Thursday, December 30, 2010


We get up Friday morning to a snow storm that followed ice during the night. April and Mike were going to go on over to their house and we were going to come over later. They couldn't make it up the big hill so they came back to the house. After coffee, (for me!!)Dwayne decided we would all go over in his 4x4. The closer we got to St. Elizabeth, the less snow there was.
It was exciting to see my little girl's house for the first time. April and I spent the day cleaning. I took over the ingredients to make my food for the evening at Mom's and at home. Dwayne and Mike started painting the living room. We finished up mid-afternoon so we could to Mom's.
We had a wonderful get together at Mom and Dad's on Christmas Eve. Liz had planned a Christmas play for us to do. It was a cute play and we had a lot of fun. Todd and Zach played ornery kids in the play and they were both a natural at it. lol
We then went home for our family time. Dwayne got me a camera and I have pictures I need to post but I haven't figured that out yet.
April put together scrap books for the boys and a couple photo albums a piece of pictures though out their childhood. They both seemed to like book/albums a lot and talked about looking at them more over the weekend.
Saturday morning, Dwayne and I take out again for St. Elizabeth. April and I did some of the priming and painting trim. Todd came over mid-afternoon and helped. Dwayne said he wasn't leaving until he got the living room done, so he made Todd take me home around 8 p.m. I felt like a baby, I had to go home and get some rest. Which, actually I really did, I was pretty tired. I took a shower and then watched TV for awhile. Sleep came pretty fast that night.
Sunday morning, a repeat of the day before. We went over and Dwayne, Todd and Mike finished up the kitchen painting and a lot of the trim. The house is looking very nice and with fresh paint it seems new.
I had the day off and I really needed it. I rested quite a bit and just had a lazy day.

I know it bothered April quite a bit that we worked on her house on Christmas Day, but we enjoyed it. Along with Christ's birth, Christmas is also a time when families come together, whether it be a big dinner, an outing to relatives or helping your children start a new life together.
We celebrated the "reason for the season" at Mom and Dad's with our Christmas Play and scripture reading and the rest of the weekend was spent with family.

I am so grateful for my family and the special times together.

I Did It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, people, I did it, I pumped gas!!!!!!! Can you believe it, I'm 53 years old and I actually pumped gas!! For those of you who wonder what the heck I'm talking about, you can go to my post in June titled "Random Acts of Kindness". I sure didn't want to, though (and I really hope Felix doesn't find out I did it). When I stopped at the station in Joplin, I went in and told the guy I didn't know how to pump gas. Well, he gave me step-by-step instructions...... First, he said I needed to unscrew the gas cap on my truck. Duh!! I do know that much!! lol I was really nervous and was scared I would run the tank over so I stopped it when I thought maybe I had enough.
Now, to the reason I pumped gas.
I took Mom to Joplin for a surprise 40th birthday party for her great-niece. Julie moved to MO from California and her sister liked the area so much, her and her family moved, also. Followed by their Mom. It is funny as Julie's grandpa (which is my Uncle Glen Williams) moved to California over fifty years ago and has never wanted to move back to Missouri. His son, Ron has never even come back for a visit since he was a boy. He hasn't even come in the last few years to visit his daughters, he's a die-hard Californian. Mom and Uncle Glen are the only ones left in their family. It made Uncle Glen happy that Mom was able to go to his granddaughter's birthday party.
We got to Joplin okay but needed a little bit of help to find Julie's house. Map Quest doesn't give you the most direct route. A guy at a gas station used the GPS on his phone to get us on to Julies house from there.
Julie was totally surprised by the party, then she saw Mom and almost cried. But to top it all off, her brother, Tony and her best friend from California had flown out and they hid until Julie had been home for about ten minutes or so. THAT really surprised her. It was a fun party and you can't help but have fun around Tony, he is a riot. They had it catered from a local Mexican Restaurant.
When we were leaving, I got very nervous as my gas tank was below a fourth of a tank. I thought about asking someone from the party if they would go with me to get gas but I didn't think that was really fair. So, we take out and Mom said she couldn't pump gas either so I worried about it until we got to the first station we saw. As we were getting ready to leave, the attendant came out and moved the nozzle from where I had put it. Hey, I can't get everything right!!

I had a great day with extended family and was very thankful Mom felt like making a long trip.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Elrod Christmas:

Since my in-laws passed away, I have changed our Christmas Day celebration to a Sunday close to Christmas. I know Dodie would not have liked that, but the kids are adults now and have several other places to be and I would rather have all of them there than fixed on a certain day.
David fixed smoked pork loin and ribs. Yummy!! David is really good at barbecuing. We supplied the side dishes and dessert. It wouldn't be an Elrod Christmas without Grandma Dodie's Punch and Cranberry Sauce.
We were all present except Dustin as he couldn't trade days. We missed him being there.
Chad brought Desmon with him and he had a good time playing with Trevor and Xander (Dustin's little boys).
We had a great day visiting and reminencing.

I'm grateful for having a close relationship with my Elrod Family.

Cauliflower Soup:

I made this soup for supper last night along with grilled cheese sandwiches.
I had made this soup one other time and got it way too salty!! April had been wanting this soup again so I decided to make it last night as she will be moving out next week. This time, it turned out very good.

Cauliflower Soup Ingredients
■1 stick Butter, Divided
■½ whole Onion, Finely Diced
■1 whole Carrot Finely Diced
■1 stalk Celery, Finely Diced
■1 whole (to 2 Whole) Cauliflower Heads (roughly Chopped)
■2 Tablespoons Fresh Or Dried Parsley (chopped)
■2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
■6 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
■2 cups Whole Milk
■1 cup Half-and-half
■2 teaspoons To 4 Teaspoons Salt, To Taste
■1 cup (heaping) Sour Cream, Room Temperature
Preparation Instructions
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown.
Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine.
Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.
In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.
Serve immediately.
(I didn't use the sour cream and I added about 1 cup shredded cheese)
The EAR (aka Elizabeth Ann Rowe) had her Christmas Party at school yesterday and asked if I would come and help. It was a lot of fun and the kids called me, Lizzy's Granny!!
Liz and I then went to Rolla to finish up my Christmas shopping. I had taken the day off work and thought the middle of the afternoon would be a good shopping time. Wrong!! J.C. Penney's was crowded and we had a long line at checkout. Wal-Mart!! Man, I could not believe how busy they were!! I was so glad I went at two in the afternoon, if it was that busy during the day, just think what it would have been like after work!
Liz spent the night with us and we had a good time watching TV and wrapping presents.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Chad Anthony Elrod:
What can I say about my son but that he loves to ride horses!! This picture was taken a few years ago during deer season.
It is so hard to believe my first born "baby" is thirty-two years old!! Where has the time gone?
We celebrated Chad's birthday on Sunday, 12th. I pulled together several recipes from online friends. From Sarah, her twice-baked potatoes and from PW, her olive cheese bread. Both were very good. Dwayne grilled steaks and we had a couple other side dishes with homemade cinnamon rolls for Chad's birthday cake. It was Dwayne, Me, Chad, Todd, April and Mike. We had a good time visiting around the table during and after dinner.
April and I left mid-afternoon to go to St. Louis. Poor Dwayne, we left him the whole mess to clean up.

Clayton, MO:
I had a two day seminar in Clayton and April went down with me. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza. Our first night's adventure was quite eventful. I wanted April to drive from the hotel to the mall as I was tired of driving. I had printed out directions from the hotel to the Galleria Mall. On paper it looked pretty easy, in life-not so much!! We left the parking garage the wrong way, April ran a stop light, we got lost, etc. So, then I took over the driving. Not so great on my part either. I did a u-turn in front of a cop, took the wrong street, went the wrong way on a one-way street. After all that, we make it to the mall. It didn't seem very crowded. Well, no wonder, we got there a little after six and the mall closed at 7 p.m.!! What? The mall closes early on Sunday? We're from the country and even our stores stay open late on Sundays!!
Monday, 13th:
We have training all day. We get done at four and head back to the mall. Yeah!! We make it there without getting lost! We're disappointed this mall doesn't have very many stores we like. We leave there and eat at Olive Garden. It was good but I think it's overrated. Here we are in a different location and we wind up shopping at a Wal-Mart. But hey, we will take what we can get!! As we head back to the hotel, I get on a wrong street and we wind up in Shaw Park. It is deserted and scary. I turn around and try to get out, the exit was a dead end and it went under a bridge. I said, I watch CSI and other shows, we're not going under there!! I could just see us being attacked. I said, I don't care if this is a one way street, we're going back out the way we came in. So, that's what I did and luckily no one was coming towards us. When I got to the light, there was a truck trying to turn on the street towards us. So, I just went ahead and turned left at a red light from going the wrong way on a one way street!! But, we were out of Shaw Park!! Most of the traffic lights had cameras but fortunately neither one of us have received a ticket in the mail for our little driving episodes.
The training was very good and informative, I learned quite a bit. Class let out at 3:30, so we were looking forward to some major shopping. Wrong!! I got directions from someone on how to get to a mall on 270. Well, they left out one of the turns and I wound up going west towards Chesterfield. April and I were both getting a little anxious and crabby with each other. Then I saw a turn off that led to several shopping centers. Finally, day three, and we are at a Target!! We then stopped at Chesterfield Mall and it is a good place to shop. I was hoping I remembered how to get from Chesterfield on over to Hwy 100 to head home. Luckily, I did remember and that saved us a lot of miles of backtracking we would have had to do otherwise. Then we hit pay dirt again, I spied a Kohl's!! I pretty well finished up my Christmas shopping there and got an additional 15% off my items that were already on sale and I got a fifty dollar coupon to use in January 2011. We felt much better about our shopping even though we didn't find too much the first couple of days.

I am so grateful God looked after us on this trip as we made many driving mistakes and made it home safe and sound.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Yesterday, a friend of ours Dad had a major stroke. I feel so bad for the family as they are going through this. It is devastating to see your loved one in that state.
Last night, I was reading the paper and there was an article and picture of the Christmas Party at the Maries Manor. Without realizing it, I started to cry. We went to the Christmas Party at Maries Manor with Grandpa Andy the night before he had his second (and major) stroke. I miss Grandpa Andy so much; he and I had become very close after Grandma Dodie passed away. I cherish my time with him and all of the precious memories. Time may lessen the loss but you never stop missing them.
Dwayne, Grandpa Andy, David, October 2006 at Iron Works, Meramac Springs:
I am grateful for the loving relationship I had with both my Mother-In-Law, Dodie and my Father-In-Law, Andy. There are a lot of in-law jokes and I don't think they're fair. Your "in-laws" are your spouse's parents and need to be treated with respect. (I know it goes both ways, I was lucky that was true, I'm sure some don't have that relationship)

My Mother-In-Law, Dodie passed away seven years ago on December 14, 2003.
She had been on life support for six weeks. It was a very emotional experience for our family. On one hand, you are hoping and praying she comes out of the coma, on the other hand, she is not really there and it is so hard to see her like that. We continued to hold her hand, talk to her, etc. We would watch for any movement of her eyes, a gentle pressure from holding her hand, anything at all. This was my first experience losing a parent.
I was so proud of all of the grandchildren at her funeral and visitation. We never spoke to the kids (Chad, Todd, Dustin, April, Andy and Cody) about standing in the receiving line at the funeral home. Each one stood and greeted everyone that came through and stayed there at the receiving line the whole time. Dodie would have been so proud of them. At the time, it was sad losing Dodie so close to Christmas. But then, it was fitting. Dodie loved Christmas and all of the decorations. David Martin does a wonderful job decorating for the holidays and I know she would have enjoyed the festivity. So our final farewell was during Dodie's favorite time of the year. We used her Christmas ornaments this year on our tree. Merry Christmas, Grandma.
Doris Jean (Dodie) Elrod:

Take the time during this holiday season to really appreciate each member of your family and enjoy your time together.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kara Leigh:

My beautiful great niece, Kara turned 18 today. So hard to believe this little girl has grown up!! She was/is such a joy to be around. When she was around three she constantly asked "why" as most kids do. One night she was at the house and she said, Aunt Connie, I can say the big words now. I asked what that was and she responded, "how come". Cute!! So then we had to answer how come questions insead of why.
Love this girl and I wish her a happy life.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tess Elizabeth:

It's so hard to believe our little Tess is now a teenager!!
Love this girl
The Birthday Girl, Tess:
Tess and her Mom, Jamie:

Kara, Tess, and Jamie:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Allen Boy's Update:

Blake making his squid creature:

Nathan:He did not like having an apron on for a bib. He kept looking sideways at it and then making a face.

After drinking a cup of milk, he was quite the little show off.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekend Recap:

We offered to watch the boys for a few hours so Kenny and Shelley could have a night out. Liz (Little Bits) came over for a couple hours, also.
April and I had saw a project for squid worms-cutting hot dogs in pieces and sticking raw spaghetti noodles in for arms, legs, etc. and then boiling them. I don't think Blake and Liz thought it was near as neat as the picture we had. I will post pictures after April loads them. (Guess I'm going to have to learn how to do that!!)

Nathan was starting to get a little fussy and didn't really know what he wanted. We gave him apple juice, then water but still he wasn't satisfied. Dwayne filled his cup with milk and that did the trick. As a matter of fact, we wondered just what was in that milk as he got really wound up. lol He was so much fun to watch as he would climb on the couch, get down, do it again and then do a nose dive onto the cushion and then blowing a raspberry. So cute!!
Blake had fun playing with Liz and spending time with "his April".
I spent the day cleaning. I have put off cleaning the upstairs bedrooms for quite some time, so I did a thorough job of cleaning and vacuuming the stairs. Felt really good to get that done.
Red Lobster:

Dwayne and I got lured in by the Red Lobster commercials for lobster and decided to drive to Jefferson City. My lobster was very good. Dwayne had a different type of lobster with a steak and his wasn't the greatest. But we had a nice evening and a different place to go.
Dwayne was so fortunate to be able to go to the mall with me......... Mall shopping is not his cup of tea. We are looking for a new refrigerator and decided to see what was in stock at Sears. The salesman was very pushy and we didn't see what we wanted anyway.
We then looked at Lowe's and found one we will order online. Then on to Target to finish up Mom's Christmas shopping for her.
Overall, we had a great evening out together.
April and I went to church and then to Mom and Dad's for dinner. Mom had the dinner prepared before she went to church again!! We had beef stew, green beans, cooked cabbage, french bread, apple & orange slices, cake, peaches, and banana bread. What a feast!!
Ashlyne came home with us and helped putting pictures in photo albums for Chad and Todd. I loved recapturing their childhood again through pictures. I miss those days!!
I took a nap and probably shouldn't have, I was even more tired after I got up.
My Sunday evening meal consisted of barbecue chicken, hash brown casserole, corn and milk shakes for dessert. After eating and watching Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, I took Ashlyne home. She was a big help on getting last minute things done.

Once again, I am grateful (and amazed) by my Mom and Dad and how good they are doing for their age. My family has been very blessed.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend:

We went to Mom's for Thanksgiving. Mom made several pies along with her great turkey & dressing. We had a wonderful meal and an afternoon of visiting.

April and I went shopping. We've been trying to find her some end tables and a coffee table for her house. We have gone to several furniture stores with no luck.
We always liked to eat lunch at La Pasada, but they closed this year. We tried El Sombrero and it was good.
We then went to Mike and Susan's to see Carrie and her family. This was the first time we got to see baby Ellie. She is a beautiful baby and her bothers are crazy about her.

Friday evening, Dwayne and I went to the Southard's so he could see the baby. Dustin had brought Xander down to spend the night with us before we went and he had a good time playing with Avery and Evan. Kind of neat to see Carrie and Dustin's kids playing together as Carrie and Dustin were born just three days apart. Xander is well behaved and we enjoyed him spending the night.
Dwayne fixed chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. (my favorite!!) We then got out the tree and Christmas decorations. I have bought ornaments each year for the kids and it made for a tree FULL of ornamates. This year we used Dodie's ornaments and what few ornaments Dwayne and I had. April had bought some red ribbon that has lights and put that on the tree, it looks really good. Dustin and Cody came and picked up Xander and then Dwayne and I got ready to go to Rolla. Our good friend and neighbor, Mable Carney, was having a 90th Birthday Party at Spring Creek Baptisit Church. All of her grandchildren and great grandchildren were present. Quite a feat as they live all across the country. It was so nice seeing people we used to go to church with and others we hadn't seen in years.
We then went to Family Center for Dwayne to get work clothes and boots. They have so much to look at, it's overwelming. A great place to buy Christmas gifts.
We ate at the new Gordo's Restaurant. We had filet miniogn and it was excellent. I love getting a steak that almost melts in your mouth.

We finished up the evening by going to Wal-Marts and then watching a good movie on TV.
I went to church and then cleaned the house. In the evening, Nathan and Elizabeth came over and we went to the movies to see Tangled. I recommend this movie, it was very entertaining and funny.

After a busy weekend, it was nice to go back to work and get in a routine.

I am very thankful during this season to have my family close by.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Weekend Recap:


Friday night was the EAR aka Liz, Lizzy, Little Bits, Elizabeth, spent the night with me. We were going to go to the movies but when we got there we didn't see anything we wanted to watch so we rented movies instead. We picked up LARGE milkshakes from Dairy Queen to drink while watching movies. April had to work late so we got her one, too. I told Liz on the way home she would have to load the DVD into the player as I didn't know how. She laughed at that and said, Aunt Connie, anyone can do that.... Well, we get home and the EAR tried it and it didn't work!!
So we decided to watch regular TV until April got home to put the movie on. Liz was thumbing through channels and thought the title looked good, don't remember what it said now. Well, it was a porn channel!! I didn't even know we had porn selections on our TV!! She's like, uh, Aunt Connie I don't think I should see this! So I tried to change the channel and we seemed to be stuck in limbo on this channel, I'm sure it was only a few seconds but it seemed much longer!!
Mike came in and Liz tried to get him to put the movie on, he couldn't either so we had to wait for April to come home from work. (It's eight o-clock and she had to work late). I do not know what we're going to do when April moves out and we want to watch a DVD!! I fell asleep watching the movie and went on to bed.
When I got up, Liz had already been awake for awhile and had watched TV, doodled on the wipe/slate, visited with April........ I'm a sleepy-head, what can I say? I was out of milk and cereal so Liz had a Mountain Dew and a snack cake for breakfast!! I am such a good role model!! Not!! No wonder the kids like to stay at Aunt Connie's house.
April and I went to Lake of the Ozarks Christmas shopping. We got all of Mom's done and didn't have much luck on our own items. The outlet mall was packed!! I didn't think it would be that busy until after Thanksgiving. We ate at Panera Bread and spent the day having fun.
When we got home, we spread out all the gifts on the table and Mom and Dad came down to look at them. Dad said he needed to get back to "kneel the rolls". I'm thinking, what the heck? Mom goes, Arch, you mean knead the dough!! Dad is 86, Mom is 81, and they are making yeast rolls for Sunday's dinner. They amaze me.
I didn't go to church, just lazed around all morning. April and I went to Mom's for dinner. Once again, my Mom has dinner prepared, all of the dishes washed and had gone on to church. She puts her daughters to shame on Sunday dinners; I don't think we'll ever be able to live up to her but we are so thankful she is able to do so much. We had homemade rolls, beef stew, green beans, corn, cauliflower/broccoli, pudding, jello and cake. My niece, Kristin moved back from Arizona and was there with her little boy, Kaden. So nice to have her back, we missed her. We had a great time being together and enjoying our family.

On a sad note, the day before, Saturday, 20th, my nephew's best friend, Jesse Arthur passed away. Jesse and R.J. had been friends since Sue and the kids moved to Rolla years ago. I am sad to say, it was from an overdose. What a sad ending to a life. I pray for Jesse's family and friends and for my own nephew, R.J. during this tragedy.
Then while we were getting ready to pray before eating dinner, my brother-in-law, Joe and his great-nephew Billy received word that Billy's cousin, Dennis (Joe's great-nephew) had passed a way. I am so in awe of how my sister, Judy turned this news into a family-felt prayer. We were all humbled at how precious our time together is and to not take everyday life for granted.

Since the title of my blog is Grateful For The Life I've Been Given, I often end my blogs with something I'm grateful for. I am most grateful for my parents and extended family that we remain close in good times and in bad. I hope I can leave that type of legacy with my own children. And I think Dwayne and I have a good start on that, the boys and April are very loyal and protective of each other. They may have their differences occasionally, but we (as a family) strive to be honest with each other and talk about anything that is bothering us. I love and cherish my husband and children.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Speaking of my daughter!! Last night I was making meatloaf for supper. I had a lot of thoughts running through my head and was a little distracted. I had made the meatloaf and was mixing up the glaze. When I turned back to put it on the meatloaf, I couldn't find the meatloaf. So, I looked in the oven, then the refrigerator, the microwave and then the oven again. I was really starting to wonder about myself and I didn't want Dwayne to know I had lost a whole pan of meatloaf! After doing the search once again, I asked Dwayne if he knew what I could have done with the meatloaf. He said he didn't. Then I guess he felt sorry for me and then told me April had snuck in and took the meatloaf into the other room as a prank!! Thank goodness!! I was really beginning to wonder about myself!! So, I made April and Dwayne clean the kitchen up after supper. Serves them right!! lol

Maybe I won't be so sad that she's moving........................

Better late than never weekend recap:

Work was very busy, couldn't believe eight hours could go by so fast!!
Dwayne left for deer camp and I spent the evening just relaxing and watching TV.
Really didn't do too much, made a loaf of bread to take to the fall supper at church.
Ashlyne went with me to the fall supper and waited on tables with Malinda and April.
I washed dishes from 5 to 7:30. Hard to believe how many dishes and how fast you wash them, seemed like a non-ending supply............
Ashlyne and I got our dinner to go and went home to watch TV and eat. She has grown up so much the past year, hard to believe she is fourteen.
I went to church and Ashlyne stayed home to watch TV. We then went to Mom's for Sunday dinner. Once again, my 81 year old Mom has outdone herself. She had dinner already cooked, dishes washed up and gone to church when we got there. We didn't have much to do to get the rest of dinner together. It amazes me how much my Mom gets done on meal preparation before even going to church. We had a great afternoon visiting.
Dwayne and the boys were still gone to deer camp so I had the evening to myself. It's weird how I enjoy time to myself and when the kids were younger and all at home, I didn't like to be by myself. It just didn't feel right without everyone there. I used to worry about it so much wondering how I would be when my kids left home. I guess you just ease into the different stages of life without realizing it. But I do know I am going to be totally lost when April moves out. It will be quite an adjustment, but as my Mom says, you do what you have to do, and I will adjust to this phase of life, also. Even today, April had the day off but still got up early and had coffee with me before I left for work. We do that on Saturday's, too. I cherish these times.
April moving will be an adjustment for Dwayne and I, but it is part of life and we are so happy for her. Mike is a wonderful guy and treats her with such love and respect. We are glad to know she will be treated well and will be very happy in St. Elizabeth. April loves the people and the environment and feels a part of the community. Life takes many turns and some are just destined to be. Who would have thought that a young man from St. Elizabeth and a girl from Vienna/Rolla area would meet at Rich Fountain, a place neither one normally goes to. God does have a plan for each one of us if we would just be patient. I am still (not so patiently) waiting for God to reveal his plan for Chad and Todd. I want my boys to be happy and meet someone that will love and appreciate them. They are both such good and caring young men and would make wonderful fathers, they each love kids so much.

I have so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving Season.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 6th and November 10th Birthdays:

Spent the evening relaxing after a busy day at work.
Sometimes the best days are not planned. After my lazy morning of drinking coffee and watching House Hunters, I asked April if she would like to go to Vienna for the Christmas Bizarre. We also stopped by Oak Harvest while in Vienna. It was such a beautiful day out, we decided to drive to St. Roberts and shop at Maurice's. I grew up taking drives though the countryside so it's part of my nature to drive back roads. I went through Brinktown over to Hwy 133 and was going to go in to Dixon that way. Well, I got ahead of myself and turned on a black top road that ended in gravel. This wasn't the route I had pictured in my mind. The gravel road came out back on Hwy 28 and not too far from where I had turned off Hwy 28 onto N highway. Oh, well, we saw a different part of the country this way (A Lot! as it seemed the gravel road would never end).
We shopped at several stores at St. Roberts and then took the "Old Route 66" Highway and saw some more beautiful fall colors. I'm sure April got tired of hearing me say, "It's such a beautiful day", but it was and I couldn't contain myself.
St. Roberts wasn't enough shopping for us so we had to stop off at Penney's in Rolla. I found some great buys.
That evening, me Dwayne, April and Mike went out to eat at Randy's Roadkill Grill on Hwy E going in to Rolla from our house. Then, we went bowling!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I cannot bowl!! And just to prove it, I got a score of 24 on the first game!! Three times, I only knocked one pin down. That takes talent!! lol We had a good time and it was nice to get out of the house and do something different.
My Dad turned 86 on Friday, the 6th of November. I have his birthday dinner at our house each year. Mike's birthday is the 10th of November, so I ordered a cake for the both of them. We had a good picture of Mom and Dad standing by a spring and also one of April and Mike at Alley Springs, so I used both of those pictures for the cake. Mike was surprised by the cake as he was with us when we picked it up at Wal-Mart and he hadn't seen it.

We had a great day visiting and celebrating birthdays.

My family, what life is all about and I am grateful for each day spent with them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Weekend Recap:

I was the designated roller rink chauffeur for Ashlyne and Gracie. They had an all-night skate and I dropped them off and Judy was to pick them up Saturday morning. I then went to Wal-Mart and bought groceries. Bad idea!! The store was very packed and I didn't think I'd ever get out of there, plus I was to bring sandwiches home for Dwayne but he almost fell asleep before I ever go there.
It was such a beautiful day, again!! We have had wonderful fall weather this year. I cleaned out both of our bedroom closets, a major feat!! I have a clean house, but don't look in my closets!! That is where I stash stuff when I'm in a hurry cleaning. You would think I'd break that bad habit but at age 53, guess not!! We now have a walk-in closet again instead of what Dwayne was calling it, "step-in closet". And then meant literally stepping in and reaching way back to the clothes.
We went out to eat Saturday night. We started out at Applebees and they were very busy so I suggested we eat at Benton Square. They were equally busy but we waited in the bar until they had a table ready for us. The meal was good and the atmosphere is different from other restaurants. They were having a Halloween party and a band playing at nine. We didn't stay for that but we did get to see some very good costumes. It was fun to watch the variety of people/costumes.
I went to church and then up to Mom's for dinner. April had requested Grandma's biscuits and sausage gravy, so that's what we had. Dwayne made scrambled eggs to go with it and Kate made our favorite home made white syrup to pour over the biscuits!! Yum!! Very good treat!!
That afternoon Dwayne cut a load of wood and I did a few things around the house and then made a big pot of chili, grilled cheese and a custard pie for dessert.
Then it was time for our trick-or-treators. Dwayne LOVES Halloween and dresses up every year and greats the kids at the door. Some years he scares the parents more than the kids. We had fun visiting with the neighbors and seeing their kids. Shelley brought Blake (the bull rider),
Nathan (a cow) and Ashlyne by.
Nathan started a new "face". He would pucker up like he was pouting and then almost frowning at the same time.
So funny!

I am happy and grateful for having my family and friends live close by.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Late Weekend Recap:

The last few weeks at work has been so busy that I've not been very prompt on my weekend updates.
Dwayne and the boys unloaded the trailer of the molasses press and all of the other items needed at Meramac Springs. Although it's been two weeks since Iron Works, Dwayne has been sick and didn't feel like unloading.
I fixed a supper of fried chicken, mashed potatoes/gravy, biscuits and vegetables, thinking they would all be in to eat. Wrong! Chad was sick and Todd had ate at Wendy's on his way home from work. At least, Dwayne, April and I had a good meal. April had a late day at work as one of the guys in her department quit without notice and walked out and left his work undone. She was not a happy camper. There used to be three in her department, one quit about a month ago and then this guy walking out, so the work falls on her shoulders.
Such a beautiful day!! The fall weather has been so perfect this year. We enjoyed the day by what else, but SHOPPING!! We were able to enjoy the weather in between trips to different stores by getting in and out of the truck. LOL
April bought a few items for her new house and I just mainly looked around. We had Dariy Queen milkshakes on the way home for "lunch". (Dairy products.....)
I went to church and Dwayne brush hogged. After church, April and I went back to Rolla for round 2 of shopping. I needed to return the rugs I'd bought on Saturday and we missed a couple places the day before we were wanting to go to. April has been wanting a new purse so we went to Chic Chick as they usually have a good selection. No luck this time. It's a neat shop to go to, very different type of clothes and shop for Rolla. I love seeing their fashion show at the Lipstick & Purse-N-Ality.
After we got home, April got ready to go with some friends to see Miranda Lambert in Columbia. I went to Mom and Dad's to visit. Wayne and Bobbi were there and we had a good time.
Our Sunday evening meal was just Dwayne and I. Everyone else had other plans.
I watched TV upstairs as Dwayne is not too fond of Extreme Makeover-Home Edition or Desperate Housewives.

Overall the weekend was just what it was supposed to be; relaxing, shopping, visiting, eating, etc. I'm grateful for my family.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Golden Rule:

I came across the Duggar's Guidelines on another blog and thought they were good words to live by, hard but none the less the way God intended people to treat others and respect for theirself. The Golden Rule is the way God intended for us to treat each other.
Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

All things whatsoever ... - This command has been usually called the "Saviour's golden rule," a name given to it on account of its great value. All that you "expect" or "desire" of others in similar circumstances, do to them. Act not from selfishness or injustice, but put yourself in the place of the other, and ask what you would expect of him. This would make you impartial, candid, and just. It would destroy avarice, envy, treachery, unkindness, slander, theft, adultery, and murder. It has been well said that this law is what the balance-wheel is to machinery. It would prevent all irregularity of movement in the moral world, as that does in a steam-engine. It is easily applied, its justice is seen by all people, and all must acknowledge its force and value.

There is a lot of controversy over reality TV and for the most part I feel the shows are staged. The Duggars have 19 children and even though they are in the spot light, I feel that they are a good witness to the world on teaching discipline, repect, honor and basic "Golden Rules". Our soceity has been so much on the "me" aspect that we forget how to treat others.

Copied from Guggar's Guideline:

1) Always use soft words, even when you don’t feel well.

2) Always display kind actions and joyful attitudes, even if you have been mistreated. Have the right response by quickly forgiving others in your heart even before they ask.

3) Always be enthusiastic and look for opportunities to praise others' character.

4) Always deflect praise and be grateful to God and others for the ways they have benefited your life.

5) Always use manners and be respectful of others and their belongings.

6) Always do what is right, even when others may not, or when no one is looking.

7) Thank God for how He made you, for what He has given you and everything He allows you to go through. (Romans 8:28)

8) Don’t mock or put others down. Develop compassion and pray for others.

9) Never argue, complain, or blame. Quickly admit when you have done wrong and ask for forgiveness (even if you were only 10% at fault). Don't wait till you’re caught. Be sure your sins will find you out. He who covers his sin will not prosper, but he that confesses and forsakes it shall find mercy.

10) Have a tough accountability/prayer partner to daily share your heart with and to keep you in line (your parents, spouse). The power of sin is in secrecy.

11) Be attentive and look for ways to serve others with sincere motives and no thought of self-gain.

12) Think pure thoughts (Philippians 4:8, Romans 13:14).

13) Always give a good report of others. Don't gossip! Never tale-bear unless physical harm will come to someone. (Use Matthew 18.)

14) Never raise a hand to hit.

15) Never raise a foot to kick.

16) Never raise an object to throw.

17) Never raise a voice to yell.

18) Never raise an eye to scowl.

19) Use one toy/activity at a time. Share!

20) Do your best to keep your surroundings neat, clean and organized.

21) Never let the sun go down on your wrath. (Don’t go to bed angry or guilty)

22) Amendment J.O.Y. -

-Put Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grandpa's Big Daddy:

I talked yesterday about my Grandpa's song. Today, I thought I'd share a story of Todd when he was about four years old.
Todd was in his and Chad's bedroom crying really hard. I went in to see what was the matter and he said, "I'm just so sad that Grandpa's Big Daddy died" He was sobbing so hard I couldn't hardly understand him. I don't know what brought this on as my Grandpa died in 1974 on my 17th birthday. It could have been he heard us talking about Grandpa recently or who knows. Todd was (and still is) a real character but he has a super sensitive side to him, too. Even at a young age. Not only the incident above, but when Todd was only three years old, a good friend's husband was electrocuted on the job. He left behind a wife and a young son who had just turned one earlier in the year. Todd and I were going in to Rolla one day and he starts crying and I asked him what was wrong, he said, "I'm just so sad that Cody's dad died and he doesn't have a daddy anymore". Wow!! Quite the empathy for others at an early age.
Back to my Grandpa; Grandpa had quite the sense of humor and loved playing pranks. One of his pranks back fired on him. He loved to "take a bath in the snow". Which meant, he would go outside naked (or with his long johns on) and roll in the snow. Grandma played a trick on him one winter and locked the door and he couldn't get back in until she unlocked it. I don't think he ever took a bath in the snow again. When we were young we wanted to be just like Grandpa only we would walk bare footed around the circle drive. I guess it marked a milestone in our life or something. I can remember once when I was about five that Judy and I were walking around the drive and I stopped because me feet were freezing and I started crying. Judy tried to get me to keep walking but I kept crying. She had to walk back and get me (not cool to an older sister to have to do that). That was the last time I walked barefoot in snow.
Grandpa didn't like the way the "city cousins" slammed the yard gate or the screen door. He would always say, "Connie, you don't ever slam the doors like those kids". And I never would, Grandpa's praise meant a lot.
Since I was the youngest child in our family for quite awhile I guess I was the little show off. Once Grandpa said, Connie, you don't wear those short shorts like those other kids", and I answered, "Oh No, Grandpa, I'm gonna wear my pota (polka) dot bitini (bikini). Even though I was only three or four, I remember everyone laughing. I used to say I was going to Vichy to get sugar. They all thought that was hilarious as Grandpa referred to his kisses as sugar. When I met Dwayne, Mom joked that I was still going to Vichy to get sugar. (Dwayne lived in Vichy)
So, I guess Todd got some of his humor and stories honestly from his Mom.
As to the "Grandpa's Big Daddy", I have no idea where that came from. We never referred to Grandpa as Big Daddy and could not figure out how he came up with it.
Todd came up with a lot of stuff. Once when he was two and a half years old we were in a department store in Rolla doing some Christmas shopping. I worked for Dr. Werth at the time and I saw one of the patients in the store. We visited a little and then Todd pipes up with, "My Mom is getting a brand new baby girl on April 4th". Where did that come from? I wasn't pregnant and April 4th would be my Grandma Feeler's birthday and also the date that Todd was due in 1981. At the time, he knew all of our full names and birthdays. Pretty perceptive little boy. Of course, the people that we saw thought I really was pregnant and keeping it a secret for awhile.

I am so grateful for the time spent with my grandparents and I so wish Todd had been able to meet "Grandpa's Big Daddy".

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Grandpa's Song:

Below is the words to the song my Grandpa wrote and used to sing at gatherings. Grandpa was quite a character and if he didn't have a musical instrument with him he would strum on a pan or whatever was handy. Keith did a wonderful job singing the song at our family reunion. It was almost like listening to Grandpa and if you closed your eyes you could imagine Grandpa being there and singing.
Grandpa Arch Feeler's Song:
Some three years ago I was very sick in the hospital and called on the Lord to let me stay a few more years with my wife and ten children. Soon I got better and by the Lord's help in my bed we (Grandma and Grandpa)began to write this song.

Lord I don't hanker for silver or gold
All that I want is a home for my soul
Since Jesus found me, I've crossed that divide
Now I've got a picture from life's other side

O Sinner why don't you listen today
O Why don't you let Jesus show you the way
O Why don't you listen before it's too late
Or you can't enter in through that beautiful gate

When I was a young man, I strayed away
But Jesus looked after me day after day
Now since I found him, it's glory divine
I am so happy since Jesus is mine

Then sometimes I think of my firends that are gone
They're up there with Jesus around that bright throne
And some day when he calls me, I'll be ready to go
Up to that bright mansion, that's whiter than snow

Yes, someday when he calls me, I'll be ready to go
Cause Father and Mother's both up there I know
O Lord take me home cause I'm heaven inclined
I am so happy since Jesus is mine

O Lord hold my hand when I go my last round
And give me a robe with a harp and a crown.

Keith Feeler:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Weekend Recap:

End of another busy work week. We had leftovers for supper and I went to be early.
Shelley brought the boys down for us to watch. Blake helped me make corn casserole to take to the Feeler Reunion. Nathan stayed with Dwayne and April.
We had a good turnout for the reunion. It was also my Uncle Robert Feeler's 80th Birthday and all of his kids were there. I hadn't seen a couple of them for about ten years. Keith sang a song my Grandpa Feeler wrote. There were a lot of tears shed when he was done, as you could almost imagine Grandpa being there singing it.
Brought back a lot of childhood memories for each of us.
Blake had a blast playing with the older kids, basketball, kickball, playing outside, etc. He's been around my great nieces and nephews so much it's like he's part of the family.
I spent the afternoon on the front porch with Blake and Nathan. Nathan had a good time trying to keep up with his brother. Blake must have been worn out as he pulled the swimming pool ladder up to the porch railing and would climb up and over the rail, go down off the porch and do it again, a number of times. Wish I had his energy.
Dwayne still didn't feel good so he went to bed early and I stayed up and made pumpkin bars to take to church the next day.
I went to church and stayed afterward for the dinner. I always enjoy visiting with the "Howard Girls" at the church meals. Dwayne had not felt good all weekend so he didn't go to help. Normally, Dwayne keeps going when he's sick but this cold has knocked him down.
Todd came over in the afternoon and we visited a couple hours on the porch enjoying the nice weather. It was only Todd, Dwayne and me for supper. I fixed sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy. A nice "supper" meal.

My family, I'm grateful for each one of them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

LATE Weekend Recap:

The week before Iron Works at Meramac Springs is a very hectic time at our house.
Last year, Dwayne was off work so it freed up time for him to make the many trips to St. James taking the press, pan, cane, etc. in the daytime. This year, it was much harder on him as after working 90 miles from home each day, he had to make the trip to Meramac Springs each night. Chad, Todd, Troy and Zach helped him.
Ashlyne, Zach and Tess spent the night with us. Zach usually gets the room upstairs with the TV, but I let Ashlyne and Tess have it this time which left Zach staying in the pink room. He didn't like that so he decided he should sleep on the couch so it would be easier for Uncle Dwayne to wake him up. Pretty good plan.......

Meramac Springs, St. James, MO:

Lizzie came by to ride with us but when she found out April was also driving, she decided she would much rather go with her. I stopped at the bank in Vichy to get change for the day but I always underestimate the amount of ones I need.
The weather was hot for this time of year, getting up into the 80's. The guys had it pretty rough cooking the molasses in the hot sun but it did make for a beautiful day.
April and I pour up the molasses and man the booth. It's nice visiting with people and hearing them reminisce about making molasses when they were younger. People are so amazed by the process. We've been doing this since 1978 so it's old hat to us.

I am so grateful for all of my family that helps with this old time venture of making molasses. We are carrying on the tradition my Dad started in 1978. His legacy of molasses making will continue down through the next generation. Todd has learned how to finish off a batch of molasses from Dwayne and David. The Feeler Molasses tradition is carried on down through the Elrod's.

The brochure Meramac Springs puts out each year features a picture of Dwayne and I taken in 1998. I LOVE the picture, as I am a. much skinnier!! b. younger, c. much skinner!!! BUT, we don't look the same as we did twelve years ago (darn it!!)and it was time to submit an updated picture of us.
Dwayne and I posing for 2011 Brochure picture:
If only we weren't smiling, we might have got to be the next "poster child" for the Corn Flakes box.
Ma and Pa Kettle:

Troy feeding the cane into the press:
Todd and David cooking molasses:

That evening, we went to the dinner sponsored by the James Foundation. Each year awards are given out for years participating. My nephew, Nathan was so excited as he was to get his 10 Year Award. I didn't get a picture of him, but he was very proud.
The girls must have been worn out as they were pretty quiet on the way home.
Repeat of the day before. There is so much team effort on the family and friends to help make this event happen each year. We appreciate every one's effort. Since we had pizza last year on Sunday, we repeated it this year and April and Mike picked up pizzas from Pizza Hut.
I took the day off to rest. (and clean a much needed house!!)

It seemed like I just started my work week and here it is Friday and ready for another weekend. Time certainly passes by fast!!

I am so grateful for each of my family and their presence in my life.

Friday, October 8, 2010

October 4th:

October 4th is a popular day in my family.
First off, my daughter was due October 4th, but being the prompt person she is, she arrived two weeks early on September 19th.
My lovely daughter:
My great niece, Ashlyne was born on October 4th, 1996. She was the first great-granddaughter/niece in the family. And we all spoiled her!! We kept Ashlyne quite a bit during her first year (and beyond) and became quite attached to her. She was a high maintenance baby(and still is, lol). Ashlyne feels more like a granddaughter to me than great niece. She is a special young lady in our life. Here is to a great and happy year of being 14.
Ashlyne Paige Rowe:
Ashlyne was born on Jamie Jo's birthday. Jamie is my ex-niece-in-law. (Is there a term for that?) Anyway, I am so blessed to have had Jamie in our life. She is a beautiful person, on the inside and outside. We were quite close when she was in the family and always enjoyed our time together. She is the mother of my great-nieces, Kara and Tess. We still keep in close contact.
Kara, Tess and Jamie:

And now to the grand finale...........
My good friend's daughter, Carrie, gave birth to a baby girl on no other but October 4th, my due date with April. Susan has joked that Carrie is actually my daughter as she loves to read (as do I, and Susan hates to read), became a school teacher (that is what I had wanted to be), has two little boys and then gets a girl the third time, and that little girl was not due for two more weeks, early just like April was. I am so happy for Carrie and Ryan, their children will bring them much joy.
Ellie Michelle Stark:

Proud Stark Family:
Ryan, Carrie, Avery, Evan and Ellie:

I wonder what next October 4th will bring..............

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Late Posting of September Birthday's:

September 25, 2009
Nathan Steven Allen

Shelley made Nathan's first birthday cake:

Enjoying his party:

Nathan Steven Allen turned one on Saturday the 25th. We weren't able to go to his birthday party due to making molasses that day. We did get to celebrate with him a couple weeks earlier with supper at the Vichy Wye Cafe. Nathan and his brother, Blake are two important little guys in our life.

September 28, 2001:

Trevor Hayden Elrod

Trevor with his "camer":

April and Trevor acting silly:

Now acting all sweet and innocent:

Trevor is our great nephew and he is the son of Dustin Elrod. We have all enjoyed Trevor so much as he was the first great grandson in the family on the Elrod side.
If you notice in his picture above, he has the longest,prettiest eye lashes!!
Earlier this year when we saw him, his eyelashes were cut above one eye. I asked him why and he said he was getting tired of everyone commenting on his long eye lashes, so he cut them. But then his Dad caught him before he could do the other eye. Poor kid, such a problem having gorgeous eyes and lashes!!
It was so wonderful for Grandma Dodie to have the opportunity to enjoy a great grandchild, even for the brief time she had on earth with him.

September 27th, 19??:
David Andy Elrod:
I guess I'd better not leave out my brother-in-law, as his birthday is just one day before his grandson's. Trevor's Grandma (on his Mom's side) birthday is the 29th. We like to say Trevor was being diplomatic being born between the two to keep it fair.

Happy Late Birthdays to all: