Friday, December 2, 2011

Fun, Fun, Fun!!!

Well, in my last post I talked about our planned road trip to visit Adrienne and her family.  We had a great time.  We left St. Louis early Thanksgiving morning and arrived in MS around 1:00.  The weather was great - the girls were able to play outside and ride bikes.  Dinner was awesome - roasted chicken, salmon, mac and cheese, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, dressing, and for dessert cheesecake and sweet potato pie with homemade whipped cream.  After an awesome dinner, we were entertained by a family friend from Senegal, who plays great guitar and sings in his native Fulani language.  

Friday, we spent the day out and about.  Among other things, we took a tour of the montessori school where Adrienne works (such a cute, munchkin-like environment where everything is child sized), we took the girls to the bookstore (which they loved), and of course made our visit to the Goodwill!!!  It was a great day.

We had our nightly "make the world a better place" conversations, which took us well into the early morning hours.  Certainly, no family gathering is complete without the summit meeting.   

The grands had such a good time together (of course there were a few blowups, but it's to be expected with girls).  Look at those great faces!!!  Love em, love em, love em!!!  

I was daring enough to sleep in the same room, on the floor with the six of them.  Boy, was I glad to see my bed when I got home.  But, I would do it again in a heartbeat.    

All in all the weekend was great.  Oh, to make the weekend complete, we had an opportunity to spend some time with a really good friend of the family who just happened to be visiting some of her husband's family who live in MS.  She has an adorable set of twin boys who sent a couple of my grand daughters into some sort of frenzy.  Girls!!!

So, I am looking forward to my next family gathering.  Don't know when it will happen, but I know it will be great.  I LOVE MY FAMILY!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Well it's been a few days since my last post - things have been pretty quiet.  We are entering into the holiday season, which is not a big deal for me since I am not really into "holidays", but I am BIG into "family life".  So, I am looking forward to visiting with Adrienne and her family for the Thanksgiving weekend.  Derek and I, along with my granddaughter Zuri, Derek's significant other and her daughter will be traveling to Mississippi.  My granddaughters are so excited about our visit (they are counting down the days until our arrival).  We always have such a great time when we get together. I will have all of my grandchildren with me, with the exception of Derek II, who is away at college in Colorado.  He will be missed, but he will be home for his winter break in a few weeks.   This will be Adrienne's family's first opportunity to meet her brother's friend and I am sure they will get along well.  

Adrienne is preparing the bulk of the meal and I am preparing individual cheesecakes for the dessert.  

We can always count on Adrienne to prepare delicious food and I will step back into my role as the clean up person.  She enjoys cooking and I have no problem with cleaning afterward (this has been a long standing agreement between us -she cooks and I clean).  

It will be good to spend some time in Mississippi again - especially to see all the girls.  Remember, I lived with them for almost 2 years before returning to St. Louis - boy, do I miss them.  Jena, the oldest grand daughter, has this undying desire for us all to live closer together, so that we can see each other more often.  I also wish that we could work that out, but right now we have to settle for "road trip" visits.  Maybe we can work out an arrangement where they can spend some time with me during the summer.

I think back to when my parents were still alive and we had family gatherings - I always thought they were so lenient with their grandchildren (not overly lenient because, of course, there were boundaries).  Now that I have grandchildren of my own, I understand fully.

Well, I am sure that I will have some interesting stories to share with you after a weekend with my children, grandchildren, family and friends.   So until then,  be safe, enjoy your Thanksgiving and remember be thankful everyday.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Past

So today is Halloween and for those of you who celebrate, I hope you have a great day.  I can't say that I am really into Halloween, but I enjoy watching the kids revel in the excitement of costumes and candy.

For the past two Halloweens I did have an opportunity to partake in Adrienne's girls' festivities and they had a great time.  For a period they did not celebrate Halloween (specifically when we lived in the Caribbean), but now that we are back in the states they have jumped on the Halloween bandwagon.    They enjoy it and of course Adrienne (the artist) puts in lots of time and energy creating their costumes.  Her creativity won her girls first prize for the best costumes for the last two years at the Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) Physics Department's Halloween party. 

So girls, I don't know your plans for this year's celebration, but here are a few shots of Halloweens' past. If I recall correctly (which I probably don't) they were dressed as dark fairies.  All the costumes and makeup are the handiwork of Adrienne.





Happy haunting girls!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

From Generation to Generation

Well, so far I have introduced you to my paternal grandparents and my parents, however, I failed to introduce you to my maternal grandparents.  I certainly would not be who I am if it were not for them, so I humbly apologize for the gross oversight.  

Sorry Grandma and Grandpa!  

OK, now that I have cleared my conscience, let's move forward.
As I told you before I have two beautiful children, who are not only my children - they are my best friends. We have had some wonderful times together, but believe me raising two children alone is not always a party! Would you like to get to know them?  Well let me tell you a little about them.

Derek (The Big Brother)

What words can I use to describe Derek?  Let me see, on one hand he is a hard working family man and the family poet.  On the flip side he is fun loving, outgoing, and the life of the party.  If any of you know Derek, you know that his personality can brighten your darkest day.  Even as a child, he never met a stranger - he could and would strike up a conversation with anyone who would listen.  I can remember his grandmother saying when he was very young he would say to her "Granny, let's talk"  - her response would be "talk about what baby" and his response would be "anything".  Get the picture?!!

Adrienne (The Little Sister)

Adrienne is like the still water that runs deep!  She is the artist in the family, her work is phenomenal.  I have always considered her the visionary.  At a young age she came to me and announced "when I grow up I am going to live on an island" - did she do it?  Yes, she did.  Her artistic skills just keep surfacing and she never ceases to amaze me.  Unlike her brother who wanted to talk, when she was a child she was pretty quiet, she wanted to draw.   Her grandmother saved the brown craft grocery bags and the cardboard from her pantyhose for her "baby" to draw on.

  Ain't They Grand...
Oh my goodness, I could talk about my grand children forever, but I will try and be as brief as possible.  Those of you who do not have any grandchildren may not understand the excitement and joy that mine bring me.  Let me see if I can describe how they make me feel.  Imagine falling asleep during the midst of a storm - dark clouds, strong winds, lightning and thunder, torrential rains...and when you wake up your find yourself lying on a white sand beach, the bluest sky and water you have ever seen, the air smells clean and fresh, and you hear music in the air - sounds wonderful doesn't it.  I get that feeling each time I think of my Grands.  Let me introduce them to you.

Derek II (Handsome isn't he?)
This is Derek's oldest - my very first grandchild.  When he was born I decided that I wanted to call him "DJ" - thinking he would be Derek, Jr., however he is Derek II.  I don't care - he is still "DJ" to me.  He is the family's track star!!!  Watch for him, he is going to go far (and fast).  This is his first year in college and his track coaches see so much potential in him.  So keep your TV set tuned in to ESPN - and be on the look out for my "DJ".  

Jena Phoenix
This is Adrienne's oldest - my very first granddaughter.  We've always said that she has the soul of an elder.  Like her mother, she is quiet, creative and a visionary.  She loves ballet and has been a student of ballet since the age of two.  Her love for ballet is impressive.  Like a professional she is ready to dance under almost any circumstance.  I can remember her not wanting to miss her dance class even though she was sick and feverish and I say that her determination to succeed will take her far.  She is my "Jena P". Look out Alvin Ailey and Dance Theater of Harlem - Jena is on her way.

Adrienne's second daughter.   Ashni, Ashni, Ashni - personality plus!!!  Her zest for life is unbelievable.  She loves the outdoors - rain, snow, hot, cold - no matter, she will take it on.  I think the most interesting thing about Ashni is her questionable fashion sense.  She loves leggings, rubber boots, saddle oxfords, neck ties, hats, prints, patterns, stripes, etc...and can put together the most interesting outfits.  I love it Ashni - rock it girl!!!  She is also a dancer (ballet and whatever else the music makes her body do), in addition to being the family skateboarder.   Seems to me that Ashni's future can hold anything from fashion, to dance to extreme sports!!!

This is Derek's daughter and much like her father - she is a talker.  She is the "girly girl" - loves pinks, sparkles, glitter and shine (take note of the pink sequin bag in the pic).  She is a true "daddy's girl".  She lives for lip gloss, nail polish, jewelry, and hair decorations.  She is also the "Techie" (computers, cell phones, i-pods, etc.) and loves music and dance.    As the grandmother who is not really on top of the current music rage, I think I have heard her listen to Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber (hope the spellings are correct).  I can only think that whatever the future holds for Zuri it must be high tech, pink and sparkly!!    

Bijou, Adrienne's third daughter.  Which Bijou would you like to meet? - there are several of them.  There is the cute lovable Bijou that you see in this pic and then there is the dark side of Bijou.  She is super smart, but she is also super moody!!!  She thrives off attention but must control when she wants that undivided attention. The thing I love most about Bijou is that she is so unpredictable, which requires me to stay on my toes.  Just look at the face, those big bright eyes and that infectious smile - she is beautiful.  Gotta love some Bijou!!!

Zion is Adrienne's baby girl.  She is such a joy!!!  Although she is only two years old, she can carry on the most interesting conversations.  When she was younger and just learning to talk, her attempt to say "Granny" came out as "Reelee".  I loved to hear the sound of her little voice outside my bedroom door saying "Reelee, opeee door."  I think she is advancing so quickly, because she has three older sisters who she mimics, but she certainly has a personality all her own.  There can only be one Zion!!!

Well, these are my children and grandchildren.  They keep me motivated to be the very best mother and grandmother that I can be.  Oh, by the way, for those of you who don't know me:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Hunter

I love, love, love a bargain and my hunt never ends.  For me, there is no greater satisfaction than exploring a thrift store, yard sale, etc., and finding a treasure.  Since relocating recently, I do miss my bargain hunting partner (my daughter), but the hunt must go on!

The secret to my bargain hunting is - don't go in looking for anything specific.  I've learned over time that you won't find a buy on every trip, but persistence is the key.  I started bargain hunting over 25 years ago and have purchased everything from clothing, to books, to antiques, to household decorating items.

Now I won't say that I am addicted to bargain hunting, but recently while driving home I passed a thrift store and my foot automatically went to the brake pedal.  Is there anyone else out there who can relate to this reaction? I know that I am not alone in this. 

Since moving back to my childhood home, which is a beautiful three story, well maintained structure (there are a couple of pics of it in my earlier blog) many of my finds have found a place within its walls and, combined with family heirlooms kept in the house, have added to making my renewed environment warm and comfortable. 

If there is anyone out there who has not experienced thrift stores and/or yard sales I suggest that you give them a try, you might learn to like it.  There are plenty of bargains out there.  Here are just a few of my favorite finds:

Clay Bowl- $1.99
African Bottle (purchased at an antique store) - $27.00 
Love this antique wooden box - $.99
Carved box $.59
Ceramic bowl - $.99
Wooden Turtle Box - $.99 
Wooden Masks Candle Holders - $.99 each 
Large Enamel Soup Pot - $.75 
Jenga Game - $.59  (I glued the pieces together, painted them  added magnets to the back and created a magnetic artwork.  There is a sheet metal wall in my kitchen where this hangs.)   I love it!!! 
Bedspread, pillow shams and toss pillows - all for less than $30.00.  This is probably my most costly thrift store purchase, but I couldn't resist.

In case you are wondering why the captions under my photos are red - it's because I think these purchases are HOT!!! 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Past and Present

Feeling nostalgic today and my feeling of nostalgia is so uplifting that I decided to share with you some photos of my past and my present. Some of these things trigger memories and others just give me a warm feeling inside. Now, the question is can I upload these photos to share with you? Well, bear with me as I give it a try:

I have very minimal memories of her, she passed away when I was a small child, but I love this photo of her - so dignified and proud.

He passed away before I was born.  I wish I'd had the opportunity to know him, my father told such great stories about him.

My Parents
I could not have asked for better parents.  So different from each other, but their differences kept them together 58 years (until my mother's passing).  They have both made their transition, but they will live in my heart forever.

Family Treasures...

The Eye Wash Glass
This glass belonged to my grandfather.  It is my understanding that he used this glass to care for his eyes, however when admitted to the hospital for cataract surgery his subsequent death resulted from the use of non-sterile hospital equipment.  How sad! 

The Platter
This platter belonged to my grandmother, who loved to cook.  I don't remember her use of it, however, I do remember it being used to serve Christmas cookies when I was a child.  We estimate that this platter must be close to 100 years old.  Cookies, Yum!!!

The Cookie Jar
I'm not sure of the origin of this cookie jar, but I think it was given to my grandmother from a family member (possibly my father's older brother) when he returned from military service overseas.  Don't hold me to this story.


This is the magnificent view that I experience as I enter my home!  breathtaking isn't it?...

but wait, this is view I experience as I descend from the second floor.  Hold on, it gets even better...

this beautiful mantel still leaves me breathless on a daily basis.  Every piece of woodwork in this house is original.  What a well kept secret we are hiding behind our front door!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Can I Really Do This?

Well, today I convinced myself that I should start a blog. This will be an adventure for me, but I think I can do this. I am the retired mother of two children and grandmother of six beautiful grand children, so you may get to know a lot about them by following my blog.

For the first couple of years of retirement, I felt the need to go back to work. For almost forty years of my life my job(s) filled a minimum of 8 hours each day, 6-8 hours were devoted to sleep,and the remaining hours (plus any additional time needed) were dedicated to raising my two children. After raising two children to adulthood, subsequently retiring and experiencing the change of life (which brought with it that dreaded insomnia) - I am now faced with approximately 18- 20 hours each day of trying to find things to occupy my time. I considered going back to school, but that was just a fleeting thought. I applied for numerous jobs (part time, full time, anytime) to no avail. I considered developing some interesting hobby (i.e., scrap booking, jewelry making, painting, etc.) but none of those things held my attention.

I have lived in several different places (including the beautiful island of St. Croix) and each of those places provided their own unique experience for me. Most recently I moved back into the house where I was born and raised and I feel that this is my opportunity to go "back to my future again." This is the chance of a lifetime to look back at my past and forge ahead with my future. This house holds so many memories and artifacts from my past that I am overwhelmed in the most phenomenal way. So, this blog will be my vehicle to share with you those things I am rediscovering about my past and using to plot my future. I can only say to you...HOLD ON THIS MAY BE THE MOST EXCITING RIDE OF MY LIFETIME!!! So, stay with me as I go back to my future.