Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

We were so lucky to spend our Memorial Day weekend with some veterans. Yesterday we had dinner with one of our neighbors who joined us for our block party.

Meet Buck, a Korean War veteran.

(Not only do we respect him as an American veteran, but we also really like him because he tells us he likes our kids! ; )

* * * * * * *

Today we went to Chief and Tootsie's, parents of our good friend and neighbor. Chief (a.k.a. Colonel Bangasser) is also a vet.

It was a beautiful day to...
visit with friends,

go for a refreshing dip,

dig potatoes and pick tomatoes,

watch nature,

get a little dirty,

walk through Chief's orchard of plum, fig, peach, lemon, and apple trees,

grill some good grub,

enjoy some sweet treats,

hike to the creek,

be tired,

and be thankful.

We are thankful for all the American veterans who have sacrificed much for our freedom and safety so that we are able to enjoy such fun and carefree days like today.

Hope all y'all had a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thank you, Mom!

I LOVE it!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hair today, gone tomorrow...probably back soon

What could be holding the kids' attention so captive?

What would make them sit there so nicely, with such suspense-filled absorption?

There must be some sort of side show going on.

Yep, there was.

After nine months of


Joe was finally...

removing it.


Can you believe this is how he cuts his hair? He's been using the same clippers (given to him by a 90-year old retiring barber) and cutting his hair like this since he was 15 years old.

Usually, Joe starts growing a beard during the Christmas holiday when he's off work, then keeps it for a couple of weeks...or maybe a couple of months.

But this year--
you know how brutal our winter climate is here in Texas (hehe)
--he started growing it before our fall trip.

The kids were so excited not just because the clippers came out but because they knew they would have a creative hand in the process.

They get to tell him step-by-step how to cut it off.

"Shave some long, pointy mutton chops."
"Make a goatee with long sideburns."
"Cut it off on the bottom of your chin but keep a really long mustache."
"Make a small mustache now."
"Okay, cut out the middle of your tiny mustache."

Requests granted.

Oh, one last one from Mom: "Please finish off the 'stache!"
(I didn't take a final photo, but believe me, it's gone!)

Joe thinks shaving is overrated, but he values it for the creative and entertainment factor...once in a while anyway.

We'll see how long it lasts before he starts his next facial crop.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


We've been enjoying lots of fresh eggs from our friends' range-roamin' chickens.

Remember this hen? This is the one that lays speckled eggs.

Here's one of her daily commodities.

Before we started getting eggs from our friends, we had been buying free-range chicken eggs from the store. The yolks from our friends' eggs were noticeably darker.

Some sources say that the darker yolks contain more beta carotene. I think it's just kinda cool to have met and held the bearers of our eggs!

Can you pick out the four darker ones from the four store-bought, free-range eggs?

Another friend has been supplying us with some of her chickens' eggs. Our last batch from her included some bluish "Easter" eggs and this humongous one. The poor hen.

I actually thought of Angela who recently gave birth to a 9-1/2 pound boy...and Joe's cousin who gave birth to a near 11 pounder. Yes, looking at an egg like that can make a momma think of such things...especially since our largest babe was a mere 8-1/2 lbs.

Two different eggs from the same chicken

It was a double yolker.

Well, maybe I can sort of relate.

I guess they were double yolkers too!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Old friends

One of Joe's long-time friends, Joe, was in town.

These Joes go way back.

We're talking walking-to-grade-school-together type long-time friends. They went all the way through high school together.

Now, one Joe lives in the Deep South and the other resides on the East Coast.

In fact, here's a trio of his grade school friends at our wedding...with the visiting friend in the middle.

Yum, this reminds me of my favorite place to eat when we go back home. The two guys on the left have a Green Mill Restaurant. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

It was fun for me to hear some stories this friend recalled about my husband in his younger days--about how he--with his imposing size and strength (he was an early bloomer)--righted the wrongs of some bullies, how he loved to come over to play basketball in the driveway during their carefree years, and he made just a wee bit of good-natured trouble for his teachers in school.

Of course, hearing stories of my husband being known for eating disturbing quantities of food was expected...and he did tell a few of those stories. So, I mentioned that my Joe had continued the trend well into his professional career as he finished up this meal in 45 minutes.

The 4-1/2 lb. steak dinner Joe ate at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo. He even got a certificate for this disgusting feat...and a place on their online list of 72 oz. steak eaters (date of ingestion: 3/26/94).

It was probably no surprise to this old-time friend, but it was so cute to see them laughing about it together like little boys!

It was after talking about the trouble they made in school and the grody amounts of food Joe used to devour that we turned to the thunderous laughing uproar at the kids' end of the table and noticed this scene.

Jimmer decided to break the ice with our friend's children.

All six of the kids at the table had finished their meals and (quietly) created a repulsive suspension of BBQ sauce, root beer, salt, pepper, butter, and who knows what else. Jimmer decided to mop it up with some bread and eat it--consequently, the uproarious laughter.

Here's what was left of the slurry.

Yep, that's my Joe's boy!

At least the other kids were kind enough to still stand by our kids for a token photo before they high-tailed it outta there...far away from our family.

Probably never to return again.

Well, if they ever do return to TX, they'll probably just try desperately to avoid us.

It was a fun reunion while it lasted!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More with Gramma...y mi tia muy especial

Aunt Mayno came to town to join her sister (Gramma) for a visit...and to make sure the kids haven't outgrown her yet! Besides MK's shoe size, Mayno can rest assured she's got a couple years 'til that happens.

The kids also celebrated the reprise of Aunt Mayno's monikers: Muchachito (Mike), Guapa (Kathleen), Preciosa (MK), and Coco Loco (Jimmer)!

We went out to Central Market's Cafe patio for some dinner and live music by Albert & Gage.

Aunt Mayno had a slumber party with the girls and got to snooze in a special place of honor, the bottom bunk. (Yes, that's Kathleen underneath the beds. Uhm...she's been sleeping there for about a month now. Not sure why--she just is.)

Went for a hike and picnic at Hamilton Pool.

(above composite photo from

The kids LOVE climbing all the boulders in the grotto...

...which is where we picnicked.

MK didn't get too far eating her lunch before she had to pull out a "looth tooth."

Once again, she and Kathleen were now toothless twins since Kathleen lost one that same morning. The tooth fairy has appreciated our efficiency on other occasions.

I forgot to pull out my camera when we went to Johnson City and toured the LBJ Ranch in the Hill Country. Later, we grabbed some grub at The OASIS--good food, live music, and a spectacular view of the lake and sunset.

Gramma and Aunt Mayno (okay, her real name is Mary) enjoyed some more live music back at the Roche Ranch.

Looking at these pictures makes my knees ache. I really ought to spring for a couple of music stands soon.

We had such fun with Gramma and Aunt Mayno. Maybe they'll come back soon. Chances may be better with Aunt Mayno since she didn't have to endure this:

We miss them both already.

There hasn't been quite as much card playing since they left.