Saturday, November 24, 2007

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.........

Today was the first time that Mike and I tackled the Christmas decorations by ourselves. We only have our youngest son still living at home and he went to a friend's house to stay overnight. I usually love to decorate for any holiday but it gets harder and harder as the kids leave one by one.

I decorate the whole downstairs. I have a lot of stuff. We have a huge artificial tree for our big living room. One that I just HAD to have 7 years ago. Bless my husband's heart, he put it together all by himself today while I got other things out. It took him 2 whole hours to assemble that thing but it looks beautiful. It was truly an act of love on his part because he really doesn't care one way or the other about decorating. But, he knows how much I love my Christmas stuff. He, also, knows how much I miss our kids. He does, too, but deals with it differently than I do.

We're kind of like "empty-nesters" here this evening. We decorated some, met our daughter and her husband for dinner, shopped a little, etc. Maybe being a couple of "homesteaders" isn't so bad after all.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Blessed Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I have always loved to have my family together. I love to entertain, so this holiday allows me to do both. Establishing traditions has been something I've tried to do for my children. It warms my heart to hear their request for a special dinner and/or event. Ethan's request was for mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, and that order.

This was our first Thanksgiving with both of our new in-laws. It was so nice to see them, be with them. I miss my kids terribly.

Dinner included turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, corn pudding, broccoli casserole, cranberry jello salad, cottage cheese, and rolls. Desserts were cheese cake, pumpkin pies, pecan pie, chocolate pie, and French vanilla ice-cream. And Cool Whip. My dad likes a little pie with his Cool Whip.

After dinner was over, we rolled into the living room then played a game together. Jay and Jamie had the game "Disney- Scene It?" It is an interactive video game that has questions about Disney movies. Now, you would have to know just how many Disney videos Jay and Ashley have seen in their lifetime. They thought that the game had to be made for just them. We had a blast! It was so much fun! And much to their surprise, there were several of the questions they didn't know. What was so funny was how many song clips they knew! Between Jay, Jamie, Ashley, Jason, Ethan, Mike, and I, we knew quite a few.

We played another game after that one. Ethan loves to play with his older siblings. Jamie and Jason are wonderful to him. He misses them, too.

For supper, my brother, Tom, and his little boy, Nicholas came over. Nicholas is such a sweetie! It's been way too long since we've had a little one around here. We are just crazy about him! Nicholas is such a "Papaw's boy". Oh, my! It makes me laugh until I cry to see how the two of them are with each other. Nicholas will sit on Papaw's lap for an hour or more reading or drawing. They have this little ritual. Then, if Papaw gets up, Nicholas is afraid he will leave without him, so he walks really close to him. Dad says that he feels like one those big penguins with a little sitting on his feet. It is just too cute!

I had to laugh at Tom. I made potato cakes from the left over mashed potatoes. My grandma used to do that and they always tasted so good. Tom ate three potato cakes! There are a few things that Sis (I) make for him that he really likes. That was one of them.

Jason and Ashley had to leave in the late afternoon to go to his family's dinner. Jay and Jamie stayed until today. They left around 4:00 p.m. I don't miss all of the extra cooking and laundry that it takes having 5 people living in this house, but I miss my kids. I miss talking to them; laughing with them. I feel that we have raised fine, loving young adults. It felt so good to have them home again.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Shelby's Puppies

I wrote this big announcement about the new puppies 2 months ago and haven't said a word since then. I sooooo enjoyed the puppies. This is the first time in my life that I've actually had a dog that I have planned for them to have a litter. I was completely blown away when she had SEVEN!!! Shelby only weighs 15 lbs. and is about 14-15 inches tall. Not only did she have 7 little darlings, but they were so chubby and healthy.

For the first few weeks, they would nurse, sleep in a pile in a big box, nurse, sleep in a pile, etc. When they were about 4 weeks old and too big and lively for the box, I put them in a kiddie pool until they could climb out of it. Then, we gated them in a small out-of-the-way corner of our kitchen. A vinyl floor covering was key to their location.

Every evening, my husband, mom, son, and I would hold one or two at a time. We played with them as often as we could. My big ol' softy of a husband would actually lay down on the floor and play with them while I cleaned the floor where they had been. It was the cutest thing to put them back into their "pen" and watch them play. was not possible to keep 7 puppies in the house any longer and we were getting very attached to them. So, when they were 6 weeks old, I put an ad in the local paper. I had 2 of them sold by word of mouth. The other 4 sold in less than a week. I am sooooo grateful that each of them have gone to really good homes. That was important to me. A young couple (I had had the girl in school a few years back) bought one; the others have all gone to homes with young children or with grandchildren near by.

So far, I know the names of 4 of them, including the one we kept. They are Brutus, Cooper, Buster, and Ethan's baby is Gunnar.

It was a lot of work taking care of them, especially with Mike and I both working everyday. But, I loved every minute of it. Mini-schnauzers have a wonderful disposition, anyway. We now have Shelby and her son, Gunnar. We are all acting like we have a toddler in the house and enjoying it, too! The "Magnificent Seven" was certainly worth the time and trouble.