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


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!


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.

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!


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…

IMG_9370 (1)I am always a last minute Christmas person.  I can remember back in the day when we didn’t even put up our tree till Christmas Eve–that was the tradition–and then we left it up till New Year’s Day.  Now it seems that people are putting up decorations after Halloween!  Not to sound like an old fogey, but I can’t see the point in starting THAT early!

Since we don’t have kids at home, we don’t go all out on decorations any more. In fact, I sold/gave a lot of stuff away when we left Alaska.  But I finally put a few things up on our mantel and hung the wreath my friend Tammy made me a few years ago.  Today I actually got out and did some shopping, and I’ve mailed most of my cards. So I suppose I am getting closer to being ready!


Sarah invited me to go with her to a gathering of a group called Seek the Peace the other night.  The organization works with refugees and has a weekly meeting with young girls to work on self worth and decision making and empowerment.  One of the struggles of refugee children is that they often do not feel that they fit in and are sometimes targeted for bullying and ostracism.  Unfortunately, the graduation rate for refugee kids in Dallas is very low (33%).  Through Project Shine, it is hoped that young women will feel supported in their efforts in many areas of life, including finishing their education. Seek the Peace does lots more (read about it here) but we joined in a holiday party hosted by Project Shine.  We took Elle with us and all of us enjoyed interacting with the “Shine Girls” who were mostly from Malaysia and The Congo; we had snacks, made wreaths, and took photos together.  Elle made some sweet new friends and it was great to see her talking and laughing with girls from differing backgrounds and customs.  She has a tender heart like her mom and grandmother.  🙂

I picked the grands up from school yesterday and we hung out for awhile so Sarah could get some errands done.  We had a lot of fun as always.  Love having these kids nearby!

Susan and Corey’s kids will be here on the 26th for a week and we are looking forward to that. Everyone’s schedule is off this year so we won’t have all the kids and grandkids at the same time. Bonnie and David won’t be here till the 1st of the year.  But I am counting my blessings that we are not so far away any more and we will get to see everyone at some point!

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!



As I mentioned, Sarah and Miles were out of the country for a quick trip with friends so we had Elle, Beck and Jack last Sunday through Wednesday night.  The kids are always good for us but also very busy with lots of activities so we were on the run! Thankfully Sarah set up rides with other parents for most of the schedule.  Jack doesn’t go to preschool on Mondays so we took him to the garden with us and he had fun digging in the dirt. In fact, he didn’t want to leave and said he wanted to “keep digging.”  Tuesday and Wednesday all three were in school so we could get some other things done during the day; well, I had my usual volunteer work on Tuesday so Rich dropped me off first and then took Jack to school.

Sarah also left the holiday traditional “elves on the shelf” for us so we had to figure out where to hide them each night so the kids could find them in the morning. Wednesday Rich and I woke up at 4:30 to the sounds of Beck and Jack talking and laughing and making noise. I went into Beck’s bedroom where he and Jack were lying on his bed looking at books. I asked what in the world they were doing up and Beck said they had been looking for the elves.  I said it was still “the middle of the night” and they needed to go back to sleep.  Of course they were not in favor of this and I had to take a crying Jack back to his room where he did not want to lie down.  I ended up staying with him and I think we both fell asleep for another hour. I am not sure that Beck ever went back to sleep!  Needless to say, once they were all at school, I took a nap!

Sarah and Miles had a great time and the kids were happy to see them when they returned.  We haven’t been called upon since then so I think they are giving us a little break!  🙂


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!