Monday, February 8, 2016

We sure will miss him

Grandpa passed away this morning. I am so sad. Not for him, of course. He was ready. He was dissatisfied with life away from the cattle and the land.

No, I’m not sad for him, but for the rest of us. The rest of us will miss that strong man. Always ready to wrap a protective and fond arm around your waist and say “we” when he really means “I”. “You know, we sure are proud of you kids.” In the last few years, even a “We love you.”

He was the first adult to teach me what it felt like to be trusted. None of us ever wanted to disappoint him because he gave us the freedom we craved. Freedom in the form of money at the State Fair to spend and a few hours without adults around to do it. The keys to an old car and an open pasture before we knew how to drive. The reins to an unruly pony that he wasn’t sure you could handle.

Trust is what I learned from him. Because he trusted me, I began to believe that I was capable. I was willing to take risks because he seemed to think I wouldn’t fail, or that failure wasn’t the worst thing.

He was a farmer who kept horses and carriages. It didn’t make any sense, but he did it anyway. He didn’t care what other people thought about the things he did. He always knew better than anyone else. It’s one thing that most of us inherited from him, for better or worse. We tend to be the type of people who stick with our plans in spite of common wisdom. Common wisdom has nothing on us.

If you find us unwilling or unable to see when we’re wrong, you have him to thank. Of course, he gave us other qualities. Some got his ability to tell and stretch a good story. Some got his love of the land. Some can judge character in a person with stunning accuracy.

The thing we all got was the benefit of his love. For us, but most of all to witness the love he had for his wife. Over 70 years of starry eyed devotion. It will stay with us always. 

I am so glad I am one of his. We sure will miss him.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Royal Gem

Sophia is almost halfway finished with basketball season. The third grade girls are determined and fierce this year. And Sophia realizes, about half the time, that she is five feet tall. Lots of rebounding and a couple of baskets have made her very proud of her effort.

We've had a lot of fun going to games with all our friends. One of the best things about basketball this year is that we've been at it for three years now with the same families. The girls on the team are Sophia's friends from school, and we all know each other well. That means we know when to cheer. For one girl, we might cheer if she passes. For another, we might cheer if she goes after a jump ball. It's just great to watch these kids learn about themselves, the game, and about being on a team.

Five more games to go, so I may be feeling less joyful about the season in a few weeks. For now, though, it's very fun.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

First snow of the Winter!!

Sophia has been incredibly upset that we had yet to get a single snow that would withstand a sled. It was a constant source of disappointment.

To be honest, I have been disappointed myself. So we were both thrilled to get our first real snow last week. While I don't think it was worthy of the snow day that she got from the school district, we certainly used it up!

This was her face after her first roll down the hill. Very, very pleased.

This was on our second sledding trip of the day. Toward the end when she doesn't need the hat any more, and her cheeks get nice and rosy.

On the third time we went sledding on Sophia's snow day, she stayed out for an extra hour with friends. That was the best of both worlds for both of us. 

This picture was taken the next day when we went sledding one more time before the snow was all gone. Like I said, we've only had the one snow, but we made good use of it! On thehat was the best of both worlds for both of us.

Can't wait for the next time that we get to get all bundled out and run up the hill over and over again. Seriously. I still love going sledding.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Vacationing with Leo

Taking our little dog, Leo, on vacation with us was probably one of our biggest concerns. He's a lovely guy, but the longest he's ever been in the car with us is four hours, and he doesn't love it. Add to that our concern that Sophia wouldn't sleep in the back seat while he was there with her, and we were hoping it wasn't a terrible idea. 

Within the first hour of leaving home, Leo had growled at Sophia to get off him as she tried to lay down. She had complained that he was taking up too much room and she couldn't get comfortable. We were more than a little worried at this point.

Then... I don't know what shifted. Either they both finally got tired enough or they just accepted their fates. Regardless, they settled in, and never had any trouble again.

Having Leo with us was actually quite wonderful. In New Orleans, since it wasn't raining, we ate almost all our meals on patios, which meant that he was welcome to join us. He did so in a very mannerly way. He was charming to all and pleasant for us.

Here are Sophia and Leo in the lobby of our hotel. The Hotel Indigo is very dog friendly. During our first couple of trips through the lobby, we counted six or seven canine guests, all sweet and friendly. None quite as cute as our own, but then...

While we were in Gulf Shores, we didn't take him out to eat with us, but we had lots of time together. He loved hanging out on our deck watching the waves and the seagulls. He also loved running through the sand like a crazy dog.

Mostly, though, he enjoyed the same thing he enjoys at home: snuggling up on the couch.

Overall, I'd highly recommend traveling with Leo. He's a great companion. Sophia is very interested in taking him on our next flight, but that's an adventure that I'm not so sure about.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Winter Break Vacation

     Hi this is Sophia. Yesterday I got home from my winter vacation! We went to New Orleans, and Orange beach. New Orleans is always an amazing time. It is a ten hour drive to New Orleans, so that is never super fun. But the experiences you get there are 100% worth it.We stayed at a regular hotel with one room, one bathroom, and one tv. We went to a place  called Preservation Hall. At Preservation Hall they get jazz bands to  come. Sense I am a  kid I got to sit right up front. The main performance area is the size of a large dinning room! The whole thing looked like a old house. The paint on the outside was chipping, so it looked brown. Or maybe it was painted brown, I wasn't really sure. There was no snacks, or water inside. But the music made up for it all. It was amazing. It is a 4 hour drive to get to Orange beach. Orange beach is really close to Gulf Shores. I absolutely loved it. Although me and Daddy were sick. Both of us got sick. So our vacation did not turn out exactly how we imagined. But we were only sick for 1 day, so we got to play on the beach a lot. The gulf water is more warmer than other beaches. The sand is defiantly whiter. The sand isn't ruff or super inconsistent. But Gulf Shores and Orange beach, are a mostly beachside condo town. There are some turn offs you can go to, to get to the towns. But you are not by the beach any more. Sense there are so many condos you can't see the water anyway. My room in our condo/hotel was very nice. I had 2 full sized beds, and a tv in my room. But my rooms only view was the parking lot. Then next door to my bed room was a bathroom, ( for me only, un like this apartment with only 1bathroom to share between the 3 of us ) and another bed room ( that was not my mom and dad's) It was were we put Leo's crate so he basically had his own room. witch had twin sized beds ( we did not tell him mine were bigger.) He had the same "amazing" view as me. Plus he had 2 beds , and a tv. Again mine was bigger. down the hall, was the kitchen, witch I am not going to tell about, except it was a average kitchen. If you make a left turn n you are in the living room. Beside the living room is a set of sliding doors. To reveal a balcony over looking the pool and ocean. It has a amazing view. If you go back inside. Go a little past the couch and you will turn left to go into my mom and dad's room. they have a king sized bad, I think. A bigger tv than me. Plus a set of sliding doors to get to the balcony.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Delicious Christmas Tradition

Last Saturday, while we were in Columbia enjoying Christmas with Grandmary, most of my extended family was on the farm in Illinois having Christmas at Granny's. It is, I am almost sure, the first such Christmas I've missed. I'll make up for it soon by heading to the farm myself and visiting, but I won't get to eat more of Granny's fresh Santa cookies than I should.

In order to rectify this situation, Sophia and I made those Santa cookies today. I talked with my grandma today, and she said, "They're not the easiest cookies to make, are they?" Nope, they certainly aren't. But they're worth it.

First, of course, you need the recipe. I happen to keep my recipe on the counter all through the year.

Once you've made the dough, you have to chill it for a few hours. This is key in order to keep it workable but not sticky. When you're ready to roll it out, don't get stingy and make them thin. Be sure they're thick enough for the cutter details to show up. That's key.

After they cool down a little, they're ready to be iced. This is when the Santa cookies get a little tougher. The first step is actually a little water painted onto the red parts (hat and rosy cheeks) then sprinkled red sugar. The beard and hat ball are next.

To make the Santa cookies that will make Granny proud, he must have a piped on mustache and eyebrows. My frosting bag broke. I tried a couple of secondary baggie options, but those failed miserably. My only other option was to push the icing through - with my fingers. So, yeah. I got dirty.

Like I said, totally worth it. Granny would approve, especially since his beard looks windblown and he's delicious.

Traditions may be my favorite part of Christmas. That's why we're about to head to see The Nutcracker! Again. I asked Sophia if she wanted to try a different Christmas show this year, but nope. The Nutcracker it is.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sophia's blog update

Sophia has not forgotten about the possibility of having a blog, but she has become a little overwhelmed by the responsibility that it inevitably brings.

So we'll see what becomes of that. In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. Lots of good will and calmness, I hope!

To add to your joy, here's a little cuteness to brighten your day.