Saturday, April 19, 2014

Out of Town Friendship

Phillip and his buddy Cody have been friends for about 20 years. I get all nostalgic looking back through old pictures of our get-togethers over the years. We've never lived near each other, but we try to get the families together when we can. They came to visit this year. Oddly enough, I didn't get a picture of Cody and Phillip ~ just the kids. 



We wanted to do the beach, but it turned out too chilly and drizzly. The zoo got our vote instead: it started out drizzly and busy, but by the time we came out of the reptile house (first stop on the tour), the rain was beginning to let up and all the school kids were loading up in their buses. 








These girls sure like to read. We went to the library twice and they still ran out of books.






Cody's kids had never seen Star Wars, so we had a viewing of the original three. He didn't feel that they needed to watch the prequels. We agree.




My favorite!! Phillip's been getting the yard weeded and seeded and watered trying to make it into a backyard instead of weeds and bare dirt. Jonathan dug a fire pit and circled it with rocks to earn some money. A friend from church gave us some logs and twigs. And we actually got to have a campfire one cool evening! Cody told a Pecos Pete and Texas Slim story (another nostalgic favorite). The kids poked and poked at the fire till we made them put their sticks down. I just love campfires. Campfires at the beach with youth group kids, fires at Grandmas, campfires in the woods on a hike, campfires at college roasting hot dogs at the trestle. 





This has nothing to do with Cody and the kids, but I found the water droplets on the grass to be very pretty this sunshiny morning after the rain. 





A hike at McAllister Park. We saw an armadillo. And lots of cactus. Harrison really took to Emmey. He called her Crazy Girl (Mom, can that crazy girl sit next to me? Goodbye, crazy girl. Do that roller coaster thing, crazy girl.)




The girls made Scottish cupcakes. They were De-elicious. 




We'll miss them. I'm just glad to have these kinds of friendships that last through the years. I'm glad Cody and Phillip have kept up their friendship so our kids can also keep theirs. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Harrison ~ The Most Beloved

The youngest child. Pretty much beloved by all (except when he ruins a Lego creation and whatnot).

 His was a hospital birth because of small complications. I expected him to be large with a quick labor since each baby had gotten a pound bigger than the last and each labor had happened quicker than the last. But he was Jonathan's size (7 pounds something ounces) and labor was about as long as Elizabeth's. 







The kids would do baby entertainment time with him where they played with his toys and bugged him but truly did keep him entertained. 





Some ladies had the neatest baby shower for him where they bought white bibs and onesies and then decorated them with puff paints. They hung them up to dry on string with clothespins. It made a picturesque scene for us to snack and talk by. 

















He did not like the beach for a good while.














He's a sweetie, tenderhearted. Thinks he's in charge at times and has a hard time surrendering his will to authority. Plays very well on his own, especially while we do school. He plays with his toys in an imaginative way that the other kids didn't. He seems to grasp academics easily and is picking up numbers and letters on his own. He doesn't like being around strange crowds if he's expected to interact with them. A great observer though. He needs lots of time at home after being away from home ~ a definite homebody. He never has liked to try new foods and there aren't a ton of things he will eat. But he's growing. As a baby, music and the outdoors calmed him. 





Sunday, March 23, 2014

Family Time and Momo's Funeral

Monday morning we were studying a series of paintings called Voyage of Life by Thomas Cole. The last one is Old Age. The painting is dark to show that old age cannot see the physical world around them as well as before. The light shining from heaven and the man's recognition of an angel shows that he is beginning to see spiritual things better. Phoebe piped up after this brief explanation and said, "Like Momo!" Yes, I certainly hoped like Momo. She couldn't communicate anymore, but hopefully she was glimpsing spiritual things from the confines of her failing body. Around 5:00 that afternoon my sister called to tell me that she had passed away.

"Old Age" by Thomas Cole

We quickly made plans to travel to Louisiana. My brother and his wife also drove down from Ohio and my sister flew in from Washington with one of her sons, Jordan.


This was a short break after Harrison got carsick. The flowers aren't shown here, but they were beautiful! Blue bonnets, wild onion (a white flower), something salmon colored, and another one red. Also pink primrose buttercups which my Mom called Mayflowers. 



I tried to get the sunrise reflecting off the crawfish pond here, but that apparently failed. It's crawfish season, but the cold has caused a bad crop.


The visitation was from 10am-10pm. People were in and out all day long. I got to have several nice long visits with cousins and aunts and uncles. The kids did get a little bored, but they were able to eat (people brought food all day long too ~ there was a little reception room in the funeral home for this), and play outside with some younger second cousins. Jonathan is showing a card trick to a stranger here. 


Phoebe was quite reflective. She kept going into the viewing room to stand by the casket. Or she would sit there in the room and think. She took Nana in there at one point and asked her questions. 




At the funeral the next day, my brother Mike read the eulogy and spoke a bit. Brother Bruce Runner also spoke. My good friend Teressa sang and Torrey played the guitar. There was the neatest thing at the end ~ when everyone began walking up to the casket to take a last look, a man in the audience began playing "Amazing Grace" on his harmonica. It was quite moving. 

This may be a small town thing, but the cops stopped traffic so that the procession could go through stop signs and stop lights all the way to the graveyard. I'm not sure if that would be a thought-provoking time for the stopped cars ~ a forced moment to stop and ponder life and maybe relax a little ~ or if it's just annoying. I found it kind of neat; an honor for the deceased.



My cousin Terrell wanted a picture with us. It's too bad Cory couldn't be here (he had pre-planned international travel stuff going on); but I sure had fun with Mike and Tonya. And, yes, the bare feet. I was certainly not the only family member with bare feet at the meal after the funeral. I come by it honest. My mom told a story of a French family who came to her school when she was a girl and they were too poor to wear shoes. And they spoke only French. At that point my Grandpa piped up and said he could afford shoes, but he just never left them on. As soon as he got to school he took them off.



The next day we visited Abshire and Hanks cemeteries to have a family history lesson. (There's Mike's wife, Nettie, in the green shirt. Hi, Nettie!)


This is Momo's Mom's grave. I've heard lots of good stories from my mom about her grandma. 


I found it interesting how some of the graves were marked. I suppose it shows lack of finances. Some had names spray painted on. Some were just pipe, PVC, or rebar crosses. One of them had the dates next to "Bon" and "Die". 




We drove to a restaurant in Mermentau called C'est Bon. Tonya and I wanted some good Cajun food and this place had it. She got gumbo and I ordered Crawfish Étouffée. Let's see, I also had gumbo with rice and potato salad at the funeral dinner, boudin' balls, smothered okra, and some delicious pork loin stuffed with cream cheese and jalapeños and wrapped in bacon. It don't get better than that!



Nana took her grandkids to the park where they played on the toys and the island and held baby alligators. A definite tradition. 




That night we went to the Moutons and had the delicious barbecued pork and smothered okra. It was like old times with my kids playing with my childhood friends' kids out in the country in the dark while the adults sat around the table laughing and talking. We used to stay till midnight at some people's homes. I made sure we left by 10ish. I could do more of that for sure though. I miss it.

Let's see ~ new redneck experiences for my kids include grave jumping (labeled that by Phoebe) and Yo Mama jokes. Jonathan came up to me and said, "Mom! Zachary just taught me a new kind of joke called 'Yo Mama' jokes. Yo Mama so fat, when she step on a scale, it says 'to be continued'." Much laughter follows. Wow. I didn't even realize he'd never heard Yo Mama jokes. What you miss out on when you homeschool, huh? 

The next day we had breakfast at the Hebert's (neighbors and fellow homeschoolers and 4-Hers; and their son married a girl we went to church with). What a neat family they are. I do appreciate them always making the effort to get together with us when we go visit. 

Then we went to visit Grandpa Black. I guess his brother was called Blanc (white),  his other brother was T Black, and he was Gran Black (Gran meaning 'tall' since he was taller; don't know if I spelled that right). The kids and I only stayed 15 minutes and then hit the rode for San Anton. Mike and Tonya and my mom stayed several hours. I learned that Grandpa used to work on a cattle ranch in Texas for several years. Cowboy boots and horses and 6,000 head of cattle. Yep. I like my family.

This is kind of long, but it was a very full, meaningful trip. I'm very glad to have spent time with my siblings and mom.