Happy Birthday, Emery and Beck

These cute cousins share a birthday one year apart on November 23, which happened to be on Thanksgiving this year.  We are very thankful for them!  Happy 8th birthday to Emery and happy 7th birthday to Beck.  Maybe it’s because they were born on the same day, but they have a lot in common!  Both are really smart, kind, creative, so funny, and talented in many ways. Emery is very crafty and artistic, Beck is musical and great at building things. They both have awesome dance moves.  They are both thinkers and often ponder important questions. Emery loves to write stories and Beck is quite a storyteller himself. They regularly beat us at games! Most of all, they each have a very kind, sweet heart.We are so happy these grandkids are ours!

Happy Thanksgiving, a Little Late

My girls all had Thanksgiving with their in-laws this year so Rich and I were on our own. Not wanting to be totally bored and lonesome, I messaged my friend Karen in Abilene and asked what she was doing for the holiday. She is a social worker for a hospice organization and said she was on call for Thanksgiving so she would be home and “come on!”  We drove in on Wednesday and had dinner at her daughter Kaci’s house; it was great to see both of them and to catch up on news.  Thanksgiving Day we prepped and ate a fabulous meal at Karen’s, thanks to everyone but me!  I am a good cleaner-upper, though.   Friday Karen, Kaci and I went to Walmart and shopped for six kids whose names Kaci was given through her work on the Child Welfare Board.  First off, I hate Walmart and usually boycott it but we were given gift cards to shop with, so I had no choice. Well, I had a choice to say no but I did want to participate!  Surprisingly, it was not that crowded on Black Friday but it still took us forever to find clothing and toys for six kids.  It was fun to pick things out that we thought/hoped they’d like. The saddest thing, though, was that one of them had written “my mom” in the space labeled “what I need.”  I can’t imagine what these little children are going through and hope that their holidays will be a little less sad with a few gifts.

Friday night Susan and Corey were back from his grandmother’s but they had left the kids there for the weekend.  They met us, Karen, Kaci, and more friends Jim and Sherri for dinner and we enjoyed chatting and laughing with everyone.  I’m glad we got to see the kids after all, as we were not sure we would.  Sure did miss the grandkids, though!

Saturday,  Karen and I met some other friends, Kelly and Connie, for lunch. These gals are some of my oldest friends in Abilene–have known them since we were in our late 20s/early 30s and have been through a lot together over the years.  I am very thankful for them!  Later, we were going to help Kaci with some more shopping for additional kids but that never panned out so we ate leftovers and then Karen, Rich and I went to see “Murder on the Orient Express” at the theater.  It was beautifully done and we all liked it a lot.

This morning we headed back to Dallas, with a stop at the Fort Worth Zoo to pick up Beck and Jack from Miles’ mom, who’d had them since Friday.  She also had Miles’ brother’s daughter Berkley so we brought her home with us, too.  Sarah and Miles are in Jamaica with some friends till Wednesday so we are babysitting at their house (and running back and forth to our house) till then.  Elle was at a soccer tournament when we arrived and was dropped off by friends later.  Everyone had dinner and baths and watched “Cars 3” before it was off to bed with school looming in the morning.  I am not used to the early morning routine so we will see how I do tomorrow through Wednesday! LOL

I am grateful for family, friends, kitty cats, a roof over my head, the Affordable Care Act, the First Amendment, the resistance, iced tea, sunshine, socks, blankets, truth tellers, men who don’t harass/abuse/assault women, photos, flowers, books, humor, anyone who stands up to Trump, documentaries, strong women, peacemakers.

Soccer Girl

Elle’s team played in a tournament against older girls this past weekend, even going all the way and winning the championship! They are pretty tough! We had fun watching her play and I decided to try out Rich’s “good” camera with a telephoto lens instead of getting the usually not so great pix with my phone (especially from a distance).  I definitely don’t know what I am doing, but here are a few that turned out pretty well for a first time try. Maybe I will become a sports photographer.  🙂

Amarillo Sweeties

The day after Halloween, Rich and I flew to Amarillo to babysit Bonnie’s kids for a few days.  We usually drive but David found some Southwest Airlines tickets on sale and bought us some–how nice is that?!  We got in at noon and Bonnie and Ada picked us up. We had a nice time catching up with them, then Emery and Luke got home from school and David got home from work so we all had a nice dinner and played some games with the kids.

Bonnie and David flew to San Francisco at 6 the next morning so Rich and I were responsible for getting all the kids up and ready for school, lunches packed, hair done, teeth brushed, etc.  I didn’t know how that would go, but they were all very cooperative and it went off without a hitch.  Emery and Luke go to different schools pretty far apart so Bonnie car pools with another mom; they alternate days taking each other’s kids so neither of them has to go to both schools.  I lucked out and the other mom did the further run so I just had to take Emery and her friend to their school a few blocks from the house.  Then I came back and finished getting Ada ready for her preschool and a different friend of Bonnie’s came to get her. Whew! Thank goodness for helpful friends!

After school Rich and I picked up Ada and then the two girls at the closer school while the other mom got Luke and her daughter at their school.  Then we had to do it all again on Friday!

After school both days we played some games, the kids played together while Rich got dinner made, they had baths, we read stories, and everyone off to bed.  Saturday, I went with Emery to a special event while Rich stayed home with the other two.  Emery is a part of the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program and they always have fun activities for the kids.  This day we had to meet at the survivorship office, then we were all taken by limousine to a photography studio where all the kids had their pictures taken as their favorite superhero.  Emery had chosen to wear her Hermione costume from Halloween.  The limo was fancy with mirrors and leather upholstery, bling and laser lights.  Emery was quite impressed and thought it was super cool. When we got to the photo studio, all of the parents (and Gigi) got out first, then the kids emerged from the limo to applause and paparazzi-like picture taking.  It was cute to see them.  Inside the studio, Emery got to have her hair and makeup done, which was big fun for her, then the staff helped pose her for various pictures as Hermione.  They are going to digitally embellish the photos with backgrounds to match each particular superhero and have a big photo reveal party later.  I have to admit I was a bit teary eyed watching these kids have so much fun on a special day.  Although Emery is healthy and doesn’t remember her treatment for cancer as a baby, there were other kids there who were bald from chemo or wearing a mask over their mouth and nose to avoid germs so you know they are still in a battle.  They all seemed to have a wonderful time and were so excited!

Sunday we took a run to Target and got a few groceries along with a toy for each of the kids. Emery picked an Etch a Sketch, which she said she’d never had and always wanted. Luke got some lego characters which Grandpa had to help him put together back at home. Ada chose some “Hatchimals,” which I thought might be disappointing to her when she got them home but she LOVED the little creatures that she “helped” hatch out of their eggs.

We had a full few days, read books, colored, worked puzzles, watched Emery hula hoop like a pro, played games, did homework, talked, laughed, told stories, the kids told “jokes,” which were really just them asking random questions and then trying to make up answers…so funny!  Sunday night we went out for tacos and burritos and then cleaned up the house for Mommy and Daddy who would arrive late that night.  Got everyone into bed and Rich went to the airport at 11:30 PM to get Bonnie and David.  They had a great trip to Napa with another couple, enjoyed visiting a bunch of wineries and were glad to have some time off from work and kids.  I’m glad we were able to help out!

Monday we got the kids off to school and Bonnie, Ada and I went to run some errands before picking the kids back up.  Emery’s birthday is coming up (on Thanksgiving this year) and she has been wanting to learn to sew.  Bonnie borrowed a sewing machine from her sister in law’s mother and after school I took Emery to Jo Ann Fabrics to buy some fabric and sewing supplies for her birthday gift.  Oh, my goodness, she had the best time looking around the store and trying to decide what to get!  She definitely has her own ideas and told me that she is very interested in fashion design.  She wants to make some clothes for her dolls to start.  We bought several kinds of fabric, a little sewing kit, thread, buttons, and bows.  She was so happy!

After work, David (with some help from Bonnie and Rich) made a nice dinner while Bonnie and I dropped Emery off at her hip-hop dance class.  We watched part of the end of the class and the kids were super cute. We came home and Luke and Ada had to show everyone their latest dance moves as well.  I have to say I got REALLY tired of Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.”  LOL

Tuesday morning we got the kids off to school again and took Bonnie out to lunch before she dropped us at the airport.  It was a great visit and I’m so glad we can be a help to the kids so they can have a little time off once in awhile.

Now we are back at home and it was cool and drizzly today.  Rich went to the store to pick up some things we needed but I didn’t leave the house.  In fact, I spent a lot of the day under a blanket on the couch! I told Sarah we were having a day of rest today and then we will get back into the routine!

Halloween

Halloween fell on a Tuesday this year, which is the day I do volunteer work.  We decided that those of us who wanted to dress up would, and we would all bring food. I wasn’t sure what to do for a costume because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  I stopped in at my favorite thrift store and they had a scrub top that had “Day of the Dead” icons on it.  I already had some leggings with skeletons on them from a previous costume so I bought the scrub top and settled on “zombie doctor” or some such thing.  It was kind of a hodge podge of a costume and I am not sure it really worked but it was pretty funny. I ordered some face tattoos and some day of the dead earrings and a toy stethoscope to complete my random outfit.  Although the scrub top was big on me and covered my rear, I figured I didn’t want to be inappropriate at a social service agency so I wore a skirt over the leggings.  The best part was teasing my hair up in a crazy manner and hair-spraying it into place.  The face tattoos were kind of an ordeal and I didn’t use as many as I thought I would. I went in to work and everyone was cracking up at the sight.  Some of our clients were a little taken aback and one of the older male volunteers told me he just thought that’s how I came to work that day. LOL Gabriele was the only other one who dressed up but we had  a lot of fun and a bunch of goodies to eat.

I left my costume on and we went over to Sarah’s to see the kids before they went trick or treating.  They thought I was crazy and cracked up over my look, especially the hair.  Elle and her girlfriends were all going as a “Pickle Squad” and Sarah was not sure where they even came up with that idea but all ordered T-shirts and hats to wear.  Jack was a “baby dill” and Beck, of course, had to be Captain Underpants.  They were really cute and had a good time with their friends while Rich and I went home to hand out candy.  Sadly, we did not have too many trick or treaters this year.

Bonnie posted this picture of her kids, who went as Harry Potter, Hermione, and Hedwig.  Bonnie’s sister in law’s mom helped her make the Hedwig costume for Ada–it was pretty involved!

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