A bird’s eye view of Wichita Falls, Tx

I am currently grandkitty sitting in Wichita Falls, Tx while my daughter and son-in-law enjoy a little downtime at their cabin in the New Mexico mountains.

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Samantha is such a sweet girl and no trouble to take care of. She sleeps most of the day and entertains herself a lot, but when she wants to be brushed, given a treat etc; she meows sweetly until I comply.

Hubby and I are enjoying the break from taking care of grandsons and have been pretty lazy while here. While he’s been watching Fox News I’ve been taking advantage of not being chained to my sewing machine and enjoying
some other activities that I’ve not had time for. I’ve updated my eBay page http://www.ebay.com/usr/bittygirl51, updated my Etsy page https://www.etsy.com/shop/LindasLikes?ref=hdr_shop_menu, viewed some of the Cratsy classes I’ve signed up for http://www.craftsy.com/quilting?_ct=wberqbdql-sqjuweho&_ctp=quilting and spent some time practicing hand embroidery stitches for the Crazy Quilt that I plan to make for myself.

In addition to the above I’ve enjoyed exploring the neighborhood here…IMG_20141009_090150982

going for morning walks…
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There are some beautiful homes in the neighborhood!! The first morning I walked I was worried I’d get lost so after I had walked for about 30 min. I started my GPS on my phone to find my way back home…thinking that I would still get my 1 hour walk in…LOL..NADA! I must have walked in a complete circle because I was just around the corner from the house and was home in about 5 minutes!!

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So the next day I went the opposite direction…didn’t turn as many times…hoping that I would get farther away from the house…(I like to walk at least 3 miles or an hour) and I waited until I had walked about 40 min. before I turned my GPS on…

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and I was still only 8 minutes away from the house and had only walked 2.3 miles! Geez! But I saw a ton of geese at the park..and of course there were plenty of signs of the season..

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After my walk yesterday, hubby and I went out and about…we ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel, checked out an Antique Mall in a town about 15 miles from here http://www.antiquemalls.com/stores/13435.aspx

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Great place! Off the beaten path and reasonable prices! Then we went to Hobby Lobby so I could pick up some fabric and a few craft supplies while hubby browsed in Hastings. Since we’d had a Cracker Barrel breakfast we decided to go the the movie and then eat a late lunch…so we went to the 12:40 matinee of “The Judge”…I highly recommend. It was right up my alley. I love “dysfunctional family” “relationship” type movies..and it was excellent.

We made a stop back at the house to check on kitty and then went to Red Lobster for dinner. Two more stops and Hancock’s and Michael’s and we back at the house in plenty of time to watch Shark Tank. Love that show!

Today it’s off to do a little more antiquing and out for a burger…

Our lil’ ginger punkin’s naps are getting shorter!!

In an effort to give poor little Jackson a longer nap, I spent a lot of time singing to him and rocking him this week!  Rock a Bye Baby, Jesus Loves Me, & You are My Sunshine are his favorites.

A sleeping Jackson

A sleeping Jackson

The poor little tyke does not like taking naps in the daytime!  He is an excellent sleeper at nighttime.  In fact mommy and daddy have a hard time keeping him up until 8 pm most nights…cause he’s ready for bed!  He usually sleeps until 5:30 or 6 am…sometimes longer!  But he is sure breaking Maw Maw & Paw Paw in during the day!  I think he’s afraid he’s gonna miss something!

Curious JacksonHe’s very CURIOUS….

An exploring Jackson 2

and he loves exploring the house and seeing what he can get into.  He’s learned to pull on the knobs of the entertainment center and open the doors and drawers.  He’s also discovered that if he closes it on those same little fingers that it hurts!!  🙂  When he gets a hold of the bottom drawer and pulls it open (it’s heavy because it’s full of CD’s) he starts pulling himself up so he can peer in it to see what’s inside!  Paw Paw and I spend a lot of time throughout the day grabbing him by the ankles and pulling him back away from the entertainment center to try and divert his attention to all the toys.  LOL

Jackson exploring 2He’s learned that loud sounds comes from that big black box, and that if no one sees him right away, he can crawl back in that corner next to the sofa and make that pretty lamp that sits on a pedestal end table WIGGLE and almost fall down!! “I’m not doing nothing, Maw Maw…I’m just looking around.”

014062695115327He’s such a happy, smiley boy and loves to go for rides in the stroller.  Maw Maw definately gets  her exercise when Jackson’s around.  I go for an early morning 3.5 mile walk with friends before he arrives, and then we usually go for another 2 mile walk with the stroller at some point during the day.  I’m thankful for the cooler temperatures.  (Now it’s only 80 during the day instead of 100).

2014072295135712Jackson loves his puppy…

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Loves going to the park and swinging (if those darn mosquitos would leave him alone!)

Jackson floor play 3

Loves playing on the floor and reaching up at things.  He’s not trying to pull himself up yet, but he is trying to crawl.

Jackson learning to crawl

He gets around real good by scooting, but when he tries to crawl he gets up on all four and rocks back and forth.  He’s also discovered that if he crawls into the entry way where there is NO CARPET, that if he rolls over he will bonk his little head! OUCH!

Jackson sippy cup 2

At 8 months old he’s eating three meals a day now, in addition to his bottles, but he also loves his little sippy cup!  He’s a good eater and Maw Maw loves feeding her little man!  Now, if he would just take a nap!  He is the exact opposite of his cousin, Kash.  3 yr. old Kash takes a good 2-3 hr. nap in the afternoon.  It used to be a nice break for me, when I wasn’t taking care of Jackson.  I’m afraid the days of Maw Maw getting a nap are long gone!  When Jackson first returned to us in late August he would take 30 min nap twice a day.  Now he’s down to about 10 min. 2-3 times a day.  By the time mommy arrives to pick him up at 4:30 he’s exhausted!

Needless to say we are looking forward to our little trip we will be taking to Wichita Falls, TX this next week.  We leave on Wed for some Grandkitty sitting and will return the following Tuesday.  Instead of tending to two grandsons we will be tending to one female feline named Samantha while her mommy and daddy get a little downtime in the New Mexico mountains.

Samantha 2014 2

 

 

 

 

Kash turns three…

My grandson, Kash turned three years old today. Daddy’s two week visitation began Wed. night, so before he left Wed. I decided to throw him a little surprise birthday party.  Tuesday evening I did my shopping and then it began Wed. by Paw Paw taking Kash for a drive after lunch while Jackson and I stayed home to set things up!! Kash's 3rd birthdayI think I had almost as much fun as Kash did planning, setting it up and then just seeing the look on his face when he walked into the house after his drive with Paw Paw.  He had been saying for several weeks that he had “a birthday coming up”.  I’m sure daddy threw him a party today.  Mommy has her party planned for October when Kash comes back from his dad’s.  Unfortunately, we will be out of town thus the reason we decided to throw our own little bash!

Have I told you how this precious grandson has stolen my heart? Kash's 3rd birthday 5We love little Jackson too…don’t get me wrong – but there are special circumstances that surround Kash’s short life – thus the reason for my favoritism…sorry, can’t help it!  You see, Kash is the son of my oldest daughter, Theresa.  Kash’s daddy left Theresa while she was pregnant with Kash.  He showed back up on the day Kash was born and my daughter decided to take him back.  I decided right then and there – to be a loving support for my daughter knowing that the chances of the marriage lasting were slim.  Her family encouraged her to go to work outside the home just in case daddy left again.  As a show of solidarity and support I agreed to keep Kash if she were to find a job.  Long story short – Mommy and Daddy are no longer together and I’ve been keeping Kash since he was 7 months old.  OMG! For all he’s been through in his short life – he is such a sweet boy!

Uncle Josh, got Kash a huge trash truck!! Did I tell you how much he loves trash trucks?Kash's 3rd birthday 16Kash has to run to the front door and look out every time he hears the trash truck! He has to run out in the front yard and wave at the trash man.  The trash man is always looking for him and waves and toots his horn for Kash.  There’s been a bit of an adjustment period for Kash, since we just began taking care of Jackson (youngest step-son’s only child) last spring (and didn’t have him in the summer). But, it’s fun to watch how he’s adjusted to having to share Maw Maw and Paw Paw with another little one.

Since the party was taking place at nap-time, I decided to let Kash take his nap later in the day.Kash's 3rd birthday 17That way he could have some time to play with his new toys and enjoy his afternoon.  He’s a good boy about napping and usually takes a 2-3 hr. nap, but doesn’t get cranky at all if he misses it.  We had bought him one of those three wheeled scooters because his big brother had a scooter that he wanted to ride, but was too little for.  Mommy came to the party over her lunch hour and brought gifts as well – so Kash was pretty surprised to see her too! After the party I took Kash to the park to try out his new scooter…

It was a beautiful day and not real hot, so we had a fun afternoon at the park!Kash scooter 6We then went home to take a short nap before mommy came to pick Kash up and take him to his dad’s. I had finally finished Kash’s quilt..so he was excited to snuggle under his new flannel quilt in air conditioned comfort!  Kash's quilt BD giftI don’t know why I have to be such a “wet blanket”…but with all the fun and celebration and the realization of how much I love this little boy (grandchild #14), I was momentarily “blue” when I realized that I have a 10 yr. old grandson up North that I’ve never had the opportunity to celebrate a birthday with and who I hardly know.

I wish it weren’t so, Cole.  Maw Maw loves you even if we haven’t had much time to get to know each other.294400_10150466819408146_545003145_11770761_1814948716_n - Copy

I’m thankful to be a “young”, active 63!!

No, it’s not my birthday.  My birthday was back in January.  But, I am 63.  And, I am a “young” 63.  I have always thought of myself as being very young at heart.  My friends are usually younger than me.  Most of my close friends are quite a bit younger then me!  My mindset is not that of someone who is 63!  As a matter of fact, in my mind I think I’m about 43.

I have known people that are my age or a little bit younger than I am, that act like they have one foot in the grave!!  I don’t understand that!  When I think about all that I do in a day, and the things that I think about doing – it makes me realize just how “young” I really am.  I’m not ready to give up – or throw in the towel on life, just because I am officially a Senior Citizen!  Nope, not this girl!  I’m also very thankful for an “attitude of gratitude”.  Although I may have my “downer days”…they are rare.  In most cases I am the girl that the glass is half full, not half empty – if you know what I mean.

From taking care of two little grandsons (currently)…

Jackson, 7 months old

Jackson, 7 months old

My buddy!

Kash, 3 yrs. old

to sewing like a madwoman – especially lately!  The popularity of my little pillow quilts that I make for babies has grown tremendously (especially on eBay), not so much on Etsy.  So this past week (prior to leaving town on Thursday) that is what I was busy with…

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

 

Owl Print paired with sage green

Owl Print paired with sage green (I made two of these for a set of twins, but the other one is paired with solid yellow)

 

U of Florida "Gator" quilt

U of Florida “Gator” quilt   (This was a special order)

 

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

 

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

 

I’m working on two with Nursery Rhyme flannel currently and love the “girly girl” ones I’ve come up with…

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

But, still my best sellers are the ones with embroidered butterflies….

For girl

For girl

For boy

For boy

or gender neutral

or gender neutral

When I’m not sewing…I’m still walking 3.5 miles on Mon. Wed. and Fri. mornings with friends and going to the gym to do some treadmill and strength training on Tues. and Thurs. morning. Hubby is supportive enough to tend to the grandsons for an hour so I can make myself a priority.

I treat taking care of grandsons like a “real job”…by focusing entirely on them when they are here.  I rarely read e-mail, talk on phone, text, sew or anything while they are here.  We go for walks, play in back yard, go to the park/playground…

Jackson's first swinging adventure!

Jackson’s first swinging adventure!

Sometimes, when it’s too hot to play outside in the Texas heat, we take a trip to the dollar store to see if we can find any cheap toys, or great treats!  It was so funny one day last week…Paw Paw stayed home with a napping Jackson while Kash and I went to the $$ store.  On the way, Kash informed me that he wanted some gummy worms.  I said, “okay, we will look and see if we can find some when we get there.”  Well, we looked high and low, walking up and down the candy isle, but couldn’t find any.  Kash said, “That’s okay, Maw Maw…I’ll go ask”..and off he marched, walking confidently up to the checkout counter where a checker was standing.  He boldly asked her, “Got any worms?”  We both laughed so hard at his confident almost cocky attitude – and it got him some worms, too!

It was the one year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death this past week also.  Hubby and I were her primary caregivers for 2+ years and so we were both in a little bit of a “funk”.  Last Sunday I made a spur of the moment decision to try and arrange a “surprise” trip for hubby to the Austin area (Round Rock, to be exact) to watch his oldest grandson play football. Our daughter-in-law had been texting and sending pictures and I knew it would lift hubby’s spirits if I could arrange for us to go.  So, I texted his baby son, Josh (Jackson’s daddy) to see if he could make other arrangements for childcare on Thursday and Friday so we could make a quick overnight trip to watch a football game.  (It’s approx. a 5 hour drive and we would benefit by not only getting to see his oldest son & wife, but the famous football player, Dillon and his two younger brothers, James & Chris.  Well, I managed to pull it off!

Father, Son & Grandson

Father, Son & Grandson

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, James at the game

Grandson, James at the game

OMG! How the boys have grown since we last saw them!! We were blown away and a bit saddened by how much they had changed!  We just don’t make it to that area enough to see them!  We are so tied down with taking care of first, Granny for 2+ years, and now two other grandsons!!  But, I have to say that whenever we do go, we always feel so welcome and so loved!  These three grandsons are so sweet and so loving.  Mommy and Daddy are doing an awesome job of raising three awesome young men!

At the game

At the game, Dillon is # 57

So, that kinda capped off our week!  We left Thursday morning and returned home Friday afternoon.  I still had some sewing to finish up for the week, so I got right back to it when we got back.  Then, this morning one of our “new” sisters that has joined our church expressed an interest in some “girl time”.  So, while hubby stayed home and finished the laundry, my friend, Teressa and I went garage saling and out for a Chinese lunch.  When I returned home at 1:00 hubby wanted to go to Sam’s for a free health screening.  Yep!! Shocked me that hubby suggested it – since he’s not the walking picture of health!  LOL  But, we went and had our “numbers” checked.

Everything checked out pretty good.  So, as I end this post..once again I say, “I’m thankful to be a young 63″…in mind, body and spirit.  I’m ready to take on the next 30 years, God willing.

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Scrapbooking, recipes & more!

Well, when the month of July began I really thought I would be blogging a whole lot more than I have.  I’ve not had the job of taking care of grandsons this month (except for four days with Jackson, and one more coming up this Thursday).  But, because I needed to replace lost childcare income with sewing income I have been extremely busy sewing and selling baby quilts on e-Bay, Etsy and here locally.  I have also been busy making and selling cord covers and still monogramming kitchen towels for the two Realtors that I have as customers (one being my baby daughter).  Needless to say, I haven’t been online near as much as I thought I would be and in fact have been scanning my e-mails and deleting most of them on a daily basis.

If you have been following my blog you know that several months ago I expressed a concern over the fact that my baby quilts really weren’t selling very well.  That has definately changed recently and in June I believe I sold 6 of my unique, one of a kind Pillow Quilts….Pink & Green PQ closeupand in July so far, I’ve sold 7!!  I was very excited the other day when I discovered that I had sold my first quilt on Etsy!  That’s been my work/”duty” related stuff that I’ve been staying busy with.  But, because I had the entire month off from taking care of grandsons I had a few fun activities planned also.

A week ago this last Saturday, I got together with my older daughter, Theresa and we spent the entire day scrapbooking.  She and I were way behind on keeping up our scrapbooks and it had been three years for her and almost as long for me since we had done any.  We had been planning it for weeks and had gotten all our pics prepared.  I had even made a list of some of the pages that I wanted to get done.  I think I did 12 two page layouts and she did even more – and we still barely put a dent in it!  Theresa scrapbookingI have a large dining room table that seats 6 comfortably, so we spread out with a big old mess and had a ball!

I made white chicken chili in the crock pot so we wouldn’t have to take a break to cook and Theresa brought cornbread salad.  Yum!  Linda Scrapbooking 2I love the creative endeavors!!  I was so far behind!! I started at 8 am, and didn’t stop until 6 pm.  I left the mess out for 24 hrs. thinking I might try to do some more, but once household and church responsibilities got a hold of me – no more scrapbooking inspiration occurred!  Here’s a sample of my work:  Christian's graduationAnother:

 

Ethan & Kashand another…..

Hannah's scrapbook pageIf you haven’t figured it out yet, the focus was on grandchildren.  Although there were other photos, events, persons to scrapbook I always have more fun scrapbooking pages about my grandchildren.  Jackson's scrapbook page 2I like to journal on my pages and have somewhat of a “title”.  If I go too long without putting my photos into scrapbooks, I forget the details!!  Jackson scrapbook pageTheresa and I scrapbook the old fashioned way.  We do our pages with glue sticks, die cuts, stickers etc;  My youngest daughter, Tanya prefers digital scrapbooking to the old fashioned way.  She turns out beautiful pages just like the old fashioned ones, the only difference is that she creates her pages on a computer and then prints them out to put into albums.  It just personal preference.  The digital technique seems a bit quicker, less labor intensive and is especially great for someone who’s extremely busy as she is.

So, now you know one of my other hobbies that I enjoy a whole lot.   But, enough about scrapbooking!  

So, this past Saturday I had planned to have some of my sisters from church over for another “quilting social”.  Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of sickness going around lately and so my turnout was poor.  There were only three of us and so there was more “social” then “quilting”. One gal forgot her electrical cord for her sewing machine and the other didn’t bring her machine, so instead of actually sewing, I showed them how to begin a t-shirt quilt (a project I am currently working on) and also showed them how to make their own “Crazy Quilt” Christmas stocking.  We still enjoyed great food and fellowship and afterwards went to Hancock’s for their “Super Saturday” sale.  I had a request for the soup I made in the crock pot.  It was my own concoction (I love creating soups from the ingredients I have in the house.)  I will put this in my recipe tab as well…but for now here it is:

MEATBALL MINESTRONE

Start with 6-8 cups of beef broth (in 6 qt. crock pot).  Brown in a skillet about 18 small meatballs.  (Melon ball size)  I’ve made these meatballs with 93% lean ground beef before, but this time I used ground venison.  (lean and delicious!)  Season how you prefer.  I used Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Don’t overcook because they will cook more in the crock pot.  Just get a good sear on them in the skillet.  If they are still rare, that’s okay as long as they are browned on the outside. (Let them sit in skillet while you do the following):

Add to your beef broth, 1 – 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 – 15 oz can of tomato sauce, 1 – 15 oz can of green beans, 1 – 15 oz. can of kidney beans (I used white cannelini beans).

I diced up 1/2 a white onion and minced a couple cloves of garlic and added it to the pot.

I had about two cups of frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, lima beans & green beans) in the freezer that I also added. Now add your meatballs and season your soup.  I seasoned my soup with basil, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, Italian Seasoning etc;   This again is about personal preference.  Just keep tasting until you get it the way you like it.  Don’t overdo it, because it will become more flavorful the longer it simmers.  This soup is also very good with some fresh spinach added, but I didn’t have any this time.  The last ingredient you want to put in the pot (the last hour or so) is pasta!  I prefer whole wheat elbows or rotini but I didn’t have any, so I added about two cups of no yolk egg noodles.  If you put your pasta in the pot too soon it becomes very soft and soggy and falls apart.  Don’t like overcooked pasta!!

About four hours total time on low should do it! Since your veggies are mostly canned and frozen veggies the only thing that would be crunchy would be the onion if it hasn’t cooked long enough.  So, this is a pretty healthy soup (other than sodium content) and one I originally created when I was working for Weight Watchers.  At that time it was about 7 POINTS for a 1 1/2 cup serving.  I can’t attest to that POINTS VALUE anymore but still feel that soup is a good choice when you are watching your weight unless it’s cream based.  

And that brings me to my next subject….Yes, I’m back on the bandwagon!!  My youngest daughter, Tanya (who tries to live a very healthy lifestyle and like myself is a lifetime member of WW) inspired me to get back to eating healthy and exercising this month while the boys are away.  She went back to WW to get 4 or 5 extra pounds off her petite frame (I can see your eyes rolling)  LOL and she suggested we be accountability partners.  I thought this would be a good month to tackle the extra 20 lbs I’m carrying around.  My other daughter, Theresa decided to work on her fitness a little too, so we meet at the gym twice a week to workout together.  The other three days (Mon, Wed. & Fri) I walk 3 – 3.5 miles with sisters from church at 7:30 in the morning.  It’s been fun and I’m seeing the difference in how I’m feeling.  Still extremely tired but I blame that on age and my insomnia problem but the scale so far has been kind to me.  I use my WW online tracking tool and I weigh in here at home very Friday morning.  First week: 3 lbs gone! Second week: 1 lb gone! This last Friday: I only lost 1/2 a lb.…but I’m not discouraged.  I had Chinese one day and I know the sodium didn’t  help matters.  4 1/2 lbs in 3 weeks is not too shabby!  I know for sure that it has been easier to stay away from sugary snacks without the boys here!  When they return – they too will be eating more fruit and less candy!!

In closing, I will leave you with the most requested recipe at the WW meetings I used to lead:  

WW Cake

For most cake mixes: 12 servings of cake = 4 points

24 cupcakes = 2 points each

Mix together the following and bake according to the instructions on the cake mix:

Cake mix (your choice)

I can of diet soda (your choice)

2 egg whites (the egg whites make the cake a little lighter in texture and does not change the points value.

POPULAR COMBOS:

Spice cake mix with diet Sunkist

Banana cake mix with diet root beer

Lemon cake mix with diet 7-up

Chocolate cake mix with diet coke

Lemon cake mix with diet ginger ale

Orange cake mix with diet mountain dew

Cherry Chip cake mix with A&W diet cream soda

Lemon cake mix with Sprite Zero

Yellow cake mix with diet Sunkist

White cake mix with diet peach

Strawberry cake mix with diet Big Red

Spice cake mix with diet ginger ale or diet root beer

Chocolate cake mix with diet cherry coke

Devil’s food cake mix with diet vanilla coke

Marble cake mix with diet cream soda

White cake mix with diet sprite or Sprite Zero

Red Velvet cake mix with diet cherry vanilla or diet Dr. Pepper

Pineapple cake mix with diet squirt

Since they are now on the POINTS PLUS system I cannot attest to the PP value of this, but back in the old days the POINTS VALUE was as stated above.  I guess, just to be safe I would count a cupcake as 4 PP (double it’s original value).  Still great bang for your buck if you are craving cake.

I would ice my cupcake with 1 or 2 T. of Cool Whip FREE.  (No more points added.)

Signing off for today – i hope you enjoyed my long post. I will try to get back to post at least once more before leaving for our anniversary trip next Monday.

I SURVIVED!!

Well, after taking care of FOUR grandsons this week, I’ve decided that my entire existence is for everyone else’s amusement and entertainment!!   ImageJackson didn’t quite know what to think of it all.  He is an only child and so having three other boys (cousins) to watch was very stimulating!!

He would get so excited, his little legs & arms would shake and his eyes would get big as saucers!  I had to keep shushing Ethan (6) and Kash (almost 3) cause Jackson gets scared if voices get too loud.  He doesn’t like screaming or hollering at all and you know how rowdy boys can be!!

 ImageImageEverything from watching them do puzzles, to building with blocks to wrestling – Jackson was all eyes and ears as he sat in his little Bumbo and checked it all out.

Maw Maw & Paw Paw are exhausted!! I’m thankful for all of Paw Paw’s help this past week with the boys.  Preston, (13) was also very helpful this week not only with the little ones, but also by helping Paw Paw mow the front and back lawns. Aside from trying to cook a hot meal every day, I made sure the swimming pool in the backyard was full of clean water every day…

ImageMonday, Tuesday and Wednesday the 3 older boys and I went to the park playground to play each morning while Paw Paw stayed home with Jackson. ImageI’ve been promising Kash that he would learn how to ride Ethan’s “hand me down” bike this summer…so we loaded up the trunk of the car with scooters and the bike and while at the park, Kash got to practice.  He did great!  He had trouble with steering while pedaling because he wants to look around at everybody and see what’s going on rather than paying attention to the road ahead!  LOL!!  I was amazed at how quickly he grasped pedaling forward though.  Once in awhile he would pedal backwards and stomp the brake on.  I tried to explain the concept of making the bike go forward and that the bike would not go backwards, but just stop ..if he pedaled backward.  I’m not sure he’s got that down yet – but he only tipped it over once – when he went off the sidewalk onto the grass.  I was really proud of him since he has a four wheeler at home that all he has to do is press the gas pedal!  He steers it pretty crooked too, and runs into a lot of things!

ImageSo, while Kash was practicing on his bike (my back hurts!), Preston & Ethan were in the racquet ball cage; Preston riding his “rip stick” and Ethan riding his scooter. It’s a very nice park and close to home so when I don’t have a bike to haul we will walk rather than drive to the park.

The boys always tire out if we go to the park and play in the morning prior to lunch.  Paw Paw enjoys an early lunch so by 11 am while he watches Jeopardy and the boys watch the Cartoon channel I am preparing lunch.  Image Since Thursday is a busy day at the park (all the home-school kids are there) we went for a long walk in the neighborhood instead. I had promised the boys that if they were good all week, I would take them to Kid’s Station on Friday to play on the indoor slides, ball pit, arcade etc   Unfortunately, some things are out of our control and just fall through!  Suffice it to say, Maw Maw was not a happy camper!!  The boys and I were meeting friends at Kid’s Station.  We had planned to go at Noon, just after lunch, knowing that Kid’s Station’s summer hours were from 11 – 7. When we arrived at Noon – we discovered that they weren’t open.  Even though summer hours were written on the window (11-7) the sign said they would be open from 1 – 7 instead.  Needless to say, we had to think of something to do to kill some time because Maw Maw was not going to sit in an air conditioned car in the Texas heat for an hour with 3 disappointed and anxious grandsons.  So, we decided to go to the Pet Store to check out the animals.  We got back to Kid’s Station at 1:02 pm to find the friends we were meeting standing outside their car waiting for them to open.  As we watched other cars pull in and out of the parking lot we noticed that there was one lone truck parked at the back of the building, but still no lights on inside.  Myself and the other parents, grandparents waiting were getting very frustrated.  A call to Kid’s Station only resulted in a voice mail message that said their hours for the day were 1-7 pm.  Our friends had not had lunch, so they left to go grab a bite while we agreed to wait until 1:30 pm.  At 1:20 a man in that lone truck came from the back of the building, rolled down his window and proceeded to inform us that they would NOT BE OPEN AT ALL! Grrrrrrr!!  Upon conversing with the man (that’s a nice way of putting it), I found out that he was in fact, the owner – and his reason for not opening was “I have four girls graduating and so I have no one to run the place”.  OMG!!

Are you serious???  And you didn’t know this before NOW????  You didn’t see this problem with staffing before today???  You mean I planned this all week, got my grandsons all fired up about going, had them do chores to earn money for it, blah, blah, blah and NOW at 20 minutes after the time you are supposed to open – you decide NADA??!!  You couldn’t put a message on your voice mail stating such?  When I called yesterday to find out the price for Friday and no one bothered to tell me you weren’t going to be open at all?? What kind of management is that??  Okay, I’ve ranted enough – you get my gist – I just wasn’t happy at all!!  The boys were calmer than I was…SHAME ON ME!  Long story short- we did get 3 free passes for another day (doesn’t solve the problem for today tho).  So, refusing to have 3 disappointed boys on my hands Preston suggested that we check out the Arcade at the Mall.  He said they also had a bounce house for all ages.  Since I go to the mall rarely, I had to take it on faith and go check it out.  ImageOn the way to the Arcade we found several other cute little rides for the boys to check out.  We had a fun afternoon blowing $50 in quarters in the Arcade and got home around 4 pm.  Kash is accustomed to taking a nap in the afternoon, but when we go to Kid’s Station he gets to skip it.  He stays wired up having fun until we get home and then this is what you will find:

ImagePoor little tyke!  He just collapsed as soon as we got home!!  Preston was on the computer, Ethan was watching Netflix (while I rested in my recliner) and Paw Paw had already handed off Jackson to his mommy who was glad to be done with another teaching year.

Today, I got out of my pajamas long enough to go to a brief bible study and homemade Mexican lunch and then came promptly home to climb back into them!  Full day of two choir practices and two church services tomorrow – Monday, just 3 boys. Phew!

 

Milestones of a “Ginger”

Do young mothers still keep baby books?  The three baby books I kept for my three children went to year 7 and then quit.  I was devoted to keeping them up to date, complete with pictures…noting every milestone from when they cut their first tooth to when they had their first haircut.  Is it my imagination or is this an almost entirely lost endeavor?  Once I became a scrapbooker, I transferred the information and destroyed the old yellowed pages of those baby books to make scrapbooks for each of my grown children all the way into adulthood, including jobs, spouses, their children etc;

Now, I am enjoying the milestones of grandchildren – up close and personal.  Our youngest and 15th grandchild (I have 10, my husband has 5)..is Jackson, our little “ginger”.

ImageHe is just over 3 months old and has begun to hold his head up in bed and check us out! How about that for a cute shot!!  So, low and behold I wasn’t at all surprised when I came into the bedroom to get him from his crib the other day to discover he had rolled over from his tummy to his back!!  I didn’t see it, but we always put him on his tummy for sleep (I know all the controversy and debate), but when he awoke he was on his back!!  LOL 

Jackson’s parents are first time parents, needless to say he is spoiled!  I think mommy and daddy think that if he lets out a peep he must be picked up!  It’s made it a bit more challenging for Maw Maw and Paw Paw because we get very little “down time” when he’s awake!!  He’s not real good at entertaining himself yet.  ImageHere he is being talked to.  He loves it when you talk to him.  His sweet personality is really beginning to show.  Just as equally his red-headed temperament is also often present!  LOL  Oh, how we love this little toot!!  He is such a joy to have around.

 

He has such a cute, high pitched wail…and when he decides he’s mad – there’s nothing a person can do but let him wail. He just decides – “I’m done being entertained!” Usually that means he’s either very tired, needs to be fed or needs to be changed. Sometimes tho, it just means “change my position”!! In other words…”walk around the house with me, so I can look around, or go outside and sit on the patio with me for awhile, or take me for a stroll in my stroller.”

Our big boy

Our big boy

Needless to say, we are enjoying taking care of “little” Jackson and will miss him when mommy is done teaching school in 2 weeks. He will return to us in the fall half grown I’m sure. It’s not that we won’t see him this summer…(of course, we will), but it won’t be the same as enjoying and appreciating all those milestones on a daily basis like we have.Jackson 4 This last shot is Jackson flirting with our Pastor’s wife at church. Love it!

Aside

When are you closest to God?

OMG! The person that got out of my bed this morning was not me! I don’t know who that person was, but whoever she was…she was cranky, miserable was hating her life!  Just saying…honestly.  Fortunately, it only lasted a short while.  This was at 6:30 am, before my two precious grandsons arrived.  I am normally a very positive and upbeat person – full of faith (and the Holy Ghost) I might add …but today was not starting out on a good note.  Within 20 minutes of arising and realizing my cranky state I was berating myself and beating myself up for feeling so horrible!!  All I wanted to do was cry!! Once my sweet hubby realized my state and showed a little tenderness…I was doing just that!!  Sitting next to him on the edge of the bed having a good cry!  He’s such a good man and always helps me to see the “error of my ways”…or in this case my “thoughts”.  He put his foot down when I called myself stupid.  

You see, we had enjoyed an awesome Easter Sunday with both morning and evening church services, dinner at Red Lobster with eldest daughter, her boyfriend and my grandson, Kash.  We are Apostolic.  Church for us is like a teenager going to see their favorite rock concert.  We love Jesus and believe in making a joyful noise!  There is nothing sedate about Pentecostal worship.  We came home at 9:30 lastnight, sweaty, tired and all sung and danced out! (I’m in the choir, and hubby is the sound man).

So, why in the world was I feeling the way I was feeling this morning?  How in the world can I be on top of the mountain in church and then be in the mully grubs this morning?  Am I a hypocrite?  Is what I feel in church and sometimes even at home (when I’m prayed up, and in the Word) real?  Or is it a figment of my imagination?  All these thoughts/questions were what manifested themselves into me thinking I was really being STUPID!

But, my sweet hubby reminded me of another “being” that is just as real as God and knows exactly the right time to show up!!  The devil, Satan, ie; the “Prince of Darkness”…would like nothing better than to pull me down into the PIT.  And he really doesn’t care a whole lot about me and will leave me alone most of the time….BUT, when I’m at the top of the mountain, praising & glorifying God he HATES IT!  That is when I am closest to God!  And Satan is one very mad dude!  He is not one bit happy about my joy and my love of my Savior.  Within minutes of this realization, my hubby and I were praying and rebuking the enemy from further attacks.  I was done beating myself up for not recognizing this spiritual attack for what it was.  With my chin up and a better attitude I greeted two precious grandsons who arrived within 30 min. of each other and we went on with our day.

Jackson laid down for his morning nap within 30 min. of arriving and Kash and I took a walk to the park/playground.  Walking & fresh air always helps my moods too!  We played for about an hour while Paw Paw tended to Jackson. When we got back home Paw Paw was feeding Jackson his bottle.  While Jackson was still up and we had Paw Paw’s help, Kash and I made the beds and vaccumed the whole house.  I always feel better when the house is tidied up too!

It was still Monday.   I’m sure there is something about Mondays..not just for working adults but babies as well.  In fact, I’m convinced that babies don’t like Mondays either.  Kash had not been here in almost two weeks.  He spent a week long visitation with his daddy, and when he arrived home to mommy last Tues evening he was violently ill with a stomach virus!!  Poor baby.  Mommy had to miss last Wed. and Thurs from work to take him to the doctor and nurse him back to health.  She had good Friday and weekend off.  Kash began feeling better Friday so I got to spend a few hours with him on Friday having a little Easter egg hunt in the back yard.  After being at daddy’s for a week and then being sick for several days, he wanted to be the center of my world today and didn’t want to tolerate a fussy infant (Jackson) stealing his Maw Maw’s attention.  ImageIm ‘getting wet in this shot.  Who’s idea was it to buy water pistols at the dollar store, anyway?

Jackson, on the other hand – just doesn’t like Mondays!! He’s no longer in his familiar surroundings.  He’s had the weekend with mommy and daddy, no siblings + their undivided attention and today Maw Maw and Paw Paw just weren’t adequate!  He never slept for more than 45 min. at a time…mostly “cat napping” and seemed to have caught Maw Maw’s early morning crankiness!! 

ImageThank God for teamwork!  Paw Paw did more than his fair share to help me with the boys today.  He also washed, dried and folded all the laundry.  We were both glad to see 5 pm roll around.  I know tomorrow will be a better day. After all, it’s Tuesday! LOL

Praise the Lord! Granny is now dancing on streets of gold!

“And the twelve gates of the city were twelve pearls; each single gate was made from one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” Revelation 21:21

There is some debate on whether or not there will be “literal” streets of gold in Heaven. That fact aside, my 92 yr.. old mother-in-law passed from this earth at 3:10 am this morning.

It just never ceases to amaze me at how God works. Granny has been in my care for the past two years. This week she was at the Hospice house for a 5 day break. Every 30 days (approx.) we would send her for “respite”. She was supposed to come home this afternoon. Instead, she went to her heavenly home at 3:10 this morning.

God knew that Granny and I both did not want her to die here in our home. She didn’t want me to have that final memory. Isn’t that neat how God spared me that sad memory and how Granny got her wish?

For the past 2 months, my husband & I have been praying, fasting and working diligently to try and save the possible loss of a major client he’s had for 21 years. Our income would be negatively affected in a drastic way if we lost the account. We received word just 2 weeks ago that we would not be enrolling them this week as planned and that they have chosen to go somewhere else for their benefits this year. Since we’ve recieved that information we have been shuffling our schedules and figuring out ways we would still be able to take care of Granny and do more outside (income producing) work. Isn’t it amazing how God just freed up our schedules so that we could do what we need to take care of the needs of our household?

The jury is still out on exactly what that will be for either of us, but we will seek God for direction and not do anything impulsive or make any major decisions on the direction we should go during this time of heavy heartedness.

I had planned to go to our church’s monthly bible study today at Noon, called Women of Worth. I will still be going to draw from the strength of my sisters in Christ.

My husband and I have laughed and cried this morning. We are joyous, yet overwhelmed. Granny’s in a much better place and suffering no more. We believe that, with all our heart.

I will close with this story: Her oldest son passed away last March. He was my husband’s only brother.
See my post from March 27th entitled “A Good Man”. We did not share his passing with Granny. Her mental state and health was (in our’s and Hospice opinion) too precarious. When she would get upset with my hubby for something he had done or information he had withheld from her she would always call him a “dirty bugger”. This morning when she crossed over she was greeted at the gate not only by her husband, but by her oldest son. My husband heard her say, “you dirty bugger, why didn’t you tell me he was here?”

RIP Bertha Mae Stevens – you will be sorely missed.

I don’t know what to “title” this blog…so get your coffee!

They say your title should “grab” your audience, but what if you just want to ramble? I have so much I want to say and just don’t know how to categorize it into a “topic”…ever been there? A lot of thoughts running through my head most of which you, my reader, are probably not the slightest bit interested in. Back in the day I was a “journal” girl. You were just writing, keeping a diary, so to speak..you weren’t trying to be interesting, creative or trying to grab the attention of anyone. Bloggin has taken journaling to a whole new level now hasn’t it?

Let’s see where do I begin…well, last week was my first week to take care of just Kash, my two yr. old grandson, by himself. His 5 yr. old brother had his first week of kindergarten. I’ve spoken to Ethan and he claims his first week went well. He said he learned “science”. By science he meant he had learned how popcorn kernels become popcorn. I thought that was pretty neat. Kash and I had some good quality time together. A week ago today, (last Wed) we had a bunch of errands to run. Kash likes to get in the car seat and go errand running with Maw Maw, but when Ethan was here we rarely did, because Ethan was such a homebody and didnt’ like running errands.
One of the stops we made was to Walmart to pick up a few groceries and a potty chair. (I know, he’s a little slow on the potty front).

Kash w new potty chair

Kash w new potty chair

I love this next one, especially…

IMG_20130828_111651_905

Kash and I had a nice neighborhood walk last Wed, before we went errand running, so it was a full morning. We purchased a bucket of chicken to bring home for lunch. I was lifting him in and out of the car several times that morning, and took him to see his mama at work also. While there she asked me to lift him up over a counter so she could kiss him. That was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”…not literally…but I have been (as they say in Texas) “down in my back” ever since. Seems kinda ironic since Kash’s mama was scheduled to have back surgery on Friday. I told her I was having “sympathy pains”. LOL

On Thursday, Paw Paw had to help me care for Kash more extensively since I had had a pretty painful and sleepless night and couldn’t hardly straighten up. I’m not sure if I had pulled a muscle or if it was the sciatic nerve problem I’ve had in the past, but I alternated heat and ice Wed, Thurs, Fri and was able to move a little better by Saturday. Turning over in bed is still quite painful, but I am at about 90%. Of course, this is what usually happens when I am fixing to take some time off and plan to go for a fitness walk or run each morning. Kash was gonna be at his other grandmother’s and with his dad from last Friday thru this entire week, and Granny went to the Hospice house for 5 days on Monday. Needless to say, no dedicated exercise has occurred as planned. Which takes me to the blog topic I was pondering: “MY LIFESTYLE, THEN & NOW”.

Back in late 2010 and early 2011 prior to Granny coming home to be under our care, I was leading a very active, fit and healthy lifestyle having lost 55 lbs with Weight Watchers. I lost the weight in 2006/2007 and maintained the loss until I quit working for them as a leader and was forced a few months later to become Granny’s full-time caregiver. (I only say “forced” because we had no other options). Since, I was already stuck and home caring for her I volunteered to also take care of my oldest daughter’s two youngest children. Combined with these two facts was a third: The gym where I worked out also sold out and went out of business. I could no longer go anyway, since there was no daycare at the gym, and Granny needed me – suffice it to say, my lifestyle drastically changed …

PRE-GRANNY:

Ladies Workout Express

Ladies Workout Express

POST GRANNY

At church, 15 lbs heavier

At church, 15 lbs heavier

My lifestyle then, was going to the gym 3 times a week, walking or running a 5k at least 2 – 3 times a week, weighing and measuring all my food and tracking every BLT (bite, lick or taste), inspring others to do the same blah, blah, blah…sorry if I’m boring you. My lifestyle now, is cooking, cleaning, taking care of Granny and children, reading, writing/blogging, some TV, snacking, and quilting/crafting. I’ve also done some DIY home improvement. Moral of the story: I stay busy, but healthy eating and dedicated exercise has fallen by the wayside. I want to get back to it and am working on a plan. I know from experience that my head has gotta be in the game before I begin! And, although I’ve begun tracking my intake again this week…I’m still struggling with my eating. I’m not beating myself up or complaining because I know this is where God has chosen to place me at this time. He also knows that I preferred my previous life to the current one. But, that being said, it’s not my will but His to be done in my life. So, for now..I stand because

we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

I also enjoyed a visit a week and a half ago from my baby girl. I was gonna blog and title it “My baby girl has arrived” thinking it would grab someone’s attention and they would think I’d had a baby LOL !! At 62 and post menopause that would truly be an immaculate conception! 🙂

Arriving at Mom's house

Arriving at Mom’s house

Everytime Tanya arrives you would think she was moving in for a month! This was a quick weekend trip. She lives in Wichita Falls, TX…so if you are ever in need of a realtor – she’s one of the cities top ones!

We got a sitter for Granny and while Tanya was here she took her step-dad and I out for dinner.

Linda, Jerry & Tanya 0813

We relaxed most of the time she was here but some of the time I had to share her with her older sister and her neice and nephews. Fun was had by all! I will see her again at Thanksgiving when she & her husband, Rob will be entertaining us in their new home (we haven’t seen yet).

So, having a break from Kash and from Granny has allowed me some free time for my most favorite hobby: Patchwork quilting!! “Online tutorials, where have you been all my life??” I began in 2012 with simple patchwork, but thanks to these tutorials have evolved! I’m having so much fun learning and doing and am now paying it forward by teaching some of my girlfriends the techniques I’ve learned.

My baby step-son his wife are expecting in Feb. This is my second baby quilt:

Baby quilt

Baby quilt

Colorful 9 patch

Colorful 9 patch

Chevron Pillow Sham

Chevron Pillow Sham

Country Lace

Country Lace

This Saturday I will be having my third fellowship with some ladies from church. We will enjoy refreshments and I will have at least 2 cutting and sewing stations set up so we can get started on our quilts for Christmas.

Layout4

Last but not least…since we weren’t able to go anywhere for this time of respite (you will recall, we went to Fort Worth for Anniversay Celebration last month), my sweet, thoughtful hubby planned a little excursion to Lake of the Pines lastnight to visit one of our favorite older couples from church. We just had a relaxing visit and a walk in the woods. (I’m an outdoors, camping type person but hubby is not). That’s why this was especially thoughtful and kind of him. He knows I like to go to the woods!

Well, I hope I haven’t bored you to tears with running my mouth…Church fellowship tonight and two more days of sewing and (depending on my back) maybe a walk in the park or two before Granny returns.

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