Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Week Between Christmas and New Year's Day!

Well, what originally looked like a rather quiet week with not too much activity quickly became a very busy one, but with lots of fun and fellowship!

Monday we met my sister, Cindy, and John at a nearby restaurant for breakfast and then went to their house to talk and play Wizard, a card game Ken and I had not played before.  It really is Up the River with a "twist".  We had fun. After leaving there, we went to Masonic Homes to spend the afternoon visiting with my parents and of course, playing Pinochle.  Men won 2 of 3 games.  Ken went to CR and I spent the evening watching Hairspray and making jewelry.

Tuesday morning we packed some of Christmas decorations and then picked up our friend, Polly, to take her to Rachel's Creperie in Lancaster for breakfast. She graciously allows us to keep a few things stored in her basement and we are so grateful.  The crepes were absolutely delicious, a place  Ken and I will definitely go to again.  We stayed at her house and visited for awhile and then Ken and I went back to Lancaster so each of us could get a new pair of sneakers.  We wore them out during our western trip.  We spent most of the afternoon packing up the remaining Christmas decorations and then spent the evening having dinner at the home of our special friends, Dan and Jackie, and playing Ping Pong and Skip-Bo.  What a wonderful evening.

Wednesday morning we met our friends, Sam and Kathy, for breakfast at a local restaurant.  We were there from 8:30 to 11, so we must have had a lot of "catching up" to do.  It was so good to spend time with them!  From there, Ken and I went to Costco and then right to Lanie's to pick up Sam and Katelyn for a sleepover.  The girls played with the Barbie's and then we all enjoyed some game playing.  The girls wanted to sweep the walkways and porches here at the apartment building and then we took a walk around the block.  Then the 4 of us went to Roma Pizza in downtown Lititz for dinner - they love their pizza. More games, a fairy movie and then we all went to bed around 9.

After a great night's sleep, we were all up by 7 and Grandma made their favorite - pancakes.  Then the 4 of us drove to Masonic Homes to visit my parents.  Katelyn and Samantha enjoyed playing the marble game with Mom and Dad and the residents loved seeing the interaction with the little ones.  We stopped at the house for lunch and by 2:45 we had them back home with Lanie and Bob. That evening Ken and I attended a gathering of our Life Group from church and got home around 9:45.  We were tired again!

Friday morning I met my Curvette ladies for breakfast at 6:45 - I thought we were retired?????  After a nice time together I got home so Ken could leave for a 9:15 podiatrist appt.  He has a very sore ball of his foot and it was diagnosed as an inflammation that needs time to heal  I spent most of the morning packing my clothes, food, paper goods, crafts, etc. for our departure to Florida on Monday.  I also sorted through all my shells and seaglass.  Ken worked at his desk.  We spent the evening with special friends and fellow campers, Fred and Doloris.  They had invited us for dinner (good thing, as our refrigerator is rather "bare") and to play cards.  Again, it was a wonderful, fun evening.  The men were the winners of 2 of the 3 games -Wow!

Today Ken had breakfast with his friend, Gary, and then did some necessary errands.  I made food for tonight's New Year's Eve Party with our card club group who has been getting together on this night for over 30 years.  We always have such a good time.  Then I made some chicken barbeque, defrosted the refrigerator, 2 loads of wash, and packed some last minute items.  I dusted the apartment and Ken vacuumed.  Then we debated when we wanted to leave for Florida, because we had gotten so much accomplished today.  We decided to leave tomorrow instead of early Monday morning.  We won't be in a hurry, since tonight will be a late one, but knowing Ken, it will be early anyway!  It is now 5:30 and we are ready to leave for the party.  The car is jammed, just enough room for us to sit in our seats so we are set to "rock and roll"!  We will miss our family and friends but are so ready for warm and sunny Florida!  We will miss our friends and family, but so ready for the sunny, warm weather!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day!

Well, another tradition was started several years ago for Christmas Day!  Ken and I go to Dane and Jamie's house around 9:30 to see what gifts Bria and Cali got for Christmas.  Dane's parents are there too.  We stay about 1 1/2 hours and then go to Lanie and Bob's.

We arrived at Lanie's around noon to see what gifts Samantha and Katelyn had received.  They were so excited to show us their "treasures".  Sam's favorite was a huge stuffed unicorn which Katelyn wished she would have asked for too! She decided that unicorn would be on her birthday list in April!

Samantha loves Sparkles, her huge Unicorn!

Katelyn is all smiles holding her new furry friends!

Another one of Katelyn's Christmas gifts!
A fun craft project!

Wow, Katelyn is becoming quite the
little lady!

Lanie had made delicious white bean chicken chili for lunch.  Ken and I enjoyed playing with Samantha and Katelyn and then we played Skip-Bo with Lanie and Bob.  That was followed by a game of marbles with the little ladies.  Ken played a 2nd game with Katelyn while I went to Samantha's room to interact with her.

At 4:30 it was time for the Steelers vs. Ravens football game.  It was fun to watch the game with Lanie and Bob and it certainly was an exciting one with the right team winning!!!

Ken and I were back home by 8:30.  These last 2 days have been long ones but so, so special!  We have so much to be thankful for and our families are at the top of the list!

We hope you and your families had a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

One of Our Best Christmases Ever!

Our immediate family started a tradition several years ago of getting together to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 24th at Jamie and Dane's house.  They are such gracious and generous host and hostess.

Ken and I arrived at 10 and Lanie and her family were already there.  We enjoyed fellowshipping while the little ladies played in the basement.  Jamie served a delicious breakfast of western quiches, iced cinnamon monkey bread, fresh fruit that Lanie provided, and lots of varieties of drinks.  We quickly cleaned up and headed to the basement to exchange gifts.  Our granddaughters were so excited and happy with all of their gifts.  Bria and Cali love to read and do craft projects so that was the majority of their gifts!  They are so thrilled to get books.  Lanie's girls still appreciate toys, but also like craft kits.  It was lots of fun to buy for them.

Jamie put on her special hat to start the
gift exchange!
I think Katelyn and Samantha liked their gifts
from Aunt Jamie and Uncle Dane!

Cali is excited to do her new craft project!

Samantha enjoyed wearing her Christmas hat!

What do you mean that the gift exchange is done????

Lanie liked her new exercise outfit from Dane and
Jamie and really appreciated the Reese's PB
cup with Reese's pieces!

Kubb Champion Bob liked the special shirt
that Jamie and Dane bought him!
Surprise!  Electric teapots for the girls!

How do you get these toys out of the box???? 
I think Katelyn wanted Samantha's gift!!

Bria and Samantha liked the calendars that I made for each
of their families that highlighted photos we took throughout
the year!

The girls enjoyed the additional scrapbook pages I added to
their camping books highlighting our trips with them this
past year!  It made all that work so worth it!!!

Our girls and Bob and Dane were so generous to Ken and I.  We will have fun spending the Amazon gift cards they gave us and Ken will enjoy his tee shirt and I am so happy to have a pedometer again.  The little ones, with the help of their mommies, made us a picture using the girls finger prints to make a heart.  Each granddaughter used a certain color so we can identify their prints!  What a special gift!

Ken and I had a fun time playing cards with Lanie and Jamie even though they beat us - what is that about???  The men went outside and were in charge of deep frying the turkey while the ladies prepared the rest of the trimmings! 

Preparing the food was definitely a family project!

It warms my heart to see the love Lanie and Jamie have
for each other!

Fortunately it was in the 40's, not bad weather for deep
frying the turkey!

These girls were ready to eat!!!

The 4 little ladies were downstairs playing most of the day.  Bria did spend time upstairs painting one of her craft projects.

Cali and Bria spend so much time reading!

Bria was the one who was terrified of dogs.  Now she and
Lulu are great buddies!

Ken carved the "beautiful" turkey and I think Bob ate a whole leg while the carving was in process.  We had a delicious dinner and after a quick clean-up (we have gotten smarter and use disposable plates and silverware) it was time for another card game.

One of the family members needed a nap!  Do you think it
may have been too much turkey????

Jamie took advantage of the "Kodak moment"!

Then we used the Christmas "props" to do some family photos.  It was a very special family day that only ended around 8:45.  Ken and I are so blessed!

Dane, Cali, Bria, and Jamie

Bob, Samantha, Katelyn, and Lanie

Thanks, Samantha!

Time for the ladies to be silly!

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Week Before Christmas

Monday morning I started my day with a little bit of an intestinal "bug", nothing that really slowed me down, but I definitely didn't feel 100%.  I am thankful it never manifested, but it did "hang around" through Thursday.

This proved to be a very blessed day.  Ken had a routine check-up with his Dr. in the morning and then his annual visit with his cardiologist in the afternoon. Both of them were very pleased with his blood pressure and cholesterol "numbers" and with his weight and overall health - hallelujah!  I spent the morning wrapping Christmas gifts and having a nice long chat with Melissa.  In the afternoon I had time to make some jewelry.   Then I got a call from Cindy that they had taken Mom to the hospital with very high blood pressure.  Fortunately after lots of tests, they sent her back to Masonic Homes with a clean bill of health and attributed the problem to stress.  We are thankful.

Tuesday was a rather leisure day.  Ken had an eye appointment to get transition lenses added to his glasses  It surely seems like we have a lot of Dr. visits when we are in the area.  Do you think it could be age related?!??  I finished wrapping a few more presents and spent the evening making scrapbook pages for the girls camping books. 

Wednesday morning I still had some stomach cramps and body aches so I ate lightly but was able to continue doing things.  Ken had a finance meeting in the morning and I did some clean-up around the apartment.  In the afternoon we played Pinochle with my mom and dad.  The four of us always have a fun time. I did more scrapbook pages that evening.  I don't think I realized how much work it would be to document the camping trips with our granddaughters when I started this project.  Now I have 4 books to do for every trip and it takes quite a bit of time.  I like doing it, but it certainly is time consuming!

Thursday I went to Wal-Mart while Ken had breakfast with his friend, Gary. When we got back home, Ken worked at his desk while I cut-up ingredients needed for making my traditional potato filling for our Christmas dinner.  Ken went to a movie in the afternoon while I finished the camping pages and ordered them from Costco - hallelujah!!  Then I had fun making a sea glass picture.  Later that evening I realized I had forgotten that Bria and Cali camped a night with us in Tempe, AZ and I hadn't documented that camping experience. So, back to the "drawing board".  I spent the evening doing those 2 pages and even ordered them.  DONE!!!  Now we have to go to Costco tomorrow to pick them up - that should be a ZOO!!!!

Friday I left at 6:30 to meet my Curvette ladies for breakfast.  We exchanged gifts, mostly treats we had made.  We had a fun time and I am so blessed to have these special ladies in my life.  I made my cranberry jello salad and large bowl of potato stuffing when I got back.  Then we drove to Costco to get the scrapbook pages and surprisingly we must have gotten there at a good time because the traffic and lines at the checkout were minimal.  I was so excited to put the final pages in their scrapbooks when we got home.  A job well done if I do say so myself!  After dinner, we met Jamie's family and her in-laws at church for the "Christmas Eve" service!  Then Sue and Dan invited us all to their house for some snacks and fellowship.  It was a very nice evening.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

An Overview of Thursday thru Sunday!

As with everyone, these weeks right before Christmas can be so busy, but fun!

Thursday was a day of Ken doing errands, registering the CRV, and having a discussion with Verizon.    I spent from 9 to 1 making Christmas candy treats to use for gifts (of course, we had to try them several times to make sure they were suitable and eatable for gift giving)!  I also made some seaglass pictures for selling at craft shows.  Certainly hope they will be marketable items!  Time will tell!  Ken also spent some time getting information on hospitalization for Jamie because they need to find a new policy for 2017.

After dinner Ken had a nice chat with Ernie.  All of us will be ready to get to warmer weather in January!

Friday I met my Curvettes friends for breakfast - it was nice to have Deb back from Florida and be part of our time together.  I returned home after doing some grocery shopping at Wal-Mart.  I dusted and scoured the apartment and then cut-up veggies for the Hosler Christmas luncheon on Saturday!

Ken and I left at 12:30 for my cystoscopy appt. at the Lancaster Surgical Center.  I must admit that I was more uptight about this repeat procedure than normal. I guess I was concerned that the Dr. would find some new growths that would require surgery and I knew that would be a problem with our Jan. 2nd plan to leave for Florida.  What a relief and "new lease on life" when the Dr. said "Merry Christmas, I see nothing of concern in your bladder"!  I was so relieved and thankful.  

Fortunately, I have always felt fine after the procedure, so we left there at 1:30 and arrived at Twin Valley Elementary School at 2:15 for Katelyn's Kindergarten Christmas Program.  It was fun to watch!

After the little party in her Kindergarten classroom, Ken and I went to Lanie's and loaded the girls clothing, etc. for a sleepover at our house.  The 4 of us went right to the Choo Choo Barn, a Christmas traditional for our granddaughters, and enjoyed the wonderful miniature train display.  Many of the displays were new and improved this year. 

Outside the Choo Choo Barn.  It was very cold!

A new Amish Farm scene!

The zoo and the sky resort and sky slope in the background!

They added a stone quarry...

...and an Amish barn raising with the ladies preparing lunch
for the workers!

Lots of lighted houses, train,s cars, etc. when the main lights\
are turned off!

The girls enjoyed the large circus display (you only see a
very small part of it!)

You hear the fire siren and then flames and smoke coming from
the A-Frame.  The fire struck arrives on the scene from the
nearby fire station and the firemen get off the engine and start
climbing the ladder!  The fire is under control and the fire truck
returns to the fire house!

Samantha and Katelyn also got to talk to Santa to make sure he knew what they wanted for Christmas.  Katelyn was especially excited to talk to him, for she had forgotten to mention something she was hoping to receive when she had talked to a different Santa. 

Getting ready to share their Christmas list with Santa!

Well, he knows what they want! 
He treats them with a candy cane and a fresh baked cookie!

We stopped at Subway for a light dinner and then played games when we got to our apartment.  They were so good and so much fun!

The girls were up by 6, played in their room, and then I joined them at 6:20 and we looked at the snow that had fallen- only about an inch.  But, it did change to rain and got a bit slippery, then changed to all rain when it started to get warmer.

Ken and I got ready while the girls played on our I-Pads.  Then it was time for Grandma's pancake breakfast.  Samantha and Katelyn played with the Lego Barbies and then we all played the Marble Game ( a lot like Parcheesi).  I am amazed at how well 5 year old Katelyn understands and plays the game.  We left at 11 to go to Ephrata Church of the Brethren for the Hosler Christmas Luncheon.  Everyone was there (40) of us with only Bryant and Bridget not there because she is due to deliver their 1st child Jan. 1st and the Dr. did not want them to travel about 1 1/2 hours from home.  It was a very nice time of fellowship with our girls and their families and with Ken's brothers and sister and all of their children and grandchildren.   We only left there at 4 and returned to our apartment.  

Our friends, Fred and Doloris, joined us for dinner at 6 (leftovers from today's luncheon) and a few additional items and an evening of card playing.  The men won 2 of the 3 games!  We hadn't seen them since Sept. so it was a fun evening and we were so glad to see them.

Today, Sunday, it was 55 degrees when we left for Church but by noon the temperature started dropping and the winds increased!  After another inspiring sermon, we joined two of the couples in our Life Group for breakfast. Then Ken dropped me off at AC Moore to buy a few Christmas gifts and he went to Costco to pick up some photos I had ordered and camping scrapbook pages for the little ones.  We were home by 2 and made up bags of candy "goodies" for the folks who live in our apartment building and my Curvette ladies.  I also got all of the pages in the 4 granddaughters camping books.  I am beginning to see daylight at the end of the Christmas project gift list!  We delivered the treat bags to our neighbors and then Ken made dinner while I did a few more projects.  It was nice to spend the afternoon and evening at home!

Looking forward to a less hectic week!