Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories

Here is a not-very-clear picture of the bird bath and the robins I mentioned in the last post. They are so cute out there with their bobbing little heads.

Thanksgiving Day was really nice. We ended up with 9 adults, the two bigger girls, and the getting-bigger-every-day twinnies. Everyone was in a good mood (most of the time), and the food was great. I was so busy hostessing that I forgot to take a picture of the table and the food.

The Thanksgiving goodness began on Tuesday when I was blessed to be able to go to Grandparents' Day at Care Bear's school. We all met in the gym/cafeteria until the kids were released from their classes to come and look for us. Care Bear is quite the little social butterfly and spent more time running around greeting friends than hanging out with me. But then we got to go to her classroom and then the fun began. The first graders have been busily learning about the Pilgrims, the Indians, the Mayflower, and all of the things we all learned about - I was really glad to see that. They did a little play for us --

The Pilgrims

The Indians

Care Bear pointing at something - I can't remember what!

The teacher had made a turkey out of brown grocery bags (wish I had taken a picture!), and she served the kids either white or dark meat - yellow popcorn and white. Really cute. We were served some nice cookies, and then they were to show us the room or read to us, or whatever they wanted to do. Care Bear, who's the highest reader in her class, read the easiest book she could find. The teacher commented on that. When I asked her why she chose that book, she said she just liked it.

Care Bear was excited to show me the inside of her desk --

Her teacher told me, when Care Bear wasn't around, that her desk didn't always look that good!

Wednesday I had so much to do to get ready for company, but I had the girls for quite a bit of the afternoon. They really like to help, and so we found ways for them to do that - they really did help. They actually were anxious to dust - and they were funny in their comments about how much dust there was! They were right.

Then everybody washed their hands really well and helped me make the rolls. They did a remarkably good job of rolling up the crescents --

Care Bear is the ultimate event planner. I see a great future for her in one of any number of areas. She and Feisty made all of the place cards. She wanted to set the table right then, but I talked her into waiting to come early and help me yesterday. She changed the table arrangement several times, after she had helped set the table. But back to Wednesday - she was upstairs busily doing a project, which turned out to be directions for everyone to follow.

Greeting the guests as they arrived at the front door.

Above the food table.

Pointing the guests to the dinner table.

Two wonderful shots that I can't resist sharing -

Care Bear reading a story to Aunt Sema (who had braided her hair)

Katie exploring her other grandpa's mustache.

I hope you have all had a wonderful week - let the Christmas decorating begin!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tuesday Trivia

It's Thanksgiving Week, 2008 - Yikes! Where has this year gone? I have been mentally writing my Christmas letter and it's going to be a doozy this year! It's been almost a year since we took that awesome trip to Hawaii. I never did do the final post on that trip!

Thanksgiving Day will be quite a bit less hectic than in the previous several years. We'll only have 10 at the table, with the two babies doing their thing, being passed around from person to person who wants to hold them. I'll do the turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy, and my home made crescent rolls. Everyone brings a part of the meal and it turns out to be scrumptious.

Christmas will be an adventure for sure. My MIL turned 90 in October, and we will be celebrating that milestone with 90% (well, 88% if you want to be technical!) of the family here - only one grandson and family will be unable to be here. So we'll have 30 people here for a week, staying with all of us who live around here. Should be a very busy, very fun week.

I have decided to stick with glasses, at least for now. I really hate glasses, but contacts don't work for me any more and I've decided not to spend my savings on Lasik surgery. Several suggested transition lenses to avoid the problem of changing in and out of sunglasses. I tried them once, but they didn't lighten up quickly enough for my liking. Have they improved over the years, I wonder? Thanks for all the caring.

Several of you have written about your snow storms. We've had ridiculously warm weather so far this year. It is so dry that the humidifier is running 24/7. We have hoardes of birds taking advantage of our bird bath for a drink. I want to get a picture, but they get spooked with the least motion, though my patio door is a long ways from the water. Picture a ring of robins standing on the rim of the bowl, taking turns bobbing their heads into the water as if they are being very polite. I'm going to keep trying to get a picture.

I was watching a re-run of "Touched By an Angel" the other morning when I saw an episode that first came out in 1995. I was happy to see it again because it contained something very exciting for people from our town. I have told you before that this town has become a mecca for artists, particularly bronze sculptors. I've shared a few of my favorites with you, and there are many more, some of which I'll show you later today.

But back to the story - this was a very touching episode - Gerald McRaney played a heart transplant specialist who refused to do the transplant on the patient who was up for a new heart. When he heard the patient's name, he realized it was the man who had killed all of his children in a drunk driving disaster. He was finally able to put away his anger (with the help of Monica, the angel, and God, of course) and do the surgery. The end of the episode showed a wonderful sculpture which had been created by the doctor's wife in memory of their 5 children.

The sculpture was created, in real life, by an artist who lives here. I did some research when I saw the show last week and called the local Art Council, who gave me his name and phone number. I called him to ask how his piece had ended up on the show. You may or may not know that "Touched by an Angel" was filmed mostly in Salt Lake City area. At the time, in 1995, the artist, BLAIR MUHLESTEIN, was living in Park City, Utah, and had a studio there. The producers and writers of the show had written the story line with 3 children. They went looking for a sculpture that would fit in with their plot. In the window of Mr. Muhlestein's studio they found the piece pictured below. They changed the story to have 5 children rather than 3.

It lives in a park less than a mile from my house. I have always loved it, and was so happy to find the story behind the story. When I talked to the artist on the phone, he invited me to come in for a visit. I'll let you know when that happens.

When I went to take these pictures, Feisty was with me. She and Care Bear love this park and their mom and their Grandpa both take them there often. She wanted to pose for all of these pictures, so I'll share them with you -- they were all from the children's section - I'll have to show you some more someday - they are wonderful. Better yet, come visit me and we'll go for a walk in the park!

This is one of those that I don't quite "get" - Feisty thought it was pretty funny. I've included the name, if that helps!

Remember the tree over my neighbor's house that glowed in the early morning sunshine for so many days? Here it is at sunset on a recent afternoon.

A few minutes later, I tried to get the final rays - I love the deep blue still showing above the mountains.

Wrapping up - people are always asking if the twins are identical. They haven't been DNA tested, but the evidence is pretty overwhelming that they are. They do the same things at the same time, have the same facial expressions, cry the same, laugh the same, and on and on. They fell asleep in their car seats the other morning - what do you think?

Their favorite new activity at my house is to play with the radio/CD player - opening tape decks, pushing buttons, messing with the volume, trying to put CD's on to play. Quite technologically advanced! But there's nothing like a good ole Evie record (what's a record???)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Autumn Vacation 2008, Part V, The Finale (Finally)

Leaving Myrtle Beach, we headed to North Carolina to visit another niece and her family, and see the lovely fall sights. My niece and her husband are the managers of a Christian camp in a beautiful area. They lived in a small trailer house with their two children for 9 years, never complaining. Finally, they were privileged to work together with many supporters to build a beautiful log cabin-type home. The kids have wonderful space of their own, including a large loft play area, and even an additional small loft in each of their rooms. I would have loved to have their bedrooms when I was a kid! They sure deserve this lovely place after all of those years of being squished!

The view from their porch was fabulous.

We were delighted to be able to stay in this little guest cabin. It was fun to read the comments that had been left by previous guests. It was well equipped and I could have stayed there more than two nights. Sorry about the lack of lighting! It was early and the sun hadn't arrived yet.

There was only one problem - the sleeping area - there were two choices. We could sleep on a hide-a-bed. My experience with these torture devices has not been positive, so we chose Option #2. This was to go up the spiral staircase you can see in the picture below - there was a very nice comfortable bed up there. The problem is one that you may or may not have - depending upon your age. We left a few lights on below so that we wouldn't go pitching into the living room when we had to make our trip or two down to the "facilities" below.

Heading back up to the house for breakfast the first morning, I enjoyed catching God's wonder as the moon was going down in the west and the sun was rising through the woods to the east.

There had been a bit of rain during the night, and as I caught this beautiful group of leaves, I was sprayed with drops of moisture.

As you know, if you've read me over the past years, I love autumn and the colors God gives us to enjoy. I have lived in the Midwest, where the colors are fabulous. I lived in Arkansas when I was a kid, and didn't truly appreciate the grandeur of autumn, and wish I could see it again. I have visited the Boston area, hoping to see the profusion of color change, only to be a bit too early. I have lived here in Colorado for many years, where the colors are mostly brilliant yellow and orange. I don't believe we were in North Carolina at the peak of colors, but it was beautiful.

We took a little break at the top of the world, East Coast version - Mount Mitchell. Now it's not nearly as high as the peaks here where I live, but it was glorious.

We thought about eating at the highest restaurant in the East, but decided the choices offered and the prices asked were not to our liking, so we passed on that opportunity.

Russ had a new GPS that provided us with a lot of enjoyment. Those ladies get pretty bossy! And mixed up if you don't follow what they think you should be doing. R entered "Customize" and here's a picture of the route "she" gave us. We didn't name "her" as others have done - we should have! She sent us on a merry ride.

But it turned out to be a blessing - what beauty we saw as we bounced along on a very narrow dirt road - we could not have turned around if we had to. We didn't know where we'd end up, but it was a fun journey.

When we came out of the woods, we found ourselves close to Asheville, where we finally got some lunch - once again, the weight watching went out the window as we ate at Fat Buddies Bar-B-Q. What a name! I'm not crazy about barbeque, but I have to say it was pretty good. I really really wanted to take a little side trip and visit Billy Graham, but couldn't talk the rest into it ;-)

We headed back to the campground, stopping for our grand-niece's soccer game, then some Mexican food - my word, how did our stomachs survive that day??

The next day was when I had lunch with Nancy close to her home town. If you missed that episode, check it out here.

The last day with R&C, we were relaxing on their deck before heading to the airport after lunch. This little guy landed on the picnic table when we opened the umbrella and we watched this amazing bit of God's handiwork. The transformation took place before our eyes in a matter of about 5 minutes.

The flight home was fine - I got an aisle seat! But we had one glitch - when DC's carry-on luggage was being processed, they told him he had to meet them and discuss a problem - it seems that he had packed the large jar of honey he had bought up at the top of Mount Mitchell -his only souvenir. Bummer! We totally forgot about that "no liquids" rule!

If you have a few more minutes to spare, go on over to Kristen's place - she finally was able to carve out a few minutes to update you on her life. Please keep her on your prayer list! Life is not easy for the single mom of 4 little girls.