Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beaufort and Beyond

I love that when Pops and I go out of town, we both like to do the same things, eat and explore. If where we are visiting has a trolly tour, that is always our first stop. We like to take a tour around what the city says is their best spots, and then go back later and see the ones that we are interested in.

One day, we decided to go to Beaufort, SC and see what was going on there. We loved it! We ate lunch at a great place called Plums. Pops had a grilled pimento cheese sandwich. I think he thought he'd died and gone to heaven. He let me taste a little bit, and it was good.

We then took a tour. This was a horse drawn carriage tour. I didn't realize it, but a lot of homes in Beaufort have been around for a long time. Lots of movies have been filmed here. To name a few, Prince of Tides and Bubba Gump. After seeing houses that had a connection to Pat Conroy, Pops immediately came home and started reading some of his books.

This was one of our favorite houses.

From Beaufort, we took off to a couple of islands. One of the islands had a state park that was beautiful. It had huge trees, with lush palms and was on the beach. The day we went, it was freezing cold, but we had to check it out.

There was a lighthouse that you could climb. Of course, I did not. Too lazy! Pops climbed to the top and I got his picture.

On our way back to Hilton Head, we stopped in Beaufort again. We saw a shop that caught our attention. Because of the name, we had to go check it out. It was adorable! The girls always want me to bring them something back from a trip. This store had the Build-A-Bear concept, except you first filled the inside of the animal with candy. They held a lot of candy! They give you a cute decorative box (with a hole that the puppy's head is peaking out) that has filling in the bottom along with a star to wish on and an angel. When you finish the candy, you fill it all up and it is a stuffed animal. They loved them.!

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hey Ya'll - We Went to Savannah and Hilton Head

Okay, I know the title is cheesy, but I love Paula Deen!

We went to Savannah and Hilton Head last week. I had planned what we were going to do for a while, and the first thing I wanted to do was to eat at Lady and Son's, Paula's restaurant. I anxiously awaited seeing a long line around the building. To my HUGE disappointment, we pulled up to the restaurant and there was a sign that said, "Closed for Renovations". Needless to say, I was so disappointed.

Since I am a Paula groupie, I knew that her brother had a restaurant close by, so we decided to go to Bubba's. While we were at Bubba's, they told us that Lady and Son's had been closed for 2 weeks, but would be opening the next day.

We went to Bubba's at about 5:00 p.m. on a Wednesday. It was pretty empty. We had great food.

Pops had the Shrimp and Grits. He loves this dish and orders it whenever it is on a menu. By the time we left the Georgia/South Carolina area, I think he decided he was so sick of it, that he would not be having it again for a long time.

I ordered the fried catfish. To my delight, it was whole catfish, my favorite! My favorite thing was the red rice. I tried it for the first time a few years ago in Charleston, and order it whenever it is on a menu. I bought Bubba's cookbook. I asked the girl if the red rice recipe was in there, and she told me, no, but it is in Paula's book on page 89. Sure enough, when I got home, I checked my old cookbook out and it was there.

We were too full for dessert, but we took some Strawberry Shortcake with us to the hotel. It was made with Grandma Paul's Sour Cream Pound cake. Delicious!

Our hotel was in Hilton Head, but we headed to Lady and Son's the next night. Pops was not too crazy about it, I thought it was great! They had a buffet and I decided to try it since I would get to taste more food. Friend Chicken, Brunswick Stew, Baked Beans, Macaroni and Cheese, Ribs, Mashed Potatoes, and lots of different vegetables. I would definitely go back again, but I'm not sure I would wait hours like some people do in the summer.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Werewolf or Deer?

On Wednesdays, Karsyn doesn't have school, so we have a "Lolly Day". We usually try to do something fun. Today, we called Chase, my nephew, to see if he wanted to go to McDonald's with us and eat lunch and play. They have a lot of fun together and are in the same class at school.

We played for a while and then took Chase home. We stayed and played for a little bit. Chase and Karsyn were outside and he was trying to teach her to shoot his bow. Yes, it is a real bow and he is really good at it. They played on the trampoline and out in the yard.

I looked out to check on them, and saw what I thought was a big dog about 15 feet from them. It had stopped walking and was looking around. I yelled at Whitney and at the same time, we realized it wasn't a dog, but a coyote. About the same time, a flock of ducks flew by and the coyote ran after them. I quickly ran outside and got Karsyn and Chase in the house, while Whitney went to get one of the guys with a gun. Scared the crud out of me!!!

It was hilarious to listen to them talk about it. Chase said he thought it was a deer. Karsyn thought it was a werewolf. Later she asked me if I thought it was a deer dressed up like a wolf. Now she is telling everyone that it "tried to eat them because it was very hungry".

I told her that when they got older, they would say, "remember when . . ." She said, "yea, we will say 'when I was 4 3/4 and Chase was 5 a coyote tried to get us."

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Questions Continued

Did you suffer illness or injury?

I am very thankful to say that I am very healthy. Very rarely (knock on wood) do I ever get sick. I can't remember the last time I was sick. That is a good thing because I HATE to go to the doctor. Don't like to wait for a long time in waiting rooms where other people are sick and just don't like to go. I have to be close to dying before I will go. I also won't go inside a pharmacy to pick up my meds. There are a bunch of sick, coughing, hacking people in there and I think it is even more germy than the doctor's office.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? What was your biggest failure?

I am combining these two together, because my answer to these is the same. In August of 2009, I became a CASA. To find out more about CASA, read this link. My first case will probably always stand out for me. I was assigned two little girls. My supervisor gave me this case because unlike most cases, she thought the mother could use some mentoring that would help her develop her parenting skills that she was lacking, and reunite her family together.

I worked very hard developing a relationship with the mother. We talked on the phone a lot and went to lunch several times. She did not have any family, as she aged out of the foster care system herself. I tried everything I knew to help her help herself to get her children back home. After some rough times, her children were returned to her in May 2010. Unfortunately, she violated a court order and they were removed again in August.

The fall was bombarded by court hearings and two scheduled jury trials. I was very torn about the situation because I was going to be the main witness.

I know that the mom made the bad decisions to have her children removed, but I felt like such a failure because I had not taught her the skills she needed to parent. It was ultimately up to her, but the thought kept running through my mind, what else could I have done. I hurt for her, but absolutely without a doubt feel like the best decision was made.

The biggest success in all of this is that the girls are going to be adopted by their foster parents. These people are wonderful! They will give these little girls a fantastic life and they will love them unconditionally. I am so excited for them and look forward to seeing them flourish in the future.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Questions Getting Deeper

I almost didn't answer this question, but I decided that since it was the next in line, I'm going to answer it. Not just the easy and fun ones.

What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

Up until around February, we had attended the same church for 10 years. We LOVED our church. We have never given more time, money or service to any other organization in our lives. We saw huge life change at that church and were so happy to be a part of such a great place. Over the past few years, we began to sense that our season there was coming to an end. We started the search for a new church in February.

We so badly wanted to get "plugged in" somewhere that we visited 4 different churches on Easter weekend. You know, everyone puts on their best service for Christmas and Easter. We have visited several churches and we have not found one that closely resembles the love that we had for our former church around 2005.

What do I want in 2011 that I lacked in 2010? A church that I love and that I am excited to go to. I want to be excited for the weekend to come so that I can go to church. There were times at our former church that we would go on Saturday night and then go back on Sunday because it was so good. It wasn't about the pastor, it was about the people and what God was doing in their lives. There was an energy and an excitement around being somewhere that you loved.

What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The first date would be April 24th. That was the day that Justin and Shannon got married. We were in Maui (paradise) and so excited to welcome our daughter-in-law into our family.

The second date would have to be December 23rd. That was the day that we found out that we are having our first grandson. We are so excited to meet him in May.

This was a long awaited surprise. In early September, Justin and Shannon came over and showed us a picture of their positive pregnancy test. We were SO excited!!! They did not want us to say anything to anyone until she went to the Dr. two weeks later. We planned a family dinner at our house that night to tell the siblings. Unfortunately, they were a week off and the Dr. could not hear the heartbeat. He scheduled for them to come back the next Tuesday.

That is the biggest secret I have ever had to keep. 3 Weeks!!! I didn't say a word. Their sonogram was scheduled for December 17th. Shannon's parents live in West Texas. Since we found out about the baby first, they told them about the sex first.

By the way Justin had been acting, I thought for sure it was a girl. I even bought a girl outfit and wrapped it up for them. On the night of December 23rd, they brought over a huge present for us to open. We were shocked when we discovered an Easton baseball glove. I don't think I have ever been so surprised about anything in my life. There is a video of us opening the glove, but I will not post it here because it is not pretty. Justin says I look like I am having a seizure.

Can you guess what his name is going to be?

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Monday, January 10, 2011

More Questions

Did anyone close to you die?

I am so thankful to able to answer this questions with a No. I have not experienced many losses of friends and family in my lifetime, and that scares me. I know there will be a time, and I am not looking forward to it. I read lots of blogs that were created because of loss of a loved one. Some have had numerous loses. I hope this makes me more aware of future losses in my life. Because of the sudden loss of a close pastor in 2009, I think a lot about, "what if this week were my last week, would I want to be doing this, or would this irritation really even matter?".

I am fortunate that my parents are still alive, but they are in their late 70's and early 80's. I know that they don't have a lot of time left on this earth. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I have this little thought in the back of my head, "is this one the last one for our complete family?" The greatest gift my parents have given to me is the certainty that I know where they are going when they leave this earth. They are Christians and I know they are going to Heaven, which is way better than this life. They have lived a full life and they are prepared, but it is not something we are ready for.

On to something lighter!

What cities did you visit?

January - Austin - for a meeting where Pops spoke
April - Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop - for a meeting where Pops spoke
April - Maui - for Justin and Shannon's wedding
May - Frisco - mini vacation
July - Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop - mini vacation with the Kirk's
July - Choctaw Resort and Casino - mini vacation
August - Montreal, Canada - meeting for Pops
October - Choctaw Resort and Casino - mini vacation
December - Dallas - mini vacation

Right now, the only trips we have planned for 2011 are Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head, SC, and San Antonio. I'm hoping we can slip in a trip to my favorite place, Las Vegas.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

One More

Although she was not born in 2010 - I can't leave out Kyndra and Bella. She was born in November 2009. She has a big sister. Here they are on Christmas day.

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Picture Post

This is the baby sister - Leasha and Londyn. Londyn is the first baby in her family.

One of two middle sisters - Whitney and Ellyot. Ellyot has two sisters and one brother.

And the oldest sister - Ashley and Tenley. Tenley has two big brothers.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

As Promised!

What did you do in 2010 that you had never done before?

I went snorkeling. I don't like to get dirty and the salty water in the ocean makes me feel dirty. When we were in Maui, Shannon talked me into doing it with her because she was going to be by herself, so being the good mother-in-law that I am (2nd day of being a mother-in-law), I sucked it up and went with her. It was fun. We saw lots of fish and sea turtles. The lovely picture below is us on the boat before the big adventure. Glad I did it and will do it again (hopefully). I would love to do it again in Maui someday.

Did you keep your New Year’s Resolution, and will you make more next year?

I have never made New Year's Resolutions. I actually think they are kind of stupid. My philosophy is if you need to change, change now and don't wait until January 1st. Top of my list is always that I need to lose weight. You think I should wait until next January 1st to start? Needless to say, none for next year either.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes! I am very close to my nieces and nephews. Within 3 months, 4 of them had new baby girls. Their names are Ellyot, Londyn, Reilee and Tenley. I have not met Reilee yet, and am hoping to one day soon, but the other three are ADORABLE. Our family has had so much fun with them. I will try to post pictures of the girls on my next post.

More to come . . .

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