May 2018

May 2018

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our Big News

After 24 years, we're selling the family business and Jim's going back to work for St. Louis County Parks and Recreation!  

If you've been following this year's posts, then you know we've had an extremely frustrating year with the business.  We've had to fire three people, and our fleet has been involved in three accidents of which none were our fault.  The last accident totaled a truck with less than 500 miles, and put the driver on workers compensation.  It's been over a month and that technician is still out with no end in sight.  In summary, we've been down a truck and/or technician the entire year, which means Jim's been working 80 hour weeks.  The last time he worked this hard was our first year in business.

I'm not an overly religious person, but for months now I've felt God was trying to tell us something. After Jim got the right job offer, he started to feel the same.  Truth is, before the year began, we were ready to keep going for another ten years.  But, after what we've been through recently, accepting the opportunity with St. Louis County was an easy decision.  We're more than ready to sell and to eliminate the headaches and stress associated with owning a business.

So, on October 1, Jim will return to St. Louis County Parks and Recreation as Parks Operation Manager, a position one step above the one he left 24 years ago.  There's a lot to do between now and then, but we're already feeling less stressed.  Actually, we feel as if we've been given a new lease on life.  Amen!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Slim Fit

Didn't think I would, but I did.  I purchased a pair of slim fit jeans.  Because I'm thickest in the middle with short legs, I'd been avoiding this newest trend since it showed up over a year ago.  But yesterday, while shopping at K-Mart for mom, I spotted Jaclyn Smith's slim fit jeans.  I decided to give them a try because I've been wearing Jaclyn Smith's bootcut jeans for years.  Besides, they were on sale for just $14.99.

I did have to size up, which I fully expected to do in such a body-hugging pant, but they look good and actually make my legs look longer.  Hopefully, they'll be too big in another month.  But, when that happens, I'll happily buy a smaller size even if they're not on sale :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Down Five

As of this morning, I'm down five pounds since working toward my goal of losing a total of 20 pounds.  According to, I now should reach my goal by December 15 instead of December 24.  I'm still skeptical since I haven't been at my goal weight in over ten years, but just seeing that date change is incentive to "stay the course."

Actually, the first few weeks of dieting haven't been too difficult.  Staying busy is the key. Except for this week, which was busy taking care of family, I've been doing a lot of paper crafting to keep my mind off food.  Plus, crafting is a big stress-reliever for me.  Who would have thought a pad of beautiful paper could do so much good :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Alone Time

What a crazy week!  I've been going non-stop for four days, taking care of hubby, my daughter, and the grandsons while keeping up with the company bookkeeping, housekeeping, and laundry, and preparing meals.

Fortunately, my daughter's endoscopy was uneventful as it revealed nothing that can't be controlled with diet and prescription meds.  And Jim is doing much better today after Monday's hernia surgery. So, after getting my oldest grandson on the bus this morning, I finally had time to myself while Jim was at meetings most of the day.

Of course I spent most of my alone time cleaning, but I loved having the house to myself. I'm just not used to having people around all day, everyday. Our retirement will definitely take a lot of adjusting.  That is if we ever get there!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our 2012 Pumpkin Patch

Jonah desperately wants to pick the yellow baby pumpkins,
but grandma is making him wait until they turn orange.

Clearly, pumpkin plants don't mind the heat as long as they're watered regularly.  Last year was our first attempt at growing pumpkins and we only planted Jack-Be-Littles. This year we added pie pumpkins and they're taking over the yard and driveway.  The grandsons are beyond thrilled, which makes all the effort worthwhile.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Successful Surgery

We got through Jim's hernia surgery this morning without a glitch.  Hopefully recovery will go just as smoothly.  However, I don't think Jim will be back to work anytime this week as he had hoped.  I tend to be more realistic about these things, so planned to nurse him at least through the weekend. That is in between taking care of the grandsons and getting my daughter to her endoscopy.  Just call me Super Grandma!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Most Exciting Time of The Year

For a child, it's an exciting time when the toy catalogs arrive in the mail in late fall.  And many people eagerly anticipate the arrival of seed catalogs in mid-to-late winter.  But, for me, the most exciting time of the year is when magazines start arriving with fall leaves, apples, pumpkins, and gourds on their covers.

Who wouldn't smile when seeing
this cover in their mailbox :)

That time of year has finally arrived, again.  The temperatures are still mostly in the upper 80s, but seeing those fall covers makes me happy.  I love fall.  After 2012's hellish summer, I'm looking forward to fall more than ever this year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crazy Week Ahead

Next week is going to be crazy full.  On Monday, I'm taking Jim to his hernia surgery at 5:30 A.M. and nursing him the rest of the day.  On Tuesday, I'm watching Jonah all day and, if Jim's doing alright, visiting mom at the nursing home.  Then, on Wednesday, I'm taking Emily to her endoscopy at 6:00 A.M. and nursing her the rest of the day.  And, on Thursday, I'm watching Jonah all day, again.  Plus, except for Monday and Wednesday mornings, I'm also getting Elliott to and from school each day.

I'm exhausted just thinking about next week.  The hardest parts will be the early mornings Monday and Wednesday.  I'm not a morning person!

This weekend I need to do some serious menu planning and prepare several meals.  If I don't, I'll be tempted to grab fast food and jeopardize my diet.  I've already dropped three pounds and my blood pressure was at a record low yesterday.  I don't want to break my momentum.

I'm just going to do what needs to be done and focus on getting to the August 25 weekend.  I'm determined to be a few pounds lighter by then, and able to take a huge sigh of relief.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grandma Daycare Back in Session

Today was the first day of Grandma Daycare for the 2012-2013 school year.  Obviously, Jonah had a good time because he didn't want to leave.

We had a busy morning, putting Elliott on the school bus, visiting great-grandpa and great-grandma at the nursing home, getting the car washed, playing trains, and taking a long walk while Jonah ate his lunch in the stroller.  By the time we got back to grandma's house, he was more than ready for a nap.

Jonah might be a ball of energy, but, as a result, he's a good sleeper.  I've never had a problem putting him down for a nap.  Today he slept 3.5 hours and would have gone longer.  I finally decided he needed to get up or would never keep to his 7:00 P.M. bedtime.  So, our morning was busy, but our afternoon was very relaxing.  It was a good "grandma day."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

All Aboard! (Again)

Finally, we're having cooler less-humid weather.  That is if you consider upper 80s cooler, which Missourians do after many weeks of 100+ degree temperatures.  As a result, I was able to walk several times this week, including yesterday with my oldest grandson.  I'm very proud (and still surprised) that Elliott made the 1.5 mile walk with no complaints!

While Jonah was in daycare and my daughter was working, Elliott and I spent the entire day together Friday.  After our walk, we tackled the playroom, preparing for Grandma Daycare to resume next Tuesday.  I didn't spend any time downstairs all summer, so it needed a good cleaning.  Plus, it was time to purge toddler toys and bring out my Thomas the Tank Engine collection.

Elliott got into trains when he was around 18 months old and his obsession lasted a good three years.  So I have quite a collection of TakeAlong trains and sets.  We used to spend hours and days, setting up track and running trains.  That period of time is one of my favorite grandma memories.

Now it's Jonah's turn and I'm happy to get more mileage out of my investment.  Although I don't expect Jonah's obsession to last as long as Elliott's, or to be as intense.  Jonah is much more physical and active, which makes it difficult for him to sit still for too long.

And that's the main reason I'm glad I'll be watching Jonah only two days a week this school year.  That schedule should be much more doable for me.  At least that's my hope!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Movie Review

Today I did one of my favorite things, going to a movie theatre and watching a chick flick all by myself.  I saw the latest Meryl Streep movie, Hope Springs.  If you're a female and over 50, I believe you'll like it as much as I did.

It's simply too rare to find a serious book or film about married couples in their 50s and 60s that isn't centered around their adult children and grandchildren.  Hope Springs is about an older married couple and is not a comedy.  It's about real concerns many couples have after 30+ years of marriage.

As one would expect from a Streep movie, the acting is superb.  And the performances of Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell are just as good as Streep's.  Jones and Streep are the married couple and I actually found myself diverting my eyes at times, feeling as if I had no business observing their struggle.

Once, again, I ask, is there any role Streep cannot master?  She's amazing and I hope she continues making films for many more years.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Give a Hoot

Please stop the federal government from killing the barred owl.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Thrill of School Supplies

It's been over 15 years since I've had to purchase school supplies for my children.  Nevertheless, every year I check out the sales at Target.  I love looking at the latest binders and folders, and usually find one or two to use as office supplies.  And I especially like looking at the pens, markers, and colored pencils.  I just can't resist those new packages and all the colors.

Today I treated myself to a 50 pack of Crayola SuperTips markers.  I'm absolutely giddy just thinking about using them.  For less than $6.00, I feel like a kid again!

Monday, August 6, 2012

20 in 20

I've decided to lose 20 pounds.  I haven't been that small in over 10 years.  But, according to, I should be able to drop 20 pounds by December 24 if I stick to 1462 calories a day.  As I see it, in order to reach my goal, I have two major hurdles to overcome.

First, I may have hypothyroidism, which causes weight gain.  My mom and brother have it and, during my June physical, the doctor noted some tenderness.  I'm having it checked in late September when blood is drawn to also see if the new statin I'm testing works with no side-effects.  But, honestly, I'll be surprised if I have hypothyroidism because I have no other symptoms associated with the disease.

My other hurdle will be sticking to 1462 calories a day while traveling.  Currently, we're still hoping to visit my nephew in Paris this November.  No way will I stick to a low-calorie diet while in the City of Light.  My favorite memories of our last Paris trip are the amazing meals we had.  But, because Paris is such a walkable city, a person can get away with a few extra calories.

Besides, if I stick to the game plan and don't have hypothyroidism, I should already be down nearly 15 pounds by late November.  So, if a Thanksgiving trip ends up pushing my goal date to sometime in January, that's not a problem.

Game on!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sanibel Island

Got back last night from a week in Sanibel, Florida with my daughter's family.  It was our fourth year and we're already booked for 2013.  Enjoy. . .

Jonah (2) rarely wears a hat, but loves his shades.
Elliott (6) with grandma at our favorite Sanibel Island ice cream parlor.
Elliott with one of the many shells we collected.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Elliott's Interview

My grandson, Elliott, said he was interviewed for this article because the reporter liked his "good smile."  I do too!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Long Hot Summer

Only August 1?  It's felt like August in Missouri for nearly two months already!  But we're currently beating the heat with a trip to the beach.  And, for once, southern Florida is cooler than Missouri.  

I'm not looking forward to going home and facing more weeks of 100 degree temperatures.  And, worse yet, school starts in two weeks, which means no more sleeping late.  But it also means fall isn't too far off.  There's always a bright side :)