Thursday, December 22, 2011

Someone Special Calls Me Nona:

My shirt Blake and Nathan got me for Christmas. Love it!! My great nieces and nephews call me Nonnie and Nathan picked it up and made his version to Nona. I guess it's silly of me but it makes me feel special like a grandma.
A few weeks ago we kept Blake and Nathan overnight. We had such a good time! The boys loved playing with the toys and seeing the Christmas decorations. They especially enjoyed the village and skating rink in the bay window. Nate just wasn't quite tall enough yet to see what was going on.

Nathan enjoyed all of the toys and was so fun all night. He loves to tease April by only saying MIKE!! And he does the same with Dwayne by saying Nona. But by the end of the evening he would shout out Papa Dwayne!! Dwayne would say, no just Dwayne. He would get a gleam in his eye and shout it out again. Dwayne doesn't want to take away from his Papa Kenny or Papa Mitch, so he was trying to get him to just say Dwayne. He would say, Papa? Dwayne would say no, Dwayne. I think Nathan was confused as he would say Papa Dwayne? Again Dwayne would say Dwayne. He got the hang of it and it was Dwayne after that. He really gets the DW sound in there as that is hard for most kids.

Blake and Dwayne have been doing "tattoos" since Blake stayed with April when he was only two. We have a little plastic toy that looks kind of like a knife blade. That is their tattoo needle. It can also be used to give shots or sew up a wound. It's so surprising that Blake has always remembered that through the years. Dwayne will lay in the floor and Blake will do tattoos on his back for about an hour. Dwayne loves it as he likes his back scratched and this is kind of the same thing. (Plus, he can secretly just lay there and watch tv..... lol) Then Dwayne will do tattoos on Blake's back and most recently Blake's upper arm. He's older now and thinks that is the coolest place to have a tattoo.
The pictures below are Blake having to sew Dwayne's leg up from a cut. Dwayne would flinch and act like it hurt and Blake would crack up. The last picture shows Blake laughing so much he fell.

I'm grateful for "grandkids" on loan. They are so much fun.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Steak Night:

I ordered Dwayne and I a Holiday Package of Omaha Steaks. I received the package at work yesterday.
Todd had dropped by after work so I invited him to stay for supper (uh, really to cook the steaks......) Todd and Dwayne sat at the counter while I fixed the salad and put the stuffed potatoes in the oven. Visiting in the kitchen like this reminded me of the kids were growing up and doing their homework as I fixed supper. Easy conversation and family time.
April spend the night occasionally to cut down on gas cost. We had a nice family supper and spent the rest of the evening relaxing.

As the kids have grown up and are out of the house I have tried to adapt to family time and meals not always including all three kids. It has been hard for to accept they have lives of their own and also have plans. One of my New Year's resolutions is to be more relaxed about family time and not to make my kids feel guilty when they can't all be there at the same time. But the kids are close and enjoy the times together and that is very important to me.

I am grateful for time spent with family.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sneak Peak............

The moment every mother (and father in our case) dreams of, our daughter's wedding and picking out the wedding gown. Dwayne has always said since April's first prom dress, he wants to help her pick out her wedding dress. He has told us this repeatedly though the years, "Remember, I want to go with you when your ever buy a wedding dress". Daddy loves his little girl very much and has always wanted to share in the excitement of buying her dress. Imagine our surprise (and maybe when the time came he declined to go. I'm not sure why, maybe because he gets a little emotional as he gets older.
The BIG DAY was Saturday, the 17th. The consultant at the bridal shop was absolutely a dream. She made sure she got to know April and her wants and ideas on a gown. She took all of these ideas into consideration before bringing in a few gowns for April to try on.
Mike's Mom, sister and one of April's friends joined us in the "viewing" of the gowns. I wanted to make sure the dress was what April wanted and didn't want to influence her decision. Mike's Mom felt the same way. The funny part is, the first several gowns she came out in, we didn't like. No one said anything and apparently we didn't even look at April either. On the way home, she said she didn't know what to think, she would come out in a gown and it was total silence. She said she would look over at us and we wouldn't even make eye contact with her. I didn't know we were that obvious!! lol
The dresses just weren't eye catching and just not April. Lisa and Danielle picked out a few for her to try on along with the others. Still, we just weren't "feeling it". The consultant then went to get a dress they just got in on Thursday. This was it. April came out smiling, she stood on the podium in front of us and we just all smiled. She glowed! It had the WOW factor.
Just to make sure, the consultant had her try on a couple more dresses. Nope, the WOW was the one. She tried it on again and there was the moment of just knowing we had found it. The first veil she tried with it worked perfectly. It was truly a wonderful experience. Dwayne would have loved that moment so I captured it on film for him.

April and I before leaving her house: (She loves me taking pictures, can't you tell with the roll of the

Okay, this one is better:
The beautiful bride at the bridal shop:

Whoops!! I deleted the pictures after Dwayne saw them.This is as far as you get to go, stay tuned in September 2012.......

So so grateful for having a daughter and this journey we're on. Dwayne and I love this time of our daughter's life. Chad and Todd are just as excited for their sister and the day of celebration on September 8, 2012.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chad's Birthday:

Dwayne, Me and Chad:
We're standing in front of April and Mike's Christmas tree.
Chad and Todd:

I was handing Chad a lighter to light his candles. He already had them lit.......
Chad and Todd:

Our boys, still as close as when they were growing up. So proud of them.
Chad and April:

Chad and April goofing around as they always do. He didn't turn her upside down this time though. lol Oh, I just got a vision in my head of him doing that at her wedding!! And he would so do that!!

April fixed Chad's birthday dinner Sunday evening. It was a nice treat having it all done and not having to cook. lol We had a nice evening visiting with all three of our children and our future addition to the family, Mike.

As every parent says when it's their child's birthday, where have the years gone? But really, 33 years have gone by so fast since our first born entered our lives on December 12, 1978. Love you, Chaddy!!

I am grateful for my family and the close bond we share.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A dear friend.........

My Mother-in-Law, not just Dwayne's mother, not just a relative by marriage, but a dear friend. I miss her, our shopping, card playing, trips with the grandkids, family gatherings. I miss it all, but most of all I miss us, me and her.

Doris Jean (Dodie) Elrod:

My Mother-In-Law, Dodie passed away eight 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 have started using her Christmas ornaments on our tree. Dwayne decorates the tree now that the kids aren't home. I think it is a time of relection for him hanging the ornaments that were so dear to his Mom.

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

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guess What I Have On My Finger:

Last Thursday night around 10:30 I get a phone call. I was in a very deep sleep. I could kind of hear my cell phone ringing but couldn't comprehend what it was. I groggily find it on the nightstand and answer. Here is the call:
April: Guess what I have on my finger?
Me: Not quite awake and even wondering who was talking........ Oh, uh, it's my daughter on the line. Finally I am kind of figuring out it's April and she's wanting me to guess what's on her finger. I'm still very very sleepy and thinking, oh, she was helping Mike with something and she has a blister on her finger and I just want to go back to sleep. So, I say: A blister?
April: Huh? No
Me: Well, a splinter (still not coherent)
April: Huh?
Me: I don't know, a spider?
April: Are you awake? Did you not get my text message with a picture?
Me: Uh, no, I guess I didn't hear it, I was sleeping.
April: A ring!!
Me: (Now I'm starting to wake up) I'm like, What? Oh, wait I need to go in the other room to wake up. (Before I leave the bed, I poke Dwayne and said, April is engaged!!!! He's like, yeah, I could hear her, I wondered when I was going to have to tell you what was on her finger!!)

I have been waiting since we had a little girl for this moment and to help my daughter plan a wedding AND it takes me a few minutes to even comprehend what is going on!!!
I then went into the living room to listen and hear the excitement in her voice. After becoming concience, lol, I started getting excited and our plans started in full force!! Got out the 2012 calender and we started going through dates in September.

Thanksgiving, 2011: A day of thanks to remember and being very grateful for family and the celebration to come of another member being added to our family. We couldn't have asked for a nicer future son-in-law.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

School House Rock:

Aunt Connie giving Savannah a big hug after the program:

Last Friday night, Dwayne and I attended a musical at Ozark Actors Theatre in Rolla. The building used to be the First Baptist Church and I hadn't been there since a friend's wedding in 1976. Uh, just a few years ago.........
For people that know me, music just isn't a big part of my life. If the radio is on, I kind of listen to it as background noise. I've never been hip (as we said in the seventies) to who is popular, etc. Even when my sister sang in a gospel group, I only went and listened to her once. It's not that I don't like music, I'm just okay without it. Makes me a dull person, but I guess that's just the way I am.
Now, back to the topic, School House Rock Live!! It was so good!! Not to mention that my great niece, Savannah was in it!! lol Dwayne and I sat entranced the whole time. The kids, ranging in age from 8 to 18 gave one heck of a performance. And sing!! Those kids were so good at their solos. The dancing, wonderful!! And they were all in sinc, just very entertaining. I looked over at Dwayne once and his whole face was lit up. Our little Savannah was so good, never a miss in her moves or singing. She is such a talented and happy child. She looked as if she was beaming the whole night.
When Dwayne mentioned going to Savannah's school play, I thought, oh yeah that will be nice, thinking a "school play". Well, I was totally unprepared for the musical we saw and how talented everyone was. I do need to get out more!!

I am so grateful to be a part of my nieces and nephews lives and the joy of their children. Love them all!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Writer's Block:

I never thought about "life in general" affecting my not feeling like blogging lately. From the definition of writer's block stress/frustration, etc. affects a professional writer's ability to write. So I guess it can also affect "an unprofessional" blogger also.

Most writers will have trouble with writer's block at some point in their lives. The possible reasons for writer's block are myriad: fear, anxiety, a life change, the end of a project, the beginning of a project . . . almost anything, it seems, can cause that debilitating feeling of fear and frustration.

Hopefully, I get back in the swing of writing soon.

But as in my blog title, I am Grateful For The Life I've Been Given.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Great-Great Nephew:

Josh and Jay:
Cody, Josh and Jay:
We took a trip to Illinois over the weekend and took a side trip on the way home to visit my niece, Tammy and her family.
Tammy is the first born grandchild in our family. I remember being so happy in 5th grade to be an aunt!! Her son Josh is also the first born great grandchild and now he has blessed our family with the first great-great in the family.
This is the first time we got to see Jay and the resemblance to Josh when he was little is so remarkable!! Loved getting to meet the little guy.
Uncle Cody is pretty proud of him too.

I'm so grateful for the additional blessings we continue to receive in our family.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sad Day:

A friend from high school passed away from cancer. Denise's funeral was relective of her life. Friends and relatives spoke of her playful demeanor and always having a smile on her face. Denise's laughter and kindness to others will always be remembered.

I am grateful to have known Denise and her family.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Family Suppers:

This guy,

and this guy

provided supper Saturday and Sunday night last weekend.
We've all been so busy this fall with activities and the guys with preparation for "molasses makin" at Mom and Dad's earlier and Old Iron Works Days this coming weekend, it's been hard to get together.
Saturday evening, the guys all gathered at Chad's house after stripping and cutting cane all day. Todd barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs.
Sunday evening they fried fish, potaoes and some side dishes. It was nice being to treated to the meals and visiting with nephews and friends helping.

I am SO grateful for the food and ESPECIALLY the cleanup I didn't have to do.......

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Betsy and her new calf:
Cow number 2, named Betsy had her calf last Tuesday. I almost missed getting a picture of the calf as I was sitting in the truck trying to find my phone that was ringing......Ugh, can't ever find the darn thing!! Look up and she's walking off towards the woods already. This calf is named Bentley. Before you get confused with two Bentley's, the calf born to Gertrude was a heifer instead of a steer. Whoops!! Had to rename him, I mean her. She is now Gerty.
Betsy and Bentley's departure:

Well, what can I say, we now have another addition to the Elrod Cow Family Tree.
And that my friend, I am grateful for. (and so is the bank.......)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nonnie's Girl:

Ashlyne Paige is 15 years old today!!! As she reminds us, in one year she will be driving!! Ugh! And now she is at the age to get her permit. I remember taking her dad to get his driver's license!! Repeat already?!
We have watched Ashlyne quite a bit through the years, starting when she was only three weeks old. The first baby in the family for quite some time and boy did we spoil her. All of us!! Before she was a year old she started calling me Nonnie.
Melted my heart. And I've been Nonnie for a long time to several of the nieces and nephews.
Of course when Ashlyne was around a year old we would swing on the porch swing quite a bit. I would sing HER favorite song to her. I love my Nonnie, oh yes I do, I love my Nonnie, ya hoo!!! I think I'll have to sing that to her tonight!! I'm sure she'll love it...................

I'm grateful for the joy Ashylne has brought into my life.