Saturday, December 30, 2006

And sooo the last Saturday goes.......

The 1st Lady and I were up early this morning......leaving for Charleston about 6:30am. We went into Cape Girardeau to meet Jeremy as he wanted to go with us. He had driven to Cape from Evansville, IN last night and stayed overnight with a friend. The three of us went on to Charleston........spent the morning and early afternoon with Mike.....and then returned back to F'town.

The remaining part of the afternoon was spent in doing some household chores: CLEANING from the visit of Santa Claus on Tuesday morning. Then this evening our friends, Dave and Sue Hanner came over.....the first time we have seen them in several months. We talked the evening away.......had a couple of bottles of wine.....and some of the wonderful hot appetizers that the 1st Lady fixed. A very pleasant and fun "reunion" of OLD friends.

We ran out to their house as they left.....they wanted us to see their newest area rug which arrived straight from Turkey. Their son-in-law is from Turkey and he brought them this rug when he and their daughter returned to the states from a trip to his homeland. It is a beautiful carpet.....and one they will be proud of and enjoy for many years to come.

And so......with the rains POURING on the housetop........

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

All's quiet now in TheHowserHouse.....

Oh yeah........the afternoon and evening have been deathly quiet here in TheHowserHouse. Dr. Jeni, Darrel and the two little girls left around noon for their home........and suddenly there was no laughter or squeals or shouting and running going on in the house. AND......the joy of having the little ones here has also disappeared.........they were sooooooo good and sooooooo fun to have around!!!!!! Ahhhhhh......such is Life.......

Therefore, the task of cleaning up the bits and pieces of ribbons, gift wrappings, chocolate candy bits, and many other things that somehow find themselves on the floor and furniture......all of this had to be picked up and disposed of properly. For the first time in almost 11 months we find ourselves in our "new" house with no company........and the house ALMOST completed....just a few small details that need to be finished. And is nice, once we discover where everything we own has been put away. HAHAHA.......THAT will never happen!!

This evening we went up to Farmington and had our anniversary dinner at The Pasta House.....along with tons and tons of other people.....all of us waiting for a table! usual, the wait was worth every minute!!! We both had shrimp garazini....and it is a wonderful plate......the shrimp laying a wonderful lemon/butter sauce which is really, really great!!!

Home again......and it is a short evening. Think we will watch a movie which we Tivo'd a few days ago, but have not had the peace and quiet to sit down and watch it.

Talked with my mother and she seems to be adjusting to her new "home".....with my sister. I am certain that deep down it is a relief for her to not have to worry about trying to prepare a bite to eat......and many, many other things that she will be provided with. I have a sister that will do anything for anybody...........she is a remarkable lady/mother/grandmother/great-grandmother!!!! I sometimes wonder just how she gets it all done.......but, she does!

And so.........with my body at the bursting point....shrimp and salad about to explode into this room from the darkest recesses of my tummy.......

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

AHHH.....Married 35 years TODAY!!!!! was in 1971......on this day.......that we began this journey......and what a journey it has been. SURE glad we can't see into the future.........even though most of this journey has been wonderful,.....there, as in anyone's Life, have been events that we would not want to experience again. And.....I would not have wanted to be able to see them coming into our lives. THIRTY-FIVE YEARS......and counting!!!!

Soooo, what did we do today/this evening?????? Well, to be truthful, we baby-sat Dr. Jeni's two little girls......while they went skiing. It was a very pleasant day.....they are really very easy to watch.......such happy and pleasant little ones!!!! Tonight????? Where did we dine????? Where else when baby-sitting.......... MCDONALD'S!!!!!!!! And, thinking back 35 years ago.....that was all we could have afforded in those days......hahaha!!! MY....times sure have changed!!!!

Today, I finished mowing/mulching the leaves in our yard....enjoying the warm sun and the blue skies. Then this afternoon, another former student dropped by and we chatted for way over an hour. She graduated from Northwestern University in the Chicago area, and is now an officer in the Marine Corps and is stationed in the San Diego area. During her high school years, she was a Drum Major for the band.....and a very, very good saxophonist!!!!!! I had not seen her since she graduated in 2000, so we had LOTS to discuss and chat about! She has spent one tour of duty in Iraq and is currently scheduled to return next summer. She also has a conference to attend in Bangkok, Thailand, next month......... It was great to see Lt. Autumn Swinford once again!!!

I neglected to mention that another student from that class dropped by prior to returning to Springfield a couple of days ago......Jaren Wenniger(sp?....been toooooo long). He has just returned from 10 days in Kuwait on a trip to learn more about the Middle East.......and to experience the Arabic language and culture there. He is working on his Master's Degree with emphasis on the Middle East relations, etc., etc. It is always interesting to chat with him as he has many fascinating stories about his experiences to discuss.

The Holidays are always wonderful as the doorbell is always ringing......and I never know just who will be standing there when I go to the door............soooooo many former students always drop by for an hour or two of catching-up chat. AND....I REALLY enjoy talking with them!!!!!

With all of the above........what more can I say, but.....

Life is GREAT........and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

An ACTIVE day......

Yep.....TheHowserHouse FULL of Howser family!!!!! It was a late night last night as the little ones just couldn't give up playing with their new toys and games. Soooo, the morning today was also a late one as no one wanted to "rise and shine".

Where did the day go????? Well, it seemed to me that I was busy, busy, busy cleaning off the table and emptying the dishwasher and refilling it with MORE dirty dishes...........every few hours!!! I found myself at WalMart for only one trip today.....imagine that????!!!!!

Then we found out that the husband of one of the 1st Lady's sorority sisters had passed away Christmas, she prepared some food to take to the house, and then we attended visitation this evening at the local funeral home. We stood in line for an hour just to get to see his wife.......and when we left the line was still just as long as it was when we entered!!! TONS of people were there to pay their respects..........he was a man that was held in high regard by soooooo many people of this community and the surrounding area.

I did have a cool visit today from a student that had traveled to Europe with me in 2001.....and I had not seen him since. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee last year.....and has a very interesting career in television broadcasting, camera operation, and other details in the actual broadcasts of NFL games, etc., etc. Will Tinsley.......a great young man with a great future ahead of him!!!!!!

And sooooo, this very busy day.......this very active day...... comes to a close. My mom has now been "moved in" with my sister in her home.....and without any apparant disagreement as to leaving her home of over 50 years. She continues to slide downhill.......she fell yesterday morning and laid on the floor for an unknown amount of time ....until she received a phone call from my sister at the usual morning time. Think she was ready for assistance but didn't know how or even want to ask. Time will tell......she is just getting weaker and weaker. We have postponed our departure for our three month escape from old man winter..........will go to Eldon this weekend to check on things.

And sooooooo, I pass through another day.......and...

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"Hurry...we want to open the presents!!"

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Dr. Jeni, Darrel, Meghan, Ava

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Mother/daughter (Becky and Rachel)

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"What IS this???"

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"Just what I wanted!!!!"

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"Look what you got!!"

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Hmmmm.....sure glad we cleaned up the house!!!

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ALWAYS posing for a picture!!!!

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Dinner is ready.....

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OUR Christmas morning/day......

As I explained earlier on this blog.......we had our "Christmas Tree" exchange this morning....not yesterday. And.....for all three little girls......excitement reigned with screams of joy and happiness as they tore off the colorful wrapping paper and discovered what was inside those large packages. It didn't take nearly as long to tear off that paper and ribbons as it did to wrap them during the past few days.

The 1st Lady fixed the traditional turkey dinner which we devoured in much less time than it took to prepare it.......just like the Christmas wrappings. This evening....well, it is card games, a few drinks, and play time with the three little ones.

I am going to post some pictures from this morning.........they are most likely more meaningful to us than to all of you, but......hmmmm......enjoy if you can.

Life is Great.......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Granny and her four "children"!!

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Dinner at the "Old Folks" table!! EVERYONE PRESENT for the first time in years

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Granny with Meghan

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BINGO!!!! ???

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11 of the 12 great-grandchildren and Granny

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Great grandchildren receiving the gifts from Granny

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Rachel showing off her presents

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Granny giving Ava a doll

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Meghan displaying her gifts...

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Ava being wanted by a relative....

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Update below)

WOW.....the BIG DAY arrived so quickly for myself and the 1st Lady!!!!! This past week has just been one thick blur for us.......just unreal, quite frankly. We have been busier than ever attempting....and we have been 98% get all of the "STUFF" put away, or stored (heeehee) in the garage. And, since OUR family's Christmas here at TheHowserHouse is not until tomorrow morning......guess what????!!!!! All morning we have been working as if it was a regular day......finishing up the house, dusting (which will never end after all of this sanding), and trying to get ready for 7 houseguests for tonight!!

This is the first time I have sat down since 8am this morning.....and I still have one more item to bring back in from the garage. Thought it was out there to stay.......but, with this War On Stuff that I have been waging, this latest item is a battle that I lost, and the 1st Lady won!! The 1st Lady is quite a scrappy fighter in this WOS (War On Stuff), and I seem to be fighting for my right to not be smothered in piles of stuff.......piles that could last the remaining years of my Life. The 1st Lady.....well, she wants to hang on to EVERYTHING...."we might need this" is her trite little call to battle......and the battle then begins in earnest!!! UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sooooo, the garage is now no longer available for anything else......NOTHING....NADA!!!!! It is stacked to the ceiling.......hmmmm, wonder what kind of "stuff" she is giving me for Christmas in the morning????????? Where will I put it?????? Impossible to get rid of it since she will have just given it to me.....hmmmmm......HELP!!!!!

Hey.....if any of you are interested in the War On Stuff........see the newest issue of the AARP Magazine.....a great article in it about the same war I am fighting........guess it is a battle that many households wage!!!!???

Brief look back: Saturday was a fun day at the Christmas Gathering in Hannibal. Dinner was excellent!!!!!! A "lots of fun" Christmas Bingo Game with $5 gifts to be won/traded/stolen was played by all us....and it finally broke down as everyone wanted a few gifts that were very nice!

Yesterday the 1st Lady and I went to Charleston to visit Mike. On the way back she had to stop in Cape Girardeau for a couple of last minute gifts.....which were located quickly. Jeremy had arrived home by the time we returned......

And so......enough for now.....the day is only partially complete. More later.....I HOPE!!!


Becky and Rachel arrived around 4pm this afternoon. Later, we went to the city center......not much of a beehive of activity tonight!!......and the only restaurant in town that was open was the local Chinese restaurant. So, we purchased some Chinese dinners and returned to TheHowserHouse to eat on our dining table.....the FIRST time since the last week of January!!!!! It has been holding boxes and "stuff" ever since that time........WHAT a new experience it was......hahahaha!!!!!

This evening it has been one of playing a game that Rachel received today.....and watching a bit of the tellie........nothing else. We are awaiting the arrival of the ALWAYS late Dr. Jeni and Darrel and Meghan and Ava. They will blow in like a blizzard with both girls most likely fast asleep. Tomorrow the TONS of gifts under the tree will be opened with mucho paper to be tossed into the trash receptacle.......HOPEFULLY the trash will be picked up tomorrow morning as there is NO more room in it!!!

And so............on this Christmas Day of 2006....

Life is GREAT.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Christmas Gathering in Hannibal......

After several stops in STL today to return items and to pick up other items, we arrived at the hotel in Hannibal about 2:30pm. Being the first to arrive was the goal because five of the rooms were in our name.....not including ours. And......we needed to make certain the reservations were in order......which they were.

The 1st Lady and I, after checking in and then checking out our room, went to the pool area and before long other family members began to arrive. About that time, I left and went into Hannibal to do a bit of Christmas shopping for some gifts for the 1st Lady.......which I completed in less than two hours.....returning to the hotel.

By early evening there were 20+ of the family enjoying the pool, the hot tub, and all of the snacks and drinks which everyone brought. The great grandchildren had a great time in the pool......and never wore was exploding throughout the evening. It is now 10:30pm.....and they are STILL splashing and swimming!!!!

This is a wonderful Quality Inn and Suites!!!!! We have stayed here three previous years and it remains one of our favorite places to spend a night or two. The rooms are HUGE.....and the service and cleanliness are unrivaled for this type of a hotel. They also serve full, HOT breakfasts as part of the overnight stay.......not just a continental breakfast. And tomorrow, they are catering our dinner for approximately 40 people.

And sooooo, my presence is being requiested at the pool again......soooo, I will close this for now. We will be returning to TheHowserHouse tomorrow evening............

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My mother and sister(the great grandmother and great, great grandmother of the twins)

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My great, great niece and nephew (twins)

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Still alive.....and going a mile a minute...

Yesterday...last night...we had to drive for 200 miles in fog, mist, rain, heavy traffic, .....all the worst things to have on the highway in the evening hours. Soooo, I didn't post last night as I was completely exhausted!

We went to Eldon to visit my mother, my sister and her family, and exchange gifts. It was a good visit, however, I can really see just how quickly my mother is sliding downhill! The past few weeks have brought about a large change in her since we saw her last. And that change is not for the best for her........I'm afraid she is just "wearing out" she is getting weaker physically, and more "foggy" in her memory ability. Which begs the question: what kind of decisions need to be made....and will she go along with these decisions??? She is still a strong-willed, gracious lady.......but, I believe it is time that some changes are made in regards to her care and welfare.

Today: Well, it was hell bent for leather, as the saying goes........trying to get the house put back together again......and there just wasn't enough time today to get it all done!!!! I had the piano moving crew/friends here and we returned the grand piano to it's rightful place in the living room, we painted baseboards and trim, we began to carry items through the house to the guest room, we laundered the window treatments and re-hung them, we returned items to the closet that were removed during the floor refinishing, and I am really, really tired!!! Did we finish??? HELL NO!!!!!

And tomorrow, we head north to Hannibal for two days to have Christmas with the 1st Lady's family. There will be close to 40 of us there....and we have many rooms booked at the Quality Inn in Hannibal for tomorrow night. All of the grandchildren and great grandchildren will spend the afternoon and evening in the pool and hottub.......and some may hit a local pub later on. On Saturday we will have gift exchange.....and the we have a dinner that is being catered which everyone will enjoy. Another big weekend......

And so....I will close now and try to get a few more things done here..........

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


The newly remodeled kitchen is FINISHED!!! Our adjoining sun room still has some detailing to be completed, but we are running out of time before this Christmas weekend. Tomorrow we are off to Eldon to spend some time with my mother and then return back here tomorrow evening.......450 miles total.

We have Thursday to get a few things done.....and then we are off to Hannibal to spend two days with Marsha's mother and family. AND....then it is THE weekend of Christmas!

Soooo......what you see now is just the kitchen with only a peek at the sun room. It is a creamy yellow/lemon color and we still have the window treatments and the baseboards to finish up in there.

The "infamous" shower door which was ordered LAST February was delivered today!!!!! SURE hope it is the correct size!!!!

And sooooo, after a very, very full and busy day including a school board meeting and Christmas dinner for board members and spouses.......I am closing for the night. More pictures to come as time permits...... ENJOY!!!

Life is GREAT.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!! Check pictures below!!!!


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Before and After

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