Saturday, December 22, 2007

Annual Santa Photo



A picture is worth a thousand words.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Program




We went to Jacob's Preschool Christmas Program last night. Jacob sang his little heart out and did all the motions, although he was usually a beat behind. We were very proud that he didn't pick his nose.











Lauren enjoyed herself, eating beef jerky and watching the kids.










Thursday, December 20, 2007

Let There Be Light

As I was leaving for church last night, I was met by Jeremy & Trista who were driving around trying to see signs of power being restored in our neck of the woods. They were sure I must have it since my pole light next to the garage was on. No such luck--it runs off the generator. Trista was in tears and I could see that see was dangerously close to slipping over the edge. But it did look promising...the neighbors across the road had just flipped on their Christmas lights, so I called Super Alan and he informed me that they, too, had their Christmas lights on...via generator. The neighbor just south of me (see what a farm girl I am? not left or right, but SOUTH) assured me that he would call me as soon as he had power. A few minutes into Bible study and my phone started vibrating. Sorry--I gotta take this! Yes, it was my neighbor who now had power and was certain that I did too!! Yippee!!!! By the time I returned home from church, Kenny and Super Alan had disconnected my generator and turned my main breaker on. Sigh!!!!!! What a relief. It was a good time to reflect on how dependent we are on the single invention of electricity. The word "power" has a whole new meaning. I felt very "power-less" during these last few days. But how insignificant that power is in comparison to the power of God. How dependent are we on His power? That's the focus of my devotional this morning. "Out of nothing came light...Out of light came day." Max Lucado

I praise your greatness, my God the King;
I will praise you forever and ever.
I will praise you every day;
I will praise you forever and ever.
The Lord is great and worthy of our praise;
no one can understand how great he is.
Psalm 145:1-3

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day 10

This is officially day TEN in the dark. Our Electric Coop is projecting restoration of power today. I'm on pins and needles. Although we have been without electricity and phone service for 10 days, it is actually only MY 3rd day. I returned from the balmy Galveston Bay area on Monday afternoon, in time for my brother-in-law and neighbor to hook up my brand-spankin-new Yamaha generator. Sooooo....I shouldn't complain. But I will. :-) The generator is a huge hassle. Being new, the oil had to be changed after the first 5 hours....10:00 p.m. to be exact. And every 20 hours thereafter. A tank of gas will last approximately 12 hours. Since I am somewhat (who am I kidding), since I am very mechanically challenged, this is no easy task. Lucky for me, I have my 27 year old son with me who is, can I say, a little less challenged in that area. (Mechanical Engineering was not on the list of requirements for his Art degree.) We...errr...he managed to get the oil changed and topped it off with gas before turning in for the night. We restarted the generator--nothin to it. But alas, no electricity in the house. Are you kidding me? I check the breakers, check the connection to the breaker panel, nothing seems amiss. Time to call my trusty neighbor, Alan. Super Alan to the rescue! After only a few minutes he discovered that the plug that attaches to the generator itself had come loose, duh! Next morning, Jeff and I fill it up with gas again and Jeff goes off to feed his dogs while I restart the generator. After about 15 pulls on the crank I thought my stinkin arm was gonna fall out of its socket. JEFFFFFFFF!!!!!! As Jeff walks up he looks at the machine and rolls his eyes as he flips the power switch to the ON position. "Mom, it has to be turned ON before it will start." Later that morning, I trudge off to "town" to fill up both of my 5-gallon gas cans. Not easy to lift those suckers into the back of the SUV, but I'm tough and manage quite nicely. But it's another thing to pick one of those full cans up and try to fill the tank without losing more gas than is finding it's mark. Speaking of Mark--Super Alan's son comes to my aid yesterday afternoon to refill the tank. This morning I'm determined to take care of this myself. My newest gas can has a nifty spout on it that remains closed until making contact with the rim of the gas tank. To my chagrin, the seal had either frozen and split over night, or I didn't re-attach it correctly when I filled it, but in any case, gas sloshed all over the top of the generator and I thought I'd never get the dad gum spout in the hole! As Jeff finishes feeding the dogs he saunters over to evaluate my performance and casually says, "I think the gas goes IN the tank, not ON the tank." Thanks for those words of wisdom, Jeff.


The generator seems to be doing a fine job running most of the house, but we are being very conservative so as not to trip any breakers. Therefore, at night we are still using the oil lamps and besides the refrigerator, we are only using one appliance at a time. In Trista's words, "I will cry tears of joy if our power is restored today!"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Heading Home

Am I crazy? I'm going to drive back to Iceland...errr, Oklahoma tomorrow. No, we still don't have power at our house. I've gotten three different dates as to when to expect electricity...December 21... December 23...December 24. No one has the guts to say "the 25th or sometime thereafter." But, here I go, back to the north, with my SUV packed with a generator, 5-gallon gas can and 2 chain saws. Why go from relative comfort to a cold, dark house? Because my family will be arriving from Canada on Christmas Eve and I'd like to at least have clean sheets on their beds and food for them to eat. I also have my exciting colonoscopy scheduled for Friday afternoon, so that day is pretty much shot. Besides that, I haven't been able to put Neal's last 2 checks in the bank, and bills need to be paid. The good news is that the weather forecast is pretty good for the rest of the week. Maybe the utility workers will get a second wind and speed up the process. Or...just maybe...we'll have an "authentic" old-fashioned Christmas, just like the pioneer days. On the other hand, the Doubletree is sounding pretty good.

I've tried to use my time wisely while here in Texas. My 15,000 mile maintenance was due on the Honda....Check. Missed my appointment this week to have my gray hair colored, which was already long overdue. Found my trusty back-up in Houston. Blonde again...Check. Read the novel on ancient Rome that was a birthday gift LAST MARCH...Check. (You can quiz me on the life of Cicero.) Gone to the gym three times...not near enough, but better than not at all, right Janet? I've checked my email every day for my next chance to play Scrabble...Mom and Sandra kept up well, but Linda held up the game for a few days. (I may be the one holding it up this week, sorry guys.) I've read every blog I know of--some of them 2 or 3 times--and stayed up with the latest Tulsa news and weather via internet. I've started learning Spanish! Just happened to have the instructional CD's with me....muchas gracias, Terri! The RV is as clean as it has ever been and I've even emptied the dreaded "black tank" twice. I've watched 4 movies in their entirety. Been awhile since I've done that! I know where to find every Starbucks and Marble Slab Creamery within a 20 mile radius...should've made more trips to the gym :-(

Friday, December 14, 2007

Say It Ain't So......

While my hometown is still reeling from the ice storm, Houston is reeling from the Mitchell Report. The Rocket, Houston's pride and joy, surely could not be on this list of shame. While my first reaction was one of absolute belief and disappointment, I've decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Even though there is no apparent plan to bring legal convictions against these guys, the mere fact that it could keep Clemens out of the Hall of Fame is devastating. Because he immediately hired an attorney and is VEHEMENTLY denying these accusations, I think (hope) that it is truly a vendetta aimed at bringing others down with the one who is already in hot water. If it is true.......what can I say? I think back to Jeff's college baseball days and remember so many of the players in the NCAA who had such a huge physical advantage over him. He was teased incessantly (all in good fun) about his size. Recently, on a trip to Lincoln, he went to the practice field where one of his coaches saw him in the bleachers and yelled, "Blev! The best 165 pound, switch-hitting third baseman ever to play for the Huskers!" Following Jeff in his college career allowed us to hear many hecklers--but the best hecklers in the Big 12 have to be at Texas Tech. Since Jeff was hitting .477 when they made their trip to Lubbock, the hecklers had to be very creative when it was his turn to bat. They came up with my very favorite in the 4 years he played college ball. "Hey Blev! Did ya leave your cows at home.......and your CALVES, too????" Even HE had to step out of box and have a little chuckle. (Who says they never hear what's said in the stands?) All that to say this. It just makes the moment Jeff hit a home run in the 2002 College World Series a little bit sweeter, knowing that it was his God-given talent and ability, without the help of performance-enhancing drugs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Still in Texas

Since the entire Tulsa metro is without power and still under Ice Storm conditions, I was warned to stay put. What a helpless feeling!!! Reminiscent of 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, I have to watch from a distance as family and friends suffer. Jeff informed me that we've lost lots of trees and the whole area looks like a war zone. I'm told that Quik Trip is about the only place open and fights are breaking out to scoop up the last sausage roll! Our house in Tulsa has roof damage and water leaking into the house. No one knows when electricity will be restored.

On one hand, I'm happy to be here--with my husband--80 degree weather--TV, lights, computer, air conditioning :-). On the other hand, I want to be back home to take care of my family and property. My controlling personality has taken a huge hit. They can survive without me. Good to know.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Today is Neal's anniversary. Two years ago, on this date, he parked the RV in this very spot...and it hasn't moved since. Seemed fitting that I should stay another day.

My plans to return home today were cancelled due to the ice storms in Oklahoma. My thanks to everyone who called to discourage my traveling today...luv u 2. Tomorrow's temperatures in OK are forecast to be in the 40's, so I shouldn't have any trouble--other than dodging downed power lines and trees. I've been informed that my house, among thousands of others, is without electricity. Meanwhile, we've had to have our air conditioner running in the RV, as the last several days have reached record highs--mid-80's. Ironic.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Just Gimme the Drugs

Refills for my blood pressure medication had run out, so as is customary, Walmart called the physician to get the "ok." The nurse called my house to inform me that they could give me a script for 1 month, but I'd have to see the doctor before any more refills. Now, mind you, I've been on this particular medication for about 15 years, with good results and no problems. I think this is a scam, to get money out of me and my insurance company. The appointment was made for Monday, the 10th. Last week, Neal seemed a little down and lonely, so, the loving and thoughtful wife I am ;-) I decided to make a trip south, and didn't want to try to be home in time for Monday's appointment. Thought maybe if I talked to the doc I could convince him that I didn't need to be seen....("I know you're so busy during this flu season, why don't we just do this by phone?"). No such luck. Could I just see the Physician's Assistant that day (Wednesday) at 11:00. Sure....will it be cheaper? Again, no such luck. Now to set the record straight, I really do LOVE my doctor. He's a good listener, and when I have a problem, concern, or request, he's very attentive and accomodating. But honestly, I'll be 52 in March and still not a word about needing a colonoscopy. You think I'm going to mention it!?!? The PA immediately noticed by my records that it was THAT time. Also that no blood work had been done for 3 years--bring in the needles. And maybe, when the results from my blood work come back, it might be a good idea to monitor my heart for a few days. Whoa! Am I her first patient this week? Isn't she ambitious! Just give me my drugs, for Pete's sake! She wasted no time in setting up the "dreaded procedure" for December 21. Neal's a little bummed that I'll only have to take pills in preparation--no large quantities of the yucky fluids, and that I'll be under sedation...unlike his unpleasant experience a few years ago. He's sadistic----now why did I feel the need to come to Texas to comfort him??????

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Old Dog--New Tricks?

It's never too late to learn a new skill, I say. I took my first piano lesson at the age of 40. Today, I took a class to get certified on a semi-automatic pistol, in order to obtain a concealed weapon license. Indulge me in a little boasting...I was the best shooter in a class of 15 (including a couple of ex-military men). I earned 100% on my written test, 100% on the first 25 rounds of target shooting and 100% on the second (further distance) 25 rounds of target shooting. The only times my bullets missed the inner circle were during the times he instructed us to warn the perpetrator, then fire 5 rounds in rapid succession. "Stop" #*POW*# #*POW *# #*POW*# #*POW *# #*POW*#. As you can see, even the ones that missed vital organs would have been quite painful and somewhat debilitating. The Chief of Police, who was our instructor, suggested I post my souvenir target on my front door to discourage would-be intruders.



My next challenge will be learning the Spanish language, for our mission trip to Mexico next June.

Friday, November 30, 2007

More Conversations with Jacob

Jacob spent some quality time with me on Wednesday. He decided to watch a little Nick Jr. and eat a cookie. I was busy in the kitchen and he came to me asking for a bowl for his cookies. I gave him a plastic bowl and said, "Will this work?" He reluctantly took it and fiddled with it for a few minutes then said again, "I need a bowl for my cookies." I said, "Do you want another cookie?" "Yes." So I took the lid off of my huge ceramic cookie jar and held it low for him to reach in. Instead, he wrapped his arms around the jar and said, "That'll work!" and proceeded to the living room for more TV and cookies.
Later that day....I said, "I'm going to go pee-pee." Jacob: "You want me to come wif you?" Sure, why not? While taking care of business, Jacob explores the bathroom drawers and finds a razor handle with no blade. "Oh no, Nana, it's broken!" Nana: "Yeah, I guess somebody broke it." Jacob: "Probly Jeff."
Yesterday, I picked both kids up from school and daycare. We went to my in-laws to pick up a package I had sent there. (I take no chances with the dogs ;~) ) When we pulled up to their house Jacob said, "What place is this?" I guess he's mostly been there after dark. "It's Grandma and Grandpa's house." "OOOOHHHH, are the kids here?" (Memories of Thanksgiving.) "No, but the toys are still here." Later on...Grandpa walks in with an armload, including some deer antlers. "Gwampa, you shoot a big buck?" Which reminds me that Jeremy came in from hunting the other day emptyhanded and Jacob consoled him by saying, "That's okay, Dad, you'll get 'im next time." As we were preparing to leave Gwama and Gwampa's, Jacob begins stuffing his pocket with matchbox cars and tiny dinosaurs. He quietly walks over to me and softly says, "I take these home in my pocket, you can't see 'em."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Year the Dogs Ate the GPS


THE YEAR THE DOGS ATE THE GPS


Twas three weeks before Christmas
And all is going well
We've done some Christmas shopping
And we're trying not to tell.

A notice of delivery
Has made its way to us
We're right on time with our gifts
So we're trying not to fuss.

When, out on the lawn
There arose such a clatter
Lita sprang to her feet
To see what was the matter.

When what to her wondering eyes do appear
All sorts of paper, what have we here?
A book? A paper? Oh, what a mess!
Or could it be? My parents' GPS?

Oh, Gracie! Oh, George!
We know what you ate.
We'll know where you are
Whenever you're late.

No matter where you go now
You'll never fool us,
Because you've eaten
Mom and Dad's compass.
This morning's discovery made my heart drop into my stomach. The DHL delivery man had left the package where it was accessible to the dogs. This was my parents' gift to each other for Christmas, and since they will be here for the holidays, they had it sent to me. Maybe not such a good idea. After giving George and Gracie a good scolding (which I'm sure had a tremendous impact) I gathered up all the trash and the GPS with broken display and multiple teeth marks and began the phone calls. First to DHL who in turn referred me to Amazon.com's claims department. Surprisingly, Amazon had never encountered such a dilemma. Hmmm. Go figure. Three cheers for Amazon who graciously offered to replace the GPS at no cost! So here's my free advertisment for the Customer Service at Amazon.com. Get online now and start ordering your holiday gifts!
By the way, my Mom gets credit for the clever poem.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Harvest

Believe it or not, I actually got excited about deer season this year. I know...pretty scary. Saturday, Jeff harvested the first deer on our land. Something about your son being able to hunt on land that belongs to you, land that produces game worth the hunt. It's just exciting. And although I talk about the solitude of the country, I had to hear it from a neighbor. Shortly after dark, the phone rang and the neighbor asked if Neal had gotten a deer. I said I didn't know, he wasn't back yet. He informed me that the truck was backed up to the barn and the barn lights were on. A quick look out the window and sure 'nuff, the barn lights were on. I grabbed the camera and trekked over to see. Should've waited a little longer--Jeff was wrist deep in the deer's belly and I saw more than I needed to see. Anyway...if you're the least bit squeamish, you may not want to see this picture...but I'm pretty proud.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Say Cheese!


This doe was hamming it up as she stood directly in front of our game cam and gave us a big smile. No kidding...it's an untouched photo! We've captured several forms of wildlife (on camera) including coyotes, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, an owl carrying it's prey, and a stray dog. This next picture reminded me of a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock movie. So that's where all the apple-flavored corn is going!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Life

There are wonderful things happening in our church. Neal has always had faith that it would happen. I have always been skeptical. There have been many times that I've begged to "transfer membership" but Neal has held firm. He was right. What blows me away is HOW things have changed. The radical change has been in ME.

The past few years I have tried to cram ideas into the heads of stubborn brothers and sisters. I've read books and listened to talk radio on the subject of LOVE being the "crux of the matter," all the while not realizing that MY love for them did not come from the heart. I wanted to challenge their views. I wanted them to have the same desire for our church. I wanted them to change. Why didn't I just listen to myself, and take my own advice?

Recently, probably for about a month, I've been praying for God to increase my love for Him and for my church family. Wow! He showed up big-time in answer to those prayers. I know that it's Him, because it's a completely different kind of love than I've ever known. I couldn't conjure up this kind of love by myself.

I have literally spent years trying to convince others of the insignificance of some of the minutia that was causing some of our battles. Yet there were some things that I felt strongly about that were anything but trivial....to me. What I've found is this. When you really love your brother, you can disagree an a myriad of ideas, and it's okay! We all have one thing in common, the most important thing....faith in a God that sent His only Son to die for our sins. When I started looking at my brothers and sisters as children of the King...individuals that Christ died for!.....it changed my whole outlook. Many of you who read this will be relieved that I finally got it. There is much wisdom in the phrase, "it all starts with me."

Last Friday night we had a Ladies' Retreat. First one in a verrrry long time. Forty-four women were there! Unbelievable. I think others are "getting it" too! Praise God!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Busy Week

Nothing of significance to post, but I'm sure you're tired of visiting the site only to see that the jailbirds are still the latest news. By the way, just when we thought we had their escape route blocked, they managed to make a new one. The saga continues....This time they were gone all night. Of course, it was the night of our first frost, so none of us got a good night's sleep. More good-hearted neighbors were able to capture them and track Jeff down through the Vet in Kansas City. They had gone to Deer Run--the obscure neighborhood with all the mean mixed-breeds. Apparently nobody has told George and Gracie that they are full-bloods with papers and shouldn't be mingling with the lower crust. Sort of a Lady and the Tramp scenario.



Neal's trip home has been extended. Just as we were getting ready to leave for the airport on Tuesday, the call came. Something about the "cat feed"....shop talk....I have no idea. Anyway, he's home til at least Sunday. Needless to say the items on his honey-do list are slowly but surely being checked off. Yippee!



The bad thing is that our Ladies' Retreat is tomorrow night, of which I am one of the three planners--and speaker for the devotional. So it's been a really hectic week and I feel I haven't devoted much time to Neal. But he's been staying busy and has been very considerate of my running like a crazy woman.



Last Friday was our annual Wiener Roast and Hayride at the Ringle Ranch. We had about 90 people there. There are 40 women signed up for our Ladies' Retreat which is amazing. Seems like there's new excitement and life in our church. Very encouraging.



Enough of my rambling.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Incarcerated

The dogs were AWOL again yesterday. There was a reported sighting by the neighbor behind us early on and he managed to capture George and return him to our yard, but Gracie was able to give him the slip. It wasn't long before George had escaped again. We have a sneaking suspicion he has found a girlfriend. Jeff and I drove around, following the sounds of barking, but to no avail. (FYI--Deer Run has more dogs than people and most are pit bull/doberman mixes--don't go there to trick-or-treat.) An APB was issued and all we could do was hope that they had seen The Incredible Journey and taken good notes. Fast forward to 5:00 p.m. Jeff called me to report that our neighbor had called him. He and his wife were driving south on 97 and happened to catch a glimpse of two wagging tails on a side road. They pulled over and corralled the fugitives until I could get there for the transfer. Yes, I had to put them in my NEW Honda Pilot and pray that George wouldn't puke (as is his custom) on the way home. God answered that plea and the dogs were sentenced indefinitely to the pen, without bail, until we can survey the entire perimeter of the fence. Bad dogs! Bad, bad dogs!!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Lauren's Turn


I've written about my conversations with Jacob, but wanted to give Lauren equal time as she is beginning to say words as well. Her vocabulary consists of: uh-oh, thank you, peek-a-boo, bye-bye, mama, dada, and doggie. Maybe more, I'm not sure. Of course, not all her words are pronounced perfectly, but you know what she's saying. If you ask her a question to which the answer is affirmative, she nods her head so dramatically that she almost topples over. I had the pleasure of spending the night with her and Jeremy last night. Trista was on a business trip and Jacob had decided to stay with his other grandmother (what?! give up a chance to be with Nana??!!). Jeremy wanted to go hunting early this morning, so it was me and Lauren. This is my chance to experience what I missed by not having a daughter. It's like playing dolls--giving her a bath, browsing through her infinite selection of clothes and deciding what she should wear. Choosing a bow that would sort of match (I was never good at accessorizing). Fun stuff. After our breakfast date with Janet, we came back to my house for playtime and nap.

Jeremy was saying how different Lauren and Jacob are. Simply put her in the crib and she quietly drifts off to sleep. If she fusses a little during the night, no problem, she goes right back to sleep. Wakeup time is also pleasant, as she will play and talk in her bed until someone comes to get her. Very unlike Jacob, who required being rocked into a deep, comatose-like sleep and gingerly placed in bed, or allowed to wail for an hour before finally resorting to the "co-sleeping" arrangement. I have to wonder, are the kids that different, or are they parenting differently? Hmmmmm.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Goin' On A Bear Hunt

Okay...this is just too cute. Jacob is learning songs at preschool, and I know it's nothing extraordinary, but it is so fun to watch him grow from a baby to a little boy. I've always thought his little Oklahoma drawl was so cute and it really comes out when he sings. So here is the song he sang for me today: "Goin' on a bayer hunt, goin' on a bayer hunt, I not scayurd, I not scayurd." I know, I'm being an obnoxious grandma. Just can't help it.

He wanted to help me cook supper tonight. I let him get up on a stool to stir the chili. He said, "Nana, you makin' pizza?" "No, I'm making frito chili pie." "Mmmmmm, it's gonna be beeee-licious!"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Girls' Weekend


I spent last weekend with my sisters and Mom. This was the first time we'd planned a weekend for the girls. Our families are growing and the distance between us seems ever-widening. We had a great time shopping, eating, hot-tubbing and laughing. I think we all agreed this should be an annual event. But next year, I think we should choose a neutral destination so that my little sister doesn't have to play hostess (although she's a natural). It doesn't seem fair that she should have to cook for us and launder the linens when we leave.


After returning home late Monday night, 7:00 came way too early Tuesday morning. I actually debated whether to get up and go to BSF or stay snuggled in my warm bed for another hour or so. Fortunately, I made the right decision and was renewed and refreshed at Bible study. When I checked my messages after BSF, I found that Jeremy had been frantically trying to track me down. He and the kids were sick at home and needed Nana's helping hand. So the rest of the day was spent at their house. Jeremy immediately retreated to his bedroom and a couple of hours later Lauren was willing to nap as well. Jacob decided to take his nap in his "beshroom" but wanted me to lie next to him. Noooo problemmmmm!! Soon we were all four dead to the world. No calls today, so I hope that means everyone is on the mend.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Conversations with Jacob


I picked Jacob up from preschool yesterday. When he got in the car he said, "I tired. I go to you house and watch Funbob Fwarepants and eat cantaloupe." Guess we'd better stop at Homeland and buy some cantaloupe.


Yesterday, I spent all morning cleaning house. When Jacob went into "Jeff's room" to play with his "Enigh, Enigh Joes" he said, "You cleaned the carpet! Thank you, Nana!"


JoAnn stopped by after work to visit with me and the kids. When Jeremy & Trista came, Jacob didn't want to go home. He pointed to JoAnn and said, "I go home with that!" Not too long ago, he had spent an afternoon with JoAnn and apparently they made cookies. Of course, who can resist those big blue eyes. JoAnn took him home to make cookies, after working an 8-hour day. It's funny that he referred to her as "that" since he informed me the other day that "Gwacie is a girl and George is a boy." And that "Gwacie is my best fwend," even though it's George that pays him the most attention and vice versa.


We're trying to cut back on the dairy products due to his "bowel problems" and give him more fiber. As I was cutting up his apple he said, "I need some cheese." Continuing to cut and peel, I casually said, "I don't think I have any cheese." (little white lie) Before I've finished preparing the apple, he has the grated cheese out of the frig drawer and is in the process of opening the bag. "Okay, just a little cheese to go with the apple." I'm not completely unreasonable. Besides, I usually want a little cheese with my apple, too.


Lest you think I have him totally spoiled, I had to get on to him the other day. After pouting for a few minutes he informed me, "Nana, you hurt my feelings." Oh, he's already learning to use those big blue eyes!

Monday, October 08, 2007

1st Birthday Cake

Just had to post the classic 1st birthday cake-eating pictures taken at the party on Saturday.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bittersweet Signs of Fall

Our new pool cover was installed on Thursday and the pool is now closed for the winter. *sigh* That leaves me with less "chores" and I can completely forget anything to do with the pool for the next 8 months, which is a huge relief. But I'm kinda sad, too. The last couple of weeks we've had beautiful weather, with days in the mid to high 80's. But the nights are getting chilly which has caused the water temperature to plummet and swimming all but impossible. And no, I will not pay the cost of heating a 32,000 gallon pool! I almost jumped in for one last swim on Wednesday, but couldn't get up enough nerve. The members of the Polar Bear Club have to be insane. I already miss the afternoon swims and Monday water aerobics with Janet. On the bright side, my new cover is awesome. Not only does it look nice, it is strong enough to walk across, so no worries about grandkids wandering into the pool, or uninvited wildlife moving in for the winter. And we can look forward to the Spring opening of the pool, without the dreaded weeks of leaf and debris removal. A bittersweet end to the Summer.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Lauren Rebecca Blevins


Today is Lauren's first birthday. What joy this little girl has brought to our lives. I love her smile and those little dimples. She's been walking for two months, and won't let anything or anyone slow her down. She definitely has a mind of her own and believes that she is the center of the universe. She loves her brother, Jacob, and assumes that whatever he is doing or playing with is well worth her attention. While Jacob is a clone of his dad, Lauren is soooo much like her mommy--from her expressions to her strong will. Of course, she has us all wrapped around her little finger...of which she is very aware! What a blessing she has been to us. Happy Birthday, Lauren!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fair Days


Time again for the Tulsa State Fair. It's been years since I've gone, but when Jeremy asked me today if I wanted to join his family for an afternoon at the Fair, it sounded like fun. First order of business was FOOD...the absolute, indisputable, BEST part of the Fair. Anything fried on a stick will do. Jacob, our picky eater, opted for the safe popcorn chicken, but I don't think he figured on sharing with Lauren, our "I'll eat anything you're eating" eater. Those stroller seats are just too close to keep the little fingers at bay. We looked all over for the mini-cini rolls, but no luck. No problem, we'll just go on to the fun stuff.











After feeding and petting the animals at the Petting Zoo, Jacob couldn't wait any longer to get on the rides. Mommy and Daddy steered him toward the kiddie rides, but he was determined to steer them to the more adventurous ones. He agreed to begin on the less-scary "Big Trucks" and Dragon roller coaster, but soon moved on to the high-flying planes, the BIG roller coaster (which even made Mommy scream) and the Sky Ride.















While Jacob was getting his thrills on the rides, Lauren took advantage of the opportunity to catch a little nap.














Jacob konked out on the way home.









Nana konked out as soon as she got home!


























Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Accolade for the Butterfly

This is one tough butterfly. You may not recognize it, but it began as a beautiful, soft, pink crib toy. When Lauren was born, she received two of them as gifts. We apologize to the gifters, as one of them was snatched by Jeff's basset, Gracie. Trista, being kind-hearted, not to mention sanitary and protective, insisted that Gracie keep it. That was almost a year ago. Recently, my parents and I were sitting on the front porch, being entertained by the dogs wrestling with one another and playing "KeepAway" with Gracie's favorite toy--the butterfly. To our amazement, we heard the familiar "Rock-a-Bye Baby" tune as she chewed on the toy. This thing was made to last!


Speaking of the dogs....yesterday they were barking incessantly (I love to use big words when I write, cause I never use them when I talk)...so I went to see what all the fuss was about. It became clear that they had something cornered and I was a bit apprehensive about getting any closer, fearing it might be a snake. Turned out to be a HUGE tarantula. I guess they thought they were going to bark it to death, because that was the extent of their attack.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Retired?

Since I'm no longer employed outside the home, I consider myself retired. I now understand what my parents were talking about when they said they were busier now than before they retired. I'm sure I'm not alone....everyone is busy. But lately, with the return of my son, I find myself wearing many hats. Granted, Jeff has been basically on his own for the past nine years, but for some strange reason, I have reverted back to exhibiting "motherly" characteristics. He doesn't expect it....it's just a natural instinct. I know this will take some adjusting, for both of us. I'm trying not to be overly inquisitive about his schedule, what he's going to eat, whether he has clean, pressed clothes to wear. On the other hand, I don't want to have to report to him either. We are both accustomed to being on our own.

Here are just a few of my job descriptions:

Accountant: pay the bills, balance the checkbook, etc.
Investment Manager
Travel Agent: schedule and reserve all Tulsa-Houston flights
Pool Boy (girl): empty skimmer, vacuum pool, balance chemicals
Snake Handler: (see above)
Game/Wildlife Ranger: check for and report any deer spottings, figure out digital game camera and download all pics to computer, buy and scatter sunflower seeds around dove decoys, make sure deer feeder is full of corn
Grocery Shopper
Cook: Made much easier by Pass Your Plate
Housekeeper
Entertainer: for grandkids

Not to mention my volunteer work at the church and with OKMRC and time set aside each day for Bible study.

So, you say...how do you find time to blog? Guess I'm not so busy after all.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

GREAT Grandparents

I kept my grandchildren this week (Jacob starts preschool on Monday) and my parents have been here the last couple of days. They really helped me out, especially when I had a LONG doctor's appointment on Thursday. Jacob and Lauren don't get to spend much time with these great grandparents, since they live in Canada. But the way they quickly warmed up to them made it hard to believe the visits are rare. When I told Jacob I was leaving to go to the doctor, he just said, "Okay, bye." Lauren immediately pulled a book out of the case and took it straight to Grandpa. I remember having one great grandmother when I was small, but I don't remember much about her. Are we having kids at a younger age? (I don't think so.) Are we just living longer? My kids--ages 29 and 27--just lost their last great grandmother last year! My grandchildren have 8 great grandparents. How wonderful to have so many people that think you are the most precious children in the world! Great grandparents truly are just that...GREAT.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Where is Neal when I need him?

This morning as I was performing my routine chore of emptying the skimmer basket, I was greeted with an unexpected and unwanted visitor. I don't know if he was poisonous or not, and I'll admit he was small, but a snake is a SNAKE. With rubber gloves and LONG tongs, I managed to remove him and promptly cut off his head. I think it surprised my parents (my dad stood by for moral support) and to be honest, I surprised myself. I actually stayed quite calm. My parents reminded me of the time in 5th grade when I was digging up a plant for a science project and found a worm. I freaked out and screamed so loud Mom & Dad thought for sure I was being attacked by an ax murderer. I've come a long way, baby.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jacob's Jargon

Last weekend: while playing in the pillows with Papa, Jacob rubs Neal's head and says, "Nice haircut."

Yesterday: getting ready to go to Papa Hill's, I'm trying to explain to Jacob which Papa we're going to see. He finally lights up and says, "Papa Haircut?" No. The other one.

This morning: putting on his sandals to go out and play, his little toe ends up on the outside of the sandal, to which he says, "What the heck?"

Watching a TV commercial: "I not like girls." "You don't?" "No, I not like girls." "Well, I'm a girl." "Noooooo, you not a girl, you Nana!"

Friday, August 17, 2007

Walking

There's no stopping her now. Lauren has been taking steps since she was 9 months old, and now, at 10 months, crawling is no longer an option. She stayed with me today and her biggest challenge was making the slight step up from the dining room to the kitchen. Her determination was obvious. She approached it slowly and methodically, and each time ended up on her diaper-padded rear end. Standing in the kitchen, next to the slope, she would stare at it and stomp her left foot 7 or 8 times in a row, reminding me of a golfer taking his practice swings. A light bulb finally came on and she resorted to steadying herself with the brick partition. By the end of the day she had successfully stepped up into the kitchen ONCE without falling. Maybe next time she'll conquer the stepping down part. Here she is, still in her jammies. Linda, it's a good thing you gave her the 12-month size--she'll soon grow out of them.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

NaCl


To some of you this is probably old news. But to us country folks, this is a major step in the direction of high technology. If you're a veteran reader of my blog, you know of the frustrations I've had in keeping enough chlorine in my pool. The "once-a-week" shock treatment became a "once-ever-other-day" routine, despite the floater of chlorine tablets that remained in the pool constantly. We've spent close to $800 in chemicals alone during the two and a half months we've lived here. When my sister visited from Canada she asked if I had considered a "salt water pool." Um...never heard of it. So began the investigation. All I really wanted to know was--will it solve my chlorine problem and will I save money? After an indepth chemistry lesson from a pool tech on what elements make up salt and how salt can generate chlorine, blah, blah, blah, I knew more than necessary to make the decision. I NEEDED one of this generators! The systems went on sale last week and they were offering free installation. Woo hooooo! Benefits: (a) salt is cheap! and rarely has to be added (b) need more chlorine?--just turn up the dial! (c) easy on the skin, hair and eyes (d) silky, soft water (e) no faded swimsuits (f) is it my imagination or is the water more sparkly, clear and beautiful?