Sunday, October 29, 2006
this is all of "my gang" -- w/ lucas holding raven, then me, then summer holding riahna, then jerry and scott. we are all pretty close and spend a lot of time together, so it's nice to have a picture that shows everyone together in 1 shot!
taking a nap isn't raven's favorite activity, but one that she definitely needs if i want to make sure she lives through another day. although sometimes trying to get her to take a nap almost insures that she's not going to live through another day!!!
so, i usually end up promising her a special activity IF she takes a nap. she LOVES to paint (and draw and color and otherwise create), so a special treat is to get to paint. you can see from her facial expression that she is very serious about what she is doing and this is very important to her. she is very careful and very precise -- as if she knows just exactly what she wants to do.
while is may not be obvious to the "unexperienced eye" -- in the picture above, she is creating a circle. but after some careful consideration, she decided to make her circle much larger (as shown by the outline in the picture below!)
after she got the larger circle drawn around her previously painted part, she decided that she should go ahead and paint it as if it were a pumpkin -- regardless of the mauve color of paint. of course, this is a work in progess, but it also shows a very happy artist working on her pumpkin w/ a face!
we keep her sketchbook/scrapbook out here for her to work on and save things for much later. i always put dates on the pages so that some day she can look back and see what she was doing at what age. i always thought that was so interesting myself to see how the abilities changed!
Friday, October 27, 2006
here's what out quilt blocks will look like. the material that separates the blocks will be the navy blue and that will also be what goes around the edges of the whole quilt, too. the maroon color will be what is used for the backing of the quilt. it was really neat for me to see it pieced together. when we were picking out the material, i "thought" it would look good together like that, but seeing it just made it look that much better.
evelyn told us not to expect it to be done until mid-spring, as she has been in a rag-rug making mood lately. she's made several sets, but wanted to have our material to work on our quilt for those days when her hands were sore from and/or too sore to work on the rag rugs. i have to admit, i can't wait to see it finished!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
we've known for quite some time that we were supposed to be getting this done, but we just hadn't gotten to it. when we went to kansas city and stopped to take evelyn out to breakfast, she also wanted to show me the quilt pattern that she had picked out for us so i would have an idea of what to expect and maybe make a difference in what colors we chose.
she had chosen the "jacob's ladder" pattern, which i thought was perfect since jerry's son's name is jacob. she gave us measurements of the amounts of material to get and then gave us the speech to get on it. she had been making rag rugs for quite some time, and her hands were really getting sore from that and she was wanting to start quilting again.
so, after the soccer game, we made a trip to famous barr (now macy's) to buy a deep fryer and then out east of joplin so we could head north on 71 hwy to find the sign advertising the quilt shop. it was just off the interstate in carthage, so it was easy to get to. jerry's favorite color is brown and mine is blues and purples, so we were trying to work those together somehow. that way we could both have something that we liked.
we ended up picking out 3 materials from the same line and are made to work together easily -- dark purple, navy blue, and tan. these colors then have all the same colors worked into the patterns on each one. i can't wait to see how it comes out. the didn't have enough material for the backing, so we had to order that and will pick it up soon. that's ok, though, b/c it'll be a little while before she gets the quilt done and is ready for the backing.
i'll post a picture when it's done, but i'm not sure when to expect that to be. she has started working on it already though, and showed me a practice block when we were up there last week. that made me even more excited to see the finished product!
Monday, October 23, 2006
i thought this sign drawing could also serve as a message to those people who seem to interrupt our lives long enough to try to make us miserable or to try to manipulate and control us. "at the junction of FU - take a right and keep on going."
now not only can you think the world is all about you, you'll be traveling on U highway and you can think the road was named for you as well. see how perfect that is?
Sunday, October 22, 2006
just in case you might not recognize people or know certain ones --
back row = jill campbell, dennis thomas, jeff friel, justin thomas, jerry friel (my hubby), regina thomas, jacob friel, chuck thomas.
middle row = evelyn friel, janie thomas and jessica thomas.
front row = raven warren, summer warren, and riahna warren (my granddaughters and daughter).
Saturday, October 21, 2006
we had a full weekend planned, as usual. we had been to see raven perform last night at half-time of the pittsburg high school football game -- but this morning, she would be riding the float with the jodi phillips dancers in the pitt state homecoming parade. it was quite a big deal in her world and we were all excited about it. especially after seeing her last night in her first public performance. even daddy was so swelled w/ pride i'm surprised he could get his big head in the car to go home!
the float was actually a semi and flatbed trailer, which made it very nice for the little ones to not have to walk the parade length. i wondered how raven would do being left to ride the float "alone," but she hooked up with some friends of our from church and seemed to do fine.
here is a picture of the float as it came down the parade route . . .
here's a little closer shot of the same picture, so you can get a good view of raven and friends . . .
right now, the float is right in front of us and raven has just spotted her family in the crowd and is pointing out and yelling to "grandma" in the crowd (that's my mother). she yelled out other names, too, but that one was the only one i heard. i got a real kick out of the look of excitement and surprise on her face when she saw us -- like maybe we wouldn't be there!?!
same picture, but closer view . . .
even closer, to truly see the excitement and surprise in her face as she points us out in the crowd. this was really a "big deal" for her, especially after the performance last night.
by this time in the parade, those lovely clouds from sunrise were dumping very large sprinkles on the crowd. some times we had our umbrellas up and using them, and other times we didn't need them. add a little cold weather to that, and we were all ready to run for the cars as soon as the parade was over. murphy's law states that raven's float was almost at the end of the parade, too!
we really had a nice sized group there, as jacob and boys had joined mickie, summer, lucas, riahna, scott, jerry, and me to watch the parade. the nice thing about the psu homecoming parade, too, is that so many people/groups throw candy and prizes for the kids that it really keeps the kids interested in watching the parade. we had to start hiding the candy, as the kids had picked up so much candy that it was falling out of their pockets every time they moved. the box of "overflow" candy sat on the cabinet at home for munching by the adults who needed a little sneak shot of sugar!
the homecoming football game, later in the afternoon, was so cold and wet/rainy that even the die-hard fans were leaving at half-time, as they weren't prepared for the weather. jacob, amanda, and the boys went to the game, but jacob and the boys left early, too.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
what a beautiful beginning to a perfectly wonderful day! we left the house around 7:15-ish to head to nevada, missouri, to take jerry's mother out to breakfast as we headed to kansas city. this was the view as we left out house -- just amazingly beautiful!
we went out to breakfast, had a nice visit, looked at quilt patterns, and then headed off to powell gardens in kansas city. evelyn has been making "rag rugs" but is tired of that and ready to make a quilt. she had material at one time for a quilt for jerry, but it was material that jerry didn't like so evelyn asked me to pick out some new material. she thought it would be easier to pick out material if i could see the pattern that she wanted to make for us.
here's a picture of jerry and me at powell garden, about 25 miles east of kansas city on highway 50. i had driven on a bus trip up there for the garden club and knew that i wanted to take jerry back there so he could see it. after my trip there, i suggested the gardens to an online group that i'm on for botanical art. now that we had time off and had wanted to go here anyway, i found out that an online friend, cynthia padilla -- botanical artist, was going to be there teaching classes. we decided to make the trip to coincide with her visit so i could meet up with her and say hi.
when i went in to look at her class, cynthia was talking and everyone was watching intently, so i left her a note that said i would be back later to say hi and jerry and i went on exploring the grounds together. it is an absolutely amazing place, even though i didn't think it looked that impressive when i first walked in last summer. it is much larger than a person thinks.
my favorite part is the water garden area, which just has so many things and parts to look at. i loved the water lilies and the huge lily pads. the peacefulness there, with the sound of the running/bubbling water combined with the sunshine and the breeze, felt just perfect. at first i was afraid the day was going to be cold, but it turned out just perfect. i was glad to be able to share that with jerry.
on the garden grounds, there is a beautiful chapel that overlooks the lake. visitors can walk over to the chapel and even go into the chapel and look out at the scenery. the view is breath-taking. as we were walking over to the chapel, i thought, "i wish we could've gotten married some place pretty like this . . . " and then i realized that we got married somewhere even prettier b/c the people we loved we there with us. once we were in the chapel and looking out, jerry said, "wouldn't it be neat to get married some place like this?" and then we just started laughing. while the chapel was beautiful, the full glass front letting the sunshine in or reflecting the flash at night would've made taking pictures a horrible nightmare.
after we had walked around the whole gardens and looked at the things we wanted, we headed back over to the main entrance, where cynthia was teaching her class so i could meet her. they were in the last 1/2 hour or so of class, so students were really immersed in their projects and she was free to chat a bit and take a picture together. if you want to see those pictures, you can find them at meeting at powell gardens.
after we left the gardens, we were planning to go into kansas city for some shopping and dinner but our plans changed. jerry looked at me and said, "you know what sounds good for dinner?" which at our house means that you are supposed to say "chicken mary's?" like you're just guessing. he just laughed and said "that's right!" so we just headed home instead of into the city and fighting the traffic at rush hour and all. a few minutes later, i said, "hey, why don't you call your mom and see if she and joleen want to meet up w/ us for dinner?" that's what we did and how we ended up having breakfast and dinner w/ jerry's mother.
we couldn't have planned a more perfect day if we had tried, so we were very happy w/ our day off together. it was amazing to realize that we hadn't even used up 1/2 of our time off yet! so much to do, so little time. so many pictures to take and blog, so many things to do, so little time!
of course i didn't have any hunting clothes and there is nothing camo in my closet, so i had to borrow clothes to wear. i did have hiking boots, though, thanks to being a prom sponsor when the theme was "jungle" and we all dressed like tour guides. i borrowed jacob's bibs and jerry's sweatshirt -- and then was fully dressed in 2 layers underneath all that. it was a chilly morning out there.
it was really more like being on one of those wildlife shows, as i wasn't hunting and jerry had already gotten his birds. in our house, if you kill it, you clean it. since being elbow deep in animal blood and guts doesn't really appeal to me, i'm not really too thrilled to kill anything. the only things i would be interested in shooting don't have a hunting season, so i just don't bother.
we trekked out into the woods, sat in the cold, drank coffee and waited on the turkeys to show up. all i could think of during this time was bill engvall's routine about taking his wife hunting and she asked "what time will they be here?" obviously these turkeys didn't answer the invitation either, as they never did arrive.
we sat out there in the woods for about 2 hours waiting on them, but no luck. jerry had a turkey call and got one to answer back a time or two, but that was it. as we left the house, jerry had made me a thermos of coffee for the expedition, which was very nice and warm. while we were sitting out in the woods, jerry said, "i'm surprised you made it out of the house this morning without a coke." i just looked at him like he had lost his mind and pointed to the bulge sticking out of the front of my bibs that didn't match up w/ any body part.
jerry and jacob had gone turkey hunting for the evening, as jerry was trying to help jacob scare up a bird to shoot. jacob is really feeling the pressure that dad got 2 birds (with one shot) and he hasn't gotten a shot at any birds yet, so that means more trips hunting and looking for birds!
i had dinner all ready and was just waiting on the guys to get in from hunting and decided to go outside and get some things out of my car. this beautiful sunset made it worth the trip to run back in the house and get my camera to take a picture -- a beautiful end of the day on the end of the work week and beginning of vacation for us.
so there you have it. little girls CAN wear little boys underwear and still be quite feminine about it. the first time raven had these underwear on, she came walking down the hallway and her mommy and daddy could hear a jingle. when they asked her what that noise was, she showed them that she could even carry quarters in her "special pocket' in her new underwear! i think you boys out there know what special pocket i'm talking about!
anyway, the other day when she was out to stay at my house, she told me as soon as she arrived that she was wearing her spiderman underwear. she was totally dressed in pink until she got in the house and stripped down to her underwear, but who would know it then!
she was quite content to run around for the day at memaw's in her underwear, even though i though it was rather chilly in the house and outside.
when it came time to get ready for dance, the little girlie-looking princess was all dressed up in pink -- pink dance leotard, pink tights, pink crocs, pink ballet bag -- and spiderman underwear, which were fortunately hidden by the dance outfit!
after all, who knows what you wear under there?
Saturday, October 14, 2006
here is raven posing in her dance outfit by the little tree outside of their house. i had a hard time getting a good picture of her, though, as she was more interested in looking at the cat that was walking around than getting a pretty smile on her face and looking at the camera.
oh well -- beggars can't be choosers, i guess!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
i don't go out there often, and i think i've only been there 5 times since his death. of course i was there for the funeral and graveside services, but i mean after that point. i went out there w/ mom after the headstone was set, as she wanted me to see how nice it looked. after that time, i've only been out there when things were dreadfully wrong in my life and i felt totally miserable and alone.
some people may find it disrespectful that i don't visit the graves of my ancestors on a regular basis, but i mean no disrespect in my actions. in my heart, they do not reside where their headstone is but in my heart, in my memories, and in my photos. visiting their headstone only shows other people that i am there and makes no statement to the people who are now gone.
i feel that i show respect to those i loved and who are now gone by the life i live and the choices i make in my life -- and not the number of times i have visited their graves.
my father was the most awesome man i have ever met and probably no one will ever surpass his stature in my eyes. he was always loving, always kind, always patient, and always there. i know he was very popular all of his life and other people may have a different view of him than i do -- but this view is coming from a child-now-adult who could test the patience of a saint. i never saw him drink, never heard him lie, never heard him badmouth other people, never heard him cuss, never heard or saw him treat my mother, or anyone, w/ disrespect (and God help the person who did!), never saw him give in when he felt he was right, and i never saw him do something that he knew was wrong.
now, don't get me wrong -- i didn't always agree w/ him, but i DID always respect and love him. when we did disagree, it was usually a very strong battle of the wills. sometimes there was never a "winner", but instead we "agreed to disagree" and other times we kept at it until the disadvantaged one gave in (that would be me as the disadvantaged one b/c i was still a kid who knew which side my bread was buttered on!).
i miss him more than words can say and i wish he were here still to be a part of my life. his body is not, but his love and memory will always be in my life as i truly feel that his love and support is what allowed me to be the person who i have become. some people would have tried to crush my personality, my spirit, and my will -- but he never tried that. he only tried to point me in the right direction, was there to pick me up when i was down, to dust me off and point me back in the right direction, and kick me in the patootie when i needed it.
amazing how he softened when he had grandchildren. suddenly the man who was so strict at times was suddenly out on the lawnmower tractor at 6:30 in the morning driving the kids around in the yard b/c they wanted to ride. he waited up until wee hours of the morning for us to arrive home from arkansas to help carry them in. he always carried lifesavers wintergreen mints in "papa's cannie pocket" and always had time to stop what he was doing and play. every time he went to the grocery store, he stocked up on candy "for the grandkids", although he sure helped them out on eating that bulk brock's candy mix.
here is a picture of 4 of the 5 grandchildren (stormy wasn't born yet) taken in the spring of 1990 (with kyle at 3, summer at 6, cody at almost 2, and scott at 4) in danor and mickie's front room watching television together
this man made a lasting impression on many people, but the impact on my life and of my children is gigantic. too bad he's not here to see his great-grandchildren, as i know he would certainly get a kick out of their antics. now that i'm a grandparent, i can certainly understand how suddenly what the children want to do is the most important thing in life. those little ones keep life in perspective.
here's a picture of my dad and "my sweet dolly" (his pet name for summer), probably taken in about 1993-4 b/c i figure summer is about 9-10 in this picture.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
"Here in the Land of Wuz,
they're havin' twice the fun!
'Cuz every single thing is really two-in-one!
A little bit of this... a little bit of that!
And when you add it up you get a lot of laughs!
Oooh they got originality -
driven with a split personality!
'We're the Wuzzles' (Ooooooooh, yeah!)
'We're the Wuzzles' (Oooh oh, yeah!)
Two times the fun, wrapped up and rolled into one!
Oooh they got originality -
living with a split personality!
We're the Wuzzles (Ooooooooh, yeah!)
We're the Wuzzles (Oooh oh, yeah!)
Two times the fun, wrapped up in one!"
well, this last summer, i thought i had entered into the land of wuz or something funky like that. i knew i was tired, but i didn't think i was hallucinating! raven and i had gone out to look at the front flowers, and we saw the strangest thing. it looked like a hummingbird had cross-mated with a bumble bee. seriously! i'm sure i haveever "seen" one before, but it took me a minute to be sure it wasn't a small hummingbird.
come to find out, thanks to kimberly in my botanical arts group, this is called a "hummingbird moth". seems sensible. it hovers over the flowers and sucks nectar out of them with a long, flexible tube (called a proboscus), which rolls up when not in use. this looks just like a hummingbird's beak.
this moth looked so much like a bee that raven didn't want it near her "because it might stung me!" yet it hovered and flew like a hummingbird. i asked several people who i thought might know what these were, and no one seemed to have any idea. it had been a mystery to us until the unexpected information was given to me when i asked and was provided with other caterpillar information.
what i found most amazing, though, is that this beautiful moth is the adult form of this nasty little worm that most people despise -- the tomato hornworm or the tobacco hornwom. i had some of these little demons try to take over my cherry tomato and tomato patch this summer, but as soon as i/we saw we had them -- a good dose of Seven dust took care of the problem. obviously we didn't kill them all or we wouldn't have had the hummingbird moths flying around here -- but we tried!
here is a tobacco hornworm who was feasting on the tomato plants when i went out to check on them.
a close-up of the same picture -- just to make sure you can get a good look at the nasty guy in his natural habitat.
then i decided to keep him in a jar to show to raven instead of killing him instantly, so i brought him in the house and put him in a mason jar w/ holes poked in the lid and some tomato leaves to feed on. he went through those leave in no time -- i was shocked at how much he could eat so quickly! because i saw that, i was actually out dusting the garden at midnight one night b/c i didn't want them to have all night to feed before they got dusted!
while i had him in the house, i decided to go ahead and take a couple more pictures of him -- that way if i decided to draw him, it wouldn't be so hard to see him against the background. he wasn't moving too fast by this time, but he did manage to crawl away from the top of the pizza box where i had put him for his pictures while i was busy looking for the camera. then i had to scout around the kitchen for him and found him curled up in the tomato laying out to ripen.
not to worry, though. this big nasty guy didn't become a hummingbird moth -- i took care of him! well, actually, he kind of took care of himself. i thought he was dead, so i dropped him in the cardboard coke box in the trash can. unfortunately for me, he wasn't dead yet and he crawled up and out of there and halfway across the kitchen floor before i found him -- w/ my bare feet.
i might have been the winner of that encounter . . . but it didn't really feel too exciting, if you know what i mean!
Monday, October 09, 2006
on 5/09/06 as jerry and i were coming home from town w/ raven in the car w/ us, jerry suddenly stopped in the middle of our gravel road. he said, "hang on, i think i see something."
i hadn't noticed anything, so imagine how surprised i was when he got back in the car and handed me an alligator snapping turtle to hold "so we could show it to raven". yeah, it was just a little guy, but still!
as soon as we pulled in the drive and got raven out of the car seat, we had the little turtle down on the concrete so she could get a good look at him. she was decked out in her new tennis shoes, and after she studied it a little bit, she looked at me and said, "can i stomp 'im?"
i said, "NO, you can not stomp him!"
she thought a little bit and then said, "i stomp ants." (as if that was justifiction for stomping anything more!)
i said, "no, you can't stomp him. we're just going to look at him a little bit and then we're going to take him down to the water and let him go back to his mommy."
i could tell by the way she was stepping and dancing around that the urge to stomp on the little turtle was very strong, so i was ready to grab her up any moment to keep her from it.
to ensure the turtle's safety, i decided to sit down on the ground w/ raven and hold the turtle and point things out to her about the turtle. alligator snapping turtles are mean and dangerous as adults, but this little guy wasn't big enough to cause anyone harm . . . yet.
since raven had a 5-day old baby sister at home, we looked at the turtle's little nose, little mouth, the little sharp point on the mouth where they bite, little eyes, little legs, little claws (just like baby sister's fingernails . . . kinda). we talked about his little tail and how his shell was put together like little sections and how it provided protection from things (like getting stomped on by a toddler).
we looked at how he wrapped his tail up and tucked it under his shell and how he used his claws to help move him along while he was walking. we probably looked him over and watched him move around for about 20 minutes. it was so neat to see her fascination w/ all the little things . . . once we got past the urge to stomp it.
looking at the little turtle it was amazing how it is just put together like a little armoured tank. i know what the adults are like and what they look like. they are so strong and their necks are so long that if you pick one up by the tail, it can still reach around and bite you. once that vice-like jaw has you in its grip -- there is just about nothing you can do to get out of it unless it decides to let go.
this picture just gives you a true perspective of how little this turtle was. i have no idea how old it was, but it couldn't have been very old. i honestly can't believe that jerry saw it lying in the gravel road as we were driving, especially since mario andretti has nothing on jerry's driving. (disclaimer -- not that my driving is any calmer, but i wouldn't have seen a turtle this size in the road as i was traveling down a gravel road at the speed i normally drive!)
anyway, after our time of looking at the little turtle, we walked down to the culvert about 100 yards from the driveway and "let him go back to his mommy". raven cried b/c she wanted to keep him, but she understood that idea that he would want his mommy.
as we dropped him down in the water, jerry looked at me and said, "you're gonna be sorry some day that you let that little guy go." jerry has a deep hatred for turtles in general b/c some turtle ate his big fish he had on his stringer when he was little, so he does his best to eliminate their descendants to pay for the sins of those fish-eating/fish-stealing ancestors.
am i sorry for not killing the little guy? no, i have no need to wantonly kill nature -- that's not a part of who i am. but if i ever have a run-in with a mean SOB alligator snapping turtle some day -- you know jerry's not going to let me hear the end of it. he'll be sure that was the little guy that i could've killed years before but didn't b/c i "let him go back to his mommy".
this meeting was a great experience and a learning experience for all of us, but especially for raven. if we meet up w/ this turtle again, the outcome might not be so pleasant for all those involved!