First List of the New Year

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Hi Guys! I am trying to think blog-ally in 2019. I have gotten out of the swing of going on the big computer to post, as well as taking pictures to show you the usual this and that that make up a lot of my ponderings. Before and afters, documenting life, things we find humerous/ ironic, places we have gone. You know, the usual nonsense. Plus, Mrs. Schmenkman is back to blogging and reminding me to JUST GET IN HERE AND DO IT.

I was downstairs yesterday trying to get the too full basement in some kind of working order, because if you were not aware, The Boy and The Dane are moving in there!! I kept hearing a dripping/draining sound, but Mousey was doing laundry and I just associated it with that. As I got further back I heard a burbling noise, and that is just not a normal thing. I went into Honey’s workroom and lo and behold it was the water heater. Not spewing, but an unhealthy, more than a drip, gurgling. I hate to wake Honey up with bad news, but up the stairs I went. I told him on a very good note, the water was snaking into the very nearby drain, so YAY us for that one! Y’All, what IS it with us and water heaters??? This will be our 4th or 5th one in 20 years!! The last one was Halloween of 2013, handy to have that memory of date, made it easier to go back and find it on the blog, for reference purposes. DTE is coming sometime today between 8am and 4pm (nice narrowing it down DTE) and then we will have our old friend Mitch come and haul it out and install a new one. one kiss on the cheek from God in this whole thing, it was still under warranty til next December!!!! It would have been the norm for it to have expired last December! Thanks God, we really appreciate that ❤

Did I mention The Boy and The Dane are moving in??!! Oh, I did 🙂  Next Thursday they will board a plane at SeaTac for the last time and fly back to The Mitten with MoonPie and Little Dipper! We have been moving things around trying to make room for them and their belongings. Can’t wait to smooch those little faces ❤

We have confirmed what we already knew; we have a LOT of stuff in our basement. In our defense, we are a holding tank for a goodish amount of our children’s stuff, but we are absolutely guilty of contributing to the problem. The Ab-Cat would like to get her own place this year, there is talk of Mousey moving out with her best girl Chip sometime, and when The Boy and The Dane find a place to live on the other side of town, and everyone takes their belongings with them, we will see what we need to do! It is our goal to purge then, and prepare for putting our house up for sale and downsizing to a home with a much smaller yard and driveway. #goals. In the meantime, I have been going through some things and doing what I can.

Speaking of going through things, I have watched several episodes of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix. I enjoy a good before and after and found the process inspiring enough to light a fire under me to facilitate getting rid of things we don’t, nor will we ever, need. I went through some of the kids toys that we currently have in baskets, buckets and containers in our basement. Yikes! There is a lot of really good stuff down there! Through the years I kept what I considered to be the best stuff for the future grandchildren to play with. I know our kids loved to play with Beeve’s and my old toys. I went through all the holding implements, dumped them out to make sure there were no broken or small choke-ables at the bottom, and sorted by some loose categories. Play food and dishes, dress up clothes, little animals/characters/people, BARBIES and gear!, stuffed animals, Legos, Star Wars and Super Heros, so many BOOKS!,and Beanie Babies. Oh my goodness the Beanie Babies! I had a basket full and then found another whole tote full! Our kids loved them and played with them a bunch. Most were pretty well loved and I know for sure some of Mousey’s kittys have been through the wash. I think it will be so fun to see which toys the Grands gravitate towards.

Some of the toys made it into the ever growing Salvation Army donate pile, but only 2 things I actually threw away. A Pocohantas doll, that Abby got when she was in the hospital in 1995, because she had lost her arm, and a Pocohantas head where you can style their hairs. Mousey said she learned to braid on that head! No one was ever going to be able to comb that hair again #ratsnest  So what up Pocohantas??!!

They are predicting the first snowstorm of the winter this weekend. We really can’t complain, we haven’t even had many dustings. But this is Michigan, so the predictions are wild and anywhere from 1-8 inches. Pure Michigan. Honey works tonight (when the majority of the snow will come 😦 ) but then will be off all next week. There is some sort of strike in Mexico and that is causing a shortage of parts. Works for us!! The Usher has been looking forward to snow all winter! He works at a local community college and snow means overtime to him! Plowing and salting = that green paper 🙂

I’m going to leave on that note. Not going anywhere, just here, waiting on DTE, the snow, and our kids 🙂

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Pre and Post Holiday

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We are one week into the new year already! Happy New Year!

Today I’m here to say that I am two days into a better eating regimen, and if I’m being honest, just about anything is better than my habits from November on out. Friends, I’m not going to lie, it was a free for all and I was ready to stop with all the chowing. I say that, and I do mean it, but there was about once or five times yesterday that I thought it might be nice to have a piece of shortbread. Lucky for me I finished it the day before.

All aboard!

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Me and Honey.

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Honey said he wants to join me, but I have no idea what he does at work, so I am my own accountability partner. He and Ab-Cat are going to Schzezuan tonight and I am navigating the tricky waters of Birthday Club, so we will see if I am feeling proud of myself on Day 3. But like I said, anything will be an improvement.

Not sure if I will do full on Keto, but reigning in the carbs and eliminating sugar is a fine start.

I feel we need to head back to the middle of December, when all of the Christmas festivities started. This is our last leaders meeting at BSF. We typically have a luncheon for our leaders and we invite the church staff to join us. This is our pal Pastor Andy! I saw him earlier in the morning when he helped me track down some salad bowls from their locked kitchen and he was NOT looking quite so spiffy then! He said he changed just for us! You can’t beat a Christmas llama!!!

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The next day was our last class day for 2018. This is Davis, his Mama is on Admin and he is an honorary member with his own nametag and tasks! He likes to help me put out the cones and put chairs in a circle and hold the door open for our ladies. ❤ Here he is with his friend, Buckwheat.

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After class, Admin had lunch at our usual Chip and Dip. It was so nice to visit and relax! From left; Kalena, Trenda and Dear Sandra, and across the table are Sarah (Mama of our mascot Davis!) and Capri K! Class starts up again tomorrow, so yeah, this was a little bit ago! 😉

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Next we moved on to faux Christmas Eve with our Dear Friends the Hostler’s! Their daughter Nurse Lauren is married now and lives with her honey William in Minnesota. She was not able to get Christmas off so they came in early and we snuck in our annual Christmas Eve get together! Thanks for being our photographer Awesome Autumn!!!

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Medium Goomba came for cookie decorating again!

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Honey’s ….masterpieces!

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The Ab-Cat is always good for a bunch!

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We tried some pastry bags with thinner frosting for outlining. Mousey found the recipe on Pinterest and we will definitely use it again!

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Mousey and her friend The Usher were also in attendance.

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Especially enjoyed the pirate with one leg and the broken shark bit man! A+ for creativity!

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The Usher made good use of the peppermint sprinkles.

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This was Seymour’s favorite napping spot, some random present.

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REAL Christmas Eve!!!! We had carry out Lee’s Chicken and it was AWESOME! More games, more stories and a bunch of well fed folks 🙂

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I have not one picture of Christmas Day. Seriously, not a one. But we had a very nice day with Grandpa, my brother Beeve, his wife Stacey, her folks Sharon and Turk, and Medium Goomba, and The Usher. Merry Christmas Y’All! ❤

Zipping right along to New Years Eve, a fine fondue with the fam and The Usher. Oh, it was good 🙂

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These two were trying to recreate a picture they had taken their first time around. The Usher was around about 4 years ago and then he wasn’t, something about a ghosting by someone whose name starts with M. We are happy to welcome him back to the table.

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Same recreation process.

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Then we watched this until the ball dropped.

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Yeah, we are wild cats. And then I went to bed, because 12:10 was plenty of New Year for me.

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There you have the festivities of Christmas 2018, it’s a wrap!

The Little Dipper is Here!

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Our family received a late Christmas present, Little Dipper made his appearance 4 days after his due date and 2 days after the holiday!!!!

The Boy and The Dane were anxiously awaiting his arrival, they were pretty ready to have him on the outside! If he had been anything like his father, he could have been born a week into the New Year!

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There were some contractions, some more waiting, and then The Dane said they were getting the ball rolling by breaking her water. He then made great haste to come into the world!!

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Awwww, I know honey, it’s a harsh start! Was very glad for The Dane to be able to deliver with the doctors she has come to know and trust.

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Hello Mama ❤

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What a punkin!

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Thank you Lord for another sweet baby to love ❤

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They are snuggled in adjusting to being a family of 4. Looking very forward to welcoming them to The Mitten on January 24 and meeting the new little grandboy 🙂 ❤

BSF Leaders Retreat 2018!

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I can’t let 2018 slide into 2019 without getting these pictures and thoughts down in a post! I was going to use the thankfulness prompt of the word Experience on November 15 to document our BSF Leaders Retreat to Cincinnati, Ohio last March 16-18, but then that little GrandGirl came and I got busy 🙂

It was an EXPERIENCE, that’s for sure! Over 4000 women and men from our surrounding states, united by our love for the Lord and our leadership in this wonderful, worldwide organization! It felt a little like the end of an era, they probably won’t be doing retreats on this scale in the future due to size and cost, they will most likely go the way of more localized simulcasts where leaders can gather and eat, but be close enough to sleep in the comfort of their own homes.

I am going to put names to the lovely souls that I serve with, because while I know each and every sweet smile now, I have been around long enough to know that sometimes when our precious sisters in Christ move on from our ministry, we never see each other again. Which always makes singing “God Be With Us ‘Til We Meet Again” on the last leaders meeting for the year so WRENCHING!.

God be with you till we meet again;
When life’s perils thick confound you;
Put His arms unfailing round you;
God be with you till we meet again.
Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

We rented a bus to tote us down because fellowship is our favorite! Loaded up with our leaders, luggage, sack lunches, snacks to share, and a restroom in the back, we talked and laughed and took Enneagram and Meyer Briggs personality tests all the way down I-75!

This is my good buddy Sarah! She is on Admin too and we spend a lot of time hauling chairs, fielding questions, running around and exchanging prayer requests. She comes with her spunky son Davis, who is also a member of Admin and he has a nametag to prove it! He’s a helper! Carrying parking lot cones, holding the door and welcoming the ladies, making circles of chairs, he’s your guy! I introduced Sarah to Snapchat and we sent some videos to her kids to let them know she was missing them 🙂

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Welcome to Cincinnati!

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Jip the Farm Dog, Sarah and Capri Kel 🙂

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Marilyn, Sally and me, again.

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Mary, May and Yvonne ❤

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Marilyn, Sarah and I were thick as thieves this trip.

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Suzie Palmer Weber!!! And Barb!

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One of my favorite memories of the trip involved Barb. Honey was also in attendance with his men’s class, but we were not able to find each other too much. For one of the sessions we did end up in the same section, but he was a few rows behind us. Barb ended up sitting next to him that time and she was saying something to the gal she was with about poutine, which is the Canadian specialty of fries with gravy and cheese curds. At this point, Honey chimed in saying he loved poutine! They had a little conversation and discovered they both hailed from Canada, knew some of the same places, and both lived in the same town in Michigan! Barb then asked his crossroads and asked if we knew her friends who lived on the same street, Honey said he did, they lived across the street! Barb then said, Oh, you must know Kelly! Honey said I do, she’s my wife!!! The realization on her face was SO FUNNY!

This group was such a treat! The gal in the middle is our former Teaching Leader Cicella, who now works at BSF Headquarters in San Antonio! She was there and we met up with Suzie Palmer Weber! and Pam, both former leaders in our class who are now part of other classes! Jip and I are on the other side. So good to see them ❤

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There was a line to get a picture of Suzie Rowan, executive director of BSF. I didn’t get in on it, but some did!

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Sarah. Lisa, Michelle, Suzie and Diana!!! Suzie Rowan Y’ALL!!!

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Denise, YuLing, Marilyn, Pam, Sarah, Jip, Capri K and Dorothy.

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Our 2017-18 Admin Team, with our Teaching Leader Jip. Sarah, Jip, Sandra, Trenda and me.

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This is my Dorothy. When she sees me she says “there’s my Kelly” and I say “there’s my Dorothy”! She’s my favorite ❤

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Trenda was in the gluten free dining room and texted that she was in DIRE need of some protein because they equated gluten free with being a vegetarian, so Jip found some unclaimed poultry for her and the other GF crowd!

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Me, Sarah, Adell, Melissa and Sandy.

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That selfie stick was giving us grief! Michelle, Pam, Trenda, Lisa Bell, me, Sarah, Diana and Lisa.

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It took a burst of about 60, but we got it!

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Look! There’s Honey! And Diana!

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Diana used to be on Admin, she always claims, “once on admin, always on admin”. She is very suchy muchy! ❤

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Joined by our favorite Farm Dog.

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Jip and I roomed together for the umpteenth time, and the party was in our room! Sandy, Sarah, Trenda, Jip, Lisa Bell, me and Melissa.

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in between the bus rides there were awesome speakers encouraging us to magnify God and mature His people, engage the culture while standing strong for Christ, why community matters and making people a priority. We need to be spiritually fit and find our identities in Christ alone, looking at our BSF lessons as heart work, not homework. and making it our life goal to be light to a dark culture.

Before we knew it we were back on the bus heading for The Mitten. Yvonne, me and Sarah.

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There was still a lot of conversation and laughter, but we had been changed by all we had heard. Pam and Melissa.

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Yvonne, Marilyn and Mary.

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Diana, Wendy, Barb, Emily and Patti.

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I consider serving at BSF these last 16 years to be one of my greatest blessings from a really good God ❤ Bible Study Fellowship has changed the trajectory of my life. Me, Sarah, Marilyn and Sandra.

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BSF is 2 years into a 5 year plan of change. Many things have changed as we seek to become more user friendly to millennials and the tech savvy crowd, less focused on guidelines (rules!) and more interested in extending grace and love, they have even altered what a traditional class and community looks like with the addition of satellite and virtual discussion groups. They cited a 2015 Barna study by Navigators that Christians rated BSF as the best organization enabling discipleship. That was the mantra all weekend. “Magnify God and mature His People” They continue to stand in the fight for Biblical understanding by engaging the culture for Christ.

I am proud to be a small part of such a God honoring organization.

Honey and I were tired from a hectic and full weekend. Someone was glad to see us.

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I missed him too ❤

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I encourage any of those unfamiliar with BSF to head on over to their website and see if there is a class near you.  bsfinternational.org and go to find a class near you. It will change your life ❤

Unexpected Moon!!

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I realize I got off track from my thankfulness agenda, but it was for a very good reason!! We had an unexpected visit from Moonpie and her folks!

The Boy and The Dane were ready to move on from their position in Seattle, Washington, and they decided to look for employment in The Mitten! He was looking for a church to hire him on as a youth pastor, and he had gotten to the point in the interviewing process where they decided to fly him out to meet in person. Because he was providing his own lodging and car (ours!), they told him they would fly The Dane in too! And that means Moonpie is a freebie! A wonderful surprise 🙂  ❤

They took the redeye from SeaTac, thinking that would be the easiest for Moon. It was most likely the right choice but they had a sassy, complaining gal in the row behind them who will forever and always be referred to as Ear Plug-Wino. We picked them up a little after 6 a.m. and they were so tired they passed on breakfast at their beloved Coney Island so they could have a nap before they started their extremely heavy itinerary with the church!

Moonpie had a little reintroduction chocolate Cheerio’s snack with her Papa first. It had been a whole year since they had bonded over his famous balloon noises. She seems to really enjoy Facetiming with Grammy and Papa, and it sure helped when we were face to face! She remembered me from my visit in July ❤

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She was checking him out, and he spent the rest of the weekend trying to get her to say PAPA, super loud! He was successful!

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They did some light reading. Animals, colors, the usual.

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She woke up from her nap happy and Grammy was so glad to see her girl!

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She was saying “awwww”, heart melted 🙂

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She had not seen The Ab-Cat in a year either. Ab took delight in introducing her to some of the videos her kids enjoy in the young five program at her school. Ba-by Shark doo doo da doo ta doo!

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Maybe a little jet lagged, but could kiss that little face all the live long day!

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She is getting so tall, even since the summer!

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Mousey had a pretty heavy work schedule but she was around when she could be. My two beebees 🙂

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The kids had a full weekend of interviewing, meetings, coffees, housing look-sees, dinners and ending with youth group on Sunday night. They decided to leave Moonpie with us on Saturday, which was the fullest day, and on Sunday morning. She went to dinner with the staff and met the kids at youth group. We were happy as clams!

Was glad to see she liked the toys we have been saving in the future Grandchildren area of our basement! She tasted every morsel of the fake food :/

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Was a diligent mama to the naked baby doll..

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Had a great time with our own resident toddler whisperer!

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Awwwww.

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She was very interested in our own teenage catten. He reciprocated the interest, and for the most part, was a gracious host.

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She likes to feed and water her people.

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With GUSTO!

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He was strangely obsessed with being near, but inaccessible.

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She quite enjoyed rides in the wheelchair, as all children do. Honey tried to get her to call Abby “Aunt Wheels”. I don’t think it’s going to stick.

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Fond of hair.

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And kisses ❤

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A quiet minute selfie.

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More LIT-erature 🙂

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Peek-a-boo, I see you!

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They are fast friends ❤

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They lovin” Finally got to the Coney Island in between church and youth group. The Dane and Moonpie stayed home to nap. I’m sure the weekend was grueling for her and her 30 some odd week tummy. The only picture I took of The Boy all weekend!

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One of the things I love about our baby is she is not at all strange with folks she doesn’t know! They think it’s because of their job. She even was happy to sit on The Usher’s lap for a spell. Do any of you long time Readers remember The Usher? Yeah, he has been spending time over here again with Mouse Ann. They are “talking”. Not dating, because she has sworn off that until 2019.

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She just made herself at home.

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After youth group on Sunday night the pastor offered The Boy the position!!!! He said their board voted unanimously to hire him, and they would love for them to be an addition to their staff!

Before we knew it, Monday’s flight back was waiting. 😦  Grammy is sure gonna miss her Moonpie ❤

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Her Mama bundled her into the back of Juanita, and I sincerely apologize to The Dane for this sparkling beauty picture, but it was ALL I HAD!

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I see that little smile ❤ ❤ ❤

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They will be coming back for good on January 24, 2019, HAPPY NEW YEAR for us!!!!!!!

9-Blog/Website

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Today the thankfulness prompt is a tough one. There was a time when I read many, many blogs. I loved hearing what people had to say, their family updates, new projects, vacation pictures, observances, but the type of blogging that was popular when I first started has gotten very quiet. So many have quit blogging entirely, some are more active on Facebook or Instagram and a couple I just didn’t care what they had to say any more. People change and sometimes their content does too. I have 10 blogs listed on my blog roll and only 2 of them blog with any kind of frequency, and one of the 10 is my old shuttered blog that ran out of space. I haven’t added anyone in so long I couldn’t figure out how to do it if I had to!!!

Blogging can be a strange thing. You read about their lives and some you really feel like you know! I have been genuinely sad when some closed up shop. Some explained their reasons for stopping, some just left, a few I seriously wondered if something bad happened in their life, and then found out something did!

Back in the day, I had my favorite blogs earmarked in a favorites file on our computer, now they go to Bloglovin’, and that website is one stop shopping. It tells you if any of the blogs you follow have posted that day, or the previous days, if you don’t check in that regularly. I follow about 37 sites on there, mostly recipe and home improvements, some I like, some I don’t even go to when there is a notification. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised to get a ping from someone who hasn’t posted in a loooooong time and it always feels like a Christmas letter from a long lost friend! I don’t feel all that attached to most but there are still some favorites that I always check because I like their writing, enjoy their humor or their unique way of explaining how they do things.

I narrowed it down to 3 that I most often read.

Young House Love

This couple are my favorite of the “project” bloggers, but I like them for several reasons. Not only do they show you their beautiful work, they explain how and why they do their projects really well, and they both have a fun and clever way of writing it down! Even if I NEVER plan to do anything they are showing me, they make going along for the ride enjoyable! I also like their dog Burger, because who wouldn’t love a little dog named Burger?!

Big Mama

Mrs. Schmenkman sent me a link to this blog about 10 years ago and I have read her ever since. She is a writer of books now and does not do much blogging anymore, but no one tells a story quite like her and I have laughed out loud reading her, and her buddy Boo Mama, countless times! Since both are capital W Writers now and have many speaking engagements a year, I guess we have to be content with reading them in book form. Which I have, and they were delightful 🙂

From This Side of the Pond

Joyce is another one I have read for many years and she is still blogging around her busy life and many trips! She hosted The Wednesday Hodgepodge for years before she finally put it to rest a few months back. I am grateful to her for all the time and effort she expended there, I loved participating! We have a lot in common, faith, birthday, stage of life, both became a Grandma the same summer to grandbabies who live too far away in Washington state! We actually did get together for lunch once when Honey and I were in her neck of the woods, and we both enjoyed getting a tour of the home she and her Hubs were building! I probably feel like I know her better than I actually do because I have followed her life for the last 8 or 9 years, plus read all of her thoughts and memories from the Hodgepodge.

So there you have it, 3 blogs I am thankful for. Give them a whirl 🙂

8-Restaurant

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I am thankful for the Mexican place that we go to almost every Wednesday after BSF! Affectionately named Chip and Dip by our children many years ago, I have passed the name on to all of delightful gals who gather around the table to enjoy chips and salsa (dip!), tacos, burritos, and all of the other things we apparently cannot get enough of! You never know who will be able to come, sometimes 2 and sometimes a crowd!

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We have spent hours around these tables discussing life, our families, our lessons, our God and the mighty ways we have seen Him work. There has been much laughter, a few tears, and a lot of love, heart eyes emoji inserted here 🙂

Thank you Lord for Mexican Fiesta, OLE!