Friday, December 30, 2016

When Twins Use to be a Fun Surprise...

...and How They Surprise Each Other---or Maybe Not!

Now-a-days, with all the medical intervention taking place it's not that unusual to have twins. But back when we were kids, it was a BIG deal to have twins---especially identical ones! Ours are no exception. But here's the deal---they surprise each other! Or maybe it's not a surprise after all.

I've posted about my twin sisters before---a long time ago (2012). Here are a few younger shots of my sisters---just to show how identical they really are. (Bear with me, there's a story to come.)

Although they do not dress alike anymore, or wear their hair the same, they still look a lot alike. But it's the fact that they think exactly alike that's amazing to us.
 Janice gave Jennifer her Christmas present. When she opened it, she said, "Omgosh! This is exactly what I got you!" The rest of us are like---"NO way!"
This is Jennifer's gift to Janice. They both got Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds and Passion perfume. Even just getting each other perfume would have been enough of a coincidence---bet the exact same brand and variety? Creepy! Turns out, last year, they both got each other animal calendars. And then, last night at the poker table, they each got out the exact same amount of money.

This has been happening ever since they were born. They even had cavities in the same teeth! We love the surprises and think it's pretty cool. Maybe Janice and Jennifer feel differently with not really being able to surprise each other.

Still, you have to admit, it's darn entertaining!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ta Da...

The renovation has begun!

Powder Room
The only thing staying is my Waterford chandelier.

Everything is gone---completely gutted. It looks like the chair rail is still there, but it's not.

A few sneak peeks:
 The floor tile.
Mother of pearl inlaid sink and Swarovski crystal handled faucet.

And then on to the master bath:
This is how it looks entering from the bedroom---double French doors. We leave them open all the time.

 The jacuzzi tub is huge and we're ready for it to go!
 The only thing staying here is the big window. I love looking out on to the side yard and garden.

 This is the opening to the shower. It's going to be enlarged on both sides to take up that entire wall.
The green marble tile is going. I'm ready.
 And now for a few sneaks of what going in:
I'm adding an Austrian crystal chandelier over the tub. I love those little rosettes. This company has been in business since before WW1. They are still making this exact chandelier from back then!

 This is the marble tile for the tub and shower and porcelain floor tile.
The new tub---not a jacuzzi (those are way out of style), but it has these little air holes that pushes the water around.

I'm excited about everything, but it's going to take awhile. There is only ONE guy doing the work. We'll see. I'm sure I'll be out of my mind with the mess.

What we dread most is removing everything from the bathroom and closets. I'm hoping to keep everything contained in the sunroom and library so the rest of the house can remain "normal."

It's going to be a long few months!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Comfort and Joy

That's what my Christmas was about this year. All of my gifts brought me either comfort or joy!

Stephanie made the comment that it's not appropriate to put a list of your gifts online. Still, this is my space, so I'm going to do it!

new robe and slippers
Vera Bradley throw
tea wreath (made by Mindy) along with a pair of socks that say (on the bottom)---"if you can read this, bring me some tea!"
little man tea holder that hangs on the side of your cup
Earl Grey hand soap and lotion
Starbucks Oklahoma mug for my collection
Starbucks cup and gift card
Kate Spade scarf
Russell Stovers chocolates
Tiny chocolate chip cookies that everyone loved
Kindle---this brings me both comfort and joy---comfort because I'm always comfortable when I read!
This book for the same reason. We did something different this year. Stephanie got everyone to participate in a "secret santa" exchange. It was all generated online, so no one knew who each of us had. The limit was $15.00 and the gift had to begin with the first letter of the name you drew. Carter had me---hence, "B"arb---"B"ook. It was a lot of fun and will become a new tradition. (I got Butch and did Blue Moon Beer and Bush's Best Baked Barbecue Beans.)

Porcelain village scene
Organizational containers for the pantry (this also brings me comfort)
DVD "War Dogs" (I would have put this under comfort, but when Mitchell gives me a movie, you can bet it's action packed and not necessarily relaxing to watch!)
Little post it notes and matching pen

It also brought me joy that Mindy and Justin had matching Mickey pajamas with those hippopotamus tees:
He's a good sport! I remember a few years ago, when Sandy and her family all had matching pajamas. Greg seemed to be a bit embarrassed about it, but he indulged her too! He drew the line at a family photo to be their Christmas card. Next year, it's Stephanie and Nicky's turn! I do love my son-in-laws---they bring me much joy!

This wasn't my gift, but it certainly gives Butch joy each year:
Maker's Mark always sends some cute decoration for their bottles to their ambassadors. This year, it was the mistletoe. So cute.

The biggest joy of all was being with the family---starting with Sandy and family the weekend before  Christmas and the rest of the gang on Christmas weekend. That's really what it's all about. I do wish I'd taken more pictures---this is the extent of them this year!

I decided to post this before the renovation pictures because, starting yesterday, I will not be experiencing any comfort or joy in this house for the next 3 months!

Monday, December 26, 2016


So our Christmas officially started on Friday evening with happy hour---unless you count the luncheon I had for the girls (and Butch) on Thursday, or our mother/daughter lunch at The Palm on Friday. It was a fun and busy weekend.

As for Christmas Day, it was a bit unusual---with family members going in different directions. Poor Justin--he's a late sleeper married to a morning person. He doesn't stand a chance! Mindy woke him up with "It's Christmas!" He replied, "It's too many Christmases!"

Anyway, Butch, Justin, Mindy and I watched the Disney Christmas parade and special. The plan was to have dinner at 1 p.m. when Stephanie and Nicky got back from his mom's. Everything went off with out a hitch. As soon as dinner was over, I was ready for the "kids" to load up their cars and head out. Butch and I had work plans for the afternoon. He was leaving for Belize with Mitchell the next day (today). I wanted to get all of the Christmas stuff down. Plus, what I had planned to reveal today was the beginning of our renovations.

We worked our tails off to get everything ready. We got all of the Christmas stuff down, tree out the door, refrigerator cleaned out, laundry started AND, the powder room cleared out for stage one of the reno.

Well, the details of the renovations are going to have to wait in lieu of what happened last night. We got up at 2 a.m. since Butch had a 5 a.m. flight. That really isn't a problem for me. I took it as a chance to get my day started. We left for the airport around 2:45 and I was back home by 3:30 a.m. I did a few things and decided to go back to bed with my book. Just about the time I was dozing off, the door alarm to the house went off.

When we moved in to this house nearly 22 years ago, we decided that along with our alarm system, we needed to have door alarms installed because of the pool. I needed to know if someone went outside because the grands were little and we didn't want to worry about them falling in the pool. We have a lot of doors to the outside in this house: 10 sets of French doors, 3 regular doors and the door to the garage. My friend, Nancy asked me once, years ago if I was scared about the number of ways someone could get in my house. I said, "well, NO, I never really thought about it---but I will now! Thanks a lot!"

So, just as I was dozing off, the door alarm sounded---meaning someone came IN the house. Now I'm pretty freaked. I hear it again and then a third time. I'm waiting for someone to call out. I listened for footsteps. Finally, I overcome my fear and tiptoe out of the bedroom, through to the library and in to the living room to peek out the window. No cars. I go to the front door to find it unlocked. Why am I not surprised? I've always said you can find door unlocked just about all the time. I'm the only one who locks doors behind me. I went ahead and locked the front door--thinking that now I have possibly locked someone IN the house with me. Flashes of all kinds of slasher movies cross my mind.

I didn't go upstairs, but didn't see anything amiss, so I went back to bed and reading. Within a half hour, the same thing happened. I decided to try setting the alarm to see if that would stop it. Instead, that set the alarm off! I immediately disarmed it, but now I had to find the number of the security company to have them "call off" the police. While I had them on the phone, I asked if they could solve my door problem as now it was going constantly. They said they'd have a technician call me. In the mean time, I checked the other doors. I found that the door to the pool bath was also unlocked. Nothing like feeling safe and secure in your own home!

The company called and helped me make the doors stop beeping. I'll be scheduling a service call today. Our system is so old that I guess it's about time to update it.

It's going to be a tiring day. I've "hired" Jordan to come over at 9 a.m. to do all the hauling up to the Christmas closet. I'm leaving for St. Louis on Wednesday for a few days with my sisters who are all going to be there. I'm flying. With Butch in Belize, I knew the week would seem so long. St. Louis for a few days with my sisters is the perfect solution! I want everything done  before I go. Otherwise, I won't be able to enjoy myself knowing I have work to do when I get home.

Tomorrow, I'll unveil our renovation plans!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday Funnies

 The perfect Christmas gift. Actually, I do think it's cute!
 Sian, this is for you! One of these days I'll learn how to make socks!

 OMGosh! This was so true about my Italian grandma!
 This could be me---next year!
No explanation needed!

And so, today starts our holiday weekend. Actually, the fun started earlier in the week--with lunch and Movie Monday, stitching on Tuesday and Jordan's birthday party, holiday cooking on Wednesday, the "girls" for stitching, movie and lunch on Thursday (ended up not watching a movie, but lots of talking instead. I made it festive as if I was having friends over for lunch) and finally, today is our annual lunch at The Palm. This year, we've included our daughters. I'm hoping it will become another tradition. And then, after, it's a stop for manicures before we kick off the weekend. Everyone moves in this afternoon for the weekend. It's going to be fun and crazy.

 I hope you have a great time with your family and friends. Don't stress. Pay attention to the little stuff.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Few Christmas Things

  Some of these things make me really happy---like this text I got from Morgan.
To know that my "grands" appreciate my stitching is very special to me. Jordan and Morgan both came to Nashville Needleworks to stitch with my friends and me this week. They think we are fun! Most likely we seem more like a bunch of crazy old ladies. Fine by me!
This year, since we aren't ALL going to be together at Christmas, Sandy, Stephanie and Mindy decided to exchange just one family gift. They did it at Thanksgiving. Stephanie and Mindy went in together and bought Sandy and family the Lego Disney Castle. OMGosh! It is incredible! 4000+ pieces!

The details are astounding---a room for every princess. I took tons of photos but narrowed it down to just these few.
There are even fireworks that actually shoot out!
The instruction book is an inch thick---490 pages!
 This is one of my favorite spots to enjoy my tea in the morning. The view never gets old!
I love this tree at Hillwood Country Club---where I play duplicate bridge every Thursday. The bow on top is gigantic.
 This is a bit aggravating. I've always said that Michaels marks things up so they can mark them down. These ornaments are $9.99 each. Of course, they are on sale for half that. I really like them, but didn't buy any---I have too many ornaments.
 I saw these in the BCBG window. I texted the picture to Stephanie as these shoes are something she would be all over---me too---in my younger days. I didn't stop in to find out how much they cost or if they "jingled." I just loved them.
While we're on the subject of "things to buy"---Sandy and I saw these at Kirklands. They are so soft and come in tons of colors. Normally they are $15.00---30% off makes them $10.00! I didn't buy any because of the problem of getting them home on the plane. I might run buy the store here tomorrow. Nothing like starting your shopping for NEXT YEAR with sales from this year! They would make great hostess gifts too!
I still really love my Murano glass Christmas trees. They are funky, but that's one of the things I like about them. I hope one of my "girls" will like to inherit them some day.
One of my friends gave me this unusual Christmas amarillys. She said she was a little nervous about giving it to me because the bulb is encased in wax---thus needing no watering. The problem is that it kills the bulb. She thought that since I'm a flower lover and master gardener (ahem, I have not actually done any gardening in several years) that I would be put off by this. Heck no! I can appreciate flowers in any way! When it is in full bloom, I'll share a photos. Can't wait!
I love white flowers at Christmas too. I got these white mums at the grocery store for $5.00. They will last a couple of weeks. I picked up those little poinsettias at Christmas Village this year. It's been since the second week of November and they are still going strong. I think they were about $5.00 too. Totally worth it!
 The wider view.
And then, of course, my surprise from Nicky. There you go Nicky---a second "shout out!"
Mindy has been productive with her holiday baking. She makes treats for her work friends, the people that work in her condo building and us.
And then there's Stephanie. This is the most awesome thing she has ever created. She's a good sport about the fact that she's not much of a cook. But she would take a gold medal for trying! This year, she was so excited about how well these turned out. She made them for our annual mother/daughter ornament exchange. She was so excited that she texted me this picture. I was so happy for her! Sadly, they did not make the trip. By the time the cupcakes traveled in her car all day and the 25 degree temperatures, all of the little trees crumbled. Luckily we had the picture to prove how cute they really were. A far cry from the "mouthwash" tasting peppermint Rice Krispie treats she tried a few years ago!
When I got home on Monday, I immediately went from the airport straight to my friend, Nancy's house. She asked me to decorate her dining table. I was so excited to do it. On the way there, I couldn't believe the traffic! It's just getting busier and busier on the roads 'round here. That line of cars is at least a mile or two long. Luckily, I know the "back ways."
Nancy had everything out for me to choose from. I went around her house and pulled together a few more things. Whenever I do this, I ask a couple questions: how often are you going to be eating in the dining room, do you want a tablecloth, do you put your food on the table? That determines what I do. You don't want to have to keep moving all of this on and off the table. She serves buffet style and uses placemats, so all is good.

I remember years ago when I first started decorating tables and chests like this, one of the grandkids (they were little) said "grammy, it looks like a store!" Meaning it looks like things for sale. I guess it does, but I love the eclectic-"ness" of the look while enjoying all of your special things. Each one has a story. I didn't ask Nancy about her stories, but I know she has a few! Sounds like a great scrapbook page to me!
And then there's this! This was one of my Christmas gifts from Sandy (or Victoria and Elizabeth---can't keep all the gifts straight). It's a phone charger strung with Christmas lights.
 It's so bright and colorful at night in the car.
I just love it! At first I tried it on the dashboard but decided it was actually too bright at night. It lights up the car!
I am so excited to see these two when I get to St. Louis next week. Travis on the left just seems a little bored, while Nathan on the right looks like he's just humoring his mom!

I hope you are enjoying your holiday season and taking the time to notice the little things making you happy!