We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...We need silence to be able to touch souls. --Mother Teresa

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And Yes, Still MORE Hays Family

This is our niece, Elsbeth Renee...a.k.a. Ellie. She holds a very special place in my heart for many reasons. Her Uncle and I had our first date on December 10, 1986. 2 years later, Ellie was born on a sunny day in January. I wasn't married to my Hays Man, yet....but I got to go along when this third niece was born. I even got to hold her in the hospital and from that day forward.....I was a true part of the Hays family.

Ellie was the absolute cutest thing you have ever seen! She had a constant smile on her little round face and she loved life from day one. She was bald, tan and said the most hilarious things. Ellie had a baby named Old River. She once asked, "Great Grandma, how old are you?" Great Grandma responded, "Oh, Ellie, a lady never tells her age." "Oh," Ellie declares, "I'm 3!" She was a very bright spot in our lives and we have enjoyed watching her bloom into an awesome adult. And she knows just how to annoy her older sister (most of us do)...always a good thing!

I told you all of that to tell you this......Ellie recently became engaged! At Christmas, Father Ed had a special blessing for the engaged couple. That little round face has grown up and will soon be married! Oh, how did I get so old!! This Young Man seems very perfect for our niece. His job is extremely important....he must take excellent care of our very special niece or the Hays Men (and one mean Granny) I know will take him out...their mean like that!

Here is Ellie's bling....it is so Ellie! This young man did a perfect job picking it out! You're getting a good one, Young Man!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

MORE Hays Family

This is Mom and Dad Hays. This is what you look like when you have spent 50 Christmas's together. I hope I look as good as she does after I have spent 50 Christmas's with my Hays man!

These two hate to have their picture taken. In fact, I had tried all day to get my sister-in-laws picture.....and finally did when she wasn't looking.....but she still wasn't too happy about it. And my father-in-law usually puts his hands in front of his face and does something silly so I got lucky with him also.

This is the second oldest brother and his family. They did this under duress....and I only snapped one before they got up! Stink Pots!

This is the baby brother! He will be 40 next month and we were all giving him crap about being "a man of a certain age". For some reason, their son was no where to be found so he missed out on the picture! Too bad....he's a cute boy!

This is the second youngest brother and his family. This isn't the best picture I have ever snapped, but the boys were sitting somewhat still so I took what I could get!

My husband is the 4th child. His one and only sister(green sweater....making faces from yesterdays post) is the 3rd child. The Texas brother is the oldest. 5 boys and one girl--ages 49 to almost 40, 5 daughter-in-laws--ages young and hot--really hot, 14 grandchildren--ages 27 to 6--and one great-grandchild.....man, Mom and Dad Hays look really good!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Hays Family Christmas

Even though we were missing some of us at Christmas 2008, here are some of us!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Hays Family Christmas

Christmas 2008 was spent with the Hays Family. We traveled Christmas morning to my husband's brothers home. We are very fortunate to have Uncle Ed with us to say our family mass--he recently celebrated his 50th year as a priest. This is a tradition (mass at a family members home) that has been occurring for awhile........and Father Ed gives a wonderful, thought-provoking homily each year. Thanks, Father Ed.

This is our nephew, Luke. This was his first year to do the reading for the mass. He is in first grade and did an absolutely fantastic job! He is a real pistol and it made is momma and daddy just a little proud to have him read. Oh and it meant he got to wear his "tuxedo" to do the job. He was very pleased with his spiffy duds. Although, his mother took the jacket right away so it would get dirty! Hays boys and dirt....HA!

Most people have a children's table tucked away....not our family. We have a Grown-Up People's Room....I'll be joining them soon.....well, probably not.

This is Granny opening her gifts. This is the Granny who called us in mid-November and said in her really good Granny voice, "No gifts for Grandpa and I this year. We know the times are tough....and we all have to cut back." NO gifts for Grandpa is what she really meant......don't let her kid you, she loves getting gifts! None of us listened to her....which she is used to........we never listen to her. It is a Hays gene pool issue....

Here is the last of the "little kids" waiting to open presents! There is one more "little" kid who is missing form the picture due to a PSP game. They were very patient as the grown-ups were eating....and it was fun to watch them open their gifts. For these two it is the last year for a "present". Granny has rules, you know!!

We had a wonderful day with the Hays Family....lots of laughter and stories but we missed several members and they were thought of numerous times during the celebration of the Savior's Birth....our Texas Family and our St. Louis Family were missed greatly.....Maybe next year we will be all together... Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Granny's Getting Rocks For Christmas!!!

At least that's what we've been telling her for weeks....and she just cackles when we tell her that Santa is bringing rocks for her Christmas present. And literally, she is getting this rock for Christmas. She told me that she thought she would like to have a "one of those rock thingys with Hays on it". The reason she wants a rock with our name on it is because of our nephew, Nick. Last Christmas his mother sent him over to Granny's with a gift and when Nick arrived at the house, nobody was home so he left it in the door. When his mother called to check and see if Granny had gotten the gift, Granny had no idea what she was talking about...they had been home all morning and no one had come over! Turns out, Nick had been in the right neighborhood, just at the wrong house. We remind him of it often........poor Nick, one mistake and nobody ever forgets!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Soooooooooooo....as many of you know I AM A CITY GIRL. I have lived in the country, I tried it. I really did. I live in the city.

And as many of you know, we have two cats. One is named Bud and the other is named Willy. Bud is a bad ass. No ifs, ands or buts. He stalks squirrels and eats them from the tail to the head. Every inch, no lie. He kills birds, baby rabbits and anything else that gets in our yard. He once plucked a baby blue jay from its nest and it torked the mother/father blue jay and it began dive bombing me in the yard and I spent 20 minutes trapped in the garage. CITY GIRL. Enough said.

Bud is in charge. Bud is also blind in one eye and is quite hateful. He started out being a house cat, but two years ago he did his business on my Christmas Tree skirt, not once, but twice and he got kicked out of the house. Oh, and the neighbor boys say he bites.

Anyway, I told you all of that to tell you this....Bud won't let Willy sleep in the garage but he will let this critter sleep in the garage. Every night. He won't let Willy eat any of our cat food, but every night around 8ish, this critter shows up and can eat as much as he wants (as well as another stray cat we call tiger kitty).

Tonight, this critter got a little surprise. My husband took our chocolate lab, Sophie out just about 8ish and guess who is having a little cat food before he retires to my garage for the night? Yep, this critter. Sophie chased him down like a predator (College Girl's words) and he flopped over "dead". He laid there quite awhile and every so often he would poke his eyes up to see if Sophie was watching him (again, CGW's) and then flop over "dead". This caused a HUGE amount of excitement amongst my children(city kids--don't let them kid you). And to add to the excitement, in order to get our attention, my husband was ringing our back doorbell which is very, very old school style. It is extremely annoying...and I couldn't figure what was going on!

Does anybody have a possum trap that they aren't using? We could sure use it.............Oh, and guess who was nowhere to be found....yep, Big Bud Bad Ass.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Gift

My husband and the twins went with the youth group from church to the Chiefs game. BRR!! It was very cold and I worried that they weren't dressed warm enough. BUT....it gave me a whole day to myself!!!!!! What a gift!!!! I started my day reading newspapers, drinking coffee and eating waffles. After making a list of things I needed, I ran some errands and got a hot chocolate from the convenience store-that was a treat. So here is what I did today....
--Cleaned the kitchen sink and bought a new dish drainer. Someone should have mentioned that mine was totally gross...oh the dish drainer would have to be empty for someone to notice it was gross. (Yep, we don't have a dish washer!)
--All the laundry. Every stitch--washeddriedfolded--it is a fantastic feeling. Too bad it won't last..........
--Cleaned my bedroom. Aah, what a feeling!
--Deep cleaned the bathroom. Cabinets, drawers, shower, ALL OF IT! We have 12 toothbrushes for 4 people .....seems like a lot, don't you think? And we have 5 bottles of lotion....my people think that when the lotion stops pumping out, you simply open a new one and shove the old to the back. We had 10 deodorants. Don't ask me.
--Wrapped presents.
--Made homemade lotion. This was great....it is the baby lotion, vitamin e cream and Vaseline recipe. I used the shea and cocoa butter baby lotion and it smells wonderful. And my hands feel great.
--Did I mention I did ALL the laundry? Oh, maybe I did........
--Dusted and vacuumed the living room and dining room. This was the least fun of the day.....I hate to dust. I have resolved not to buy anything that has to be dusted.
--Mopped the kitchen floor. It must be done.....
--Waxed my unibrow. Really, not that bad, but close.
--Put up a new blind in the bathroom. Don't you find it easier to buy a new blind and simply throw the old, nasty, torn blind away? I do.
--Took only 2 phone calls. This is a miracle....my phone has a tendency to ring all the time. One call was from my mom and the other from my good friend, Vicki. It was wonderful to visit with them both. Both of these people are incredibly busy so I don't get to visit with them as much as I would like to so this was a special occasion for me.
--Planned the menus for the week. Basketball season makes this easier.....soup and grilled cheese or grilled cheese and soup....
--Ironed my clothes for the week...I do this every Sunday so that wasn't unusual.
--My doorbell rang around 4 and the little boy across the street (he is also in my class at school) was there with a cherry struesal(how do you spell that)bread--still warm from the oven. It was perfect timing...I was just sitting down to have hot peppermint tea and read one magazine. MMmmmm....it was wonderful.
--I even had time to make a batch of muddy buddies....

And bag it for the freshman girls basketball team. Aren't these bags the cutest thing ever? My kids hate it when I say things like that......

It has been a wonderful day....a true gift....it was OK for one day and I wouldn't want it everyday or even every week, once in a while is just fine. Once in a long while......because right now I am ready for my people to come on home.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Injury Princess, part 2

Today we saw the sports medicine doc. He put a cast on her thumb to immobilize it--hoping it will heal faster if it isn't being bumped, used, etc. She is to see him in two weeks to have it removed. First cast for our family.....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Big Tina

So my dad used to drive a truck and travel around quite a bit. Christmas 1993 he bought this 5 foot gorilla for College Girl. I was pregnant at the time with what we thought was one baby...no big deal. We rode home from Christmas with a 5 foot stuffed gorilla in a seat belt, a 3 1/2 year old and a 70 pound black Lab (she went everywhere we went). Driving down the interstate.....well, we got some looks.

Now you are asking, "How did College Girl name it Big Tina?" Well, that's a pretty good story! Obviously, this gift was the hit of the Christmas and right away she began calling it Big Tina. Somebody asked her how she knew it was a girl gorilla.....her response," Cause she has boobies!" We laughed until we cried....it was priceless. And she does have boobies--that have since been pierced! Sometimes she sports a nose ring....

Big Tina is very popular.....once when some friends came to stay, their older brother was unable to come (probably he was sick!!) and play. So the big girls thought that we should make Big Tina into Brett and take a picture. It is one of the greatest pictures of the "six" of them we've ever taken.

Big Tina has been to cross county sleepovers, the CYO convention and once, she was even kidnapped from our house! She took a college class one summer and is a much better writer!

So it was an easy decision when it came time for College Girl's Senior Pics...Big Tina was going to be in the photos. The photographer looked at us like we were nuts--but this is my favorite picture out of all he took. And of course, Grandpa Gary got an 8x10!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Few of My Favorites

These girls with Santa are adults now...this picture is about 15 years old, taken when they were freshman in high school. Nice hair girls! These girls were always on my case about something....the size of my stomach when I was pregnant with twins (they referred to me as "tugboat"), my hair and my infamous Twister comment(Wesson oil,girls?). They were in 7th grade the first year I taught school and they broke me in right. I loved being their teacher...and now their friend. You do my heart good, ladies and I am very proud of the grown-ups you have become...and look forward to your children growing up....paybacks are hell!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

When Two Nerds Mate....

This might have been the greatest Christmas ever in College Girl's life.....roller skates, a really happenin' wind suit and her very own tape player with headphones. Man O Man...not sure I can ever top this!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ice Storm 2007

A year ago at this time, we were experiencing the experience of a lifetime. An ice storm that cut off our electricity for 4 days, no school for 4 days and freezer clean out....beanie weenies on the grill are something that I NEVER want to experience again. The above picture is from around midday after we had been standing in the yard in amazement of the beauty. As we looked west we saw two dogs that were loose and very familiar to us. Part of us headed out after the dogs and part of us went to retrieve our cell phones so we could call their owners. Within minutes an extremely large branch (above) fell! The dog retrievers were about a half a block away when they heard the crash and came running to see the damage....our basketball goal bit it. But no human damage was suffered.....we stayed inside from that point on.

This picture was taken around 7 a.m. looking north from our yard.

Looking south.....

This is looking at our house...

It was pretty memorable week. We did stay at the house all 3 nights and 4 days....with some trips to the store to wander around, to some friends to charge our cell phones and a restaurant or two in between. I didn't realize the impact this event had on my kids until about a month ago when my youngest proclaimed, "I hope I never have to live through an ice storm again!" I also was amazed at the impact it had on my school kids, many of whom would have been 7 at the time. A couple of weeks ago we were reading a selection about tornadoes and I sparked a discussion about natural disasters. Every kid had a story about the ice storm! Some had electricity and some didn't, some talked about being scared because of the falling branches and some talked about being cold and bored because of no school. But the one thing they all agreed on was it wasn't any fun! It was my first ice storm and I hope it will be my last...........

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas 1994

Christmas 1994 was Frick and Frack's first Christmas. Christmas with twins and a four-year-old... enough said.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas 1990

Christmas 1990 was College Girl's first Christmas. Whew...memories, memories...time flies when you are having fun....which-- we weren't. Before Children, we decided that all our Christmas's would start at home and then we would travel to our family. So we got up at o-dark-thirty, opened presents, gave college girl a bath, packed the car and headed 3 hours east. She hated the car and always screamed until we reached our destination. Then she hated people and wouldn't let anyone hold/deal/feed her. She looooooved her daddy and that is the only person she would let do anything for her. Things haven't changed much....

This is her great Aunt Sister Jane. She so badly wanted to hold her and play with her....but you can see the distress on College Girl's face. She didn't want any part of anyone that year....she is the 6th grandchild in my husband's family and her cousins were dying to play with her, but alas it was not to be. Daddy's girl wanted no part of anyone--including me. She was perfectly content with her daddy. He blames me because I made her wear that hair bow! She looked good!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Injury Princess

First basketball game of the season tonight....guess who got injured? Yep...you guessed it. This girl doesn't do anything half way when it comes to injuries. It is always amazing to me because with our college girl we have been in the emergency room 3 times in 18 years and they all involved stitches. We haven't spent anytime in the emergency room with our son(that's because we spent our time with him at the allergy doctor)...knock on wood. But his twin sister is a whole different deal. First emergency room trip when she was 7 months old and it just goes on from there. The girl could walk on the back of the sofa while writing on the wall and never get hurt but you put her in a competitive event....and well, that girl's just gotta win.

I just paid the hospital off in time to make a trip up there tonight. Nothing broken, just a hyper-extended right thumb. Same thumb I have been paying on for six months--the thumb that was injured when she and her sister were fighting in the yard last spring. Fist fighting, of course, with permission, of course, from ME. Again, she isn't good at losing......

So the doc sent us home tonight with a Flector Patch--which has meds in it and is placed directly on the injury. Change it every 12 hours. So we will see how this works for one week...and if the thumb isn't better, then we will head back to the orthopedic doc. Got that number on speed dial....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Grandma Cindy

This is my mom....aka "Grandma Cindy". She is an amazing woman....She raised my brother and I as a single parent. That is a tough job....especially since I was soooo very well behaved and my brother was....well, let's just say he was well behaved when he was asleep. We always knew that she was on our side and would take anybody out who messed with us. She still will...........if she has to. Don't mess with her, she goes to the gym everyday for an hour!

And yes, I look a little like her....OK a lot. When my Grandma Hillbilly was alive, she often called me by my mothers' name. I'd just answer and go along. In August, I decided that I needed to get rid of the "a@$ end of a chicken" hair do that I had been sporting for awhile--so I began working on a grown up hair do. Last time I went for a little trim, I came home thinking that I looked pretty good, and my youngest child said, "Nice hair, GRANDMA CINDY!" She cracked herself up, but she was right, the way the hairdresser had fixed my hair made me look exactly like my mother. Not a bad deal when your mom looks as good as mine!

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to share some Grandma Cindy wisdom....words to live by.....we like to call it..........
"Grandma Cindy Says"
1. What comes around goes around....and what do you know--she was right!
2. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. This one is still pretty tough for me--my edit button is usually broken, dang it.
3. It will all be fine. She has used this on me soooooo many times.... and what do you know--she was right!
4. Paybacks are hell. She warned of this repeatedly....
5. Be careful what you wish for....you might just get it. Oh.
6. Don't do anything you don't want to have to explain to your grandmother. I still live by this rule....
7. Kill'em with kindness. Dang it, she was right again.

Thanks, mom, for everything....I love you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Harlem Wizards Rock the House!

We were very fortunate to have the Harlem Wizards come to our community. A TON of work went into bringing them and it reminded me that we are a part of a great community.....our businesses were super supportive (as usual) and people stepped up to help in so many ways.

Including this grandma...........

And this PE teacher and basketball coach....nice form, coach!

And our favorite WNBA player.....and really brave high school boy....

And a an oldie but goodie..........

This guy was great.....he was so funny and he really liked the short people on the team!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I AM a Princess!

We had the opportunity to help with some little people at a wedding on Friday. Once this little one was dressed and ready to go, she told her entourage, "I A PRINCESS!!" She loved her dress, shoes, hose and especially her hair. It was really great hair....and she knew it! This is one of my favorite pics of the whole day.....she was SOOOOOOO excited to have a basket of flowers! What a gift!

This is her cousin.....he is a handsome devil. He was wonderful.....he did everything he was asked. His people can be proud of him....he's a good boy.

I love this picture of them....cousins who were listening to someone that we all love....a bossy Aunt who was taking photos and photos and photos and photos and photos..........and if we are lucky the pics might make it on her blog!

Here she is with her mom....hiding from me and her bossy Aunt....her mom is gorgeous!!

Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel. -Proverbs 11: 17