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Monday, 29 September 2008
Western Day
Mood:  lazy
Topic: family

Saturday was the annual Western Day event held in my town - or more specifically - the "old" part of town.  This event has been around for a long time. When the kids were younger, we'd watch the parade & go over to the blocked off part of Main Street and wander through the shops, look at the vendor booths, maybe grab a corny dog or funnel cake, stop in the petting zoo, and then go home.  Now it has become a full-fledged money making event for the city.  When Main Street was being re-done several years ago to re-energize Old Town (as we call it), Western Day (used to be a whole weekend & called Western Days) was cancelled. 

Back when my oldest girls were in middle school, we even went one year when one of them was on crutches.  She'll never let me live that down! 

Starting with this year (they're calling it the 3rd annual western day), they started charging admission unless you were a resident of the city.  I wondered how they would control how and where people got in.  I guess they ordered all the chain link fencing in Texas a lot of fencing and erected it all around Old Town.  What a sight to see! 

Gone are the dachshund races - which was one of my favorite parts of the event.  Gone is the free stuff - bounce houses, petting zoo, kids' mini-train ride.  In its place are ticket booths.  Four tickets can allow a child to get in a bounce house for a little bit - and each ticket was $1 (OMG!).  And it was so hot on Saturday! 

I got us water & lemonade to the turn of over $10!  That was for 3 of us. 

Later in the day the parade came down Main Street.  And to lead it off - 34 head of Longhorn cattle!  Now that was impressive.  I had never been that close to a Longhorn.  Before the parade I snapeed some pictures of them while they were in their pen waiting to stampede walk slowly behind a police cruiser and a horseman to start the ball rolling.  This was one of the largest parades in our town I've seen.  Lasted almost an hour and had all sorts of organizations - Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, church groups, dance studios, firefighters drum corps, firefighters bag pipes, the high school marching band with the dancers and flag corps - you name it - they marched!  By the time the parade was over, we were pretty hot and tired so we came home.

There had been a World Championship Tamale eating contest.  The winner was from Minnesota & shared in a prize of almost $4000. 

Now we get to do this all over again to celebrate the Christmas season when our "Old Town" decorates City Hall and the surrounding areas and launches "Holiday at the Hall" (formerly known as Old Town Stroll).  Wonder how much they are going to try to soak us charge for this event?




Posted by wendylittrell at 6:41 AM CDT
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Monday, 28 July 2008
Loss of a "Sister"
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: PS2 - Pirates 3
Topic: family

Our family lost someone yesterday - my sister-in-law in Ohio.  Technically, she was my former s-i-l, but to me she was always another sister.  She was a member of the family even before I was.  Her smile and laughter would light up a room.  She was funny even when she wasn't trying to be. 

As a young child, she and my brother would have me over to spend the weekend with them many times (before they had a child).  I had such fun at their house.  Just hanging out, playing cards or games, watching her cook, being taken to the ice cream truck by my brother in the evenings, and the wonderful aromas of food baking and cooking.  As an older child, they took me with them to Cedar Point amusement park one year. 

My sister-in-law always made me feel as if anything I told her would stay between us and that she would never judge what I did.  She became a professional cake decorator for many years and also made candy and other treats. 

For three months she was my oldest two daughter's babysitter.  I would drop them off in the mornings with their lunches and bottles and she would love them as her own. 

Even after she and my brother were no longer married, she was still invited to all the family gatherings as my brother had since moved from that area.  I would always try to go visit her and my nephew whenever I was in town. 

Due to some severe health issues in the last few years, it was more and more difficult for her to get out to come to the family gatherings we would have.  I feel particularly lucky that I did get to see her the last two years I've gone home.  Unfortunately a few weeks ago when I was at my mom's, I wasn't able to see her. She wasn't in the best shape health wise. I did speak with her over the phone and urged her to hang in there.

So it was quite unexpected yesterday when my nephew called to tell me that she'd been hospitalized and the doctors feared that there was nothing else they could do.  Surely, after giving her the medicine needed, she would rally. Or so I thought.  Then my cousin called in the evening to tell me she had passed away.  There won't be any services (probably) and she didn't want flowers or anything.

So in lieu of a real obituary, this is my way of telling the world who she was.  Daughter who survived both her parents; sister who helped all she could; mother who loved unconditionally; aunt who enjoyed the help and assistance of her neices; an aunt who loved and took care of her other nieces and nephews.  Leaves behind a brother, 4 nieces, a son, a mother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, 4 other nieces and 2 nephews, and a host of friends who will miss her deeply.

At times like these the guilt can rise up.  I should have made an effort to at least go visit her for a few minutes.  I should have written some real letters to her as she hadn't been able to use the computer.  I should have called her.  The should have's and would have's don't accomplish anything productive.

So I will continue to think of her as a member of the family.  To honor her memory by reflecting on her laughter, the way she filled a room with her voice and smile, the too humorous for words things she has done or said, and the love she had for her son and family.

I'll miss you, Phyllis.

Posted by wendylittrell at 1:47 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, 28 July 2008 2:03 PM CDT
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Wednesday, 23 July 2008
Back From Vacation
Mood:  chillin'
Now Playing: nothing - it's quiet!
Topic: family

We left outta here the morning of July 10th for the Midwest and visits with family.  Two parents, two adult children, the grandson, and a dog!  Traveling up 35 through Oklahoma and Kansas actually went by fast - as fast as 8 hours can go!  Stopped in Emporia, KS (on the turnpike) at the McDonald's and service station for some lunch.  As always when we stop, someone needs to stay with the dog.  Got back on the road & headed toward Kansas City and then 2 hours beyond that to my in-law's farm.  My father-in-law had tried to tell us about the bridge being out (about 20 minutes from their house) but then went on about 435 or 35 being closed in KC so we were a little confused.  Hit Waverly, MO and over the Missouri River.  When we got to Route 24 we saw the signs saying there was a detour.  Unfortunately whoever posted those detour signs was a little confused as well.  We were going to go 24 East.  The detour sign was for 24 West.  No - it was for both!  So instead of going back to Waverly to detour, we went about an hour the other direction toward Chillicothe to get back toward where we needed to go.  That was extra time we hadn't counted on.

Pulled into the farm in the early evening and had a wonderful short visit with the in-laws before heading out the door about 7 a.m. the next morning for Southwest Ohio.  Let me tell you about Illinois.  Seems when anything happens on a trip - it happens in Illinois.  These are just a few of the past incidents: finding out our gas tank was leaking; leaving the gas cap on top of the van for hours between fill ups (& not losing it!), the fuel pump acting up and having to sit on the side of a very busy highway without a cell phone signal but getting through to the 911 operator who sent a patrolman out to make sure we were ok and wait with us until the van decided to get going again; NOT finding any gas stations when we needed to!  This trip through Illinois went much better!  Stopped in the Champaign-Urbana area for food.  Pulled into Mom's carport about 7 p.m. her time (we lost an hour between Central and Eastern Daylight Savings Time). 

Things we did while traveling: ate junk food (I'd packed beef jerky, Pringle singles, goldfish, snack packages of cookies and cheese or peanut butter crackers; drinking lots of water or coffee; read (wow, I actually was able to read part of a book while traveling!); play computer games on the laptop; text message friends; and sleep!

More from the Travels of '08 later!

Posted by wendylittrell at 7:07 AM CDT
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Monday, 9 June 2008
Mood:  celebratory
Now Playing: Harry Potter - Chamber of Secrets
Topic: family

Yesterday College Bound Daughter (formerly known as Senior Daughter) graduated!  So now I can let you all know what I've been working on!  I had made each of the kids a DVD of pictures a few years ago so I updated CBD's with pictures from the last few years and had that playing during her grad party.  I also have been working on her scrapbook - I got pretty carried away & it turned out to be HUGE!  I found that it was too thick for the original album so had to go find another one that could be expanded to what I needed.  Then I discovered that none of the page protectors would fit in the new one (posts were slightly different than the holes) so had to transfer all the pages into new page protectors!  I also made a photo book of all of her "large" school pictures - what else was I going to do with them?  Then I had all of her senior photo proofs frames and set out as well as the larger framed pictures.  My husband put all her competition medals in a shadowbox so we could display that too.  The displays turned out lovely and thanks to my sister, we had the room and tables decorated really good.  I hope CBD had a good day and enjoyed the party.  Graduation itself was shorter than I thought it would be.  With 745 kids graduating plus all the speeches (which they limited to 2 minutes!) we were all done in 90 minutes.  Then we had to wait until our daughter found us, posed for pictures and then the travel time back home to pick up everything else for the party. 

Here's a great shot of CBD in her cap and gown after graduation!

Isn't she beautiful!







    Photo Table                                                                                                                             Scrapbook/Memorabilia Table

Posted by wendylittrell at 7:31 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, 9 June 2008 7:47 AM CDT
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Thursday, 5 June 2008
Final Countdown!
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: family

In the immortal words of the legendary Alice Cooper "School's Out!" - yep, today is the last day of school for First Grader.  Movin' on up to the 2nd grade in Auugst!  Wow - when did this happen?  How did this happen? 

Today is also graduation practice day for Senior Daughter.  Will have to change her name after today to "College-Bound Daughter" (so take notes so you won't get lost!)  Sunday morning is graduation and Sunday afternoon is grad party.  I'm thisclose to being done with everything for the grad party.  Few things I need to take care of & then I need to make my list of food to buy, stuff to order (cake & balloons) & then take rest of stuff up to where the party will be so it's there & I don't have to try to deal with it on Sunday.  Then I need to actually make out in detail how to do this sort of party so in the future I will have something to go on!

Yesterday was last party for First Grader (who will soon be known as "Almost Second Grader").  Had lots of parents who showed up to help!  I am so lucky to have folks helping with the parties.  One of the moms who was helping me said she had been room mom for one of her other children and no one ever came to help.  The teacher of that class said the last 2 years she's had to do the parties because no one has ever stepped up to do it.  Yeah, I'm feeling the love! 

In other random ramblings (hey - if someone wants a blog name - that's a good one!) - the wind it is a blowin'!  The leaves in the trees were making a huge noise yesterday afternoon as the wind gusts would hit them.  But normal things like patio furniture & trash cans - winds not even touching them.  I'm a little confused!

So where am I when I'm not here?  Posting on my Genealogy Blog - so if you are looking for me here - go over there & you can read some of my (ha ha!) fascinating posts!

Posted by wendylittrell at 6:43 AM CDT
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Monday, 5 May 2008
In Pictures
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: family

Here's the pictures from First Grader's Birthday last week!

It was an "Ironman" birthday!  Think I should have gotten an Ironman toy for First Grader's Papa as they both wanted to play with it! 

Speaking of the new celluloid Superhero - have you seen the movie yet?  Senior Daughter saw it on Friday evening & said it was awesome.  Reviews seem good and the movie had a great opening weekend.  I did hear a rumor - but I won't tell you what - just wait until the credits are over before leaving!




Posted by wendylittrell at 7:25 AM CDT
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Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Happy Birthday First Grader!
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: family

First Grader turns 7 today - SEVEN?!  OMG!  When did that happen?  Just yesterday he was walking underneath the dining room table & sleeping in a crib.  When did he become this little man - full of questions and observations about the world around him?  I asked him a question about breakfast & his response, "yes please."  To say I smiled would be an understatement.  Somewhere in the last 7 years, between his mommy, his Papa, his uncle, his aunts and me - he heard us modeling good manners and has become a little gentleman.  First Grader has a very creative imagination.  Especially when it comes to Superheros!  He can make up different stories about Spiderman, Batman, and the rest of them without any prompting!  Since he became confident in his reading ability, not an item goes by that he doesn't try to read.  Cereal boxes, advertisements, birthday cards, street signs, garbage mail - you name it & he's probably read or tried to read it! 

Celebration will be held later today - cupcakes at school followed by the dinner he requested (our store's fried chicken, green beans & salad) and then chocolate cake with choclate icing & the opening of birthday presents!

Pictures to be posted soon!

Posted by wendylittrell at 6:28 AM CDT
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Tuesday, 1 April 2008
April Fools!
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: family

Do you play April Fools jokes on anyone? 

As a kid in school, it was fun (annoying for the adults) to "April Fools!" a teacher or parent.  Most of the time they took it good naturedly - after all - most of the jokes were pretty lame.

As an adult, my dear husband and I reaffirmed our wedding vows on April Fools Day!  No, it wasn't meant to be funny!  We had been married almost a year (went to JP) and were going to have our "church wedding" so when asked to pick a date, I said first Saturday in April.  Little did I realize until I looked at a calendar that it was going to be April Fools! 

Then many years ago we did an April Fools on my husband - wasn't funny to him tho!  He'd been traveling a lot & it seemed that every time he came back from a business trip, something in the house had broken, flooded, etc.  He'd been home a week or so and had fixed something - probably had to do with water as we've always had water issues of some sort!  The April Fool had something to do with it either breaking again or not working or something (see, I can't even remember - that's how memorable it was!).  He got this panicked look on his face and I waited a couple beats before shouting April Fools!  I know he didn't think it was too funny. Which is probably why I don't play those type of jokes!  I'm not really that good at it!

But if you look at my picture from yesterday - that definitely was not an April Fools joke!  Yes, we are alright - nothing touched down close to us.  Nothing even got blown away or over or down the street or anything.  No hail for us either - although a town toward the lake got ping-pong size hail.  And I heard that we'll probably be getting more bad weather this week. 

When I was a teenager in Junior High - an F5 tornado hit the town next us.  For footage of that actual event - check out this youtube video.

Stay safe, keep dry, have a good April Fools Day!


Posted by wendylittrell at 6:41 AM CDT
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Friday, 28 March 2008
They want How much for a mandatory Orientation?
Mood:  irritated
Topic: family

So Senior Daughter has been accepted at the school of her choice - luckily it is a state university and it's only 20 minutes away - so we won't be going through the whole going "away" to college thing here at the "Hello" house.  She & I attended a "tour" already - which consisted of a very quick walk through the campus where much loud construction was happening making it very hard to hear the little girl they had giving us information.  Not to worry - Photographer Daughter attended a program at the same campus when she was a Freshman in High School and I saw more then than I did ths time.  Then Senior Daughter & I went to a "Preview" - which was a little more involved and including sitting in classrooms listening to professors talk about that major or college.  Out of that, Sr. Daughter sort of has decided what major she wants.  She's all fired up with school spirit.  Now we get to go to a "mandatory" orientation.  This will be a 2.5 days type of thing - complete with "meeting other freshman" socials and "parent" dinners and socials.  She is also obligated to spend 2 nights in a dorm.  Which - she will not be living in when she goes to school there - I mean we are only 20 minutes away & why spend that much money on a bed somewhere else when her bed here is basically free?  Plus - allergy wise - she doesn't do well in strange beds or in strange rooms and irritability wise - she doesn't do well with people she doesn't know - especially to spend the night in the same room with them.  She jokes that they'll be calling me saying my daughter made her room mate sleep in the hall!  And I'm not sure that's much of a joke! 

On the Upside to all of this - she gets a very compacted "what life will be like" as a Freshman experience.  On the Downside - the cost.  Are you KIDDING me?  And you want most of tuition paid at the same time?  And why do I want to spend my evening in a room full of other college parents?  I have no issue with being involved - but face it - this isn't elementary school PTA or that sort of involvement.  Talking with a friend's daughter who is just finishing up her first year at this same school, she admitted that the orientation is too long, some of the things just aren't needed, and they could have compacted it to 1.5-2 days. 

Now just so you know - I've already done this with Photographer daughter - however it was for another unversity - about 3 blocks away from where Senior Daughter will go.  Their orientation was one day & a half.  I think there was some cost involved but probably for the meals more than anything else. 

I once claimed that I'm not 18 anymore so I stay off of roller coasters - but I think this one is just now getting started & it's going to be bigger & badder than anything Six Flags can throw at me.

I'm taking donations . . . .just saying!

Posted by wendylittrell at 6:40 AM CDT
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Thursday, 13 March 2008
Close to You
Mood:  happy
Topic: family

Y'all remember the Carpenter's song - Close to You?  Yeah, I'm dating myself.  Yesterday was my baby girl's 18th birthday!  When she was a baby and toddler, my husband would sing that song to her - especially on her birthday.

On the day that you were born
The angels got together
And decided to create a dream come true.
So they sprinkled moondust in your hair
Of gold and starlight in your eyes of blue

No, she didn't have blonde hair - in fact when she was born she had very dark, black curly hair (which is now a lot lighter brown color). But she did have blue eyes - great big dark, sapphire color eyes (now they are green - like her father's). 

I mention the Carpenter's song because my baby girl heard that verse of the song again yesterday - on the 18th anniversary of her birth.  A birth that was stressful, difficult and took basically 4 days!  The first time I'd had an epidural or a sedative during labor.  And she was the 4th child!  I often joke that if she'd been first - with all the trouble I had - she might have been the last! 

She's no "baby" any longer. She has grown into a remarkable, self-assured, very poised young woman with a future of exciting possibilities waiting for her to grab and take hold.  I marvel at her raw honesty and common sense. Oh, to have had a 1/10 of her common sense at that age!  I know quite a bit is because she is the youngest of the kids watching her siblings grow and learning from them.

In the last few years, she's grown from a teen who would never be caught in a dress (I tended to believe this was due to the fact that being my last child and a little girl who I dressed in a frilly dresses as a baby and toddler) to a young woman who now has a few dresses in her closet!  She's gone from being moody 24/7 to filling a room with her laughter more times than not. 

Whatever she dreams for herself, I hope she gains.  Happy (day late) birthday, my Senior Daughter! 

Posted by wendylittrell at 6:50 AM CDT
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