Monday, April 17, 2017

Pictures of a Happy Easter

Chris, Kelsey and the kids arrived on Friday, around noon, to spend the Easter weekend with us. Our house changed, within seconds, from a quiet, low-key, kid-free zone into a place full of life and energy. We loved every minute of their stay, and the time went by too quickly.

This is Clara's last year in elementary school. Middle school, here she comes! She's at that in-between age, where she still enjoys all the fun of being a child, but also shows glimmers of evolving into a bright, compassionate young lady. She reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, whose size keeps changing when she eats the special cake or drinks the mystery cordial. At one moment she's a kid, and the next she's a grown-up.

What's great about Robert is that, although he's all-boy, at seven years old, he is still very affectionate and doesn't miss a chance to tell me, "I love you Grandma. I love you soooo much." He warms the cockles of my heart!

On Friday night we dyed Easter eggs. Not surprisingly, Clara was more into it than Robert, but in between his other, more rambunctious activities, he kept coming back to do another egg. He even got his daddy to join him in decorating a couple of eggs.

Saturday was kind of quiet, but Kelsey and I did take the kids to a park to run off some energy in the afternoon. 

Another Alice-in-Wonderland moment - Our 11-year-old Clara looks a little over-grown for some of the play equipment.

We were all entertained on Saturday evening by a guest band, "Cheese and Sprinkles," featuring Maggie Claire and DJ Fox, playing their paper plate/rubber band banjos, and singing original compositions. 

The final bow.
After the performance the kids ran free for a few minutes, before bath time.

On Sunday morning the kids woke up to find their Easter baskets filled with fun little gifts and candy-filled plastic eggs hidden all around the living room and kitchen. Kelsey and I were really surprised to see these hidden eggs, as we were holding back a cache of eggs for the kids to find outdoors, after church. Apparently Chris, all on his own, came prepared to help the Easter Bunny hide these indoor ones! 

All ready for church on Easter morning.
While I finished up the mid-day dinner preparation, on Sunday afternoon, the kids watched "It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown," and Chris and Dan hid the outdoor eggs. The kids had a great time searching both the front and back yards for all of them.

After dinner it was time to pack up all the bags and load them into the car, and then say our good-byes. As soon as their vehicle left the driveway, Dan and I looked at each other and sighed . . . back to our tranquil every-day life. Nothing left but putting the house back in order and looking for the next excuse for getting together. 

The first chore I took on was to clean up the kitchen and run the dishwasher. Later that evening, as I was putting away the clean dishes and silverware, I opened a drawer and saw one sweet reminder of a perfect weekend . . . one Easter egg, still waiting to be found.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Visit From Dave and Karen

Our long-time, very special friends, Dave and Karen from Alaska, showed up on Thursday of last week. They make an extended trip to the lower 48 every year, and usually include us on their itinerary. Last year was a shorter trip, and we didn't see them, so it had been way too long between visits!

We had such a good time together. On Friday we took them down to Salado, where Kay and Andy met us for lunch and took us on a tour of the wonderful art galleries, antique shops and other quaint, interesting village attractions.

Sunday was the first time Dave and Karen had been here since we started worshipping with the Salado church, and we were so happy to get to introduce them to our new church family.

On Monday we drove to Waco in separate cars, so that Dan and I could come home at the end of the day, and Dave and Karen could head on up to Steve and Sharon's (mutual friends) in Gilmer, TX, where they'll stay for a while.

Dave and Karen were excited to go to Waco to see Chip and JoAnna Gaines' Magnolia Market at the Silos. We hadn't gone there before, ourselves, so it was fun for all of us . . . well, to be honest, it was more fun for the girls than for the guys. We also walked a block or so down the street to a place called The Findery, with similar products at more attractive prices.

This was the line when we got to Magnolia Market, as they were just opening the doors. It moved quickly, and we didn't have to stand in line long.

After taking in the shops near the Silos, we drove on out to Homestead Heritage Farm. I've blogged about it a number of times (see here), but it's always fun to take friends there for their first visit. We ended our time there with a late lunch in their wonderful cafe. Most of the food they serve is homemade and the ingredients come from their own farms. 

There is a new Basket shop at Homestead Heritage, to go along with the Fiber Arts, the Forge, the Grist Mill, the Woodworking and Pottery shops. 

Our timing was perfect. Had we waited until today, we wouldn't have been able to do any of these fun field trips. We have been under severe weather watches/warnings/alerts: wind warnings, flash flood warnings and even a tornado warning overnight and continuing this morning. Between the sirens on our weather radio, the thunder and lightning, wind and rain, I didn't get much sleep last night, and we are pretty much house-bound today. So I'm glad Dave and Karen got to enjoy the nice weather we had, instead of this severe storm, and had decent weather to drive on up into East Texas yesterday.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The On, Off, and On-Again Trip to Oklahoma

Dan has had his trip to the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit, near Jennings, Oklahoma, planned for a long time.  It was another of his Corinthian Vintage Auto Racing (CVAR) events, at which he works on the tech crew. He had his hotel room reserved and his calendar clear . . . and then he got a jury summons in the mail that looked like it might keep him from going.

Upon appearing for his first day of jury duty, and being selected as a juror, he was given information indicating the trial would, in all likelihood, run long enough to conflict with his trip, so he canceled his hotel reservation and called the fellow he works with to let him know that he wouldn't be coming.

But, alas, the trial was a quick one! Once again Dan was free to go to the races. Luckily he was able to re-make the hotel reservations (even got them for a wee bit lower rate), and his trip was on again. He left Thursday morning and got home about 9:00 p.m. yesterday (Sunday).

The best part of the weekend, for Dan, was the pre-war race car event.  He was like a kid in a candy shop, getting to put his hands on and inspect the engines and bodies of these amazing vintage cars, two of them having actually raced in the Indianapolis 500, before WWII.

Knowing his aversion to taking pictures, I texted him and urged him to take some, and he did! He even took a couple of videos. (I'm proud of him.) Looking at these beauties made me wish I had been there to see them in person.

Looking at a car from this perspective means very little to me, but Dan was really excited about the "beauty" of this straight-eight engine.