Monday, December 23, 2013


It was the year of the STUFFIE!  Yes, that brilliant marketing campaign led these four cutie patooties to want those stuffed animals that have all kinds of pockets, zippers and hidden compartments to HIDE stuff!  They are now owners of Gracie the Hippo, Sky the Giraffe, Turtle and Puppy! Go figure!

Yes, Gracie really did get a HIPPOPOTAMUS for Christmas! (Mollie knows all the words to THAT one, of course!)

Companies should take a lesson from this advertising ploy. It worked for us!

Christmas with the  Dallas, TX Braners is sheer delight, full of squeals, songs, sloppy kisses and kid views of all things related.  So fun!

We tickled, played games, went to church together (All Saints Anglican of Dallas) shared food, bankies and beds. We enjoyed a "grown up" dinner, "grown up" conversation and a tour of University Park Christmas Lights with the parents of this brood.

 Mollie began practicing on her new keyboard, Gracie modeled her UGGS and Thompson and Betsy pulled their new luggage around. (Packed with Stuffies, of course.) Grown up gifts brought grown up smiles and hugs. We give because we love deeply.  Great tradition!

Christmas!  What a great time with those we love more than life. It comes and goes so quickly, little minds and bodies don't stay small very long.  We try to capture and HOLD those fleeting moments.

Thank you Philip and Nancy for this mini-Christmas Day!  We loved it and YOU!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


This just about sums it up! 

A few days in beautiful Colorado with the Colorado Braners around Christmas time is sheer joy. This branch of the family tree is in constant motion and every year in mid-December we jump in for the ride! I doubt we could have packed one more fun thing into our celebration.

Good food, many laughs and one liners, an art class, an old time picture, gift exchange and  a sleigh ride through the snow covered mountains of Pergatory.  Whoo Hoo! And Merry Christmas.

We love it....and we love these fabulous people!
Thank you Andy and Jamie!
We are blessed beyond measure!

Monday, December 2, 2013


The week before Thanksgiving is a big deal for students of Providence Christian School in Dallas.  It's the yearly Grandparents Day program and the presentation of all the students projects.

It's such a fun day!  The kiddos present a fabulous program in the sanctuary of Park Cities Baptist Church, reciting huge passages of poetry, letters and literature, sometimes in Latin!  They sing Psalms, hymns and otherwise make heavenly music. The teachers and staff of that wonderful place are to be commended for their love for the students and their outstanding abilities! We love that place! (Each year we come home thinking we should sell everything we have and give all the proceeds to the school! Then we come to our senses and don't do that!)

After the program, everyone enters the "great hall" where all the projects are on display. Talk about diversity and talent! There is everything from pickle making, lego cities, gardening, cooking, knitting, aerospace, photography, etc.  The list is endless! The students work with their grandparents most of the time to develop a skill.

This year Gracie showed pictures of how she landscaped the flower beds at their new house. Good job with pansies!  She may develop a green thumb in years to come!

Mollie's project involved gourds and ME!

  TWO YEARS AGO I decided to plant some decorative gourd seeds along the fence line in our backyard as an experiment! They grew, and GREW AND GREW!  There were way too many!!!  (Think about squash vines winding all over the yard! We were at times fearful of strangulation!)

I harvested the gourds that fall and laid them out on a table outside to "dry" over the winter!  They did their thing, turning all brown and disgusting!  I was about to throw them all away (about 30) when it was decided that Mollie's school project would be "from gourd to birdhouse."  SO, we kept the curly, moldy things.

Last summer it was decided that the birdhouse would be made while she was visiting us. 

I did some research and discovered that those brown things needed to be soaked in bleach and scrubbed.. remove the outer covering. a good grandma, I got to work.

It was a mess!  BUT, the results were good. We ended up with clean, tan, lovely shaped gourds.

Mollie tackled the job.  Papa helped her drill holes, clean out the membrane, and attach a hanger.

She painted them brilliant colors and had a great time doing it!  SUCCESS!!!

We took pictures, made an online scrapbook and there she is, SO VERY PROUD OF HER WORK.

She never left her display the whole time the hall was open for observation!  She told everyone about her gourd birdhouses, holding them up proudly.

Those silly things were MORE than gourds.  They brought to Mollie a terrific sense of accomplishment and many grins! What a great memory!

It took two years and it was worth every minute.  PRICELESS!

What a privilege to be a part of Mollie's project. Thank you Providence!  Your requirements for your students brought this grandmother and her precious little grand- girl much joy.  And THAT was the purpose, wasn't it?