunch? It is ok but not my favorite though I did see a sign for brunch yesterday and told Mark that we should go eat there one Saturday. Mark loves breakfast and I'm sure I could get something non-breakfasty at brunch.

10. Do you get stage fright? I teach a large adult class on Sundays and I lead a group of Young Adults. I've been one of the speakers on our women's retreat and I've given talks on Emmaus Walks -- I do get nervous . . .I sweat! I am normally not paralized by stage fright.

I was getting ready to give the offertory prayer
in worship . . . so in front of several hundred people

Speaking at our
Women's Retreat

11. Which podcasts do you like at the moment? I'm not listening to any at the moment.

12. One thing that immediately makes your day better: A smile from someone else and a kind word can make my day better!

13. Which family members are you closest to? I'm going to say that I'm closest to Mark. I'm also very close to my middle sister, Becky. I have a friend that is like a sister and we are very close. I'm fairly close to our daughter but she does live in another town, as does my sister.

14. Something you practice often: Grace. I try to err on the side of grace and it takes practice because my normal response might not always be grace.

15. Are you a light sleeper or a deep sleeper? It depends! If I need to sleep lightly in order to check on someone, I can do it. I prefer to be a deep sleeper though!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

A Hodgepodge Tip!

I'm joining up with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond. She writes our Hodgepodge questions and we answer! I would love to "hear" your answers! 

1. Do you have a word for the year (WOTY)? If so, and you'd like to share, please share. How do you decide on a word? If you don't have a word are you still on the hunt for one for 2024? I do not have a Word for the year. I want to have one every year but I am unable to decide on one. I've prayed about it before and I think "maybe" I have one and then I decide it isn't right! I'm still open to a word for 2024!

2. January 23rd is National Pie Day...will you celebrate? Do you like pie? What's your favorite? Pie Day sounds like a wonderful celebration. I don't eat pie these days but if I did, I love several -- I love pecan and I love coconut cream and I love peanut butter pie.

3. Tipping. What are your thoughts, expectations, as to who, when where? Do you appreciate a store/restaurant giving a 'suggested amount'? Have you ever left an extravagant tip? Since Covid, I've become a ridiculous tipper. I tip my hair dresser. I tip our servers. I tip the person who does my pedicure. I tip the Shipt shoppers. I usually tip at least 20% . . . unless I have received horrible service. My husband is in a Wednesday morning men's Bible study. They meet at 6:00 a.m. for their time together and at 7:00, they drive a few blocks to a BBQ restaurant - Demetri's - for breakfast. They are known for their breakfast. Rita is their server. When they walk in the door, she knows what each of them wants to drink and she has a table for them. At Christmas, they get a card for her and they give her a very generous tip which is in addition to the tips each week. When our son was in college in Auburn, they would go to the Waffle House late at night. They did something similar for their server. They took up money and gave a very generous tip. One time in our contemporary worship service, our pastor at the time ordered a pizza. When the pizza was delivered (during church), they gave the delivery person several hundred dollars as a tip. 

4. Share with us one household 'tip' that works for you. I have been using Dawn dish detergent on all of my weird clothing stains. It gets almost everything out. It is pretty amazing!!I also like certain cleaning products - I really like Hope's brand - she has granite cleaner, glass cleaner, stainless cleaner; counter top cleaner for the non-granite counters . . .and the list goes on. I think the right cleaner and tools makes housework easier.

5. Influencers on social media are people who've built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a particular subject. Do you follow any influencers online? Have you made a purchase or tried something new because of that 'influence'? If there's one you particularly enjoy tell us who they are and why you enjoy them. I tend to watch the reels of several folks - I particularly love watching the ones of people cleaning and using various methods/products. There are several who use these steamers for the duvet covers. I've actually researched some but haven't bought one. Do any of you have one? I also enjoy watching the folks who get a TON of boxes (which they've hidden usually??) and then they sneak into the room and open all of them and put everything out. What is really interesting to me is that when I actually buy something, it is usually something I see on another blog -- I love to see the Prime posts.

6. Insert your own random thought here. I am super tired this week. I feel like I'm running to keep up with January . . .and we are almost to February!! Does anyone else feel that way?

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Random Happenings

On New Year's Eve we met our friends at Bistro V for dinner. I LOVE shrimp and grits. These grits were so rich that I couldn't eat all of them!

Here we are at the restaurant! Our server was kind enough to snap a pic for us!

I loved the simple decorations - just festive enough!!

After dinner, we each headed to our own homes. We tried to stay up until midnight but at 10:30 we decided to go to bed.

We are still adding/replacing smaller furniture items. We need to move the canoe picture up a tad since we have a new table for the TV that is a tad taller.

Mark was out of town for Granddaughter #1's first basketball game. This year, the girls actually seem to know that a game is going on. It is amazing how quickly they grow.

The little boys are a grade ahead and they have also matured a lot. They are getting the hang of the game!

I've mentioned eating lunch at my mother-in-law's house every Sunday after church. She did the cooking for ALL of the years until a couple of years ago. I think she cooked for all of us until she was 96. We now take turns with different parts of lunch. For whatever week this was . . .I was in charge of twice baked potatoes and they were really good.

January is Generosity Month at our church. Our theme is "Cheerful" and our scripture is from 2 Corinthians. We have a Greek theme throughout the building - all blue and yellow.

I think this may be my favorite theme ever!

We went to our neighborhood supper club. We had salad and rice and asparagus and chicken and pork and angel biscuits. Someone made a carrot cake for dessert. We had a really nice time. It is so fun seeing how others have decorated their homes. Of course, it is really lovely to meet more neighbors!

Last week, we had a SNOW day. The northern part of our state had LOTS of snow and was shut down for days. We had light snow and light ice and everyone stayed home for a day. Actually, some stayed home longer because the schools were closed for two days . . .following being closed on Monday for MLK day. 

I dug my sewing machine out for the first time since the fire and it still works! I made some pillows with leftover fabric. I made three blue check and three velvet. They aren't perfect by any means. I did a better job on the blue check than on the velvet. It was so thick that it was hard to sew.

On the "snow" day, Mark made scones using a mix that one of our young adults gave us as a 
Christmas gift.

I failed to take a single picture, but we met friends (our out to eat supper club from church) at Seasons 52 last Thursday night. We both had their shrimp and grits! They are delicious. Mark had a really good Old-Fashioned and I had a Hawaiian Pineaapple Cosmopolitan. We were able to get to know some folks who are new to our Sunday School class so that is always a good thing.

Our new side table from Pottery Barn was finally delivered on Friday night. It was supposed to be delivered earlier in the week but due to LOTS of snow in North Alabama and the Memphis area, the shipment was delayed.

It was so cold over the weekend - we had lows in the teens. We are enjoying our fireplace so much!

Saturday morning we headed to another Hornets basketball game. This is our sweet granddaughter right in the middle of the screen. 

Saturday night we had an impromptu "invite our neighbors" to dinner. Lu and Dave have traveled with us and we have been together a lot. We literally had four steak burgers that Mark cooked on the grill in 15 degree weather! I was in charge of slaw and sweet potato fries which I BURNED!! Luckily, we had another bag in the freezer so Mark ran to the garage freezer and grabbed those. I apologized and was embarrassed, but heck . . .everyone burns something sometime, right? Am I alone?

I will be very surprised if anyone is still reading . . . I know it is a boring post but as you know, I often write just so I will remember. Actually, I have found that as I write, I'm also thankful. I'm thankful for our home and our family and our friends and our church and so many other things.

Today, we have a professional photographer at our house. Our builder is entering our renovation into the "Home Builders of Alabama Remodeling Excellence Awards" in the insurance category. We've been cleaning and stashing things!

We also have our long time supper club on Saturday night at our house so hopefully, it will still be clean!!

Sunday, January 21, 2024

It's a Swap Bot Sunday Stealing

I'm joining up with the other thieves for Sunday Stealing! These questions were stolen from Swap Bot. Thanks Bev for stealing for all of us! 

1. If you could have a remote control that could pause time, what would you do with it? I would use it only when necessary to pause a special moment I wanted to savor just a little longer, or to pause when I needed just a few more minutes.

2. What's the silliest thing you believed as a child that you wish were true now? Off the top of my head, I thought they put the flags out on June 14 for my birthday. I don't have to wish it were still true . . .they still put the flags out. I now know that those flags are not for my birthday!

photo credit to the internet

3. If your life had a theme song that played every time you entered a room, what song would it be? Overcomer by Mandisa

4. If you were a vegetable, and someone accidentally ate you, what would you want them to say after the first bite? This is my favorite bite of my favorite vegetable - yum! yum! 

5. If you were a flavor of ice cream, which one would you be, and why? I love pink so let's go with strawberry!

6. What's the strangest thing you've ever googled or searched for on the internet? Oh my goodness - I've searched for some crazy things!! Last night we googled "why do basketball players wear leggings?" We thought we knew the answer but were verifying.

7. If your pet could suddenly talk, what do you think it would say to you first? "Sit down so I can get in your lap". . . or "floss my teeth." Yes, we have a very weird cat who loves for us to floss his teeth.

8. If you were a character in a video game, what would be your special move? I have no idea whatsover . . .maybe my special move would be a smile .  .  . and when my character would smile, you would get 1000 extra bonus points.

9. What's the most bizarre item you've ever bought online? I've bought a toilet paper roller thing-a-ma-jig (toilet paper holder roller spindle replacement rod spring loaded gold). I also bought some cookies from Amazon because they are hard to find in the store!! I felt like buying cookies from the internet was a weird purchase. One time I ordered a HUGE amount of fancy popcorn for a shower that we were hosting.

10. If you could replace the sound of one everyday activity with your own voice, which activity would you choose? I'm trying to think of the most irritating sound I hear everyday! Whatever it is . . .that is what I would want to replace.

11. If you were a punctuation mark, which one would you be, and how would you punctuate people's sentences? I would be the exclamation point because I use it WAY TOO MUCH!!!!!!

12. If you could have any celebrity be your personal assistant for a day, who would it be, and what tasks would you assign them? I don't know this person's name nor who they actually are but I would love a personal chef (I know you said assistant) for a few weeks. If I had a personal assistant, I would need for them to run errands! 

13. What would be the worst "buy one, get one free" sale item ever? Buy one anchovy, get one free?? 

14. If you could trade places with any fictional character from a book or movie, who would it be, and what would you do differently in their story? These questions are hard for me!! I don't think I want to trade places with anyone.

15. If you had to live inside a TV show for a month, which show would you pick, and why? I would pick Frasier or Modern Family or an even better idea would be to live inside a travel show for a month and go all over the world!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

BRRR - Hodgepodge!

I'm joining up with Joyce and friends for Wednesday Hodgepodge:

1. On January 18th we commemorate A.A. Milne's birthday. Milne is the author of the beloved classic Winnie the Pooh. In many ways Pooh represents innocence and simplicity. His optimism reminds us to appreciate the little things. What are three little things you're appreciating in mid-January? Just thinking about Winnie the Pooh made me think of Tigger, too! That thought made me smile! Three little things I'm appreciating -- 1. a warm hooded sweatshirt 2. a gas fireplace 3. FaceTime

2. Piglet teaches us even the smallest of individuals can achieve big things with the proper amount of determination. How do your current responsibilities make you feel? I'm not sure how to answer this question. I have responsibilities at home, at work, on Tuesday nights, and teaching adult Sunday School. The home responsibilities cover being a wife, mom, and Gran. The work responsibilities include LOTS of things. The young adults on Tuesday nights and Sunday morning teaching is a whole different thing. I feel happily busy. Is that a good enough answer?

3. Tigger is known for his enthusiasm and energy, his boundless joy and love of life. What's something you're interested in learning more about in this new year? My class this semester (and next) will be American Literature. I'll be learning lots (I hope!). 

4. Eeyore, while a melancholy character, teaches us the importance of resilience and perseverance. How do you stay motivated and persevere in difficult circumstances? It is hard to stay motivated and to persevere in difficult circumstances. My husband and his siblings have done a good job of persevering through their mother's care and aging. She is 98 and still lives in her home with 24 hour care. We are Christians so our faith plays a huge roll in our lives. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

5. What's the last thing you ate that was made with honey? A couple of weeks ago, I roasted some butternut squash cubes. I drizzled a little olive oil and salt and pepper on them before I roasted them. I took them out of the oven and drizzed just a little local honey over them and put them back in the oven for 5 more minutes. They were delicious!! Mark added honey to some plain Greek oatmeal night before last.

6. Insert your own random thought here. I'm actually typing these answers on Tuesday night. We had a weird snow day here today. I worked from home. We had our 10:00 a.m. meeting via Zoom. We had to cancel a major dinner on Monday night. We didn't get much snow at all but it is sooo cold!! We cancelled our young adult group for Tuesday night. I just heard that many schools will be closed again tomorrow. I imagine that sounds silly to folks who live where it snows all of the time in the winter.

Monday, January 15, 2024

I-65 South

For those of you who don't live in Alabama (most of you!), you might or might not be familiar with I-65 South (and North). It is a road we travel often. We drive on I-65 South to both our son's home and to our daughter's home. We drive on I-65 South if we want to go to the beach. I drive on I-65 North to work and then reverse in the afternoons. I would love to see a traffic study for this interstate.

What we have noticed is that thousands of people drive straight through our state on the way to various beaches. As a matter of fact, traffic on this interstate is so bad that in the summer, we hate to go see our daughter. An hour and 15 minute normal drive can take 3 hours or more due to bumper to bumper traffic. And almost every weekend, there is at least one wreck - often with fatalities.

We've been noticing that so many of the tags are from out of state. How many of you have driven through Alabama on Interstate 65?? Were you on your way to the beach? What state do you live in?

My husband had the brilliant idea that we should have a toll both when you cross the state line (top and bottom) and you have to pay if you don't live here. Too bad Interstates are not "state" level. (they aren't, are they?)

Anyway, the weekend after Christmas we had to make a run to our daughter's house. They graciously picked up a chainsaw for Mark in a town closer to them than us and we had a rocking chair for the new baby's room (she is coming in April). We decided to make a list of tags, other than Alabama, that we saw in the one hour and 15 minute (100 miles or so) drive IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER.

  1. Indiana
  2. Ohio
  3. Kentucky
  4. Arkansas
  5. Illinois
  6. Texas
  7. Michigan
  8. North Carolina
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Iowa
  11. Georgia
  12. Wisconsin
  13. New Jersey
  14. Tennesee
  15. Mississippi
  16. South Carolina
  17. Florida

and the winner -- ONTARIO . . .as in Canada!

We saw all of those tags in an hour!!

Do you have crazy interstates where you live that are traveled by folks from all over? What are your driving pet peaves?

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Sunday Stealing

 It is that time of the week – Time for Sunday Stealing. Thanks to Bev for stealing our writing prompts!

1. Your favorite part of the day - I love sunrises and I love sunsets. They both take my breath away quite often! When our kids were in elementary school, I would ask our son "what was your favorite part of today?" He would always answer either recess or lunch! hahaha! He was an excellent student but the academics were never his favorite.

2. Something you know a lot about. We used a similar question for our small group ice breaker this week. It was "If you gave a five minute presentation on something you know a lot about, what would it be?" I answered that I would talk about making cheese straws.

3. An important person in your life. My husband is one of the most important people in my life! Our 40th anniversary is coming up this year. We've had some great years and we've had some tough years and I often marvel that we've made it. He is very important to me.

4. Your favorite recipe: The one that the chef in a nice restaurant uses and then serves me! hahaha! Actually, I do love to cook. See last sentence to #2 above. I love making cheese straws and I make a great brown sugar brownie. Both of those recipes were originally my mother-in-law's. The cheese straws were made by her mother!

5. An event that turned out differently than planned: I am sure that I have a good example for this but I can't think of it at the moment.

6. How you procrastinate: I eat! Seriously. I am an emotional eater and I can eat to procrastinate. I also scroll facebook or read a book to procrastinate. Sometimes I blog to procrastinate. I'm doing that right now. I need to be upstairs studying American Lit.

7. The best type of surprise: The best type of surprise is one that puts a smile on my face! . . . .Or maybe, the best type of surprise is when I put a smile on someone else's face!!

8. Music that helps you relax: A lullaby! zzzzzz!

9. A thing your life has in excess: We probably still have too much stuff - even after all the cleaning out we've done since the fire. We have too much crap in our attic.

10. A book you want to read: Whatever is next on my kindle is usually my book of choice!

11. A person you’re always happy to see: I'm usually always happy to see our granddaughters and our kids and spouses.

12. What  time do you go to sleep? We usually go to bed by 9:30 because I get up at 5:00. Last week when Mark was out of town, I stayed up one night until 11:15 because I was binge watching Lessons in Chemistry.

13. A word to describe the past year: Busy

14. Your favorite household chore: Writing the check to our maid! Seriously. I really don't like household chores. I do them because I have to do them . . .but I don't enjoy many. I do like to iron. I like the finished product!

15. One thing you’d like to see: I would like to see peace on earth but I doubt that will happen in my lifetime. I would also like to see the world - all of it!

Thursday, January 11, 2024

It's a Late Hodgepodge!

I'm joining up with Joyce for this week's Hodgepodge . . .but I'm running behind. I hope she will let me jump on late!

1. What's a change you'd like or need to make this year? I wonder how many times I've answered this question the same way. I would like to change my eating habits/exercise habits JUST enough (I already exercise and eat fairly healthy)to get to my goal weight this year. We have a family wedding in September and I would love to be at that weight by then.

2. Break the ice, on thin ice, ice skating, tip of the iceberg, ice cold...which icy idiom applies to your life right now? Explain. Ice Cold! Actually, today it is 64 BUT next week, it is supposed to be frigid here . . .in the teens. That is cold for Alabama!!

3. What's a project you've been putting off? Will you get to it this month? This year? We really need to clean out our attic. While the house was somewhat open to the elements, the attic was covered BUT the front wall of the attic was ripped out due to water damage and they sanded and hammered and did all of those building kinds of things and all of that dust went into the attic . . .on top of all of my decorations, pack and play, etc. I need a respirator, not just a mask. I don't know if we will get to it this year or not. Mark has carried out several bags . . .I don't even want to know what he threw away.

4. Of the fruits that grow well in winter which ones have you tried? Which is your favorite? 

pomegranates, clementines, persimmons, passion fruit, pears, grapefruit, lemons, pomelos, kumquats

I love a pomegranate margarita - yum yum! I enjoy clementines. I tried one persimmon and it was not a favorite. I don't know if I've ever had passion fruit! I love a good pear and I love grapefruit and lemons. Are pomelos sort of an orange? I think I've had one of those. I am not sure if I've ever had a kumquat!

5. What do you think it means to be courageous? Years ago, a friend (Polly) was dying of pancreatic cancer. She said something like this: Courage was not the absence of fear, but courage was facing fear head on. She was so brave and courageous. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. Our weather in Alabama can be so weird. We have a warm day . . .and then it rains . . .and we have tornadoes or strong winds . . .and then a cold front moves in and we bundle up.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

First Hodgepodge of 2024

 I'm joining up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for the first Hodgepodge of 2024.

1. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse or just general uselessness (go here to read more about how the words were chosen). Here are the words/phrases they'd like to see banished in 2024-

hack, impact, at the end of the day, rizz, slay, iconic, cringe worthy, obsessed, side hustle, wait for it

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Are any of these a regular part of your speech? Is there a word not on the list that you'd like to add? 

I don’t really have a preference about what words should be removed. I do use hack, as in “I was hacked” or “My Facebook account was hacked.”

2. What do you wish you'd done more of last year? Less of? 

I answered a similar question the other day – my answer might vary! I always wish I had spent more time with our people – our family and friends. I think we may try to pre-plan a dinner gathering at least once a month and invite one or two couples. We need to have our older granddaughter spend the night ore often.

I wish I had spent less time criticizing others. I don’t mean to do so . . .I think I’m teaching them to do it the right way . . .which is my way. I need to do far less of that this year.

3. A place you'd like to visit in this new year? Do you think you will? 

Our October trip & cruise will be taking us to places we’ve not been before – Egypt and Greece and Istanbul.

4.What are three words to sum up or describe your 2023? 

Back at home!

5. What advice would you like to give yourself as we begin a new year? 

Love and listen more and talk and criticize less

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I haven’t really made any resolutions yet for the coming year but I may still come up with some goals. My devotion this morning was talking about having a word for the year. I’ve always thought that was a good idea but I’ve never come up with just the right word. (sorry – that was two different thoughts)

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Still another December post . . .

I'm so sorry for the photo overload. My blog is also for personal memory keeping. I won't be offended if you skip on over BUT you know, I always appreciate comments :-)

Granddaughter #2 and our family arrived late afternoon on Christmas Day.

There was lots of playing. Harvey was watching.

Tuesday morning, one of our daughter's close friends and her husband came over to hang out. We had not met their new son, Nico. I was amazed at how much their sweet girl had grown!

Pops and I met our daughter-in-law at the halfway point and brought Granddaughter #1 to our house so Tuesday afternoon, we had an infant (Nico), a 2+ year old, a 4 1/2 year old, and a 7 almost 8 year old. They played and played. They used at least 4 rolls of tape making projects.

On Tuesday night, we finally had Christmas with our kids and grandkids and our bonus kid. They asked us not to buy for them and they didn't buy for us but I did buy for the granddaughters.

They loved the unicorn nutcrackers I found for them. There were two on the shelf and only two and they called my name!

The pink fur vests I ordered were a huge hit!! Another blogger bought fur shrugs for her granddaughters and that made me start looking . . . these are too fun!

I just looked at my photo roll and since Tuesday night, I have pictures of an amazing sunset and of some kite flying. . . things are slowing down.


Monday, January 1, 2024

Even More December happenings . . . .

A few years ago, we started offering a Christmas Eve service on December 23 - Christmas Eve Eve. I saw a meme where someone called it Christmas Adam - pretty clever!

I rarely get to go sit through a service and I was so excited to go with Mark . . .and then the sound system totally messed up. I heard about every fourth word of the sermon. I was furiously texting our sound team but they didn't get it fixed until the very end of the service. There were certain areas of the sanctuary where people could hear . . .but not where we were sitting.

We have a talented group of volunteers who make our altar arrangements every week. They make beautiful arrangements. We had poinsettias throughout the church.

After the service, we went to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law's house for dinner. Their youngest son was in town for Christmas and we wanted to visit with him.

Christmas Eve was a long workday for me. I worked the Welcome Desk in the morning and for the 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. service, I literally stood on the side of the road with a sign, "Ask me about parking." Our 3:00 service was so full that at least 5 families left. We had chairs in every possible spot and there was no more room. We thought that meant the crowd at 5:00 would be lighter -- nope. Technically, there were a few less people and no one left but it was packed, too.

After that service, I headed home. One of our neighbors had ridden with his wife who was still singing in the choir and he rode home with me.

I ran outside to see Santa even though Mark and I were the only ones at home.

Our tree finally had gifts under it on Christmas Eve. I enjoyed shopping for the two granddaughters.

Christmas morning . . .it was just the two of us. Our daughter was really sweet and FaceTimed us as they woke up our sweet granddaughter and they let us watch her open her presents from Santa.

I just have to show you this present -- It is a koozie and a sweater.

This is what was inside. Such a cute gift given to us by some friends.

Later Christmas morning, we went to my mother-in-law's for brunch and to give her gifts.

Mark's mom is in the middle and Mark is in the left of the picture and his twin brother, George, with the beard and Santa hat is on the right. This is their mom with her four kids and their spouses.

Here she is with the next generation. We were missing our daughter and two of our nephews.

Here she is with one of her great granddaughters. This is our granddaughter #1.

We headed home around 3:00 because daughter and her family arrived!