Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Month: May 2012

Texas Smile Lines

The night we left for Texas, I looked in the mirror and noticed how
pronounced the little smile lines around my eyes are getting and wondered,
“Will anyone we visit say, ‘You haven’t aged a bit since I saw you last.'”
Savannah said something like that when we saw her last year in CA.
It makes you feel so good to hear it.. even when you know it’s not true.
It had been 16 years since we’d last seen her.
I think she actually meant I was thin rather than young looking.
 I’ve gained 20 pounds since then.
This trip we heard something a little different.
From Mike’s aunt we got, “Where’s all your gray hair?” 
and “Well, you don’t look sickly.”
I think maybe the things they’d heard about us
sounded worse than we looked and hopefully are.
Then when I posted this picture of my new 
cowboy boots on FB, my Mom Commented: 
“Oh, grandmother, what big feet you have.”
Love them both to death.  I think they caused more smile lines in my face.
I had thought about trying to smile less to prevent my lines
from getting worse.. but only for a second.
I guess this camera angle does make my feet look a little bigger.
They are size 8.5.  Is that big?
For those of you who don’t know (Mom), cowboy boots
are made with heals to help you stay in the stirrups  
and with extra inch or two in the pointy ends, 
so if a horse steps on your boots 
(horses can be ornery) they miss your toes.
Will I ever out grow being embarrassed by my parents?
Guess that’s what I get for being so vain.
Love,
Jenny

Texas Trip for Six

We were so please that everyone was able 
to get off work for our trip to Texas this time.
It had been 5 years since we had all been.
The only problem was that the cars we have now only hold up to 5 people.
It worked out well though, with two cars and three 
people in each (divided up by musical taste)
we had plenty of room for guitars and food and 
homeschool curriculum for my nephews and niece.  
The only thing was that it cost us over $600 in gas.
Still cheeper than renting a van.
Our first stop in Texas was at Texas Pride Barbecue.
We arrived just a little too early at 10:45 AM
after driving 14 hrs. and 45 min.
Time to stretch and take photos:
Are these cows?
Joel stayed up most of the night trying to make sure
that the siblings driving his car didn’t fall a sleep.
Lunch family style.

After lunch, we drove the last two hrs. to Mo Ranch to see my family. 

Mike and I saw a big gray fox there.. twice.. no photo.. too quick.

I didn’t take any pictures of my family.. because they are so much more
talented than I at taking pictures and it seems unfair to make
the kids pose one more time for another photo.
 I did take some pictures of Mo Ranch’s Greenhouse.
I need to check out their chapel on another visit.
We had a great time seeing everyone.  
I’ll have to blog more about it later.. 

Someone send pictures.
After Mo Ranch, we spent a few days in San Antonio.
We went to the Alamo, saw Switch Foot in concert and some dear friends..
James took these pictures for us with his ipad.

Remember the Alamo.  It’d been a long time since Josh had been.

Judi and I tried on Joel’s new hippy glasses at County Line BBQ.

He’s so proud of them.  Got a compliment on the 10 seconds after he bought them. Looked for a leather beaded vest to match the whole rest of the trip.

County Line’s BBQ beat out Texas’ Pride’s hands down.

We ate lunch at our favorite Mexican buffet, Ponchos.
Just raise the flag and they’ll bring you more to eat.

This is a picture from our favorite park in San Antonio, O.P. Schnabel.
Its been done up really nice with new maps and mile markers.
And the Bandera YMCA on the premises has a new 
swimming pool with big double tube slide.

We also got a picture of the house we rented when we were expecting Judi.
The things I remember most about this house is that it had a garden 
which I killed and we found mouse droppings on our key board.
We left Christmas day of that year for Mike’s first government job in IL.

Judi was born 10 days later.  Glad she gave us some time to unpack.
One of the places we miss most in TX is our favorite grocery store, HEB.
We got to shop at the newest, largest HEB Plus: a whopping 182,000 sq. ft.
They sell everything from organic food, to T-shirts, to TVs.

We brought two HEB briskets, one large package of 
HEB sausage, and one package of HEB Fajitas home to AL with us.  
Anyone know how we can get it shipped?

We had a great time visiting Mike’s family near Breckenridge, too.
Karen and Kyle have grown by leaps and bounds.
Mike’s parents treated us to dinner at Chester’s, 
the best hamburger place in SA.
There were so many grandkids that we split up to play hands and foot.
The winners of each table played a championship game.
These two computer nerds played a round too.. 
but were unable to defeat the runners up this time.

Mike’s aunt and uncle and two of his cousins stopped by for a visit.
All five of these cousins live in the area now; several are becoming
empty nesters and grandparents.  It was great to catch up with them.

More when I have pictures.

Love,

Jenny

Rainbows and Double Rainbows

A few weeks ago Judi called me on her way home and said,
“Mom come out side.. there are rainbows.”
 I made her back up and position my car under the rainbow.  🙂
There were at least 2 rainbows that day.. I think I saw three.
And since then there have been 2 more in the same spot.
Mike said maybe it’s a sign that we are doubly blessed.
We are so doubly blessed and I love the rain, 
the nice Spring we’ve been having and the rainbows.
Thank you, Jesus.
Love,
Jenny

My SWC Garden (WIcking Planters expanded)

Last year one of my friends gave me a 
houseplant/flower arrangement for my birthday.
It was a nice surprise.. but left me distressed..
I’ve killed every plant I’ve ever owned.
I looked up how to water plants (I can kill them by
over watering or under watering.. lots of experience)
and discovered Self Watering Containers and Wicking gardening.
The plants have gotten huge.. I’ve been having some
trouble with them getting “leggy” (a new plant word I learned).
And amended the soil with mulch for better drainage.. so far so good.
My husband also surprised me for my birthday
with some Purple Sensation Alliums.. you can read 
about the Wicking Planters I built for them here.
A few weeks ago we bought some dianthus (the pink flowers)
 to go with them at a botanical garden sale. 
One of my alums bloomed early..and I wish 
I had taken a picture.. because the others
aren’t doing so well and haven’t bloomed yet.. 
see their yellowing pointed leaves?  
I thought their soil might not have enough drainage too.. but they 
actually needed water today and had tiny webs on them.. spider mites?
I am thinking about rubbing them down with alcohol and
 spraying some dawn water on them.  E-how’s answer.
These flowers are doing great.  I converted their pot into a SWC, too.
They look much better than last year when I was(n’t) watering them.
I got a new watering can for Mother’s day.  
Isn’t it cute?  I use it for the dogs and house plants.
And see the tumble weed behind it?  Do you think it
rolled here all the way from Texas?
Before my alums started looking sickly I got all excited
about trying a SWC vegetable garden with Judi.
This is her last year to homeschool and I thought it’d be
a good learning experience for the two of us.
 So after reading tons of stuff on the internet about
SWC, how to make your own, what you can grown in one,
soil recipes, how to grow small watermelons on a trellis,
and how to build a cheep trellis.. this is what I’ve got. 
The two blue totes I had on hand and I bought the 
three flexible totes and nylon trellis at Walmart for $5 each.
From left to right I have: Big Beef tomatoes, Mountain Pride tomatoes,
 Jalapeno, Cajun Belle, Orange Bell Pepper, 
and two Sugar Baby Watermelon plants.
So far so good.  The watermelons have already doubled in size.
I am using a different soil recipe than I did for the wicking planters:
3 parts potting soil, 2 parts mini mulch, 
and 1 part perlite (I used sand.. it’s cheeper).
I thought I could use the rest of the nylon trellis a cross the middle 
to support the pepper plants.. it needs some re-thinking.
Love,
Jenny

St. Louis Zoo and Goodwill Outlet

Saturday’s forecast was pouring rain, but
 God answered our prayers and after a short rain delay 
Mike spent the day at the Cardinals game with his friend Russ
and James and I spent the day with my friend, 
Ranae and her youngest, Caleb.

While waiting out the rain, we went to 
Ranae’s favorite store: the Goodwill Outlet Store..
where they bring out carts and carts of stuff and sell it by the pound.
I bought 2 tops, a jacket, a skirt, a pair of shoes and shorts for just over $4.
After Chinese for lunch, the rain cleared up and 
we had a beautiful day at the St. Louis Zoo.
Ranae, James and Caleb 
It took me 6 tries to get this picture of this Okapi with his tongue out.
It actually stretches out even farther than this photo shows.
 Giraffes
 Caleb
 They had coolest penguin exhibit.
Cool.. as in a nice break from the heat and
cool because they weren’t hidden behind foggy glass.
Loved the bears and the beautiful day 
God gave us at the Zoo and ball game.
Love,
Jenny

St Louis History Museum and Science Center

The St. Louis History Museum is about
exactly that.. St. Louis History.
I thought that was kinda narcissistic to 
have a museum that was only about your city..
until I realized how much history they had to tell.
The city was founded in 1764; making it almost 250 yrs. old.
The 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair had a huge impact 
on the city and honestly the world, too.
Over 60 nations held exhibits there.
World’s fair exhibit room.
 The Fair was held to celebrate the centennial of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. 
The History Museum, Art Museum and
many other buildings were built for the Fair. 
Native American Indians and Peoples from other
 newly aquired U.S. territories were invited to join in the displays. 
 The museum had expanded a great deal since we had last visited.
Loved this pink kitchen.  It reminded me of our house in San Antonio.
What is it about cars that is so appealing?
These chairs from the Cardinals old stadium could be
the very seats that we sat in last time we attended a game.
They are now a museum piece.  Does that make us old?

Congrats to the Cardinals for winning the World Series last year.
 Things made in St. Louis.
I didn’t get a photo of one of my favorite exhibits,
a lunch counter displaying the “sit ins” of civil rights movement.
I enjoyed the voice recordings they had of some of the participants 
who told of their experience and why they felt compelled
to join the quiet protest.  So interesting.. they were allowed
to shop in the store just not eat there.
Seeing this replica in the museum brought on a little déjà vu. 
We’d just seen the real one in D.C. a couple of weeks earlier. 
The Science Center was one of the kids’ 
favorite places to go when we lived there.
We used to spend hours at a time there. 
 Playing with all the exhibits.. including this tornado exhibit.
 🙂
They had a bunch of new exhibits.. 
I thought it was funny to see my ipod photo in this display case. 
This time we saw the whole Science Center in less than an hour.  🙁
Makes you miss having little kids.
Jenny

St. Louis Art and History Museums

Mike and I have different ideas of how vacations should be spent.
I like to plan a head; know what we are going to do; 
maps and schedules in hand.
Mike likes to “be lazy and do nothing.”
I don’t know what that means.
I think it means that he wants to sit around
playing on his ipod or lap top or watching the 
news in the hotel room until he is bored,
then ask me what I want to do.
Several times it’s turned into hours of driving 
looking for a place to eat.. that isn’t there anymore.
We obviously didn’t starve this trip.
James got the Smokehouse Burger at Smokey Bones.
So this trip we tried to carefully balance maps, schedules, 
being lazy and knowing where we were going to eat.
I did my homework so I’d know what 
I wanted to do.. and not be lost thinking he’d planned it all.
I did some Google research on St. Louis attractions.
After living there for 4 years, you’d think we’d know, 
but the kids were really little then and we didn’t have Google 
(How’d we live with out Google?  I’ll never know.),
so we mostly did whatever was free and kid friendly.. 
the Zoo, the Science Center..
In my search, I found the Fitz Bottling company
 Where you can eat lunch and watch them bottle root beer.
 The food was great.  Root beer had corn in it.  
We called a head to find out if they were bottling that day.
They were.. we expected a tour.. but got a window view.
All in all an enjoyable experience.
The St. Louis Art and History Museum are free..
thanks to St. Louis city taxes.
 This statue of St. Louis was given to the city by France.
We had no idea who St. Louis was, so James looked him up for us. 
 He was a very passionate French king in the 1200’s who helped the Crusaders.
Several cities around the world are named for him.
 Judith and Holofernes by Giorgio Vasari
We wondered why there hasn’t been a movie 
made about Judith.. a very thrilling story.
The Account Keeper by Nicolaes Maes 
I am falling in love with Dutch artist this year.
Can’t go wrong with birds and my favorite color.
 Beautiful.
 Some modern art.. I actually really liked… 
inspired by the opening of the Berlin wall.
I liked this painting of the Crucifixion because it’s so active.
by Tiepolo 
 And of course this one by Millet
The Knitting Lesson
The art museum was much bigger than I remembered.
I think we only saw 3 rooms the one time we went before.
They are in the process of making it twice as big.
The basement rooms were lots of fun.
Love,
Jenny

St. Louis Trip

We recently discovered that it is only a 6 hr. drive to St. Louis.  
What a nice surprise and I so hope to see more of my friends there.  
We stopped for lunch in Kentucky at Kentucky Fried Chicken.  🙂  
And made it to the last house we ever rented in Lebanon by late afternoon.
 Mike thought it looked smaller and bluer.. it looked just the same to me..
except it has a nice white vinyl fence now and the apple trees are huge.
The towns around had grown up tremendously.  
Last time we got gas in this area we paid 78 cents a gallon.  
1998 – no kidding.  
This house in O’Fallon was the very first house we ever bought.
1100 sq. ft. for $50,000 now worth over $100,000.
I was actually happily surprised at how both houses were holding up.
With rain in the forecast, we planned as many 
outdoor activities our first day there.
We went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens for the first time.
Well worth the trip.  Would like to go back again.
I got a ton of awesome pictures…
If you don’t want to see them all, skip to my next post.
  Amaryllis
 My alums with some gorgeous tulips.
 Iris
Tons of Azaleas .. we liked the evergreen ones the best. 
Did you know pinecones grow all in a row like this? 
James by the Japanese Garden 
 I want one of these.
Bridge over the lake. 
It was sunny and cool.. beautiful. 
 Lots of little birds hopping around.
On to the Art Museum.
Love,
Jenny

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