Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011–Year in Review


Wow, it seems like it was just a month or two ago that I posted a 2010 – Year in Review.  And now it’s time to look back and reflect on 2011. 


In January, I returned to work on a part-time basis … it was only supposed to have been from the end of May to the end of August, but as soon as I agreed to come back, a former co-worker gave her notice, so I was asked to start immediately.  Instead of 3 months, I thought it would be an 8-month gig.  Turns out it was an 11-month stint, as a former co-worker was diagnosed with cancer.  It was nice to be able to supplement our retirement income and I enjoyed the work … but I’m so glad to be retired full-time again!


I also visited my dad who spent January and February along the Alabama Gulf Coast (this is the view from the condo he rented). 



In February, we celebrated a couple of birthdays, including a milestone for me … I turned 60.  T#1 turned 9 (I think his turning 9 made me feel older than my turning 60!).


In March, we took another trip to Spring Training.  We’ve done this every spring since we retired … and I don’t see an end in sight any time soon (we’re already starting some preliminary planning for our 2012 trip).  We spent a little longer in southern Florida this year, and we visited some parts of Florida that we’d never been to before, including Key West.



In May, we celebrated T#2’s 7th birthday.  May also included a trip to the Pacific Northwest with my extended family (both sisters, one sister’s S.O., my dad, and DH & I), taking in the Oregon coast and Portland.

Picture 036


In July, my sister, her S.O. and her grandson came down for a weekend.  We went to the zoo and took in a Cardinals’ game … where kids were allowed to run the bases after the game. 


In August, we celebrated T#3’s 4th birthday.  We also spent a weekend in St. Louis with my extended family, taking in a Cardinals’ game and visiting the Missouri Botanical Garden.

MoBot 8-14-11


In September, we were forced to cancel our trip to the Outer Banks, thanks to Hurricane Irene.  It didn’t take much arm twisting to choose to go to Hilton Head instead (our favorite vacation destination). 


In October, we celebrated T#4’s 2nd birthday.  We also were able to enjoy the Cardinals’ improbable playoff run that culminated in a World Series Championship. 


In November, we celebrated DH’s birthday and had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with DD and her family. 


In December, I finally finished T#4’s “big girl quilt”.  I also finished the top for another quilt … one that we’ll keep.



We celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary, and we had a wonderful Christmas with DD and her family.  December was a very busy month, helping DD recover from surgery and the never-ending virus(es) that the Ts kept passing around.  We wrapped up December by driving my dad to within a couple of hours of the Alabama Gulf Coast where he’ll spend the next couple of months.


I pray that you all have a

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I always set aside Thursday as a day where I slow down and take the time to be intentionally thankful.  It could be so easy to get start focusing on what we want or where we want to be … I find that setting aside Thursday as a day to be intentionally thankful helps keep me focused on being thankful for what I have and where I am ... on living with an attitude of gratitude.  So each week on Thursday, I pick a few of the many things I am thankful for.

Today I’m especially thankful for:
  • The opportunity to help my dad be able to spend a couple of winter months on the Gulf Coast … it’s something he (and my mom when she was still here) did every winter for the last 20+ years.  It’s one of the things that allows my dad to maintain his independence … and I know that he enjoys seeing all the friends he’s made over the years.

  • Good health … yes, I have my share of age-related “issues”, but nothing that interferes with my ability to do what I enjoy. 

  • My home … I confess that I’m a homebody.  Give me a good book or a sewing project and I stay here in my nest for a good long while. 

  • God’s love … He loved us enough to send His Son to die so that we could live.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge


It’s Wednesday again … and it’s time for Wednesday Hodgepodge … the last Wednesday Hodgepodge of 2011. 


1. Share something you loved about your Christmas Day.

I loved that it was a nice, quiet day at home with DH.  We celebrated Christmas with DD and her family on Christmas Eve. 


2. You get to put five items in a time capsule to be opened in 100 years, what items would you choose and why?

Hmmm, this is a toughie, Joyce.  I will start with an iPad and a smart phone so they can laugh at how antiquated our technology is.  I would put in a newspaper because I’m pretty sure they’ll be obsolete by then.  I would put in a Bible because in 100 years people will still need Jesus. 


3. What do you like on a cracker?

This Christmas I discovered a new treat for spreading on crackers.  Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs.  Mmmmm, yummy!


4. Do you make resolutions at the start of a new year? How'd that work out for you this past year?

I don’t technically make resolutions.  I’ve found that there’s just something about making a resolution that sets me up for failure.  I do have goals, but they’re ongoing … watching what I eat, getting more exercise, spending more time with God. 


5. What's a song or song lyric you'll associate with 2011?

I’ll associate Hold Me by Jamie Grace with Toby Mac with 2011.  All my Ts loved that song, but it the first (or one of the first) songs that T#4 sang… so whenever I’d hear that song, I immediately think of her.  Red heart


6. How will you ring in the new year?

Friday we’ll be driving my dad to to within 3 hours of the Alabama Gulf Coast, where he’ll spend January and February.  He’s a little apprehensive about driving through larger cities, so we’ll drive him far enough south that he’ll have an easy and short drive Saturday morning to the condo he’s renting.  We’ll arrive back home Saturday afternoon.  I suspect that we’ll be pretty tired upon our return so our New Year’s Eve celebrating will be very low key … as in non-existent.  ha!


7. What is something you look forward to in 2012?

I have several things that I’m looking forward to in 2012:  good health for DD and her family (they’ve been hit so hard this year), quilting more (no more working in 2012), traveling (I’ll visit my dad on the Gulf Coast in January, we’ll do our annual spring training trip in March, we’ll go to Hilton Head in May, and we may finally get to the Outer Banks in September if we don’t go back to Hilton Head).


8. Insert your own random thought here.

I’ve been taking Vitamin C every day for the last 3-4 weeks, hoping to stave off any colds or upper respiratory infections.  I have been sniffly with a bit of a cough in the mornings for about 5-6 days now; I’m praying that the Vitamin C will keep this from developing into a full-fledged cold/URI. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Better late than never Tuesday


Guess what I woke up to this morning?  Snow!  It looks like we got at least an inch, maybe two.  Woooo hooooo!


It didn’t last very long … the sun came out for a while and the temperatures got into the low 40’s … but we had snow!


Yesterday and today have been nice, quiet days.  I finished sewing my quilt top this afternoon


and DH and I finished the puzzle late yesterday


and started another this afternoon. 


I’m suffering from DD/Ts withdrawals … after so many days with them over the last couple of weeks, I’m missing them terribly.  It’s good for them to get back into their normal routine … and it’s good for us to have some quiet time at home … so it’s all good.  Red heart


Monday, December 26, 2011

The Weekend Wrap-up

It’s Monday, and time for The Weekend Wrap-up.  This past weekend wasn’t your typical weekend, but it still deserves a Wrap-up.  Winking smile

Our weekend got off to a great start … with our annual cookie-baking day.  One of my most favorite Christmas traditions is baking Christmas cookies with DD.  This year since DD is still sloooooowly recovering from her surgery, we decided to scale back from our usual 10-12 different kinds of cookies.  We picked 6 dozen of our favorites and doubled up some of them … and we had plenty of cookies for us and for sharing.  Good thing we decided to scale back as we were both ready to be done by the time we finished up. 

Christmas Eve was our day with DD and family.  What fun we had … opening presents, playing with the new toys, preparing a meal.  Unfortunately the fantastic day was not without a downside … T#1 and T#2 started to complain of not feeling well by late afternoon.

We took down our tree when we got home from church on Christmas.  Aside from taking down the tree (we love having a real tree, and even though the needles were still pliable, I was ready to reclaim my living room), our Christmas Day was a pretty lazy one.  After a busy (but GOOD) week, it was nice to just take it easy.

Today will more than likely be a fairly quiet day at Chez Nana.  We’ve got a new puzzle to start, a movie (The Help) to watch, and a quilt top to get back to work on. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas


In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Wishing you and yours a very blessed Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Blessed Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is a bittersweet day for me.  My grandpa was born on Christmas Eve, 1891.  My mom passed on Christmas Eve, 2006.  And on that Christmas Eve, 2006, we found out that DD was pregnant with T#3.  My eyes tear up even now when I think how gracious our God was to send me a precious blessing and a reason for hope on that sad day … and that always reminds me of the most precious blessing and reason for hope that He sent us 2000 years ago.

May that most precious blessing and reason for hope always be the focus of our Christmas. Red heart

Friday, December 23, 2011



Thankfulness isn’t/has never been confined to Thursday.  And I have plenty to be thankful for today … including the reason why I couldn’t submit a Thankful Thursday post.  Winking smile


I’m thankful for:

  • A pretty good report back from DD’s doctor … she’s got an infection that’s causing the post-surgical complications.  I’m thankful that it’s nothing more serious.  (No matter how old our children are, we mamas are still mamas … and are concerned about our children’s health and well being.) 


  • T#1 being so brave when he got his blood drawn … and I’m thankful for the expertise of those doing the draw.  He was pretty apprehensive the days leading up to the blood draw, but when the time came, he was calm. 


  • Getting together with my extended family … everyone had a wonderful time.  And while I would have loved some snow, I’m thankful that the weather cooperated so everyone was able to safely return home yesterday.


  • Christmas traditions … DD and I bake cookies every year, and today is cookie baking day!  Normally we bake our cookies several days before Christmas, but with all that’s been going on this month, our only opportunity was today.  Better late than never, right?


  • A baby who was born 2000 years ago … and knowing that the story doesn’t end in that manger.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Are you cooking Christmas dinner? How many will be round your table this year? What are we having?
No.  We don’t have a formal dinner at Christmas.  We’ll be doing appetizers for Christmas dinner (on Christmas Eve) … buffalo chicken dip, cheese fries, stuffed mushrooms, veggie tray, etc.  Since our Christmas will be an all-day thing, we’ll be having it at DD’s, so the littles can nap in their own beds.
2. What is one must-have Christmas cookie in your house?
It just isn’t Christmas without spritz cookies … pressed into wreath or tree shapes.  I’m the only one who likes spritz cookies, but they just say Christmas to me, so we always include them in our Christmas baking (even though they give me fits … they never seem to want to stick to the pan … I’m sure it’s operator error … any hints??).

3. Santa likes a glass of milk with his cookies. Do you? What kind of milk is on tap at your house-skim? almond? soy? full fat (Gasp!)
No … neither DH nor I like milk.  But we do keep milk in the house … for the Ts.  2% … with Hershey’s syrup, of course.

4. Time magazine recently named their 'Person of the Year' for 2011. This is the person the editors believe had the greatest impact, for better or worse, in the past year. This year they chose 'The Protester'. Your thoughts? Who would you name Person of the Year for 2011? 
Not "The Protester".  I'd rather honor/bring attention to those unsung heroes who make a real impact in people's lives.  Our military, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and countless others make a greater impact, in my opinion. 
5. December 21st is National Flashlight Day... when was the last time you needed a flashlight and did you know right where to find one?
I don’t believe we’ve lost power at this house in the 3 years we’ve lived here (we’re not far from the hospital, so I suspect we’re on their electrical grid).  But I do need to use the flashlight when I refill the soap dispenser in the kitchen sink … the reservoir is back behind the plumbing pipes and the disposal, so it’s dark back in there under the sink and hard to see how full it’s getting.
And yes, I know where the flashlight is.
6. candy canes...yum or yuck?
The only hard candy that I’m a fan of is Chocolate Parfaits, so I say “yuck” to candy canes.

7. What Christmas carol lyric means the most to you? 
Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe, after all we've projected,
A child in a manger?
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother's shawl -
Just a child -
Is this who we've waited for? 'cause...

How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior
All that we have, whether costly or meek
Because we believe.
Gold for his honor, and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he will suffer
Do you believe?
Is this who we've waited for?
How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me? 
Only one did that for me
All for me...
All for you...

Although this line from Mary Did You Know always gives me goosebumps:
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I need prayers please ... DD is having some complications from her surgery.  Depending on what's going on, I may be AWOL here for a while.

Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

In spite of the dreary weather, it’s a terrific day here at Chez Nana … T#3 and T#4 are here (Mama took T#1 and T#2 to see the Nutcracker over in St. Louis).  And a day at Nana’s is not complete without the watching of a Pixar movie … and if T#3 is here, I can guarantee that the choice will be either Cars or Cars 2 (Cars 2 today).
(Forgive that dot on the TV screen … not sure what that is … it wasn’t on any other pictures taken at the same time.)
Poor Papa doesn’t get to join in the fun … he had to take the car to the dealer for recall work. 

While the littles are napping, I’ll get the last of all the Christmas gifts wrapped and under the tree, and I'll finish up the cleaning/tidying that I started this morning.  I’ll make a grocery list for food for tomorrow (my sister & her S.O., my dad and DD et al will be here tomorrow afternoon for an early Christmas get-together). 

Time to go play … blogging and get-together preparations can wait when there are little ones here!  Red heart

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

After a week of feeling as if we were stuck in the Pacific Northwest, we finally had sunny skies over the weekend ... but there's more rain and cloudiness forecast for the next 3-4 days. <sigh> 

DH and I visited the quilt show at St. Louis University’s Art Museum Friday morning.  I’ve confirmed that my very most favorite quilt pattern is the log cabin … not that there was really any doubt, since it and the 9-patch are the two patterns that I’ve used most in all my quiltmaking.  It was interesting to see some new and unusual settings for the log cabin quilt.
Quilt Show 6Quilt Show 3Quilt Show 5

And there were some non-log cabin quilts that I loved, too.
Quilt Show 4Quilt Show 7Quilt Show 2
(Forgive the less-than-stellar quality of these shots … I used my iPhone camera.  If you click on the pictures, they should open larger.)

We got a phone call on the way to the Museum … the battery in DD’s van died.  After we finished up at the Museum, we returned home to run our van to DD (their second car is a small one … no way that 4 kiddos would fit in the back seat, especially not with a couple of car seats). 

I got to spend the afternoon with DD and the Ts.  I managed to pick up a gift at Target (we had to be a little sneaky, since that gift was for T#2).  I had planned to pick up the last gift I needed (for T#3), but the item was $37 at Target and $28 on, so I ordered that last gift as soon as I got home Friday afternoon.  I’m so thankful for Amazon Prime’s 2-day free shipping … the gift should be here Tuesday, in plenty of time.  All my other gifts have been boxed and wrapped.  It’s amazing how much better the tree looks with presents underneath.  Winking smile

After a busy Friday, we had nothing planned for Saturday.  DH is the chief cook and bottle washer for the men’s prayer breakfast at church, so I had the morning to myself.  It was kind of nice to just take my time getting going that morning.  I did accomplish a couple of things, including finally getting my hand-me-down iPhone configured to receive/send email from my primary email account.  I spent most of the rest of the day piecing the quilt top; I’m about 1/3 of the way done piecing the strips into blocks. 
I have 10 of these blocks done (they’ll finish to 10” square) … I need to do 11 more.  

I have 20 more of these blocks to cut (they also finish to 10” square) … then I can complete the top and get to my favorite part: hand quilting.

I’m thinking that, in hindsight, I would have preferred a little more contrast between the light fabrics and the dark fabrics … especially on the blocks made up of the 2” squares, but we’ll see how it looks when the blocks are put together and the top is finished.

Our Sunday got off to a typical start with Sunday School and worship.  Otherwise our day was anything but typical … it was our 24th wedding anniversary.  We had an early dinner and went to the hockey game (Blues vs Columbus Blue Jackets); the Blues frequently play on the 18th, so we usually celebrate our anniversary with dinner out and a hockey game.  That may not be a stereotypically romantic way to celebrate an anniversary, but it works for us.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been 24 years since we exchanged our vows … time flies when we’re having fun.  But seriously, 24 years ago God sent me the best Christmas gift ever … I thank God every day for bringing him to me. 

Got a busy, busy week ahead of me … but it’s going to be a good week, because it’s leading right up to Christmas. Red heart