Bye-bye, November

It was beautiful last weekend and we ventured over to White Rock Lake (not far from our house) to the annual ArtMart at the Bathhouse Cultural Center.  SO many talented local artists and crafters had their items for sale, it was almost overwhelming. We wandered through the whole place, intending to work our way back to purchase a few things but we left empty handed. Too many decisions?? I did take a few business cards so I can consider ordering later.  Then we stopped in at Brumley Gardens’ holiday open house. It was definitely all decorated for Christmas! We had a drink and a cookie and looked at all of the plants and displays, but again left without a purchase.  What’s up with that?!

All of the kids were with in-laws for Thanksgiving so our friends Mary and John were kind enough to invite us for dinner. Their daughter Bridget was home from college, plus their friend Mark was visiting from NYC. Also invited were a colleague of John’s (who did not want  her picture taken) and Rich’s ex-brother-in-law, Bob. So we had a funny mix of people which only made it more interesting and enjoyable for all. Not to mention great food and lively conversation! Rich contributed homemade cranberry sauce and homemade rolls and I basically showed up with gifts in hand. Can’t beat that, right?

Thanksgiving

We got home from Amarillo on a Sunday and began our preparations for Thanksgiving right away. First off, I should mention that our guests from Honduras left a little unexpectedly for Austin, a long story that I will not go into here, but they are with family members and hopefully doing well. Unfortunately, they left the apartment in a mess so we spent some time cleaning it up and packing the items they hadn’t taken with them.  At any rate, it was convenient so that Bonnie and David could stay in the apartment when they came to town.

Sarah’s kids came over to help us make some pies and Elle especially wanted to make a cheesecake so we enjoyed hanging out with them while getting some baking done.  The boys helped me with pumpkin pies and Grandpa helped Elle with the cheesecake.  The next few days I made a pecan pie and some pumpkin bread while Rich made a chocolate pie and we prepped for Thursday.

Bonnie, Dave and kids arrived Tuesday night late and had Thanksgiving with my ex and his wife at Sarah’s on Wednesday, then we had our big meal here on Thanksgiving day.  Susan had to work so her family couldn’t come and were greatly missed. It is harder and harder to get all three families together as their schedules get more packed and the kids get older with other interests and activities. Someday I hope we can all be together at the same time again! Thanksgiving was really nice, too much food, lots of good conversation and laughter and cousins getting to play.

Friday morning Bonnie and I went with Sarah to Elle’s soccer game while the rest of the kids stayed with Rich and David. Elle played well and took a very hard hit ball to the mouth without missing a beat and kept on playing. That girl is tough! Afterwards David brought all five of the other kids (good job, David) to meet the rest of us for brunch at a cute place called Snooze that has an outdoor play area for the kids.  David was shooting a wedding the next day so he had to leave for the airport to fly home.  After brunch we came back to the house, then Bonnie, Sarah and Miles took all the kids to a movie.  Emery and Beck share a birthday on November 23 so we had a little party that night and then a very long, complicated “Game of Life” with the kids.  🙂  Happy birthday to these sweeties who are a lot alike in being creative, funny, smart, and very kindhearted. Emery is 9, loves all animals, “beanie boos,” reading, writing, drawing, asking hard questions, discussing deep subjects and is enjoying playing volleyball this year. Beck is 8, loves legos, building things, potty humor of any sort, reading, movies, piano, acting, and is having fun on his new school’s soccer team. We love these two!

Happy Thanksgiving, a Little Late

My girls all had Thanksgiving with their in-laws this year so Rich and I were on our own. Not wanting to be totally bored and lonesome, I messaged my friend Karen in Abilene and asked what she was doing for the holiday. She is a social worker for a hospice organization and said she was on call for Thanksgiving so she would be home and “come on!”  We drove in on Wednesday and had dinner at her daughter Kaci’s house; it was great to see both of them and to catch up on news.  Thanksgiving Day we prepped and ate a fabulous meal at Karen’s, thanks to everyone but me!  I am a good cleaner-upper, though.   Friday Karen, Kaci and I went to Walmart and shopped for six kids whose names Kaci was given through her work on the Child Welfare Board.  First off, I hate Walmart and usually boycott it but we were given gift cards to shop with, so I had no choice. Well, I had a choice to say no but I did want to participate!  Surprisingly, it was not that crowded on Black Friday but it still took us forever to find clothing and toys for six kids.  It was fun to pick things out that we thought/hoped they’d like. The saddest thing, though, was that one of them had written “my mom” in the space labeled “what I need.”  I can’t imagine what these little children are going through and hope that their holidays will be a little less sad with a few gifts.

Friday night Susan and Corey were back from his grandmother’s but they had left the kids there for the weekend.  They met us, Karen, Kaci, and more friends Jim and Sherri for dinner and we enjoyed chatting and laughing with everyone.  I’m glad we got to see the kids after all, as we were not sure we would.  Sure did miss the grandkids, though!

Saturday,  Karen and I met some other friends, Kelly and Connie, for lunch. These gals are some of my oldest friends in Abilene–have known them since we were in our late 20s/early 30s and have been through a lot together over the years.  I am very thankful for them!  Later, we were going to help Kaci with some more shopping for additional kids but that never panned out so we ate leftovers and then Karen, Rich and I went to see “Murder on the Orient Express” at the theater.  It was beautifully done and we all liked it a lot.

This morning we headed back to Dallas, with a stop at the Fort Worth Zoo to pick up Beck and Jack from Miles’ mom, who’d had them since Friday.  She also had Miles’ brother’s daughter Berkley so we brought her home with us, too.  Sarah and Miles are in Jamaica with some friends till Wednesday so we are babysitting at their house (and running back and forth to our house) till then.  Elle was at a soccer tournament when we arrived and was dropped off by friends later.  Everyone had dinner and baths and watched “Cars 3” before it was off to bed with school looming in the morning.  I am not used to the early morning routine so we will see how I do tomorrow through Wednesday! LOL

I am grateful for family, friends, kitty cats, a roof over my head, the Affordable Care Act, the First Amendment, the resistance, iced tea, sunshine, socks, blankets, truth tellers, men who don’t harass/abuse/assault women, photos, flowers, books, humor, anyone who stands up to Trump, documentaries, strong women, peacemakers.

We are Thankful

Despite being only partially moved into our house and our dining room table not arriving in time for Thanksgiving, not to mention the fact that Donald Trump is our President-elect, we have much to be thankful for.  I was reading a lot of posts on Facebook about people dreading Thanksgiving, not wanting to be with their families because they disagree so vehemently on politics and the state of our country right now, which makes me doubly thankful that we got to spend Thanksgiving with family who agree with us on *most* issues and we didn’t have arguments or have to do our best to avoid strife over dinner. Now, if my extended family were present, that would be a different story altogether. LOL

Rich and I were up early finalizing the food prep–he made so many delicious items for dinner but we were having too much fun chatting to get any photos of the spread.  The kids and grandkids came a few hours beforehand and helped us finish up, including David (with assist from Miles and some of the kids) putting together TEN, yes TEN, new dining room chairs so we’d have somewhere to sit!  We’re just a little bit last minute, wouldn’t you say??

Right after Sarah and Miles moved out, I was feeling a little melancholy with them gone and I had already decided I was going to make these little Pilgrim hat crayon holders for the kids’ table, so I finally dragged everything out and *made* myself do it.  I am NOT crafty (Emery did not get her skills from her Gigi!) and I usually end up making a mess of things that are much harder than they appear to be.  However, these little hats turned out pretty well and were not that difficult.  I didn’t have a button to put on the front as a buckle, so I borrowed some pompoms from Emery’s bday gift instead.  I was pretty proud of myself and the kids really liked them so that made me happy.  🙂  They did quite a bit of coloring while waiting for dinner to be ready.

We had a fabulous meal and lots of good conversation around the table; just wish Susan, Corey and kids could have joined us and it would have been perfect! After dinner, the grandkids put on a Thanksgiving play they’d been working on–too cute.  We’d been discussing the “old days” when all the men retired to the living room to watch football while the women cleared the table, did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen; Bonnie said that her mother in law told her that before Bonnie joined the family, NO ONE did anything to help clean up.  I remember saying once at my ex-in laws’ “Next year, how about the women go sit down after the meal and the men do the clean up?”  Met with total silence.  LOL  Of course I have the best sons in law ever and this year Miles and David took on the task. Thanks, guys!

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The kids and grandkids walked to the park while Grandpa and I rested our bones, everyone tried the paper airplane launcher and gave it two thumbs up, we watched (or semi-watched) the Dallas Cowboys game, chatted some more, ate some desserts, hung out.  Suddenly out of nowhere Rich told us he was sick to his stomach and had to retire to the back apartment.  Bless his heart!  He was afraid it was food poisoning (a terrible thing for a chef to consider!) and worried the rest of us would get ill as well, but no one did.  Not sure what he had, but he was down for the night so the rest of the grown-ups had another round of the LOLz game, this time the “naughty” adult version. Let me tell you, I have never said nor heard such nasty stuff around my daughters and sons in law but we were laughing so hard!  Good thing the grandkids were occupied in another part of the house!

Sarah, Miles and kids left for home as Sarah’s dad and his wife were arriving at their house after the football game.  The rest of us were pretty tired and soon headed for our beds but first I laid with Emery for a little while because we like our bedtime chats.  This time she wanted me to tell her about when she was born,  so I recounted the story of Grandpa and I living in Alaska, coming to the lower 48 a few days before she was due so we wouldn’t miss her birth. We decided to go to Chicago for a couple of days before coming to Texas and had barely checked into our hotel room when Bonnie called to say she was in labor and going to the hospital.  I told Rich we had to go!  We changed our flights and got to Dallas that evening but there was only one seat left on the next flight to Amarillo.  Instead of being nice and waiting for the following flight so we could go together, I told Rich I had get on this flight,  took the last seat, and left him stranded in Dallas to wait for the next one!  I still didn’t make it to the hospital before Emery was born, but it was just a couple of hours later. I remember being so sad I missed her birth!

Today’s a quiet day; Rich is feeling mostly better, though not completely.  I had some time with the kids this morning and Bonnie returned the rental table for me, then they went to Sarah’s to have Thanksgiving #2 with their dad.  I think they’ll be back here to spend the night unless the kids all conspire to stay together again (I love it that the cousins are so close!) and they are leaving to go home to Amarillo in the morning.  It’s been a good visit and we are always happy to have them here.

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving wherever you may be.  I am hyper aware of all the sadness, strife and problems in the world today and I know that many people did not have a good holiday nor have any reason to acknowledge it. I am especially thinking of the Native Americans at Standing Rock and how ironic it is that many of us are celebrating Thanksgiving while America’s indigenous people are being oppressed once again.  I know that I benefit from my white privilege and so do my kids and grandkids and I want us to do our part to move toward a more just society for all.  Then we can be truly thankful.