Happy Birthday, Ada!

Our second-youngest little cutie turned 3 today.  Ada is quite the talker and keeps us cracking up with the funny things she says in her sweet little voice.  She’s already an adventurer and wanted to “practice” swimming without her floaties when she was here.  She was hilarious, belly flopping into the pool, swimming under water to Bonnie, coming up sputtering and pushing her hair out of her face only to quickly plunge back in.  Right now she loves Legos and baby dolls and books and playing with her siblings and cousins.  She says she wants a “Doc McStuffins AND a Spiderman” birthday party.  She’s a smartie and a thoughtful, kind little girl.  Happy birthday, Ada! We love you bunches!

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Yesterday was my first-born’s birthday.  My life was sweetly changed when I became a mother to a little girl so full of life and joy and sassiness. I am proud to be her mom, proud of all she’s done through the years, and proud to watch her parent her own kids on an almost daily basis. She is loving and compassionate, kind and caring, lots of fun, and a wonderful example to her little ones about how to treat others. We have great talks about all kinds of interesting and sometimes hard stuff; she is hilarious and regularly cracks me up with her stories; I have a big time hanging out with her and I couldn’t be more grateful that we live in the same town where I get to be involved in life with her, Miles and the kids. It’s really been a blessing to be close by and to make up for lost time after all those years far away in Alaska.  Now if we could only get her sisters and their families to join us in Dallas, life would be complete!  Happy birthday, Sarah! We love you!


Earlier in the day, I took Ally, Aidan and Elle to “Altitude,” one of those trampoline jumping places and they had a good time wearing themselves out.  We then brought Elle back home because her family was going to Beck’s closing ceremonies for the day camp he’s been attending all week.  Ally was invited to go with them so Aidan and I headed back home.

Later, Rich, Aidan and I met Sarah, Miles and the rest of the kids for dinner at Ida Claire (cute southern name for a restaurant, huh?) to celebrate Sarah’s birthday.  We enjoyed our meal and had a great time visiting with everyone.  Miles left early to take Elle to soccer practice with Ally in tow; he later called back to say practice had apparently been cancelled and they were going home.  Ally then spent the night with Elle and Beck came home with us for the night.


Aidan and Beck swam and then watched “The BFG” before bedtime.  This morning I picked up Ally and Jack at Sarah’s house and brought them over to ours.  Sarah and Miles are having a little weekend getaway for her birthday and Elle has gone to her other grandparents’ for a visit so Rich and I will have Beck and Jack along with Aidan and Ally for a couple of days. We are staying at Sarah’s since there’s more room and all of the boys’ stuff is more handy here.

Bonnie and her three kids arrive either tomorrow night or Monday morning, so we will have all 8 grandkids here for a couple of days overlap. That should be a blast for all and I am hoping against hope I might get a group photo since those are very hard to come by!

How’s your weekend going?

Birthdays and Father’s Day

I consider myself very fortunate to have three great sons in law.  Honestly, these guys are all very hard working, responsible, kind and caring, and super sweet to their mother in law–which you know is not always the case! I lucked out!  They are all good human beings, fine husbands to my daughters, and wonderful dads.  Happy Father’s Day to Miles, David and Corey!

We had a quiet Father’s Day. Although Rich has no kids, he was a great step-dad to his ex-wife’s kids and still stays in touch with them and their kids as best he can.  He came into our family when my girls were grown but they love him and the grandkids have always known him as “Grandpa” without worrying about blood relations. We babysat Sarah’s kids the night before and  said we were going to take a day off after all the recent activity.  So we mostly lazed around the house–a nice day!

June is also a big birthday month. We celebrated my 63rd while Aidan was still here; I had volunteer work that day and the ladies at the agency had a nice potluck for me and another volunteer, Gabriele.  Although we are often miles apart on social issues and political leanings, I really do love these women and enjoy our time together each week.  Later, Rich fixed fajitas for my birthday dinner and we had a good evening at home with Aidan while Sarah’s family was still out of town. I failed to get any pictures, though!

Grandson Luke is my birthday buddy, born on the same day 5 years ago. What a great birthday present for me!  He is a sweet boy with a very kind spirit  (even got the “Heart of Gold” award at his Preschool–something that thrills his social worker grandma to no end!), loves superheroes and pretending, running and playing, teasing his sisters, telling jokes and stories, and keeping us all laughing.  We love him like crazy!

Finally, happy birthday to my hubby, who is 8 days younger than I am and doesn’t ever let me forget it. 🙂 He is not much into celebrations so we spent the day running errands and then he cooked dinner because he did not want to go out for his birthday. I was going to make him a banana cake at his request but at the last minute he decided he didn’t want one since we are back on our “eating healthy and trying to go to the gym” kick.  I’m thankful for our peaceful, happy life and grateful that he took to being a Grandpa in a big way even though he married into this mess after my girls were adults.  The grandkids love him and he is much more fun than I am, just ask them! We’ve had lots of adventures in the last 14 years and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Oh, Busy March (Part Two)

We took the kids back home after Spring Break and then Rich’s cousin Mary Ethel and her husband Roger came to spend the night with us.  They had been in Houston while on a road trip from their home in California so we were quite excited to get a phone call saying they were coming this way as they headed home.  I met Mary Ethel and Roger several years ago when we stayed at their home for a couple of nights and we hit it off right away.  They are friendly and fun, great conversationalists, smart and funny, and tell great family stories about Rich’s parents, siblings and cousins.  This visit did not disappoint and we had a wonderful time catching up. We went out for Mexican food and they taught us a new dice game which we played while chatting and laughing.  They also showed us a game on the iPad called “The Akinator,” which they thought the grandkids would love.  (And they do!)

Too soon they had to pack up and go but we hope to see them in California later in the summer.


And we had two more birthdays in March, my daughter Bonnie’s on the 30th and grandson Aidan’s on the 31st.

I’m so proud to be Bonnie’s mom and proud of who she is.  We always have great talks about lots of issues and topics; she has such a kind heart and a caring spirit toward those who don’t have it easy in life; she is fun and funny and tells some *hilarious* stories; she’s smart and determined, a hard worker, and a wonderful mom to some fabulous little ones. I’m glad we live closer and can visit more often. We love her big time!

Aidan is our oldest grandchild and the first boy in the family after I only had daughters.  None of us really knew what to do with a boy when he came along!  Happy 14th (14th!!) birthday, Aidan! I can’t believe he is getting so grown up! He’s  great at motocross, basketball, putting things together and figuring things out, beating us at Rack-o and Mexican Train and getting “The Big Norway;” he’s so  kind to his younger cousins who adore him, he works hard at school and is admired by his teachers, he’s funny and fun to hang out with, one of our best road trip travel partners, and we love having him come stay with us. We’re hoping he never gets to be a surly teenager who doesn’t want to be with his old grandparents!  🙂 We love you like crazy, Aidan!

And rounding out the month, a few babysitting gigs, fun and games with the Dallas crew, flowers blooming in our front yard, and kitty cats….


Happy (belated) birthday, Elle!

Our granddaughter Elle turned 9 on February 11th so I had to regale her (again) with the story of my rush from Alaska when she decided to be born a little bit early.  I had a plane ticket for a week later but when Sarah called to tell me she was in labor, I rushed to the airport in Unalaska to try to get on a flight. Of course, we had had bad weather and lots of plane cancellations so the stand-by list was a mile long.  Thankfully I was a “local” and knew the staff at the airport so when I went to the counter to tearfully tell them my daughter was having a baby and I needed to get to Dallas, they secretly moved me to the top of the stand-by list and got me on a plane. Shhhhh…don’t tell!  I was ever so grateful!  I didn’t make it in time for Elle’s birth but was there the next day to meet that little sweetheart.

Now she’s 9!  This girl is very sweet and kindhearted and caring toward others and also has a fun, sassy side–loves to tease Grandpa and loves to beat both of us at card games and board games.  She adores our cats and can’t wait to hold Ajax when she comes over (Kali will have nothing of it). She’s great at sports and excels at soccer, volleyball and softball–quite the little competitor. One of her favorite things is stopping by 7-11 for a slushie and a treat when we pick her up from school.  We have great conversations, lots of laughs, and she gives the best hugs.  Happy birthday, Elle! We love you so!

Because she was having a party with friends and a sleepover on her birthday, we had a family party the night before, complete with our favorite Mexican food and some yummy mini Bundt cakes from a bakery near our house.  So Sarah and Miles could concentrate on the birthday activities and slumber party with 8 girls the next night, Jack came to spend the night with us. We obviously got the easier job!  🙂  Jack is no trouble and is perfectly happy if someone will toss a ball with him or put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on TV.  🙂





January 11 was my youngest daughter Susan’s 34th birthday.  She says she can’t imagine being 34 and I say I can’t imagine my YOUNGEST being 34!  I can still picture her as a tiny little curly headed girl running around in her diaper.  I’m sure that’s not what she wants to hear!  She is working as a nurse assistant at a nursing home and finished her certification class recently so she is gearing up to take her exam.  She loves her patients and I know she is kind and caring toward them. And I know they are glad to have her there! She and Corey are raising some super kids and she’s a fun, funny, and determined young woman.

Today is my mom’s 86th birthday. She might not be happy with me for stating her age but I think she should be proud to have reached this milestone.  She’s pretty amazing, lives alone and is very active and busy with family and friends. She works out with a personal trainer a couple of days a week! Go, Mom!  She’s also fun and funny (guess it runs in the family) and always interested in people, places, and new things.  I think her curiosity about life keeps her young at heart.  I hope I have inherited her genes.

And today Rich and I also celebrate our anniversary. Twelve years of marriage to this guy have been the best.  We’ve had lots of adventures and I can’t wait to see what’s next.  He’s fun and funny (fits right in with the rest of the family), smart and talented, and, of course, who doesn’t want a chef for a husband?!  We didn’t start out till we were almost 50 so I hope we still have lots of years ahead of us.

Love, love, love to these special people in my life!


Life’s been rolling along.  Sarah, Miles and the kids moved out of our house a week ago and we sure do miss them, even though they just live a few minutes away.  I was so used to having them right across the yard that even a few minutes’ drive seems like they live across town. It’s just different than sharing space! But we are happy for them that they are in their beautiful new home and back in their former neighborhood among friends that they love so much.  And it’s certainly easier for them to get the kids to and from school and all of their activities that are closer to their house than they were to this one.

The kids were nice enough to pay for a housekeeper to come over and get the house ready for us to move back in. That was happening on Saturday and without really thinking about the schedule of events, I’d planned to go to Abilene the same weekend to meet up with my dear friends I hadn’t seen much at all during this past year.  Sometimes I think we saw people more often when we lived in Alaska because we would be very deliberate about making sure we squeezed everyone in when we came for visits. Now that we’re closer, it doesn’t seem so urgent or something–trying to juggle everyone’s schedules leads us to continually postpone and figure we will work it out eventually. Anyway, I texted my friends Karen, Connie and Kelly several weeks ago to say, “Hey, I’ve been back in Texas for a year and we haven’t managed to all get together yet!”  Everyone had conflicts and things already planned but Kelly mentioned that her family was having a “Friendsgiving” celebration on the 20th when her son, daughter in law and new baby would be in from Denver.  We all said we could make it and then later I realized it was the same weekend we were supposed to be moving.  Oops.  Well, I was not going to be the one to cancel, so I decided I would just take a quick trip despite all of the other things going on.

First I went to Clyde to see Susan, Aidan and Ally. Corey was at work, unfortunately, and I didn’t get to see him this time.  Aidan was at the track with his Grandpa Tommy so Susan, Ally and I drove out to watch him practice for awhile, then we left to get some lunch, drove into Abilene and bought some little books for the new baby, then headed over to the gathering.  It was great to visit with everyone, especially these friends whom I’ve known since we were all young moms (or in some cases, before they even had kids) and who’ve been with me through thick and thin.  Our fifth group member, Rudene, passed away from breast cancer several years ago now and we still miss her presence when we are all together.

I didn’t get back to Dallas till 9 PM so I was too beat to do any moving.  🙂  With family coming for Thanksgiving, Rich and I decided we’d just move the essentials–enough stuff to make Bonnie and Dave and kids comfortable and enough to throw a Thanksgiving dinner.

Bonnie’s family arrived late Tuesday night.  Grandkids/cousins Emery and Beck share a birthday on November 23rd, one year apart, so we took all the kids to Urban Air, a big trampoline place, on Wednesday morning.  They had a blast! We thought we’d just be there an hour but they were having so much fun we stayed quite a bit longer.  Leaving there, Sarah and Bonnie took all the kids to pick up some lunch and go back to Sarah’s, while I rode with Miles and David to pick up an 8 foot table I’d rented for Thanksgiving.  Oh, did I mention the new dining room table we’d ordered wasn’t going to make it in time for the holiday?!  We purchased it on November 2 and the salesman originally told us it would take a week.  Now it is not due in till NEXT week, and the only other table we own is a round four-seater.  Not quite big enough for our crowd of 12.  🙂

We got the table, dropped it off at the house where Rich had been doing meal prep all this time, then went to Sarah’s to eat lunch with everyone.  Went back that night for pizza and birthday “cookie cake” and presents for the birthday buddies.  Happy Birthday Emery, age 7, and Beck, age 6!  Emery is into drawing and designing clothing (told her mom she wants to learn to sew next) and lots of crafty things. For her birthday, she requested an organizer for all of her supplies. Rich and I went to Lowe’s and got her a 39-drawer container that’s really used for nails and screws and that kind of thing but it’s perfect for crafts, too.  Then to the Dollar Store to buy beads and thread and pompoms and glitter glue and sequins and stickers and a ton of other items to put in the drawers.  She was SO happy!  The organizer has gone back and forth between our house and Sarah’s house the last few days as she and Elle (and sometimes their brothers) have been crafting like crazy.  Too cute.

Beck is taking an art class (and told us “I don’t do sports anymore!”) so he requested art supplies for his birthday and we got him some art paper, paints, brushes and crayons with different colors at each end.  He also likes Rich to make paper airplanes with him; they enjoy looking up various designs and trying to see which ones fly the best.  So when Rich found a paper airplane launcher online, he HAD to buy one for Beck. Wowie, that thing is something else!  It really does shoot the plane quite a distance and all the kids have had a ball trying it out.  So Gigi and Grandpa did well on birthday gifts this year.  🙂

After a fun evening together, Rich and I had to get back home and finish Thanksgiving prep. I had a pumpkin pie to make and he was working on homemade rolls.  Bonnie’s kids wanted to spend the night with their cousins so the whole family ended up staying at Sarah and Miles’, playing a crazy new game called LOLz. OMG, I cannot even explain it so you will just have to look it up here.    You have never seen anything so hilarious!  🙂