Thursday, December 31, 2015

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs...

I've been finding the cutest signs to put up in our house!  It all started with the vintage PB&J one I found with our sweet friends, Mike and Brandy, in Juliette when we met at the Whistle Stop Cafe for lunch, oh wow, THREE years ago now.  We were in one of those little shops there and I saw this sign and loved it.  It was $12.  I only had a ten on me.  I sweet-talked the shop owner a little bit and got it for $10.  :)

Rhiana gave me the purple peace sign and I loved it from the start!

This little Hole Sweet Hole plaque belonged to my dear neighbor and friend, Gladys Farrell, when I lived at the condo.  I was able to get it at her estate sale after she passed away.  I will treasure it always.

One of my favorite sayings!  I'm always blessing somebody's heart.  Ha!

 Nothing is safe in this house!  Not even the thermostat!

My favorite Bible story, aside from Jesus' story, of course, is the story of Naomi and Ruth.  Such a sweet story of love and loyalty.  Where you go, I'll go and where you stay, I'll stay.  Just a simple statement Ruth made but it was oh so powerful.

The laundry room even has a few!

Truer words have never been spoken.  We know we are blessed to be here in this place right now, to be together, to be FREEEEE.  We are having the time of our lives, the life we always dreamed of, and we owe it all to God.  He gets all the glory!!

A few over the tub in the master bathroom.  I still lovelovelove that mermaid Larry got for me at the famous T. S. Chu's last summer.

Our master bath has a beachy theme so this anchor was perfect.

This one over the back door sums it all up. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

From home to home and heart to heart...

We had such a wonderful Christmas!  THREE Christmases, actually.  Larry and I had our Christmas at home on the 23rd and opened our gifts to each other.  This was our tree before!

All I asked Santa for this year was cookware.  Pots and pans.  That's all I wanted.  I had my heart set on The Pioneer Woman's set that Walmart carries.  In turquoise.  With the cast iron skillet.  Larry got it for me months ago.  Along with the cute rolling pin and matching salt and pepper shakers!  And Stephanie wrapped the rolling pin and shakers for me when she was here.  I love it all!!  Mama and Daddy gave me a matching Pioneer Woman skillet and Ami and Brian gave me two of Rachael Ray's pans.  I am SET!!  I threw out all of that old scratched Paula Deen stuff I've had for years.  Yay!!

I'd also been lusting after a Pyrex casserole dish at an antique store here in town and dang if Larry didn't get it for me!  It has been there for at least a year and we look at it every time we go.  A rare 1971 promotional Moon Deco.  I've always called it the Olive Pyrex.  :)  It looks more like a black olive to me than the moon!

We spent Christmas Eve with Rhiana, Juan and the girls and on the way to Atlanta, we ran into some horrible weather.  Heavy, heavy rain, black-as-night sky and tornado sirens blaring.  We drove right through a tornado warning and outran the tornado by about 15 miles.  It was really scary.  I started crying and Banjo started shaking.  Larry pulled us into a gas station parking lot where we waited it out, along with a bunch of other folks who had the same idea.  We prayed the whole time, praying for Jesus to calm that storm!  The rain let up and the clouds parted and we even started to see a little blue sky!  We made it to Atlanta safe and sound.  I believe in the power of prayer and although I talk to God every day, all day, sometimes you have to stop and focus on what's going on at that moment and pray specifically for what you want and need Him to do.  It works.  I promise you, it works!!

Juan and Rhiana had everything decorated so beautifully and we so enjoyed all the excitement that only Christmas Eve can bring.  We had our traditional spaghetti supper (Larry's mama's recipe) and we adults got to bed around 2:00 AM.  We had a great time waiting up and trying to catch Santa for Elizabeth, who is eight and hearing "slappy" stuff (her words) from the kids at school.  We caught Santa on video right there in their living room so there, slappy kids at school.

Larry loved having his grandgirls all over him on Christmas Eve.  They played games and read stories and made wonderful memories that will last all their lives.

We had a last-minute Christmas Eve surprise that kinda just fell into our laps Thursday morning and we were so excited for the girls to see it!  It's a KidKraft Majestic Mansion dollhouse, complete with an elevator and a garage.  They LOVED it!!

I got the sweetest, most thoughtful gifts from Rhiana.  This handmade ornament hung on Larry's family Christmas trees for fifty years.  I am honored to have it hang on ours now.  She also gave me some of her grandma's recipes, a bottle of her favorite perfume and some scarves she wore.  Miss Corrine (as I called her) has been gone ten years now and I miss her every day.  She was the best mother-in-law a girl could ask for.

They also gave me this beautiful Venezuelan apron (I LOVE aprons!) and a vintage Pyrex orange juice carafe! 

We left Atlanta around 11:00 and headed home to unload and pack up again to get down to Oglethorpe for Christmas #3!  We had Daddy's delicious chili with Mama's Martha Washington candy.  It's not Christmas without Mama's Martha Washington candy!  I can't remember a Christmas when I didn't have it.  Or the roasted pecans that Mama makes for me every year.  Even in constant pain with a messed up disk in her back, she still made sure we had all of our favorites for Christmas.  She's something else.  I got a cute top and a gift card to Old Navy and my skillets.  I am a happy, happy girl!!

I got to meet my new great-nephew, David, too, born on December 18th.  He's a tiny little thing but he'll grow soon enough and be running around with his sisters.  Ami took this beautiful picture of Mama feeding him.  I just love it.


I'm a great-aunt times THREE now and a Gama to THREE.  I am so incredibly blessed.  Baby Charlie had a great first Christmas full of smiles and bottles and naps.  :)

And let's don't forget, I'm Mama to TWO.  Tabbie Hoffman was really, really happy to see all those gifts gone.  He has a new favorite spot. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Knowledge is power!

I am a strong believer that learning is a lifelong experience.  Get as much education as you can, whenever you can.  I kinda regret the years I did nothing but work and live my life when I could have been in school somewhere learning and collecting degrees.  Going back to school was one of the best things I ever did!

Sooooo, when I had the opportunity to take a Georgia Tech OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) course at the campus here in Warner Robins, I jumped on it.  There were six classes and we finished up the last one today.  These classes were so much fun!  We learned so much, experienced so much (playing the part of a Safety Specialist at a simulated badge manufacturing plant was a hoot!) and I can't wait to take all that I learned back to my F-15 family. 

This was a wonderful opportunity for me and I'm so thankful my training supervisors sent me through the course.  It wasn't cheap.  Tuition for each class was a whopping $875 so that means Robins Air Force Base paid over $5,000 for me to go.  That's a huge investment in me and I plan to give them back the most positive return for their efforts. 

The six classes I took were Standards for General Industry, Industrial Hygiene (that one was my favorite!), Machine Guarding, Accident Investigation, Safety-Integrated Process Improvement and this week, Ergonomics for Work-Related Musculoskeletal and Nerve Disorders.

We were given binders for each class as well as the 2015 1910 OSHA regulations guide, along with highlighters, pens, pencils and page markers.  We all received certificates with the Georgia Tech gold seal for each class and we'll receive the official framed one at our graduation ceremony at the base on January 20th.

The Georgia Tech faculty, which consisted of engineers and researchers, was knowledgeable, friendly and they made the classes a lot of fun.  We even went on a field trip!  During our Machine Guarding class, we went out to the base to do a walk-around safety inspection and were able to identify a few hazards and to give them praise for some things they were doing just right.

My head is full of all sorts of things and ways to keep my folks safe and free from danger and injury.  Tearing down and rebuilding airplanes can be a dangerous job.  We have injuries out there nearly every day.  I hope to be able to sort through my notes and thoughts and be ready to do my own version of OSHA training with them after the first of the year and together, we can create a safer and healthier place to work!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Uncle Jiggs

Me getting a life lesson from my Uncle Jiggs
It's been a pretty sad week around our house.  My Uncle Jiggs passed away suddenly last Thursday, after a very successful surgery.  We are all devastated and have gone through all the emotions -- shock, sadness, anger, sadness again.  We're not entirely sure things went the way they were supposed to at the hospital following his surgery and we have lots of questions about his care (and lack thereof).  None of that will bring him back, of course, but still, we wonder and we question and we cry anyway.  He was a good man, my mama's oldest brother.  He was very honest about his feelings (sometimes too honest!), he was funny, he was loving in his own way and when he loved you, you knew it.  I knew he loved me.  He was so proud of me when I went back to school to learn something completely different from anything I've ever known and then when I got a job turning wrenches on F-15's, he was so tickled.  I have a lifetime of memories of Uncle Jiggs and I will cherish each one.  I remember him coming out many icy mornings to help my daddy get our country well going again.  Uncle Jiggs was always there when you needed him.  He would give you his last dollar if you needed it.  He was also very blunt; "curt" the pastor who preached his funeral Sunday afternoon called it.  Curt.  Yeah.  That's a good word for it.  He was a man of few words, a private man, very independent and very stubborn.  I loved him dearly and I will miss him terribly.  I will never drive over the Flint River without thinking of him or walk into my mama and daddy's living room without seeing him sitting in that chair.  He was one of a kind. 

An old friend posted this picture of him on Facebook from some 20 years ago, laughing while he tromped through muddy river water.  I absolutely love it.  I imagine he's camped out on the river bank in Heaven already.

James Lawrence Clark
February 9, 1946 - December 10, 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Gettin' ready!

We spent the weekend getting ready for Christmas!  We got our tree Saturday and put out the blow molds we've collected here and there at estate sales and yard sales.  We put lights on the porch, decorated the tree and got a few presents wrapped.  AND I think we finished our Christmas shopping!

We got a 7-foot Fraser fir that's a little slimmer than we usually get and I love it!  It's so much easier to get around. Larry gave it a fresh cut when we got it home.  We got one of those Christmas tree funnels, too, and that'll make it much easier to keep water in the pan.  

The Super Fabulous Schneider Christmas Tree of 2015!

The first time I've ever had a porch tree!  I think it's so cute.  I saved some of the big tree's trimmings to go underneath it.  Maybe I'll get that done tomorrow.

We still have lights to put on the trees and some for the top of the porch but it looks like a Christmas wonderland out there!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Welcome December!

This year seems to be passing us by at amazing speed, huh??  I haven't been updating my blog much lately but I have a good reason, I promise.  I've just been living life!  We had a wonderful family Thanksgiving at our house, with Mama, Daddy, Ami, Brian, Miss Dale, Kyrie and Alita joining us, Juan, Rhiana, Elizabeth, Emma and Baby Charlotte for turkey, dressing and all the trimmings.  Ami made Mama's famous dressing this year and it was absolutely delicious!!  Larry and I roasted the turkey again in our Oster roaster and it turned out just as juicy and perfect as last year.  Again, don't follow the instructions that come with the roaster.  Get your meat thermometer out and check that bird!  I baked a ham, too, and made Brussels sprouts, sweet potato casserole and a butternut squash risotto.  I took the easy way out with the pecan pie that Larry wanted and I got Wilson's Bakery here in town to make it.  I just couldn't beat their $9.99 price, not even with my Kroger Plus card.  :)  The pecans alone would have been nearly that.  So I had them make that and a brownie pecan pie and both were, well, Wilson's usual stupid crazy amazing good.

We had a group picture made outside with our Tom the Turkey inflatable that we picked up at a yard sale for $7 last summer.  It turned out great.  Lizzy is doing bunny ears over Emma's head and that's hilarious. 

I had the best time with Baby Charlie!  I had a hard time putting her down and then letting her stay down.  She's just the sweetest little thing and I just wanted to gobble her right on up.

I wanted to have a Peanuts-themed Thanksgiving for the girls so I found some really cute plates and napkins and cups and tablecloths a couple of months ago and I also found some Snoopy Thanksgiving stickers on eBay for everybody to wear.  Larry and I found a singing, dancing Snoopy wearing a Pilgrim hat out in our travels somewhere and I bought a little plush Snoopy for each of the girls.  I have some really wonderful childhood memories of the three big holidays and I want that for them, too.

Juan and I took Lizzy and Emma to see the new Peanuts movie Thanksgiving night and that was a lot of fun, too.  It is such a cute movie and I've said this at least a dozen times since Larry and I went to see it, I am SO amazed at the animation in that movie!  They sure don't make Charlie Brown like they used to.  Larry's been collecting the McDonald's Peanuts Happy Meal toys for me, too.  We've got 10 of the 12.  Two to go!  Fifi is my favorite.  :)

I had to get new brakes for my car on Friday (joy joy) and after the girls and I decorated our gingerbread house and my car was done, all of us went and had the Black Friday Family Experience.  Now that we've done that, we don't have to do it anymore.  I hope.  I hate Black Friday.  It really wasn't bad, though.  We just went to Target and Hobby Lobby.  The girls got a toy and I got some ideas for Christmas.

Friday night, Larry and I wanted to give Rhiana and Juan a little break and a chance to get a good night's sleep so we kept Charlie in our room and she did so good!  She slept right through her 10:00 feeding and I let her so she woke up around 2:00, I changed her britches, gave her a bottle and she went right back to sleep and slept the rest of the night, until 7:00!  Such a good baby!

We watched movies and ordered pizza Saturday afternoon and then they got packed up to go home.  We so enjoyed having them and are looking forward to Christmas Eve at their house!

Larry and I have managed so far to get the Christmas stuff down from the attic and into the garage.  I've put up two garlands, spread a tablecloth and we put up a little tree on the front porch tonight.  We have just been so tired this week!  Hopefully this weekend, we'll get a tree and get some lights up zzzzzz snork.

Welcome, December, with your dreams and secrets and whispers and surprises and 77-degree self.