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Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Decorations and Robins

Christmas Decorations and Robins

Yesterday, you saw the start of our 2011 cabin inside Christmas decorations, if you looked beyond the two people that were the focus of the photo - the wreath above, and the plain tree, on the right.

Nancy decorated the tree today, as winter has settled in on us for this year:

She wrapped all the packages early on Saturday, so they were already to put in place. We have listened to the Christmas music on the TV cable channel - ALL DAY - been really fun!

I had put the three outdoor wreathes up on Friday (when it was warm), but had not finished the lights and wiring. I got to do that with ear-muffs, today.  ;-)

Here you can see the three lighted wreathes (by side door, and two on front).

This photo was taken within seconds of the other, but lighting is so different in the photos. Here, you can see the elf (we didn't find it last year; so it is NEW this year!)

And, finally, a few minutes earlier, I noticed another flock of Robins in our back yard. We had a flock a few days ago, as well. Perhaps a hundred... strange to see. Headed south, I guess. Here are five, on the rocks, if you look close. {I took several shots - this was the best...}

Guess they stopped for a drink in the 'pond' still in our back yard. How lucky we are!  ;-)

Upper 30's for temperature, today. Average is still about 55, so it is cold, for us.  ;-)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Visit from youngest brother, Paul

Visit from youngest brother, Paul

Another 'happy coincidence' of staying at the cabin for Thanksgiving this year: My youngest brother, Paul, who lives in Spicer, MN, whom we have not seen in over ten years, stopped by for a long visit. Paul is pictured, above, with Allison, who stopped by after work, and joined in the conversation.

Paul brought us up to date on his health, work and family issues. It was nice to get some of the details we had only heard in brief mentions, from time to time, talking to Barry and my other brothers.

Also, Paul's son, Brendan, recently got married to Vanny, so we got a few more details on that event, since it was a small, local event that we had only picked up on from Brendan's facebook page. Hopefully, we'll hear from Paul more frequently, now, with the recent changes in his life.

It has been an interesting week, to say the least.  ;-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Larry's 'Birthday'

Larry's 'Birthday'

Larry and Annette arrived back from Illinois Sunday evening, on schedule. Annette and Allison went walking at Branson Landing on Monday morning. They went to the latest Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn in the middle of the day. We all went to the new Chicken restaurant late afternoon, before the crowds arrived. During the evening as we were all on our computers, and Monday Night Football was on, Nancy put candles on the cake she had made, and we had 'surprise' birthday party for Larry - and a piece of cake, of course.

Here he is plowing out the four candles.

He was successful blowing out the candles.

Annette and I were nearby, just not in the photos.

They had been to the 'J. Edgar' movie last week, so, Larry got a book on J. Edgar Hoover.

His actually birthday is few days in the future. They will be in Austin. Mom and I are not going, after all, because of my accident. We'll go back down between Christmas and New Year's!

It was a very good day!  ;-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Company Weekend

Company Weekend

We were expecting 'company' at the cabin this past weekend because Annette and Larry were coming through on their way to visits in Illinois.

However, on Thursday, we found that Al and Joleen Bolger were able to get away from their jobs in Iowa for a brief visit. They had hoped for a longer visit in October, but that was cancelled due to work commitments. We were pleased to have them visit on Friday and Saturday.

Allison was able to join us for great conversation about family and life in general, and, we went out to eat both nights they were here. Party time!  ;-) Al and Joleen headed back for Iowa on Sunday.

Annette and Larry did arrive at Branson Airport Sunday afternoon. More good conversation. Annette checked out some western history books still in our 'library.'

Allison was off on Monday, so she and Annette went hiking, shopping and to lunch - 'sister time.'

Here are the matching turtle-neck sweaters and jackets they got.

On Tuesday, Annette and Larry loaded their stuff into our Honda, as they have done a number of times before, and left for the week at a conference and visiting his family members in Illinois. They will return here on Sunday afternoon.

It was a great weekend!  ;-)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Kylee's 4th Birthday Celebration with family

Kylee's 4th Birthday Celebration with family

Kaylee got to start her celebration by putting her presents on the table, all together.

Alex likes to be involved...

Moved the presents to the floor to open. Texas game with Tech was well in hand in the second half, so we didn't wait until after the game for the festivities to begin.  ;-)

Three related bunches of Fisher-Price sets from Mom and Dad, among other things. Allison sent some books - Strawberry Shortcake.

Grandpa and Grandma Smith had clothes, including jammies, and some Barbies.

Grandpa and Grandma Rathsack sent a 4 year old Precious Moments statue.

The Fisher-Price cabin, tent and rv needed some packaging removal and assembly. Arrion did that.

Kaylee and her loot, as the Texas game progresses, and Arrion gets a photo, as well.

Kaylee wanted a purple and pink Barbie Cake, chocolate, from H.E.B....

With the four candles...

Barbie was removed from the cake, in an appropriate ceremony, before cutting to eat.

And the cake was very good, too....  ;-)

It was a very good day!  ;-)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Austin Visit - Pre-Birthday

Austin Visit

Here are some photos from our first two days here. We will celebrate Kaylee's fourth birthday on Saturday, even though it is next week, the day after we leave. She will have her Birthday Party at Little Gym next Saturday. She had her Early Birthday with Annette and Larry a couple of weeks ago. We all like to celebrate birthdays!

Although it was a little cool, Alex and I were playing throw and catch with a tennis ball in the back yard. His arm is getting much stronger.

Grandma and Kaylee are getting out the Alphabet Bingo. I was the caller. Kaylee actually knows most of the letters. Just a few still working on. We also worked on the small letters, where she has a few to go, as well. Very good!  ;-)

Grandma helped Alex with his homework. He read two chapters in a book. Then, he wrote one sentence answers to ten questions. First grade! He did real well.

Kaylee showed Grandma her Barbie with a braid.

Grandma put a braid in Kaylee's hair... then one in the other side, as well!

Both kids really like the iPad. It has games and activities for each age. They each do their own. Here, Kaylee is 'baking muffins' while Grandma watches.

'Mom and Dad' went to a movie tonight. For quiet time, before they went to bed, Kaylee and Alex played quietly, together, with the airplane toy. Neat! They are really growing up!  ;-)

Stay tuned for a big Saturday. I'll try to remember to take some more photos!  ;-)

It was another very nice day!  ;-)