Friday, January 31, 2014

A very FUN and Magical Season

I know it's almost the end of January, but I am determined to get the December happenings into my blog-journal.  We came home from the West with colds that were pretty miserable and got worse right around Christmas day.  Cough Cough!  I'm not sure I'm completely over it yet -- five weeks!  Anyway

What an amazingly fun December Rich and I had.  There is always magic in the air in December and everywhere we went we found that magic!  We knew we were going to be gone until just before Christmas and thanks to Gabe our Christmas tree was up just before Thanksgiving.  I got busy and sent out most of the Christmas cards the day before Thanksgiving.  I'm not sure I will be sending them again.  What an expense on retirement income!  It's fun dropping a note to friends and receiving the cards and letters, but we may have to go digital next year.  Now I'm getting off topic.  Sorry, but I also have to say that probably half of my pictures are out of focus.  I need to work harder on holding my hand still when I'm shooting.  Sorry again.

                                    Okay, this is a bit out of focus, but you get the idea.

It is so beautiful!  Rich and I sort of lost our minds and bought a really tall skinny tree several years ago only to find out we didn't even have a ladder tall enough to decorate the darn tree.  Yes, we thought it was a good idea at the time???  So we bought a taller ladder and now being aged, we don't feel safe perched on the top of the ladder.  Our children have come to the rescue every year.  We really love and enjoy the tree.  Thanks again Gabe!

And the Christmas magic continues in...
At the first of December we flew to Fresno to visit some of our favorite kids and grandarlings! 
 First we had to celebrate some birthdays.  Carsen turned 10 at the end of November and Tanner turned 12 while we were there.
We took Carsen birthday shopping and then to a movie!  This guy is lots of fun and we had a blast with him.

Here's Carsen and by coincidence he is standing in front of one of Uncle Darryl's Five Guys.  The Five Guys  is right by the theatre.  We saw Frozen and thereafter loved the music and the little girls all received Anna and Elsa for Christmas from Grammie and Grandpa.  Fun movie and Carsen laughed along with all of the nuances.  He's a really smart ten-year-old.  Carsen sat between and held the biggest tub of popcorn I have ever seen.  Of course we polished it off.  What fun!
Then it was Tanner's Day! 
 Happy Birthday Poser!  Can't believe he is 12.  What a wonderful  young man Tanner is growing into.  Yes, I can see I need to work on my focus better.  He is kind and helpful and just an all-around great kid.  He's almost as tall as his Grammie.
And here's Chase -- the two-year old with his daddy, Jeremy.  He wants that birthday cake.  By the way, Shelly made this ice cream cake with layers of ice cream sandwiches, whipping cream, and other good stuff I can't remember.  Choc topping maybe.  It was delicious!
 Here's one of the few pictures that Tanner didn't goof off in.  Of course Rich took this one.  Tanner was ordained a deacon on the Sunday after his birthday.  Two handsome Crowley guys!
My how times have changed.  These two birthday boys have grown up so much.  Here are these two cute boys a few years ago.  Now they are 10 and 12.  
 What handsome grandsons and what a great photographer their Grandpa Crowley is!
 Then it was on to Christmas fun.  Of course, this busy family had lots of places to be and lots of things to do.  We had fun trying to keep up with everything.  Grandpa was a good sport and stayed with Chase so Shelly and I could have fun shopping together. 
Here's the whole gang with their new pajamas from Grammie and Grandpa just in time for Christmas! 
 Okay focusing again!  And everyone is posing here except Carsen.  Whatever you do Carsen, don't smile.  That comment usually gets him, but I forgot to use it.
Emery had her own trauma-drama, but her daddy saved the day.  Her tooth was loose and out it came.  Then the smiles came back!
 She's all smiles with the tooth in her hand.  It's so funny because both Charlotte and Audrey, Emery's cousins,  are also missing lots of teeth!
One night we drove to see the neighborhood called Christmas Tree Lane.  The entire neighborhood with many streets is decorated in very impressive lights on every home.  Music is playing and lots of people are strolling and driving through the neighborhood.  There is a horse drawn wagon for rides.  It was all very festive!
Those are just a few  of the beautiful homes.  You can imagine the excitement in the van as all eight of us enjoyed Christmas Tree Lane.  What fun!
We were lucky enough to be in Fresno when Tanner was in his winter concert.  See if you can pick him out!  Oh yeah, he's the only one in the green shirt!  He plays the clarinet.  Great concert too.
 Tanner with a plate of cookies he made himself for his first night of Young Men at the church.  He was excited.  They had a service project delivering cookies for Christmas.
 Carsen hard at work on his homework.  Good job Carsen!
 Grandpa with Chase and Emee chillin on the couch!
 I just love capturing these lovable moments with Grandpa!  His grand kids adore him.
We had our extra-fun Grammie and Grandpa Christmas party (so we get to see them open the gifts we give them) with the Crowley kids.  Here we have Shelly and Chase.  Chase wasn't really sure to do with the package so his mommy helped him.
 Jeremy was not a bit excited about the new glasses for the family!
 Carsen had given us a list of possibilities for a gift so he was really excited about what he unwrapped.  And Emme got her dolls.  Kids are what make the season so much fun.  The anticipation is truly a wonder for all.
 Here's that good boy Tanner waiting to open his gift from Dick's Sporting Goods store that he picked out earlier in the day.  It's trauma for this young man to spend his gift money.  It was a little agonizing for him, but it appears he was pretty pleased with the result.
 Chase playing with his little musical guitar.
We were sad to leave California saying goodbye to this cute family.  We miss them so much, but we had to be in Utah for Mother's 90th birthday on December 14th.  So from sunny California to frozen Utah. 
Sadly when we got to Utah, we had to cancel the birthday party as Mother was hospitalized and then had to be isolated for an infection.  Boo hoo! 
We had to have her party with just a few in her room. 
 Here's Margo getting Mother ready.  Mom always wants her hair to look nice.  So we got her out of her hospital gown and into a new sweater and she was happy.  I know it doesn't look like she is happy, but she really was.
This was pretty crazy because she still had the feeding tube in, but what a good sport this little mother is.  Here she is with a bouquet of beautiful flowers from Mike and Rosy.  Of course we all think we are so funny and added our name to the card.  Well, Mother didn't know, but we all like to entertain ourselves with our juvenile antics.  I'm pretty sure Darry always starts it.
Mom is 90! 
Anna Marie found this darling little tiara with 90th in the center.  And she has some fun presents to unwrap.  Margo brought a beautiful poinseitta and we had balloons and a few treats.  Mom wasn't supposed to eat, but we sneaked her a few bites.  She begged us!  What could we do?
Here's the cute tiara!  Like I said, she is a good sport.  She didn't feel very well and you can tell she is still recovering. 
Mother and I ready to celebrate!
Mother with Kenny and Margo
Kenny and Anna Marie
 Kenny, Andrea and Darryl with Mother on her 90th birthday!
Anna Marie, Kenny, Andrea and Darryl
 Mom and her baby,  Darryl
Mom with Darryl and Anna Marie.  They take such good care of her.  We appreciate them so much.
So we finished up our four days in Utah and flew home on day five.  Thanks Darryl and Anna Marie for your wonderful hospitality and company.  We managed to squeeze in the visit to  the Sacred Gifts exhibit in Provo, Utah that I detailed a few blogs ago.   Then, what a happy surprise for me, one of my best friends from high school, Carolyn McNabb Olson moved to Salt Lake and we were able to have dinner in their new home in South Jordan.  It was wonderful to see Carolyn and Darold. 
It was very hard to leave Mom in rehab still in isolation.  She was due to stay over the Christmas holiday and none of us thought that would be fun for her.  She was anxious to get back to her place.  So, two days before Christmas Darryl and Anna Marie moved her back to her place in Draper.  They were able to handle the isolation, the feeding tube and the infection.  She was happy to be back home.
So now on to
Virginia for Christmas
We flew home on December 18th and Matt picked us up at the Charlottesville airport.  We had lots of preparations to get finalized for Christmas.  Phew!   Christmas is so fun with the grand kids, but we had a few more days of fun rushing around.  Our good friends,  Jack and Ruth  Haight were visiting a daughter in Northern VA and we had fun spending the day with them just before Christmas.  They live in Denver and we wish we were neighbors, we enjoy being with them so much. 
Matt and Andrew and families have traditionally (in the past few years) come for an early Christmas Eve dinner.  We have a set  menu that doesn't change too much over the years.  We had ham,  mashed potatoes, scalloped cauliflower, green bean bundles, Gabe's rolls, raspberry salad and pies.  The dinner is always fun and everyone pitches in to help. 
And ..................we are ready!  I love using my mother's dishes.  She g.ave them to me a few years ago.  I have eaten more special family dinners on these dishes than I can count.  They were shipped from Japan right after WWII.  So that's a lot of years!  They are so beautiful and special.
Charlotte, Matthew, Nathan, Andrew. 
 A pensive Gabe!
 Melanie through the trees and Harper in the background.  I found these fun trees in Fresno last year and brought them home in my luggage with my fingers crossed that they would make it.  My luggage is still full of glitter.  I love trees for some reason and these caught my eye on a Shelly/Andrea shopping trip.
Those trees look so big in the pictures of Gabe and Melanie.  They aren't really that big.
Here's Charlotte and Grammie full and happy!
 Here's Grandpa and Nathan.  These two are crazy about each other!  Nathan crawls on Grandpa's lap every chance he gets.
 And before we leave the table, here's Grammie with four of her granddaughters!  Baby Harper, Charlotte, Audrey and Jocelyn.  These girls are fun and boy do I love them.

And here's Harper and Grammie!
What a splendid feast we had.  God bless us everyone!
Now we  had some gifts for the granddarlings to pen and just watched the magic unfold.    Of course they are so adorable.
Jocelyn and Nathan found an old-fashioned slinky in their stocking.
 This little doll, Audrey, opened her doll!
Charlotte looks like all business unwrapping her doll.  After she saw her Frozen doll, she said, "Grammie how did you read my mind?"
This present looks like it was a hit.  Matt is helping Nathan open his present.  Grandpa found a whole set of power tools for Nathan that are battery operated.  Jocelyn looks pretty surprised and I love Gabe's reaction.
 Here's Nathan with his new drill!  ZZZZZZdddd!
Jocelyn is so happy with her new doll and I'm not sure what I am doing, but Audrey and Charlotte and intently watching me do whatever it is.  And I see the tell-tell Santa wrapper on the arm of the couch.  Grandpa Santa had put a marshmello caramel Santa in everyone's stocking.  What a fun treat.
My life is certainly blessed with beautiful grandchildren. We had a really fun time opening gifts and watching their delighted faces. Grandkids are all the present I need. They bring with them such love and happiness. Everyone got pajamas -- some as early as September --when I was checking sizes because I noticed some of the grandchildren were growing faster than I anticipated when I bought the jammies at the year-end sales last year!
We had a "steal the gift" round with the adults that was fun too.  The only thing missing from this Christmas Eve was our Fresno family and Lauren.  Man oh man are they too far away.
Then all of the Crowleys  headed home with excited kids to get ready for Santa. 
On Christmas day we visited Matt and Gabe in the morning and Andrew and Melanie in the afernoon.  What beautiful families they have.    Rich and I count the many blessings we have and our kids and grand kids are at the top of the list.  They make life so happy for us.  So we sailed out of December still trying to recover from our crazy colds that just wouldn't go away. 
Here we come 2014.  Bring on more fun times!

Monday, January 6, 2014

November 2013

We always start November celebrating Andrew's birthday and wow did we celebrate.  The family all met in Fredericksburg at Carlos O Kellys.  Andrew's favorite.  They saw us coming and gave us the private room in the front.  It was perfect and had a huge TV for the kids to watch when they got restless. 

Here are three of the kids while we were waiting.  Lottie, Audrey and Nathan.  Jocelyn was being shy.

                                          Yes, Andrew is one happy guy here.  Shoot - my pics are all a little blurry.  Darn!
 So there were 11 of us ready for the chips and salsa.  They even had a new menu. 
It was a great day for the Crowley Family, the day Andrew was born. Well, the two of us almost didn't make it because he was late and was so darn big.  He came fast but then was stuck.  The Dr kept saying push push.  My eyeballs were already on my chest.  Then he said if we don't get him now, we will lose him.  The anesthesiologist jumped up on the table and put his forearm on my belly and pushed that little guy out.  Phew!  He weighed 11 lbs.  Oh my goodness it was a rough time for both of us, but oh what a good baby he was.  Happy and slept through the night at 3 weeks then started taking care of all of the rest of us.  Here is the birth announcement and Christmas card we sent out.  This was 1979.
                  Andrew was one week old here!  Matt going on 5 and Jeremy going on 3.  What a riot the styles were.  It must have been the 70s,  look at Matt's pants!

This is my favorite series of pictures of Andrew.  He was about one year in these.  I was trying to get a picture of him without the ball and look what happened.

Just give me the darn football Mom!  Football still makes Andrew happy.  Most of the time.
I'm not sure why his pants were undone here, but boy what an adorable baby he was.  So back to Carlos!

Here Andrew is again at Carlos with Audrey and Jocelyn.  Rich's hand!  Are you giving us all directions again Rich?

 Here's Melanie barely in the picture with Jocelyn and Lottie

                            Lottie,   Matt (back of the head) Gabe, Rich, Andrew and Audrey
                                   Matt and Gabe

 We are all happy when we eat at Carlos!!!  We then headed for Culpeper for birthday cake.  Melanie made a Reese's peanut butter cup cake and boy was it good.  I had a picture of it, but it hmmmm, I can't find it at the moment.  Anyway, happy birthday my boy.
Here's one more of Audrey and Lottie at their sleepover.  We were just getting ready to make a big mess in Grammie's kitchen.  Love these two little darlings.
 And another sleepover.  Here are Jocelyn and Audrey all snuggled in Grammie and Grandpa's bed.
 Grandpa came home with these!  Boy was he happy.  Idaho Russet POTATOES! 
 You know -- some people are really easy to please!
 And we always end November with what else -- Thanksgiving.  This year it was Rich's brother, Ken's Family hosting at their beautiful lake house.  We always look forward to a fun day at the lake house.
Tricia, Ken and girls always set a very nice table.
 Gabe is working hard
 Melanie is working hard
Shannon and Tricia are working hard.
And now we are ready to eat.  Dig in everyone.

So Jordan, Rich, Matt, Andrew, and all the kids were also at Thanksgiving, but we didn't make the picture cut.  Darn.  Well, I was there as well.  But we all had plenty to eat and had a very fun day.  Bye bye November.