Sunday, July 28, 2013

John had a birthday Saturday and you'll never believe what his birthday wish was.....

I just cannot say enough good about my son-in-law John Rex!  There aren't enough words to express how I feel.  So, of course for his birthday I wanted to make a really big deal about it and do exactly what he wanted to do.  The only thing he would ever tell me was that he wanted to move our Guest bedroom into the area right over the kitchen and move my office from that room to the family room upstairs and make the family room a game room where we could play cards, watch t.v. and any other number of scenarios!  My office furniture was a bear to move the first time we moved it, so I was not overly excited about moving my office furniture, plus that room had been my office/store all my seminary stuff/store all my scrapbooking stuff room for at least 5 to move it all I really had to do a lot of prepping to get ready for the actual move!  But since I really could not get anything out of him other than this that he really wanted for his birthday.....and I could tell that he REALLY did want to do it I said, o.k.  So Saturday morning I got up early and moved all the things out of the way, emptied drawers etc... in prep for when Allison and John came over about 10:30 to make this big move......For John's birthday! (still can't believe this was want he wanted to do) Alan even said to me Saturday morning as he was helping me do the prep work "Why are we doing this"  and I told him, "Because it was the only thing that John said he wanted and since we love our son-in-law we are doing what he wants".  Of course a move like this kind of snowballs, once you move and re-organize one room then you have to do another, and another etc...but I have to say, I'm loving the snowball affect as well!  I wish I would have remembered to take before pictures...I seriously can't believe I didn't......but I still think you will be impressed with the new look!

Celebrating John's birthday at Chili's
This has also made me finally get ready for a big garage sale this coming weekend to get rid of furniture and stuff that we have had stored in the garage for years!!  Like I said, snowball.....
John had it all pictured in his mind, he said, for at least a year....and I really really love it!  I've really missed something not having a son all my glad I have one now!!  Now I just have to decorate to match all the changes....some pictures etc... may not be staying where they are but you will at least get the idea!

my new office area - in the game room

my new sewing and craft wall

The Entertainment area - this was not posed, they were all there watching
the Soccer game!
 Then when we want to play cards we will pull out the card table and chairs and play cards upstairs in the game room.

The new guest room - that use to be my office/everything else room!!
I need a full size headboard.  And I'm going to be looking for
Nautical or Lighthouse bedding as most of my decorating items in this room
are lighthouses and shells!

I don't think I've been able to shut the closet doors in years!!

We are going to buy drapes to drape on either side of this
loft railing and matching ones on the silly pink window too!!
There is still work to do to make it what I would really like decorating wise, paint, drapes, moving pictures around and a headboard!  But its very exciting!!

Week 25 - The Biggest Loser - Charlotte Edition

Miss Charlotte is 6 months old now!
Thank heavens for week 25!  After the discouraging week 24 of ZERO lbs lost, it was nice to lose 3 this week!  So I have now lost 79 lbs!  Yay!  And for the first time, I ran 2 miles, with no stopping or walking....just running (jogging actually, but you get what I mean)!  That was a really big deal!  I wasn't sure I would ever be able to do that!  But I did.  I think John was proud of me for that!

It's a Bridal Shower!!

My friend Linda asked me if I would help give a Bridal shower for her future daughter-in-law.  To which I was thrilled to say yes, as her son, Ellery (the groom) was one of my seminary students!  And not just a student but my class president as well!  I didn't know much about her before the party other than she had to be amazing if Ellery had fallen in love with her....but after the party, what a hoot!  She was so cute and so funny.  Ellery's life will never be boring!  What a fun couple they make!  They are getting married in the Dallas Temple August 8, 2013, and then will be moving to Provo so Ellery and Mary can finish school at BYU.

The future Mrs. Ellery Davila

We had a Nacho bar

And she got lots of fun things to start
their new life together!

Tytan came for a visit!!

This week we (the Alan Brown family) got to have Tytan come and visit while his Dad was out of town!  We always have a good time when he comes and this is really the first time he has gotten to spend anytime with Charlotte!  And, boy does Charlotte love him!  She thinks he is the cats meow!  While I was at work John and Allison watched him then Alan or myself would go over to their apartment and we would all swim and workout in their gym, play cards, etc.  and then Tytan would come home with us to eat dinner and sleep and then it would start all over the next day!  On Friday afternoon Allison and John went on a date, so Tytan and I watched Charlotte and then Friday night Tytan and I went on a date to see "Despicable Me 2".  A very cool story to share about Tytan is that on our Date we went to Boston Market for dinner.  While there, there was a little boy probably 4, who was struggling getting a drink.  His mother was busy ordering and paying for the food so wasn't really hearing that he was struggling, so Tytan asked him if he needed help.  The little boy said yes, so Tytan got up and helped him fill his drink cup with ice, then soda, then he got him a lid and straw and put them on so that the drink was secure.  All the couples around me, said "That is really cool".  Which I had thought as well and I was really a proud Aunt!

getting ready for the movie!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Giving to the homeless....

A friend of mine who teaches a class on service in the community during the summer to teenagers, and also happens to be our Stake Relief Society President called and asked if because I have lost all this weight I would want to donate clothes that are too big now to the Union Gospel Mission.  She said that they always need bigger clothes, but don't get those very often.  So there is a real need.  She was arranging a pick up with them for this last weekend.  And that she loved using them because they take care of so many homeless.  With this last week being a little discouraging with losing ZERO lbs.  I thought this would be a great way to not feel discouraged any longer......goodbye big clothes I hope to never see you again!!  I also think the truck will be pleased because she was able to gather a lot of items for the homeless!  This is what Kirsten Murphy posted on FB so that we all could see what we did.  "Going on the truck are: 19 boxes and 13 bags filled with clothes, games, household items, and more; several framed decorative pictures; a small chair and a cooler. It's a win-win act of kindness: we cleaned out items we no longer need that are in good condition that other people can use. This is what I call AWESOME!"

When I told Allison and John about it they smiled really big and asked..."Did it feel really good to get rid of those clothes?"  And I have to say "Yes, yes It did!"  It was a good way to feel good about my weight loss on a week when I didn't lose anything!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I will totally love Sunday afternoon visits!

After Church, I thought, I probably should have planned and invited the kids over for Sunday dinner!  I'm a little slow sometimes in realizing my mother responsibilities, so I feel bad about that, I'll start planning ahead....but I totally loved when Allison called and asked if they could come over for a visit and play cards!  YES, and the answer will always be YES!!  I might be getting spoiled. You think?

Moving the kids

This Weekend was the big weekend for moving Allison, John, and Charlotte to their new home in Burleson!  We are so excited to have them so close and have promised not to be like the Barone's from "Everybody Loves Raymond".  In fact that's the key word they can give me if I ever get carried away....just say "O.k. Marie" and I'll know!

First we went down to Tyler early to unload the storage unit!  We got there early so John and I had about 1/4 of the truck loaded before all the men helpers from their Ward in Tyler came to help!  We were done and eating lunch before 12:00 which we would have never believed, except we did have a lot of help show up.

Then we headed for Burleson!

We were earlier than we thought getting to the apartment as well, and John and I were of the same mind, that just keep working is the best policy, so we had about half of the truck unloaded before the help from their new Ward came....but with 3 flights of stairs to go up with every piece of furniture and every box....believe me we were so appreciative of their help!

3 flights of stairs were brutal but John and I muscled through!
John is such a hard worker, never complains, just gets it done.
Aunt Elizabeth helped with Charlotte, I mean someone has to do it.......and she brought dinner.  Alan was sorry he had to work....really???  Yes, really, but he came home when his workshop was over and helped with what was left!  And thanks to Vera, Aileen's caregiver, who I will never be able to express how much I appreciate adequately, I was able to help all day!
Aunt Elizabeth and Charlotte reunited!!

Acts of Love and Service......

Sometimes I am blown away with what amazing children I have!  All four are just amazing adults and I'm so proud to be their parent!

Tuesday, I came home from work and I wish I could of had before pictures....but Allison and John decided to organize our home for us!  It was a beautiful surprise!

When we bought this house from my Dad, he was getting married and basically took very few things with him when he moved and left all the rest here.  I have been very slow about getting rid of things and organizing things the way I would like.  It has also made unpacking all my stuff from storage hard, but I had been doing that slowly as well with our back porch full of empty boxes and things we were going to throw out as I would unpack.  I always mourned that we couldn't really use our back porch for grilling, or just sitting outside and enjoying company etc.  The porch had some very out of control Ivy vines on one side, some ugly lights and baskets hanging down.  Alan has made more trips to the dump then we can count clearing off the back porch from my unpacking, but then I would unpack or organize and throw away stuff again, and the porch would be full again!

John, broke/cut down all the boxes on the back porch, loaded up bags and cars to go to the dump, and tore out and down all the ivy on the side of the home!  Washed down the porch and made a nice little area for us to grill!  NOW I can get the propane grill I've been dreaming we could have in the back and have company over!!  Whoohoo!  Thanks John, what a great gift!

My pantry, had food left from when my Mom and Dad lived in this home, and I didn't realize that many of the items had expired and needed to be thrown away.....Allison totally cleaned out, and organized my pantry!  Now I actually know what I have and what I need and can find things!!  Allison is worried about my Aluminum foil fetish, though!  lol!!  I guess I had rolls of that everywhere.....but they are all in one place now!

See, I told you I had amazing, thoughtful, loving children!!  Lucky me!  I'm indeed very blessed!!

Great Grandparents are awesome!!

Such a funny face Charlotte!!
Because the kids have been staying with us until they could move into an apartment we invited Grandpa and Grandma Barbara over for Sunday dinner!  It's always fun for Charlotte to get to see her Great Grandparents and of course its always nice for grandchildren and children too!!  We made shish kabobs on the grill, had a salad, and Barbara brought fruit and it was a fun dinner.  It had been a long time since we had grilled anything so we were excited for the excuse.  Since that went so well, we barbecued every night, either, chicken, steaks, pork chops, or turkey burgers with lettuce wraps!  It was a great week for dinners and all easy to keep track of calories!  We took advantage of the opportunity to take 4 generation pictures!  Good times!
This is what started our 7 day grilling fest!

Grandma Great with Charlotte

Aunt Aileen is warming up to Charlotte!
4 Generations!

It's still July so still decorating the table patriotic!!

Week 24 - Biggest Loser - Charlotte Edition

Week 24 - I lost 0 lbs. and Alan lost 5 lbs!  I thought when I weighed myself on Saturday and I hadn't lost any weight, I'll weigh myself again after helping the kids move, especially since I knew I would be walking up and down 3 flights of stairs (which turned out to be 4 really) carrying furniture and boxes, but guess what, even Sunday morning I weighed exactly the same - 0 lbs lost!  Crazy!  My brother-in-law, Art, who tries to help me keep everything in perspective reminded me that in the last 3 weeks I've lost 6 lbs and that's a bad thing?  No, not a bad thing, but maybe a hard thing when one of the weeks was ZERO!!  But I'm happy for Alan.  John has almost hit his goal weight so I'm happy about that too!  Allison is already thinner than when she got married and I'm really happy about that as well!!  I'll just work harder this coming week!!  And try to be stricter with my calorie counting!!  But so proud of Alan!!  You are amazing sweetie!  Keep up the good work!

Bowling and Cards......

Friday, Alan had the day off, so we kept Aileen home and once I got off work at noon, we decided to go bowling!!  We had a lot of fun, Aileen usually beats me, which yay for Aileen.  But one of the significant things about this time of going bowling is that Alan actually bowled with us.  In the past he has always just helped Aileen and then been worn out from that, but he felt for the first time after loosing 80+ lbs, that he could actually bend over and bowl!  For all of us it was a great time because Dad participated!  I think he loved it too and we (Alan & I) talked on the way home about how much our life has changed since we have lost weight.  We are not just watchers now, we are doers!!  It feels good!  Miss Charlotte wanted to bowl too and sometimes she helped Aunt Aileen!  Then of course as we have done every night since the kids got back to Texas, we played cards!  I think, finally Friday night, John and Allison beat Alan and I!!


Canning....I've almost forgotten how!

Wednesday night Allison and I canned peach freezer jam!  Allison has never done any canning and I had not done any since I left Utah many years ago.  Every year late Summer and Fall my mother-in-law and I use to can and when I say can, I mean canning everything.  We did peaches, pears, peach jam, pickles, salsa, chili sauce, applesauce, apple slices, grape juice, raspberry freezer jam, strawberry jam, we even did corn one year.....anyway, Allison was a little girl then, so of course was not a part of that process, and she got very excited about the prospect of canning jam.  So I went to the store and got bottles, and pectin and called my mother-in-law to make sure I remembered how to do it (ha-ha) and we spent Wednesday evening after Charlotte went to bed canning peach freezer jam.  It was fun, especially fun to see how excited Allison was and that she felt so domestic!!  It was special for me because it brought back mother/daughter memories of me doing this with Mom Brown, of watching my mother and grandmother do it growing up, and now getting to do it with my daughter.  It was a special night and good memories!

Book Club - The Glass Castle

Tuesday night Allison and I went to book club where we discussed "The Glass Castle" a memoir by Jeannette Walls.  It was a very well written book and truly amazing story of making something of yourself no matter your upbringing or being raised in poverty.  And what was truly amazing to me is she never once blames her parents for any of the horrific things that happen to her and her family.  In a world where everyone seems to want to blame others for what is wrong with their life or why they think they can't succeed it was refreshing, although I did want to shake her parents and say to them what where you thinking....

Photo by: (Barnes & Noble)

here is a video clip of the author talking about her book.

We had a lively discussion on many topics i.e. was it child abuse, what was the most surprising thing that we read in the book, we have more poverty in America then most Americans probably want to realize, should they have taken welfare, and the mother's comment of how it was very easy to be homeless in New York etc., etc., etc.

I saw that it looks like they are going to be making a movie - maybe, with Jennifer Lawrence from the Hunger Games (see here)

It was a fun night which included yummy peach cobbler and free books!  Thanks Caitlin Thompson for hosting and starting this wonderful way to socialize, to get to read by assignment, and read new and different genres.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ahhhh, the kids are back!!

Yes, we are very happy parents/grandparents!  John & Allison and Miss Charlotte are back and we are loving every minute of it!!  The kids did a lot of research on apartments etc. on the internet while they were in Utah, so they basically had things all lined up to go see apartment wise!

Thursday before I went to work, I watched Charlotte so that John and Allison could go and look at the apartments they had narrowed down.  While they were gone she woke up after 10 minutes and I knew I was in trouble, but we had so much fun, I had a hard time caring!!  It really wasn't my fault that she woke up....really it wasn't!
Charlotte is reading Grandma's Nook!
And every night since they have flown in on Wednesday, we have played cards!  Its been a lot of fun, first John & I were a team and Allison & Alan which John and I beat them, even if just barely sometimes.  Then we switched teams where it is the old guys (Alan & me) against the younguns (Allison and John) and we have been winning and winning big.....its been kind of funny because John is so competitive, its driving him last night I suggested guys against girls and John said no to that, because he wants to beat us finally in the teams where Alan and I have been beating them!  Funny!  The funny thing about the games is that Allison and John are having amazing hands with really high scores, but we are just having phenomenal hands with just higher scores.  Kind of know the tide will change soon and our luck will run out, but until then, its kind of fun!

Friday after I got off work Allison and Charlotte went with me, because one of my friends had asked if I could watch her little girl while she took her older boys to the movies!  L. Thompson is such a cutie and she is my walking buddy in the mornings, so of course, I was happy to watch her!  It was really sweet!  She really liked Charlotte and Charlotte wanted so bad to just get down and run around with her but she didn't know how....that was too cute!!  L didn't cry when her family left, which I thought was great, and she sat in my lap and let me read to her, and we played and when she got an "owie" she came to me for comfort!  It was a fun afternoon and Allison & Charlotte enjoyed it as well.
After that we went to turn in Allison and John's application for thier new apartment!!  Yes, they are quick and they are ready to move this weekend!!  After a summer of nomadness, they are ready to be in their own place with their own things again!!

Saturday was a fun day, it started out with going to a coop that I'd signed up for to get farm fresh fruits and vegetables for the first time!  And we have loved everything that we got with our basket and I have decided we will defintely be doing that again!!

We all went walking and then I went to Rowlett, Tx to pick up my niece who is visiting (dog sitting for my sister who was out of town) so that she could come to the family birthday party Saturday!  Summer turned 7 and had a swim party!

Valeree and Aileen - fun cousins.

Summer the birthday girl!!  With her "Tangled"
birthday cake!

David, Landin, and Emmie!!

My family

John taking Charlotte down the slide!!

Allison and Charlotte

Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Aileen with Charlotte

Taylor, Lauren, and Summer

Valeree and Grandpa

Grandpa Great and Charlotte

Valeree and Charlotte
Valeree, Aashley, Chris and Aunt Debbie (Tootie)

Charlotte holding her party favor gift bag!!  She loved the bag!

All the kids at the party - Charlotte included!!

Valeree and Aunt Beverly

Valeree and Aunt Lois

David and Chris

At Chili's after the party for dinner!!