Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back Home and Back to Work
















































Some of us are back home and back to work. Others of us are back home and sleeping in! We had a great Christmas together. As much fun as it was to be together, in some ways its good to be home and getting some rest from all of the stresses of traveling. We are so very grateful for our family and for the good relationships that we have with each other. It's amazing to watch our family grow. Now that Audrey and Sam are engaged the circle is almost complete. In fact the best part of the baby blessing for Owen was to see the priesthood circle of our family! (We look forward to a time when Mike and Carrie and Nicholas can also be with us)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Update

Ron, mom, and I arrived in Stillwater, OK on Monday evening. We stopped in Dallas on the way to take a tour of JCPenney corp. to see where Audrey works. We also took one picture of the burb near Leona TX- when the 200,000 miles rolled over. If, I post that picture, Ron wants to know which old girl has more miles- me or the burb? :) Of course it's me :) (The burb only represents miles on ONE car, that I have driven to death. There have been others.)
Any way...back to Christmas-
Sam and Audrey arrived on Wednesday evening. Christmas morning was just for Jared and Nathan. Christmas afternoon, Micah, Alison, Daniel, Ashley, and Jaden all arrived. We never told Nathan and Jared that Jaden was coming. And Jaden knew he was going on a trip but he didn't know where. SURPRISE- three boys together. Christmas evening we had a huge dinner, round two of gifts and our family Christmas story/singing. Now we are hanging around- all of us at Annie's house. Good thing, our kids all like each other and enjoy each others company. Tomorrow we will all go to church- Alex will bless Owen at sacrament meeting, since most of our family is here. Sunday evening and then Monday morning we will start heading home. We should have Owen sufficiently spoiled by then :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

This and That

I got started decorating and then got busy with other things. So ... no lights in the yard, not much decor inside either. My trees look much nicer in person than the photos. I don't have time for any other explaination. Ron almost has the car loaded- so we are about to leave for Stillwater, Ok. We will be back after Christmas- it should be a great week!









We are headed off to Oklahoma today. Before we even make it to Dallas, my suburban will turn over 200,000 miles. Ron was suggesting we might have a celebration when that happens. But, probably we will just watch it roll over and say- look at that :) Then we will be praying like crazy that it makes the trip and back okay! This picture was a few years ago. It has more wear and tear now, some things are just getting worn out on it and Ron thinks its a truck to haul lumber in :) I'm hoping that the 'car maker crisis' will get to the point where they are giving away suburbans- then I'll get a new one. Until that happens we will probably drive this one until it dies :) (Thanks Karen - this has been a great car!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

O K Simms

No pictures yet, but we have a name- Owen Knight Simms.
Annie and Owen will go home on Friday. Audrey is there now with Nathan and Jared, but after she leaves later today- Alex has a schedule that he needs to stick to for "when and where" the boys will be for tonight, tomorrow and Friday :)

December 16 Birthdays




Yesterday Jaden was four years old! Yes!
(I don't even want to think about how old that makes me:) AND The Simms have another boy, who will get to share his birthday with Jaden, but...
we don't even have a name yet. Stay tuned for more details to come. I'm sure that Annie will be blogging soon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Lights


I have two favorite things about Christmas. One is the Christmas music and the other is Christmas lights. The Christmas music is easy to come by, just pop in the CD or turn on the radio. In fact the radio stations started having Christmas music long before Thanksgiving. (Which I think was a little too early.) At church we sing Christmas hymns all month and have various activities where the Christmas hymns are sung or played. At our Relief Society Christmas dinner the two missionaries from our ward sang Silent Night, which was very good. Ron and I went to an activity last night that had great Christmas music. I hope everyone is taking the opportunity to participate in activities this month to enjoy the music of the season. The Christmas hymns bring a beautiful spirit with them.
Enjoying the Christmas lights takes more effort than enjoying the music. The lights around the house always take several steps- find them, untangle them, figure out what bulbs are burned out, find new bulbs, replace the bad ones, and then actually put them up. At this point this year, we are still trying to find them :) I have always loved driving around to look at the houses decorated with Christmas lights. Ron never has been very fond of that. When the kids were younger, sometimes he would go along for the ride and sometimes just the kids and I went. This year, I have a new plan. I'm going to try to figure out a good place to go see lights here in Houston and then Ron will want to go with me and he will have fun, because...

we will be able to go in his car with the top down. Only in Texas can you go look at Christmas lights in the convertible :) :) (My only other problem is whether we actually have a free evening to go do that- I still have lots to do before we are ready to go to Stillwater next week.)
PS-The picture I posted is of a tree near our church building. The picture did not turn out as well as I had hoped. But it is an amazing huge oak tree decorated for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December 10 Birthday

Happy Happy Birthday


























We are grateful to have you in our family. Have a great day. D&R

Monday, December 8, 2008

Baby Pictures

As I go blogging, seems like everyone is posting baby pictures. I decided maybe I should post baby pictures, too.
























So... just because my baby is 21 and her baby will turn 4 this month- can I still post baby pics? :)
Ashley is our youngest daughter. She grew up doing gymnastics, with some soccer and volleyball on the side. She loved growing up with a brother and three sisters. She had to move to Texas with us as an only child. Everyone else was married, at school, or on a mission. Jaden was born during her senior year of high school. What an amazing story that has been. As a line from a movie says, "plan to be surprised". (We just never know exactly what life holds for any of us and it doesn't do us much good to try to guess.) Ashley was a single mom for 3 years, living in Houston, then Oklahoma, and then Utah. There really was a 'plan' all along- she met a wonderful young man (at school in Utah) and they were married in August. We still continue to be amazed at her strength and her testimony. The best trait Ashley has , is her happiness. As a baby and as a child she was always happy. Even when there were sad or hard times, she could bounce back quick and be happy. She always seems to say "life is good". We are expecting a "happily ever after" story here :)













PS- Daniel, you might have to help her put on sunscreen. This is what happens when she does it herself. (she had to show up at a gymnastics meet looking like this :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Life is Not Fair

We have a family gift exchange for Christmas. Each person gets one name and then we send out emails with a "wish list" to help with the gift buying dilemma. When I read Alison's wish list and after seeing the blogs of the Christmas trees, (by the way, Ashley we are still waiting for pictures of your tree :) I realized that life is not fair. I have too many decorations and the girls have very few. I have an attic full of "stuff" that they might want :) I am going to box some of it up and send it to Utah and then take some of it to Oklahoma. Mike, you are the only one at this time exempt from receiving "stuff", but just wait until you actually live some where longer than 6 months :) Instead of sharing the wealth, I can share the stuff. That will make Ron happy. I put out a few decorations at our house. Ron never comments on things like that. GG is always reminding me, "Whatever you get out, you have to put away". I did one new little tree this year and bought a couple of new ornaments when they were half price. I also have other new ornaments but I bought those last January when they were on clearance. The ornaments for my big tree are still sitting on the table- I might get to that project this weekend.




Two new frog ornaments that don't match anything I already have- but they were so cute- I couldn't resist. And my "pear tree". It has a gold bird on top and cute little red pears. It looks better in real life- sorry the picture is not very good.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Snapdragons




My "yard man" spent most of his free time on Friday and Saturday, working (where else?) in the yard. It takes him several hours each Saturday to mow, edge, trim, weed , and ant bait the yard. Since he had an extra day (Friday), he got some extra things done. He has started building an "above ground garden". (I will take pics. and let you know how that progresses later). He started putting out the Christmas decor. When I told him I would decorate the inside and he was in charge of the outside- he asked if he could just put out a "bah, hum bug" sign. I said, "yep, as long as it has lights on it." :) The best thing he did, was he planted some snapdragons for me. (They are a winter flower here in Texas) They are one of my favorite flowers. The reason for that is because I have a special connection with snapdragons. My grandmother, Martha, had snapdragons growing around her house. She would take me to look at them and show me how to carefully pinch them to make them open up. I mentioned on another post one of my particular memories of Faye was frosted flakes and cinnamon toast. With grandma and grandpa Berling we would always have 7Up floats and sugar cookies. The other interesting connection, was that Arika was stillborn on Martha's birthday. If there are snapdragons in heaven- I think Martha is showing them to Arika, too.

Thanksgiving




For Thanksgiving, we invited a few friends to come to our house for dinner. Since there was 9 of us, all together, we couldn't all sit around our kitchen table. We used the two picnic tables on our porch. Not exactly "fancy shmancy" (as Alison would say) but it worked okay. Plus, I got to have my turkey sandwich on Thursday evening. The real reason I spend all morning cooking is for my turkey and mayo sandwich on Thanksgiving evening :)