Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Ashley!

Seventeen years ago, I got a call that would forever change my life. My son said to me, "she's here, Ashley Bianca is born!" Five weeks later, her Uncle David and I boarded a plane and flew to California to get our first glimpse of this precious gift! The moment they put her in my arms, I felt something strange, yet wonderful! I was a grandmother! If you don't have grandchildren yet, just take my word for this, there is no other feeling quite like this one. It's different from the love you have for your children. It just is.

Over the years, she has grown in every way, but she has a very special grace. She's not only beautiful on the outside, but she's a real beauty on the inside! Everyone who meets her, just falls in love with her.

When she goes home, she'll start her senior year in high school. She's already taking the SAT's and thinking about college! She's gone from being a baby, then an adorable toddler, cuddly little girl, sweet preteen, teen and now.....suddenly she's on the edge of adulthood!

I pray God's love and protection on her life. I pray that she loves Him and serves Him all the days of her life!

Happy Birthday, I love you!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom/Mema/MIL!

The day after Adam turned 13, Mema turned, well a year older than last year! She seems so young that it's hard to keep up with her age.

Here she is with her birthday peach cobbler and son Russell and daughter Sue. It was fun to celebrate at the beach! Thanks Mary Catherine for getting all the family together and just for being the great mother, mother in law and grandmother that you are.

You're kind and compassionate, so loving, just the best mom!
We're actually home now and I'm so behind! Now the piper must be paid for all the fun in the form of washing and putting all the things we took away! It is totally worth the effort. We all had a great time of family togetherness and couldn't have asked for better weather throughout the week!

Same time next year?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Officially the grandmother of two teens!

How did it happen? Where did the time go? Adam turned 13! Since we're at the beach, we had a little birthday party for all the June birthdays. From left, Granddaughter Ashley,son Tommy, cousin Ben and grandson Adam. Sitting Russell's mom. We had a great day on the beach then a great dinner, birthday cake and ice cream.

I'm always amazed at how time passes......one day you're holding an infant in your arms and the next you're putting 13 candles on a cake.......or 17.......or 27........or 23......or 82. Well, I actually didn't hold Mema or Ben as infants. :)

It's been such a pleasure to be able to have the grandchildren here with us at the beach. This will only be the second time they have been in Florida for their birthdays, so we're honored and excited to share this time with them.

Today, after a quick swim, lunch and showers, I took them back to PC to meet up with their granddad. They'll spend some time with that side of the family......granddad is taking them to see the Manatees. They're really excited about that. Ashley says she's taking a sea cow home! I'm not sure one will fit in the overhead compartment.

It's strange to be back without them, but I'm enjoying the rest of the week at the beach. The weather is beautiful! Hot, hot, hot.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Grandchildren .....first full day

On the first day of their Florida vacation, the grands always wake up wanting to swim! Being an obliging Nana, I put my bathing suit on and into the pool we went! Ashley is at that age where floating is her thing....Adam....he's all boy. Cannon balls all the way!

Here he goes!

Sister just looks on, relaxing with a small float behind her.

Aiming for the hula hoop. By the way, it was a bull's eye!

Uncle David let Ashley back his car and move it in the driveway while Nana stood biting her nails. She did a great job. Maybe she'll get her license soon. She's required to take a class before getting her license and there just hasn't been time, so she can't drive on the street. Sigh of relief here.

Nana and the grands. I like to get a picture right off in case we don't have another opportunity.

Uncle David, Ashley, Grandma Duncan and Adam. We went to visit their great grandma, my mama. She was so happy to see them.

Below is what my girl would do 24/7 if given the opportunity. She is a reader and reads several books a week. She was making this face because she didn't want me to record her reading. She's supposed to do more than read while she's here.

Once again quiet settles over the house as everyone heads off to bed. Tomorrow will be another fun day. If truth be known, I could just sit for a while and soak them in!

Surprise arrival alert!

The surprises arrived safe and sound tonight at 8:39 p.m. while grandmothers and grandfathers and uncles were waiting patiently! Their flights were right on time and they're HERE!!

I mean are they cute, precious, brilliant or what!? Oh, do I sound like a grandmother? :)

It's late, they aren't tired. Oh, dear!

I am so thankful for their safe travel and for this precious time we have to spend with them. That's it, that's my surprise. Worth the wait?????

Monday, June 15, 2009

Uncle Hugh!

Russell's 91 year old uncle asked if anyone knew what a blooger was (sounds like booger with an l). I said do you mean a blogger? So I commenced to explain it to him. He scratched his head and said why would you do that? I just smiled :).

The surprise is almost here! It's a good surprise!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just a note....

A Sunday note. We had a wonderful and refreshing Sunday. After Sunday School and Church, our two campus outreach students came to eat with us. They are delightful! They're so eager to share the gospel and reach out to others. Plus they're so cute!

Today, they had to leave soon after lunch and as soon as their cars were out of the driveway, the three of us, hubby, Matt and I each found a napping place and went into comas!

I have a big surprise coming tomorrow. I'm not sure when I'll get to make the big reveal, but be watching and you'll soon see!!!! I'm super excited!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


About 11 years ago, I went to the feed and seed store and there in a cage were kittens. A brother and sister who were huddled together obviously scared to death. They weighed less than a pound each. Later that day, I called my husband at work and said, I got some kittens.......silence.......then, what do you mean kittenSSS??? Wow that started a long relationship with our two cats, Max and Molly.

Here they are when they first came home. I'm not really sure if they thought the rooster was their mama, but they liked being next to her. They also loved our big lab Sam. When he died, they were so lonely. So I got two little dogs to replace one big guy. I know, I know. Two dogs?????

For a few days, Molly.....the grey tabby.....had been acting oddly. We didn't pay her too much mind, since she was an odd kitty. She was never very social and liked only one person, Matt. She was his cat. When he left to go to college, Molly was inconsolable. Tuesday, we noticed she seemed swollen, even her face. So off we went to the vet. As soon as he saw her, he whisked her away and that was the last we saw of her. She was a mystery even in death. Our vet did every test and kept her on a warming table, but she died during the night, just too sick to get better.

She loved to sit in front of that door in the sun. She wouldn't venture outside though. Everybody misses her. The other animals are all moping around.

I have to say we have the sweetest vet. He was so kind and each time he called, he tried to be as comforting as possible. Thanks, Dr. F for your loving care of all our animals.

So, we bid goodbye to Molly. She was a good old girl.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Tommy!

Or should I say "Belated Birthday"???? No, we didn't forget, sent the card on time...I just didn't put up a post about him yesterday on his actual birthday. So here I go.

Tommy turned 27 yesterday! It seems like just yesterday he was 10.....about the age when I first met him. I became his stepmom and began a long love for him. His dad and I are so proud of him. He graduated college.....he's a GATOR!.....married.....went to work for an engineering firm and is doing really well.

Here he is with his wife, Claudia. She gave him a little surprise party with some of their friends last night. The old folks stayed home, but we sure missed seeing him on his special day.

This is a cute picture taken a long time ago....I told Russell I was going to knock him to New York City and back. He grabbed on to Tommy and said hold on son, we're going to New York!

God has blessed us with many happy years as a family. The years pass so quickly and the children have all grown up so fast!

I know you had a good day, Tommy.....We love you and wish you many more birthdays in the future! And I promise, if I ever do knock you somewhere, it will be somewhere good! :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Friends

Summer is a time when many college students are home from school and either work or just enjoy their time away from their studies and reconnecting with friends.

On campuses across the nation, many college students belong to Christian organizations such as Campus Outreach, Campus Crusade, RUF, BCM,etc. Some of these students give their summer to evangelical projects. The one here is called Beach Project. Students come from universities to spend their summer working to pay their expenses, participating in worship in a local church and doing various beach projects to share the gospel through forming relationships with other beach visitors. Some of those students are worshiping with us at our church and we are so happy to be a part of their spiritual lives.

This summer Campus Outreach kids from universities in Georgia and Alabama are here at beach project. We have the unique opportunity to "adopt" them for the summer. Below are our two summer children, Mary and John. They're just such sweet kids (actually they're grown ups, but.....) and so enthusiastic about sharing the gospel and learning more about what God would have them do with their lives.

Sunday, we had them over to eat, wash their clothes and relax after church and thoroughly enjoyed them! They ask lots of questions and really challenge us to think!!!

Businesses at the beach are always excited to see these kids come to town because they make good employees!

We have adopted students for several years now and it always ends up being a blessing to us as we watch them mature in their Christian walk.

If you ever have the opportunity to have campus outreach students (there are several different campus organizations on the different university campuses), go for it! It isn't hard. They are just so grateful for a homecooked meal and a place to relax. We even took our regular afternoon naps!

Thanks John and Mary for blessing us with your company and enthusiasm and providing us an opportunity to show Christ's love in our home.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A wonderful find and other ramblings.....

You know how sometimes you just walk up on something in a store? You weren't looking for it, but you knew when you saw it, it needed to be in your home??? Well, the picture below, which is much prettier in person, was just such a find!

When Russell and I got engaged and were planning our wedding, I bought his wedding ring and had it engraved.......AML/AML.....All My Love, All My Life. It is very special to me and I end most notes to him with those letters. WELL! The other day I was in T.J. M*xx (don't you just love T.J.???) and walking through, just ambling really, I looked over and there it was! Beautifully framed and the exact same wording. AND $7.99....again, I say, don't you just love T.J.??? Of course, I scooped it up and hung it above Russell's chest of drawers. I think even he was happily surprised when he first saw it.

Like I said, it is much prettier in real life....my curtains were reflecting in the glass. But you can get the general idea. I'm really excited I found this picture!

And as most of my life stories go, there's another little story on that chest of drawers. I love family pictures and you will find them everywhere in my home. If I could, I would wallpaper my walls with pictures. I like to look at them and the memories they bring back are sweet and bittersweet.

In the frame that is second from the left, you will see our 4 boys. Although this picture is very old, it is one of the few really good pictures of all four boys. You may also notice that a figure has been cut out right smack dab in the middle.

The man child that is second from the right in the picture is my youngest birth child and our second child in birth order....if that makes sense to you I'm glad. Anyhow! When he was 19, in spite of everything I could do to prevent it.....and believe me I tried, David married his 16 year old girlfriend. In fact they married at the Eagle Hardware store. I'm thankful they didn't invite me....really I am. After a month or so of playing house and neither one having a job....they separated and David moved back home with us.

***NOTE***If it seems that I took this lightly, please know that many a tear was shed and many prayers were prayed....I just find that after 13 years, I can now laugh instead of going to the asylum!

To continue with this fascinating story, I played lawyer, bought the "self divorce" papers and we were to meet at the Eagle Coin Laundry (true story) for them to both sign in front of the same notary that married them. Yes, I felt like I was in a very bad movie or maybe a nightmare. Before I could get out of the car, they had reconciled. Even though I cried and begged and threatened, I eventually got back in my car and drove home crying so hard I could barely see. Needless to say, even if I ever had the desire to, I was probably banned from the coin laundry. Enough about that!

Maybe a month later, David's dad called to say he had gone to get David. This time, I was taking no chances......I met ALONE with the wife at........yes, the Eagle Convenience Store. She just had to sign one piece of paper. I prayed for my mouth to stay shut and thankfully the Lord helped me! We got the papers signed and the children divorced.

The Eagle Hardware Store, The Eagle Coin Laundry and the Eagle Convenience store were lined up in a row.....the same notary saw us every time. Those stores are now all closed. I wonder if.....NAH!

HOWEVER, since they were married over the Christmas season, she was in every picture....which is o.k., she IS part of his history.....but I wanted a picture with all the boys, hence the artfully done photo.

Aren't memories fun?? I am ever thankful for my God who remembers "that we are but dust" and when we grieve Him, He is quick to forgive!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Show me where you live......Home Office

Kelly, over at Kelly's Korner started the Show Me Where You Live Friday and today is the office edition! Go over to see lots more home offices!

I didn't even try to put these pictures in order! So here goes.

This room actually used to be Matt's room.....when he comes home now he's a special guest. When I finally convinced Russell that Matt wouldn't be irreparably damaged if we took apart his room, we turned it into this office. I love this room. I wanted a yellow room with light furniture.

Russell loves the dark furniture, so this was going to be MY room! Not that it is all about me.

After just talking about liking light color furniture, let me show you our bookshelf. It was part of the office furniture we already had, so we kept it because I had looked in so many furniture and other stores and was tired of it all! Someday, I'll either paint it white or get another shelf. For now, it does the trick. The white picture frame holds pictures of my family....old pictures. I really like that.....actually the other frame does too! The little gold frame in the middle is Tommy as a baby.

O.K. when I saw Kelly's husband's desk, I was ashamed, but not enough to really dig through all this mess! Believe it or not I did straighten it a little. The deer watches over our bill paying. This is Russell's desk and computer, mine is in the living room. And that door??? The closet, where I shoved everything that was out on the floor, including my old computer, my mother's box of financial stuff and some camouflage things. I'm now afraid to open that door! As you can see, the desk is the other half of the original office furniture.

I absolutely love these pictures! These are our four boys at about the same ages. They were all toddlers around three years old. I framed these (very unprofessionally) one year for Christmas and they got the wall of honor in the office. If you click on them, you'll have to say awwww.

I searched and searched for a little corner table and found this one at the unfinished furniture store. We painted it white and I found another white frame and put pictures of Russell's family when they were all much younger! I love the old pictures.

This picture below hangs in the hallway leading into the office. There is a story to this one. When my sister was 9 years old, in 1958, she had a kidney disease and was confined at home in a hospital bed for about a year. She even had a homebound teacher, not to be confused with homeschooling. My older brother was 12, I was 5 and my younger sister was 1....my mother had her hands full!

I have an uncle who was friends with Walt Disney and told him about my sister and her illness. Walt Disney sent my sister a big, beautiful, framed, signed picture of Donald Duck riding a choo choo train....my younger sister and I each got a drawing by one of his artists. Anyway, after years of being in my scrapbook (see the tape marks), I framed it and hung the picture.

We looked and looked for a couch since I wanted this to be not only an office, but a little sanctuary where I could sit and read while Russell worked. That's his fish (friends with his deer head) on the wall. I really like this couch and we got a great deal when we bought it AND it's comfortable and makes out into a bed. The green carpet was a little controversial when I first brought it home. Russell was aghast, but he quickly saw how it just tied the room together!

This needlepoint also hangs right outside the office door. Russell's aunt did all kinds of beautiful pieces. We got this one after she died.

Probably my favorite thing in this whole room is this little chest that doubles as a coffee table. This was originally Russell's toy box, and you know I'm crazy about all things family. I spent hours peeling stickers that had been on for years!! Then we painted it and it already looks distressed which is the look we were going for, so success! We also use it to store the sheets, blanket and pillows for the couch. The picture of Russell and I on this table was taken when we had been married only a short time......which is why we look so young!

Last, but certainly not least, is the television chest! Something else I spent several weeks searching for! I don't think we have a room in our house without a t.v. That's shameful. Anyhow, this worked out really well, with the bookshelf and the bottom that you can put junk great stuff in and close the doors! I should have removed the picture sitting on top, but it's one of the children at grad night at Disney and I like the picture.

Well, that's our home office! I can't wait to see everyone else's!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Just a day in the life.....

********UPDATE ON THE UPDATE******
The snake has been retrieved, the reptile experts that live next door say it's a glass snake, and Russell put him in his garden! Does he not know that snake can slither right back to the pool???


The snake is in the pool skimmer! I know because I looked and almost had a heart attack! I would have fallen in the pool, but then that little sucker could have swam out of the skimmer and gotten me! I called the husband at work.....he wasn't even upset! Can you just imagine that???

Tuesday turned into a fun day when my friend Kristi called and she and Karina came to swim!

Notice the chair they're sitting on because it will take on new significance in a moment!

Karina loves Jack.....Jack the dog who will not let me touch his ears without giving me a nip, let Karina HOLD his ears and just licked her sweetly! She was so precious with both my dogs....the girl NEEDS a puppy mom!

Now the very next day, (yesterday) Jack, my little bundle of anxiety, had a vet's appointment because at least twice a month, he throws up like it's his full time job has a little stomach distress problem. We sort of tracked it and it seemed like he had his worst episodes after he had been stressed. Like going to the groomer, riding in the car for any reason, having company, etc. So.....after many tests.....I should hear from the doctor today if Jack will be going on an anti -anxiety drug. In other words, the doctor is pretty sure my high strung, handsome boy suffers from anxiety related stomach problems. Hey, as a matter of fact, so do I!

AND sure enough, we got home from the vet and in a few hours the throwing up started! I'm not sure we needed the tests! Honestly, we may as well have had a 5th child.

Also on this day of days, as I was washing the left overs from Jack's moment of distress off the welcome mat, what do we see under the same chair our friends were sitting on the day before????? A SNAKE! Yes, I see it's a small snake, but a snake is a snake.

I hurried the dogs inside where they proceeded to carry on because they, being the courageous hunters they are, wanted to get out there and take care of that little intruder that scared the wits out of their mama!

I guess eventually the snake got tired of all the drama and headed for who knows where. All I know is that the dogs didn't go out after dark.