Tuesday, December 30, 2008

At My Sister's House Today

We are getting ready to visit friends for New Year's Eve. Before I go, I just want to make a quick post to say hello.

Another Tuesday... the day I take care of my nieces while my sister goes to work.

First, Sammy says "Hi!".

Sarah (complete with pink apron) studying a recipe:

Sarah and her friend Rachel:

Molly watching Animal Planet:

I started this blog in 2008, and it's been an interesting year. I've met some delightful people via the internet. I feel connected in a way that wasn't possible before I came here. I look forward to 2009, as I am beginning the new year with my new blogland friends.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Brown Family Christmas

On Saturday, we drove to my niece's house to celebrate Christmas with family in Ohio. She lives out in the country, and it's a pretty drive. On the way we saw this house... its yard was full of deer... the wire kind. I could capture only a small portion of it with my camera. There were hundreds of them!

This is my niece Erin and her youngest child, Parker:

This is her husband Jeff, with Parker:

This is my husband with Jackson, Erin and Jeff's middle chlld. (They wore matching shirts.)

There were cousins from Kentucky visiting cousins from Ohio. They had a lot of fun together:

They opened gifts:

Emma got a new laptop. Emma is Erin and Jeff's oldest child:

We had dinner. This is Molly and Emma at the childrens' table:

This is Erin with Emma and Parker.

I am lucky to have all these young nieces and nephews. We all had fun. It was a nice Christmas!

Friday, December 26, 2008

It Always Goes So Fast!

Looking back on Christmas day...
I'm afraid I was too busy having fun and drinking mimosas to take many pictures on Christmas, but I did manage to catch quick candids of my three nieces. The only time they were sitting still long enough to photograph was when they were concentrating on their DS games or their new books.

And then, of course, there was Sammy with her new toy! (Bottom photo)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thank You!

I appreciate each and every one of you who visit me here. Your comments touch my heart and make me smile. I hope each one of you has a happy holiday.

(All photos from my sister's Christmas tree.)

... and Mele Kalikimako! (This one's at my house!)

A Long Tuesday

Yesterday was Tuesday, which means I take care of my three nieces, ages 7, 9, and 11. Usually I pick them up at school at 3:00. School is out for Christmas, so I spent the whole day with them yesterday. My sister and her husband were both working across the Ohio River in Indiana for the day. I came to their house at 9:00 in the morning. They were still in their P.J.s so they took showers and got dressed. They had a friend come over and play in the morning. At lunch time, I made lunch for the four of them.

We decided to go to the movie, "High School Musical Three". It was showing at a local theater near my house that has a special rate of $1.75 for everyone on Tuesdays. They loved it! They smiled and laughed all the way through it. My husband came with us, and he bought them all special treats at the snack bar. We even found seats all together. When we went into the theater the sky was gray and rain was predicted. When we came out, we found that there was an ice storm well underway. The parking lot was like an ice skating rink!

We heard on the radio that the roads were a mess, and there were many accidents. They said all the highway ramps were closed so they could put salt down. Rather than go to my sister's house we all came back to our house, which is much closer to the theater. We had hot chocolate, played games, made crafts, and watched the Disney Channel. On the news, they kept saying the situation was getting worse by the minute. We began to wonder if we would be able to get them home. Then their mom and dad called. They were stuck in Indiana, because the bridge over the Ohio River was closed due to ice.

As it turns out, my brother-in-law sat in his car on an entrance ramp to the bridge for four hours! My sister, after hearing about the bridge being closed, found the nearest Indiana WalMart and finished her Christmas shopping. At nine p.m. we thought it would be possible to get the girls home. They were tired and wanted their P.J.s, their stuffed animals, and their own beds. So, we drove slowly and carefully (in 4-wheel drive) to my sister's house. Their dog, Sammy, had been in her crate all afternoon and evening, so she was happy to see us too!

When we got to their house we had snacks and watched "Mulan". My sister and her husband finally got home from Indiana at 11:30 p.m. Those were three happy little girls... to finally be at home, and to have their mom and dad safe at home.

I can imagine all the trouble so many people across the country are having, this holiday, traveling to see family and friends. Stranded in airports, stuck in traffic. We had just a little taste of it yesterday, and are so thankful we are staying home for Christmas this year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rollercoaster Weather!

Remember the other day, when I reported it was 67 degrees here, and I could open some windows? Well, today it's three degrees above zero here in Kentucky. No snow on the ground, but lots of frost on the berries.

At least we don't have blizzard conditions like other parts of the country, though. And it's supposed to warm up again in the next few days... crazy!

I found this picture on Google... from what I am hearing, some places really do look like this! If you are in one of these places, you have my sympathy.

On the other hand, if you are in a warm, tropical place like our new president-elect... please invite me over!

aka: Heaven

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Just Wasn't Paying Attention

Over the past month I have been in and out of the mall about half a dozen times, doing some Christmas shopping. I always go in and out the same door so I can remember where I parked my car. As I walked by, I noticed a small group of marines standing by the entrance, wearing their camouflage uniforms. I was a little curious about what they were doing there... were they waiting for a ride? Just sitting and chatting? I saw them there several times, but never looked closely. Yesterday, I saw there was one lone marine sitting there. Then I noticed a small pile of toys next to him. Then I saw the sign lying on the ground... Toys for Tots. Why hadn't they made the sign more visible? I hadn't noticed it before. Then I felt really bad, thinking of all the times I had passed them, not knowing they were there to collect toys.

I had some packages in my car, and among them was a toy I was planning to return to the store. It was for one of my nieces, who had been requesting this toy for a while. The day before, I had shown it to my sister and she told me "oh, she already got that toy, for her birthday". So, I was planning to take it back. However, when I saw the tiny pile of toys the marine had collected, I decided to go back to my car and get the package. Instead of returning it to the store, I gave it to him for Toys for Tots. He said it was the last day of the toy drive, and he was only going to be there for another half hour or so. It turns out I got this toy turned in at the very last minute.

I would have been glad to drop off more toys earlier if I had paid attention to what they were doing. My nieces have more toys than they know what to do with, and I was reminded that some kids have none. What was I thinking? I felt guilty for ignoring them all the times before, but I was happy that I at least got one toy in at the last minute.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Strange Weather

Two days ago, our schools were closing because of a snow and ice storm. Today it's 67 degrees, balmy and breezy. By this weekend we are expecting "bone chilling cold". We are getting a little bit of everything here in Kentucky. At least we aren't getting the winter storms that are affecting Chicago and the East Coast (yet!).

This afternoon, it was warm enough to open some windows. I took this photo of my three kitties... they are gathered at the open door to sniff the outdoors. As soon as they hear a door or window open they come running.

It may be spring-like out there today, but it sure looks like winter. Look at my back yard view... just bare trees. That's what I don't like about winter... lack of color.

On the other hand, that's what I love about Hawaii... color everywhere you look!

...not to mention the outdoor showers!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Mood

The holiday mood is finally beginning to creep up on me. I went out this morning and did a big chunk of my Christmas shopping. I went early so the stores were not crowded. I hardly had to wait in any lines. Everyone I encountered was in a good mood, and pleasantries were exchanged, stranger to stranger. I even maneuvered the parking lot with a minimum of trouble.

So, I came home and took some photos of holiday images around my house. There is a little bit of snow on the ground, so it looks pretty right now.

I like it when plants grow their own decorations. Here is a little bush with red berries:

This little tree sprouted some funny little pods, which you can see hanging from a branch:

I especially like pine cones. I have baskets full of them:

And Tiger jumped up in the window to see what I was doing out there.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Animals in My Life

Katie is a Maine Coon cat. We adopted her from Lancaster County, PA. She rules the roost.

Tiger is one of two strays who adopted us here in Kentucky. He is shy and gentle.

Tinkerbell is Tiger's littermate, the other stray who adopted us. She is laid back, clumsy, and lovable.

Sammy lives at my sister's house with my three nieces. Sammy is the best, friendliest, smartest dog ever.