Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Recap:

We took Blake up to Capital Regional in Jefferson City to see his baby brother, Nathan. We had a good time visiting with Kenny, Shelley, Blake, his Grandma Pat and Uncle Mark. The baby is doing fine and is a cute little guy. We stopped on the way home to get a sandwich and soda. (I won't mention my daughter picked up DIET Mountain Dew!! Yucko!! I will drink most anything but diet. Guess I'll forgive her for her mistake..... this time!!)

Blake still needed
"his April" time.

The last weekend of September is Molasses Making at my mom and dad's. The family has been continuing this tradition since 1978. My grandma and several great aunts and uncles were alive the first few years we made molasses. It was always a real joy for the family to get together and carry on this old time tradition. The first few years there was live music from anyone that wanted to sing or play an instrument. Tom and Jesse Coffey, better known as The Coffey Brothers of Vienna, performed a few times. This year was no different, my sister Judy, her husband, Joe, my cousin Kenny Williams and his wife played the guitar and sang. Kenny's wife brought a base fiddle and did a wonderful job on it. Along with the work and visiting, we have a huge carry-in meal. The food is always good and a wide variety of covered dishes. Mom had each of us to say a silent prayer in remembrance of my cousin, Albert Allen who passed away in 2005. The 26th would have been Albert's 54th birthday. Dwayne, Chad, Todd, and Dwayne's brother David and his sons work very hard at cooking the molasses. It is a long process from stripping the cane, then cutting and hauling in the cane stalks. There is a press that squeezes out the juice from the stalks. It is powered by a mule hooked up to the "sweet pole" that goes around the press. The juice is then transported to a barrell by the pan that cooks the molasses. The juice is green and looks pretty gross as it starts to cook. As the juice is run through the different stages it starts cooking and turning a golden brown color. The end result is molasses that is poured up and then bottled in different size canning jars. We will do this process again on October 10th and 11th at Meramec Springs during Old Iron Works Days. Dwayne provided a hay ride and trail ride for the kids (old and young) that evening. I played lazy and stayed at home to relax.
Since it rained Saturday morning we were not able to cook the molasses so back to the process. Once again, we had a huge dinner and visiting with relatives we don't see often. I was too tired for our family supper night so I sent April and Mike to pick up pizza from Pizza Hut. Chad and Todd also ate with us. Everyone was tired from the full weekend of work but enjoyed our time together.

I am so thankful my parents are still alive for this tradition. Even though Dad doesn't do the actual cooking anymore, he so enjoys visiting and "showing off". Saturday he did a few jig dances on the wagon for all to see. At 85 years young, he does pretty good. Poor Mom spends her weekend cooking for the guests each year and making her famous chicken and dumplings. She gets pretty worn out but she is happy to still do as much as she does. Her and Dad made several jars of jelly and apple butter this summer. Each relative went home with a jar. I am very grateful to have such a wonderful family.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Friday, September 25th must be the day for birthdays in our family and friends.

Savannah Tate Feeler, the daughter of my nephew Wayne Feeler turned six years old today. Savannah has long curly brown hair and is a very cute girl. She loves to pose for pictures as if she is a model.

Our neighbors, Russ and Amy Harris' son Waylon is five years old today. Waylon loves to tell stories and keeps everyone entertained.

New arrival today: Nathan Steven Allen, 7 lb. 5 oz, 19.5 inches long, born at 8:08 a.m. is the baby brother of Blake Austin Allen, our "pretend grandchild". I guess I could mention the parents are Kenney and Shelley Allen. Blake spent the night with us and April took him to preschool this morning. After work, April, Mike, Dwayne and I will take Blake to Jefferson City to see his little brother for the first time. We are all excited for the evening to get here.
April babysat for them last year and we became quite close. We enjoy them letting us have "visitation rights" with Blake once a month. LOL We have already scheduled a "visitation" with Nathan in October when they take Blake to the circus.

I will post pictures later.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weekend Recap:

Dwayne had supper fixed for me and April when we got home from work. He went all out; pork chops, mashed potatoes/gravy, home grown green beans and macaroni and cheese. He even cleaned the kitchen up afterwards. I think I could get used to having a "house husband".
Saturday was my baby's 24th birthday. Happy Birthday, April!!
I had always wanted a little girl. They didn't do ultra sounds way back then. My doctor had told me he thought I was going to have another boy. I had a rough pregnancy this time and the labor was even worse. I remember after hours of pain I didn't care what the baby was, just get it out. To mine and Dwayne's surprise, I had a baby girl! We couldn't believe it! With the boys the doctor would not even let me get my hands out from under the blanket draped over me. This time they laid the baby up on my chest and I got to hold her in the delivery room. Dwayne and I were smiling from ear to ear (him with his face mask on-telling you it must have been the dark ages). When I have time to go through pictures, I will post one of April in the delivery room. She had a smile on her face, also. She would tell you that she was laughing at her parents. My mouth actually hurt the next day from smiling so much. April was the first and only granddaughter on the Elrod side.
April and I went to Zeno's in Rolla for a friend's baby shower. We had a nice lunch and enjoyed visiting with friends we'd not seen in quite some time. Misty received a nice collection of girl's clothing for the new one to be born in November, Layla Paige.
Sunday afternoon, my family hosted an 80th Birthday Party for my mom, Maxine Feeler at Broadway Baptist Church. Mom really enjoyed the day. Of course, my dad added his part to the celebration by doing a jig dance (in a Baptist Church Hall, none the less). It was a wonderful time with family and friends.
Since I took off work yesterday, Monday was a part of my extended weekend. I basically did nothing all day but watch TV and read, a very relaxing day off work.
When April got home from work, we went to Maurice's in St. Roberts to shop and then back to
Rolla to eat at one of our favorite places, La Pasada. We had a nice evening enjoying her Birthday.

Once again, my time with family and friends makes me grateful to have the life I have.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My brother Russell's trio of Grandsons:

Bradley James Feeler:

My nephew, R. J. Feeler became the proud father of Bradley James on September 11, 2008.
Bradley is a very sweet natured and laid back baby, unlike his cousin, Kaden who I will talk about also. Bradley loves to just look around and explore everything in his sight. He had no interest in pulling himself up or walking around furniture so we were worried about him not accomplishing these milestones. We need not to have worried as at 11 months he just decided to walk. Heck with pulling yourself up to furniture, I'll just do the actual walking. He also didn't want to crawl but after he started walking he also started crawling.
Bradley will sit and entertain himself for quite a while with his toys or most importantly, an old cell phone. We have watched him a couple times and you couldn't ask for a better baby, he slept through the night. Happy Birthday, Bradley!

Kaden Michael Feeler:

On September 16, 2008, my niece, Kristin Feeler became the mother of this little spitfire, Kaden Michael. He was named after his Great Aunt Mary Kaye (thus, the Kaden) and his Uncle Michael. Kaden is a very pleasant baby; his first few months he went thru milestones like most babies. Then when he started crawling, he was like Speedy Gonzales, crawling at a very fast pace, climbing everything and was just plain fast!! We haven't seen him much since they moved to Arizona last winter to be close to Grandpa Russ, but Mom, Dad, Kate and MacKensie went out to visit the first of June. Dad cannot quit bragging on how fast he is. He also spits and laughs hysterically at himself. Kristin has a video of his spitting/laughing on her Facebook Page.
Happy Birthday, Kaden!!

Gavin Doyle Feeler:

Gavin is the first of the trio, born August 26, 2007
to my nephew, Michael Doyle Feeler and his wife, Sarah. Gavin is a cute little boy and loves to have my dad "shake and rattle" his false teeth. Every time Gavin sees his Grandpa Great, he starts shaking his head as if he's rattling his teeth too. Very cute watching him and of course my dad loves it! Dad (Grandpa Great) has also taught him to jig dance and he does a pretty good job. We don't get to see Gavin as much since they live in St. Louis, but we enjoy our time with him when they visit.
Happy Late Birthday, Gavin!

I'm sure you've noticed that "Little Miss Busy Lizzy" who I spoke about on Monday is in the pictures of Kaden and Gavin. Any child at our house is fair game to be held whether they want to or not. LOL
Although Dwayne and I don't have grandchildren yet, we enjoy each of our great nieces and nephews. I am so grateful for these children in our life.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend Recap:

We went to one of my great nieces 8th Birthday Party Friday evening. My niece, Elizabeth Ann Rowe has many names. We call her Liz, Lizzy, Busy Lizzy and as Blake calls her "Little Bits".
Liz is a most unique child. She is very intelligent and excels in her school work. I think she was born talking. She can sing and does a pretty good "opera" voice. We all enjoy her so much. We had a good time visiting with family and friends at their new house. (Also good food always helps. LOL) Elizabeth is the daughter of my nephew, Tony Rowe and his wife Billy. Liz was born on September 8, 2001. Happy Birthday, Liz. You've brought many smiles to our life.
We are getting pretty good on Saturday mornings to relax (or lazy) and watch a movie on TV before we start our day. That afternoon we went to Belle for Barb Elrod Stradford's 50th Birthday Party. You cannot go away hungry when you attend an Elrod Family function!! They are all great cooks and the best
fish fryers.
April, Mike and I went to church and stayed after for the meal. Dwayne is now on the Nurture Committee at our church. The Nurture Committee plans and cooks most of a meal one Sunday a month. This meal was smoked chicken and pulled pork, the members bring in side dishes. They outdid themselves, it was wonderful.
We didn't have a very big turnout for our Sunday Family Meal, just April, Mike, me and Dwayne.
We grilled steaks, baked potatoes, salad, corn casserole (leftover) and jello salad for dessert.
We finished off the evening with watching one of my favorite shows, Army Wives.
It was a wonderful weekend full of family togetherness. We are blessed with so many friends and family and our health. I am very grateful for all that I have.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 10, 1977

Yesterday, September 10th was our 32nd Anniversary. How can that be? It certainly does not seem like I've spent more years married and with Dwayne than the 20 years I spent at home being nurtured by my parents. I cherish my childhood memories and the wonderful life I had with my siblings, cousins, and all extended family.
Now when I think back, it was all in the blink of an eye and I was grown. It is the same for me thinking about our children being grown and gone from home. We take each day for granted and it is not until we look back that we realize how precious those family times were.
Dwayne and I started dating in our Senior year of High School. We dated for a little over two years before getting married in 1977. At the time, I thought we were "old" at the age of twenty to be getting married. Now, when I look back I think we were just babies. It is funny how you think in different terms of age as you look forward to the future or back to when you were younger.
Dwayne and I celebrated the day together. We had breakfast at Hardees. (I love their bacon/egg biscuits). We then drove around the countryside on roads we'd never been on. It was a lovely day out. Last night we had dinner at Sybill's in St. James. Their food is excellent and the atmosphere is very nice, a little out of our normal element but none the less very nice.
Marriage is alot of give and take and for the most part we have had a wonderful life together. We have had our ups and downs and trials just as most couples do. But at the end of the day, we know we're each there for the other and our love has grown through the years. Dwayne is my best friend and I love him very much. Hopefully, we will have the chance to celebrate 50, 60 and who knows, maybe even 70 years together. My parents have been happily married for 62 years and Dwayne's parents had celebrated 52 years of marriage before my mother-in-law passed away.
I am grateful for my loving husband and the life we've had thus far.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Weekend Update:

It seems the weekend actually started last Wednesday with the opening night of the fair.

Wednesday: Dwayne and I went to the fair to watch my niece, Ashlyne, cheer in the talent show. She did a great job and her group placed second in their division. While I watched Ashlyne, Dwayne went down to the Kiddie Tractor Pull and watched our little friend, Blake. Blake was more interested in looking behind him at what he was pulling than trying to see how far he could go. He needed to check out the mechanical part of the tractor/wagon. He had a lot of fun and as he "drives" Grandpa Mitch's big tractor alot he felt right at home.
Thursday: Dwayne and I once again set out for the fair. It's unusual for Dwayne to go each night as he usually has to get up so early for work the next day. Dwayne is laid off for a few weeks so he decided to go nightly. That was a treat as I cannot remember how many years it's been since we've went to the fair every night together. Dwayne went over to the Tractor Pull and I stayed around the rides and shows to be close in case Zach or Ashlyne needed anything. They are growing up so fast! I had more freedom this year as I didn't have to keep such a close eye on them, and it helps having cell phones to keep in touch. That would have been nice when my kids were younger. I thought I just had to top off the evening with a funnel cake.

Friday: Funnel Cake.......... Well, I paid for eating that, got sick during the night, therefore I was late to work. But it sure tasted good!! Off to the fair once again with Zach and Ashlyne going along. It rained on the way over, rained almost the whole time we were there, but we did have a nice supper from the lunchstand. The kids walked around some and then we were all ready to just leave and get out of the rain. Ashlyne spent the night with a friend to be in town early the next morning to be on their cheerleading float.

Saturday: Dwayne, April, Kate and I headed off to the parade. Our family always meets on the Courthouse square to watch the parade. We had a good time visiting and watching the parade. After the parade, we went to Moreland's for lunch. We spent the afternoon resting and then picked Zach and Ashlyne up and headed back to the fair. One good thing about the fair weekend, I don't cook! We usually eat there every night. Dwayne and I, along with Kenny, Shelley, and Blake watched the Demolitian Derby and was excited to see Michael and Mat win. I'm glad we sat on the north side of the track as the ones who sat on the south side were splattered with mud. It was fun to watch the expressions on Blake's face as the cars rammed into each other. The kids were tired and actually ready to leave before we were.

Sunday: Dwayne and I went to church. We then spent the afternoon "reading". I have always loved to read so you can see me with a book most anytime. Dwayne has never been a reader. When we went to Punta Cana, I checked him out a couple books to read. (not thinking that he would actually read them, but just in case). Well, I've created a monster! He reads all the time now. April is not a reader, so it is super weird for her to come home and see both me and Dwayne sitting on the porch reading a book. Dwayne will even stay up after I've gone to bed to finish a book. I fixed my family supper but the kids all had plans and weren't able to come. My sister Judy and I went up to visit Kate for awhile. We all then went back to the house and ate supper and dessert, so my efforts of a meal weren't totally wasted.

Monday: We didn't do much, just relaxed and visited with family. Kate fixed lasagna and a delicious dessert. We watched TV and got rested up for the week ahead.

After a long weekend, it is nice to get back on a schedule. I am grateful for my time with my family and then the opportunity of a job I like and close to home.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Grateful for my job:

Yes, I am very grateful for the job I have. I couldn't ask for better bosses and working environment. I am very blessed by this job.

It was a hard decision to make from working with my classmate, Donnie Stratman at Stratman Trucking for a little over eight years. Not only was Donnie my boss but also a great friend. Donnie and his wife, Robin, were there for support and encouragement when my Mother-in-Law, Doris Elrod passed away (on life support for six weeks) and then in 2007 when my Father-in-Law, Andy Elrod died. Also allowing me the time off to take Grandpa Andy to numerous doctor's appointmens when he was diagonosed with Non-Hodgekins Lymphoma and then the horrible few weeks after his stroke. Donnie and Robin allowed me the time to grieve at work if needed and offered much encouragement and support. They have also been very supportive of any family obligations I had. I was worried when I switched jobs if I would have the freedom to take time off for family situations.

I feel that God had a big part of the new job position. To be honest, on the day Don Allen talked to me on the phone offering me employment, I hesitated. I did not want to hurt Donnie's feelings but I also had been feeling a little restless at work as the trucking industry had slowed down alot and I didn't have enough to keep me busy all day. When I left work that day, I was so tired and thought I'll just go on home, I can talk to them some other day. But I had said I would stop and I try to keep my word. I stopped in and Don and John briefed me on what the job would entail. Don knew of my medical history of having Lupus and occasionally needing time off to just rest. Don brought up the fact of my illness and said they understood if I had to take time off periodically. (Fortunately that hasn't happened often). I went home and talked to Dwayne about it. He is always supportive of any decision I make. I then talked to my Mom and she said to pray about it and that would help me make the decision. I told her I had been praying for an opportunity to make more money, even trying to setup my own part-time business. As soon as I said that, I had this overwhelming feeling that I had my answer. The job offered me many possibilities and a great pay increase. An answer to prayer. And I could not be happier. I have known the Allen Family my whole life and we are distantly related. I now have a whole new "work family" and just like any relationship there are changes. At first I felt like I was betraying Donnie and Robin for enjoying my new job so much. I felt guilty. I guess that is the way of any relationship of change be it divorce, moving, death or any new situation. But just like with extended families, you can have more than one "work family", it just enriches your life with so many loving people.

Life at the age of 52 is great. I love my family, job and life in general. Like everyone else, I wish the time would slow down. I have found that at this point in my life, I can relax and not stress over every little incident. Some wisdom of old age. LOL

Once again, I am very grateful for my life.