Thursday, April 28, 2016

MY LAZY WEEK AND SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THAT....

Well truthfully I have had another pretty slow week, and honestly I have enjoyed every minute of it. There are times I will be honest when a little bit of guilt creeps in when I have had such a week, as SOO many just don't have that privilege.  But I know that kind of guilt does NOT accomplish much, and so I do my best to push it right back out.  Goodness knows I have put in MANY years where I was just as busy as I could possibly be raising my 4 kids and running our home, involved with their schools and their sports and activities, and both opening my home for women's Bible studies and leading some of them myself. But again, sometimes the guilt creeps in there too as I never really had to work outside of our home, and I know many who had no choice.  I was grateful that this enabled me to do just what I had always desired to do, which was to BE a wife and mother and a keeper of our home.  It took me a while to settle into what in essence is "retirement" for me, even though my hubby is still busy working.  All of my children have LONG since been raised, are married, and are off busy on their own lives.  Not something that I gave much thought to truthfully when I was dreaming about my life as a wife and mother as a young girl.  Didn't at times really think that these days would actually ever arrive either when I was knee deep in it all.  Something else I didn't give much thought to was the possibility that this old body may not hold up as well as I figured it would if I took care of it. But in fact it REALLY limits what I am able to do now.  I know I have done PLENTY of complaining about my knees, but I am also experiencing the beginnings of Rheumatoid Arthritis as well.  And this I am finding out can at times be an even larger problems then the knees. And then there is also IBS, hypertension, AND pre-diabetes and let's not forget my bout with breast cancer...sigh. I WANT to be able to be active and DO soo much more then I do, but honestly I am finding myself more and more limited, and hey I am only sixty one!  But again I believe in my heart that my God has allowed ALL of these physical limitations in my life for a reason, and believe me I am SOOOOO grateful that I am able to be in position to have a slow week and no one is the worse for it.  Whatever would I have done had I had to deal with all of this when I was SOO busy?!  And again, I know some who do.  Soo all of this to say I have spent some time this week not doing much at all but enjoying the ABSOLUTELY gorgeous spring weather that we've been having, while sitting on my porch sipping tea and chatting with my ninety one year old neighbor woman Phyllis, who has seen soo much life, and whose stories are so interesting, they could entertain me for hours.   I've begun a new Karen Kingsbury book and spent some time enjoying that too.  There has been a couple of naps I might as well confess, and talked quite a bit on the phone with my daughter while she sat in her back yard watching her babies play.  How I LOVE doing that.  Even listening to her as she interacts with them reminds me soo much of days gone by.  In one of our conversations this week I was doing a little complaining about the fact that she was taking Claire for her one year old pictures and I wasn't there. About how I'd love to be able to be able to go with her and watch, or sit in that yard with her and watch the boys play, or many other just simple, everyday little things.  It just seems there is never time for any of those things when we are there, as time goes fast and there is always something specific going on or needing done.  I wondered aloud to her how it was that God had allowed my only daughter to live 1000 miles away from me, and this stage of my life as a result was just not how I had ever pictured it.  She had some very wise words to say to me, that as I contemplated them more later, filled with me a gratitude that she has indeed become a very mature Christian woman, and has the attitudes that she does.  She is no longer a little girl of course, but she is not even really a very young woman who just married and begun either as I often think of her being.  She is going on eight years already now, and has gathered MUCH wisdom and insight and growth along the way.  There is no doubt God will use her in some way I believe.  But anyway, she said, "Mom, never in a million years did I ever think that I would end up living in another state SOOO far away from you and the rest of my family, not to mention pretty much every friend I had ever known, AND! living a completely different way of life in the country, ON a dairy, and dreaming about building our new home on a farm.  NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS....and yet here I am.  And I KNOW deep in my heart that God has me just where He wants me to be... married to this man, and raising these children He's blessed us with, and involved in this small farming community with many more GOOD friends that I ever thought I would have out here.  And I find such comfort in the KNOWING.  I trust He has my best at heart and He always has.  I miss my family for sure...YOU in particular, but I am where I am supposed to be, and so are you.  I don't worry about our future the way I used to because I KNOW God's got it, no matter what should come our way."  It was words I needed to hear trust me, and I even though I was humbled somewhat by hearing them from my daughter, I was encouraged and delighted at the same time.  I love that she is happy, and that she has that relationship with God that I always desired most for her, and prayed about from the time she was a little girl.  I guess I will just have to trust as well that she IS right where God wants her to be, and be grateful for the times we do get to go and be with them, and for phones, face-time, Facebook and Instagram in the meantime.  Sooo I did do some embroidery this week as well which I did for the sheer pleasure of doing so.  My sister came across some flour sack towels and gave them to me I think I mentioned and I found some machine embroidery designs that were the days of the week and so I purchased a couple of sets of them and got busy.  It was sooo much fun that I am hoping to make several more sets, though the towels are a little more pricey then I hoped.  Let me show you...

I TRIED TAKING THIS WITH MY NEW MINI I-PAD, BUT IT WAS BLURRY WHICH I DIDN'T NOTICE TILL I POSTED HERE, BUT YOU GET THE IDEA AND I HAVE A GOOD PIC OF EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY SO I WON'T BOTHER TO TAKE THIS AGAIN.










I thoroughly enjoyed doing these sunbonnet umbrella girls. Which one is your favorite?  I felt like I was coloring as I deliberated over what colored thread to use etc.  I did pick up a few new colors as well when I ran to the store to pick up some more stabilizer.  I always have such a hard time choosing...there are so many to pick from.  The towels have such a vintage look, and remind me of course so much of my mom.  I will keep this set for myself, not only because I can really use them, but because it took me a while to get them positioned where I wanted them on the towels and like it, and they are not exactly uniformly done, lol.  I will give you a glimpse of Claire's one year pics as well though these are NOT the professional ones, just the ones Melody snapped off to the side.


I GUESS SHE GAVE HER A CUPCAKE IN THE SESSION TO SEE HOW SHE WOULD DO.  SHE LOVED IT AS SHE DID HER CAKE WHEN SHE FIRST SAW IT, BUT AS SOON AS THE FROSTING STUCK TO HER FINGERS SHE WAS NOT A HAPPY GIRL, LOL

MELODY HAD ORDERED THIS LITTLE JEWELRY BOX TO GIVE HER ON HER FIRST BIRTHDAY BUT IT DIDN'T ARRIVE IN TIME.  SHE HAD PLENTY OF OTHER GIFTS FROM OTHERS TO KEEP HER HAPPY ANYWAY.  BUT IT FINALLY CAME THIS WEEK AND SHE WAS TOTALLY DELIGHTED WITH IT!

LOVED THIS....AND SAM'S FACE WATCHING HER, LOL
Well I guess that's it for now.  I do have the fabric and an idea of how I am going to put it together to make a cover for my new Ipad.  Hope my plan works out the way I see it in my head.  Hope you are all having a GOOD week.  Many blessings to you all!  Debbie



Monday, April 25, 2016

A SLOW WEEK AND AN ORDINARY WEEK-END...

Well it's pretty early Monday morning and I decided to get a post up in the hopes that this week will be a little more productive and back to more of my "usual" routine, lol.  Truthfully ALL last week I kind of spent more or less relaxing.  I think I was a little more tired then I thought from our trip and all the energy that went into that and the shower, but it just isn't me so I want to get going this week. I did do a little sewing last week I guess.  I made 3 new skirts and a tank top of sorts for my grand daughter Capri.  She especially likes the feel of knit fabric and her favorite kind of skirts are the very simple ones I make and she has gotten so tall she really needed some new ones.  I didn't even take pics of all of it which is unusual for me I know.  But let me show you what I do have...

LIKE I SAID...JUST A SIMPLE SKIRT WITH AN ELASTIC WAIST

THEN THERE WAS THIS COLOR AS WELL AND THIS TANK TOP TO GO WITH IT

I ENDED UP ADDING THIS PURPLE RUFFLE LEFT OVER FROM THE PILLOW I MADE FOR ANNABEL'S NEW BABY JUST FOR A LITTLE MORE FUN...

And the final skirt is a dark sold pink..really pretty.  I also spent quite a bit of the week looking for fabric [on line] and patterns to get started on Melody's quilt.  Nothing yet.  And then my sister in going through some of mom's things that was at her house, came across some flour cloth dish towels that she liked to embroider by hand that she obviously hadn't gotten to yet.  All of us at one time or another have received a set of those dish towels from mom.  We all loved them.  Not only of course because she made them, but because honestly they are just the best towels in the world when it comes to drying dishes or dusting or drying any kind of glass or mirror or windows as well.  Anyway, there were 7 of them and she gave them to me figuring I could use my embroidery machine on them if I wanted to.  So I have gotten some designs and that is on my agenda for this week.

On Sat hubby and I spent a LONG leisurely morning having coffee and tea and chatting our morning away.  Hubby is putting in some longer hours on this new job, which we DID expect but are still somewhat annoying, lol, and he was REALLY tired from his busy week and his long drive the week-end before so he especially enjoyed this time.  But then we decided to go over to the Verizon store and see about getting me a new iPhone.  My contract time was up and I was able to turn in my phone for a new SE, which is basically just the iPhone 6 only smaller.  I really don't like the bigger ones [even though of course it's much better for SEEING, lol] so this is what I wanted.  And hubby has been wanted a mini iPad for a while and they had a "thing" where when you turn in your phone you are able to get one for less then 1/2 price so we went ahead and did that too.  I think it is going to very nice for me to SEE pics that come in almost daily from Melody and the kids, and Instagram, Facebook etc.  I have those devices on my phone but truthfully as small as it is it is really hard to actually SEE much at all.  Which would make you think I'd WANT the bigger phone, but I am a complicated gal, lol.  Now I do have my lap top [which also needs replacing] but of course my text message pics are not on there and neither of course are Instagram's.  And truthfully of course it is not nearly as convenient as looking at these things on your phone, or now on my new mini IPAD!  lol. Goodness....all these electronic devices we use anymore makes you wonder how we ever got along before.  But then truthfully, when you have loved ones out of state, they really just can't be beat.  Oh, and I facetimed on the mini ipad too and that too was REALLY nice.  After we finished up there we grabbed a quick bite and went to the movies and saw Tom Hanks new movie.  It was VERY different, but we both enjoyed it [anything with Tom Hanks is good in my opinion, lol] and then before heading home we did a thorough grocery shopping and then went home, bbq'd some Salmon, and relaxed some more.  It was a good day.  Yesterday we decided to go down to San Diego to church since I wanted to get those clothes to my grand daughter anyway.  It was wonderful as always as was the delicious lunch my DIL made for us afterwards.  We chatted for an hour or so after that and then decided to take some of the grandkids to see the new Jungle Book movie.  I wanted to see that movie the day before, but it seems like you can't really go to those kind of movies without a grand kid or two along, lol.  Or at least it does to me.  We ALL enjoyed it.  We came home after that which did make for a LONG day, but I was really glad we done it all.  And here I am....I do have a few pics of Miss Claire sporting some of the new clothes I made her, and of Sam and Luke as well.

LOVED THESE LITTLE LEGGINGS ON HER

CHECKING OUT HER NEW ROMPER IN THE MIRROR, LOL.  IT FITS HER WAY BETTER THEN I HOPED FOR

AND NOW HER YELLOW LEGGINGS AND EYELET TOP

AND SPORTING HER NEW PURSE!  LOL

LUKE AND CLAIRE....SHE'S GETTING SOO BIG

THIS CAT DIDN'T SEEM TO MIND SAM'S "INTEREST" LOL

CHECKING OUT THE HORSES WITH SOME COUSINS....SAM LOOKS LIKE HE MIGHT JUST GO ON OVER THE FENCE, LOL

AT THE ZOO WITH MAMA

ENJOYING A DONUT AT THE PARK BEFORE CHURCH YESTERDAY.  WITH MIKES SCHEDULE THEY DON'T GO UNTIL 11;30 SO THERE IS PLENTY OF TIME FOR THIS

AND SOME SWING TIME TO

Well that's really all I have for now....pretty ordinary and boring I know, but that's just the way it is right now, lol.  Hope you all have a GOOD week, and find the beauty and grace that God has put all around us in it.  Blessings to you.....Debbie


Thursday, April 21, 2016

PART 2 OF THE STORY OF JOHN

JOHN AND JESSICA

Well I've decided I'd better finish up with my John post as I am only 1/2 way through my kids posts. Let's see where was I?  Another area where John always excelled was in his artistic ability.  He could draw AMAZING cartoons and sketches and was a very imaginative as well.  He has very creative abilities.  When John was in high school he began some creative writing .  His high school newspaper published some of his articles a few times.  Those were exciting days at our house to see your son's work printed even though it was only the high school paper.  It was a LARGE public high school [over 4000 students!] and the competition was fierce.  Fun times.  The summer after his high school graduation John got what was supposed to be a "summer time" job with one of the top graphic artists in Hollywood who designs the big standee's you see in the movie theaters.  His company did the BIG movies.  Let me try and remember some of the designs he got to work on that summer....There was Jurastic Park for one, and the Lion King for another, and also Mrs. Doubtfire.  He got the job because hubby knew the designer very well and knew he was looking for some students and recent college graduates to intern with him over the summer, and his intention was to offer one of the college graduates at the end of the summer a full time position.   My goodness John took to the whole thing like a fish to water.  It truly just came easy to him, and he LOVED every minute of it.  Now truthfully this was truly a case of just knowing the right person at the right time, because of course under ordinary circumstances to get an opportunity to sit and be taught under such a noted designer doesn't just happen.  Those college grads that worked there that summer too had fought long and hard for their opportunities.  John honestly just lucked into his.  However, at the end of the summer the designer talked to my hubby and told him that the truth of the matter was John was his first choice of who he wanted to hire on permanently.  He told him that LOTS AND LOTS of people can be trained to be very successful graphic artists, but that nothing can be substituted for God given creative talent and abilities.  John was surprisingly mature for his age and again his memory abilities helped him to excel quite quickly. His personality and John's meshed very, very well, and that was another thing that doesn't always happen.  He would work directly with him.  There was of course MANY designers that worked for this company, and not all of them by any means worked directly with him. He didn't want to offer John the job though if we really wanted John in college, but it was honestly how he felt.  John was not even eighteen years old, though his birthday was in about a week.  Let me tell you hubby and I really prayed about this decision!  The truth was John was smart enough to do whatever he wanted to do in life.  He could have sailed through college if that was his desire.  But honestly John, while ALWAYS pulling straight A's, hated school.  He read what he wanted to, wrote what he wanted, and because of his memory knew things most people just don't is the only way to describe it.  He is a very different kind of guy.  He did not apply to ANY colleges as it was, as he just couldn't be made to.  He DID NOT want to go.  However, he had got him to agreed to begin at the local junior college in the Fall, I guess mainly because we had thrown such a fit and threatened to kick him out on his own if he didn't,  lol  But here was an opportunity right in front of him doing something he LOVED and that most would never get the chance for college grad or not.  On the other hand he was VERY young and the whole thing was a VERY adult world, and I guess I felt he BELONGED in school.  But on the other hand...... neither my hubby or I had a very good feel for the fact that he would be happy in the junior college anyway.  Soo in the end we told John about the job offer and left it up to him, and he of course dove on it.  And that begun John's career as a graphic artist.  I'd be willing to bet he was one of the highest paid HIGH SCHOOL graduates around, short of those who go straight into professional sports, lol.  He worked there for MANY years, and to this day still occasionally will free lance for them when they need extra hands. Some of HIS own personal design ideas have been used in the movie standees including Saving Private Ryan. John moved on eventually for many reasons [too long and not my stories to tell] but has remained a graphic artist and still enjoys it very much.  He has written two novels as well. Neither of them has been published, [I've read them both...sooo good] as he continues to work on them.  Trust me, I encourage him to try but his answer is they aren't ready yet, lol.  John reads as much as he can get his hands on.  It is another passion of his and as a result his range of knowledge is honestly quite phenomenal.  He has also done quite a bit of stand up comedy.  He has performed at many laugh clubs in Hollywood, and a few times as well at some of the local ones around here.  He does MANY impersonations which honestly really are hysterical.  The stand up comedy world is NOT my thing. While John's comedy is really quite clean, most of it is not of course and I am not always comfortable in the environment. We have of course though seen him perform many times.  He has not done much with it at all in the last couple of years or so though, and it was never something he really wanted to pursue seriously, but more something he did just for fun.  I can tell you though he does keep this family amused whenever he is here.   I do need to tell you quickly about John's romantic life, though this too is getting quite long.  I didn't think it would take quite so long to tell the basic stories of the lives of my kids, but then again I guess John will be 40 this year, so he has led quite a bit of life, and Joe of course is already 43.  Anyway....John met his first wife Jennifer when he was around 23 years old and fell head over heals in love and got married within a year.  Don't know if I had ever known someone who was as suited for this "different kind of guy" then Jennifer was.  She too was a really intelligent, massive book reading type of gal, though she had gone to college and in fact had sailed through in just 3 years!  They lived most of their marriage living in Long Beach and working hard at both of their careers.  She had a BEAUTIFUL voice and played guitar and performed frequently in the local coffee shops where they lived, in addition to her job of working with a non profit organization funding homes for special needs children.  Honestly we didn't see a lot of them as they were frequently busy, traveling or working. They never had any children, and didn't really want any either.  7 years later they separated and finally divorced, and John was honestly quite devastated over the whole thing.  He was still working in Hollywood at the time, but moved back home for a short period of time.  He honestly was rarely there however as he worked and stayed in Hollywood with friends frequently.  He dated other women of course over the next few years, but honestly his desire was always to work things out with Jennifer.  They were in the process of beginning to do just this when she died quite suddenly of a burst aneurysm one morning while out walking their little dog.  It was of course a VERY hard time for John and for her whole family of course as it was all very unexpected. Jennifer was only 37 years old and we all still miss her very much.  Looking back it does seem strange that both of my older sons lost their wives at a very early age to death.  John took a few years after that and dated only occasionally, but eventually met the woman he again fell in love with, and they married just a few short months ago.  She too is a WONDERFUL match for John and I am soo happy that he has found her and they are very happy together.  She is eight years younger then John however, and they are hoping to have at least one child, and maybe two.  So God willing John still might be a father after-all.

Well I guess this tells at least the main parts of John's life so far, and again I can honestly tell you that John has brought me so much pride and joy over his years as his mother that it would be hard to describe.  I may not talk to John as frequently as I do my other kids, but on the other hand when we do talk, we have been known to talk on the phone for hours at a time and share MANY similar loves and insights, and never grow short on things to discuss.  I can count on John to make me laugh, make me smile, and make my heart swell with love.



Monday, April 18, 2016

OUR TRIP AND CLAIRE'S FIRST BIRTHDAY!


So much has happened in the last week it seems as if several weeks have passed since I last posted, lol.  I am hoping to catch things up today with this post, and then get around visiting most of you to see what you all have been up to as well. In between I hope to catch my laundry up, water all of my plants thoroughly, and probably spend some time on the phone catching up with my other kids and grandkids.   Oh, and sometime in there I will have to swing by the grocery store and pick up a few things there too.  But honestly I am VERY tired and would love to spend the day not doing much of anything at all....maybe tomorrow, and maybe even the next day too, lol.

So let's see.... Last Mon and Tues. were spent finishing up last minute sewing things for Claire, doing laundry, packing, AND picking up a rental car.  We decided to rent a car for this trip for a few reasons, and let me just say this....it was DEFINITELY one of our smarter decisions, lol.  And believe it or not we decided to go with a mini van...a Toyota Sienna to be exact.  I have driven MANY different makes and models of cars over the years to include a Mercedes and a Lexus for many years, and yet I have never driven a car I liked as well as the two different Siennas we owned many years ago.We bought the Sienna at the time as we were knee deep in sports with Melody, and not only drove all over the country to softball tournaments, but also usually loading many other girls in our car as well. They have BIG roomy seats [a must for this large bottomed gal] are super easy to handle and steer and get around in, your up a little higher, barely ever "if ever" feel the road or the bounces and such, the air conditioner practically freezes you [another must for me] and just generally made all of our road trips back then [and there were SOO many!] truly no big deals at all.  Of course I am sure part of that was being in my thirty's and forty's at the time lol, but still.  Another BIG bonus for me this time was sooo much more leg room [stretching out these arthritic knees is a real necessity] and a seat that reclined sooo fully [as there was nothing crammed behind it] that a few naps were grabbed for me as well, lol.  We brought our lap top and watched most of season 7 of Heartland...I have LOVED that series.  Or I guess I watched and hubby listened.  We usually drive our Honda Accord and honestly it is a nice, comfortable car, but we have had it almost six years now and it has a lot of miles on it and it just didn't even compare to the Sienna on a long, LONG drive.  Don't think I will make that long drive again without renting one of those.  Now for all I know ALL mini vans would have worked just as well, but I kind of insisted, threw a fit, requested this particular mini van and my hubby searched till he found one available...and to sweeten the whole thing even more we got it for a really REALLY good deal.  Trust me, worth every single little penny.  All of this to tell you we left here about 3:30 am on Wed morning and drove straight through to the dairy.  We were pulling in there about eight thirty that night their time [it would have been about 7:30 here] and as you can imagine it was a long LONG seventeen hours in the car.  We did stop for about an hour for breakfast, but the rest of the day we brought food and ate in the car and stopped only for gas and quick bathroom breaks. We have made this trip soo often though that we really do have it down as to what makes it easier to do and where the good places are to stop etc.  But adding the mini van to our list REALLY helped. Anyway, back to the story.  The kids were all in bed, eagerly anticipating seeing us in the morning lol, and so we visited a while with Mike and Mel and headed off to bed and slept like logs, lol.  The next 3 days were jammed packed with visiting, and loving on those babies.  Poor little Claire was sick for the first time in her little life and was just not herself at all according to Melody.  It really is a miracle in many ways that she had never been sick before considering she has two older brothers who are also young, and one them is in pre school!  lol  But she has been really blessed with that.  She really didn't have any symptoms at all other then a fever and just kind of clingy and not hungry so it was kind of weird. No cold symptoms or anything else to speak of.  It had started the day we were traveling there so Melody had run her to the docs to have her checked and she "looked" great, lol, so he said it was just a little virus that would just need to run it's course.  She was a little bit better each day and by party day the fever was completely gone and she was starting to be more herself.  As we were driving home yesterday Melody said she was finally 100 percent better and acting like her usual happy little self.  It was a little disappointing not to see her at her best when I get to see her soo seldom, but it is what it is and I still got to hold her and love on her etc.  And Sam and Luke were great!  How I love those two would be hard to describe.  They are both truly sooo sweet and are getting soo big sooo fast.  I will never be able to tell you all the sweet, BRILLIANT things they said and did so I will not even try, lol. Mike's grandmother, Aunt, sister and her husband and baby had all made the trip out for Claire's first birthday too, so we had quite the crowd.  They all stayed in a hotel or their RV though so we didn't all actually sleep there, [with 3 children there is only one guest room now, lol] but of course they were at their house the majority of their time.  Truthfully I probably will not make many more trips though when anyone else is there as well as it is bad enough having to always "share" our time with Mike's family when they are in California, but I really kind of prefer to have them to ourselves when we take the time to drive clear out there.  I am trying really hard not to sound selfish and whiny as honestly we ALL made the best of things and get a long really well, but I just want them, like I said, all to myself.  I did get to see Sam's preschool and meet his teacher which he was very pleased and excited over, and it was good too to see all of the recent face lifts and make overs and remodeling they have done in the last several months as well.  Melody was very excited for me to see it all, and honestly it was just beautiful! How in the world she managed all of that when her hands are SOO full with those 3 babies I honestly don't know, lol.   We enjoyed meals in and out, and I was glad to be able to help Melody get ready for Claire's party. She had gotten some pretty cute little decorations, and built the whole theme of the party around a spring time, sunshine type of feel and it was all just precious! They had around 30 people altogether [counting all of us] so it was a pretty good sized crowd with LOTS of little ones as well, lol.  The kids just had a ball.  They rented a bouncy house [which Luke hates for some reason, lol, poor little thing] and she got sooo many nice, cute little things.  She was WAY more into the bags they came in that's for sure, but hey that's the way it usually goes with a one year old isn't it?  She looked positively adorable in her tutu, but she hated it lol, which did not surprise me at all.  She doesn't really like bows on her head anymore either, but Melody still manages to make that work most of the time anyway, lol.  Now for me she is almost a positive clone of her mama which I love, but it also includes her almost exclusive LOVE of balls. She has a few baby dolls, and "girly" type toys, but honestly all she really got excited about was any kind of a ball completely like her mama did as well at that age.  This love of balls lasted ALL the way through ALL of the years Melody grew up and I am thinking it might just be the same for miss Claire.  Melody hated most "girly" type things [though trust me after 3 boys I tried HARD] and was just a god given tomboy so I went with it as what choice did I really have anyway, lol?  The trip was a good one, but over before we knew it, and  we crammed MUCH MUCH activity into 3 days.  The drive home was uneventful yesterday, and was I ever glad to be home by 7:30 or so our time, and before it was dark. I hate those trips when we leave BEFORE the sun comes up, and arrive home LONG after it has set. I will show you the pictures I got now, though I know a few of you have seen the ones I did post on Instagram and Facebook.

THEIR KITCHEN WAS PROBABLY THE BIGGEST CHANGE OF ALL, THOUGH THEY DID PUT BEAUTIFUL HARD WOOD FLOORS EVERYWHERE WHICH CHANGED THINGS A LOT TOO.  THE TOP PIC IS THE BEFORE, AND THE BOTTOM  IS OF COURSE THE AFTER.  EVERYTHING IS IS WAY LIGHTER, AND THEY TOOK DOWN THE BIG POSTS AS WELL WHICH OPENED UP THE WHOLE THING AND MADE EVERYTHING SEEM MUCH BIGGER.  THEY STILL HAVE A NEW BACK SPLASH TO PUT ON, THOUGH IT DOESN'T SHOW IN THESE PICS, AND A FEW LITTLE DECORATOR CHANGES AS WELL, BUT FOR THE MOST PART THEY WERE ALL DONE.

THE BOYS ARE ENJOYING THE NEW LITTLE MONSTER TRUCK SETS WE BROUGHT FOR THEM HERE...THAT'S ME IN THE BACKGROUND ENJOYING A SNACK WHILE I WATCHED THEM, LOL  THIS IS ABOUT THE EXTENT OF THE PHOTOS I GOT OF THEIR NEW THINGS WHICH I KIND OF REGRET NOW, BUT AS YOU CAN IMAGINE I WAS A LOT MORE PREOCCUPIED WITH THE KIDS.  YOU CAN KIND OF SEE THE FLOORING IN FRONT OF THE FIRE PLACE, AND THIS GORGEOUS NEW AREA RUG, AND THEIR NEW COUCHES.  THE COFFEE TABLE THEY ARE PLAYING ON THOUGH BELONGED TO MIKE'S GREAT GRANDFATHER AND HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN TO THEM.  IT IS SOOOO HEAVY AND NICE AND HONESTLY I  DON'T THINK YOU COULD SCRATCH IT OR HURT IT IF YOU TRIED.  THEY JUST DON'T MAKE THINGS LIKE THIS ANYMORE!
 
MISS CLAIRE IN HER PERSONAL CHAIR AND MORNING JAMMIES

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HARD IT WAS TO GET EVEN A HALF WAY GOOD PIC OF ALL OF THEM AT THE SAME TIME.  I WAS LOOKING AT MELODY'S CAMERA SO EVEN THIS ONE WASN'T ALL THAT GOOD, LOL.  LITTLE CLAIRE WAS WEARING ONE OF THE LITTLE OUTFITS I MADE FOR HER.  EVERYTHING FIT HER REALLY, REALLY WELL WHICH MADE ME VERY HAPPY NEEDLESS TO SAY!

HERE'S BOTH GRANDPA AND I....THE LOOK ON HUBBY'S FACE WAS MOST AMUSING, LOL.
                                                                                                                         
JUST HAD TO SHOW YOU HOW THE CUTE THE LITTLE BACK OF THAT TOP WAS ON HER
WE HAD A LITTLE PHOTO SESSION BEFORE THE PARTY STARTED WHICH WAS PRETTY MUCH THE ONLY TIME SHE WORE THE TUTU, LOL.  SHE REALLY DID HATE IT.  MELODY ANTICIPATING THIS HAD ANOTHER CUTE LITTLE OUTFIT FOR HER TO WEAR THOUGH.  WE TRIED TO GET ALL 3 OF THEM OF COURSE AS WELL.  THE BOYS WERE WEARING CUTE LITTLE MATCHING YELLOW AND WHITE STRIPED SHIRTS BUT THERE WERE MANY CAMERAS GOING OFF AND THESE WERE ABOUT THE BEST WE GOT, BUT YOU GET THE GENERAL IDEA, LOL

LOOK AT THOSE LITTLE TIP TOES!

YOU CAN SEE HOW FULL THIS IS IN THIS PIC AND A CLOSER LOOK AT THOSE DARLING LITTLE SANDALS

MY TUTU DOESN'T FIT IN THIS CHAIR GUYS!  LOL

MUCH MORE COMFY OUTFIT....LOOK AT HER LITTLE BRACELET  WE WERE BRIBING THEM TO SIT THERE WITH LEFT OVER SUCKERS FROM THE SHOWER, LOL

PRETTY CUTE

YEP, THEY LOVE HER.  SHE WAS MORE INTERESTED IN THE SUCKER IN THIS ONE!  LOL

I DID MANAGE TO GRAB A FEW PICS OF THE DESSERT TABLE...,MELODY HAD BOUGHT A REALLY PRETTY FLOWERED TABLE CLOTH WHICH WAS REALLY CUTE

AND SHE HAD GOTTEN THOSE LITTLE PURPLE MASON JARS WHICH SHE PUT THE SILVERWARE IN AND THE ADULTS DRANK OUT OF....REALLY CUTE.  SHE GOT THOSE LITTLE CARDBOARD CUPCAKE HOLDERS ONLINE WHICH WERE REALLY INEXPENSIVE AND I PUT THEM TOGETHER THEY WERE SOO EASY, LOL  EVENTUALLY THERE WAS PINK LEMONADE IN THAT PITCHER

LITTLE BANNER

HER LITTLE SMASH CAKE WAS ADORABLE

ANOTHER VIEW

THE CUPCAKES WERE JUST SOOOOO ADORABLE.  I REALLY LOVED THEM!

PRETTY YELLOW ROSES
HER LITTLE EATING AREA!

BEFORE EVERYONE GOT THERE I ASKED SAM [ONLY 4!] TO GO OUTSIDE AND TAKE A PIC OF THE BOUNCY HOUSE FOR ME AND ONE OF CLAIRE'S NEW SWING.  HERE IS WHAT HE GOT!  PRETTY GOOD DON'T YA THINK? LOL

CLAIRE LOVED THE BOUNCY HOUSE

AND HER NEW SWING!

GETTING READY TO DIG INTO HER CAKE

SHE HATED THE FROSTING STUCK TO HER FINGERS, LOL.  SHE WAS MUCH HAPPIER LATER WHEN WE FED HER SOME BITES OF THE CAKE, AND SHE ESPECIALLY LOVED THE ICE CREAM

MELODY SENT ME OVER THIS PIC THIS MORNING WEARING ONE OF HER NEW LITTLE OUTFITS I MADE HER..SOO CUTE ON HER!
Well guess that's it for now.  How grateful I am that we were able to make this trip even though hubby didn't have the days coming what with just having started that new job a little while ago.  But he kept in touch via phone and emails and it worked out just fine.  I was grateful I felt really well the whole time we were gone, and that my knees were really not too bad at all either.  I miss them all sooo much already though and I guess I will have to go through my usual withdrawals.  I will get busy in a day or two as I want to make some skirts for Capri, and then I intend to make some quilts. One for sure for Melody for her upcoming 30th birthday in July, and then maybe one for each of my daughter in laws for their birthdays as well.  May be to energetic, lol, but I intend to try.  Hope you all have a good week!  Blessings to you all!  Debbie