Happy Birthday, Evelyn!

Miles’ grandmother turned 90 and we were invited to a little celebration for her day. It was fun to see her, along with the rest of Miles’ family–haven’t really visited with them throughout the pandemic. Evelyn is funny and feisty and full of life, still going strong. She and my mom are only a few months apart in age. So nice to see these nonagenerians and I aspire to be like them!

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Happiest of birthdays to my daughter Sarah! She’s smart and hilarious and beautiful, with a kind heart and a giving spirit. Plus she’s a much cooler mom than I ever was…her daughter doesn’t even mind sharing clothes. 😊 We always have great conversations and I’m so glad we’re getting to hang out more often than we did last year! Here’s to the best year ever, Sarah! We love you! ❤️🎂❤️🎂

Birthdays, Barf, and Scarf

We are rarely with the adult kids for their birthdays any more so we had a special dinner and birthday cake for Bonnie and David while we were in Amarillo. Bonnie’s is the end of March and David’s the beginning of April so it was a little early but we wanted to have a little party anyway! This year Bonnie turns 40 and I find it hard to believe I now have two kids in their 40s! Bonnie has had a crazy busy year with trying to teach through a pandemic, coaching middle school sports, helping David with his photo business, and doing all the Mom stuff required when you have three active kids. She is smart and funny and talented in many ways, always on the side of the underdog and looking for ways to make a difference. I’m so proud of her and love our conversations about life. David is a mere baby at 39! He’s the teacher all the high school kids love and confide in, the photographer everyone wants at their wedding, and the dad who brings the fun to every situation. We share a love of family, good food, interesting books and movies, and social justice. We’re so glad he’s part of our crazy crew. 🙂

I took some of my knitting with me and was working on a scarf when Luke asked me if he could have it. I told him I’d be happy for him to have it if he would really wear it and it wouldn’t just end up on the floor or in the toy box after a few days. He assured me he LOVED it and he would wear it so I finished it the next day and gave it to him. That sweet boy was so thrilled! Really made my day! He put it on and talked about how soft it was and “NOT ITCHY” on his neck and the best scarf ever. He wore it for the rest of the time we were there, especially cute with his short sleeved T-shirt. haha

Funny aside, the night before we were eating dinner and Emery had made some guacamole. Luke claimed he had never tried guacamole before, which surprised me because these kids love fruits and veggies and eat them regularly. But he insisted he had never had any so we convinced him to give it a try. He took a very small bite on a tortilla chip and immediately started gagging and heading for the trash can! We thought he was just being dramatic and making a big deal of not liking the guacamole, but after gagging over the trash can briefly, he started throwing up! We were so shocked! Poor boy!

Anyhooo, Rich commented that the green in the scarf reminded him of avocado so we started calling it the “avocado barf scarf.” Luke was having none of it and said the scarf DID NOT make him think of the avocado. 🙂

We also had a marathon with some of our favorite games, Garbage and Racko!

And Aidan Turns 18!

Aidan’s birthday isn’t till the end of March but we always celebrate with him when he comes for Spring Break. This kid was my first grandchild, a boy born after I’d only been a mom to three girls. We had to learn all about boys and in addition to his mom, his two aunts and I always considered him “our boy.” We told him every day how much we loved him and what a happy baby he was. This turned out to be true and he’s always been a calm, peaceful, mostly happy child and teen. He has a kind heart, he works hard in school, holds down a job at McDonald’s, loves video games, hanging out with friends and riding and racing at the motocross track. We sure do love him and can’t wait to see what his future holds.

His parents came to town for the weekend so we had a nice birthday dinner together and the requisite ice cream and cake celebration after. The next day they continued their annual tradition of attending the big Supercross competition in Arlington while we took the rest of the kids to our old haunt, 7-11, to get snacks (completely remodeled since the pandemic…we hardly recognized it!), to the park, on a walk, then to see “Tom and Jerry” at the movie theater.

Ally Turns 14!

March 8 was birthday #14 for this sweet girl! Ally says her favorite class is reading and this year she’s played volleyball, basketball, and now running track for her school. She’s always smiling and happy, kind and helpful, fun and funny, and loves her family and friends. She’s beautiful inside and out and we’re very proud of her. We love you, Ally! So glad we could celebrate together! ❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️

We had pizza for dinner at her request, then took an evening walk before celebrating with cake and ice cream. We almost always get to celebrate her birthday with her during Spring Break–added bonus!

January Birthdays

My youngest daughter Susan turned 38 on the 11th. I am often a little surprised when I stop and think about my daughters’ ages! Susan will always seem like my “baby,” even though she’s a perfectly capable and functioning adult. 🙂 She has been busy this year, working full time at the nursing home as a CNA while taking prerequisites at the community college to apply for LVN school, not to mention raising two teenagers, being a wife, and managing a household. I have to give her lots of credit for all the hard work she puts in. She’s friendly, funny, dedicated, and a kind and caring worker with her “old folks.” We sure do love her!

AND my mom turned 90! In any other year, we would have thrown her a big bash in New Jersey and invited everyone she knows. But….Covid. My first thought was to have a big Zoom party but it soon became obvious that it would be next to impossible to get everyone together at the same time. Then I remembered my niece Kristinn had made a little video for my sister one year so I messaged her about it. She said it was through a website called Tribute and it was pretty easy to do. I looked into it and it seemed manageable so I contacted tons of people who know Mom–family, extended family, in laws, friends, neighbors, former coworkers, etc. I gave people about 3 weeks to log onto the website and make a short video for Mom. Really, all people had to do was record themselves saying “happy birthday” or they could record a longer message if they wanted to do so. Then once they were all done, I would edit them together and make one big video.

OMG, I have told Rich if I ever have another “GREAT IDEA,” please tell me NOT TO DO IT!! This whole experience was so very frustrating and I have to say also disappointing in some ways. I have learned a lot. Number one, people are lazy. Number two, people don’t read instructions. I had several who thought they were supposed to mail photos to me, or just make a video on their phones and send it, or whatever. Number three, people are procrastinators. I know this well because I am one, too. But still. Number four, you cannot take people’s word for what they will do and when. Number 5, you expect too much from people. Most will not take the time to do anything other than the minimum (with some notable exceptions, thank you).

Number six, persist anyway and you will get it done. LOL Originally I was just asking for videos. Because people misunderstood about photos, some sent me pix so I did some more research and realized I could add photos from my end. SO then, of course, I created WAY more work for myself because I always want to be FAIR and we have a huge family (just for fun: Mom has 4 kids, their spouses, 16 grandkids and some spouses, 33 great grandkids, not to mention extended family–I have 31 first cousins). I then started digging through my photos to make sure I could have a representative sample. Thankfully, I have a LOT of photos. I contacted a few of my nieces and nephews to ask them to send me one photo of themselves or their families. By completion, we had 61 videos and a ton of photos ranging from one of Mom’s elementary school classmates who’s about the same age, to her youngest great granddaughter. The whole presentation lasted 47 minutes. LOL I went from being afraid only a few people would participate to having way more than I ever expected. The best part was that I managed to keep it a secret from Mom and she she loved it when she received it on her birthday. Her happiness made all of the frustrations well worth it, though I am not sure I will ever attempt something like this again. haha

Anyway, that is a big sidetrack from wishing Mom a happy 90th. She is the one that we all aspire to be like–kind, funny, friendly, active, interested in everything, still finding new things to learn and do. She’s been stymied by the pandemic but still manages to keep busy and engaged. She has her sister nearby and old friends she keeps up with, her Red Hats group, her dominoes group, my brother’s family, her neighbors, her personal trainer, and all kinds of activities she looks forward to getting back into. She’s supposed to get her first vaccine soon and I know she is looking forward to being more active (though I have to say she has not been as careful as I would like). Happy Birthday, Mom!

February

Our son in law Corey’s birthday is February 2. This year was bittersweet because unfortunately his dad died of Covid in January. It was quite a shock to all of us because his dad was younger than us, physically fit, didn’t smoke or drink or have any “bad habits” to speak of. He was sick at home for awhile but we didn’t think he was having a serious bout. Then he started having trouble breathing and Corey took him to the hospital where he was initially chatting with people and commenting on Facebook from his hospital bed so we assumed he was getting better. Sadly, he started experiencing worse problems and was moved to ICU, then placed on a ventilator but never recovered. It was awful for the kids and grandkids, who were very close to him and spent time with him almost daily. I know they are still suffering from the loss of their “PaPa” who loved them dearly and would do anything for them. So Corey’s birthday did not involve much celebrating but we still want to acknowledge him for the great guy, hard worker, fun dad he is, smart and funny and fun to be around. We’re so glad he’s part of our family and we love him!

Bonnie and David and kids came through and spent one night with us. We were so excited to see them after a very long drought!

We have another teenager! Our granddaughter Elle turned 13 on Feb. 11. She has the sweetest heart toward others, she’s smart and friendly and funny and talented, a natural athlete, and an all around good person. We love and miss this girl! ❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️

We had a snowy, but nice, Valentine’s Day with some fancy fancy chocolates and a delicious dinner.

November

I have certainly fallen off my posting since the election. I think I was just exhausted physically and emotionally from all of the months of working so hard on encouraging voters to get out and make their voices heard. I continued to greet at the polls on Election Day and the mood was upbeat. Although I expected Biden to win, or at least held out high hopes that he would, I was still nervous going into the evening when the votes started coming in. We did have tacos and flan, so that made me feel somewhat better. 🙂

Of course now we know what a baby Trump is and that he can’t find it within himself to concede even though it is obvious that he will be leaving on Jan. 20. The elation I felt on Election Day has given way to more exhaustion and frustration with the way it has all played out, the people who encourage Trump in his worst instincts, those who value power and influence over what’s true and real, the direction of the country in general…it’s all so unending. Here in Texas, we were disappointed that we didn’t gain more seats in the state and national legislatures and I was shocked that so many people actually voted for Trump again. I don’t get it. We have a lot more work to do, obviously and unfortunately. But on the happy side, we have a female VP, a female of color, and it looks like Biden is making some diverse picks in his Cabinet, even if he still hasn’t been offered the courtesies usually given to an incoming President. Okay, enough on the election. Let’s move on!

Grandkids and cousins Emery and Beck celebrated a shared birthday; she turned 11 and he turned 10. She is super creative, loves to read and write and draw, and is currently the “creative writing” and “jokes and riddles” contributor to the 5th grade newsletter at school. 🙂 She played volleyball this year, loves her family, friends and animals, and knows all the lyrics to the songs from “Hamilton.” I asked her mom “even the curse words?” and she said Emery just pauses on those. 🙂 Beck is likewise very creative, can put together any Legos project in record time, enjoys reading, videogames, and hanging out with his family, has joined an acting program in Tyler and is rehearsing for a show to be held in January. They are both very inquisitive and ask lots of interesting questions, as well as being silly and funny and full of life. We love these two so much!

I got to see Angela Davis speak in a virtual event put on by the SMU Human Rights Council. She was so interesting and all of the students asked great questions. Davis said something to the effect that “the arena of struggle is where you find yourself,” and it seems very fitting.