Tuesday, July 23, 2013

# 460 - Celebrating in Greater Houston! A Baby Shower!

Heather, my oldest daughter, just had her first baby shower for her baby that is due at the end of August.

We are thrilled about our first grand-baby joining the family! She is a welcomed addition to the nutty bunch of us. I'm sure we will have a lot of happy moments together.

But, for the baby shower last weekend, Heather looked so precious!

Heather and Henry are so excited about their baby Coraline! And my oldest daughter takes after my husband in her height. Stefie takes after my side of the family and is on the small side.

The shower was wonderful...these kiddos went home with a lot of nice baby gifts.

Heather is positively stunning while pregnant. She is one of those women who carries the baby well, and she has remained active and busy throughout her pregnancy.

We enjoyed lots of goodies and great snacks during the shower. Of course, I went overboard in buying soft pink and hot pink dinnerware, a helium tank for the different balloons we picked up and enough popcorn to feed 75 people...that was $40.00 just for popcorn! But, it was delicious.

Stefie and Shaye wait for cake!
Stefie is creative and great at
this party-decorating-thing!

Sisters do wonderful things for each other and Stefie made a fantastic diaper cake for her preggie sister that had the theme of Coraline, which is Heather's favorite movie!

Food went fast!

Stefanie and Brice were awesome with doing their own part to make the shower a success. Actually, lots of people contributed their time, money and effort toward making the shower a grand slam! 
Brice is such a sweet helper and a good man. Glad my daughter
is dating such a fine young man.

My two girls bring joy to my heart and my son-in-law, Henry, is gigantic when standing next to Stefie. I love these three!

My three kiddos, my two daughters and my son-in-law, Henry.
I am a very blessed woman.
And my dad and Sgt. Dave's mom were at the shower. These grandparents sure are excited about this great-grandbaby that's on the way.

Coraline will be my dad's first great-grandbaby; he is very excited!


I love my family!


And we all play Baby Bingo!


The group of about 25 people attended the shower. It was the perfect size gathering, not as massive as it usually can get. This crowd was special...full of the ones we love and want to share such special moments with throughout our lives.

And I am thankful that I have good friends who are eager to celebrate with us for our most important family moments.

Good friends are precious and beautiful.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

# 459 - Celebrating Country Life!

The deck building process exposed a visitor, a Black Widow.

My husband tried to hold it still for a few shots. I found it oddly beautiful. After the photo session, he let it go in the woods.

Lions, tigers and bears. Well, not quite. However, we do have cougars, spiders and snakes. And, the bears are in these woods again because of a re-introduction plan that has now prompted official sightings in the area. Black bears.

For now, I am adding Black Widow spiders to my list of creatures and insects that city-life did not expose us to quite as much.

Also, the deck construction is finished. We are still going to add lattice to it, but this beauty is wonderful to step out onto instead of cinderblocks and indoor/outdoor carpeting that quickly gets clogged with DIRT GALORE.

Here is a photo, at night, of my mother-in-law standing on the deck.

I will be landscaping around the deck, so stay tuned. Of course, Beaker, the chicken missing the top beak, has already found her way to the top of the deck, but that will soon be off limits with the finishing touches that will be put onto the deck.

My huge picnic table fits on the deck and we certainly enjoy sitting outside while soaking in the peaceful view and country sounds.

Another great bit of news today that we received had been our electric bill. First of all, at this time of year, we would be getting an electric bill at the big city house that would be at least around $400.00 because of the days on end that were in the high 90's and right at 100 degrees.

The chickens are hanging out beneath the RV.

Here in the RV, we are in the shade for part of the day, but the hot days find the air-conditioning unit in the RV to run non-stop, so we were DREADING the moment the electric bill arrived.

You can imagine our high-five celebration as we opened the bill to discover the charge for a HOT month in Texas to be approximately $140.00! So, we are paying more for gas and commuting to Downtown Houston on a daily basis, but the overall break from "big house" bills is very nice.

It's so nice to have affordable electricity with this country electric co-op.

It's so nice to not be air-conditioning nearly 3,000 square feet of house.

It's so nice to be able to step out my front door and be in the midst of nature.

It's so nice to no longer share a front curb on a street without adequate parking space.

It's so nice to live on land that has trees instead of in a development that is just over ten years old and struggling to grow trees because the developer bull-dozed everything before construction began.

It's so nice to not hear police sirens throughout the night, every night.

And, it's so nice to see the beauty in nature, even if it includes a Black Widow every now and then.

Monday, July 15, 2013

# 458 - RV Decking Under Construction - Day 2

The decking project for the RV is coming together. Tonight, the decking was far enough along for us to put the picnic table on the deck, and we sat outside and enjoyed dinner.

This was a momentous occasion since we moved to our land almost two months ago. Essentially, we are still "living in between" and even though we are no longer living in our house in the Greater Houston area while trying to make the two hour trip, one-way, to the acreage to do work on it...we now are living on the land, but not in house...we have temporary residency in our nice RV as we prep the land and get things in order to begin construction on a house that will most likely be the last house we own as a main residence.

Living in between is a state of life we are enjoying. The RV is rather comfortable and the adventures with living in the midst of nature and a forest is always filled with fun and beauty.

I should have had them begin constructing the
cabin! I think that might be our next project!
I can see that this deck will be one of my favorite places to hang out during the day. I'll finally have a "front porch" with a view, but high up enough off the ground to get away from the majority of creepy-crawlers.
Sgt. Dave and his father working together to build the deck.
We will be putting lattice board around the bottom of the deck and around the topside of the deck. I am thrilled to be planning a beautiful garden to skirt the bottom of the deck. Whether we are in the RV for another six months or for a year, the area around us will be cared for, cultivated, and it will even have beauty.
So you know I was a happy woman when my husband took me to Lowe's today to buy a few plants. He purchased a Nectarine Fruit Tree for the property and two Azalea shrubs for me to plant. I have seeds for flowering plants and am eager to get those in the ground.


There is no doubt that our life in the RV will be comfortable as we are taking time to build our house the right way.

Living on several acres gives you an incredible amount of work to do, but you can only tackle a limited amount of tasks in a given day. However, being dedicated, job by job, it begins to come together.

I am so glad that our time in the RV is being made enjoyable. The deck is not set into the ground, so it will eventually be moved. In fact, it might end up as our back patio area off the mud room. We shall see.

My father-in-law hand cut the risers for the steps.
Very impressive. And the awning was raised a few feet.
I will have two sets of steps to walk up onto deck.

The thing about living on a lot of land is that the possibilities are too numerous to consider! And this week, I will be on Cloud Nine as I work in a defined area that will be designated as my own ornamental garden, perhaps with a few herbs thrown in for practical purposes. As my grandmother always told me, "No matter WHERE you live, it should be as nice as you can make it because it is your HOME."

This is home, for now, and flowers are required!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

# 457 - Deck Construction

Living in the RV for a while, as we decide about the placement of the cabin on the acreage, we have to make things more "livable" for the duration.

One problem is not having anything but a straight dirt entrance/exit from RV to outside, so we're building a little deck for sitting under the awning and to help reduce dirt being tracked inside the RV.

That's my beautiful mother-in-law. She is helping me 100%
My father-in-law owned a construction company as their kids grew up, so my husband grew up with his brothers as the company "workers." My husband does know a lot about construction, but one thing working in this field taught him wasn't going to be his first choice for a career. He choose to be a lawman.

But, he and my father-in-law have been working together to do great projects over the last few weeks.

I have been in awe at my father-in-law as he tackled major projects without Sgt. Dave's help since e often is at work. This dad's life-time of construction techniques go into action, and I am amazed by this man who is about 75 years old as he works in the Texas heat and builds things while referencing a detailed drawing he made at his kitchen table the night before.

And when we have a couple of days of freedom, the four of us stay up WAY too late playing cards, dominoes and other games that have us women team players dubbed as "the losers the guys must admit they are married to." Hardy har har.

Doing projects around the land, I've developed an understanding about which things to keep on hand at all times:

1. Old clothes you don't care about wearing for destructive projects
2. Great pair of heavy duty working gloves, preferably leather
3. A dolly can be a girl's best-friend, a rolling dolly, NOT a play dolly
4. A pony-tail to pull long hair off your neck so you don't smother to death in the Texas heat
5. A walking-stick to give a sense of power against predators, I intend to smack that cougar!
6. Hats are great for swinging wildly at flying stinging beasts and to keep sun off face that is freckling faster than it did as a teenager.

Anyway, those things help me everyday. I love my leather gloves. My clothes take a beating; I save the nice clothes for going to town and the cheap, worn t-shirts are my uniform out here in the country.

This coming week we are expecting a rainy week, and I'm not complaining, we desperately need the rain. I guess that will be the week for me to complete my indoor projects, such as scanning old family photographs.

Until then, we are working the land, I am planting all kinds of seeds in an attempt to begin my edible garden, no matter how late in the season it may be...I keep working at it. Soon, we will be able to get our veggies from the garden growing on our own land and the herbs from our own herb garden.

Decorative blocks to be used for my edible garden.
It's slow going, but we keep working toward our goals to make this land a true home...bit by bit.

Friday, July 12, 2013

# 456 - Family & Friends

Family and Friends mean the world to me.

Marilyn, Me and Lisa

Marilyn, me in the middle and Lisa in Blue top.
Great women of strength and joy.

Catching a self-portrait with my oldest daughter,
Heather, in the background giving me the same
look I would see when she was three years old; she
is a doll. Then, Heather's cousin, Joshua from Oregon,
and Stefie passing by with the sun radiating off her
golden head.

Sgt. Dave taking time with Heather, before he
does ANYTHING ELSE, to lay his hand on the belly
that holds his first grandbaby girl --- to be
named, "Coraline."

This is one of my favorites of my youngest daughter,
Stefie. Brice, her boyfriend, is pretty cute as well.
Here, they're ready to hit H-Town (which is Houston).

Stefie goes to see her great-grandmother she calls, "GG." They
have a great visit, but it's never long enough. I know she wants to
get back for another visit, as soon as possible. She has a wonderful
great-grandmother --- beautiful too. And I sure love MY grandma!
These are just a few peek shots of Stefie's graduation pictures.
She graduates in less than a month...on August 9th! She is so young,
but she stayed on track to get her four-year degree.
In June, Heather and Henry went to the U.S.
Virgin Islands for a "Babymoon" and they
got a few great pictures while there.
Heather, even pregnant, is a stunning sight
of elegant beauty.
Beachtime for the couple-to-be. Heather and Henry both look so
wonderful in these photos. Heather is radiant and Henry is more
handsome than ever! I love the photos, even if the advertisement
watermark is a bit large & intrusive upon the subjects of the shot. But,
These are preview photos that Heather is sharing.
One of my favorite pictures of these two because of their smiles!
They are getting to do something they LOVE --- explore culinary
delights while traveling! These two should be food writers!

My brother, my dad and one of my nephews ---- I sure do
love these three guys!
My sister Robin, the backside of her husband, Warren, my nephew, Nathan
and Shaye the little squirt --- all having a ball!
My sister and her family are more under control
in this great picture.
This brother and sister, Nathan and Shaye, are such good
kids that it makes a heart warm further to see their adorable smiles!
And that's what I have this morning...some of my family. I'm thinking about how much I love and appreciate everyone. And there are MANY more, but this is just a start to my day.
And how did your day start off?

Monday, July 8, 2013

# 455 - Turtle Crossing in the Country

The land is beginning to look more like home to humans. Well, a sliver of it is looking more approachable without a machete.

Trying to get St. Augustine grass to grow around the RV and
future home-site. It helps the ground not be so sandy.

However, every day, there is a mini-adventure here in the country on our acreage.

Today, Howdy the Aussie was barking at a small cluster of dried leaves in the center of the yard (seen above) and when I first took a look, I thought he was being goofy and barking at a few branches.

Then, I looked closer and saw this little beauty, which Sgt. Dave picked up for me to inspect for injuries.

After that, I was carrying around the turtle and inspecting it really close...not worried one bit. I should have been concerned about it being a snapping turtle since I have vivid memories of my brother putting them on my neck in the morning, a special wake-up call.

As usual, I can't tell you the kind of turtle this happens to be...knowing our luck, it is some rare breed that we aren't allowed to touch with human hands.

I kept the turtle in a box for a couple of hours with some celery. Why celery? Heck, it was the turtle-menu-item of the day. Anyway, I made sure the turtle looked okay so I could let it go into the woods.

And what would've happened if the turtle had NOT been okay? Well, I know the shell would NOT have gone to waste, but I am very happy this little critter was able to be released without incident.

I still am wondering how it got so far into the pasture area of our land, away from a water source.

The dogs were extremely interested in this turtle, as they are with all things that make motion.

He/She appeared to be perfectly healthy and rather strong, so I took the turtle to the edge of the woods, toward the creek, and I let it go. Which, letting a turtle go is not a MOMENTOUS occasion such as when you let a bird go free and it flies out of sight as you feel delighted. Letting a turtle go is kind of like slow's a release that requires patience.

Run turtle RUN, the chickens are coming your way!