And climb the stairs to the beach...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Morning Folks 01 22 08

Early in the month I drove out to OK with Ed who had a 4 week class in Norman. After spending a few days out west, I flew back to TN alone, repacked my suitcase, losing the long johns and packing the capris before heading off for a whirlwind trip to FL.

First I spent a few days with sister-in-law Kathy in Kissimee. We went to a few shops, visited with her friends John and Lee, and went to Cyprus Gardens. The weather was gorgeous, not hot, but just right. Cyprus Gardens is a quiet, slow-paced spot. Children and husbands might find it less than exciting, but we had fun.

The Christmas season is big at Cyprus Gardens. We were there right after that when there weren't many people, making it a nice, relaxed day.

Giant Topiaries were really a amazing.

Duck and a swan.
Working on the snail
My favorite, the Cardinal made out of red begonias.
Here you can see the scale and appreciate how large the topiaries are.
They had many shows going on, including a 50s show right inside the little restaurant where we had dessert. Kathy had carrot cake and I had keylime pie. Mmmmmmm.
Kathy doesn't know I took this one! She'll probably kill me.

Neither of us really loved the reptile show. Eeeeeyoooooo.

The waterskiing show was fun, though.

And the flowers were really beautiful in spite of the fact that this wasn't even their best season. Most things had gone by. But the scenery was really lovely. And I think it would be nice to go back when everything is in full bloom.

Here you see I may have overdressed for the occasion. (That really isn't me, but I can see how you would make that mistake.)

After I left Kathy's I spent a few days with my Dad and Inez in Naples. We celebrated Inez's birthday while I was there. And she and I did a lot of shopping. I spent some time on the lanai near their pool. It was a little chilly, though, so I didn't really have a chance to get a tan or take a dip. We had a nice visit but I took almost no pictures, although I do have a video of Dad and Inez that I will post on another blog in the future.

After leaving Dad's I drove to Boca Raton to spend the night with my nephew Gabe, his wife Madelyn and the newest member of the Hall family, Angelina Ashley Hall.

She is 6 months old and she is a doll...a drooly little doll, since she is teething. She has the sweetest disposition and although I don't have a picture of it, she and Tia Abuela Suzie spent a long time cuddling. I instantly fell in love.

I am including a video we took of Angelina, which is why I didn't post the video I have of Dad. I can only put one video on per blog, I think. Sorry, Dad. Your movie debut will have to wait a little while longer.

It was a quick trip and I put a lot of miles on that rental car. Alligator Alley was a snap, although I did make sure I had enough gas before I headed over to the east coast. I have heard some stories about that road. And, hopefully next time I will have Ed with me and we will have more time to spend with everybody and see the folks that we weren't able to see this trip. And, I think maybe I will wait for the weather to get a little warmer. I am not used to wearing a sweater in Florida!

So now I am home for a little while before I repack those longjohns and fly back to OK where I will spend a few more days while Ed finishes up his class before we both drive home in time for the Superbowl. Go Pats!

Have a great day, everyone.
Click on the arrow to play the video.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Morning Folks January 2, 2008

Wow! 2008.

It will take some getting used to, I think. I remembered my Rabbits right after midnight on New Year's Eve. So I think I will have a fabulous month, if not a fabulous year. A couple of people actually asked me if I had remembered my rabbits. I guess that means you are ready to solo and don't need me to remind you anymore.


Yesterday we took all of our decorations down. The house seems so bare now that the tree is gone and all the Santas are settled in their boxes for another year in the basement. It was so nice to have the house looking so festive. Pulling out the decorations from storage is always fun. Seeing some of the ornaments again that have been around forever is one of my Christmas gifts each year. I especially love carefully unwrapping the paper ornaments made more than twenty five years ago by my boys' little preschool hands. And I love the ritual of getting out all the Christmas CDs and playing them all day and night, if I feel like it. Hearing some of these songs for the first time in a year is like opening up a Christmas gift, too. I must have said "Oh this is my favorite one!" for almost every song. And there are more than a few that bring a tear to the eye for no reason that I can identify. One of my favorite rituals is just sitting and listening to carols by the light of the tree. All is calm, all is bright.

Sending Christmas cards is a big job at a time when we are all so busy, but it is really fun to go out to the mail box every day to discover who sent us a cheery little sentiment today. And when one is so far away from so many loved ones, they are all the more precious. So thanks so much to those of you who sent them to us. I also think of them as gifts, too.

The shopping, the wrapping, the baking and the decorating take lots of time and energy. But keeping my eye on the prize, or the star if you will, helps me find both, even when I sometimes wonder if I really will be able to do it again this year.

But, there at the end of it all, after the long procession of Christmas duties and obligations, is the gift and the reason that we celebrate.

Here are a few pictures from our Holiday. I hope you all enjoyed yours.

You might remember from an earlier blog that Ed took me to the Biltmore Estate the week before Christmas. That was the beginning of our celebration.

We weren't supposed to take pictures in the main house but we took a few before they "spoke" to us.

Everything was decorated for the season.


We went to see Arabella in the Nutcracker.

Zeppelin is looking a little puzzled as he looks at the program before the curtain went up.

Indigo and Grandma wait for the show to start.

Here Arabella, and the other Polichinelles are about to go beneath the Ginger Mother's skirt.

Arabella is the second Polichinelle from the left in this curtain call.

She was terrific and it was thoroughly delightful.

Ed's brother Bob and his wife Susan came from Louisville for a couple of days before Christmas. And Joey came from North Carolina. It was really good to see them. But, for some reason I didn't get any pictures of our visitors.
But I did get a picture of the Reindeer dressed and singing like Frank Sinatra that Bob and Susan gave to Ed. They know Ed loves Frank. It was very funny. It fit right in with the other dancing and singing characters we had around the houseIndigo loves these animated ones and danced with all of them. Holly Jolly Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming, Jingle Bells and every other one you can think of playing off and on all day long- sometimes at the same time- was just a little test of ones nerves. But Indigo loved it!

Mrs. Claus rocks in her chair and hums while Santa soaks his feet and relaxes after all of his work. Indgo was just tall enough to reach up and push the button to start them doing their thing. Somehow she found all the buttons on all of the singing dancing ones!

Brother-in-law, Steve, gave Ed several Patriots gifts this year...what a surprise! But he also sent along a Sox penant. Ed had to display it as soon as he opened it. Not exactly seasonal, but you know those sports fans.

On Christmas with the Grandkids in the house it was chaos for a little while as wrapping paper and ribbons flew.

After the gifts were opened and before dinner, the kids all took part in a "Count the Santa Clauses" game. Whoever counted correctly first would win a prize. This was the second annual Santa Count. I think we may have started a tradition that the kids will remember when they are grown.

We had Santas all over the house, not just on the mantle. And at least one in every room.

All shapes and sizes.

All colors and themes.

Some were traditional Santas.

Some, not so much.

And they could be anywhere at all.

I made up a sheet for the grandkids to fill in, counting each Santa in each room and totalling it at the bottom. This was fun for the 6 year old and the 8 year old.

Arabella came in first with the correct count of 43 Santas! Zeppelin was only minutes behind her, missing one only half an inch tall, hiding in plain sight on my dresser. Funny thing is they all won a prize anyway. Imagine that.

2 year old Indigo got a prize just for being cute.
It was a lot of fun for all of us! The whole day was.

And Christmas went on for a little while longer when a few days later all three grandchildren came for an overnight visit with the old folk. We stayed up late and watched a movie. Then the next day Grampa made pancakes and we just kicked back and enjoyed each other's company.

Grandma curled Arabella's hair and applied lipgloss.

And Indigo allowed Grandma to brush her hair... Sort of.

Ed and the kids had fun playing with one of my Christmas presents. Ed bought me the cutest music box while we were at the Biltmore. He smuggled it out without me knowing he had bought it and it was under the tree on Christmas morning.

Maestro Mouse, dressed as Santa, sits at a baby grand piano. He has a dozen little miniature sheets of music. When you change the music on the music stand he announces the name of the song and plays it. He plays other songs without the music, by heart. He played something from the Nutcracker which Arabella recognized right away.

It is very cute and the girls had fun singing along to the carols with their Grandpa.

And that was a little glimpse of some of the magic that was our Christmas this year. I hope there was something magical about yours, too.

And both Ed and I wish you all a healthy and happy 2008!



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