Wednesday, December 31, 2008

For Jenny

Yes, I would say he had hair.

We won't talk about my fat cheeks and Dorothy Hamill haircut.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Christmas Poem

Twelve years have gone by
Since the Smiths were all near.
So here, in a nutshell,
Is our Christmas this year.

On December twenty-fifth
We packed up the Blevins
And headed to the airport,
Our family of seven.

A layover in Chicago,

We had time for some food.
With a heavy sigh, Jacob said,
“So far…so good.”

We made it to Michigan
With no complication.
Now to Roger & Sandra’s
For our Christmas Vacation.

There to greet us were my sister,
My parents and niece.
Say goodbye to a holiday
Of quiet and peace.

The nephew and family

Arrived late in the night.
Anna’s virus almost over...
No worries….yeah, right!

The fourth generation

Got acquainted real quick.
Playing and eating and…
Now look who’s sick!

The nephew was heaving.

Off to bed he must go.
Now’s a great time for some of us
To play in the snow.

The hot tub felt good,

Jacob loved it, yes sir!
Lauren accidentally went under
And it was over for her.

A big Christmas dinner
Was enjoyed by each one.
Santa surprised us with presents
But not all hearts were won.

Some hunted for bargains...
Others for birds.
We had pheasant for dinner.
I went back for thirds.

Roger was next to get sick,
But not all was gloom.
Marcia came for a visit.
Roger banned to his room.

Pippin finally set free
Nuzzled under Neal’s neck,
Pulling hairs from his head...
An occasional sharp peck.

We had a good laugh
As we watched Pippin wiggle.
He tickled Jeff’s neck
Then mimicked his giggle.

Sunday’s plane trip was long,
But it could have been worse.
At least we avoided
The grim Lansdell curse.

Happy Anniversary

Over the past 3 years, I've used my blog to brag on my grandchildren, chronicle our move to the country, and on rare occasions, vent frustrations and take jabs at my husband. So today, on our 32nd wedding anniversary, I'm dedicating my post to Neal. Because...all joking aside...he is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Here are some of the reasons I love this man:

1. He loves ME. Unconditionally. Totally. With all his being.
2. He tells me almost daily that he loves me.
3. He tells me I'm beautiful.
4. He is the hardest worker I have ever known.
5. He has grown spiritually to a level I never expected to see.
6. He puts my needs (and wants) before his. Every time.
7. He kisses me on the cheek every morning before dawn as he's leaving for a long day of work, while I lie nestled in my cozy bed.
8. He calls my parents on their birthdays, usually before I do.
9. He forgives me before I even ask.
10. Though I've told him several times that there's no need to "waste" money on roses this year, he has never missed an anniversary complete with red roses and a mushy, sappy, sweet, tear-jerking card. (They were on the table this morning when I dragged myself out of bed.)
11. He makes me laugh. With all his red-neck phrases and pronunciations, he knows what makes me smile even when I'm depressed and hormonal.
12. He's physically strong. With my scrawny body and bad back, I need a strong man!
13. He'll eat anything. And never complain. Though he might crack a joke. Which will make me laugh. (Like our first year of marriage when I asked what to do with the left-over mashed potatoes and he said, "I don't know, does anything need to be glued around here?)
14. He never meets a stranger. He can hold a conversation with anyone, which takes the pressure off of me.
15. He has taught me that the "finer" things in life are the "simple" things. And that sometimes a day spent working on the fence together followed by an evening on the porch swing can give me the warmest, fuzziest feeling.

Happy Anniversary, Honey. I love you.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Vacation

We got home last night after a very long day in airports and airplanes. The flight plan was supposed to be Detroit to Chicago (2-1/2 hr. layover and change planes) to St. Louis to Tulsa. Bad enough with two small children. But because some passengers were stranded in St. Louis due to maintenance problems, we got to pick them up and drop them off in Little Rock, Arkansas! What?!? If we're going to make a side trip, is there no one that needs to be dropped off in Aruba?!?

To top off the day, we arrived in Tulsa over an hour later than scheduled (thanks to the razorbacks) and waited patiently for luggage that would never arrive. None of it...zilch...nada.

Yeah, I'm with ya, little buddy. Just wish I could sleep in that position.

More of our Christmas Vacation to come.......

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Conversations with Jacob

I spent the day with Jacob and here are some of the blog-worthy conversations we had.

Running errands:

Jacob: Can we go to Warmart and buy a toy?

Me: It's too close to Christmas, you'll be getting lots of toys from Santa.

Jacob: If we don't go to Warmart, I'm not gonna be your fwend. You're mean. (arms crossed and pouty face)

Me: Well, if you're not gonna be my friend, then I guess you can't help me make cookies today. (two can play at this game)

Jacob: Okayyyyy. I'll be your fwend.


Jacob: Nana, you read this book (Terry's Village Catalog) and I'll read this book (toy catalog). Santa will bwing me this...Santa will bwing me this...Santa will bwing me this...Santa will bwing me this...(to infinity).

Me: Oh, this is cute, I like this.

Jacob: If you buy ALL of these, you can decowate your house...and your fwiends can come see...and Santa will bwing you more pwesents...and he will be glad." (good to know)

Me: (trying to sneak in some computer keystrokes)


Me: Okay, okay, I'm reading. (soon my eyes and fingers drift back to the keyboard)

Jacob: (slapping his forehead) Oh man! NOT...weadin' their book...I'm gonna go lay on the couch.


After the baking session and sugar rush......Jacob jumping from armchair to armchair.....

Me: Jacob, don't jump on the furniture.

One last leap to my chair.

Me: trying to give him the "raised eyebrow evil eye" that I used to get from my dad

Jacob: (laughing) Your eyes are big. Do it again.

Me: this time really concentrating on a menacing look

Jacob: That cwacks me up!


The old two-handed sprinkle method.

Traditional Christmas shapes, but since he now knows where I keep my cookie cutters, we also had a turkey, a heart and a 4-leaf clover!

Oh Yeah!

Just reminding myself why I endure the cold winters in this house....

Friday, December 19, 2008


At the end of last winter, we had our chimney cleaned and inspected. It was strongly suggested that the lintel inside be repaired and that the chimney outside be rebuilt from the flashing up as the brick was scaling and breaking apart allowing moisture to penetrate. Before the cold winter set in, we had the lintel repaired. But how do you go about finding a mason to do the brick work? Since Jeremy's friend is a builder, we got the name of his mason who came out 3 or 4 weeks ago to look at the job. He took a sample of the brick and said he would call us with an estimate. We haven't heard from him since.

Someone demolished Jeremy's brick mail box and the same mason had performed the same disappearing act on him. So, Jeremy found someone else, who rebuilt his mailbox, then called me this morning to come and look at my chimney today. From the phone call, I deducted that he was Spanish and I was excited to try out some of my Spanish on him. After a few Spanish pleasantries he said, "Oh, habla espanol?" "Un poquito...estoy aprendiendo espanol." (a little...I'm learning Spanish) So he decides to switch completely to espanol while I stand there like an idiot with my eyes slowly glazing over. Luckily, he saw that my vocabulary was rather limited and began speaking in English again. Whew! But we did switch back and forth some and he patiently allowed me to practice. He was willing to start oy (today...not really sure of the spelling), went to buy the brick, and returned with an amigo. After a lot of pounding, they have just about got the old brick off.

Leaving quite a mess in the yard.

And I don't think we can get an exact match on the brick. But hey, as long as we can continue to burn wood in our fireplace, I'll be happy.

Yikes! They're awfully close to the satellite dish. They'd better be muy careful. Gotta have my television!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I was busy yesterday. After laundry and dishes, I wrote several cards and letters to the sick, bereaved, and imprisoned. I showed up for my dental appointment--on the right day this time (you go girl!)--and had my semi-annual cleaning and check-up. Called to check on an elderly woman from church who has been sick and went to the pharmacy to pick up some items for her. Got her mail for her as well, since there was ice around her mail box. Worked out at the gym with Janet for almost 2 hours. Came home and made chili and cornbread for my hard-working hubby and had a roaring fire underway when he got home from work. Busy, busy, busy. Busy is my middle name. Actually, my middle name is Fern, but we won't talk about that.

Today has been somewhat different. My love affair with the internet has brought me to ruin. I just HAD to see the cute dancing video Trista sent me and make one of my OWN, but my DSL speed wouldn't allow me to see the fluid dance movements. And who knows, if it's good enough, maybe DWTS will see it and ask me to be one of their next contestants! It could happen. So this morning, after a long phone conversation with my mom, I decided to call AT&T and get some support in connecting my laptop directly to the DSL cable (which up until this time has not worked). Two hours later, I'm hooked up to the internet in the kitchen, but have no land lines!!! Erghh! Okay, so back to the office, where NOW I get internet, but it's still not fast enough for the technical dance moves. And now I can't connect through the router. More phone calls and configurations, and now we're back to where we started. I was in my p.j.'s until 4:30, hadn't brushed my teeth all day, and all I've had to eat is pumpkin bread and SlimFast. This is what happens when you're home alone all day.

If you want to see the video that started this whole day of wastefulness you can see it here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


The northeast got a taste of an Oklahoma winter these past few days. Watching the news was deja vu. It could easily have been reruns from the Tulsa news last December, and brought back very painful memories. This weekend, along with everyone else in the Tulsa metro area, we have been preparing for the blast that has begun as we, as I type. We set a record today with a high of 74 degrees. Driving home tonight at 8:30, the temperature was 24 and freezing rain was slapping the windshield.

Pantry stocked. Check.
Trial run on the generator. Check.
Gas cans filled. Check.
Autos filled with gas. Check.
Honda in garage. Check.
Truck moved from under menacing tree branches. Check.
Extra jugs of drinking water. Check.
Wood stacked by front door. Check.
Bag of rock salt sitting by back door. Check.

I'm sure we've forgotten something.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Not to Wear

My husband, God love him, has no fashion sense whatsoever. Furthermore, he honestly and absolutely does not care. I have tried for 32 years to enlighten him on the Glamour Do's and Glamour Don'ts, but, bless his heart, he is totally oblivious. (In case you were wondering, if I add phrases like, "God love him" and "bless his heart" I can guiltlessly complain about his inadequacies.)

One of Neal's brothers brought a deer over last week to hang in our barn. Neal, the perpetual aid and helper, didn't think twice (or even once, I imagine) about changing clothes before manhandling this bloody carcass. The only piece of clothing he owns that has value in his eyes--a long-sleeved, white OU Sooner T-shirt--became literally "crimson & cream." In addition, his white tennis shoes were soaked in deer blood.

Now for the rest of the story....These were the shoes he chose to wear to the hospital when his Dad had surgery last Monday. Yes, you would think by now I would give him a thorough inspection before we walk out the door, but in my defense, it was 7:00 in the morning. Didn't even notice until we were in the Surgical Waiting Room. I obsessively eyed every medical staff member's sanitary paper footies they were wearing over their shoes, wanting desperately to ask if I could borrow--yea, even purchase--a pair of those coverups!

This is a typical pair of jeans that Neal will wear to church on a Wednesday night:

I will say something like, "Neal, those are stained and have a hole in them." To which he replies, "All my jeans have stains and holes." Which I assure you, is NOT true. I tell you, there is no hope for this man...bless his heart.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tuesdays with Lauren

I was well worth it to put up the decorations this year, just to see Lauren's eyes light up as she discovered each ornament on the tree.

I also pulled out the singing, dancing snowman that I stole from Darla Fleming in a Dirty Santa exchange at BancFirst. Lauren squealed, "A PENGUIN!" I can see the resemblance.

Lauren quickly made friends with the snowman and had fun pushing the button to make him sing and dance.

She hugged him, carried him around, scolded him and even gave him a few good spankings.

And the poor little guy sang and danced so much that we had to replace the batteries!

Wow! She really does look like Jacob, doesn't she?

The temperatures dropped throughout the day today as the "norther" blew in. When we came home from Bible Study, the wind was excruciating. She insisted that I carry her from the car to the house, along with her backpack and blanket, and my Bible and purse. Did I mention that she weighs a ton? When we got to the back door, I was putting my key in the lock when she gave me the quote of the day: "Its fwiggin code!"

Monday, December 08, 2008

Tagged Again

by Bailey. Obvious revenge for tagging her. But it gives me something new to think/write about. And honestly, I like seeing my name in someone else's blog.

8 Things About Me

8 TV Shows I Watch
2. The Office
3. Grey's Anatomy
4. The Biggest Loser
5. Law & Order
6. ER
7. Wheel of Fortune
8. Evening News

8 Favorite Restaurants
1. Outback
2. Olive Garden
3. P.F. Changs
4. Lonestar
5. Red Lobster
6. Gringo's
7. Chimi's

8 Things That Happened Today
1. Had a "surprise" charge on my debit card
2. Canceled my debit card
3. Showed up a week early for a dental appointment
4. Finished up Christmas shopping
5. Worked out
6. Went looking for Gracie
7. Blocked whole in fence where Gracie escaped with pool storage chest
8. Went to Prayer Group

8 Things I Look Forward To
1. Christmas with my family
2. Hugs from Jacob & Lauren
3. The next trip to Mexico
4. The new season of LOST
5. Neal's retirement
6. Spring
7. The end of my workouts
8. Weekends

8 Things I Wish For
1. Being debt-free
2. Happiness for my children
3. Health for my family
4. Extensive travel
5. A new house
6. Hired help on the farm
7. Spiritual growth
8. An attached garage

8 People I Tag (Only if they want to!)
1. Jeanette
2. Caren
3. Mom
4. Sandra
5. Jessica
6. Jenny
7. Amy
8. Shelly

Signs of Stress?

There's a lot going on this time of year. Besides the usual holiday stress, my father-in-law is in the hospital recovering from lung surgery and waiting for pathology reports. We are planning a faraway Christmas trip that requires additional preparation. I have placed myself under further stress by putting myself ahead a week. (Who told me there were only 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year?) Jeff flies home on the 19th and I was sure that that was THIS Friday. Today, I arrived early for my semi-annual dental appointment, so I made use of the extra time to sit in my car and review my calendar. Oops. My appointment isn't until NEXT Monday. My bad. Somebody please tell me you make these kinds of mistakes!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesdays with Lauren

Lauren wasn't herself...excited, happy, cooperative...when I picked her up. She's taking the "pink medicine" for a double ear infection, which may explain the issues she was having. But with Mommy's help, we got her buckled in and were off to Bible Study. I had a Christmas CD playing (determined to get into the spirit) and she would have none of that. "No, Nana, the Bear." Meaning, the Baby Genius CD. Thankfully, we are off the Ring around the Rosy kick. Today's song of choice was "fingoos" which interpreted is "Where is Thumbkin?" Once we arrived at BSF, Lauren did NOT want to go to class. Me: "Don't you want to see Miss LeAnne?" Lauren: "No." Me: "You'll get to play outside!" Lauren: "No." Me: "All your friends will be waiting for you." Lauren: "No." Do you see a pattern? Then we had a coat issue. Didn't want to take it off. Oh well...see ya later LeAnne...have a good morning!

But when I picked her up, all issues had been resolved and she was my sweet little Lauren again. LeAnne and I had a good laugh about her new coat....tag still attached. Mommy is a very busy lady!

We made a trip to Janet's office to (as Lauren says) make "coffees" (copies). Then had lunch at Mazzios. She's a good eater and after eating some pizza and part of my salad, I got some cinnamon bread from the buffet. Ohhhhhh. That was gooooood. We both savored every bite. A girl after my own heart. The last two bites she took, she simply sucked the cinnamon, sugar and melted butter out and spit the bread in the plate. Atta girl!

On the drive home we had this conversation:

Lauren: Nana, need keenex.
Me: (reaching into console and pulling out napkin) Here you go.
Lauren: Got a booger.
Me: Okay. Put it in the napkin.
Lauren: See?
Me: (Keeping my eyes on the road.) Yeah.
Lauren: NANA! SEE????
Me: (Reluctantly looking into the rearview mirror.) OH! YEAH! That's a booger alright.
Lauren: Is gose.
Me: Yeah, it's gross. Put it in the napkin (FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!).

Don't let the angelic face fool you. The girl likes to show off her boogers.

Yes, that is a Christmas tree in the background. I couldn't handle the pressure. (Jessica and Roger) By evening it was completely decorated. You can all stop worrying about me now.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I've been tagged by my sweet little sister. Fourth picture on fourth album on my computer. Fortunately, I periodically save my pictures to a flash drive and delete them from my computer, so this one is pretty current. asked for it is!

This is my darling, yet slightly bewildered nephew, Kenny. The occasion was Father's Day 2008. My father-in-law, Fred, received "Father of the Year" at his church, and all his sons and their families surprised him by being there to see him accept his award. It was very emotional (sniff, sniff). After church we treated the F-I-L and M-I-L to Sunday dinner at their favorite restaurant. You guessed it--Sizzlin' Sirloin. Yeah, the sky's the limit when it comes to treating our parents. I don't know if Kenny's expression is a result of just having attended church for the first time this year, getting out of bed before noon on a Sunday, or "somebody tell me what the Sam Hill we're doing at a Sizzlin' Sirloin!"

So, I guess I have to tag someone else, huh? Let's see....Jeannette, Bailey, and Jessica. No cheating...find the 4th picture of the 4th album on your computer and write a blog about it.

Friday, November 28, 2008


There's just something about the holidays. Not always in a good way. This year there was some "discussion" on where the family was going to have Thanksgiving dinner. Without going into detail, it was decided that we wouldn't shake things up and just leave well enough alone. Since we are all spending Christmas with my family this year, Jeremy & Trista wanted to spend a good deal of time with her family for Thanksgiving. I'm a good sport (I think), problem. For several years now, I have cooked the traditional turkey dinner, then later in the evening, we go to Neal's folks. I usually have the same feeling after the meal...all that work for a 20 minute meal??? I mean, if I had a kitchen full of women, like I remember from the old days at home, it would be kinda fun. Even clean-up wouldn't be so bad. But to do it alone To be honest, I think the meal itself is more for me. I can be pretty traditional and set in my ways, and Thanksgiving just wouldn't be the same without turkey and dressing. Yesterday, there were three of us to eat...Neal, Jeff and me. Neal and Jeff are not traditional, nostalgic, nor are they really "into" food, per se. Sure, they both said, "that was really good, Mom." But they would have been equally happy with deer steak, biscuits and gravy. Remind me of this next year.

Jeremy and Jacob came over early in the day to help Neal find his slain deer in the woods. Jacob wanted to help me in the kitchen (maybe he'll be my reason to keep up the tradition in the future) so I agreed that he could set the table.

I've mentioned before his tendency toward perfectionism. Each piece of flatware was spaced precisely the same distance apart, and I had to re-fold one of the napkins because he said the corners didn't match up!

I'm strongly considering NOT decorating for Christmas, for several reasons.

1. It's only 3 weeks until the big day. (Again...all that work for 3 measly weeks? Then turn right around and put it all away?)
2. I'm still tired from being in the kitchen all day yesterday.
3. We have no money to buy presents. (Poor, poor me. Do you see a pattern here?)
4. We will be traveling on Christmas Day--the one bright spot--seeing all my family.
5. No one else in my family is remotely interested in Christmas decor.

Am I just being a Scrooge? Am I having a pity-party? Do I have the Holiday Blues?
Yes, yes, and yes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesdays with Lauren

This morning went super smooth and I was running a little ahead of schedule for a nice change. I arrived at my son's house to pick up Lauren at exactly 8:30. Whoop! Whoop! Yeah me! Apparently everyone's morning didn't go like mine. Lauren was still in bed. Jeremy was still in bed. I said it was not a big deal, but Jeremy insisted he could get her ready in a hurry. Would you believe he had her dressed, hair up in a bow, and cereal bar in hand in 12 minutes flat!?! Yeah, it's just THAT important for her to spend the day with Nana.

We had lunch at Wendy's where Lauren flirted relentlessly with the manager. He asked her what her name was and she whispered shyly, "Sissy." He said all four of his daughters were "Sissy" at one time. He also thought it deserved a free chocolate frosty, which ended up on the front of her cute little shirt.

This is an all-too-typical scene at Nana's house.

After we got home I made good on a promise to let her play in the car and "drive." First she had to buckle in the stuffed puppy. Hang on little doggie, it's gonna be a rough ride!

Turning right!

Beep, beep! Come on, people, outta my way!

I just threw this picture in, 'cause I think she really looks like a Smith, here.

After I pried her out of the car, she spent a little time creating with play doh. Then when I wasn't looking she found Neal's "pipe marker" and managed to unscrew the cap, then proceeded to get red ink on her finger. "Nana, ouch, bwud! Is bweeding!"

Notice, we've thrown the cute little ice cream-stained shirt into the washer and replaced it with a more appropriate t-shirt. (She asked if it was Jeff's.)

She even had the face to go with her imaginary bleeding boo-boo. What a little actress!

I think today was the first time Lauren has noticed that there's a TV in my bedroom. She wanted me to turn it on...and could you get my blanket while your up? A little Yo Gabba Gabba (whatever that is...looked a little ghey to me) before retiring to "her" room for a long nap.