Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve:


I was a lot more patient in 1990 than I am today. When I look at this picture, I wonder what I was thinking!! The kids were excited to celebrate the New Year and wanted to throw confetti like they do on TV. So, I let them each (Chad, Todd, April & my nephew, Troy) have a basket and toilet paper to shred. Imagine at midnight 4 baskets of "confetti" tossed in the air. It really was fun to watch the kids have such a good time. They did clean up their mess, after they tossed confetti in the air a few more times.

We put a lot of emphasis on a new year, as if some magic will make it better than the year before. We should appreciate each day on it's own merit. But I, too, am looking forward to a better year in 2010. I pray for good health, children's life to become better, my parents. The list goes on. Then I think, Connie, God has blessed you with so much, appreciate each day and blessing.

So my wish for 2010 is to become a better person and accept each day as it comes, for that is a blessing in itself.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holidays: (& the flu season)

Christmas Eve:
I worked part of the day then went home to get ready to go to Mom and Dad's that evening. We were a smaller group this year but we had a good time. We cherish our time together celebrating with our parents. Mom read the Christmas story out of the Bible and the kids sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.
After Mom's, we went to the house for our celebration. April had found a recipe for shrimp appetisers and let me tell you, they were very, very spicy!! If we have them again, we will have to cut down on the chipotle peppers and cayenne. We all received nice gifts and just sat around visiting.
My boys:
Todd & Chad

April & Mike:

Christmas Day:
This was a first for me and Dwayne in our entire married life and before, we were alone on Christmas Day. I thought I would be sad being by ourselves and not going to any family functions but I actually enjoyed the day relaxing. We went to Denny's around noon for breakfast and then just watched TV the rest of the day.
Flu, the beginning of the season:
No one likes to hear the phone ring at 3:30 in the morning. Your first thought is it has to be bad news, Mom or Dad sick, a wreck, the boys are in trouble, a million thoughts running through your head. It was Chad saying he was sick, could I come down. So Dwayne and I both took out to Chad's in a rush to get there. We always seem to panic a little when Chad gets sick as any infections seem to trigger his kidney disease and it takes longer for him to heal. When we got there, he was laying on the bathroom floor, too weak to get back to bed. We stayed for a couple hours as his temperature was high and he was so sick. We then went back home for a couple hours sleep. I told Dwayne he could be "Mr. Mom" and take Chad to the doctor. Luckily for us, a local doctor was in Saturday morning. Chad has the flu, strep throat and a sinus infection. Dwayne even brought his bed clothes home to wash and went back and forth to check on Chad during the day. Since my immune system isn't that strong, we figured Dwayne would be the nurse. (Unfortunately, he came down with the flu Sunday morning).
Rowe/Akridge Christmas:
April and I went to my nephew's house (Tony Rowe's) for their Christmas celebration. We had great food and lots of fun watching the kids open presents. We then had a "white elephant" gift exchange. The adults had a good time but the kids just didn't seem to understand the whole game of stealing gifts.
The rest of the day I made cookies and pies for our Elrod dinner on Sunday.
Sunday, Elrod Dinner:
Dwayne put the ham on and then went back to bed. He had come down with the flu and could barely get out of bed. I called David to see if they still wanted to come down since Dwayne was sick. They had their flu shots so we went ahead with the dinner. Good thing as I had alot of food cooked. Chad was still sick and unable to come over, Dwayne came into the living room a couple times but went back to bed. Trevor and Xander had fun with their presents and kept us entertained.
Before they got there, my sister, Judy called and said Dad was in the hospital and that he had the flu. She called again later and said Dad had a bowel obstruction and was going to have to have surgery. The rest of the day was spent visiting and playing cards with the worry in the back of my mind about Dad. Last night I went up to see Dad and he was feeling better. They were giving him medicine in an IV to hopefully keep him from having surgery.

The holiday weekend was a time of reflection on past Christmas' and missing Grandma Dodie and Grandpa Andy. Dodie loved Christmas and always made it a special time for everyone. I hope to carry on her tradition of celebrating Christmas surrounded by family and creating new memories.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Movie Night:

Occasionally, my sister Kate will rent a movie and bring it down for us to watch. Last night, she rented "It's All About Steve" with Sandra Bullock. Talk about a nerdy person, Sandra Bullock played the part to a tee. I like to watch Sandra Bullock's movies and she usually plays a funny part. I think it will be hard to watch her play such a serious role in her new movie, "Blind Side", but I'm sure she will do a great job as she is a very talented actress. I think I even have Dwayne talked into go to the theater to watch it instead of waiting for it to come out on DVR.
I fixed enchiladas for supper and April supplied the dessert. Along with me, Dwayne and April were Kate, MacKensie and Zach. We had a good evening with family and I love that we all live close to each other.


Nathaniel Lane Rowe
December 23, 1999

Nathan is the son of my nephew, Tony Rowe and his wife Billie.
Nathan was the highlight of our Christmas Eve family gathering at Mom's that year.His hair was almost the same color as Chad's was.
At the time of Nathan's birth, my sister, Judy (his grandma) lived in Ellington. I had the wonderful opportunity to play "grandma" to her grandchildren. We watched Nathan for the first time when he was just a couple weeks old. We took him to our friend's house for Mike's birthday. It seems to be a tradition for the great niece or nephew's first outing with us is to go visit Mike and Susan.
Nathan has gown up to be a remarkable child. He does very well in his schoolwork and helps out at home quite a bit. He loves horses and would ride most of the time if he had a chance.
Happy 10th Birthday, Nathan!

Monday, December 21, 2009


End of the work week and just a relaxing evening at home.
My great nephew, Nathan had a birthday party in the evening. I will do a tribute to him on the 23rd, his actual birthday. Blake went with us as he had got to know my family when April babysat him. Billie (Nathan's Mom) always has neat ideas on decorations and activities. She had the kids form teams and they were to see who could make a snowman the fastest. They used toilet paper to wrap around the child chosen to be the snowman and she had construction paper cut outs to pin on of boots, nose, etc. Blake was voted the best snowman, he stood so still and serious through the game.
Charlie Tynes

After the party, we went to Sput's Place between Vichy and Rolla for a College Graduation Party for our friend's son. Charlie now has his Masters in Business Management and the party was a nice tribute to all of his hard work. I enjoyed visiting with friends but I think I'm getting too old to enjoy being at a bar with all the noise and loud music. Showing my age!! LOL
I played hooky from going to church, no reason, just didn't go. I did finish up wrapping presents for Christmas. My Sunday evening family meal time isn't going as I planned. The boys are usually busy doing their own thing and don't make it. So it is usually just me, Dwayne, April and Mike; which is okay but I do wish the boys would make more of an effort to come over.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and takes the time to enjoy being a family. What greater gift from God, the birth of Christ, and continuing on with the birth and life of each one of us.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Kara Leigh:

Kara Leigh Cross:
December 16, 1992

Kara is the step daughter of my nephew, Wayne Feeler, Jr. I do not like to use the term, step, as Kara is very much my neice. Kara came into our family when she was three years old. What a delightful child and very talkative. Kara loved to ask questions and used the word why alot. One day she said, Aunt Connie, I can use the big words now. I asked her what words those were, she said how come? So we were then answering how come questions instead of why? So cute!!
A few years ago we were at a barbeque with some friends and Kara and Tess were with us. One of my friends said, you can certainly tell Kara is your neice Connie, she looks just like you and your side of the family. She could not have said anything better and I did not correct her. We never talked about it but I know it made Kara feel even more a part of the family.
April used to babysit Kara and her sister, Tess in the evenings while their Mom was at work. Kara loved to fix Uncle Dwayne's lunch for the next day. It took extra time to help her but it was so worth it to see how proud she was to help.
I have so many memories of the times Kara has spent with us through the years. She is well mannered, caring, smart and a great big sister, just an overall joy to be around.
It is with great pride I wish Kara Leigh a Happy 17th Birthday!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In Loving Memory of Doris "Dodie" Elrod

April 29, 1932 - December 14, 2003

It's been six years and our hearts still ache in sadness,
and secret tears still flow, what it meant to lose you,
no one will ever know.

Lovingly missed by,
Dwayne, Connie, Chad, Todd and April
David, Dustin, Andy, Cody and Trevor

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chad Anthony Elrod:

December 12, 1978
I have so many favorite pictures of Chad. Here is just a few of them.
First day home from the hospital.

People used to tell me I looked too young to have a baby. I would get so mad, thinking I was not young, I was 21 years old!! Now when I look at this picture of me holding Chad on the horse, I think I look around 14 years old. Funny how time changes your perception of how you look or how old you feel.

First Christmas Card:

Picture at Grandma & Grandpa Elrod's and Chad's 1st Birthday:

Chad and Dwayne.

We were so excited at the birth of our first child. Chad was due on December 12th and promptly arrived on his due date. When Chad was born his hair looked platinum instead of blonde, it was a really pretty color. I worked for Dr. Stricker at the time of Chad's birth and he came to see us in the hospital. (Quite a first for Dr. Stricker as he normally didn't remember any of his help's first names) He looked at Chad and said, "Well, Snookims you have the same color of hair as mine". Dr. Stricker had more of a silver color of hair than gray. That was probably one of the longest conversations I've had with Dr. Stricker. I feel honored that he came by to see us.
Chad was an easy baby to care for. He loved being around people and would reach out to most anyone. We joke now that that is still a trait of Chad's, never meets a stranger and is always reaching out to someone. Chad was very obedient. He minded very well and usually just a strong word or a "look" would be all it took to make him behave. Chad has always been a little grownup. We went camping at Moreland's Resort when they boys were small and Chad would go out with Dwayne at midnight to check the trot lines. He was only 3 1/2, we never thought anything about him going. He just always seemed older than his age and we treated him as such. Chad loved helping Dwayne work, anything his Dad was doing, he was right there beside him. That is one think I miss most about us having our own construction business; Chad at a young age running the backhoe, helping Dwayne with any job, big or small.
Chad is a very caring person. He still gives hugs to his grandparents and even today I never see Chad without him giving me a hug. Chad has the biggest heart, anyone in need, he is there to help them. Chad is exceedingly protective of his brother and sister and I am very proud of him for his loyalty to his siblings and family.
It is so hard to believe my first born child is now 31 years old.
Happy Birthday, Chad!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Donalie Stormes:

I had mentioned before our neighbor, Donalie Stormes, was dying of cancer. Donalie was a teacher at Maries R-1, Vienna for several years. She was well liked by her students and had a great sense of humor. Donalie always had a smile and a cheerful attitude. Her Mom had told me last Friday that Donalie told her that morning she was tired and ready to go home and see Daddy. I'm sure her father is rejoicing in heaven at the welcome of his dear daughter.

Donalie Ann (Owens) Stormes, 45, lost her battle with breast cancer Dec. 8, 2009, at her home in Vichy, Mo.
A funeral service for Donalie Stormes will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009, at the Hwy E Church of Christ.
A visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, 2009, at the Null and Son Funeral Home of Rolla.
Memorial contributions are suggested to CORE/Donalie Stormes Memorial Scholarship, PO Box 1204, Rolla, Mo., 65402 or Phelps Regional Hospice.
Online condolences may be offered at
All arrangements are under the direction of the Null and Son Funeral Home of Rolla.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tess Elizabeth:

My life would be pretty dull without all my extended family. Another great-niece has a birthday today. Tess is the daughter of my nephew, Wayne Feeler, Jr.
When Tess was born she had black hair and a dark complexion. We called her our little Indian baby. Tess was a good natured baby and easy to watch. April used to babysit for her and her sister, Kara, in the evenings while her Mom was at work. About the only time Tess cried was if she heard anyone sitting on April's bean bag chair. We don't know why that scared her but she certainly let out a scream. Take the bean bag chair out of the living room-problem solved.
I have to say that out of all the great nieces and nephews we've watched through the years, Tess and her sister, Kara, were the most well behaved. Their parents instilled in them at an early age to be respectful and mind your manners. Not to say they didn't try us once in awhile. One time when Tess was around two and a half, she sassed Dwayne about something, I don't remember what now. Dwayne got onto her and it just about broke her heart. The next time she was down, she said, "Uncle Dwayne, I don't want no trouble, I don't like trouble".
Tess has grown up to be a beautiful girl, inside and out. She is very thoughtful, excels in her school work and always a joy to be around.
Happy 12th Birthday, Tess!!

Monday, December 7, 2009


I stopped by Donalie Storms on the way home Friday. For those of you who live around Vienna, you will remember she was a teacher at Maries R-1. Donalie is dying of cancer. A few weeks ago I had stopped by to visit Donalie. She asked about Todd and Tommy Pickering. What a memorable pair of students! LOL Her Mom told me Donalie had her fair share of escapades in school, also. Donalie's Mom has been staying with her since last Spring. It's bittersweet memories they've made over the summer. We need to remember Donalie, Andy, their son and daughter and the rest of their family in our prayers.
I went to Rolla and ate lunch with Chad and we did some Christmas shopping. It has been years since I've gone to eat with just the two of us. I enjoyed spending quality time with Chad. Saturday night we went to some friends house for a Christmas Party. We actually stayed out until 1:30 a.m. We had a good time.
Mom fixed Sunday dinner and I played hooky on my Sunday evening meal.
Overall, it was just a great weekend relaxing and visiting.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ian Christopher:

Today is another one of my great-nephews birthday. Ian Christopher, son of my nephew, Rod Bexten, is six years old today. Ian is such a sweet little boy. Last year April and I took Mom over to see Ian and his sister, Kieren. Ian only sees Mom about once a year. He was so sweet, he sat with Mom and they sang silly little songs and he would repeat the old nursery ryhmes Mom would say. It meant so much to Mom for Ian to spend that time with her; it was as if they were the only two people in the room. I'm sure it brought back memories of when Mom babysat Rod when he was a little boy. Rod was quite the character! He loved impersonating Johnny Olsen on The Price Is Right. He would grab anything that looked remotely like a microphone and say, Bob Barker, Come on Down!!!!!!!
Ian is much more calm than his daddy was. LOL
Happy 6th Birthday, Ian!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Wednesday Night:
I made a Caramel Pecan Apple Crumb Pie to take to Mom's for Thanksgiving. I'm not known for making pies but it turned out pretty good.

We went to Mom's for Thanksgiving dinner. All the siblings were there this year except Russ as he lives in Arizona. I often wonder about the future generations of smaller families getting together for the Holidays. We found ourselves saying they are only four of us here for Thanksgiving Dinner. In today's world, four children would be considered a large family. My niece, Tammy came down from DeSoto with her two boys, Josh and Cody. It's always nice to get to see them as they don't come down too often. Tammy is the first born grandchild of Mom and Dad's and her son Josh is the first born great-grandchild. Our kids, Chad, Todd, April and Mike were there and Chad brought Desmon with him. He is quite the wild child! Lots of energy!! Since he's the youngest around, everyone picks on him and keeps him riled up. He went home with me and Dwayne so Chad could cut a load of wood. He was very good at the house. He played quietly with the toy farm animals and actually sat on my lap and we colored for quite awhile. I was surprised as we were sitting there coloring and he said, "Hey Mr. Dwayne, I love Connie." So cute!! Kind of melted my heart. He always calls Dwayne, Mr. Dwayne.


I think it's too late for me to change my sleeping habits now, it felt so good to sleep late. After lazing around the house, April and I got ready and went to Rolla to shop. Not the early riser "Black Friday" shoppers for us, nope, we'll pay a little extra just to get the joy of sleeping late!Found some good buys at The Family Center for the boys. We ate at Los Cozadoras. We know several people that eat there and really like it. I guess mine and April's taste buds are different as we didn't care much for it. We're die hard La Pasada fans. I had planned on coming in to Vienna and watching the Christmas Parade and the lighting of the court house but didn't get around to it. I want to definitely go next year.


It was so nice outside. I washed windows and then I got the bright idea of mowing the leaves in the yard. No problem, until I had too many leaves coming around the manifold of the mower and the mower caught on fire. I was panicking, thinking it would blow up on me. Luckily I was almost out of gas. I ran to the house and yelled for Dwayne to come out. I'm known for burning leaves and the fire getting out of control, so Dwayne thought that was what I did. I kept screaming the lawn mower is on fire!! He couldn't get the fire out so he ran to the garage and got the leaf blower out and blew the leaves away from the mower. It did burn some wires on the mower and melted the front right tire. We needed to get a new mower anyway so I guess I just pushed the purchase up a bit. That night, I made yet another pie!! I'm growing up, huh? LOL I made a cherry pie and it turned out good. Todd is so surprised his Mom is making pies.


What a change in weather from the day before, very disappointing! I went to Church and then came home and started preparing food for our evening Thanksgiving Dinner for Dwayne's side of the family. As I was talking about smaller families earlier, Dwayne's immediate family consists of one brother, three nephews and two great-nephews. We always have a great time together but it is on a much smaller scale than my family's, but I don't think I ever thought too much about it until I just now started typing. Chad is known to be late for dinners but it was a miracle this year, he arrived 15 minutes early!! And for that I am very thankful!! LOL Desmon came with him again, I think they are becoming attached at the hip. Ha! Chad loves kids and he is very good with Desmon, Anna's little boy.

I had a wonderful weekend reminiscing and visting with family and friends. I am so thankful for the life I live.