Tuesday, December 30, 2008

WE Had/Are Having CHRISTMAS!

I love traditions--don't you? There is usually a really good reason why you started doing something the same way each time, and a really good reason to continue doing it that way. We had "traditions" while our kids were growing up. Some have been discontinued because they are no longer needed/applicable to the situation, and some have remained because we like them[!] or they are easily adjustable to our needs.
"Driving around Christmas Eve to see the Christmas lights": This was supposed to get the kids 'sleepy' so that they would go to bed more easily so Santa [and his elves] could come. It worked pretty well, most of the time; but it could not be carried too far, as a tradition, after the kids were grown because they needed to absorb their spouses traditions and establish their own.
"Family coming to OUR house for Christmas": Ron and I were the youngest 'kids' in our respective families, and we tried several years to 'go to Grandma's' for Christmas, which meant 2 different houses in 2 different locations! The last year we did it, we lost small little parts to several toys, had so much packed into the car--luggage,presents, baby 'paraphernalia', kids and us--that we felt 'squished' together for two whole hours and were cranky with each other when we finally got to our destination! Ron and I looked at each other and said "This is no way to spend Christmas!!" So, we let everyone know that we were going to spend the next Christmas at home! and if you want to see us and have Christmas together, you are welcome to come to our house on Christmas day! This worked very well for us for many years. But once the grandparents were gone or had moved away, and our kids began to marry and have their own families...we couldn't all 'fit' into our little house! For several years, we all[at least those who were still in Missouri] went to Karen's and Chris's house. When they moved out of state, Kirk and Stacy graciously invited us there. Over the years some have had to spend their Christmas in various other parts of the world and we miss them, greatly! [Keith and family have not been able to come for years!] And, in the past few years we have had to change the day from Christmas Day, too. After all, new traditions have to be started, and other families have traditions to work around,too! We can be adaptable!!
"Our Kind of Christmas Dinner": This tradition was born out of frustration,too. I realized that I was NOT getting to enjoy watching my kids enjoy their presents [after the big 'opening'!] because I spent most of Christmas Day in the kitchen either FIXING dinner or CLEANING UP after dinner! My Mom and I discussed it and decided to pray about a solution. This is what we came up with: Everything needed to be fixed ahead. It should be 'different' enough to make it seem 'special',and served on 'throw away' plates, etc.
We have a VARIETY of various things: meats, cheeses, breads, fresh veggies, pickles olives, and other condiments, chips and dips, crackers. And [of course!] desserts: pies, cakes, cookies, and candies. It is mostly just left out [some things may be returned to the refrigerator] for people to sample and munch on all day. Now that the kids are grown, with kids and grandkids of their own they are insistent on keeping this tradition. Everyone signs up to bring something on the list, and usually throws in something extra,too, that they want us all to try.

This year we got together on the Sunday after Christmas. Three of the kids and families were able to be there: Kevin and Cory, Kristopher, and Kirk and Stacy. We missed: Keith and Sharon, Karl, and Karen and Chris. We will go see Karl this coming Saturday, and take Rob[his son] and Val [Rob's mom] and Dillon [Kevin's oldest son] along. We have talked to Keith and family by phone and Karen and family, too.
How is it that old saying goes? The more things change, the more they remain the same. Or is it: the more things remain the same the more they change? Either way, it shows that we all must be able and willing to ADAPT when we need to!
Here's wishing all of you a Happy New Year! May you establish some NEW traditions this year---or adapt some OLD ones!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just in case...

...I don't get back here tomorrow...
Merry Christmas! To each one of you! May you have a day that is warm with love: from your family and friends, but mostly from our Heavenly Father. Who loved us so much He sent His Son to become one of us and die in our place for our sin.
Thank you God for that first Christmas gift!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ron's Christmas Pageant

I don't remember a time when Ron ever participated, in costume, in the Christmas pageant. He ALWAYS helped with the music, usually playing the piano, and everything he did was "off stage".
The director asked him to be one of The Kings this year and he agreed. You might notice that there are 5 of them---I'm not sure why-- but I do know that they all had a great time! Here they are singing "We Three Kings"--in a style and manner you have never seen or heard it done before!
Here is a close up shot after the program. Notice the big turban with "jewels"? You should have seen it bobbing and bouncing on his head while he played the piano for the congregational singing.

A shot of the whole cast. This was done in our fellowship hall/gymnasium because it had a BIG stage. The one in the sanctuary is very small.

"We... We... We...We... We Three Kings...! " [They finally found their note!]
They were hilarious and "stole the show" ! Everyone was laughing and clapping!
I hope it doesn't go to their heads!!! "Ooooooohhhhhhh !!! Star of Wonder..." Crazy Guys!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Family Christmas Pictures-Kirk and Stacy&kids

The little stinkers- Bostin and Emily.
He is usually very patient with her. He likes to make her laugh, and she adores him-most of the time!

The Family group shot. I love how Emily is holding on to Stacy's fingers!

Look at thos soft natural curls, and that ornery gleam in her eye!

I really love this composite page of Kirk and Bostin. Look at those grins! Like Father-like Son!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Emily at 8 1/2 months

I just love these 2 pics of Emily! We were riding in their van with them on a trip to 'somewhere'. Emily looked so cute and ornery with this little hat on that I just HAD to take her picture! She was just at that age, too, when they begin to figure out you will laugh at their silly antics; and they can laugh at yours!!
Look at that big grin [around the binky]-- and those little ear flaps sticking out. I loved that hat, and Stacy said she did pretty well about leaving it alone so it stayed on her head.
It is amazing how much she has grown and changed this past year. She will be 19months old on Friday. She is already having some 'terrible two's ' issues over 'independence'. Stacy said she has picked up the dreaded "Mine!" word in the past couple of weeks, too. Then she turns around in another minute and gives you a big grin or hides her eyes behind her hands and shouts "Boo!" at you. What an ornery, sweet little character!

Monday, December 8, 2008

An evening in Branson

Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers
Bill Medley with his son and daughter

Paul Revere and the Raiders. Bill Medleys son also sang with the Raiders. Paul called him Baby Raider! He is such a clown!

Me, on the left, and my friend Earline at Dick Clark's Restaurant.

Our two friends Melissa and Pansy sat across the booth from us.
Back in April, three friends and I went to Branson for the weekend. Three of us have gone there nearly every year for several years: Pansy, and Melissa, and I. This year we invited Earline to go with us. Other years we have had one or two others along, but some have moved away . Each time we go we try to see at least one show. Pansy loves anything to do with the '50s, so this year we went to Dick Clarks restaurant and show. There are several 'acts' that appear on a rotating schedule. We just happened to get to see "Paul Revere and the Raiders" and "Bill Medley from the Righteous Brothers". I must confess--I was pleasantly surprised by the show! Very entertaining and lots of 'oldies' that I knew!! Our meal was terrific, too. And I am looking forward to Spring and our next trip to Branson!!
We always have a great time together, shopping and visiting and taking in a show or two. We all scrap book, so sometimes we spend a good part of the time doing that together--all spread out in the condo--yakking and working away. Ahhh! I can hardly wait!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lazy Day and a Pot of Chili

Today was one of those days where you don't get a whole lot accomplished but you don't really care!! Sometimes you need one of those kinds of days to just catch-up with yourself!

My BIG accomplishment for the day was going throught the mound of mail and other stuff that has been collecting since I went to Oregon. I found a couple of cards that no one had thought to tell me were in the pile!; but mostly had a BIG pile of trash to throw away. I'm really glad that chore is not hanging over my head anymore.

Ron's BIG accomplishment was to make a pot of chili [and watch college football games!]. When Ron makes chili he uses my big canning pot and makes a big batch! We had a bowl for supper and I'm sure there will be plenty to share and some to put in the freezer, too.
HMMMMM! wonder who will get some of this batch??

Sunday, November 30, 2008


On November 30, 1964 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a darling baby boy entered our lives. We named him James Bradley. James was Ron's mother's maiden last name, Bradley was my mother's maiden last name. Since we had several "Jim's" in the family, we decided to call him Brad. We loved him greatly. Unfortunately, we only had him for 20 months before he died. Although we had an autopsy done, we are not SURE of his cause of death. Technology is so much more advanced, now, that the cause could probably be determined...but at that time, there could only be speculation. The speculation was that he had picked up a virus somewhere and it had taken a path to his brain. He was not running a temperature, but he did start convulsing suddenly and they were not able to stop his convultions completely.
At the time of his death, Keith was 3 years old and Kevin was 4 1/2 months old. We were very sad at losing Brad, but there were the 2 brothers to raise; so, with God's grace and comfort we began moving on with our lives. Happy Birthday Brad!
On November 14, 1974 in Anderson, Indiana we were blessed with our sixth little boy. We were extremely glad to have him arrive...healthy and 'fine'. We named him Kirk Matthew. We had looked for a "K" name that was a little different from the 'norm', and Matthew seemed to be a good choice to go with Kirk.
It had been a few years since our last child, and all of his brothers were old enough to enjoy their baby brother. They liked to entertain him, and as he got older, he entertained them with each new thing he learned. He brought a lot of JOY to the family!
This year I was in Oregon with Karen on Kirk's birthday, so I did not get to blog about it on 'the day'. So I decided to share about him, now, on Brad's birthday.
Happy Birthday, Kirk! We love you so much!
{ I tried to get this written on November 30th, but I think it is already December 1st!}

Can you figure this out????

Help! I wanted to change the colors on my blog to reflect the Holiday Season. Somehow, I have done or NOT done something and now my titles don't show up [unless you get the mouse pointed at them just right] and neither does the "comments" log. If you can figure out how I can "FIX" them, please let me know!

We went to see Karl...

...today, in St. Louis. Had a great visit, too. This time, I got to see his room. It's not bad, just very tiny!! And it was pretty clean, too!
We took him some of his things that we have been storing here, and our old computer, too. He can't have internet, but he can use it to play games, etc.
We drove back West on I-70 to a Cracker Barrel for dinner, and then we took him shopping for his gifts for Robbie's Christmas. It has been a long time since he has been able to choose the gifts for him, and he was SO excited about doing it! We drove South to a shopping center he knew about, and then back East and South for a Target, too. Karl goes everywhere by using the Metro-link, so sometimes it gets pretty comical as he tries to figure out how to tell Ron what roads to use to get where he wants to go!
After we left him we got back on I-70 to head on home. We had not gone very many miles when we noticed a big traffic jam ahead of us, and we ALL came to a complete stop. We heard sirens coming in back of us and everyone began moving over to their right as much as they could. Sure enough, here came several emergency vehicles in the far left lane : police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks; and in a little bit, here came more of the same. Then the IDIOTS [those who always think THEY can get through a situation like that even though no one else is moving!] decided to try and go down the left lane,too. Of course they were jammed in there and blocking the lane when the next batch of emergency vehicles were trying to get through. Next thing you know, there are Emergency vehicles trying to get past all of us by driving down the right side of the roadway, on the shoulder,etc! And, of course, some people decided that if they could get through there, than THEY should try it, too!! More IDIOTS! In a little bit we could hear more sirens coming in back of us. We could tell that they were making very slow progress. Sure enough, they were making their way through the MIDDLE of all us. Now people were pulling to the right or left to make a path for them to get through. Two cars ahead of us the people just sat there with the police cars right behind them using their sirens and horns to get them to move. Finally, they got out of the way! In about 15 or 20 more minutes, we saw police personnel walking among the cars and talking through the window with people. We began to realise that they were giving them instructions on how to move their cars and sending them back the way we had come. Pretty soon, they came to us and told us to take our turn around,too. They sent us back up an on-ramp and directed us through a residential area, past the bottle neck and then back on to I-70. We had the radio on and knew there was an accident, etc. but 2 hours or so later, we heard the story. It seems 2 people had hi-jacked a car.
A policeman recognised the vehicle, they saw him as he was calling it in, they rammed his cruiser and shot at him, then they took off down a 'road' to get away and found themselves going East in the West bound lanes of I-70. Then they hit another vehicle head-on and were killed. There was at least one jack-knifed 18 wheeler and many more vehicles scattered along the highway from trying to miss them. The last news report we heard said there was 'no news yet', about the condition of anyone else at the scene. I'm so glad that we were not 'just a few minutes earlier' down the road toward home, or we might have been more closely involved in the event! "Thank you God!!! "
The rest of the ride home was fairly un-eventful except for the snow that was falling from about St. Charles[sometimes pretty hard, sometimes not so much] until Booneville. Kansas City might get as much as 4 inches, and St. Louis expects about an inch. We may get some, or maybe not. It was just 'misting' when we got home.
Life can get pretty exciting at times!

Monday, November 24, 2008


"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like HOME!" or so the old song goes.
I was so blessed to be able to go to Karen's and help with what I could do to help these past 3 weeks! I enjoyed getting to spend time with her andwith the family. I am SO thankful that everything has turned out so well. [I'm still praying that she doe NOT have to have chemo!] I love Oregon,too, and the mountain views that surround their town.

But you know what? I'm really glad to be home, again, too!

Karen and I left her house around 4 AM[their time] this morning, and my plane left at 6 AM. There were a lot more people traveling today then the last time we left there. There were about triple the amount of security people working,too. Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest of traveling times! I feel really blessed to have been able to get a ticket. This time I flew into Denver and then on to KC. Denver is a nice terminal...but it is too long! I arrived at gate 87 [or something near that!] and my next flight left out of gate 19. I had approx. 45 minutes to get there, but first...I HAD to go potty! And of course there was a line... Let me just say...HOORAY FOR MOVING SIDEWALKS!!! I used 6 different ones to get from one point to another. I just can't move as fast as I used to--bad knee and no breath!!! I did get to Gate 19 in time to rest a few minutes and 'catch my breath', but they did begin boarding about 10 minutes earlier than the declared boarding time, too. Probably because nearly every seat was filled!

Ron was waiting for me in KC. I told him I was a little hungry, because it had been a long time since the breakfast I ate on the way to the airport with Karen. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Independence and spent some time enjoying our good dinner and catching up on news with each other. It was a great day, with no real problems... but I'm tired now, and I think I'll go to bed! Sweet dreams!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Time to head home!

Karen went to the surgeon yesterday. She is doing very well. The surgeon removed the drain tube, and pretty much released her to do anything she feels like doing [within reason, of course] , except heavy lifting. There is one more test that has to be done on the tissue that was removed during surgery. It will tell them whether there is a genetic factor involved. It takes about 2 weeks to get the results. Then, they will finally have all of the data they need to decide on her course of treatment. They HAVE told her that she will NOT be doing radiation treatment. Also, she will be taking TAMOXIPHEN [sp?] for a period of time. They will wait to begin that untill this other test comes back, because if they decide she needs to take a course of "chemo", she will need to take it first. So, as Karen has said on her Blog, we are playing the waiting game!

Since the Holiday Season is upon us, and since Karen is able to do most of her work, and drive; Ron and I made the decision that I should come back home for a while. Karen is in agreement with that, too. So, I will be heading back to Missouri on Monday. If they decide that she will need to take chemo, I will come back to help during that time period. Taking it one step at a time, here!!

Thank You everyone for your prayers, cards, and "care" packages !! It is so great to feel the love from everyone!! God is so good!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Good days and Funny Kids!

The last few days have been rather routine--and that is good!
Karen is doing very well, is using her arm well and is healing well,too. She had an appointment with her surgeon yesterday[Thursday] and everything is progressing very well. There was NO cancer in the lymph glands and the places in the breast were all encapsulated[except for the one they already knew about]. Praise God for this good report! There are still some test results to come in, but they will/should be in by the first of next week. Karen has another appointment for this coming Thursday, and the 'drain' should be removed by that time. Her incision is healing and the stitches are beginning to dissolve. She is not taking as much medication and is able to do quite a few of her regular 'chores'. Just needs help with things that are heavy or above her head.
However, she won't see the oncologist until the first week of December, and that means we won't know whether she has to have chemo or radiation or nothing until after she sees that doctor.

Chris had to be out of town overnite last night. Madison's school was having a "literacy night" and it was the last chance to buy books at the "book fair". So, after supper, the kids and I went to the book fair. There were no books for Jacob's age, but Madison found two books and Jacob and I helped Erika find two, also.
When we got back home the girls were eager to tell Karen about their books. Erika said,"Mommy, Mommy! I got a book about a puppy and one about 'Diarrhea Worm' !"

Karen said,"What?!?! Show me the book." The title of the book: Diary of an Earthworm.

What a girl! Of course when Karen read the book to her later she explained what a DIARY is!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Out and About

Karen had a need to get out of the house for a little bit yesterday[Monday] so we made a run to the post office, Walgreen's [for my meds, that were ordered on line before I left Missouri] and Sonic for a 1/2 price drink [during 'happy hour'!] Yay!

Today we went to Subway for lunch[the kids were off school for Veteran's Day] and took Jacob by two places to find out about doing some community service for a Boy Scout project he is working on. They were "not accepting community service help at this time". So he will have to look elsewhere.
Karen got a 'follow up' call from the surgeons office today and has an appointment there for Thursday. She has more use of her left arm and hand every day, but will be really glad to get rid of the drain in the incision in a few days. Check her blogsite for a few pictures she has posted.

Things are progressing very well here. Ron is heading home tomorrow, but I will stay a few more weeks--at least until they decide what kind of further treatment she will need. I have already done some Christmas shopping on-line before I came out here. Maybe I can get most of the rest of it done that way, too.

Thanks for your continued prayers. God has blessed us in so many ways!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Answered Prayer

Just wanted to let everyone know: Karen came through the surgery very well. The surgeon said there were no "surprises' and everything went as she had thought it would go. The lymph nodes they examined were a good color and didn't appear to be cancerous. Of course there will be further testing on them and it will be a few days before those results will be known. Then they will finalize the course of treatment. She said tonight that her pain level was about a three on a scale of 1--10 with 10 being the highest. We will see how she is doing by tomorrow, but hopefully she will be doing as well!
Meanwhile, Karen will come home tomorrow to recuperate. Madison's teacher and some of the staff at her school brought pizza for supper tonight, the church they attend is bringing supper tomorrow and Sunday. There have been other offers of support from the community; and cards, and gifts from friends around the country. Thank you everyone for all of your prayers and support.
Karen said," Tell everyone that I am doing okay. I love them, and appreciate all of their support and prayers!"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wrap up of our Oregon trip

This is the football stadium at a high school where Jacob played soccer the last Sunday we were there. He plays on a traveling team and we all went to watch them play. This was like traveling to Warrensburg [or farther] for a game. This was quite a facility. You can see the open bleachers here. We were in the covered ones, and they were VERY comfortable.
If you see a really blonde head in here, that is Jacob! It was hard to catch him at times, because the minute you thought you had him in your sights...he would move!

On our way to the game we saw this big flat bed truck carrying this little "Mater" truck tied down right in the middle of it. I took this out of the car window as we travled along beside the flatbed. Karen had the pic that Chris took on her blog,too.

Here is the mountain they call "Flat top". This is also taken from the moving car. If I am remembering right...I think Chris said that there is a boy scout camp [among other things] on the top of it. I could have it mixed up with another place, though.

Here you can see Jacob at that game. I'm not sure if he is playing offense or defense here. His team did win, though. That was the second time they had won against this team.

Last pics of Crater Lake

I took this on the way back down the mountain. There is some kind of gorge with steep rocky sides, and, I believe, a stream running through it. There are a lot of different colors in the rock face of the cliffs, too.
Here is one of those 'classic' kind of pictures you see from Crater Lake. Trees in the foreground, deep blue of the lake, snow on the mountains behind, and a clear sky!

Another family was there at the observation area when we were. We took their pictures, and they took ours! Ron was so cold and so worried about someone falling over the low wall, that was the only barrier there; that he headed back to the van. Eventually, most of the others did,too.

But, Karen and I wanted to get some more pictures! Here is one of Wizard Island. Karen's 'zoom' is a little better than mine. When she zoomed in on that little white 'spot' at the waters edge, she got a picture of the boat dock,etc.
Apparently there is a tour you can take on the lake [in the summer] that makes a stop at the island.

Here you can get an idea of why Ron was so worried about anyone falling. You would just tumble several hundred feet straight down to the water! I know that people want to see the natural beauty of the area, but you DO think that they would have some type of barriers up for safety. [ I know some kids, and adults, that I would not want to take anywhere like this!]
It was truly great to just be able to go and see this! I'll store it up in my memories, to think about from time to time!

It was WORTH IT ! ! !

Since the weather was so beautiful in the valley, we took a chance that it would be good in the mountains, too. It was SUNNY, but very windy and COLD! But we FINALLY ! got to see Crater Lake !! It was well worth the trip! Thanks Chris for keeping on with the effort to get us there! It is GREATLY appreciated!
As you can see, there was still some snow on the ground from the week before. Erika was so cold but Madison was trying to warm her up.

First real view of the lake. I think Chris looks like he's glad we made the effort to come again!

Here is Jacob standing next to a pole. There was one like this every few feet along both sides of the road. The higher up the mountain we got, the longer the pole. Are you wondering what that is all about?

Its to let the snow plow driver know where the road boundaries are! If you look closely in this picture, you can see that the pole is about 1 1/2 times taller than Jacob . Probably 15 to 20 feet tall I would guess. Its hard to imagine that much snow, isn't it? Esp. if you are from the mid- central part of the country!

Sunset views and a mystery

Here is the mystery...You can tell I took this out the car window, but I'm not sure where it was... I might have been trying to get a picture of the moon on our way home. hhhhhmmmmmmmmm! It sure is dark isn't it?
The sun is almost down. There was a cloud bank covering the sun, but you could see the reflection over the water. This was taken just to the South of where we were at the first beach. I was trying to get some of the houses that were further South a little ways.

This is at the top of the hill at the first beach we went to that day.

This one was just a bit earlier, but from that same general area.

I think this is in the same general area that the first sunset picture was taken. { You down load them in a certain order, but that is not how they come up on this page. grrr!] I know the pic will be a little brighter when you click on it to make it bigger. It shows up brighter when I look at it on my camera memory.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fishing fleet and Fish dinner

These pics are not in order, but I think you can figure it out. When we left the second beach we were ready to find some food!
First, though, we stopped a couple of places right near the beach to get some pics of the fishing fleet. We saw 2 or 3 come in to dock.

Some of them are pretty big, like the blue one here, but some are pretty small,too There may have been a few 'pleasure boats' in there, too.

Erika wanted some crab legs, but they were not available. So we tlaked her in to trying clams. That little gal, who ordinarily doesn't eat very much, ate a pretty good sized order of clams!
Madison decided on a cheeseburger, and Karen had Chicken Cordon Bleu, but the rest of us had seafood! Chris, Ron, and I had seafood platters with several different things on them and Jacob had a big order of shrimp. Yummy!!!

This "Totem" sculpture was several feet high and was right at the entrance to the parking area at the beach. I forgot to mention in the last post...there was quite a camping area right here, too. It was really filling up, too, as this was a Friday and folks were coming in for the weekend.

Checking out another beach.

We left the first beach and drove about a mile +/- to another beach that is close to a fishing bay. The access to the beach was easier here--no big hill to go down. There were more gulls landing near us, maybe because the wind was not quite as strong. This one made a nice picture, posing in front of this diftwood and rocks.
"Nanny wants to take a picture of all of us so lets get lined up."

So here is the pic...

...And here is the mad 'foot scramble' as they got out of the way of a wave that came a little farther in than they expected!!!

This beach was different than the last one. The giant boulders were not as close, the beach was rockier, and we found a lot more shells. There was a motel with access right up to the beach, and restaurants and other businesses nearby,too.

"Kids" playing!

Karen and I decided we wanted to get our feet wet. Boy!! It was cold!!!!! But a lot of fun, too.
Here the kids designed a "house" out of driftwood and rocks between these two giant boulders. They had a lot of fun gathering and building.

I don't know...Does Jacob think he'll see further out to sea if he climbs every boulder he sees?
Maybe its a case of "It is there, so I must climb it..."
Anyway he had a lot of pleasure out of doing it!

Nanny and Papaw and the kids. [I've got this pic for my wallpaper right now.]

"Suze" and "Daddy". Naw, she's not spoiled! She's just Daddy's girl! ... and Mama's girl, too.