December 28, 2011

walk with me down memory lane

     Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writers Workshop prompt this week is to...choose a favorite post from each month of 2011 and share... 
      I've only been blogging for eleven months and I've evolved my way through two blogs in my short blog life so far. My first "Its all about me-Jen" then my now and fairly new blog called "We're living a full life". I hope you have a bit of time to take a walk down memory lane with me. 
Here are my favorite posts for 2011, enjoy!
I don't expect you to read each and every one (not that I'd mind) but I'd love to hear if you have one that you especially liked. 

December 27, 2011

the pain of the holiday's

I had to keep myself from writing some really terribly gloomy posts this Christmas season. I tend to find myself being drawn to the past, getting very reflective as the year draws to a close and that can be both good and bad.

I know all of you would be very supportive but frankly I didn't want to be a Debby Downer for the holiday's. I found it becomes easy to fall into the negative pattern so I thought I'd attempt to keep a  mostly positive attitude on the blog and in my personal life. I'd say it worked....sorta! Except when the migraines come.

How'd you like to spend most every holiday with a migraine? I have just come out of a three day migraine. It is the most horrible feeling; but I'm a trooper so I tend to push through them. And there comes a point when I max out on my meds and I have no other choice!

Gretchen  Christmas 2005
Eric Christmas 2005
When you've been through what I've been through the holiday's are hard enough without physical pain added to the emotional. And I remember their last Christmas and the death of my precious children a few months later and I am SO grateful to God for all the Christmases we had together before they went home to be with You.

December 26, 2011

my neighbor with the gun- a Christmas story

The day before Christmas the neighbors that live next door came over for a visit. We thought it was the typical Christmas visit but it turned out to be that and more, much more!

They're a nice couple, she works as a produce manager in a local grocery chain store and he's disabled due to an injury and they come and visit fairly frequently since they moved in about a year ago. Their house is a small modest house and from what I've seen their furnishings are simple but the house is clean and neat. They have six cats with the most original names like tool box and velcro, their cats and our cats are buddies and play frequently . And although I would guess them to be somewhere in the forty range, they each have grown kids from previous marriages so they may be older.

Anyway they went on to tell and then show us how some truck had damaged their car (hit and run) in a parking lot just days before and spoke about how anxious they were to get estimates for the cost of the repairs. I was picking up undertones of emotions in the conversation and could tell that something other than the accident was on their minds. So I poured them each a tall glass of tea and we sat back for a visit to see whether my intuition was right.

He seemed a bit shaky and emotional  to me so I guessed whatever the reason for the visit would soon be revealed and it was soon after when he asked my husband to step outside for a minute.

They both came back into the house and tearfully he ask for money, as it turns out they needed money for unpaid bills. His plan was to bring over something to sell my husband, something he thought my husband would want to buy; a gun.( hubby's a collector) The sad thing was this particular gun was dear to him, given to him by someone special, and he was still willing to sell it, he needed money so badly.

My husband and I exchanged glances, that's all you need after thirty plus years of marriage. Bill pulled out his wallet took out the money and offered to give him the money he needed outright, but he refused.The fact of the matter is the mans pride was so heavily involved that we suggested that we'd hold the gun and he pay back the money, no time limit and this he agreed to. He was quite emotional, it was really very sad.

The people right next door were living without electric and here we are in our cozy house, you just never know do you?

December 24, 2011

I can't wait to give them this gift...

When Bill and I were in Barbados we spent our last evening at a street fair of sorts, there were some VERY talented artisans there.  As we strolled up and down looking through the shacks and the tents we came upon a man was selling art on canvas; just the type of art my son in law and daughter collect. With Christmas coming it was perfect!

They particularly love that Afro-Caribbean- Jazz vibe smokey room- art; it's usually has one or more people, musical instruments and vibrant colors.  Bill and I were both drawn to many of the pieces that the man had in his booth but one in particular spoke to us as perfect for our daughter and her hubby. Luckily for us it was the perfect size to put in our luggage so we made a deal for a price and we had a perfect Christmas gift.... almost!

We then made our way to the framer when we returned. How can I describe picking the perfect frame? The process is in itself an art and here is where the professionals are really helpful. It was a quite difficult process plus there was the fact that we were fending off offers from other patrons to buy the art piece, we could have made a hefty profit! There wasn't a person on line who wasn't oooh-ing and aaah-ing at this painting. Anyhoo, we found the PERFECT frame!

I sure hope Heather and Bo like this gift as much as we do.

My Mom says if this picture was fruit she'd want to eat it!

What do you think? You like?

December 22, 2011

santa's been reading my blog

Santa decided to come early this year! And luckily for me he's been reading my blog listening to me gripe about how really horrible my digital camera is.

I got a new one woohoo! And it isn't even Christmas yet.

Now my crappy photo's will be clearer and brighter than ever!

I doubt this new camera will ever be switched off auto, that is unless my husband give me some instruction. He's really good with cameras specifically and technical stuff generally.

Instructions books and I, well never the twain shall meet if you know what I mean.

I've never claimed to be a photographer but this dumb camera I have now would try the patience of a saint. I take 6-8 pictures with the flash on I will use up two double A batteries. And the pictures just were always uneven, no matter what light I was in.

I have missed a few important  photographic moments due to battery loss or memory loss - that would be me forgetting to bring a dozen batteries to an event.

But no more.

Now miraculously this old thing....

has now has been transformed into this....

I will try to refrain from getting to photo crazy on this blog!

But I SO excited!

December 21, 2011

PYHO -a blended families christmas dinner recipe - patience, love with a dash of chaos -

We have yet to decide what we're going to eat for dinner and it's yet to be decided whose going to be here for dinner on Christmas Day for that matter.

We actually don't have a traditional dinner that we eat every year and whose going to be here from year to year fluctuates. We usually just eat what ever we want when we want, things are pretty free and easy around here lately. As long as I can use my Christmas china I'm happy.

Sometimes the menu might be decided by how many people I'm cooking for. With a lot of people we might have turkey or ham, maybe even both. My grandchildren like that meal so if they're here and my daughter and son in law aren't working then that would usually be the menu. We've even had Italian one year, oh my goodness it was a feast! We stuffed our face with several different types of pasta, talk about carb heaven.

My daughter , her husband and my grandsons a Christmas past,
it was the Italian Christmas.
If my husband's ex comes to town and visits our daughter then that usually changes everything. Confusing right? She gave birth to her I raised her so we share that's why if you knew us you'd find us both calling her our daughter. Anyhoo... then we - Bill, Matthew, Mom and I might be munching on prime rib or lobster. Forget the pasta and pass me a bib and a shovel for this meal! My Mom loves lobster, so this is really a favorite meal for her. She won't even touch the beef, not a single bite.

Matthew (red)and his older brother Bill (grey) doing the Christmas dishes, oh yeah!
This year I don't think the ex is coming but I believe with their crazy schedules,(she works days ,he nights so  one parent's home with the kids) they've decided to stay home; maybe. This is one thing I've learned about blended families; everything is always fluid and emotions are usually pretty high around the holidays for the kids, even when they're adults. 

Things between the ex and us are fine and we're great friends. But the kids and her, well it's hard on all of them, her too, but circumstances were what they were. So that left many thing unsaid and undone. And as good a relationship as mine was with them growing up, its just not the same. Our other son Bill and our granddaughter is now living with his mother and trying to get his life in order. His adult life has been one poor choice after another. To be perfectly honest my relationship with him is rather strained because of it. Family relationships can be rather complicated; all our efforts long ago exhausted we'll have to see how things work out with this new situation.

But regardless of the ex and the kids and whose living where or working when we still have to decide what to eat. Seriously, despite all the Christmas bah humbug that seems to rear it's ugly head like, "you didn't raise me" every holiday and causes everyone to be freaks emotional, we really are an OK family who loves each other. 

In the mean time we're living on patience love with a dash of chaos! 

So what's cooking at your house, something yummy I trust? Do tell!

December 19, 2011

sharing gifts at christmastime- a guest post & cookies

There is no sweeter gift during the holidays then being with family and friends; so when my blog friend Melissa asked me to do a guest post over at blog her blog MaMe Musings I jumped at the chance. She is a great person, a wife and mother of twins Drew and Emily and I know if you visit you'll just love her, her blog and her wonderful sense of humor. 

Writing this post for her and getting a chance to meet new people is such a big treat for me.Today I get to share some what goes on at Christmastime with my family and friends. So please pop over and say hi and show Melissa and I some love.
And speaking of sweeter....the recipe I'm sharing with you today is one of my favorite holiday treats. Not only are they fun to make but they are yummy to eat. A big plus is they keep for as long as a week so those of you who'd like to be baking and are short of time and crazy busy ( sound familiar ) then you might want to try these out. I promise you'll love them!
Christmas Sugar Cookies   
·         3 c. all-purpose flour
·         3/4 tsp. baking powder
·         1/4 tsp salt
·         1 c. unsalted butter, softened
·         1 c.sugar
·         1 egg, beaten
·         1 tbsp. milk
·         Powdered sugar, for rolling 
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If the dough has warmed during rolling you can place it back in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill.
 Cut into desired shape,( I usually do rounds) place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. (I even stack two with a little cut out filled with jam and nuts for a little extra something something during the holidays.)
 Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or ice as desired. These cookies will store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
 Did you come visit me and read my guest post? Don't forget!

 And enjoy the cookies, they're the best.

now I have a huge pile of.......

Those of you who read this blog know that my son Matthew came home for a visit on is days off, and he was sick. He went home last night, all better. His mother is happy about that but she wishes he'd get a flu shot so he wouldn't pick up these dumb bugs at work. It's just my opinion but I found when I worked with the public I thought over time the shots helped build immunity to all these crappy little viruses you get exposed to.

Him being home and sick got me to remembering quite fondly the days when the kids were little and they were vomiting, had the runs, had fevers and the chills. See Jen running around the house like a chicken without a head back and forth to the laundry room doing loads and loads of wash in between making chicken soup. Now my son is a grown man who obviously can take care of himself but having him here still stirs the memories.

I know, I know call me crazy!  And you may wonder why any mother should fondly remember vomit and crap? Actually it's the bodies spewing said bodily fluids that I miss having home most of the time.

You wait, a nest that is empty has a very different view!

And here is the view of my laundry room floor after Matthew had left. My husband had stacked his linens up on the floor so that they could be washed! I had to laugh, ya know some things never change.

Well actually some things do change.

I'm older now and I won't be running to the washer and dryer.

Now I'll walk!

that afghan was a wedding present from my aunt gen over 30 years ago 

December 18, 2011

santa, remember this story

Our friends invited us to their church Christmas concert the other evening, their church choir was doing a little Christmas concert. They sang a really nice selection of Christmas music accompanied by piano and violin. It is a rather small country church and for a small group their voices were strong and filled with holiday spirit. Many from our community came out to support them.  This event however had a duel purpose the second being it also served as a fund raiser for the local battered women's home called Madeline's House, where my friends daughter serves as outreach coordinater. We were so proud to see her get up in front of us all and speak such compassion about those she helps on a daily basis. It is so great to see our young people fresh out of college all filled with such passion for their work.What a blessing!

Being in the south, there was of course a dinner to follow the festivities! Far be it for all of us to come out on a Saturday night and not get in some proper socializing.

The church also set up a room off the dining area where many of those who belong there donated their nativity sets for display.There were so many unique sets on display, big and small, old and new, hand made and store purchased. We hear so much around this time of year about Santa so as I entered this room and saw the many many different interpretations of our Lords birth it was a solemn reminder of what this season is really about.  So next time you take a glimpse at that manger under your Christmas tree pull out your bible or bring up this post and remember this story.....

The Gospel of Luke 2:1-20

2In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

December 17, 2011

coming home sick and a movie

My son Matthew came home on his swing days off of work, he was sick. Some type of virus was going around work and unfortunately he was on of the people to get it. So, I put a chicken in the pot so he can have some soup to eat and hopefully give him some relief.

I suspect his roommate was secretly glad he came home and wasn't vomiting and other things we will not mention in their bathrooms and spread germs all over their townhouse.  My son did say he caught a glimpse of Trey while saying goodbye with bleach and Lysol in hand!  One can never be to clean!

 I'll take my kids home anyway I can get them whenever they want; grandchildren too. For me the holidays are quite difficult, it's hard not to reflect on my losses and not to miss my children. I suspect he knows that and that's why he's here. That and the soup!

It's been two days since he's been here and his stomach is back to normal pretty much. He's finished all his chicken soup and is feeling somewhat better. He ate a normal dinner and we're both enjoying some time together. And even under the weather there's always something to do in our house.

We are huge movie hounds in our family. Since we live in a rural area we tend to buy our movies after they've been released. I am not a big theater goer. That would be due to my restless leg syndrome. I find it really difficult to sit still for long periods of time during the movie; I'm that person, you know, the one whose moving and getting up throughout the movie. The one you want to strangle!

After Gretchen and Eric died  in 2006 Matthew and I got into this habit of watching movies together it was a great relief from the stress and grief. It's something that we still do from time to time when he comes home to visit and I must say we have our favorites. We tend to like the same types of movies but not every single movie; I am never going to warm up to the Fight Club, not in a million years. But there is this quirky little Christmas family (adult) movie we are drawn to every year.

Have you ever seen The Family Stone? This family's holiday has equal parts joy and dread add a lot of comedy, and even some sad bits; such is life, right?  But what draws me to this movie in particular and what I love about the characters and this family is no matter what there is  loyalty and love, lots of love. 

If you get some time you should try to see it. We just spent last evening watching it....again! My daughter is gonna be mad at us that she wasn't here with us but she's home at her house with the kids, and they wouldn't appreciate the germs, we'll just do it again on Christmas with her!

Do you have a favorite movie that you'd like to share, we'd love to give it a look see. Who know's maybe it will become part of our yearly ritual like this movie.

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December 12, 2011

Barbados vacation Part 2 the good and the not so good!

The weather in Virginia since returning from Barbados has been cool to cold to say the least; you know where I'd rather be right? Writing about Barbados is fun, being in Barbados...more fun.

Here's a bit of what I thought about our vacation experience.

The Food:
I found the food at the Almond resort to be good. Breakfast and lunch were buffet and dinner was off the menu, there were three restaurants on the resort but I suspect it all came from the same kitchen. There was mainly Caribbean fare, there was fish and lamb, chicken and lots of curry and sweet potatoes.I had lots of fun ordering dinner each night choosing all the things I'd never heard of or couldn't pronounce. To be honest I liked it all, really I did! And who can complain when they bring lunch to you by doing an occasional barbecue on the beach. And there was the rum and the beer!  It was just to much of the same type food over and over again that kind of got to me after a number of days. And that number would be four!!

By the forth day we were craving a little variety soooo, we did what any self respecting foodie would do. Ran to the Italian place to hang out with Luigi at his Italian Restaurant; it was across the street from the resort. I was dying for some pasta; really my craving was bad. Luigi even made me two different kinds of pasta when he saw I was having difficulty making a choice! I inhaled that pasta, ate desert, had espresso and even had some grappa, it was heaven!

The Clocks:
There weren't any clocks on the resort, nor were there any in our room. Now call me crazy but if I have to be at dinner for a reservation, and it is required then why no clocks? I now have $250.00 in roaming charges on my cell phone bill because I kept on checking the darn phone so we wouldn't be late for dinner every night. Which then led to our shopping trip to buy the turtle clock and our encounter with the Aloe Vera guy! (l'll explain about him next)

St Lawrence Gap:
This is an area outside the resort which I had imagined was a beautiful area filled with shops, restaurants, clubs a casino or two. When I researched it on line I saw this stretch along the beach that was touted as an area tourists want to visit. So here's me, the foolish American thinking it's like Port Jeff in NY or maybe even like Duck NC; a quaint area to stroll in and out the shops. Yeh sure! What we got was the creepy Aloe Vera guy who spotted the dumb scar on the back of my leg and hounded us every time he saw us walk up that dumb street, trying to sell me Aloe Vera for my healing.  And the Gap was seedy in my opinion to say the least, but we did visit the Casino there.

The Casino:
It was about the size of a bathroom stall in a Trump Casino. One neon sign in the window said "Slot Machine" so unbelievable to me that I actually went back to the resort to confirm that it was a legitimate casino. The perimeter of the room had an assortment of poker machines and slot machines maybe 18 in all. I thought to myself I can't believe they call this place a Casino. Then I heard a ringing in my head! Mr lucky, my husband won $1,200.00 Barbados that's $600.00 American in the slots, somehow then that little casino didn't seem so bad after all! We took our winnings and left. You got it Mr Aloe Vera guy was waiting outside wanting to sell us his Aloe and he wanted beer money too!

The Staff and The Other Tourists:
My favorite staff personnel was our housekeeper/maid, she was adorable and liked to chat. Honestly maybe it had it little to do with the fact she put the most fabulous fresh smelling sheets on our big and comfortable bed every day! All the other staff were very nice, but it seemed to me that the wait staff at the restaurants might have been slightly understaffed, and sometimes the bar was out of supplies and under stocked.

I have some observations about the other tourists too. British men are very friendly, more friendly then most other men. Canadian men love to talk about sports especially hockey. We met a German man who could barely speak English but loved to laugh, had a infectious smile and enjoyed beer.  And  not that I'm prejudiced  (my grandmothers were Irish off the boat ) Irish woman are very lovely and like to chat and the older Irish ladies I met also liked to tell jokes too!

Canadian women ROCK!! We met two younger both coincidentally from Toronto (in early 30's ) traveling cool is that? I have always fantasized about that, going someplace alone! I was green with envy.

One day when rain was the full day forecast we took a taxi to Bridgetown to shop for things to bring home for our loved ones. Duty free is pretty neat, we purchased perfume, rum, Tommy Hilfiger clothes and liquor for a fraction of what we would pay here. Then we went to some of the stores that line Broad Street and the discount markets that line Swan Street. We literally had to buy and extra piece of carry on luggage to get all our stuff home.

The resort had a lot of different activities that you could sign up for(for a fee), tours of the island, of churches and so on. We didn't do any of these, but we did sign up for one thing and that was for transportation to go to Oisten's Fish Fry.All the locals open up these shacks and tents and cook local food on Friday night and it's a chance for the tourist to mingle with them. They have a big stage where they play music and you can dance and socialize. There are tents set up in one section where local crafts people show and sell their wares. I could easily say this was our favorite thing that we did while we were here. We strolled up and down endless rows of food, crafts, art and the like listening to the music sipping cold beer soaking in the aromas of freshly cooked local food and the local vibe.

This place was so cool, I loved loved loved it.

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about our vacation.

Barbados vacation part 1- do you have a vacation type?

There's so much to tell about our vacation that I've decided to break it down into a few different posts. The first one will be about the resort where we stayed, and the all inclusive experience and I'll share a few pictures I took.

Did I mention my camera really sucks? Santa are you listening?

The second one will be about the people we met and some of the things we did; my lips are sealed!

I am finally learning that I actually have a particular "vacation type" and I should probably stick to it.

I went on a cruise with my family in 2007. Pretty fresh after the kids death I didn't really expect to have a good time but being with 15 of my cousins and my Aunts and Uncles and my Mom was what the doctor ordered, so away we went. Cruising was nice, I didn't not enjoy it;  but I knew when it was over I probably wouldn't ever do it again. The problem, there wasn't enough time on the beach for me when we got to each port.

We went to St Marten a year after that, stayed at a resort where we had a small kitchen. We'd have coffee and breakfast there every day. We rented a small car and did our own thing which consisted of going to a different beach every day, we would choose daily. Eating a very late lunch on the way home from the beach, restaurants were dotted all over the island. Nap time after the beach was a daily ritual, then we'd go to the French side of the island for a late dinner and drinks. Heineken was pretty free flowing on the island, have I mentioned how much I like that beer?

We decided for this vacation in Barbados to try an all inclusive resort. The resort we stayed at was an Almond Resort and it was lovely. It was roughly ten acres on the beach with beautiful foliage lined paths leading to different pools, bars and restaurants which are all out doors. The rooms are spacious and air conditioned and house keeping changes the sheets every day, that I have to say is really a treat.

There were several buildings  all four levels high arranged over the property, ours was building four and of course as luck would have it we were on the forth floor. Did I mention the balcony? Pretty nice place to sit and watch the birds or the other tourists pass by on the paths below.

Dinning was usually by reservation for dinner. As you can see in the picture above the chairs are outside on a deck, this restaurant was called The Dover Restaurant, right on the beach their specialty was fish dishes. Tucked in between the pool and the beach we dined here to delicious fish dinners under the moonlight as the surf crashed just feet away. Pretty nice stuff!

There are many British tourists and as you know Barbados shares many British customs so there is afternoon tea at four. Many tourists would congregate for tea, sandwiches and biscuits and the place in the picture above and below. Many others would just be there because of the bar. Bill and I would hang out to socialize and to catch the afternoon breeze and you can see the bar towards the back of the picture which for some is a good enough reason to be there! We however being American's did afternoon tea and sandwiches with a twist we would have Rum and sandwiches. We were on vacation after all!

After hours on the beach and a nice lunch we'd sit here under the fan and chat with other tourists sometimes for hours. Drinking rum drinks or cold beer; it should be said that Barbados has a really great beer called Banks beer, yummy. We'd snuggle up on one of those upholstered couches and read or play cards while enjoying said Banks beer!

Of course every single picture I took of the amazing beach turned out blurry and not fit for posting, ya hear that Santa?  The place looks nice right? The food was pretty good too, but I'll get into that in my next post.

Remember when I started I mentioned about a "vacation type"? 

All inclusive was nice and I enjoyed it, but like the cruise I'd probably never do it again. Nothing against the resort because it was really nice and I don't regret going, but I'm not the "vacation type" for all inclusive, it's just to structured.

What about you? Do you have a vacation type?

December 11, 2011

trying to get back in the grove of blogging

Hi everyone!

I'm back from vacation; actually I've been back for almost a week. When I left for New York and then Barbados my husband and I agreed that I would leave my computer and there would be no blogging. Vacation would be for relaxing and alone time, not for me writing and socializing with my blog friends. I have to be honest as much as I needed a vacation and time alone with hubby,  I kinda worried about how being away from my blog would feel. How was I going to survive without my laptop without the interaction. I think I was really heading towards a bit of an addiction problem. It was time to step away from the computer!

Getting back to this blog has been a lot harder than I though it would be and I am really surprised. Maybe it's just that things have been busy here. Driving back from NY is tiring, then there's the unpacking, grocery shopping, social obligations- I had a Christmas dinner party this Friday night for my  girl-friends. (you'll be able to read about it soon in a guest post I'm doing for Melissa over at MaMe Musings)

We headed up to NY for Thanksgiving and had a very nice time there with my family, my brother and my sister in law do such a wonderful Thanksgiving. The night after some of our cousins and my Aunts Gen and Marie and Uncle Doug came over for a little get together since we hardly ever get to see them no that we live out of NY.

My camera was acting really crazy for some reason and I didn't get many pictures; Santa needs to bring me a new one especially since I put pictures on my blog on a regular basis. But here are a few pictures of us hanging around my cousin Mickey at the kitchen table. (This picture is some cousins a few friends who are like cousins, my Mom and my aunt Marie towards the back.) He's been doing a genealogical search on our grandfather who died when I was about seven. Frankly we didn't know very much about him other than he was from PEI Canada and French. My cousin has now traced the family back to the 1600's. We were all really fascinated by what he found, I just wonder WHO we'll find when we take this further!

Aunt Gen & Uncle Doug

My Uncle Doug and my Aunt Marie who was sitting on the other side of the table are preparing to celebrate their 5oth wedding anniversary next year, isn't that great? Marie is my fathers (he passed almost 20 years ago) and my Aunt Gen's youngest sister. I was informed by my cousin Barbara that there's a party in the works. The two options for the happy couple are a small intimate party and a large one, part of me hopes the kids choose to have a large celebration so that we can travel up and share in their special day. Scratch that; as much as I'd love to spend the day with them since I was only three when they had their first wedding and didn't get to go, I hope the kids give them a perfect day- whatever they want.

After a late night hanging with the family Bill and I got up at the crack of dawn and headed to Barbados. My brother Gerard it should be said was a real sport and drove us up at JFK at the crack of dawn!

What to hear about my Barbados vacation? Check back in a day or two,OK!

I missed reading all your blogs while I was gone. I promise to try to catch up. Let me know if I missed anything important or earth shattering. Glad to be back!

November 25, 2011

everyday is a gift

Its pretty hard to explain all that happened on Thanksgiving, my guess is it's pretty much the same as you all did at your houses.

Food, more food, wine, beer, desert, more food, coffee then tons of laughs singing, music and I am so full I'm about to burst.

Then we got up today and started it all over again, that is in between naps.

So I thought I'd just share some pictures of us yesterday. It was a small group of us only fifteen at my brothers and sister in law's house. Her side was here, her mom, dad, brother and his family, their three kids and me mom and my husband and one dog.

Here was the star of our day, mr. twenty two pound turkey was very delicious!

The grown up table, my sister in law does such a nice job doesn't she?

I love the whole autumn color theme it is just so warm and inviting.

The dining room table has a great spread of hors devours, we do it every year, we say we're not going to eat before dinner then we stuff our faces on stuffed mushrooms and other yummy things before dinner.

All the Grandparents, my mom and my sister in law's parents having a chat with my sister in law over some snacks before dinner in the living room.

Suzie arriving for the day! She is my sister in law's mother and one the very nicest people I have ever met in my life. She is a wonderful mother and grandmother and the most devoted wife.

These are my lovely niece (from right to left) Alex, Sydney and Julia.

This is my sister in law Denise and her Dad Nick who was celebrating his birthday this Thanksgiving with all of us family. Although you may not see it Nick is in a wheel chair because of the advanced stages of MS for which he has suffered for over forty years.

I told you there was beer! This is my brother Gerard and my niece Alex being silly.

There ya go! Here's the birthday granddad with most of his grandchildren ( Samantha and Christian are missing but there in spirit we know ) with his birthday cake aglow enjoying the love.

Alex took a half day on Wednesday and Aunt Jen picked her up at school and we did some baking. This is one of our creations. Alex decorated this pumpkin pie with these beautiful letters and leaves made out of pie crust.

The table is starting to fill in this picture, here we see Nick Denise's brother , his wife Joanne there son, Nick and Mom Sue and a bit of my niece Syd on the end. I swear you'd think we were wino's because I'm counting seven bottles of wine on the table, jeez!

I don't know about your grandma's but ours do shots! How cool is that?

Then there was singing...our childhood friend Lisa stopped by for some tequila and song.

This is me and my godson Gerard catching a hug on the couch before everyone arrived.

My mom, Sydney and my husband in the den doing a bit of bonding before the madness.

The littlest Nick, ya think? And his godmother Denise posing for the camera.

So that was our Thanksgiving;  part two is tonight staring.....the cousins, the Aunts and one Uncle who are coming over to my brother and sister in laws for a cocktails a little bite to eat at about seven so I gotta go....