Month: December 2005

  • Happy New Year's Eve! 

    We had a lovely time at a lovely party given by Mom and Dad this evening.  Unfortunately not all the family members could be there, but the ones who were ate heartily and had a super time:

    Besides the food, Mom provided masks and headwear of various types:

    Of course, some people didn't "get it" at first:

    Finally, though, they got with the program, albeit a trifle unwillingly (the threat of hats and masks sent Charles right out the door and on home):

    It was lots of fun! 

    What a year for the family, as we were blessed with three new little ones:  Hannah, Cole, and Katie Elena. 

    And TCU won the Houston Bowl. 

    Life is good. 

    Hope y'all have a terrific, and safe, New Year's Eve!

  • She's here! 

    Richard, Charles, Dmitry and I sallied forth to DFW airport, as did Don from work, and Alex, Beth, and Hannah, too.  Here are Charles and Alex greeting each other with a manly handshake:

    Joe and Helen were coming in to the new Terminal D, which is now the international terminal, and I'd never been there before.  Turns out there's a specific area for greeting arriving passengers, which is quite nice.  After a bit another family group showed up, and they took their place at the opposite side from us.  Eventually I noticed they were sporting cameras and a camcorder so asked them brightly if by chance they were meeting an adoption couple as well?

    Upon being told, why yes, they are, it occurred to me to inquire, "I don't suppose it's Joe and Helen, is it?"

    It was!  Turned out this was a contingent from her side of the family.    We joined forces, with Helen's bro-in-law mentioning he now recognizes Dmitry, as it was his kids that Dmitry went with to the rodeo shortly after his arrival in America.  Eventually the automatic doors parted and here they came!

    One of my very favorite pictures.....the two nine-month-old cousins meet for the first time:

    Here are Joe, Helen, their eight year old son, Cody, and Katie:

    Cody had been heard observing being overlooked is going to be his lot in life for a while, so I got a photo of him and his mama:

    Here's a picture I'd really looked forward to taking, only it didn't come together as I'd hoped.  Oh well!  Here are the Ivy brothers with their respective Gladney kids:

    Believe me, the pictures don't do Katie justice....those huge brown eyes are simply to die for. 

    Welcome to the family, Katie Elena!  We're thrilled you're here. 

  • Last night I made a dish with beef stew meat that turned out right well, all things considered.

    The primary "thing" considered being one of the ingredients:  a can of lemon-lime soda such as 7-Up. 

    Take a couple of pounds of stew meat, layer it in the bottom of a 13" x 9" pan, spread a can of mushroom soup over it, then a small can of mushrooms, then sprinkle an envelope of dry onion soup mix over it, and finally pour a can of a Spritelike soda over the whole thing.  Cover it with foil and bake it in a 350° oven for three hours (and NO PEEKING, the recipe sternly warns).

    Served it over brown rice and everyone liked it.  Fortunately no one asked what was in it.  This is what puzzles me....who on earth first thought it up?  Who mentally assembled stew meat, mushroom gravy and onion soup mix then thought, "Huzzah!  What this concoction needs is a can of Sprite!"

    It's a constant source of amazement to me  -  my being fairly easily amazed  -  how many recipes contain really quite bizarre ingredients.  The fact they work is immaterial; it's like the first person to eat a lobster...who looked at one of those big, ugly critters and mulled, "I'll bet that's good eating"? 

  • Thanks to Laurel on the Mountain for the heads-up regarding this quiz:  Narnia Personality Test

    I'm Puddleglum, same as her:

    Puddleglum the marshwiggle, you are very much pessimistic and paranoid!
    However, you're respected and trusted, and have a heart of gold.

    I don't know about very pessimistic and paranoid, though.  A bit, okay, but very?  

    Still, that Puddleglum's one of the best characters in the series, IMO, and I'm proud to be counted as being of his ilk. 

  • Yesterday was mostly spent enjoying the company of Alex, Beth, and Hannah, with some additional family and friends coming in last night for an "in home", as it's called; this is a presentation about Melaleuca. 

    Naturally the camera didn't stray far from Hannah, here being fed her juice by Jill:

    Tell you what, that Sol-U-Mel stuff works great!  An ink mark was whisked away from the arm of a recliner, and a dark spot out of the carpet.  Pretty slick. 

  • Benjamin is, according to Dmitry, a "TV star."  A "celebrity." 

    He was on the local news last night. 

    Okay, he wasn't identified by name, but there he was, riding his four-wheeler:

    The station was filming a segment on how the trash collectors can tell what the Hot Toys are, based upon what is put out to be picked up the day after Christmas, and Benjamin was outside with Matt and Kirstin, whose trash was featured, too.  There was Benjamin's drum set box, big as life.  ;^)

  • There is a new feature, if I may use such an inflated word.  If you'll scroll down through the link section on the left, you'll find what I'm cleverly calling "The Cookbook", with links to three recipes:  the pecan pie and the veggie pie I took to the Christmas lunch yesterday, and the thumbprint cookie recipe.

    As I think of additional ones, or find something y'all might enjoy, I'll put them there so people needn't go searching through pages of blog, looking for them.

  • We have the weirdest cat.  Boots, the cat in question, likes to go around the house while we're gone and collect pens, taking them into the living room and dumping them on the floor.  A few years ago she put four or five of them all lined up in a row.  Yesterday evening, when we returned home from visiting Richard, we found this:

    Pretty decent bit of work for a cat, don't you think?  We stopped, stared, and exclaimed over it, with Boots sitting on one of the recliners attempting to look blasé but not succeeding terribly well. 

    Bet no one else received a piece of performance art as a Christmas gift from their cat. 

  • Merry, merry, merry Christmas! 

    I hope y'all's Christmas was as wonderful as ours, that's all I can say.  It was a terrific Christmas, except Jonathan and li'l Kirsten were ill, so couldn't be with us today, darn it. 

    But the gathering at Elaine's house was wonderful, and the Chinese gift exchange was most amusing.

    Charles and Hannah, with Kirstin and Don in the background:

    And an even better picture of him, snapped surreptitiously, as he opens a Chinese exchange gift:

    Even with some of our number missing, there are a goodly number of us....

    Look what Benjamin got!  He was quite tickled (and I was not the culprit, BTW).

    After the Official Christmas Gathering, Alex and his family came back to our house, where Hannah showed off her new rocking horse (received at Beth's family's tree last night):

    In the way of children, though, few toys are as entertaining as an empty box:

    In the late afternoon we went over to visit Don's eldest brother, Richard (sans Charles, who was sound asleep), and again Hannah found pleasure - with a little help from her Uncle Dmitry - in a box.

    It was a delightful Christmas, and I thank the LORD for it. 

  • Whoosh!  What a terrific Christmas gathering we had this evening, thanks to Kirstin and Matt's hospitality.    This afternoon Don, Dmitry, Charles, Jonathan and I loaded the van with presents, brownie trifle and digital cameras and set out for Keller, with a stop by Albertson's to collect a half dozen roast chickens.  Once we got the gifts in the house and in front of the tree, it looked quite, well, either merry or consumer-driven, depending upon one's POV.

    The children unanimously voted for "merry". 

    To start with we all visited and conversed; here are Jessica and Beth getting to schmooze after not seeing each other for several months:

    Don getting in some time with Bryson:

    Tell you what, little Hannah is doing her level best to get the hang of this walking stuff:

    Beth and Bryson, looking at Kirstin's Christmas scrapbook:

    Charles being, well, Charles, and apparently amusing his niece:

    What's bizarre is Hannah seems to enjoy this sort of thing:

    Finally, dinner was over and it was time for The Main Event.....the presents!  Here's Bethie opening one of her's:

    Alex showing off his Mike Tyson's Punch-Out for his Nintendo NES:

    Look what Benjamin got!  And do you like the chapeau?  He wore it all evening. 

    Jonathan checking out Dmitry's Nintendo DS, while the latter opens another of his gifts:

    It takes a father of three to get excited by an intercom system:

    Brianna and her daddy examining one of the presents:

    Charles is a constant source of fascination to his nieces and nephews:

    Alex, Beth, and Hannah:

    What a lovely time we all had!  And the best part is knowing it's not over yet....tomorrow evening some of us are going out to dinner, and on Christmas day is the big family party at Elaine's.