Smile – It’s Your Birthday

jar-dressed-funny
Joshua – 10 years old 

For the parents out there – have you ever said to one of your children, “I hope you have a child just like you”?  And, if you did say it, was it because they were being about as perfect as perfect could be?  Or… not? Maybe it was said in one of those completely exasperating moments.  I don’t actually recall if I’ve said that to my children. Chances are, at the very least, I said it to my son, Joshua.

Joshua is all grown up now and he and his wife just had their second son but, when he was a child he was always precocious and inquisitive.  His curiosity kept me on my toes and is now legendary when we reminisce about antics from his younger days.

When Baby Alan arrived a few days ago he had the small but distinct honor of arriving on his great-great-grandmothers birthday.  She would have been 118.  As I was thinking about my grandmother…and her birthday…and Alan’s birth/birthday…and Alan’s daddy (Joshua) my mind then drifted to my grandmother’s funeral.

I didn’t say my thoughts made any sense.

But, they did make me smile.

We were having a visitation for my grandmother at the funeral home.  She looked peaceful and pretty in her casket.  As it usually is the top half of the casket was open and we could see my grandma from the waist up.

Joshua, fairly young at the time – and always curious – climbed onto the side of the casket to get a better view.  As he looked at her he decided he needed to see the rest of her and pushed the satin drape aside to get a better look.

Pretty much in the coffin at that point, he yelled, “HEY! She doesn’t have any shoes on! She’s barefoot!  What’s she supposed to do when she gets to Heaven?  Why does Grandma get to go barefoot and I have to keep my shoes on??”

Inquisitive, enquiring, questioning, probing minds wanted to know.

Oh Joshua, how I love you.

 

Baby Alan, with every joyful ounce of a Nana’s love… You hit the jackpot with your daddy.  I hope you grow up to be just like him.

 

 

 

 

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The Heard on Black Friday

 

It’s not this time of year without the madness of the Black Friday frenzy.  And, while I have, in past years, jumped on the bandwagon in search of savings, this year I had no desire to join the crowds.

However, I did feel the need to get outside and make the most of the sunshine and mild temperatures.  With such good weather my daughter and I made  a plan to visit dinosaurs and explore trails at   The Heard Museum in McKinney, Texas.

Arriving earlier than the rest of the family I was able to get in two miles before we met up.  I enjoyed the solitude in nature as I encountered fewer and fewer people the farther out I went.

The water, the turtles and our version of autumn

When they arrived I met them on the dinosaur trail, and as I came up behind the kids I was met with the wonderfully familiar sound of “NAAANNAA” as they caught sight of me.

Dinosaurs – oh my! Let’s take a a selfie.

As we wandered along we came across a trail that none of us had been on in a while and decided to follow it.  Five year old Kolbe was convinced that this was the trail with the giant white sycamore and really wanted to find the tree.  Despite the rain a few days ago everything had been relatively dry so we thought, “okay!”

11-nov-25-black-friday-at-the-heard-16It may have been a little muddy in a few spots.

We were thoroughly enjoying our hike when we came across areas that had obviously been flooded.  Seeing a bridge which had been washed away from who-knows-where along with all of the piled up branches, trees and debris we commented on the damage.

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See the bridge?

Walking a bit further we suddenly found the spot where the bridge had been.  And, it was where we needed to cross. 11-nov-25-black-friday-at-the-heard-1We wondered, “Should we turn around and retrace our steps or see if we can get across?”

Now let me set this scene for you.  We were a party of seven.  One Nana – that’s me, one daddy, one pregnant mommy, two school-age kids and two young-un’s.

11-nov-25-black-friday-at-the-heard-11

The littlest ones

What the heck – it was time to be adventurous.  If we fell in the water or slipped in the mud it wouldn’t be too bad.  After all, it was 62 degrees with sunshine and no wind!

It’s an adventure payoff!  We all got across and no one fell in!

Time for another selfie.  Or two!

11-nov-25-black-friday-at-the-heard-7AND – we found the giant sycamore!  More than 160 years old!

As we came to the end of the trail we realized we had been hiking a closed trail.  Due to damage from flooding. Oops.

11-nov-25-black-friday-at-the-heard-17I don’t know what happened to the sign at the start of the trail, but our ‘adventures’ made a good day truly memorable.

 

Parties and Parades

The first weekend of December is typically a busy one for my family and this year was no exception.  Hosting the first of two parties on Friday night I would have to say it was a success.  Everyone seemed to have a good time and there may have even been one or two headaches the next morning when people woke up.

That’s what happens when your husband makes excellent homebrew AND your home has a full-size bar with a 4 tap kegging set-up.

Dec 9 Beer Taps

The last seven years have seen us getting up early and driving a few miles south so one – or both – of our sons could participate in the Richardson Christmas Parade with their band.

Christmas Parade 5

This band is HUGE as it includes several private schools in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex.  It’s been a fun experience.

Christmas Parade 4

With this being the last year at the current school for our 8th grader it was a little bittersweet.  But, new and bigger challenges are waiting for him as he prepares to go to high school next year.  And, I have no doubt we will find something to fill up Saturday mornings of the first week of December. 🙂

Sunday, after Mass, we headed over to our place of business (retail appliances and flooring) to watch our hometown Christmas Parade.  It is always a fun afternoon and this time was no exception.

Christmas Parade

Granddaughter, Claire, rode with the American Heritage Girls.  She had the easy part.

Christmas Parade 1

Daughter, Krista, walked the whole route while carrying a sleeping Therese on her back.

Husband, Ronald, and son, Patrick helped with LifeTeen group from our church hand out candy and treats to the little ones.

Christmas Parade 6

After Grandpa and Uncle Patrick passed, granddaughter, Gianna, had had enough and decided to sit and enjoy one – or several – of those treats.

Christmas Parade 9

Post parade grandson, Kolbe, showed me his big bag of treats and candy.  It’s almost better than Halloween!

Christmas Parade 7

And, finally, Santa and Mrs. Claus came down the road in style.  Firetruck style that is.  Stopping for a minute at the exact spot my family was standing the grandkids were able to have their own private conversation with him.  Their day was made for sure.

Christmas Parade 8

Blue skies, brilliant colors of autumn, mild temperatures and Santa on a firetruck. What better way to end the weekend?

And, now, the weekend is behind us and the daily countdown has begun.  My son, Joshua, and his wife, Emma will be home in less than 6 days.  (read that post here )  The excitement continues to build.  I can’t hardly stand it!

Merry Christmas!

Countdown to Coming Home

My second child, Joshua, has been living in Asia since early 2007.  Between his two younger brothers keeping us super busy, the distance, time difference and travel expense we haven’t seen him quite as much as we would like.

Don’t get me wrong – we have seen him.  Just not as often as my mama heart wants. He has been home to Texas a couple of times and we were fortunate enough to travel to Beijing in 2008 to see him.

We also had an amazing trip to Japan in October 2013 to witness his marriage to a beautiful young Japanese woman, Emma, and spend time with her family in their home.

But – it’s been a while.  The last time he was stateside was 4.5 years ago and the last time I was able to hug him was during our trip to Japan.

Family pic 2011

Our family has grown and changed a lot since 2011

Kids 2010

My kids have changed a lot too in the last several years

The time is coming though.

Having booked their tickets during the summer I have been waiting impatiently for their arrival day.  Trying to be cool I’ve done my best to avoid a daily countdown.

But now it’s December 1.

It’s officially the Christmas season.

And they’ll be home in just a matter of days.

Soon, all my little birdies will be in the same town at the same time.

It’s been over 2 years since we saw him in person.

My heart is so excited.

My heart is soooooo excited.

My heart can hardly get through the days it’s so excited.

They are coming home.  Let the official daily countdown begin.

 

A Whole Lotta Sauce

Spaghetti sauce, that is.

Nov 19 sauce

When you’re hosting lunch for a crowd you need to have a lot of whatever you are serving.  For Saturday’s feast I chose spaghetti and today I made this huge pan of sauce.

Yum.

I won’t have time to make it on Saturday so I’ve stayed ahead of the game by getting it ready early.  My house smelled delicious as the ingredients came together and it simmered on the cooktop.

Why am I hosting a big crowd for Saturday lunch?  To celebrate Ben’s Confirmation and Gianna’s 3rd birthday.

Three years ago today my beautiful granddaughter arrived and she has been keeping us on our toes ever since.  My daughter said it best on Instagram when she stated, “She brings laughter, joy and many moments to practice holiness everyday!”

That’s my girl and I sure do love her. 🙂

Ben is being confirmed on Saturday.  He is growing up so fast and he has grown into a wonderful and handsome young man.  I am so proud of him.

Nov 14 Ben

It’s going to be a great big celebratory, happy, family weekend.

I love these moments.

Romans 12:10

Love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.