Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Merry Christmas!

Joyeux Noël!

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Donavyn, Taylor, Jamie, Autumn, and Ginger (the 4-legged one)

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Hayden, Gage (shortest), Chelsie (tallest), and Khloe

From our family to yours,

Peace and joy!

Kevin and Angie

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“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

~ Luke 2:11-12

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Throwback Thursday: The Beginning of My Love of Horses

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The date on the photo reads May 1966. But I’m positive I’m not 3-4 years old in this picture. I will guess I’m 2 or 2 1/2 because I can just see the crib in the bedroom. That means my baby brother has been or soon will be born. We are about 2 1/2 years apart. Sometimes it takes a year or three to remember to take the film for developing.

So. Already I love horses. This one is special because I am carrying it, instead of the other way around. I’m looking pretty strong, the way I’m hauling my ride. I have my rocking chair, my horse, and I’m dressed for (guessing) church. Pretty styling with my navy coat and white hat and socks.

Signs of the times include rabbit ears on the television, the television, dish used for cigarette ashtray on the side table, glass decor, and pale yellow walls. This house was a rental as far as I know. During the early years, my dad was transferred quite a bit for his job, so moving was a part of our lifestyle.

What signs of the times do you remember seeing in old photographs from the year you were born?


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Throwback Thursday: Kids & Nature in the Arizona Desert

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I was probably in first or second grade in this picture. And I can tell you, we had no nature deficit disorder in my family. We were always outside. Either the kids were out, by choice or by mom’s choice, or the entire family was off and exploring.

It seemed like our family spent most weekends in the station wagon or camper, heading off to explore and find what we could find. Though I know we also went to church on a regular basis, so maybe we spent Saturdays traveling and skipped a random Sunday now and then to camp. Life as a kid was always an adventure.

I’m pretty sure this picture was taken at Turkey Creek in Arizona. Turkey Creek was a great spot. I can remember camping there at least 3 different times. Judging by the grin on my face, I loved getting outside. And in Arizona, being outside around water was a treat. Being a desert and all. We four of kids (maybe not James, who was a baby) had a ball splashing in the creek. We did the usual-get muddy, catch critters, drench ourselves, throw rocks, find favorite rocks, go fishing with plain sticks. I remember one trip in particular when I found a snapping turtle. I was, of course, sticking my finger towards its mouth, seeing if it would snap. It did. Pinched my finger hard enough that I wet my pants! I remember crying. Hello. If you poke a wild animal in its mouth, it will bite.

Besides random attacks from snapping turtles, I remember all of us being together. That was important. The mom and dad, the 4 kids, the dog, the cat, the bird. We all crowded into the camper and dad drove us along bumpy dirt roads to get to our camp or picnic destinations. That was back in the good old days when kids rode in the camper while the vehicle was in motion. We played cards, colored pictures, ate snacks, climbed up and down from the over-the-cab bed, and I’m sure, fought like crazy. But somehow, we all made it to adulthood.

Looking back at this picture of myself standing on rocks and my sister collecting nature items, I can remember the beauty of the water, the rocks, the plants, the dirt. I can feel the sun on my back. Just look at those boulders behind me. I mean, they are gorgeous. Plenty of lichen and hiding spots for poisonous desert dwellers. But we didn’t worry too much about those. Stay away from the obvious dangers like tarantulas and rattlesnakes. Leave them alone, they’ll (most likely) leave you alone. Dappled light gives great luster to this photo. I love how the sunlight highlights my braids. And I see I am, even at that young age, wearing one of my lifelong favorite colors. Orange. And stripes. I’m still into stripes. Funny.

I’m so glad my parents instilled in us a love of the outdoors and exploring our surroundings. It doesn’t matter where you live, there are interesting and beautiful nature hot spots just waiting to be discovered. You can go as far as your backyard (welcome, gallon jars of tadpoles) or escape to a different state or country.

Hello, Arizona desert. I miss you.

How about you? Where did you go exploring when you were a child?


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Throwback Thursday: Cousins

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I found this picture while looking through my baby book, well, what is essentially my baby book from back in the days before instant photos, digital prints, and fancy printed books.

My baby album is one of the huge, sticky-paged tomes filled with blank space for inserting photos. The albums of sticky-is-not-good-for-photos type. Perhaps I should remove the photos and put them in something safer . . .

As the oldest of four, I am thankful that there are photos of me as a child. The more mouths, the less opportunity, time, and energy for mom and dad to click off oodles of pictures of their ever moving and hungry offspring.

If you squint just right, you’ll notice I look a little out of it. Kind of scary! But boy am I rocking that big bow and the golds and browns of the late 60’s.

It’s Christmas, complete with Aunt Helen’s tree trimmed in tinsel and flocking. The photo is cut in half, so I was thinking, “Why is a Christmas picture cut in half? We’re not old enough for bad relationships or family discord.” But after reading half of the back, my brother is listed in the photo, hand-written by Grandma Wheetley. My guess is that she or my mom cut it in half and my brother has his half with his baby photos. Best guess anyway.

Besides my towering appearance (and at barely 5’1″ now, this was nearly the extent of my towering over anyone), my cousin Melissa stands next to me. I wonder if this is when she started loving red clothes? She has some great red pieces I’ve seen her wear as an adult. She doesn’t suck her fingers (that I’ve seen). Instead she is an accomplished pianist, mama, and professional woman. Those jobs probably keep her fingers out of her mouth.

Family and friend, that’s what Melissa is to me. We’ve had each others’ backs for a very long time. Proximity, similar ages, family gatherings, overlapping interests, and time spent together through the thick and thins of life have cemented both our family love and our deep friendship. Blood AND friend.

(Pinterest= One of our favorite relaxing time activities, sitting beside each other in recliners and sending Pinterest ideas back and forth, even though we could easily just tilt our tablets and share. LOL)

So. I love all of my cousins, even if we don’t get together as often. Life is busy, and my calendar is just as crazy as the next person’s. Merry Christmas to my cousins, even if you were cut in half by Grandma and shared elsewhere! Love to you all. Anyone want to Pinterest?

Do you have any special friends or relatives? Of course we know they are ALL special, but what life pieces came together to build that bond? We’d love to hear.

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Said brother, Mark, who may have been cut off in the other half of the photo. I’m about 3 1/2 here. Since it’s May, Mark has probably just turned 2.

 


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Monday Moments: Family Photo Chaos Company

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20 eyes

20 hands and feet

100 fingers and toes

10 mouths (equals 10 voices!)

10 different ideas

20 legs and arms

4 cameras

4 purses

2 pair improper shoes

4 pair glinting glasses

3 mommies, 2 daddies, 5 cousins

Plus: mud, crowds, drippy leaves, slick straw bales, tilting maze, sparse pumpkins, traffic, no hay rides (rain)

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Today’s Monday Moments are brought to you by the Family Photo Chaos Company.

The above stats equal 5 adults and 5 children from 2-55 years old. A list of emotions, attitudes, and energy levels: shy, humorous, pre-teen, grumpy, hungry, tired, excited, crazy, silly, bossy, happy, ready to be done with it all.

This was THE fastest photo shoot. Ever.

Still, I’m smiling. Memories made, images captured, perfection avoided. The Christmas photo shall be selected and enjoyed.

How do you manage your family photo shoots?

 


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Seize the Moment ~ #ThrowbackThursday

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Now, mamas, I’m not going to tell you, “Don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys,” but I will say, “Seize those moments!” I’d love to go back to this moment and enjoy that face-smashing hug a few more times!

Circa 1992, this photo shows my (our) daughter, Chelsie, loving her mama, right there in the middle of the floor. Sometimes you have to just be on the floor. Or the couch, the bed, the dirt, the tub, even, eh-hem, the potty. Wherever and whenever the moments present themselves, go for it! Abandon the to-do’s and not-right-now’s and seize the moment.

Lesson to me, the Nana. I need to remember this when my grands are all over the place. They are growing up so fast! Nothing is more important than those sweet hugs and kisses. I’d pass on the germs they share, but that goes with the territory of young children building up their immunities.

Seize a moment today.

P.S. Comment below and let me know which moment you captured!


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Throwback Thursday: The Princess and the 100-Year-Old Dress

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Princess Autumn is happy to show off an antique gown.

The title says it all. Here is Autumn, our princess. She’s not 100-years-old, but 9 months, and comes complete with teeth, crawling agility skills, and potential for climbing.

Autumn is sporting a 100+-year-old cotton dress. Notice the intricate stitching and detail as she chews on her hair brush. See the tiny buttons stitched to the opening on the back of the dress. Allow your gaze to appreciate the length of the long dress and long sleeves. For posing and walking, this ankle length gown is divine. For crawling, gnawing, and drooling, maybe not so perfect. Over 100 years ago, this antique gown was handcrafted by a loving and skilled female member of the family. I adore vintage.

Throwback Thursday welcomes Princess Autumn, which is kind of ironic, as she has not even had that many Thursdays…yet.