Monday, November 30, 2009

New Friends




On Monday evening, November 9, Tim and I were at the farm making last-minute preparations for guests. I heard the crunch of tires on gravel and looked out the kitchen window. “They’re here,” I called out to Tim and hurried out the front door. A white truck towing a fifth-wheel made its way around the last curve in the driveway and pulled into the yard. Out stepped a lady I had not met in person before. Behind the wheel of the truck was her husband. Lisa and Tony Cianchetta had arrived in Arkansas.


It all started about a year ago. I left a comment on Lisa’s blog, which I had seen on One Stop for Apostolic Bloggers. She had written a funny post about what to buy your husband for Christmas. I read the post aloud to Tim, and we got such a laugh out of it. I left a comment telling her so. She commented back, and the rest, as they say, is history. John was going to Sacramento with a friend, and Lisa and Tony were putting them up in their guest house. Lisa and I exchanged emails, and she sent me pictures of the guys in California. Tony and Kyle, their son, took John snow skiing at Lake Tahoe, and he had a blast. He told us what nice folks the Cianchettas were and how much we have in common. Lisa and I continued to stay in touch. She commented that it was obvious from our blogs that both our husbands love to hunt and suggested that they get it touch and plan a hunt. So, we did just that. Tony invited Tim out west to hunt, but Tim just didn’t feel he could get away because we were gone so much this summer. He invited Tony to come to Arkansas to hunt whitetail deer. And so it came to pass.


We hit it off from the first night. We laughed as they told us about their final approach to the farm. As they started down the country lane that leads to the farm gate, they saw some folks out in an untidy yard. An obese lady was burning trash in a barrel. Tony turned to Lisa and said, “Do we know anything about these people we are going to visit?” He was a little worried. Arkansas folks do have a reputation, and it’s not all good. Thank goodness, our yard was tidy, and we weren’t burning trash in a barrel. They might have turned around and left. Apparently, they don’t burn trash in Cali. :)


Each day, the guys hunted and Lisa and I ventured out to Conway, to NLR, and to Little Rock to shop and eat and see the sights. On Tuesday night we all went to church. And on Friday night, Lisa and I went to a ladies meeting at church. The menu included catfish and grits 'n greens. While not too fond of catfish, I think Lisa was duly impressed with grits 'n greens. Oh, lands sake, they were mighty good! I asked for an extra serving of them, and they brought me a big ol' bowl and I just about made myself sick.


Oh, and we cooked. Lisa said we cooked more in eight days than she had cooked in the last five years. We southern girls like to show our hospitality by cooking. I must say Lisa was a huge help; it was nice to have another gal in the kitchen.


The first night we had a shrimp boil.


Lisa and I eating barbeque at Burges in the Heights. Lisa had her first fried pie here. She and Tony had never heard of fried pies. Oh, the deprivation! We bought a dozen more and took them home to share with the guys. Also, some Peach Jezebel Sauce. You haven't lived if you haven't had Peach Jezebel Sauce. Lisa bought a jar to take back to Cali with her.
The cook in the kitchen window of Burges obliged Lisa by posing for her.
The fried pies were a hit when we got home.

Lisa loved Nick. The feeling was mutual.

Tony got a couple of nice bucks.

The guys hauled their kills to the house in the frontend loader of the tractor.

Tony taught Tim how to butcher a deer.

The guys went pheasant hunting at Wings and Rings one day and took David R. with them.

On the last night, we cooked up the pheasant for a dinner with the Nesterenkos. Lisa and Tony went to church with them in California many years ago and had no idea they were here. They had not seen each other in about 25 years. Lisa and Sis. Nesterenko reconnected when they discovered each other at the ladies meeting.

(I had a picture of dinner with the Nesterenkos right here. Blogger is behaving badly tonight. My picture has not only disappeared, but Blogger refuses to put it in this spot when I upload it again.)

We had a great visit. Now Tim and I are planning to go to California next October. The guys are going on a bear hunt. Lisa and I are going to the beach and to Monterey.

Lisa and Tony, you are the ultimate guests. We are so glad to have become friends with you. Thanks for all the goodies. Ya'll come back now, you hear?


Here's a funny video of Tony on his first climbing stand.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Berry Pickers



How many differences can you find in these two pictures? Ha! A better question might be, "How many similarities can you find?" It wouldn't take long to answer that one. Let's see; there are ladies in both pictures. They are picking something. That's about it.
The top picture is of my dear, dear friend, Darla, and me on the 4th of July. We were picking blackberries when the second picture suddenly popped into my head. I asked Darla, "Do you remember 'The Berry Pickers?' " My mother had that print hanging on her wall during the nineties. Yes, Darla remembered it well. "Well, Darla," I said, "I know one thing. They sure weren't picking blackberries."
We hooted with laughter. Drenched with sweat, scratched by thorns, coated with Deep Woods Off! to ward off the chiggers, we stepped carefully to alert any nearby snakes of our presence in the hope that they would flee. And after I saw one evil looking spider, I just tried to put spiders out of my mind.
No, the setting for the painting is most definitely not anywhere in the deep South in July. Perhaps these lovely ladies were picking blueberries on a cool summer day in Maine. Perhaps they were picking cranberries in some other mild clime. One thing is for certain, they wouldn't look quite so nice in the briers of a blackberry patch in a hot Arkansas summer.
But they surely couldn't have had any more fun than Darla and I had that day. Friends since we were teenagers, we only see each other about once a year. Darla lives in Wichita, and she and her family usually come to see us during the summer.
Tim helped us. And Blake, Darla's 12 year old boy. Blake is a doll; we love him. He gets his own post coming up soon.
Last year Darla was here for the 4th, and we picked blackberries. The picking was much easier then. It didn't take us long to get lots of berries from one patch. This year it was much more challenging. The deer had a head start on us; they had eaten a lot of the berries. We had to pick four separate patches and work much harder. In fact, Tim got the tractor and bush-hogged an opening in a thicket so we could get to enough to cook up a double recipe of blackberry-peach crisp. It was well worth the effort. We ate dessert first that night before we cooked up a shrimp boil for dinner.
We made some sweet summer memories. More pics coming soon.
And, oh yes. The blackberry-peach crisp? Recipe for that coming up, too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Sidewalks of New York


"East side, west side, all around the town . . . ." I couldn't help but think of this song as we made our way around the city. When my brother and I were growing up, my Mother entertained us with stories of her childhood, growing up in NLR in the 20's and 30's. One of the stories that made an impression on me was of how she and her sister, Ordell, took dance lessons when they were little girls. "East side, west side, all around the town," she would sing. "The tots sang ring-a-rosy, London Bridge is falling down. Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O'Rourke, tripped the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York." Then to illustrate how she and Ordell tap-danced to the song, she would execute a few steps right there on the hardwood floor of our living room. My brother and I were delighted! The thought of our mother ever tap-dancing sent us into fits of giggles.

Well, we certainly pounded the sidewalks of New York. Thank goodness for my Propet walking sandals! I was able to keep up with the best of them.

Eating, shopping, seeing the sights, and people-watching. That about sums up our time in the city. We didn't make a lot of pictures. Here's a few.
Times Square




Below is a picture of the exterior of the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. On this visit to the city, I wanted to see something we had not seen before. I learned about the Tenement Museum online, and we were not disappointed. In fact, we would probably go back again. This museum picks up where Ellis Island leaves off. If you loved the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn you would enjoy this museum. As we climbed the staircase in the tenement we toured, I could just imagine Francie's mother, Kitty Nolan, on her knees, scrubbing the stairs.
There were several tours available. The one we took followed a German immigrant family who lived in the building beginning in 1863 and an Italian family who lived there in the early 20th century. Our guide showed us photos of the original families and their descendants today, copies of original lease records, and all manner of drawings and other material that helped us to imagine life in those tenements where we were standing.
The apartments were tiny: 325 square feet that included a kitchen, a bedroom, and a room overlooking the street that was used for living during the day and sleeping at night.
Our guide, a twenty-something young lady told us that she lives in a tenement apartment that has been updated. There was an building next door to the museum that had an apartment for rent. The floor plan was identical to the building we toured. The rental for 325 square feet? $2200/month!
The museum also had a great gift shop with lots of books. I came away with a couple of good ones.
Go here if you want to learn more about the Tenement Museum and the immigrant experience. (Hmm. The link does not appear to be working. Not sure what's up. The url is : tenement.org.)

We really wanted to go back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; it has been years since we've been there. We enjoyed it so much before; I think we could stay for a week. But, we simply could not do everything we had planned.

My favorite meal was at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Times Square. The sea bass just about melted in my mouth. John, a Sean Hannity fan (okay, we're all Sean Hannity fans), hoped to see Sean at Ruth's Chris. Our waitress assured us that yes, he does indeed dine there.

My favorite shopping? Actually it was for Tim. We came upon a 50% off sale at Jos. A. Banks. And we stocked up. Poor Tim. Between working most of the time, taking little time to shop for himself and John invading his closet, his wardrobe gets pretty raggedy. He came away with some great shirts, pants, ties, and shoes. Although last Sunday, John flipped his tie at me, smiled, and said, "How do you like this tie?" He had already been in his dad's closet, carting away who knows what all!

By the afternoon of the third day, we were all ready to go. Even John, who on the first day declared that he would love to live in NYC, had had enough of the noise and rush in the city that never sleeps. So, we got in our car and headed out through the busy streets for Pequannock, NJ, where Tim's sister and her family live. Tim's dad and stepmom were already there, in anticipation of Scott's graduation. It would be good to see Tim's family again.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Arkies in the Big City (or I Love NYC, but I Can Only Stand It For About Three Days At a Time)

On June 13, Tim, John, and I boarded an early morning flight and headed out for Philly. Our itinerary: pick up a car at an auction in NJ about an hour from the airport, drive into NYC for three days; spend a couple of days with Tim's family in NJ and attend the high school graduation of our nephew, Scott; take John back to the airport in Philly on the 18th; road trip home with some planned stops and lots of serendipity.

When we got to the auction in Bordentown, NJ, it took awhile for the security guards on duty to locate the car and release it to us. No surprise there. We have done this deal before, and delays are to be expected. That's Tim and me, above, resting on the curb at the auction, our bags piled in the guard shack behind us.

Finally, after a long delay, we made the hour and a half drive into NYC. While we have been there many times over the years, this was the first time we have ever driven in the city. By "we," I mean Tim. John and I assisted him by alternately hollering, "Look out! Don't you see that taxi?!" , "He's going to run into us!" and "Turn right! No, turn left! Hurry up and get in that lane!"


Let's just say that Tim's patience was taxed by our "help." Poor guy. I don't know how he did it. But, he finally got us to our hotel without a crash. It's a miracle :)



Just getting pulled over and into the area to check into our hotel was an ordeal. It was a relief to turn our car over to the doorman and know that we'd be relying on public transportation for the duration of our stay.
Standing on the sidewalk in front of the hotel, we took in the hurrying throngs, the incessant honking, the sirens, the hum, the vibrant energy. It was great to be back in the city.
John remarked, " I would love to live here!"
That's a pretty standard line for him when he first arrives in a major city; I've heard it over and over. I just smiled to myself. I know that while he might enjoy visiting, he would HATE living in this place.
To be continued . . .

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Marker

Better late than never, I suppose. I wrote this not long before Tim and I left on vacation two weeks ago. When I finished it, I thought, "I'll post this on Father's Day, in memory of Daddy." Technology contrived against me. My laptop and my scanner have an "on again, off again" relationship. The day before we left I wanted to scan in the picture of Daddy and me that is now at the bottom of this post. It turned out that the computer and scanner were not on speaking terms; the relationship was definitely "off." Normally, Tim, my techy husband, can convince them to reconcile, at least for awhile, but this time his attempts were to no avail.
We are now back home, after being gone for two weeks. I have no idea if the laptop and scanner will communicate, but my sweet nephew, Brock, took the picture home, scanned it, and emailed it to me. So here is my Father's Day post, albeit almost a week late:
The third Sunday in May is Decoration Day at the rural cemetary where my parents are buried. My paternal grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents and a huge extended family are interred there as well.

Every year I go and clean the headstone of my parents and decorate their grave. I enjoy it. I think happy thoughts about my parents, visit with relatives I haven't seen for the last year, and wander about among the old headstones, visiting the graves of my departed family, looking for dates and clues to help me learn more about these people from whom I came.

This year Tim went with me to help me do a little work on the day before I was planning to actually take the flowers. As he cleaned out the old styrofoam from the vases on the headstone and cut fresh pieces for the new flowers, we chatted, sharing memories about my parents.

Then I remembered to look for it. The marker. In years gone by, I could not find it. I suppose it had been covered with dirt, and grass had grown over it. In the last few years, I've been able to find it but only after earnestly combing through the thick grass and searching for it.

This year was different. We have had an abundance of rain. The local news reported that our area has had the wettest May on record since 1882. In fact, the cemetary was the worse for it. Old headstones, their footing weakened by the wet earth, had toppled over. Many were broken. It was a sad sight.

However, one good thing came of this. Perhaps, because the dirt around it had washed away, the marker was plainly visible.

"There it is, Honey!" I exclaimed to Tim. He knows well the story of the marker, but he always takes the time to listen.

I knelt down, rubbed my fingers across the rough concrete, and traced the shape of the "B" etched into its rough surface.

Suddenly, I am a little girl again, perhaps three or four years old. Kneeling on the cool, painted concrete floor of the enclosed back porch that serves as our laundry room. I am "helping" my daddy. He has mixed the concrete and poured it into a large tomato juice can. Now he is tracing the "B" into the top. We set it in a secure spot, where it can harden. Later, he will set the marker into the ground at the cemetary to mark the plots he and my mother have selected.

As I touch the marker, the sorrow overwhelms me. The sobs come like a flood without warning. Tim, whose mother died 16 years ago, knows just what to do. I feel his hand on my shoulder. Then he holds me until the sobs give way to gentle weeping, and the tears subside. Soon, I am smiling again, wiping away my tears, and we go on about our work.

I do not often weep over Daddy. He has been gone for almost 28 years now. But there are moments, unexpectedly, that bring his memory to me so vividly that the hurt is as fresh as the day he died.

Daddy left his mark on my life; he lives on in my heart. I was "Daddy's little girl." He made me feel special. He made me believe I could do anything or be anything. That is a legacy no one can ever take from me.
Next year, I'll be looking for the marker.

Daddy and me, age 3 1/2, August, 1960

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Spring Highlights: 5K SundaySchool

Working with the precious children in 5K Sunday school during the spring quarter was so much fun. Nina H. was my co-teacher, and Tim, who loves kids, assisted us. Nina was an absolute joy to work with. I was acquainted with her before this but did not know her well. Candy H. told me, "You are going to love Nina. Ya'll are kindred spirits." And so we are.

Here is the balloon release we did on the last Sunday. We had talked about the Holy Ghost throughout the quarter and even had a wonderful move of the Spirit one Sunday, where the children were praying earnestly and one little girl came so close to receiving the Holy Ghost. She did receive it a few days later in church and was baptized in the lovely name of Jesus.

Before the balloon release we talked to the children about how the balloons must have helium in them to go up and compared that to how we must have the Holy Ghost to go to Heaven.



The picture below shows "Paul,", aka Tim, in chains, aboard the ship, along with the other "prisoners," "soldiers," and "sailors."

Tim told the story. During the storm part of the story, Nina and I flashed the lights for lightning, turned on a sound machine with a rain sound and a high powered fan for the wind. The passengers rocked along with the ship in the stormy seas and were finally forced to throw their "suitcases" overboard.

The ship crashed against the rocks, and Nina and I ripped apart the ship while the passengers "swam" and "floated" to safety.

This was one of my favorite lessons. It was so realistic that a couple of the children looked scared. At the end, one little boy said, "Let's do that again!"


Here's Nina with dolls representing the devil and Jesus. The Bratz doll with a goatee made a great devil.

"Jesus" calls some of the "disciples."

"Peter" and "Andrew" with their net.

On Easter Sunday, we made Resurrection Cookies. I had made some at home the night before that I brought to eat after we made the batter in class and put them in the "oven."

Here's one of our little dolls with her crown the Sunday we talked about heaven.

Our church rotates teachers every quarter, so we won't be teaching this summer. But I will always remember this special group of five and six year olds. We made some happy memories.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Best Is Yet to Come!


This blog has been on the back burner for awhile now. Really, it seems like I've taken it off the burner and set it aside. We've had a lot of things "cooking." Work-related things, church-related things, and social-related things. So many, many things to blog about, but we've been so busy living that I haven't taken the time to write about it.

This morning Tim said to me that he wanted me to just take a day for myself. "Don't do anything work-related," he told me. "Don't do anything you don't want to do. Just take care of yourself." That was music to my ears, because to tell the truth, I'm just worn out. "You might want to do a blog post," he said. He knows how much I enjoyed blogging. It was a welcome suggestion.

Where to begin? I haven't posted for about 2 1/2 months, I think.

Hmmm. I think I'll just begin with my honey. He had a birthday May 13. The big 5-0.

Now if you know Tim very well at all, you know he does not want to be the center of attention. He does not do things to call attention to himself. He most certainly would not ever want me to throw him a birthday party. It's just not his style. I'm a different story. I love any excuse for a big time, and I had been hatching plans for Tim's 50th for about 2 years.

To give you a little background, Tim is 2 years, 3 months, and 12 days younger than me, and in his good-natured, teasing way, he has never let me forget it. His teasing intensifies when I reach another decade mark. Here's a sample remark. "I'm just a young man, barely in my forties, and I'm married to a fifty-something woman."

To which I retort, "Yeah, in the tail end of your forties. You better watch it, mister, or I'm gonna get you good when you hit the fifty mark." He just grins. He's not too worried about it at that point. He's got some time. This has been going on for over 20 years now, and he knows the drill.

But when his big decade mark approaches, he starts to get worried. And he has very good reason to. When he turned thirty, I gave him a surprise "Over the Hill" party. Oh, was he ever surprised! We did it up right!

When he turned forty, I gave him a "Happy Birthday to the Old Guy" party. Another surprise. Lots of old geezer stuff. And lots of fun.

When I turned fifty, two years ago, Tim threw a surprise party for me. The theme? "The Best is Yet to Come." That is so typical of Tim. He is the sweetest guy on earth. It made me feel a little guilty about the party themes I chose for him but not too guilty :)

A couple of months before his birthday, Tim began bringing it up. "Honey, you know I don't want you to do anything special for my birthday." I just smiled sweetly. That smile did not bring him any comfort. None at all. He knew I had something up my sleeve. "You're not planning anything are you, Susan?" To which I replied, "You know I am."

He finally asked, "What would it take to get you NOT to do something for my birthday?"

"A nice trip?" I countered. I love to travel.

"You've got it," he said.

I'm a terrible person. I admit it.

Seriously, Tim loves to travel too. But he feels he should be working, not galavanting about. He works too hard and too long, and I threaten to kidnap him and take him far, far away where he has no cell phone signal. Where he can relax and recharge his batteries. And while I have never actually kidnapped him, I do plan our travels, to which he reluctantly agrees. Then, he has the biggest time of anyone on the trip, and comes home the better for it.

Last summer we took a couple of trips, where he had no cell phone reception (Holmes County, Ohio, home of the USA's largest Amish community) or where the reception was limited or just too expensive (Prince Edward Island, Canada).

It has been a long time since we got away for more than a couple of days, so my taking him up on a trip in trade for no big birthday bash was not a totally selfish move. He needs a break.

Tim and I spent a couple of quiet days at the farm for his birthday. He said it was the best birthday he has ever had.
We have an upcoming trip planned :)

I did not give him the party I was planning. The theme? "Welcome to the AARP!" I was planning to give it at the Patrick Henry Hays Senior Citizen's Center here in our lovely city. I had planned to present him with his AARP card. But, as he pointed out, he doesn't need his own card. He's had AARP benefits for over two years now, since he's married to "a much older woman."

Happy birthday, darling! I love you so! The best is yet to come!




Monday, March 23, 2009

This Is a Test

This is a test; this is only a test.


This is a test of the emergency blogger system. Ok, I'm just kidding about the emergency part :)


Here's the reason for the test:

This blog is linked to apostolicbloggers.blogspot.com. Typically it takes several hours for a new blog post on "This is Z Life" to show up on apostolicbloggers. Sometimes more, sometimes less.


On Saturday, March 14, the blog post "Announcing Gabe!!" showed up in about a half hour. That was a record!


Since then I have done two blog posts, both on Friday, March 20. However, as of today, March 23, neither of them have shown up on apostolicbloggers.

I contacted apostolicbloggers several months ago when a post took about 30 hours to show up. At that time, they suggested I clear my cache, delete cookies, and refresh my browser. Then the problem corrected before I had a chance to do any of those things. This time around I have done all those things and still nothing.

It does not seem to be a Blogger issue as other blogs hosted by Blogger are updating. Then again, maybe it is. I don't know.

Has anyone else out there had a similar challenge? If so, do you have any suggestions for resolving this?

Thanks :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ga-ga over Gabe


If the posts on "This is Z Life" all seem to be about Gabe lately, it's because we are a little ga-ga. Ga-ga over Gabe. He is an absolutely adorable cuddle-baby!

Here's grandmother, Kim, Lauren's mom, just after she came out of the delivery room. She was glowing!


Grandpa Darwin, Lauren's dad, looks mighty proud of his boy.
So do grandparents David and Mary, Tim's A's parents, who are here from West Virginia.

My Tim is just as smitten as I am :)

Aunt Charity, Tim A's sister is enjoying lovin' on her nephew.

So is great-grandmother Zelmadene, Tim A's grandmother, Mary's mother.
Great-grandparents, Gan-gan and Poppa T., Lauren's maternal grandparents, beam with pride at Gabe's first church service. Gan-gan, Carolyn, cried when she first heard Gabe's name. His middle name, Ison, was her maiden name. Her father was a pioneer Pentecostal preacher. Gabe has a great spirtual heritage on both sides of his family. He is sixth generation Pentecostal.

Poppa T went over during the offering and gave Gabe his first offering to place in the container.

Great-aunt Karen

Great-aunt Kim

Now this one's pretty special - can you guess why? :)

On Tuesday, Lauren took Gabe to the bank where she worked. John just happened to come in. She said she made him hold Gabe and took this picture. I don't remember John ever holding a baby before. He called me and told me about it. He sounded ga-ga over Gabe too.

He said all the ladies who work at the bank were "just going crazy" over Gabe.

Ga-ga over Gabe. I guess it's catchin' :)




Gabes Goes to Church


Look who showed up at the first night of Mid-America Youth Conference - Gabe!
His momma had him all dolled up in a darling little Ralph Lauren outfit. They were all color coordinated. Aren't they a beautiful family?
I was so happy to see Gabe. Although I held him Saturday and again Tuesday, I was having serious Gabe-withdrawal symptoms.
I sure hope he's there again tonight :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Announcing: Gabe!!

He's here! Gabriel Ison Adams arrived yesterday, Friday, March 13th, at 2:43 p.m. He weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces and was 20 inches long.

I got to hold him today. I am smitten! He made sweet, little, baby noises. Nothing like it in this world :)

Welcome to the world, Gabe! Tim and I are looking forward to watching you grow up.

Congratulations, Tim and Lauren, on your big, beautiful, baby boy!!
(Sorry no pic of Mommy. Daddy, please send me one.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Making It Up to February, Part I


Dear February, please accept my apologies. I would feel the same way if I were you. I did not intend to give you such scant attention. I just got busy . . . I got sick . . . we had a lot going on at the office . . . . Okay, I know those sound like excuses to you. But, I had good intentions. I even tried to blog about the birthday party for John, but Blogger just would not cooperate that day. Not that I'm blaming Blogger. I take full responsibility for neglecting you.

So, I'm making it up to you, February. Here's the first post. More on the way! We had some great days:

We had an early surprise birthday party for John on February 7. He turned 25 on the 14th. Yes, he's a Valentine, and while that's pretty special, we learned long ago we have to celebrate early or late because the rest of the world is "Valentining" on his birthday.

Tim and I hosted the party at John's house, and he was totally surprised. He came in from a long day's work and opened his front door. I wish I would have captured the look on his face when everyone yelled, "Surprise!"

Silly me. I assumed the Summit (college and career group) would be free on a Saturday night since most of their activities are on Friday night. Wouldn't you know they had a long-planned trip to Hot Springs to sing that night. I should have checked first. But, we did have a good turnout of young married couples and one engaged couple. Thanks to all of you came and made the evening so much fun!



We ate Mary B's famous tamales with all the trimmings. (I need to do a post on those tamales and their history - that's a great story.) "Mardot," my dear friend and the Queen of Cookies, sent over a plate of her famous chocolate chip cookies. (Land's sakes alive! I'm craving one now! Mardot, are you reading this?) (Can anyone guess who "Mardot" is and how she got her name?)

The girls and I sat around and talked. Mainly about babies. Angie and Jason brought 11 month old Jaxon. He is a charmer, and we all loved on him. Lauren's and Tim's baby is due any day now. And just last weekend, Kara and John W. announced that they, too, are expecting a little one! Hmmm, no wonder we talked about babies!

The guys played ping-pong. And by that I mean they jumped and dove and whooped and hollered and talked smack and made so much noise that we had to close the door to the game room in order to think straight! Oh, my goodness gracious, those guys had a big ole time!

I have tried and tried, to no avail, to upload videos of the ping-pong game. So, I guess a still-shot will have to do. Sorry, "Reg," I don't have you in a still-shot. Sorry, Jimbo, you either. Hey, I didn't even get a pic of you. Being the hostess and the official photographer at the same time is challenging for a gal like me.

Yes, February 7th was a fun day!

More comin' up!