Monday, December 15, 2014

Jingle and Mingle....Arends style!

It's hard to believe this weekend is over and we're back home.  Our family get togethers are always packed with good fun, good food, good people and many memories.   Before we left home, our tree needed to get decorated.  Thanks Addy and Lexi for lending a hand and doing a great job!
TA DA!  With the tree done and our bags packed....along with tons of stuff we  packed in the car...we headed out.  The weather  has been a weird warm.  That's OK with me because it makes the drive much easier and less stressful.  We've  had our fun of "dashing through the snow" in past years...I'll take this warm weather!  We're lucky to have Mom with us.  At 88 she's a marvel!
Isn't she cute?!  This year my niece Katie and  her family were hosting the "Jingle and Mingle" event.  They have a beautiful  home and plenty of room for all.
Pretty huh? Then the family began to appear.  Young and youngers!
My niece Amy and her little boy Parker.  (She's a mom of 3...all 3 and under!)
My brother Rick (with Jack) came from northern Wisconsin...he looks so much like my Dad!
Mom and Katie's Mother-in-law who's holding the youngest member...Amy's little guy Conner (7 months old).  Hmm...Mom the younger and Conner the youngest! Ha!
Of course Santa made an appearance for all the other "youngest" of us! His glasses were steamed up..he's used to the frigid North Pole, not the warmish Chicago.
My niece Katie with her little guy Mason giving Santa his gift of cookies.
It was then time for the adults to have the yearly "White Elephant" gift exchange.  Maybe you call it "Bad Santa" gift exchange.  No matter, it's always a hoot!  Somehow everyone gets that perfect, imperfect present.  Many times the same gifts get re-gifted each year.  Like this one:
These charming Christmoose shorts have made a few appearances on my blog over the years!  Along with the moose made out of socks wreath....enjoy Vicki and and George!
My Sister is eagerly digging into her gift....glass cleaner and wipes and car freshners...(from yours truly!) She loved it!  It was very fun to see how perfect the gifts were for those who received them this year.  My brother's daughter is getting married next year and she opened the often passed around gift of a fertility goddess...given by my niece Amy..you know, the one with 3 kids 3 and under! Amy was very happy to get that thing out of her house! I'm sure Betsy will be too! My sister-in-law who hates sock monkeys got the last gift left...a sock monkey mug...go figure!  So what did I get? Well, what every good non-drinking Mormon girl needs:
A bottle of wine and a dish to put cheese on....it was re-gifted immediately! Ha! Time went quickly...dinner was delish and all the goodies were overwhelming...the company was fun and I even got to talk to my brother in Atlanta who couldn't make it out this year.  Hugs were given all around:
And soon it was time to go.  As I looked around the room I realized that all the little ones who used to scamper for Santa and eagerly await his arrival, are now the ones with kiddos who are continuing the tradition.  The younger members are hosting the event instead of Mom or one of us.  We miss those who couldn't make it.  None of my boys could this year but my Granddaughter Driana did..along with her boyfriend.  Makes me feel very old!  I'm grateful for this family and for the love and laughter and good times that have been the constant over the years.  It's good to have the important things stay the same!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Let the party begin!

We made it to the family "jingle and mingle" in Chicago. Sophie, my sister's dog is ready!
 The tree at Mom's is festive.
 Mom is festive too!
 These two crazy kids are excited to see everyone and gather all the blog worthy moments...to be continued..

Monday, December 8, 2014

Where Have I Been?

It's already December 8th...I haven't blogged in over a week! In fact, it was Thanksgiving.  This month is full, full, full.  Work is busy as it usually is this time of year.  Folks want those surgeries done before the end of the year for many reasons, but our hospital is facing some big changes in the next few weeks and that's pushing us to do more.  We'll be merging with some other health care company. We (the employees) don't know yet who (or is it whom?)  that will be.  We could even have our  hospital taken over and then closed.  Thanks to our country's health care reform, it will be the death of many small town hospitals.  (Don't get me started on that!)  You can imagine the stress we're facing and added to long work days and nights and weekends,  it's taking it's toll.  But it's also Christmas and that's suppose to be fun...right?  Well, I'm getting it done and that's where I've been....
Making candy...like these peanut butter cups..
And buckeyes!  I've made these for many years.  I learned how after moving to this buckeye state long ago!  However, I never saw a real buckeye nut until moving to the Pines..
These are the real deal from our tree...they're poison BTW...the nuts, not my candy!
Along with the sweets, comes the savory.  Yesterday I made a pot of homemade potato soup...perfect for the rainy, cold day we had.
Yum!  However, today was a beauty!  It was sunny and crisp this morning.
See the frost on the pool?
As I admired the sun I decided to snap a few pics.  Then I spied a little doggy doo-doo that must have been left by my sweet Eddy..or perhaps the neighbor's dog.  So with my camera around my neck, dressed in my bathrobe, wearing my hubby's giant shoes, I grabbed the nearest shovel...a snow shovel no less...and preceded to scoop.  The thought did cross my mind that if my neighbor next door happened to be out feeding chickens or whatever,  I would be a lovely sight indeed!  Oh well!  This day had blue skies...
The fire that heats our home sends up smoke signals into that beautiful sky.  After church I put together some chicken and decided to grill.  Hey, this was like a day in Florida!  Ok, maybe a day in Florida that was under a deep freeze! But perfect for grilling!
Love that smokey flavor!  So that's what I've been up too..as well as decorating..
Hanging my greetings and doing my best to be:

Throw in some shopping and shipping and that about sums up this month so far...and it's only the first week!  A trip to Chicago is coming up and that always has blog worthy moments.  Can't wait! Oh, a special thanks to my son Jordan for putting our tree up so we can decorate it today.  He comes every Sunday to do his laundry and let Eddy run in the Creepy woods.  When I came home from church it was up....nice surprise! Thanks Jord!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gobble Gobble

This day was fast and furious!  The cooking frenzy had me going and forgetting to get those blog worthy pics!  I made the usual menu...turkey, stuffing, gravy, pies...just to name a few!  The family gathered here at the Pines. (Over the river and through the "creepy" woods!) Big and small, young and old.  We did the seating a bit different this year.  I had such good success with the tables in the livingroom at our Halloween party that we decided to try it for Thanksgiving.
We had 14 for dinner, and being able to all be together in the same room was great. Usually we can fit 8 around the regular diningroom table and then the split comes in...little ones at a separate table, or others gather in the kitchen area across from the diningroom. Not really fun for being together.  This new arrangement worked out great.  We ate, laughed, told stories and just enjoyed the time together.  Our son who lives in Oregon (Portland) skyped and we were able to say hi to the other grandkiddos and family out there..not as nice a being here in person, but we're thankful for technology.  I would have loved to share pics of the annual pumpkin shoot out...only the pumpkins were nonexistent. The very cold temps and then warmer ones made them into mush the other day. I actually had to get a snow shovel out and scoop the messiness into the creek.  I hope the deer and other critters had a little feast on the seeds and pumpkin meat!  Maybe we'll have better luck next year.  Soon the time had come for going home.  I did snap a few pics of the kiddos. I look at their faces and can't believe how old they are getting!  Summer was only 3 when we moved to the Pines..Anthony, Cameron, Addy and Lexi...not even born yet.  Time moves on and this year is flying. I'm glad we have this special day to think of our blessings...say our thanks to the Lord for all we've been given and for surviving those challenges we've also been given.   I feel blessed with family, friends, church, work, and technology that lets me connect with others all over this world who make blogging so much fun.   Here's a few of our blessings:
Addy and Lexi with their favorite dolls.
Anthony and Cameron...2 of my favorite dolls!
Jackie and Evelyn
Driana with her "arm knitted" scarf that she made in about 20min! I kid you not...or knot!
Sister Summer...I have to laugh at the girls change of hair color...Summer, usually a blond, is now a brownette..and Driana had red hair today....Ahhh youth!
We did have plenty of food.  This is just the last of the desserts! 
Hope your day was great...my sign says it all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Little Turkey

1975....A cold, snowy, Tuesday evening...November 25th.  I had been having stomach pains all day.  I worked all day.  I kept thinking that there was no way I could be in labor.  Yes, I was pregnant with our first kiddo.  The baby..(back then we had no ultrasounds to determine sex)...wasn't due until the end of January.  I just had gotten into maternity clothes...(I was very thin back then!) and in fact, I could still wear regular clothes.  However, the pains never stopped and after a call to my OB doc,  Jack and I took off for the hospital.  Just to be checked out the doctor said.  It was the same hospital where I worked.  He didn't think I was in labor either. Oh well, it sure felt like labor by then! And lo and behold....45min. later our first son was born. We named him Jack after his Dad and Grandfather....Jack the 3rd.  Weighing in at 2lbs..10oz...he was our tiny turkey right before Thanksgiving!  But he was fighter and against all odds..he thrived...and grew up and turned into a wonderful adult.  He turned 39 today...(same age as me..ha!)
He was a quiet, sweet little boy.  Smart as all get out and athletic too.  He has amazing blue eyes..like his Dad! Blond hair...like his Dad! I thought for sure all my kids would have dark hair and eyes...like their Mom!  He always gets to share his birthday with Thanksgiving....some years it's on the same day.  He's a wonderful dad and we love those Grandkiddos!  Happy Birthday Jackie! (only I call him that!) We love you!
He's just one of the many things we have to be thankful for!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pumpkins and Ed...Totally Unrelated Post

I have a Halloween decoration that's a spider...it's made out of wrought iron and you put a pumpkin on it and it looks like a spider...or a pumpkin with eight legs..whatever. Anyway, I always put a scary face on the pumpkin, but after Halloween is over I turn it around so you can't see the face and leave it until Thanksgiving.  Hey, I'm thrifty...so sue me.  This morning I was coming downstairs and looked out the window that's on the side of the front door.  I saw this number:
Ha! You can't see this from the front but it looks like this guy is really, really mad...first off he used to be a white pumpkin but has turned orange and also he's very frost bit because it was a zillion degrees below normal this past week.  You can also see the snow  that hadn't melted yet this morning.  All in all, I think this guy has a right to look mad.  I hate to tell him this, but in a few days...on Thanksgiving...we have a pumpkin shoot out with bows and arrows.  We use the pumpkins left over from our Fall decorating and shoot the snot out of them and then toss them in the creek for the deer or any other critters to munch on.  It's tough being a pumpkin at the Pines. On another note, Eddy came for a visit last week and Jack and I took him for a trot in the Creepy Woods.
Yes Eddy, we're coming right behind you.  Always on the look out for anything out of the ordinary he first looks right:
Then left:
Then he declares it OK:
So off we go for a walk to his favorite haunts...then he heads for home:
Come on folks....the sun is setting....my feet are cold...yes, we all lead exciting lives here at Whispering Pines. Glad you could join us!

Monday, November 17, 2014

S. N. O. W

S---SOME
N--NASTY
O--OLD
W--WOMAN (MOTHER NATURE)

Sent this snow storm our way.  It's the first real snow of our season.  Yes, it's pretty.  I'm not complaining (too much).  I thought I would blog this because then I can look back next year and know when the first real snow of our season attacked  fell.
This was the scene early this morning....dark o'clock.  It's our crab apple tree. I think I was more "crabby" than it was.
Poor, pathetic scarecrow crow.
The view from one of the few windows in the surgery department...right over the dumpsters. Oh well, you atleast can see the trees!
When I pulled into our driveway this afternoon,  I had to laugh at this scarecrow...the wind was blowing and it looks like he's crossing his legs because he has to pee! Ha! Somewhere in front of the sign there's a few more pumpkins....under the snow!
Same crab apple tree as this morning, only a little blue sky and sun makes me not so "crabby"!