Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December 20 - December 27, 2015

Right after I posted last week's update I realized I did not include that Logan and Haleigh came by Saturday morning so they could open their presents from us before they left to spend Christmas with their dads.  Last year and this year Logan asked for money since a lot of "stuff" he wants is a little more than this Nana and Papa can spend.  I hate just giving him money.  He had mentioned he would like to have a trash can for his room, so I found a $1 trash can at the Dollar Store.  I wadded up 50 $1 bills along with thousands of dollars worth of play money in the trash can.  He had to search for his present, and believe it or not, he found every last one of those $ bills.  Haleigh has looked and looked for the classic Converse hightop sneakers in black and white but they the price was too high so she had not purchased any.  I was able to order these on sale online through Khol's and they were within Santa Clause Peine's price range.  She was quite happy to get her "Chucks".

This Sunday morning started early as Dean and I had to be at the Community Center to set up tables and chairs for our "Blackledge" Christmas.  Crystal and Lonie helped us get that done and then I got my rolls ready and left them to raise so I didn't have to bring them back in the cold weather later.

When we were kids we always had our Christmas Eve at my dad's parents house (thus the Blackledge Christmas name).  A few years ago we decided to forgo Christmas Eve and begin holding it the Sunday before Christmas at 1:00 pm.  With some of our kids moving away, making for late night trips back home and some working on Saturday's this is the only way we had a chance of getting most of them here.  It has worked pretty good.  I miss those Christmas Eve gatherings though.  There is just something special about it being "The Night Before Christmas".  Old traditions die hard!

We had a great turnout for dinner.  Most of our families were able to attend.  Now that both of our parents have passed we have included my mom's sister Betty and her daughter Barbara, as well as our step-dad Larry and his wife Verna.

I think everyone enjoyed themselves and all of the little cousins had a good time visiting together as well.  It's fun to watch the kids playing and enjoying their time with their cousins.  It's one of the things I enjoyed most about holidays - getting to spend time with some of my very best friends growing up - my cousins.  I loved all of my cousins on every side of our family and always looked forward to seeing them!  I hope our kids feel the same way.

Monday and Tuesday was spent preparing for Matt, Megan and Josh's arrival.  Their flight landed in Wichita on Saturday afternoon and they are staying with Jarred and Andrea until we pick them up on Wednesday, when we will bring them back here until the 28th.  Matt loves chicken and noodles so I made noodles one evening and froze them for later in the week.  I also made lists of what food needed to be cooked and what time everything needed to be put in the oven on the 25th and 26th as many of the kids and grandkids would be coming and going.  Having a detailed list helps free me up to spend as much time with them as possible and not be such a nervous nellie worrying about everything.  We had our big meal with the chicken and noodles and fixings Christmas Day at 2 and only Heath & Marc's families were unable to be here for that.  We played a really fun game - each person wrote down two different phrases.  There were two players at a time, each setting in chairs facing each other.  One person wears headphones with music playing and also holding the headphones close to their ear so they cannot hear what the other person is saying.  The person with the headphones has to try and read the other person's lips as they say the words of the phrase they picked.  We laughed and laughed.  I think there was one person who got the entire answer right and a few got parts of the phrase.  Some never even got close.   Later in the evening Matt, Jarred and Dean went to Parsons to see Star Wars.  Andrea, Megan, Misti, Chuck and I visited here at the house.

Jarred, Andrea and Emerson stayed over on Christmas night, along with Matt and his family.  Everyone else will be here at 9 the Saturday morning.  We had a breakfast casserole (thanks Marc & Jen), with blueberry muffins and juice for breakfast. They must have been famished because there was hardly a bite left.  Of course the grandkids were anxious to open presents so at about 10 or so we all gathered in the living room for the moment they all look forward to.  I have to say none of them really asked about opening them but you could tell by their actions and peeking at the packages they were anxious to dig in.  They were all so well behaved and I was very proud of each of them.  They are growing up into wonderful young people.

Had to share this picture.  Notice the two youngest boys, one laying flat on the floor and the other with his feet in the air.  Do you think they were bored while everyone else opened presents?  Jaxson is in the green (Marc & Jen's son) and Joshua has the red & white top on (Matt & Megan's son).

The first year or so after Dean and I got married we made a new rule for our family at Christmas. I noticed that once we handed out presents on Christmas morning when our kids were all still at home that the presents were open within 10-15 minutes.  It made the time we spent picking them out and wrapping them seem so futile.  We wanted to have the pleasure of watching each child open every gift, so we now start with the youngest and watch each person open their gift for all to see.  I like this for not only the reason stated but also because it gives the opportunity to make sure they know who the gift came from and for them to thank the giver.  When everyone goes at once this often gets overlooked.  Since the adult children draw names between each other and all of the grandchildren draw names between each other there are gifts besides those from "Nana and Papa".  It does take a while with our bunch and as usual about an hour and a half after all presents were opened, boxes and paper picked up and carried out, it was time to put a few things in the oven before we had lunch.  It kept everyone busy.  It's a special thing that I truly enjoy and I hope the rest of the family does as well.

After lunch of ham and several dips (corn dip, spinach & artichoke, and sausage/cheese) and chips, the older kids played a game at the kitchen table, while the adults played a game in the living room.  The toddlers and our baby granddaughter played in the living room where we could keep an eye on them.  Most of the adults played a couple of games of Catch Phrase which we always seem to get out when we are all together.

As a grandma and grandpa we were very pleased to see the grandkids so happy with the gifts they received.  It made all the preparation worth it to see their smiles!

Sunday was spent watching the Chiefs beat the Browns as the weather in the midwest started building into a pretty nasty winter storm.  Fortunatelly for us here in Oswego it wasn't too bad, while we had quite a bit of rain, there was no damage.  Our neighbors to the east in Missouri did not fare so well, as well as many to the south in Oklahoma and Texas.  Our prayers go out to them as they deal with the devastation of flooding and tornadoes.

Christmas is a wonderful time to spend with family but most importantly it is the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, who as an adult died to save us from our sins.  A more wonderful gift could not be given to the children of God.

Our hope is that you and yours had a wonderful Christmas and we wish you a very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 13 - Saturday, December 19, 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Kamron woke up this morning ready to go home.  She is a "family" girl and she misses them when she is gone.  We headed to Parsons about 10:00 to take her home.  I took advantage of the trip to take a few things to Marc he wanted - again making more open room in the spare bedrooms.  These were the last things I needed to remove so it was a great relief to have that job done.

We visited with Marc and I played with Jaxson a little before heading back home.  We had time to have a bit to eat before I headed to my sister Cindy's.  It's her turn to host the sis' today.  My niece Amy came with her mom today.  It was great to see her and catch up.

I texted Matt to see if he and Megan would have time to Skype with us this evening.  He told me he was studying for finals so it would depend on how much he could get done.  An hour or two later he sent a text saying he could Skype now, but Megan and Josh were both asleep.  The whole point in Skyping was to talk with Josh.  Matt & Megan announced they are expecting their second child, due in July.  Megan has been really nauseous all day every day.  I would appreciate prayers for her that she will be able to travel with little or no discomfort over Christmas.  They will be flying from Buffalo, NY.  She tends to be airsick so it could be a very difficult flight with a 2 year old.  They do try to fly in the evenings so Josh sleeps most of the time.

I emailed my first newsletter for Ozark Chapter 17 SKP's.  It was fun putting it together.  Only had one email come back saying it was undeliverable.  It felt good to get that done before heading into next week that will be spent on last minute Christmas preparations, food, cleaning, attending grandkid's Christmas concerts and more ballgames.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Our grandson Jaxson came to stay for a couple of days.  I really like that now he is excited about coming to Nana and Papa's.  For a long time he cried when mom would leave him, but he's getting old enough now he is enjoying it.  We had another fun day of hide and seek, TinkerToys, playing a few games on the computer and watching a few recorded shows of his favorite cartoon - Blaze.  I laid down with him this evening, and finally after rubbing his back for about 20 minutes he fell asleep.

I made a big pot of ham and beans today, adding some fried potatoes and cornbread this evening.  What a meal!  It's probably my favorite meal!

Tuesday Dec 15 to Saturday Dec 19

Tonight is Dacy & Tucker's Christmas program in Columbus, and Kamron's Christmas program in Parsons.  Dean will head to Columbus.  I am keeping Jaxson all day and will just take him with me when I go to Kamron's program.  Following her program I joined Marc, Jennifer, the kids and Jen's mom Lou for dinner at El Pueblito in Parsons.  It was really good and we had a nice visit.  Once home Dean and I discussed how great the programs were and how much we enjoy getting to see the kids participate.

Wednesday I went to my weekly Bible study which I always enjoy.  It's a small group and I love that. I have lists of things to get done before Christmas so I worked on getting many of those done this afternoon.  Tomorrow Cindy and I are headed to Joplin to finish up just a few things for Christmas gifts for grandkids and I'll be finished with all of that.  I was all over Joplin looking for the game "Pie in the Face" for one of the grandkids with no luck!  I sure hope I can order it online!  Thursday evening after getting back from Joplin, I had a bit of a rest before we headed to Logan and Haleigh's Christmas program here in Oswego.  As with the other two programs Dean and I attended on Tuesday, we enjoyed theirs as well.  Friday morning we had our routine breakfast out at Tina's here in Oswego.  Dean did a little favor for a family member of mine - or at least tried to.  They had a phone that wasn't working but as it was we decided it was the phone itself that was the problem and he couldn't really help them out.  But it was nice to visit with Chester and Lorene and I dropped off my Angel gift to her while I was there.  Tonight Logan had a basketball game that we attended.

Saturday was spent cooking, cleaning and just getting as much done as possible before Matt and Megan arrive next week.  I managed to get all of the presents wrapped and under the tree along with a host of other things.  It's hard to believe Christmas is less than 1 week away.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sunday, December 6 - Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I'm an early morning person.  I love being up around 5am while it's quiet so I can drink my coffee in silence.  At this time of year I love turning the lights on the Christmas tree and just enjoying the quiet.  I downloaded an app to my phone of the Bible and have been reading sections of the scripture daily in hopes I will finally read the entire Bible in one year.  I have started in many times but I have not stayed committed but I am really enjoying it this time.  Maybe it's having that extra time in my life.

I also love that normally I can get all of my housework out of the way early in the day so I can focus on other things that I want to accomplish through the day.  Once my morning chores were completed I got ready for church.  I am hosting my sister's at my house today.  My Aunt Lillie (my mom's youngest sister) is in town and I'm hoping she will be coming by to visit as well.  Misti is also going to come over.  We had a great time and Aunt Lillie brought her youngest son Todd with her.  We had such a great time visiting.

Whoever hosts is supposed to provide refreshments.  I was a bit lazy but I did have homemade cookies (pumpkin with pecans) and I made flavored hot chocolate for those who wanted it.  My dad's mom made these pumpkin cookies every year at Christmas and they are still my favorite cookie as they remind me of all the times spent with her.

In just two more weeks our son Matt, his wife Megan and their son Josh will be here for about a week.  I've been working on getting our extra bedroom "cleaned" out to give them more room.  With a little one they need all of the extra space we can provide.  I've been cleaning out space in the closet for hanging clothes and we bought a dresser for them to use rather than live out of their suitcases.

Another great day!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Jaxson, our 3 year old grandson came to spend two days with us.  He is such a cute little guy and we have a good time together.  We played lots of hide and seek today.  He would just giggle when I was looking for him, just about to burst waiting for me to "find" him.  Then he would just laugh.  You can't help but just feel happy at moments like this.

I built lots of tall buildings from Lincoln Logs just so he could knock them down.  As soon as one came down it was, "Build another one Nana!".  He kept me busy all day.  No complaints though.

While Jaxson took his afternoon nap I made some pecan tarts to take to church tomorrow night.  They recently started a women's group and are calling it Second Tuesday.  Each lady will bring cookies, breads, muffins, candy, etc. and we will be putting together baskets for shut-in's from our church and to take to the Home Place, an assisted living center here in Oswego.

A fun day!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Jaxson and I played more hide and seek today but we switched to Tinker Toys for playtime.  Our grandkids love the Tinker Toys.

We played alot today and I packed up things in the car to take to the church in Chetopa for their monthly garage sale.  It felt good to get all of those tubs and loose things out of the bedrooms. They are beginning to shape up now for our company!

I had my pecan pie muffins ready to go for our women's meeting tonight.  We are also supposed to take a snack item.  My snack was pretty simple, a package of cream cheese with jalapeno & bacon jelly poured over it along with a couple of types of crackers.

Once we all arrived and we were surveying all of the goodies we wondered how we would ever get everything on the small trays we had, but as usual God provides.  One of the ladies had purchased a large package of tinfoil pans from Sam's.  She ran home to get them and the trays sit down in them perfectly to hold all of the goodies just fine.  There were calendars, devotionals, notepads, lotions, etc. that were included along with all of the baked goods.  What a fun evening it was.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

This morning is the weekly Bible Study I've been attending.  I look forward to this time with these ladies.  It's just a nice laid back time of visiting, sharing God's word, and enjoying each other's company.

Nothing else too interesting today.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dean and I got around early this morning and headed to Joplin to do a little Christmas shopping.  I think he wondered what he got himself into after the first hour or so.  We were able to get all of the "Christmas" items out of the way before lunch.

Our son Brett works in Joplin at MSSU.  We called him to see if he would be available for lunch and he was.  We arrived at his work but after driving around the parking area twice and not finding anyplace to park, we called him.  He said it was okay to park in one of the Staff/Faculty parking spots as many of them are already gone for the day or the semester.  I was hoping my car would not be towed away while we were gone.  We decided on HuHot for lunch.  I really like this place.  We had a really nice visit with Brett.  We had not been to his office before so it was nice seeing where he works.

We made one last stop at Wal-mart to get a few other gift items for some of the grandkids.  We almost have everything bought now.  I'll need to do one more trip next week but the worse is now over.

Friday, December 11, 2015

I could not believe how tired I was today.  I can remember the day when shopping all day long was nothing to me - I could out last all of my sisters, my daughter and nieces, but no more.  It was wonderful to be heading home by 2:30 yesterday.

My sister came over this afternoon to help me in hanging some shelving above our desk with family pictures.  I want this completed before our Christmas.  I spent the rest of the day downloading pictures I want to have printed off at Wal-green's for framing.

Logan had a JV game tonight against Chetopa.  Unfortunately Oswego lost, but we enjoyed being there and watching him play.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Today we are headed to Parsons to watch our granddaughter Kamron play basketball.  Our son, Marc coaches her team.  They played great and won the game.  Afterwards we went by their house to get Kamron some clothes as she will be going home with us for the evening.  This is the first time she has stayed with us since before we left on our trip in August so I am looking forward to spending time with her.

Haleigh, Misti's daughter came over later in the day and they helped me wrap Christmas presents.  I really appreciate them doing that for me.  Later we made our own pizzas - sausage, sausage and pepperoni, pepperoni & cheese and ranch dressing, chicken, bacon bits and cheese pizzas.  They were really good.

Afterwards we watched a couple of Christmas movies, and then Inside Out.  I don't know how Kamron made it through them without falling asleep.  I think I dozed off and on through all of them.

Sunday, November 29 to Saturday, December 5, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015 -

Since I retired I have been trying to purge extra stuff from our house, our files, our garage, etc.  I really hate "stuff" that has no purpose so I've slowly been removing it from our lives.  It is hard at times since sometimes the stuff seems like it might be meaningful to me but I am trying to figure out what is really important and what isn't.

This is at least my third, maybe fourth time trying to empty closets and drawers, storage containers and dressers of things we no longer need.  We moved from a 5 bedroom/3 bath house to a 3 bedroom/2 bath house.  That's not an extreme difference but we did have 2 dining areas and a large utility room whereas here we have a very small dining and utility area and little to no storage in comparison.  Needless to say we brought many things that I've tried to cram in a smaller space.

My cousin's wife Sherry works tirelessly for her church in Chetopa, KS.  They accept donations of clothes, furniture, household goods, decorations, etc.  When they have "sales", the proceeds go towards upgrades to their church or to help those less fortunate.  If someone should have a fire in their home, they allow them to come in and take what they need.  I started taking things to her over a year ago and I feel better about knowing someone might truly be able to use these things and it is going to a very good cause.

I also had several pieces of furniture that were family heirlooms and I have managed to find other relatives that wanted them and have given them a new home.  It makes me feel good knowing they have a place to go besides to someone who might not appreciate them as much as I have.

After church today I spent most of the day working on the Ozark Chapter 17 (OK, MO, AR, & KS) SKP Newsletter, mostly learning the program since it is not one that I'm entirely familiar with.  I sent emails and posted to the Chapter's Facebook page seeking information from Chapter members they might want to include in the newsletter.  I want to have it emailed and mailed by December 15.

Monday, November 30, 2015

I spent more time today going through closets, my cedar chest, storage rounding up more things to take to Chetopa.

I also had several "things" I wanted to do.  We added a hotspot to our phone last spring and we increased our data when we traveled this summer/fall.  I called to reduce the coverage in October but found I was better off making use of the remaining data rather than have them charge me half even though I had not used half of it.  So I decided to use it at every opportunity I had through Dec 2. Today I called Verizon to ask them to reduce it to 2 gigabytes of data at the end of this billing period, ending December 2.  It will save us some money over the winter.  Since we do not have any major trips planned for this year (over 10-12 days at a time) I am not sure we will increase it, and if we do it might just be a small amount.

It's amazing how much time it takes to make phone calls and take care of different situations.

Pretty mundane day today.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I met my dear friend and former co-worker Carol Eddington for lunch today at our local Mexican restaurant, Mi Pueblo.  We had a good visit and it was nice catching up on our kids and their families. We took a drive around Oswego before I dropped her off at City Hall.  I miss my staff but I don't miss being involved in all of the city business as I thought I might.  It was much easier for me to leave it behind than I ever dreamed.

This afternoon I finished taking some final items out of Bentley before we put him away for the winter.  I think I have everything and then discover another item - mostly things that I am afraid might freeze, or I remember some duplicate item such as spices, etc. I have.  Rather than let it set all winter I like to bring it in and use it.  I can always buy more in the spring.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

This morning I attended a Bible Study with some other ladies.  It was a good time with some wonderful people.  One of the things that came up in last Sunday's sermon was how we should praise god and thank him even when things do not seem like we have anything to praise him or thank him for.  Throughout the week I feel God has continually put this same teaching before me as almost everyday it has come back to me through something a friend said to me, a devotional I read, another scripture I've read, etc.  While I know it seems hard to do at times, I do believe it helps to keep you focused on the love God has for us. I really enjoy attending this group get together.

I worked on a few things around the house.  Misti called me later to see if I would like to go to the Oswego Christmas Parade.  Dean didn't want to go, but I said I would go with her.  They are serving free chili so I got something ready for Dean to eat and we headed downtown at 5:30 when they start serving the chili.  Logan and Haleigh joined us.  Haleigh is riding the Diamond Coach bus with her Uncle Brady Bates.  Some of you who read this might remember I mentioned Diamond Coach when we visited the Biltmore Estate.  This is the company here in Oswego that makes the people movers.  Some of their movers are utilized at the Biltmore.

While eating our chili our pastor and his wife, Roger and Tish Daniels and their children came in.  They joined us at the table and we had a great time visiting with them.  We are fortunate to have such a great couple like Roger & Tish leading our church.

The parade was great.  It was one of the best I can remember here in Oswego.  My former city staff and other city crew members had a cute float of Charlie Brown characters.  I took a few pictures however they really do not do their float justice.  Very, very cute idea!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My "sideburns" are getting a little shaggy so I was able to squeeze into my hairdresser's for a little trim.  Marla is always very accommodating and I really appreciate her.

At 11, I reminded Dean of the Catholic Church Bazaar and Chili and Vegetable Soup Dinner at the Oswego Community Center.  We've not been able to attend for a few years due to conflicts.  This year we made it a point to attend.  The church does many great things in the community and it is always good to support our community events.

Even though I had chili last night, I had it again today.  Both were very, very good.  We visited with two couples while we were there, the Tullis' and the Foster's, both great community minded folks in communities west and south of us.

This evening I went to Bootcamp.  I bowed out last week because I didn't want to be so sore on Thanksgiving Day when I had so much to do.  Tonight went well and I think I'm finally beginning to toughen up a bit.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Today was a busy day.  We got up and around early as we have a big day planned.  Today is the SKP (say Escapee fast) Luncheon in Springfield, MO.  I want to stop in Joplin on the way to pick up a Christmas present I ordered for Haleigh.  Once we picked it up we headed to Sam's.  We are meeting a friend, Connie Mace here and she will ride with us to the luncheon.  We arrived and after looking around for the car she described to us we did not see it.  I double checked the information she emailed me to make sure I had the car make correct and realized she would not be here for another hour.  We were an hour early.  Somehow I do this alot, the only thing I can say is - at least we are not late!

We planned to stop at Sam's when we dropped Connie off on our way home, so we took this hour to go in and get the few things we wanted.  We got back to the car just a short time before Connie arrived.  Talk about perfect timing.

Soon we were on our way.  Connie and I talked almost non-stop and Dean had the opportunity to listen to a fantastic conversation.  Lol!  He even got a word in edge wise once or twice.

The SKP's meet on the first Friday of the month at 12:30 at the Golden Corral, located at I-44 and Kansas Expressway.  There was a great turnout today with 21 in attendance.  We had one couple who have not yet joined but intend to.  Our group has added several new people in the past year or so.  We had a great time catching up with everyone and the lunch itself was quite good.  Dean and I really enjoy Golden Corral and eat at the one in Joplin every few months.

In no time we were on the road home.  We parted ways with Connie about 3:30 or so and arrived home near 4:30.  Logan plays basketball tonight for the Junior Varsity.  We will head out to the school at about 5:45.  It was a good game, even though Oswego did not win.  They were up by 7 points or more and I thought they were going to pull it off but at the last minute St. Paul took the lead.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

I decided at the last minute that I would head to Joplin to do some Christmas shopping.  All of a sudden it occurred to me that Christmas is only a few weeks away.  I still need to buy presents, wrap them and get the house ready for guests to stay.  What am I thinking waiting until the last minute to do these things.  Before retirement I usually had presents purchased the week of Thanksgiving and wrapped soon after.  Plus I made different cookies or candies every day before I went to work, and that was while the kids were still at home.  I don't know what happened to me, but just have no desire to do that anymore.  I justify this with the fact we do not need all that extra "stuff" to eat that only adds extra pounds over the holidays.

I managed to get presents for 6 of the grandkids but I still have 6 to go.  Amazon may see me later rather than fight these crowds again.  It wasn't TOO bad, but I was really tired when I got home.  How did I use to shop all day long and be the last one going?  It's hard to believe that was me.  I think the big change is I really just do not enjoy shopping anymore.  It's not near as fun as it seemed in the past.

I had to call Dean on the way home and have him talk to me that last 15 miles to keep me awake.  I no more than set down in my chair and I was taking a little nap.  Once I had dinner ready we watched two Christmas movies - my favorite thing to do this time of year - but I might have snoozed just a bit through each of them.

Another week coming up!