We voted in the Democratic primary and took Jack along as he was staying with us that day. Doing our part to turn Texas blue. Or at least purplish. 🙂 Stopped by the garden and then came back to our place to play for awhile.
I’ve so enjoyed watching Elle play volleyball this season. The whole team has really grown and improved in their skills. We watched her final tournament, in which her team took 2nd place against older, bigger girls and showed a lot of heart and determination, plus some amazing plays. So proud of these Emoji Aces!
Workday in the community garden is always fun because we get to visit with more of our fellow gardeners and spruce things up in the common areas. I worked in the butterfly garden while Rich helped haul wheelbarrows full of mulch. We were both pretty tired by the time we got home, but hurray for a good workout!
My brother Joe, sister in law Denise, daughter Ellie, her husband Blane, and Blane’s dad came through town so we all had a great dinner by Rich at Sarah’s and a lot of laughs with all.
Granddaughter Ally turned 11 years old, hard to believe! She is a sweet, chatty girl who is very outgoing and makes friends wherever she may be. She has a kind heart and a big smile for everyone! She’s silly and sassy, smart and funny, great at reading, basketball and softball, not to mention beating us regularly at board games. We love it when she comes to stay with us and she’s one of our best travel partners ever! We love you, Ally!
Jack is our youngest grandchild, 3 1/2 years old now. We probably spend more time with him than any of the grandkids and we’ve been a steady presence in his life since he was a baby so he is quite used to hanging out with Gigi and Grandpa. He is a sweet boy with a very happy attitude and the best smile. He’s become quite talkative and a little jokester as well, keeping us laughing with his comments and silly antics. Since he was pretty little, he’s been very interested in sports and is weirdly talented in any sport he tries. Until now, he hasn’t been old enough to play organized sports but loves playing with his older siblings any chance he gets. Now he is signed up for 3 year old soccer. Check out this picture! I am cracking up!
Bonnie’s kids had a four day weekend for President’s Day so she decided to come see us while David stayed home to work. Emery went to her cousin Willow’s birthday outside of Dallas so she wasn’t here at first. Then my sister Kathi, niece Alana, Alana’s son Oren and Alana’s friend Melony came for part of the same time so we had quite a crew and a lot of fun, as always! We all got together at Sarah and Miles’ for brunch and all the cousins had a good time together. Ada called Oren “our new cousin.” 🙂
Houseful of fun
Group shot at Sarah and Miles’ house
Emery, Luke, Ada, Oren
My friend Debby is a nurse practitioner and college professor in Florida who mentioned in her Christmas letter that she would be coming to Fort Worth for a nursing conference in February and could we meet? Of course! We knew each other in 5th though 8th grades when our dads were stationed at Rhein Main AFB in Germany (wow, so long ago!). We kept in touch after we both moved away and had only seen each other twice as adults. The first time, I was living in Waco with my ex and was pregnant with Sarah; Debby and her then-husband were stationed at Ft. Hood in Killeen. We decided to meet and drive to Austin to go Christmas shopping. The roads were super icy and I am not sure why I thought we could still make it. I slid all over the road trying to get to the meeting spot to pick her up. She got in the car and we still didn’t stop to think that it wasn’t a great idea. Off we went and had not gone too far down the highway when I slid off the road and hit a mile marker sign! Damaged my pretty little 280-Z and we had to limp all the way back at a very slow speed. I can still remember that my ex’s first question was about the car and not about us! 🙂 Anyway, we never got to shop and I don’t think we saw each other again when we lived in the same area. The next year we moved to NJ so I could go go to graduate school and she and her husband were transferred to North Jersey for his job after he got out of the Army. Sarah was a toddler at the time and we went up for a quick visit. Debby says she remembers the car wreck but not the second visit. LOL So we have managed to keep in touch, mostly at Christmas time, through all of these years–kids and divorces and remarriages and grandkids and moves from one place to the next. We figured we hadn’t seen each other in about 36 years. I think we are on opposite ends of the political spectrum but we didn’t get into any land mines and just enjoyed a nice dinner out and catching up in person for a change instead of in Christmas letters and occasional emails. Oh, and I decided to take the train from Dallas to Ft. Worth and it worked out great! The station was not far from her hotel and it was an easy walk over, then a quick Lyft ride back from the restaurant. SO much better than driving to Fort Worth and back, especially in the dark.
On the train
Debby and me
Then my brother Joe and sister in law Denise came through on their way to Belize for a sailing trip with their Marine Corps buddies. We all met up for lunch and had a nice visit with them and some of their friends. Can you see why I haven’t had time to post?! Oh, and I had a day of jury duty thrown in there, too, sat around most of the day but didn’t get picked.
Denise, Beck and Sarah
Joe and me
Granddaughter Ally has been playing basketball but we hadn’t managed to make it to Clyde to see her till a couple of weeks ago. Wowie, 10 year olds can play! Ally was great at defending and made some good baskets. Lots of fun to watch! And bonus to see Susan, Corey, Aidan, and our friend Karen as well.
Rich, Aidan, Karen
me, Karen, Susan
On the way to Clyde
My girl and me
Susan and Rich
Susan and me
Corey and Susan
Rich and me with the kids
I have been slacking off, apparently! Lots going on, as always. Here’s a little catch-up for February.
First off, our son in law Corey had a birthday on the 2nd. He’s a great husband and dad and one of the hardest working guys we know. He’s also a lot of fun and can tell some funny stories, which is pretty much a requirement to be in our family. We have lots of interesting conversations and always enjoy hanging out with him. AND despite leaning toward the metal category, he is surprisingly versatile at Song Pop Party, kicking most of our *&#$%es in many genres. We love you, Corey!
The family with Gigi
Cute pic of these two!
Are they cool or what?!
Corey, his dad and Aidan
The family at the Jersey shore
Susan and Corey
Motocross when Aidan was little
Corey and Ally
New Year’s fun with a big group at our house
Next up, granddaughter Elle’s 10th birthday. Yes, another one hits double digits. Man, the time is flying by! She is sweet and sassy, kind and thoughtful, funny and silly. She is a great reader and writer and I can’t believe the long passages she can memorize and recite! She excels at soccer and volleyball and gets more skilled every year. She still beats us at board games and likes our after-school slushie treats, visiting Ajax, and “arguing” back and forth with Grandpa. We love you, Elle!
With cousin Emery
She’s a great big sister to Jack!
With cousins Ally and Aidan
Elle and Ajax
She and brother Beck are good friends
Our sweet girl
We babysat the boys overnight while Elle was in a soccer tournament and while she had a birthday sleepover. Beck was a little upset because he didn’t get to go to the birthday slumber party so we made our own party at the Studio Movie Grill where we ate pizza and watched “Peter Rabbit.” Then just the usual fun and games at our house. They are great kids and we always have a good time with them.
Jack and Beck
Studio Movie Grill for pizza and a movie
Chinese Checkers, anyone?
Napping on the couch
Beck is so sweet to read to Jack at night
Pizza and funny faces
Matching game of African American heroes
Hot chocolate and a game of “In a Pickle,” one of Beck’s faves
Found this little oasis of Philadelphia in Dallas while driving to Elle’s volleyball games. Tastes pretty darned close to a Philly cheesesteak and we’ve been back one more time when I had an Italian hoagie that was almost perfect. Hurray for a little bit of home!
Okay, maybe February needs more than one post! To be continued…
Susan and Corey had to make a trip to Fort Worth for an appointment on Monday and the kids were out of school for MLK Day. They asked if we could meet them there to keep Aidan and Ally occupied for a couple of hours till they were finished. We told them we’d still have Beck and Jack but it would be fun to have all of the kids together for a little while. After a quick drive over to Fort Worth, we got Aidan and Ally and took all four kids to the Stockyards to wander around. They had a ball as we went through the museum, had burgers for lunch, rode some of the silly 50 cent kiddie rides, and went through the petting/feeding zoo. Rich and Aidan waited outside while I took the younger ones in to pet and feed the animals, which was a blast for Beck and Ally but not so much for Jack! Could have saved my money on him because he was afraid to get too close to the animals and didn’t want to touch them or feed them. But I think he still had fun walking around and watching from a distance. After a couple of hours, we met back up with Susan and Corey and they headed home to Clyde while we took the boys back to Dallas. Jack fell asleep in the car and continued to sleep for awhile at home. We had dinner, cleaned up the house for their parents’ and sister’s return later, bathed, read books, and off to bed.
Fascinated by Quanah Parker
Beck, Ally, Jack
Jack keeping his distance in the petting zoo
These two had a blast together
Biggest cousin helping out with the littlest
Ally trying a saddle in the museum
Aidan and me
“We love this!”
Beck trying out a saddle in the museum
“You color, Grandpa!”
Beck and Ally
Beck sleeps with his door open but we always close Jack’s door so he won’t wake up if there’s any noise in the house. At one point I thought I heard a door slam upstairs but I figured it was Beck going to the bathroom. Quite late, around 10:30, I went to check on the boys and noted that Beck’s door was shut. I went in to make sure he was okay and he was snoozing away in bed. Then I spied Jack sitting on the floor playing with Legos! Little stinker! I took him back to his room and let him bring some of the Legos with him. I told him he could play for a few more minutes, then get up in bed and go to sleep. After awhile, I heard the door slam again and went back upstairs to find him in Beck’s room a second time! I returned him to his room (meanwhile Beck is sleeping through everything) and told him he needed to get to sleep. He said he “had to finish!” his Lego building. Funny boy! After a minute or two, I told him to get up in his bed and he complied. He had taken a bunch of toys out of a drawer under his bed so I started putting them away. He said “No, leave it!” LOL I said we wanted to have things picked up when Mommy and Daddy got home so he agreed.
Sarah, Miles and Elle got home around 12:45 AM so it was a long day and a late night for all of them. They had a great time in Vegas; the girls had a tough soccer tournament but held their own and Elle made 4 of the 6 goals that their team scored throughout the tourney. We’re proud of that girl!
After chatting a few minutes, Rich and I came home and collapsed in bed! I had to get up early for my volunteer work so it was a short night of sleep. Another successful babysitting gig in the books! 🙂
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.
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!