Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A flying trip to S'port!

Although I absolutely HATE to leave my peeps behind, I was pretty excited that mom, dad, and Jan offered me a ticket to join them in Shreveport! And it was such a hurried decision, that I didn't even have time to get too worked up about it, but since I couldn't sleep I did get up early Saturday morning to make some pecan sandies for PawPaw and and cranberry-orange scones for Mamaw. Then after a while my peeps slowly began to awake and come downstairs, and at the first sound of Tressie's voice, Eric and I knew...Uh-Oh! She didn't sound good! So after Eric squashed my suitcase (it always takes a man to get my much-needed things to squish down so that the suitcase zipper will close!), we ran out the door to run by the pediatrician's office before the airport...always a lovely start to a trip for a mom who hates leaving her babies behind!

After waiting for what seemed forever in the pediatrician's office (I thought it'd be empty on a early Saturday morn, but nope!), we saw Dr. M to learn that she had bronchitis. So after Eric reassured me that she'd be fine, he drove us quickly to the airport; and we had plenty of time to sit and visit while we waited until boarding, then the tears began to flow! Tressie fell apart; Macy tried to hold her composure, and Eric kept looking at me with the expression "Get goin', for they're going to be fine! You know you're gonna have fun!" So as I tried to maintain my composure, I leaked a few tears and got got my powdered-sugar'd pecan sandies through the airport security (I was worried about that!) and flew to Memphis where Aunt Jan was waiting for me!

My plane was a little bit late, so I was so thankful she was there to quickly get us to the correct gate; we boarded our next flight and giggled all the way to Shreport where we landed, rented her car and drove ourselves to Pawpaw's house, and then we would drive on to the hotel to meet mom and dad. It was so good to see Pawpaw, and it was even more wonderful to hear how happy he was to know that we had pulled all of this together to be there for him, a simple man with a simple art show. Of course, we told him how special he is and how special it was to us that we be there to support him at this "simple" reception for his art exhibit! While we were getting ready to take him with us to the hotel where we were meeting mom and dad, Jan learned that they had been in a little wreck near our hotel. So we stayed with them (as long as we was bitterly cold and windy!) while they finished up their paperwork with the police and the lady who had backed into them, then checked into our hotel, and then went to supper at Imperical Cathay (one of our favorite restaurants in S'port!). After a wonderful supper (if in S'port, one must go there!), we dropped off Pawpaw at his house and went on to our hotel.

It's surprising that any of us got any sleep, for we were all over-tired and having a great time laughing and just being together, and the fact that Jan was reading the jokes in Reader's Digest wasn't helping any! The next morning we awoke, got ready and had b'fast together there at the hotel, and then I rode with mom and dad to attend Grace Pres. (where some old friends used to attend...I wrote the "old" there just for you Rachel!) and then on to Pawpaw's art exhibit at the Barnwell Garden Center and Art Gallery.

Pawpaw's leaf paintings are some of my favorites; however, this one is extremely great, for he has also painted the matting.

Pawpaw looked great, and it was wonderful to see so many people trying to steal a moment or two with him. Everyone was impressed with the exhibit which features some of his artworks from 1926 to 2007! It's titled Dr. Hank Stoer: An 80-year Retrospective. And here is a newpaper article written on him...we're so very proud!

As a child, just one of my favorite memories was the whole family going down to the Barnwell Center, so the adults could walk around and reflect on the artwork that was on display, all of which I knew MY Pawpaw had done. And when the kids would get restless (which was almost immediately!), Alal would take us either outside to play on the lawn along the river or into the domed botanical conservatory, where we could run and play (until our parents joined Alal and us!) and look at all of the unusual plants and flowers! But another fun memory that I still enjoy is watching all of the fur coats come out in the winter, and let me tell you there were some pretty fancy coats and even some interesting artsy clothing at this reception...worth writing home about! Now who doesn't enjoy watching people?!?

One wonderful aspect of our trip was getting to visit with some of Pawpaw's close friends but especially our ability to visit with one of Alal's closest friends, Helen! It was as if we had spent the afternoon with Alal herself. It was so wonderful that she was able to be there, and she hasn't changed a bit...still hasn't since my earliest memory of her! And I've almost convinced her to come up here to visit with us...I really hope she does! The last time she came was when Macy was a little baby, and they stopped here to spend a night on one of their many travels through our area! Those gals liked to travel!

As the reception ended, we said our goodbyes to everyone, and Mom and Dad drove me back to the airport where I rented a car and followed them to Ruston to visit Mamaw, mom's mom. She also looks so good! She has really blossomed there in her nursing home, and I really think they need to pay her to live there, for she helps keep everyone in their places....and she really is the healthiest of all living there! Since it was late when we got there, we were just able to visit with her for a while before we headed back to our hotel, and I just had a great time talking and laughing with mom while we just laid in bed and tried to fall asleep. It really was the first time that I had gotten to visit with mom on this wild, fast trip!

The next morning we quickly got ready, had breakfast and went to visit with Mamaw some more. We took her for a walk to visit with some of her friends there at the nursing home, and then later that morning, I had to say goodbye to both of them to begin driving back to S'port...but first stopping at the Pewter Co., of course! Since Pawpaw had previous "engagements" I drove on to meet Jan at Helen's house, and we all went to have lunch at the Real Pickle...another S'port must-do! While eating lunch together, we decided that we'd just drive over to Jimmie's house to visit with her for a while, and it was so great to see her as well! Another one that hasn't changed at all in my memory! Not any at all, as Annie would say!
Then Jan and I had to say our goodbyes so that we could get back to the airport. After doing a last-minute quick search for a Mardi Gras king baby, we rushed to return our rental cars and check into finding one of Pawpaw's paintings that's located at the airport (which Jan did find...woohoo!), and we boarded our plane to Memphis, giggling all the way, of course!

Before parting ways, we had a quick bbq dinner (hello...Memphis!) before boarding our individual planes. And I just have to say "Thanks be to God!" for our landing safely, for I thought I was seated beside the next news-maker! The fella didn't speak English; he looked very suspicious; he had a terrible case of tourettes or drug withdrawal or something, for he kept jerking this way and that (I didn't know if I should scream for help for me or him!), and to top it all off, he was really sick with a sinus-something! Aghh! I've never been concerned flying in any way or fashion, but after that flight I was so thankful to put my feet on the ground and get away! be back home with my little fam! But wait...the first sound of their voices....they were all sick as well! My poor babies were all coming down with this yucky virus/bronchitis/whatever! And my poor husband who had been taking care of them all the while working from home during his busiest time of year at work! What a great guy! And not to mention that they hadn't told me while I was away that they were all dropping like flies! (One can't tell over a cell phone connection, I guess, for I talked to them non-stop...remember, I have all girls!) But home sweet home...we've all just stayed home and cuddled in front of the fire in fireplace, and I'm so thankful that we do homeschool, for we can do some schoolwork here and there, snuggled together in the warmth and comfort of our own home! get back to our "normal" routine!

One of my all-time favorites of Pawpaw's artwork...Mother Stoer, standing at the back gate of the Stoer family home!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A fun day at the Aquarium w/ friends!

Last Friday, after a quick bite to eat with our dear hubbies, Kendall, Carter-Man, the girls and I went to the Aquarium! We still can't get enough of those adorable penguins....they are just too cute!
And we walked and walked and walked some more! We made sure that we made the most of our trip by running from exhibit to exhibit to maximize our opportunities to see different animals being fed! Macy enjoyed chasing after Carter-Man, and Annie enjoyed trying to name and make friends with all of animals, while Tressie just enjoyed running! And Kendall just kept me laughing as she usually does! She is just hysterical!

While we were having a great time wandering around, mom called and asked if I wanted to join her, dad, and my aunt on a quick trip to Louisiana to be there at my grandfather's art exhibit's reception...well, of course, I did! So after making a few arrangements, they got me a last-minute ticket! Thanks again, Mom and Dad!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Happy Birthday, Macy!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday, dearest Macy!

Happy Birthday to you!

Another special day to celebrate! Again, I can't believe it's been nine years since Eric and I drove our neighbor's car to the hospital to have our first-born! Our little Christmas baby came right after a terrible ice storm hit our area, and our car was blocked in our yard with trees down every where! What an incredibly fun and memorable time of our lives! The fact that was nine years ago is rediculous!

So it was nine years ago that we had our first bundle of joy! As our tradition, we celebrated sweet Macy's birthday with a yummy breakfast at home, and we enjoyed watching her open a few gifts to let her know that we love and appreciate her. Her sisters showered her with little gifts that they had each secreatly wrapped in aluminum foil; Pawpaw gave her a beautiful aquamarine ring; Mimi gave her a cute, little black purse that I only wish I could borrow; and her daddy and I gave her a little MP3 player.

While everyone got dressed for the day, Mimi and I began to make some preparations for her birthday party when we returned home...she was having a few friends over for pizza and ice cream, so we made some cute, little chocolate lolli-pops in the shapes of pizzas.

So while the chocolates chilled, Dad took us all out to lunch to celebrate the birthday girl! Chinese~whoever would have guessed!?! Like grand-daughter! And it was sooo good!

After doing a little more after-Christmas sales shopping, the girls drove on home to work on last-minute things before party! With mom's help, for this party... I was prepared! We had everything set out and waiting for our first guest.

Everything was set out and waiting...our party favors, our pretty cupcakes with their coordinating sprinkles, all of our pizza toppings and sauces, our crustinis with artichoke-spinach pesto and cream cheese, our orzo pasta salad; we even had everyone's individual pizza doughs ready and waiting! But where were those fellas? Dad and Eric still weren't home from their little shopping spree...I'm not sure that I've ever met two other manly men that like to shop as much as these two do!

As the girls arrived, they all went to the living room and were chatting like little adults! It was so cute! And the next time that I came into the room, they were playing a game - they sooo looked and sounded like little adults! It was so cute!

After several "Where in the world are you?!?" phone calls (respectfully, of course!) the guys showed up, and we got our party started. We needed our daddy to be here to toss the pizzas in the air...not my speciality! After the girls prepared their individual pizzas, we put them into the oven and went to open gifts that Macy's sweet friends had brought her.

After enjoying their individual pizzas, cupcakes, ice-cream and lots of laughter, we bundled up and headed outside to light some fireworks!

And after passing out our party favors and saying our good-byes we began to relish the last evening that we had with Mimi and Pawpaw. Yes, it was our last evening with them visiting us this trip. Poor Mimi, I think we wore her this time she was barely holding herself up straight...the lady who claims, "I can't remember the last time that I wasn't well!" was tipping over from her cold medicine! And this was our last night having them stay with us.

What a help they were and what a wonderful time we had with them! I still cry like a baby when they pull out of the driveway! And um...I'm not the only one! You can hear the girls' crying; I try to hold back my wailing, and Eric does his best to keep his chin up!

We all get so sad to see them go...we hope and pray that one day they'll live closer! Then we can sit around and celebrate birthdays all day long! For in two more days it's Pawpaw's birthday!

Happy Birthday, dearest daddy!
Happy Birthday, dearest Macy!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Christmas Back-Blogging!

More to come!

Happy Birthday, Tressie!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dearest Tressie!
Happy Birthday to you!

Tressie, Mommy and Daddy and your sisters love you so much, and we're so proud of the little lady that you are becoming!

It's so hard to believe that my baby is now five years old! She's still an itty-bitty thing, so I can still wad her up into a little ball and hold her like a baby...which she actually enjoys our doing to her!

Celebrating birthdays is a big deal on my side of the family, and thankfully my dear husband eagerly agrees...after all, who doesn't like feeling special!?! And having two daughters, my dad, my grandmother, my cousin as well as several close friends all having Christmas birthdays, I don't want their special day to go unnoticed! Who would?

So the evening before Tressie's birthday, the girls made plans for the next have her stay in bed while they would eagerly prepare the birthday girl her favorite breakfast and hand-deliver her birthday cards and gifts!

The next morning, Tressie stayed in bed (most likely pretending to be asleep!) and awoke as she heard us coming in to greet the big birthday girl! After enjoying some time with the birthday girl, we began to get ready for her birthday party! It was a really, rainy day, so it was all too easy to move slowly and sit around and snuggle!

As the day flew by (as it often does when Daddy has stays at home!), I glanced at the clock...and it was nearing the time for guests to arrive! Aghhh! I had spent the day loving on our "baby," finishing up the birthday cake and doing last minute preparations for our birthday party and my parents to arrive for Christmas! I still have NO idea where the time went, but before I knew it...I was living everyone's nightmare! You know...the one where you're standing there naked in front of others! Poor Eric was still working on the swords that we were making for the two little fellas that were going to be at our "princess" party. Macy was ever-sp-helpful and rushed upstairs to help the girls get dressed while I ran to get in the shower! And as I was desperately praying for "a few more minutes" I continued whispering under my breath, "This is a nightmare!" As I was stepping out of the shower, the doorbell rang, and there were some of our bestfriends, Kendall and Shelley and their adorable baby Carter-man! I'll never be able to thank them enough for stepping in and hanging up this and that.

Kendall sent me back upstairs to get my make-up (and clothes!) on while she finished up this and that...and as I came back downstairs, the rest of the guests began to arrive! And what a fun, cute, little party it was! We had little cucumber-dill tea sandwiches, orange-cranberry scones, pecan sandies and pink lemonade.

We read The Princess and the Pea and played a princess/pea game; the little girls made little princess tiaras while our two princes decorated their two wooden swords. Tressie opened up the gifts that her friends so graciously gave her; and she blew out her five candles (I still can't believe that there had to be five!), and then Mimi and Pawpaw arrived!

After dining on salad and a few pizzas that dad and Eric ran to get (I seriously think they were looking for any excuse to get out of the house!), Tressie opened a few gifts from Mimi and Pawpaw, we had our devotions, got ready for bed, and fell fast asleep! A long day!

Merry Christmas!

"Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."

Being a parent on Christmas day is such a gift in itself...just being able to look at the world through your children's eyes! As soon as all of the children were awake, one could see it in their eyes, "When will we get to open some presents?!?"

Christmas morning Jen made us some wonderful cream cheese and raspberry danishes, and once we thoroughly enjoyed those, gifts were passed out, and a sea of wrapping paper, gift bags and bows were tossed everywhere!

As usual, Christmas morning was a blurr, for after a few of the new toys were thoroughly enjoyed, time snuck up on us once more! It was time to wrap up b'fast and get on with the preparations for Christmas dinner....and more family to arrive!

This Christmas (I have to say!) was a really special one, for we all just had to take turns holding our precious new little one, Ceilidh Winn (gaelic and pronounced 'Kay-Lee')! So while preparing Christmas dinner and in between stirring a sauce, chopping and dicing, we took time to handle the little bundle of joy while momma or daddy took care of something else. All the while, Mimi and I were entertained by Na-Na's musical numbers...a side note: tickets go on sale soon! If interested, contact me, his studio manager!

While we were enjoying the "sounds of the season" (with 6 grandchildren all in close quarters, we found that dad really liked to chop firewood for us...I think he was escaping...shhh!), we got a phone call from a friend in our church that had a father that Annie had invited over...well, the more the merrier! And what a treat it would be to have Señor Efrom join us. So Macy, Annie and I ran out in the sleet/rain (we considered that a white Christmas!) to get him. I'll never forget how thankful I was that we did go and get him, for he was waiting for us! He had the sweetest note written to our family and 3 gorgeous, little dolls that a family member of his in Columbia had made for our girls! We are so blessed by his kind friendship! And when we arrived back at home, Aunt Jan, Uncle Eddie, Will and Aimee were there as well!

We had a wonderful meal (ham, cornbread dressin', white rice w/ gravy, asparagus casserole (yum!), green beans w/ almonds, cranberry relish, Eric's yeast rolls (a product that has graced our table ever since he and Dad gave me my beloved KitchenAid mixer last Christmas!)...and Aunt Jan's sweet potato casserole that she makes for Eric. All of which was followed by Nate's delish decaf-coffee, our traditional ambrosia (which Mom and Macy have taken over making), and our coconut cake (with the mysterious recipe that Alal took to her grave that we are still guessing as to how to make!).

Then we have always traditionally opened up gifts with our extended family after Christmas dinner. And again...the sea of Christmas wrapping paper, bows, and bags once again grace the furniture, floor, under the furniture, etc.! It's so much fun! And I have to say that one of my favorite memories from that day was when I overheard Señor Efrom tell someone in his beautiful, Spanish accent, "Your family is so easy!" I think he's so right. Our family is so blessed by the love, respect and laughter that we all share. There is never a dull moment when we all get together, and the laughter that fills the room is truly a gift!

As the evening drew to a close, everyone began to collect there things, say their goodbyes, and we made plans to get together the following day to celebrate boxing day, beginning of kwanza, etc.

What a wonderful day and evening it was, and how great it felt to get the kitchen cleaned up (again...thanks, Mimi!), get the kiddos tucked snuggly into their beds and get into some jammies...just in time to begin our late-night chats, drinks, etc. that are always a barrel of laughs as well!

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"