Little Dudes in the House

We’re keeping the boys for a few days while Sarah and Miles are out of town with Elle for a soccer tournament.  We went out to dinner Friday night because Rich had a “kids eat for $1” offer (with adult entrees).  Of course we still ended up spending a fortune because Rich had a drink, I had iced tea, the kids had juice, we all had dessert, etc.  I don’t know why we think we are gonna get a bargain when we do this! LOL But we had a good time with Beck and Jack and it was a nice evening out so we’ll count it in the positive column.

Saturday morning Beck had a basketball game.  Instead of making kids come out to practice once or twice during the week and playing games on the weekend, this league has practice immediately before games.  Kinda nice to do it that way, even if you do have to stay a little longer on Saturdays.  I had set my alarm for 7:30 so we could be out of the house by 9.  When the alarm went off, I awoke with a start because the kids usually wake us up earlier than that. Technically I considered the alarm a back-up. 🙂  I walked by Beck’s room and he was not in bed but found downstairs playing.  I asked him what time he got up and he replied, “I don’t know but the sun was sort-of up.”  We all got ready and even arrived at practice early–pretty good for Gigi and Grandpa!  In fact, we were the first ones at practice so Rich worked with Beck a little bit and Jack wanted to get in on the action on the court as well.  After the coaches and the rest of the team arrived, we sat on the sidelines and watched practice, then all of us transferred to the next-door gym for the game. Although their team eventually lost by 4 points, Beck did a good job running the court and even made two baskets! We were very proud!  After the game, he was a little upset because one of the kids on the other team had been “very rude” to him, saying “You know you’re sad because you’re LOSING!”  I told him that’s called “trash talking” and unfortunately it can be common in sports.  I advised him just to ignore it because the other kid is trying to throw him off and get him angry.  This discussion continued into the car where Rich began giving Beck suggestions of “comebacks” to say to the kid if it happened again, which led me to say, “This is not helpful!”  We did have some laughs about silly things that could be said but settled on either ignoring or telling the kid to stop and, of course, to report to an adult if it became too hard to handle.

Then to the Donut Depot for a treat on the way home…

Last night we played games and watched a movie during which Beck noted that some guys were “trash talking”–I was impressed he put all of our discussion together and recognized it for what it was!  At bedtime Beck read some books to his brother, which is always super sweet to see.  After I got Jack down, I found Beck sound asleep with a book still open.  Too cute.

We’ve had a lazy Sunday, watched another movie and played a game, now just hanging out.  Parents and sister will be back tomorrow night.

 

 

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Happy New Year!

Our busy days continue! Bonnie, David and kids arrived on New Year’s Day.  We were already at Sarah’s when they drove in and we all shared a nice New Year’s dinner along with Miles’ brother’s family and some friends of Miles and Sarah.  Rich made black eyed peas for good luck; well, technically he made peas and rice, known as Hoppin’ John in the south.  Not exactly what my Texan daughters are used to, but everyone gave them an A+ anyway.

David stayed till Wednesday, then flew home while Bonnie and the kids stayed on till Friday.  We had a great time and squeezed in as much fun as possible: late Christmas presents, games, drawing, playing, reading, talking, went with Sarah and her kids to see “Coco” and pizza afterwards, great meals by Rich, lots of laughs and conversation.  It’s been really good to have all the kids and grandkids around through the holidays and I feel completely blessed that this family is mine.  Love them so!

Merry Christmas, a Little Late

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We had a quiet Christmas with all of the kids and grandkids occupied elsewhere.  Chatted with everyone on the phone and had a relaxing day at home, just the two of us.  The day after Christmas, we met Susan halfway and brought Aidan and Ally back to Dallas with us for the rest of the week.  They are always easy and lots of fun!

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Our week was full. We decided to go to The Galleria and try ice skating one day but that was a bust.  When we arrived, the zamboni was out on the ice and a hundred people were standing around on their skates waiting to get back on the rink.  A look around revealed that there were probably another hundred people in line waiting to pay and get their skates.  We watched for awhile and eventually those who were already skating got back out on the ice.  It was packed.  Rich and Aidan immediately decided they were not going to get into that herd of skaters.  Ally was still interested so she and I got in the long line while the guys went to wander the mall.  We waited 15-20 minutes while barely moving forward and Ally finally said she changed her mind and didn’t want to skate after all. I felt bad for her but it was probably a good decision considering the crowd. I called Rich and he didn’t answer, texted him and didn’t hear back. We had no idea where they’d gone so we went up one level to Starbucks. While I was waiting for my tea, Ally spied them looking down on the skating rink trying to find us.  🙂  I told her to run out there and tell them where we were while I continued to wait.  Then she saw the Build a Bear Workshop next door to Starbucks and wanted to look around–she had never seen the store before.  She had some Christmas money with her and was very enthusiastic about getting a stuffed animal so we did the whole process and she had a ball. She was so excited to get a cute little reindeer with a “beating heart” and a winter cape.  We met back up with the guys, did a little more shopping, and braved the traffic back home.

 

 

We watched the original “Jumanji” on TV one night and then went to see the new version at the theater the next day.  It was more entertaining and funny than I expected it to be and we all enjoyed it.  We stopped by to see their great-great Aunt Frankye and had a nice visit.  We went out to dinner one night, played a lot of games at home, did some English and math on Kahn Academy, read stories, and chatted about life.

Friday their cousins were finally home from their trip to Colorado so they were all excited to get together. Bonus–Sarah and Miles had stopped in Amarillo on the way home and brought Emery with them. The three girls are the best of friends (most of the time) and really, all eight grands get along great. Aidan is getting a little too old to play with the young ones but he is still awfully sweet to them and tolerates a lot of their attention since they all adore him. We went over to Sarah’s around lunch time and they immediately began playing.  Aidan and I left to run some errands and then came back to our house where Rich was working on dinner. Susan and Corey arrived early evening, then Sarah and Miles and kids came over to join the rest of us for dinner.  I was thrilled to have so many of them here at the same time, wishing Bonnie and David were present too.  Many funny stories were told during dinner and then we played a game called Song Pop Party, which was pretty cutthroat as we are all quite proud of our musical knowledge!  Such a good night with the kids and grandkids!

 

 

Today Frankye came by the house to see Susan and Corey, then we went to Sarah and Miles’ house for brunch, more chatting and more Song Pop Party!  Later in the afternoon Susan and Corey and kids loaded up and set out for home.  Sure will miss them!

 

 

That was Phase One of Late Christmas.  We have tomorrow free, then Bonnie, David and kids will arrive for New Year’s.  I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas have had a lovely season, and that everyone has a fabulous 2018.  Here’s to more peace, love, and understanding.

All the good stuff

My ex has two aunts who live in Dallas and I was always pretty close to them during all the years we were married.  When we divorced, the battle lines were, unfortunately, drawn and some of his family, whom I had known for 30 years, did not want to have anything to do with me any more.  It was sad, especially,  to lose nieces and nephews I’d watched grow up. Nevertheless, there are several family members who have stayed in touch and maintained relationships with me (even becoming friendly with Rich after we got together).  These aunts are in the latter category and we always have a lot of fun when we have a chance to meet.  Last month, Sarah and I went to lunch with them and we decided we’d set a date each month so it didn’t fall by the wayside.  A few days ago, I was to pick up one aunt and thought about texting before I left my house but I figured she would be ready. Imagine our surprise when I knocked on the door and she answered in her robe!  We both had a good laugh and she quickly got dressed so we could go.  We met up with the other aunt (they are sisters in law, were married to brothers who are now deceased) and had a great time at lunch, talking and laughing and catching up.  One of them just turned 80 and the other is 90! Love these ladies!

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Beck’s 7th birthday was on Thanksgiving and they were out of town, as were we.  Since then it’s been one thing after another and we finally managed to have a little birthday outing with him a few days ago.  We’d asked him if there was something he wanted to do, somewhere he wanted to go, or if he just wanted to pick out a gift and have a snack.  He chose to go to Toys R Us and then to stop for a treat.  Easy, right??  Well, not so much!  Note to self: Toys R Us is too big and overwhelming and overstimulating for a kid to make a choice if he doesn’t have something in mind already.  Beck loves Legos but has a million of them and Sarah said he did not need any more since he has still not finished putting together a large set he got for his birthday. I knew he really wanted to look at the Legos but he walked on by and started perusing the other shelves.  Oh, my goodness, we walked up and down every aisle once, twice, three times, four.  The only thing he *really* wanted was a $150 R2D2 robot.  We told him we were sorry but that was too much money.  He was sweet about it but we could tell he really wanted it. We encouraged him to look for smaller, similar items but that was not cutting it.  So we wandered some more. I even told him he could get Legos if that’s what he truly wanted, so what if his mom said no! LOL We suggested some educational things like science experiments or a microscope or art projects but he was not interested.  He finally picked a couple of little packages of Star Wars characters and I told him since they were small, he could get something else.  This led to more wandering around the store. At one point, he did say, “We could be on our way home if I got that robot.” Funny boy!  Eventually we found ourselves in the nerf gun section.  I don’t like toy weapons and will usually not buy them for any of the kids but by then I was worn down and when Rich spied a four-pack of little guns, Beck was excited that he could have some friends over and divide up into teams and shoot at each other. So I said okay and off we went.  Thankfully he was pleased with his choices by the end; we were afraid he would just settle for something, anything, and be disappointed soon after.  But he was sweet and thankful and happy–he really is such a good kid.  Rich said next time we will just buy any of the grands a gift of our choosing and present it to him or her instead of torturing them with so many choices and decisions.  Lesson learned!  We asked Beck if he wanted to go somewhere and get a snack so he suggested his favorite place, 7-11, to get a slushie and a treat.  🙂  We love this kid!

Tuesday was my last day of volunteer work till after the new year. We had a little party and Rich was nice enough to make homemade tomato soup and croutons to go in it.  The weather was terrible, pouring down rain–just what I needed on a day when I was hauling a bunch of stuff!  We had a nice time, the soup was a big hit, and we all brought home little gifts from each other.  I love these ladies, too!

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Now we are on Day Two of what I am calling our Six Days of Quietude.  Sarah, Miles and kids have gone to Colorado for Christmas and we will not have Susan’s kids till the 26th.  We do not often have so many days by ourselves and we don’t really hang out with anyone in Dallas other than family. So far we’ve done housework and laundry, had a flat tire on the car, got the tire repaired, did some shopping and gift wrapping, watched some TV, read, went out to eat, and today I made another big haul at the thrift store–score!

25497961_10210683076569494_4292776563060692455_n13 books, 13 toy vehicles, 3 little journals, a word-find book, a jump rope, 3 whiffle balls, plus a holiday “peace” decoration for me.  $21 minus a $10 credit I had earned, minus a special holiday scratch-off for $5 more.  So, in essence, all of that for 6 bucks!  I am proud!  The kids’ room is getting pretty well stocked so it might be time for me to quit!

Charlie Brown Christmas

Sarah and I took the kids to a local production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” this evening.  It was super cute and the kids loved it.  At the end of the show, the cast led the audience in singing Christmas carols as well as “Happy Birthday” to any kids with November and December birthdays. Beck’s birthday was in November so he stood up with the rest of the honorees and beamed while everyone sang.  He swears that “Charlie Brown” looked right at him and pointed at him during the song.  Too cute. Afterwards we got to meet the cast and the kids got the actors’ autographs.  Jack took his program and walked right up to each and every character.  Adorable! It was great to see the kids enjoying themselves so much and a great time was had by all–I think Sarah and I laughed more than the grandkids during the show!

 

DNA and Family Secrets, Part 1

If you read my post about my trip to New Jersey to see Mom, you might have caught a quick reference to the fact that several of us spit in tubes and sent off our DNA to be tested.  Mostly we wanted to see if anything interesting came up about our heritage. We’d been told we were almost purely German on my maternal grandmother’s side (both of her parents had strong German ancestry and hadn’t been in the US for too terribly long) and English on my maternal grandfather’s side.  My maternal grandfather also told us that he had Native American ancestry from the Lenni Lenape tribe, though this had never been documented and seemed a bit of a myth or a rumor.  He was somehow related to the Cattell family in NJ, who claimed the famous Jonas Cattell, said to have warned the patriots that the Hessians were preparing an attack during the Revolutionary War.

On my dad’s side, we were pretty confident of English and Irish ancestry from the Rices and the Kirbys, though we didn’t have a lot of information about either one.

After several weeks passed, we excitedly opened our DNA results.  Honestly, they were pretty boring.  No Native American ancestry, nothing exotic, no African, and almost no German!  My mom, uncle, sister, brother and I showed up as varying mixes of English, Irish and Scandinavian.  We were a little surprised about the Scandinavian.  Where was the German? My sister found an article that was pretty complicated but basically explained that due to all of the migrations, invasions, wars, overthrows and intermarriages, a lot of people in Germany are hard to distinguish from English.  Additionally, ancestry.com and other such sites are not available in Germany due to concerns about genetic profiling left over from WWII so there is not much of a German database to compare.  We all had a tiny bit of Western European genes but that was all that might have indicated our German side.

In addition to getting our DNA results, we were also given a list of other people who have had their DNA evaluated on ancestry.com and show a match to our DNA.  I have over 300 “relatives” that share DNA with me–pretty interesting!  I knew all of the close matches–they are cousins and family members that I can easily identify.  But then there are pages more of 3rd and 4th to 8th cousins and I have no idea who these people are.  Many of them have their own family trees on ancestry so I could look and see who the common ancestor might be. It’s really overwhelming to see that many people and to try to figure out how you are connected, but also kinda fun.  I’ve been working on our family tree and have been able to trace some lines all the way back to England in the 1100s.  Crazy!  We are supposedly directly linked to King Henry I and William the Conqueror.  But, to put that into perspective, I read that 25% of the British population can claim a direct line to these guys, including many Americans of British ancestry (so we are not so special after all).

Anyhooooo, that’s a little background which leads me to the next part of the story.  Read on in the following post!

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