Saturday, November 26, 2016


In some families (like mine!), aunts and nieces are closer in age than sisters!  I just happen to be the baby in my family.  My oldest sister is 13 years older than I and my middle sister is 8 years older than I am.  I just happen to be 8 years older than my niece, Cissy (daughter of the oldest sister).  A while back we received an invitation for a surprise 50th birthday for my niece.

The day of the party arrived and we drove about an hour north to the home of my great niece, Jennifer.   She and her husband, Jerry, recently built a new home and we were excited to see her home in addition to attending the surprise party.

We were all hiding in the dark as Cissy (aka Melanie to the real world) approached the house and of course everyone yelled "surprise" when she came through the door.

I have very few pictures of just the two of us together so was happy to get one that night!

I have NO idea what I'm doing here - laughing, I presume!  My oldest sister, Glenine (named after our dad - Glenn), is sitting in the recliner.  She has had some major health problems and I was glad she was able to attend the party.

Mark spent most of his time talking to Scott (striped shirt).  Scott is married to Cissy (my niece).  Scott has a day job but LOVES to cook - as in he is trained as a chef.  I've heard about his meals and I've seen pictures so I was excited to eat some of the food he prepared.  I believe that in addition to food, Mark and Scott discussed bourbon!

This is Mandy, another one of my great nieces.  She is just a few months older than my kids.  She is an EMT and has a whole bunch of other titles.  She rides in the ambulance and I can't even imagine doing that.  She has a special gift that I DO NOT have!!  Her wife, Megan, was not able to attend the party that night.

Jennifer made some beautiful and tasty cupcakes.  I ate a caramel one and it was delicious!!

The decorations were so cute - they had banners and streamers.  I told them that they need to have a top made for the pool table so they can use it as a dining room table.  The pool table (it was really fancy so maybe billiards??) was a great repository for the presents.

Here is the table in the Beverly Hillbillies - they just pulled up their chairs and called it the fancy eatin' table!

Look what I found when I was looking for the Beverly Hillbillies picture - they actually make a "fancy eatin' table" that is BOTH  a dining room table and a pool table!

Back to the birthday - I'm so happy that our great nieces included us.  It was good to be with my family for a short evening!!

Welcome to the 50's Cissy -- the water is just fine!  Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

September Beach Trip

Yes, I realize that we are now in November and I'm just now blogging about our September beach trip but I've been very busy since we got back!!

We tried something new this year - we booked a condo on Dauphin Island through VRBO.  When Glenn and Lauren lived in Mobile, they would go to Dauphin Island with friends but Mark and I had never been.  It is so quiet.  It was lovely.

We had incredible weather.  We haven't had rain (now) in 44 days and have had many record high days so even though it is not good for our water supply . . .it made for nice vacation weather.  One day was actually so hot, that I ended up going in early.  That is unheard of from me - the one who loves to sit in the sun and get a tan.

One afternoon, in the heat of the day, Mark and I drove from one end of the island to the other (not very far!!) and even got out and walked around.  This is on the end of the island where the fort is located.  I would like to go back for more days and do some of the touristy things.

Mark and Glenn love to fish and not only to fish - but to catch.  They were so excited because they caught really great fish - pompano.  We ate really well . . .and not because of great restaurants.  There are only a few places to eat on the island.  We ate great fresh fish!!

I did get steamed shrimp and potatoes one afternoon from the local place and supper that night was better than any restaurant meal.

The outdoor pool (yes, they had an indoor pool, too!) was half in shade so every afternoon, Glenn and Lauren took Tiny Tiger to the pool.  She LOVED it!!!

She spent her afternoons in a little tent on the beach with her own little fan.  She wasn't sitting up yet so they also took the little activity seat down for her.

Mark and Glenn fished and fished and fished and loved it!

Here is a picture of that yummy dinner.

I love this picture of Lauren and tiny tiger - it was late afternoon on the beach and the lighting was just right!!

They fed Mr. P a lot of fish so he learned to hang around!!

All in all, it was a great trip - just not long enough!  We drove down on a Wednesday and stayed until Sunday.  Those extra few days would have been great.  I made the mistake of working some every day.  I need to make myself NOT do that next time!!!  I had some work that I felt like I really needed to do but I should have done it all on one day and then ignored it the rest of the time.  Lesson learned!

I would recommend going to Dauphin Island if you are looking for a nice quiet vacation - especially in September.  If you crave more dining experiences, you can take the ferry over to more restaurants or you can drive into Mobile (about an hour).  We were happy just to stay in all but one night.  We ate with the locals.  Really.  They all stared at us when we entered!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016 - LOVED it!

We started out the day at work by watching our TCDC (daycare) parade and then standing in a line down a hallway so that the children could trick-or-treat.  I didn't take any pictures this year but there were a lot of cute kids and several crying children!!

I rushed home after work because Halloween is a BIG DEAL in our neighborhood.  I had purchased over 1,000 pieces of candy - good candy as you can see by the basket . . .1 piece per trick-or-treater.  You read that right - we have LOTS of trick-or-treaters - all ages; all races; all kinds of costumes.

 The park is right in front of our house and folks played in the park all evening, too.  One of the first to play was a storm trooper!

There is always a pizza party for the kids in our neighborhood that begins at 5:00.  As soon as they finish eating, many of them begin to trick-or-treat.  We had quite a few trick-or-treaters before dark.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite costumes of the night.  Evan is the grandson of Mrs. Lu and Mr. Dave who live across the park from us.  He is in a wheelchair.  His police car had working lights - it was AMAZING!!  His dad and friends make him a special "costume" each year.  He was a flying superman last year.  I love the police car.  Evan even had handcuffs and Mark told him to arrest me.  He laughed and laughed!!!

We saw the T-Rex almost immediately (hard to miss) and I was telling Mark, "I want a picture with the T-Rex to send Matt."  Matt is our nephew (grown man :-) and he has loved dinosaurs since he was a tiny boy!!!  This costume had air blowing inside.  It was so cool!!!

Isn't this costume awesome - so simple but so cool!  She was a jellyfish - made with an umbrella and twinkle lights and streamers and googly eyes!!  I love Halloween.  I love the creativity.  I didn't get a picture but later in the evening, we had two bigger kids (teenagers) dressed as a smore.  They made giant cardboard graham crackers.  They clued smaller rectangles on one side and wrote Hersheys on the bars and they made a white box marshmallow for the other cardboard.  The guy said it cost $7 to make both their costumes! 

This picture is not very clear but we had a steady stream of trick-or treaters for 2 1/2 hours.  Sometimes they would be lined up. I tried to talk to as many as possible (that is NOT WHY they were lined up!!).  99.9% of them were so polite.  Almost everyone said Trick-or-Treat and the majority said, "Thank You."  I only heard one smart A** comment from one kid all night!

Mark walked around with my phone and took pictures.  Can you see the line at the house on the left?  They had to walk under the big cat to get to the porch.  You can see the lights and decorations.  Our neighborhood goes all out!

Mark must have snapped this one as he was walking back.  This is our house!

Halloween in our neighborhood is like the trick-or-treating scene in a Halloween movie (think Hocus Pocus).  Mark said that the atmosphere was like that of a New Orleans street (even some of the parents are carrying their go cups!!)  Of course, it is kids and not drunk adults walking around!!

I have repeatedly tried to insert a video here so you could see the people in motion and hear the sounds but it won't load.   You will just have to take my word for it - Halloween night was a success in the Preserve!!!