Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Chitchat

We have another new baby in our family! Little Allie Brooklyn was born this morning to my nephew and his wife. She is so beautiful, and her Gramma Johnnie is on cloud 9. Happy Birthday, baby girl, and may God bless you always.

Great-Gran now has 13 great-grandchildren! She was so happy to hear the wonderful news.

I've had a pleasant day. Gran's hip is fine now, thank goodness. She said that she had "...a taste for something, but I don't know what," so we went out for lunch today. She decided on tacos and enjoyed them very much. I stayed at her place until around 2:30, then stopped at the thrift store on the way home.

I didn't find much at the thrift store, just some capri pants for me for summer and a few educational activity items for Reece and the girls. I never know if they are going to help, but I figure that they are so inexpensive it won't hurt to try. There's a box of flannel board stories, a wooden 3D train puzzle, a box of "pictures that rhyme," and a box called "Form-A-Sound" that helps teach phonics.

I was checking my container garden when I came across this interesting looking bug. I thought it was a cricket, but it was super small. Looking online, it might be an assassin bug. I don't know what the heck it is, but I hope it doesn't eat my tomato plant.

I'm looking forward to Friday. Ron will be home from Colorado, and Reece and Camryn will be spending the night. Their mommy is getting some things ready for the community garage sale their town is having this weekend. Maybe I'll find some things to take over there to sell, too.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jake At WalMart

My daughter-in-law emailed this picture of Jacob she took with her iphone.

I laughed so hard!

Looks like he had enough shopping. The title of the email was "Jake really likes WalMart!" :o)

Thanks, Kismette! Keep those pics coming. I miss y'all so much, and don't get on facebook anymore.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Little Sunday Pleasures

Blue-eyed grass.

Big doggie grins.

A rose (every day lately) on my kitchen sink.

Baby tomatoes! Eight of them!

Lots of blooms on the tomato plants, so more babies to come.

And a baby cowhorn pepper.

Americana music station on the radio, on the patio.

Birdsong. Everywhere.

The scent of my tea olive.

Carnitas for lunch.

And the day is only half done, so I'll be back to post more Sunday pleasures later. :o)

And now it is Monday. I didn't get back to the computer yesterday after all. Josh stopped by and Reece stayed with us so he could go to Mass with us Sunday evening. They had been to feed the goats and donkeys. Fortunately he had clothes here to wear to Mass. Once again he was very good at Mass.

We stopped for dinner at Chester's after Mass. Reece had us laughing the whole time, and a lady at the next table as well. He was just delighted to be having dinner out with us and his joy was overflowing.

Reece and I took Papa to the airport this morning. Papa will be gone for another week. Then we went to Gran's and made her some brownies. We came back to my house and his daddy picked him up. They were going to Lowe's. Reece loves to go to Lowe's with his daddy.

Here's what I saw when I woke up this morning. The sweetest little pleasure of all. :o)







Saturday, March 26, 2011

Playmates

More pics from yesterday.

I love the way they play together so nicely.

They enjoyed strawberry "pops."

They loved going up in the swings.

They lay on the pool deck and played in the water.

And they dug in the dirt. :o)

Friday, March 25, 2011

They Are Here

And I am happy. :o)

They are spending the night tonight.

And tomorrow is Saturday.

And it's beautiful outside. :o)

The Feast (Solemnity) of the Annunciation

Luke 1:26-38:
And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.

And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?

And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God.

And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

The following is a snippet from a homily by St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (a.k.a. Gregory of Neocaesarea) A.D. 213-ca.270.

Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary

...

Today did Gabriel, who stands by God, come to the pure virgin, bearing to her the glad annunciation, "Hail, thou that art highly favoured! And she cast in her mind what manner of salutation this might be. And the angel immediately proceeded to say, The Lord is with thee: fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever: and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? " Shall I still remain a virgin? is the honour of virginity not then lost by me? And while she was yet in perplexity as to these things, the angel placed shortly before her the summary of his whole message, and said to the pure virgin, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

...

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday With Reece

Our peace roses that bloom in spring are so much prettier than the ones that bloom during the summer. They have much more color. The summer roses seem to get bleached out by the hot Texas sun. This one smells wonderful, too.

Ron is home from Indiana. He had to go right back to work today, but he's glad to be home. And we are all glad to have him home!

Reece came in yesterday evening and when he saw his Papa sitting on the couch he stopped short and just stood there looking at him for the longest time. It was so cute. Then he acted shy, but it wasn't long before things got back to normal, and they were off to HEB.

The three of us stayed outside for most of the evening. Papa's allergies started bothering him so he came in, but Reece wanted to play outside. We stayed out there until around sundown.

We made oatmeal cookies when we came in. That's why they went to the grocery store--we were out of butter. Reece fell in the parking lot and hit his mouth, so now he has another fat lip--the second one this month. :o(

We took Gran lunch and cookies, and she enjoyed both. Reece and I went to a playground park near his house on the way home. He had a good time playing with some children there. We left after about an hour, much to his dismay. As we drove away he said, "That was fun!" I had fun too, watching him play and talking to another grandmother and a young mom there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Twylah's Cherry Pudding

I've posted this before, but made it again recently and took a picture. It's a vintage recipe, handed down from my mother-in-law who got it from her mother. I can imagine the mom from the Waltons making this dessert for her family.

Twylah's Cherry Pudding

Batter:
1 C white sugar
1 C flour
½ C milk
1 t vanilla
1 t baking powder
dash salt

Filling:
1 (No. 303) can tart cherries
¾ C sugar

Spread batter in 8X8 or 9X9 pan. Bring the can of cherries and ¾ cup of sugar to a boil and pour slowly over batter. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until pudding is golden brown. Serve with milk, cream, ice cream or whipped cream. (Ron likes it with milk poured over it).

This is really sweet, so you might want to add only 1/2 Cup of sugar to the cherries. Don't use cherry pie filling, but tart canned cherries.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Reece Loves Mass

I took Reece to Mass with me again yesterday evening. I like to take him to Atonement because there is so much for him to look at, and a lot going on to keep his attention. He was very good again. Mom was going to go with us, but when I called to tell her we were on our way to pick her up, she decided she didn't want to go after all. So it was just me and Reece.

He's a bit of a distraction for me at Mass because it's fun to watch his reactions to things, and how he imitates what he sees. He was watching a big boy across the aisle, and folded his hands just like the big boy did. While the priest and deacons were incensing the altar, he would do a little dip whenever they would genuflect in front of the tabernacle. He listened to the homily, and when he saw Father in the ambo and heard his big deep voice, he whispered to me, "Is that God?" Oh he just makes me want to squeeze him! He tried to genuflect and make the sign of the cross as I'd shown him, but he got a little confused and his sign of the cross looked more like a salute. :o)

When we sang the Latin responses, I would lean down and sing close to his ear so that he can learn the words. I also sing the Pater Noster in his ear. It's cute how he listens so attentively.

Before we got to the church, he asked if there would be "smoke" again, and I assured him there would be. He also wanted to know if he could put his hands in the holy water. I told him he could put the fingers of one hand in, but when we got there he put both hands in before I could stop him.

He had to go potty during the readings, and I asked if he could wait until after Mass. He said okay, but a few minutes later he whispered again that he had to go potty. So I took him out, and sure enough he did have to go! After that he was very quiet and still until about 10 minutes before Mass ended. Then he asked me a couple of times if we could go.

After Mass we went to visit the Mary chapel again. He loves Mary. I am teaching him the Hail Mary. He knows that Mary is Jesus' mother and that she loves us and prays for us. I will never forget when he was very little and saw a statue of Mary. He asked me, "Who's dat? Mare-wee full of gwace?" He still calls her Mary full of grace sometimes. :o)

I think he will be going to Mass every Sunday from now on. I pray that his whole family will be blessed by his love for the Mass, and that they will all start going regularly.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sweet Camryn

This little girl cracks me up. Cammy came to spend the night last night. She didn't get here until evening, so these pics are a little dark.













She is such a funny little thing. She only says a few words, but has her own Cammy language which is filled with "ooo" sounds.





If you tell her to dance, she will shake her little body and wiggle her shoulders with a big smile on her face.





She loves to be held, and will hold her hands up to be picked up. When you pick her up, she clings to you real tight. She's like a little koala.





Ever since she was a tiny baby she has scowled when something happens that she doesn't like. When we would tell her "no" about anything, she would put her hands over her ears and look down, or look at us with a mean face. She still does it, and it always makes me laugh. She's usually so smiley and happy, so her scowl is a total contradiction to her personality. All you have to do is smile at her, and the scowl disappears and turns into a grin.

She is a sweetie and I love her so much!

Springtime Saturday

It's Saturday. Reece and Camryn spent the night and went with me to Gran's this morning. I picked up Reece when I dropped off Aubrey yesterday, but Josh brought Camryn in the evening because I didn't have her car seat and she was napping when I was there.

Of course Reece and I spent most of Friday afternoon outside. It is unbelievable how quickly everything is getting green. Just a few days ago this tree looked bare, and suddenly it is full of leaves and dropping pollen in the pool.

Reece was tickled to see the "bean stalks." Jack and the beanstalk has been one of his favorite stories lately. I told him that our beans aren't magic, so they won't grow up to the clouds. :o) They do seem a little bit magic, though, the way they curl up out of the soil and are suddenly 6 inches tall in only a couple of days.

All of the container veggies look great--the tomato plants have at least doubled in size since we planted them, and most have blooms on them.

Reece is still loving the playset and wants to be out there as much as he can. He had his hot wheel city and his box of cars out there yesterday. He would play cars for awhile, then run back and forth with the dogs for a bit, then get on the swings. How I treasure these precious days.

I have Cammy pics, too, but will write a separate post about her in a bit. She's a hoot.

Supermoon

Tonight the moon is supposed to be closer to the earth than it has been for 18 years, so it will look bigger and brighter than usual.

It looked pretty as it rose in the sky yesterday evening. I'm looking forward to seeing it tonight.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Please Pray For Japan

Our Lady of Akita, please pray for the people of Japan, that they and all of us may be saved from nuclear disaster. Amen

The messages of Our Lady to Sister Agnes Sasagawa in Akita, Japan from 1973 to 1981 are the same messages she gave at Fatima--warnings of a great chastisement unless mankind repents and changes for the better.

The messages were approved by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1988, as "reliable and worthy of belief."

You can read the three messages by clicking the link above.

The Eucharistic Prayer of Akita

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Your Heart, being sacrificed on all the altars of the world and giving praise to the Father, pleading for the coming of His kingdom.

Please receive this humble offering of myself. Use me as You will for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls.

Most Holy Mother of God, never let me be separated from Your Divine Son. Please defend and protect me as Your special child.

Amen

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Days I Love

Life is not perfect. There are so many things that are wrong. We have money worries, family worries, spiritual worries, health worries, worries about the state of the world. But there are moments in life, sometimes even days, that are perfect in spite of everything.

Those perfect moments often happen when this little guy is around. He spent the night. Sometimes he is a stinker. He doesn't want to do what I tell him, or he wants me to do everything for him and gets huffy when I won't. He likes to have his own way and might have a meltdown when I tell him no, we can't go buy a new toy car or get food from McDonalds again. But he gets over it quickly, and so do I, because we cannot bear to be angry with one another.

Most of the time we get along great, and I love being with him, watching him play, listening to him talk and sing, playing with him. I brought him back home with me today after we visited Gran, and we played in the backyard. He wanted me to be "Mr. McDonald's man" and he was "Mr. Customer." He would drive up to the ladder on the playset in his Fred Flintstone car and order something, and I would pass his order out through the "window." He thought it was great fun, and kept coming back around, ordering all sorts of wonderful things I wish they had at McDonalds. Here he was having apple slices and raisins and some peach tea.

He's getting a bit too big for his little car, but he still likes to ride in it. Today he would leave "McDonalds" and let his car roll down the hill.

The scent of my tea olive is perfuming the whole backyard, so it's really nice to be out there. Reece wanted to help me with whatever I was doing. We put the puppies in their yard and gave them food and fresh water, cleaned out the pool skimmer and watered my container garden this morning before going to Gran's.

We gave the puppies fresh water again when we got back from Gran's because they had gotten it muddy and dirty. I kept wondering how that happened, and today while we were playing McDonald's, I saw how. Sister took one of their hard rubber toys and very deliberately dropped it into the water container. Then they both looked at it for a minute before one of them took it out again. When I checked, the water was muddy again. I have to change it several times a day to keep it clean.

Mom's hip is doing better since she started on the meds the physician's assistant prescribed. She only has to take one at bedtime, and it helps her all day long. I'm so glad she is getting some relief from the pain.

Hoping your day had a few perfect moments!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Remembering Japan

My heart is aching for the Japanese people. I can hardly bear to watch the news showing all the devastation.

When I found out that we were going to Japan in the late 1980s, I didn't really want to go. It was never one of places I hoped we would be sent. I wanted to go to Italy or Germany. But off we went, and what a culture shock!

We left warm, sunny Hawaii where the air smelled of flowers and the ocean to a place where it was gray, cold and rainy every day for the first month or so that we were there. The skies were gray, the buildings were gray, the roads were gray, the kids were all in mostly navy blue uniforms, the men wore dark suits, carried briefcases and rode the trains, the women wore sweaters and skirts and sensible shoes and rode bicycles with baskets to do their daily shopping at the market. The cars were new, and usually white. Only Americans drove old cars, and we could buy them from a Japanese guy named Blackie for only a few hundred dollars. When we left Japan we gave the cars away to friends.

We arrived at Narita Airport at night, and rode a bus to Camp Zama, a few hours away. I fell asleep on the bus and woke up to see store awnings inches from my window as the bus sped through the narrow streets of a town. Arriving at Zama, we were greeted by our sponsor family, who had a spaghetti dinner waiting for us in our temporary quarters in Building 780.

It was so gloomy that we didn't know we could see mountains in the distance until weeks after we arrived. One day the smog lifted and the skies were blue, and there were mountains!

It took awhile, but as the weeks and months went by, I grew to love Japan and the Japanese people. We were warned not to accept housing at Sagami Depot, several miles from the main post. But guess where we wound up? It was really a good place for us, because we were away from the "politics" and the fishbowl of the main post. I was never a typical officer's wife and didn't enjoy the "socialization."

Because we lived away from the main post, I was forced to get out and about, unlike some of the women who lived on post. I learned to drive on the "wrong" side of the road in a car whose controls were on the "wrong" side. We had some harrowing rides in the beginning, and learned to navigate using landmarks since we couldn't read Japanese.

I became good friends with a Japanese woman named Masako. Masako wanted me to know the real Japan, and she took me on many trips, tours and outings. She invited me to her home, where her 90 year old mother-in-law greeted me at the door and got down on her knees to bow all the way to the floor in the entryway. I was never so honored and touched! We had a delicious lunch in their little kitchen.

Masako and I went to the Kabuki Theatre several times, we went up into the mountains on a bus tour and stayed overnight in a hotel situated on the top of a volcano which was still moderately active. You could feel the floor move. We slept on thick futons on the floor in our yukata, and when we woke in the morning, Masako looked as if she had not moved an inch all night. Her hair was still in place, her yukata tied perfectly and unwrinkled. My yukata was all wrinkled and undone and my hair askew.

Our family took lots of trips, too. Kelly and I went on a bus tour to Kyoto and had such a wonderful time. We saw Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavillion, Nijo castle with the nightingale floor, and lots of other wonderful sights. We squeezed through the nostril of the big buddha in Nara, and fed the deer in the park. Kelly had a line of deer following her around as if she was a pied piper, and then a group of Japanese teenagers all wanting to have their picture taken with her because they thought she looked like an American movie star. :o) We bought a special kind of Macha from a street vendor that was so delicious, and we've never been able to find any tea like it since.

I remember a train ride up into the mountains with Ron and Josh, who was in 3rd or 4th grade at the time. As we went higher and higher and left the cities behind, we began to see thatched roof houses, and Josh was so thrilled by them that he would point them out excitedly. The people on the train are usually very reserved, not looking at one another, but absorbed by their newspapers or their own thoughts. But Josh's enthusiasm was contagious, and soon they were watching him, smiling at his delight and watching for thatched roof houses themselves. :o)

We got off the train at a little village at the top. It was so pretty, and we went into a small cafe for lunch. Josh ordered udon noodles, and slurped them up while using his hashi (chopsticks), just like the Japanese. A man and his son came in, and they were so surprised and delighted to see the little American boy eating noodles just like them.

We went skiing in the Japanese alps, we took our boys scouts to a park where there were monkeys that would come right up and try to steal things from you. I didn't like them much--too aggressive. We went to cherry blossom festivals, Bon Odori festivals, mochi poundings, drum shows. Ron and I traveled to Hong Kong with a group from Zama. So many memories. Sometimes it felt as if we were living in a dream.

I lost contact with Masako when we came back to the States, but she has been on my mind and in my heart so much these past few days. I don't think the area where we lived was affected much by the earthquake and tsunami, but I know her heart is aching for those whose lives have been so dramatically changed and for her beautiful Japan.

My oldest son met the girl he married while we were in Japan. They were high school sweethearts, and when we came home, she enrolled in a college not far from us. Her mother is Japanese, her father American. Her father died in Japan of a heart attack. He was at an employee picnic in one of the parks. Her mother lives here now, but still has family in Japan. I hope they are okay.

Please pray with me for Japan and the people there. Thank you!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Girly Girls


I've had the best day. Reece spent the night, and he was so sweet all day long today. His mom called this afternoon to see if I could stay with him and Aubrey for a couple of hours while they took the youngest two girls to a birthday party. So I kept Reece until around 3:30, then we went over there to babysit. I took some pics of his little sisters.

I got to hold and love on the gorgeous Gina. She is such a sweet baby.


Cyrise had put Camryn's soft, curly hair in a little ponytail. She looked so cute and like a "big girl."










She came real close to me and was looking directly into the lens. She made me laugh so hard.



Aubrey is so beautiful that she takes my breath away.










She is also a zany little tomboy sometimes.















They love each other and are very close. I pray it will always be that way in their lives.











Gina, one more time. She is a yummy baby.

I'm so blessed to be their grandmother.

Sprouts!

I have sprouts!

This one is lettuce. It doesn't look a bit like lettuce to me, it looks like little sprouts of grass. But it's lettuce. Maybe I'll be able to have a fresh homegrown salad soon!














This one is a morning glory. I'll be moving them to spots on each side of the dog yard gate as soon as they are big enough to vine. They are supposed to be pastel colors.


Everything else seems to be thriving, too. So far, so good. :o)