Friday, April 20, 2007

AJ's 1st communion!

What a wonderful Easter!

Well, we were successful at finding a good home for our baby chicks (it was so amazing to watch them grow so quickly! I wonder how they're doing!?!?!), so we were onto our next project...getting ready for our trip to Louisiana to see some of my family. And what a wonderful trip it was!

Eric rode on to work with Charley, and the girls and I packed the last few things in the car, dropped Brody off at the kennel (his least favorite place!), picked up Miss Craig, ran to the bank, and then picked up Eric at his office around 10AM, and hit the road! We all just had to laugh at poor Eric when he saw the car that he was getting into...and his traveling across-country with five women...and all the things that we just HAD to have on a trip (hat boxes and all)! Our car was packed to the max!

We arrived in Monroe right at dinner time, and we made a quick detour to see Miss Craig's family's pecan groves, which is right beside the Children's Home that has the miniature horses that Macy and I met back in October. Since we had told Annie and Tressie all about the horses, and since we had been given an invitation to come by and visit, we did! The horses were in the cutest, little stable...which the girls think daddy is going to quickly build them a replica! Then we went to met my Aunt Lil, my cousin Amy, and her daughter, Melanie and Miranda (who our girls just adore!), and Miss Craig's grand-daughter Elizabeth at a restaurant for a quick dinner. After saying goodbye to all, Eric and the girls and I went on to our hotel for the night, and then on the next morning to see Mamaw.

We arrived a little early for the Easter egg hunt, so we were able to visit with Mamaw, my great-uncle Ralph and his lady-friend, Uncle Ray and Aunt Virginia, Aunt Losi, and once again Amy, Lil, Melanie and Miranda. What a great day it was getting to see Mamaw and some of her friends...and not to mention the Easter egg hunt (Tressie found one of the prize eggs...woohoo!) and getting to play BINGO! Although it was a little chillier than the last couple of Easters that we've spent in LA, it was wonderful weather. Then that afternoon, Miss Craig rejoined us, and we all drove on to Shreveport, where we met her brother Paul. After saying goodbye to them, we drove on to Pawpaw's house and then on to our hotel. After sweet Pawpaw and Eric got all of our luggage inside (that was a huge task, for it was bitterly cold!), we said goodnight to Pawpaw and had a great night's sleep.

We awoke the next morning, and Pawpaw drove over and had breakfast with us at the hotel. Then we drove over to his house and art studio and visited for a while. After a wonderful lunch at our favorite place in Shreveport, Imperial Cathay, we drove over to Jimmie's house...Auntie Uh-Oh! We had a wonderful visit with her, and then left to go and see some of Pawpaw's artwork on exhibit and then on to the boardwalk along the Red River...let me just was soooo cold! After a quick dinner at our other favorite place to eat in Shreveport, The Real Pickle, we drove back to Pawpaw's and visited with him some more before we had to oh-so-sadly say goodbye....I hate goodbye's! Then back to our hotel....again, it was bitterly cold! I think back and wonder...did that groundhog see his shadow or not?!?!?!

Early the next morning, we got back on the road and drove back to Ruston to see Mamaw and Aunt Losi before she drove back to Dallas. We had Sunday School with Mamaw and visited with her for most of the day before beginning our drive back! Again, I hate goodbye's! We did drive back as far as Birmingham and stopped once we just couldn't drive any further.

The next morning, we ever-so-slowly got up, and Eric did a little work on his laptop there in the hotel, then in the colder-than-normal temperatures "we" packed up once again ("Way to go, Ricci!), and then had a great time having lunch with K-ren, also called "Aunt Ique!" Then we made a mad rush to get home to get Brody from the kennel...thanks again, Kendall!

What a truly, wonderful trip it was...I wouldn't have changed a single thing! Well, it was cold, but it made that trip all the more memorable!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Our dearest Mother Simpson is now with the Lord!

A little more than a week ago we got a phone call that my dearest, great-grandmother had fallen and broken her hip. So we spent several days praying for her as well as our dear Uncle Charles, for he's been the one caring for her, and he hasn't been feeling well either. After the doctors put several pins in Mother Simpson's hip, she just wasn't able to recover, and she passed away on Tuesday, March 20, 2007.

This coming July, she would have been 102, and up until the day she fell, she still lived alone. She was a wonderful servant of our Lord, and I'm sure that the heavenly host of angels are now enjoying having her cook 'em up a mess of food....friend chicken, friend okra, and yummy greens! We miss and love her very much!

In many ways, I'm thankful that she is now with the Lord...even though at times this will be a difficult transition for our family. She lived almost 102 full, happy, blessed years and now has the full rewards of the covenant. She was loved by so many people, and she will most certainly be missed; however, her legacy will continue...she has set the bar quite high for all of us to follow in her lead! She graciously and generously served our Lord and her friends and family with such joy, and she was such a gentle, lovely, genuine woman. We've all learned so much from her, and we will always cherish our memories with her! Our family will forever be proud to have called her mother, friend, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother!

That weekend, we traveled down to Graceville, Florida to be there with family for her funeral. We met Mom and Dad, Aunt Jan and Uncle Eddie, Will and Aimee, and Uncle Chuck, and all stayed in a hotel in Dothan, Alabama. Her funeral services were so nice, and I know that she was so loved by so many! After the funeral, we spent some time at her house visiting with friends and family, and then we drove back to Dothan, and Eric and the girls and I stayed an extra night there at the hotel with Mimi and Pawpaw.

We all got up the next morning and drove back as far as Troy, Alabama to visit a wonderful pioneer village and museum! It was so much fun! There were many pioneer artifacts, an authentic 1881 wood burning locomotive, a covered bridge, a one-room schoolhouse, an old log church, several log cabins, a working smokehouse, a working grist mill and beautiful nature trails! The owner's wife was there and even gave the girls lessons on spinning and weaving (beginning with showing them how to pick cotton!), and Annie was amazingly good at it! She cleanly picked every seed out of every piece of cotton that she was given! One of the girls' favorite memories that they made was feeding the, these were not ordinary chickens, y'all! The owners suggested that we take the girls to see them, and when we began walking toward their enclosure, those chickens ran to greet us like happy puppies! It was amazing! What a great day that was, and we sadly said goodbye to Mimi and Pawpaw until we would see four more days!

On our way home, we did make our traditional stop at the Peach Park in Clanton, AL. And what a great way to end our short trip...wonderful BBQ, home-ade peach cobbler and icecream, a little shopping in their giftshops, and a stroll through their little gardens, which were fully in bloom!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Chicks, Chicks, and more Chicks!

Well, if someone didn't know me...they'd think that I had gone grainy! (is that even spelled correctly?) My "formal" dining room has lots of flower, herb and vegetable seeds growing pretty tall; two bunny rabbits; 5 chickens... well, small chicks at least; three children (nicknamed the DixieChirps by our dear K-ren); one husband; and one highly tolerant, well-balanced puppy dog! Actually, the vegetable seeds will be moving outside once the weather proves to cooperate; the bunny rabbits will be going back to my friend Christine's house (wahhh! they're so much fun and sooo sweet!); the DixieChirps and wonderful husband (he's my manly farmhand...I need him!) and the adoring puppy will be staying here! And "what-in-heaven-and-earth" (as Annie would say!) am I going to do with these sweet chicks!?!?!? Please, Lord, send a good foster family! Eric knew that he was in trouble when he came home and he saw that the girls had named them! Sunshine, Jenny, Waterbottle (?), Betty Stewart, and Rosey!

Signs too great to forget!

Over time I've seen signs that have just been too great to forget....and I've decided to set up a place to put them as well as share a few with you. My latest one is located on Monteagle Mountain, and it reads, "4 Seasons Restaurant: Closed Til Spring"!

Although my favorite sign (of which we weren't able to stop to take a photo!) will always be the sign that Dad, Mom, Eric and I passed somewhere in the Shenandoah Mountains on our way to Washington D.C. The sign read "Antiques Made Daily!"

Happy Birthday, Annie!

Well, this past Saturday could not have been any more beautiful! All of our flowers are blooming with our pink and white azaelas at their peak in this blooming season, the grass is becoming so green, and everything was just wonderful for a special day to celebrate Annie's turning SIX!

To celebrate we had an Easter egg hunt (complete with live chicks and bunnies hopping around the yard!), a "horse" piƱata, and a little tea party. But as a proud and happy mom, I was the happiest when Annie stood up and said, "I have an announcement! I just wanted to tell everyone thank you for coming to my party, and thank you for all of your hard work for it, and I just love you all!" My heart melted!

Annie, we are just so proud of you....for the little lady that you are becoming! Mommy and Daddy love you soooooooo much!

Monday, April 02, 2007

A start to a fun weekend!

Last Wednesday night, Mimi and Pawpaw arrived to spend Annie's birthday with her and us too! On Thursday, we met daddy for lunch downtown, and then Macy, Tressie, Mimi and I did a little birthday shopping while Pawpaw kept Annie at bay. Then we went to the TN Valley Railroad Museum and had a fun time walking around all of the trains and the historic depot...even though it was closed for the day! It was such a gorgeous day!

Then we ran to Sam's to get some things for the birthday party...thanks again, Pawpaw for picking up the tab!!! Then we all went home and found that daddy was already home from work...grilling out for us! The girls (i.e. Daddy!) and Pawpaw set up tents in the yard, and Mimi and I set a beautiful Tuscan tablesetting on the front porch...dinner was so much fun! I wish that I had a photo! That evening after a great deal of giggling, the girls slept peacefully while Pawpaw read fairytales to them and stayed out there in the tent with them....sweet fella...I know that he didn't sleep too well! I know that I didn't either...for it was pretty chilly, and I kept getting up every so often to check on them all!

Friday, Mimi and I spent a great deal of the day preparing foods for Annie's birthday party! And dad had a chance to get some much needed rest, then he and Macy went to Rock City for breakfst (a tradition they began years ago!), and then dad went to spend some time out on their property. That evening, Eric and I had a wonderful invitation to go to Bethany Christian Services annual fundraiser dinner....thanks again, Charley and Laura! We had a lot of fun! Although I didn't get the baby doorprize that I was eagerly anticipating, we had a great was so wonderful to hear of the successful adoptions and lives saved via adoption versus abortion. And it was also really great to see old friends that we haven't seen in some time! And that evening, Eric stayed up with me and helped me put the finishing touches on Annie's birthday cake to prepare for her 6th birthday party the next morning!