Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009...

Establishing Christmas traditions for our family has been a long and ever changing process. When our four children were small, activities centered around the anticipation and excitement associated with opening gifts from Santa on Christmas morning.  Our Christmas meal was usually that afternoon and by bedtime, we were all exhausted.  Thankfully, as the children got older, our celebration moved to Christmas Eve which made Christmas Day so much more relaxing and spiritual.  Now that our children are grown and some have homes with families of their own, we still gather together on Christmas Eve for dinner, a Chinese gift exchange, and a few rounds of our favorite board games.  Christmas Day is set aside for quiet family time so that our children and grandchildren can start to establish their own family traditions.
Tonight the house was filled with my parents, our children and our grandchildren.  It was a precious and joy-filled evening with lots of laughter, wonderful companionship, great food, and a bit of combat as we wrangled through the Chinese gift exchange.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been to have Edward home with us. 
Now, the house is quiet and Ron and I are enjoying one another's company.  Knowing that the morning will be quiet, lazy, relaxing, and leisurely is such a gift in itself!  Later in the day, we will make the rounds to the girls' houses and check out all the goodies that the grandchildren got from Santa.  Then tomorrow evening Ron and I will get to come home to a nice, neat, quiet house and enjoy some hot chocolate and a good movie or a book before we hit the sack. 
Before we know it, we will be back at work and busy with the normal, hectic day to day routines.  But for now, we stop and enjoy the simple pleasure of being with family for the holiday season.  Thank goodness for Christmas traditions!  

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Making candy...

Traditionally, the family gets together once every Christmas season to make candy and cookies.  We haven't been able to get together for candy making for the past two years because one year the family went to Colorado for the holidays and last year Scott was deployed to Iraq. So, last weekend Leslie, Scott, and I spent some time in the kitchen. 
On the list of goodies we included Rocky Road, Peanut Butter Balls, Turtles, Buttermilk Candy, Oreo Truffles, Snowballs, Jam Thumbprints, Peanut Blossoms, Seven Layer Bars and Neimann Marcus Cookies.
 Sadly, not everyone was able to be there.  Becca and Seth were both home sick with the flu and didn't feel up to cooking.  Ron was in Indiana on business.   And G and Ryan were on babysitting duty.

By the end of the weekend, we had lots and lots of yummy goodies to eat and threw the diet out the window! 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sophie does NOT like applesauce!

My daughter, Leslie, has started to introduce food to her youngest daughter, Sophie Lyn.  So far, Sophie has loved cereal, Mum-mums, sweet potato puffs, and bananas. Leslie and the kids were over at the house a few days ago and Les decided to give Sophie some cereal before she put her down for the night.  Leslie usually mixes in some banana, but I didn't have any in the house that day.  So, she decided to try some applesauce because Maggie had always loved it. It has been very obvious from the start that Sophie is NOTHING like Maggie. I think the picture support that opinion and are worth a thousand and one words!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Football 2009...

The 2009 Gatesville Youth Football season has come to an end.
Seth's team, named after TCU Horned Frogs, came in second place in his division.
Poppy and Seth (#81) had a great time.
Luckily, with young ones, the sadness of not winning first place is momentary.
The cheering section sure had some cute cheerleaders...
in all sizes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Grandkids at the Pumpkin Patch...

After Seth's game on Saturday, we went to the Silo Christmas Tree Farm's Pumpkin Patch. It is a wonderful 100 year old farm that has been restored and is open to the public during seasonal times of the year.  They sell fresh Christmas trees, have a bed and breakfast, and a small gift shop filled with hand made items produced by local artists.  It happens to be on the highway that runs between Temple and Gatesville so it was easy to just stop by on our way home. 
Maggie got to ride on the ponies at the Pumpkin Patch.  She was doing great until Poppy stumbled over a rock, startled the horses and caused Maggie's mount to bolt.  Luckily, the horse are attached to the poles and can't run off with their little riders!  Seth is such a sweet hearted little guy.  He was standing with me on the outside of the pony enclosure, watching the ponies plod around and around.  He said to me, "Poor old ponies.  You know they aren't having any fun."
Seth was a little old for most of the activities at the Pumpkin Patch.  But, Mimi never tires of giving him a big old smooch!
Seth is also such a wonderful big cousin.  He watched over Maggie all day.  There was a time or two when she started to tire out, and I would catch Seth trying to carry her around. 
Maggie was able to feed the goats at the petting zoo. Unfortunately, the goats were WELL fed so not very hungry.  She eventually just dumped the feed on the ground. There was a craft area set up near the farm house.  Little ones were able to pick a small pumpkin and paint it. Maggie is in a "pink" stage so she went home with a pink pumpkin.
We found a great spot to rest our tired feet and enjoy the scenery.  There was an old piece of farm machinery that had a row of hay bales sitting on the ground in front of it.  It would have been a wonderful photo spot if the beautiful, blue port-a-potties hadn't been in the background!
Seth had never played tether ball until our trip to the Pumpkin Patch.  There were 2 tether ball poles set up on the edge of the Christmas tree garden so we played a game or two.  We have decided that Uncle Scott needs to make us some for our back yards.  Seth also went on a hay ride with Poppy, Maggie and G.  He said it was okay except for the wagon sounding like it was about to fall apart.  
All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend a beautiful autumn afternoon with the grandkids.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This and that...

It is a quiet Saturday afternoon so I thought I would post a few random thoughts. I am sitting here with my feet up listening to Maggie snore and Daisy crunch her rawhide bone. Scott is in the guest room and Ron had driven to Killeen to help Ryan find a suit for interviews. I know the peace and quiet won't last long so I am enjoying it while I can.
It was a pleasant morning. I got up and weighed in at WW (lot another 2 lbs. to make a total of 9), went to Seth's football game (they are still undefeated with 1 regular season game left to play), went to lunch with the family at El Ta patio's (which was very hard; settled on Monterrey chicken with beans and rice, only ate part of it), then drove home with Maggie. She had stayed at Aunt B's house and did NOT want to leave. However, Becca has a party tonight so we have Maggie for the weekend. G's mother had to have brain surgery yesterday. She had been showing signs of Alzheimer's disease so the doctor ran tests and discovered she had a brain tumor. Leslie and G are down there with her now. She came out of surgery fine, but they couldn't get all of the tumor out. Don't know any more than that, but hope to find out more when Leslie gets home.
Oh and some interesting news: I may be adopting a 7 year old from Nigeria sometime this year. I have a little guy in my class that got sent to the refocus area twice this week. The second time, his eyes welled up with tears as he was filling out his refocus form. (It is a form that I have the students fill out and take to their parents so that they can explain their learning choices without saying "I don't know why I went to the refocus area") The little guy turned to me and said,"Mrs. Searls, my mom said if I had to go to the refocus area again, she was going to put me up for adoption!" I told him she was just kidding, but I couldn't convince him. So, I told him, "You tell mom that if she does put you up for adoption, I will adopt you." Crazy kid; he was so excited about that.
Anyway, I am rambling now, but feel like I have at least updated and that was my intent.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Becca's stupid dog...

I was over at Becca's house yesterday and Scott showed me something that almost made me pee my pants. Becca has this big, sloppy, untrainable bulldog named Hoss. He was outside on the patio and Scott put his finger on the glass of the french door. The next thing I knew, that crazy dog lunged at the door! Not only did he do it once, but over and over and over again. Needless to say, Becca's door is a slobbery mess. But, she loves that stupid dog. I am going to try to attach a video. Hope it works!

Three for three...

I decided to update the blog about all three of my grandchildren. And, since I haven't figured out how to upload pictures, add text, and then upload more pictures you get to read 3 posts. Maybe I can get my niece Sarah to send me email instructions! Anyway, here is the latest on "little" Sophie. She has started to enter that stage of development when babies are cooing and gurgling all the time. Her smiles are pleasant and pop onto her face with the tiniest of provocation. She is starting to notice her hands as they pass by her eyes and she is beginning to gain enough control over them to actually swat at toys. She is growing like a week and is such a rolly polly thing. We all love her bunches and are enjoying the changes that take place almost daily. Here are a few of the latest shots.

My favorite little man...

Having a class full of students that are close in age to Seth, makes me a better teacher. Each time I begin to lose patience or expect too much of one of my babies, I think of Seth. I ask myself, "Would you want Seth's teacher acting like this?" It has helped me appreciate the challenges of teaching instead of being overwhelmed or frustrated by them. Some of the things my students like to share with me are the latest scores from the last game their team played, the latest competition that their tumbling group held, their fastest time in their swimming trials, or just some goofy thing they have done at home. It is an exciting age to teach because so many things are new to them: the first lost tooth, the first time they rode their bike, the first time they tied their shoes alone, etc. Those little milestones are so precious to them and to me. I am so honored to be a small part in their little worlds.
I thought I would go through my pictures of Seth and find some pictures of his milestones. Here you see his jack-o-lantern smile, trying to tie Maggie's shoes, playing his first football game of the season, and chilling out at Schliterbahn. I sure love that little man.

From tape to stickers...

When Ryan was a tike and Scott was a toddler, I had to travel to Germany to join Ron for a 3 year assignment. The one thing that kept Scott occupied on that horrible flight was a roll of scotch tape. I would pull of a piece, stick it somewhere on his face, and he would spend between 15 & 30 minutes peeling it off, repositioning it, and wadding it up. I didn't mind; it kept him busy.
Since that time, I have tried to entertain the all other toddlers using the same cheap form of entertainment. It hasn't been nearly as enthralling for them as it was for Scott.
With the grandkids, I have graduated from scotch tape to the left over portion of a sticker page. Recently, Maggie was visiting and had used all the stickers on a sticker sheet when I started pulling off the remaining border material and sticking it all over my face. Maggie wasn't really sure she liked Mimi with all that stuff on her face. But, she enjoyed pulling it all off!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I hate my camera and I am blogging anyway...

I really don't like my camera. It was wonderful in its day, but with all the tech advances there have been since we bought it, the thing is like a dinosaur. Unfortunately, I have used it as an excuse to not blog. I know there are not unwritten laws regarding blogs and pictures, but I love seeing them on other people's blogs. It is my goal to go shopping with Scott now that he is home and buy myself a new camera.
Anyway, here is a quick run down on what is happening in the Searls household.
1) School is back in full swing. I have 19 curious, sweet, and relatively well behaved second graders plus a new curriculum to learn. Nothing like keeping the brain challenged. Still teaching RS on Sundays and hosting a gospel study enrichment group in my home once a month.
2) Ron is back from Phoenix and Little Rock, but on his way to Colorado Springs. While he is home, he helps to coach Seth's football team and stays busy with the "Old Geezers" at church.
3) The folks are great. Dad has been feeling fairly well lately and Mom says he is getting a lot of little things done around the house. Mom is still working on tons of quilting projects and staying busy with the bee and guild.
4) The kids are all busy: Ryan working and preparing to relocate to Costa Rica to teach English. Scott back from Iraq and considering becoming a fireman/paramedic. Becca & Ed: battling a mortgage company that has gone bankrupt. (Lots of worry on that front!) Leslie and G: enjoying a growing family and redecorating their bedroom.
5) The grandkids are beautiful and growing: Seth in 3rd. grade and playing football. Maggie: a big sister and chattering away in Spanish. Sophie: getting so round, plump and sweeter each day.
Now, that should hold me until I get a decent camera. Here are a few of the most recent pictures taken with the old camera.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Scott is home...

Yesterday evening Scott got home from Iraq. He had spent a couple of days in El Paso out-processing so he didn't come home right away. It has been comforting to know he has at least been on US soil. The National Guard had quite a few Texas troops that had demobilized and were traveling together on a charter bus. They dropped off troops in Austin and then came up to Killeen on their way to Waco. Ron and I picked Scott up around 7:00 yesterday evening then took him over to Leslie and G's house. He wanted to see the new baby and he ended up staying the night there so he could watch the UFC match. Becca is planning on having us all over for a BBQ this evening so that should be fun. Here are some pictures of Scot's bus, unloading his duffel bags, and a very happy mom.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I am NOT afraid of color...

When Ron and I bought this house, we traded a large master suite for a dinky bedroom with bath. Our bedroom is the only thing I do not like about this house. At first, I had it painted a soft green and used ivory sheers on the windows with an ivory bedspread. I accented it with a quilt I had made that had deep purples, greens and ivory. It was okay, but I never really liked it. This summer I decided to be daring and completely switch color schemes. I figured I better get my bed linens first and then build around those. I happened to find a beautiful, rich brown set on clearance at Sears so I had my foundation. The wall color was the next issue. I needed to find something that would pick up the rustic tones in our bedroom furniture (which seems huge in this room), blend well with the bed linens, and still feel warm and cozy. When I started painting it on the walls, I thought I had made a huge mistake, but I am such a miser, I couldn't see not using what I had already paid for. However, once I got the second coat on, found some rust colored iron work for decorative accessories, and threw together the fabrics, I was really pleased with it. Here is the finished product.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One more thing to mark off the list...

One of the things I wanted to do during my summer break was make a scrap book for Sophie. A friend of mine had made one for Maggie and for Seth, but I decided to try to make one on my own. So, I used the one that I have for Maggie as a guide, and with some help from Leslie, I finished Sophie's flip book this afternoon. I still don't have the pictures in it yet, but thought I would post pictures of it anyway. Now remember, I am NOT a "scrapper'".