Thursday, December 29, 2016

Happy Birthday

I had a very nice day thanks to my family and friends. Of course my first thought of the day is always that it would have been my father's birthday too. Word is that he got me and a block of chocolate.

Sarah had taken off work. We wanted to invite Sarah and family and Wade's parents out for lunch (because Kathy and Mike had to head home around noon back to Pulaski) but it was decided that it was much easier with the babes to have lunch at their house.

Caleb and Sarah made a birthday cookie and as you can see Caleb helped decorate. James was just a little too late to take the next three photos. But there was evidence on his chin.

Such a big helper.

Children really make it special. 

And just in time for my birthday my amaryllis decided to start opening too. My father had at least one amaryllis every year too.

Next day!

Last year I had asked James for a hike for my birthday. This year we postponed it one day. The weather was so nice.
We parked at Pump House parking lot and started on the Northbank Trail. I think James must know every step by now. Bubba's Bench is even too high for James' legs to reach the floor.

The view from the bench.

This time we went over the new foot bridge. Very interesting.

A panorama photo view from the other side.

Gosh that was nice! But it is clear ... I did more sitting and not walking lately. Sigh. And may be too much good food at the holidays.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Helen and William had a safe trip home. I bet Ben was very happy to have them back. We were very happy to have had them visit us. No doubt everybody had a good time.

Today I had to turn the last Advent-calendar ornament around myself. My helper was gone.

And I was busy taking pictures of the amaryllis for the letter to William. Yes, that had to be written quickly too. But the amaryllis photos are not for this but for the next letter. A photo each day because he wants to see the progress!

December 24  -  Christmas Eve

Around six we picked up our friend Julie because we are all invited to our friends Kim and Mike for their annual Christmas Eve open house party. As always the house was full with guests and it is always fun to mingle around besides finding the wonderful nibbles. Kim is a fantastic cook and baker and they are both great hosts. 

Marty wanted me to take a selfie! I had fun talking to her too.

For a while we returned back to our house with Julie and just "chilled". And then it was time to go to the late service. 
10:30 Caroling which is always nice - 11 pm Service which is always uplifting

Christmas Day !!!

We were invited to Sarah's. Santa had been very good to Caleb! As soon as we arrived we had to go outside again. VIDEO!
There is a very funny story about the tractor. When we were all in Blackstone looking at the Model Trains, William and Caleb each picked out a little matchbox tractor for the other. William had picked a green tractor with a "bucket". Caleb announced that he didn't want a tractor with a bucket and Sarah almost fainted because she knew that Santa had the big one hidden at home just like it with a bucket! But then the boys swapped forth and back half a dozen times that day and they both ended up happy including Caleb with the green tractor with a bucket toy!
And on Christmas Day Caleb did not complain to Santa either.

It was cold and wettish outside but nice and cozy inside. Wade's parents were there and later more family came for lunch ... Carolyn, Jon and Cooper and Carolyn's parents.

Carolyn had a project. William cooperated very nicely as seen in the VIDEO!

In case you wondered: A handprint ornament from each child. What a good idea.

For dinner it was the young family with both sets of grandparents.

Kathy volunteered to take a selfie. She did a much better job then I ever could. Well done!

Of course we had fun pulling the crackers and reading the "lame" but still good jokes.

And then it was time to go home.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Visitors from TN - part 2

Monday December 19

Sarah had taken the day vacation to have time with her sister and nephew. We drove to her house and then we all piled into her car. The twins were at day care. We drove to Blackstone, a town about 1 hour away. I had heard that the hardware store has a "must-see" model train display every year.

We arrived in the town at noon and decided to have lunch first. We found a place but it took a while until we got food. Didn't really matter though.

This picture at the entrance was very interesting. It was a collage of tiny little soldier/military photos. 

And then we found the hardware store. William and Caleb posed for us.

The friends who had told me about it were right. It was amazing!!! Not only the boys but we adults too enjoyed seeing it. Its free and the people are so friendly.

William was allowed to take one of the trains into his hands.

I have added only a few of the photos into the blog but realize that none of them really can give you an idea how it was. I am sure that we didn't even notice half of all the little details. 
I did take videos though. In the second one I tried to capture a train car where two people popping out of the top shooting at each other like in a wild-west movie. 

And, of course, right there was also Santa. He gave them each a brown paper goody bag.

And if that wasn't enough there was also a ride in the caboose around the block in the offering. 

Before I forget I need to mention that it is probably best to go in the afternoon because when we arrived there were school classes which luckily were gone soon. Also, as mentioned, is was free but of course there was a donation "box". An offering is well deserved. And it was fun walking around in the old fashion hardware store which seemed to have one of everything ... not like Lowes or Home Depot who have of 50 of each of the same things.


Caleb came to play in the morning. Sarah had to take the twins for a follow-up visit at the doctor. William was very good (and patient) with his younger cousin.

Aunt Helen / Mommy organized a gingerbread house decorating. She was very good at it.
And yes, there is a VIDEO!

Caleb left to have his nap at home. Papa and Omi gave William his Christmas present: a Garmin kid's activity tracker. He wanted a "fitbit" so badly. I think it is a success. He was very happy and from then on took every opportunity to get steps like walking around our fireplace ... and getting "coins" for doing chores.

Papa also hit the jackpot by getting tickets for the Nutcracker ballet. William was glued to it the whole time. We all enjoyed it. 


The best day weather-wise.  So Papa, Omi and William are going for a walk in our neighborhood. Lovely to walk through pine needles, isn't it?

But then William found a cattail head. Amazing how much fun you can have with such an ordinary item. VIDEO!
We had to go and cut a whole one and take it back to the house and stick it into a vase.

Oh yes, William also helped to change the quilt to a more appropriate one for the season. I was lucky that Helen had offered to finish the hand sewing on the binding. I had started but ...
Thank, Helen! Now it is finally totally done.

It had been Helen's wish to do the James River walk with her father. Today was the day. William and I had things to do too. First he did a Lego thing. And he helped me to plant some pansies in my flower pots outside. He loves gardening.

Then he wanted to do a walk too and we went to the Meadow Farm Park which has a nice playground. He made a new friend there. The other boy even wanted to invite him to his birthday.

After lunch I needed to take care of the twins for a while because they had a bad cough and were too poorly to go to day care. Aunt Sarah had to go to work again. William was a great help. 

In the evening Santa "parachuted" from the loft down. William was very busy with that. I had to take several videos in slow-mo and watching them took time too.


Our visitors last full day. In the morning (when it was still rather cold) Helen and James had to do some shopping. William and I went to our church where I had a job to do. Again, he helped with that. I am such a lucky Omi.

In the afternoon we went to Maymont. It was lovely weather again. We always enjoy that place. There are lovely grounds and a few animals which are rescue creatures which can not be released into the wild any more.

Here you can for a quarter look through binoculars and learn about eagle eyes and how well the birds can see. William was impressed (and all for a quarter ha-ha).

The wing span of different birds.

We didn't see the bear Helen and James saw the day before when they walked on the path along the fence on the outside, but the statue was fun too.

William wanted to do some rock climbing but then he took a wrong step and landed in wetland. He pulled his foot out without the shoe. Well, no big deal. The foot had to go back into the shoe without the sock and all had to go into the washing machine at home.

Helen posted this photo to FaceBook with the words that we found the prettiest pinecones she has ever seen. I so agree with her. 

Friday December 23

The dreaded day. It meant Helen had to pack again. After lunch Papa and I had to bring Helen and William to the airport. 

Got to look at the bright side. We had a wonderful time together. That is something to be really thankful for.