The Chrismas Post

I wrote a Christmas post, but honestly...it stunk.  So, I leave you with pictures.

It used to be that as long as I was with my family, Christmas was perfect.  Lately, I want it to include more of the "reason for the season".  I get to feeling like there is so much to the material preparation of Christmas yet very little concentration on the spiritual reason...Jesus.  Of course, I cant speak for my family.  They may have spent time in prayer and meditation but I did not this season.  I, personally, did not spend much time discussing the Nativity story with my great-nieces and nephews.  We went to their Christmas pageant...maybe they got enough of it there.  Is there ever enough of it, though?  Especially, in these times?

That's where I am this year on the subject of Christmas.

Look at these two....

It's back to work tomorrow.  It will be another intense week, but a little intensity now will result in a smooth start to 2016. oh.my.gosh.  2016!!



Birthdays

I have been doing a poor job of posting the sweet little gatherings we have been attending.  There have been a few.  I actually don't even have pictures of most of them.  Luckily I was in a picture taking mood for this little dude's birthday.

Be still my heart.  That little face.  Such a sweet boy.  Each of my great nieces and great nephews have incredible qualities.  I just love them.

Here he is with his mom.

His Grandma and Paw Paw have an above ground pool.  His birthday is in July.  Guess what...he had a pool party!!

I love that picture of him.  That pretty much describes him.  He's nothing but muscle, all boy and all adventure.  Basically, fearless, and he loves to work. 

All the kids had a grand time.

There was cake and the Birthday Song, of course.  Drake has always had a moment of shyness when Happy Birthday is being sung to him.  It's so cute.  Especially that sister encourages him to enjoy.

Our little gang. 

The birthday boy is strategically hiding behind the other hooligans.

The twins birthday was next.

Eight years old!!  I cant believe it.  They had a swim party also at their neighborhood pool.

Baby Boy doesn't look like he was ready for a pic.  Yes, I realize they are eight and perhaps Baby Boy and Baby Girl no longer apply.  How did this happen??  They grew so fast!

There was an issue with the candle lighting.  Too much wind.  But, finally everyone put their hands around the flame on Christopher's cake and it lit.  Immediately, it was blown out.

You may notice a trend in these parties.  Swimming, check.  Eating, check.  Birthday cake, check.  Yep, next it was presents.

I think sometimes I get so distracted with the eating and the visiting that I forget to take plenty of pics.  This is the only pic I have of my hubby's 72nd birthday and it was an awesome evening.

Oh how I love that man!  Look at that sweet face.  Forget that...look at those chocolate covered strawberries!  I must admit, I always stress out when we have a function here at our house.  The cleaning, the shopping, the cooking...I don't know how Ronnie gets it all done.  Haha, just kidding...kind of. :) 

All the stress is worth it though to be able to spend time with our family and friends.  I'm so grateful to be a part of such a caring, loving group of people.  These moments are such treasures.

Domino Champ

It's Monday!  So this is what's up today...

It was a nice weekend, though.  Mom, Ronnie and I played a friendly little game of Dominos yesterday after supper.  

And just in case you couldn't see it....

I beat the pants off of them!!!  hehe

Have a great, fun, peaceful Monday!

Evolution

...Not the evolution of which you are thinking, but more the evolution of recording memories aka photography!

My dad was the pioneer photographer in our family.  I was not really a talker when my dad was alive, so I never really asked him questions about his likes or dislikes and I find myself wondering, now, what drew him to photography.  

He took classes and learned the craft.  Then he turned an old house next door to ours into a studio and he took pictures of people.  And after that he decided to BUILD a studio!  That floors me!  My dad...he said to himself, "I want to be a photographer"...and he became one.  He put his name out there and people came to him to get pictures of their people taken by him.  Fascinating to me.  

Once...my dad took pics of Rice Queen Contestants, and my brother, Leo, took them to school, without permission, to share with his friends.  Brothers!  Geez.

Next thing you know, my brother, Chris, decided he could take pictures too.  They took senior pics, weddings, family pics.  Passports!  I remember the passports because I used to print them.   I made a whopping 25 cents each passport.  What??

Yep, we used to have a dark room with an enlarger and chemicals and a dark room light, which I might mention didn't seem much different than that light used by people that liked to smoke pot back in the 70's.  What was that?  A blue light or something?  I digress.

I would give a $1,000,000 if there was a chance I could visit with my dad and Chris for just half an hour about how far photography has evolved.  

My dad, I am sure, would be fascinated by the fact that you can see the pictures instantly now-a-days.

Chris...he would have a blast with all the effects and filters and such.  He spent hours retouching photos.  We would have had so much more time to go to the Benchmark if he were here today.

As for me, I love the different filters, but sometimes the original picture is beautiful enough I can't bear to put a filter to it.

The following is one of my favorite filters...Cross Process Green.  I dont know why.

61015d.jpg

What about Orton?  One of the first I remember using.

I'm pretty sure both Chris and Dad would say, "Why are you taking pictures of meat and asparagus?"

To which I would answer, "It's not meat and asparagus!  It's beauty and nourishment and plenitude!!" or something equally as weird that they totally wouldn't understand.

Speaking of beauty...I LOVE this salad.  I eat it daily, lately.   

Now, the salad with Bokeh:

Wowza!  Totally not necessary, but cool none-the-less.  I love the Bokeh effect.

I think Dad and Chris would have liked all the new things we can do with editing.  I don't think they would have imagined that we would go from a picture you had to send off to be developed, waiting two weeks to see it only to find you got your t-shirt and jeans in the shot to instant fix photography.  

They would have been proud that my niece, Christi, also has a love for the craft.  I never understood f stop and aperture or exposure. Christi...now she could have really put to use the knowledge they had.

That stuff just went in one ear and out the other for me.  

I just wanted to take a dang picture!  And guess what!!  Now, I can!

Normal photography is great.

Ah, he is so adorable.  

But normal with the Tranquil filter, dark edges and a celebration theme...well...it's FUN!  

And we may or may not have had Rib-eye steak, Asparagus and Raspberry Spinach Salad for Milo's birthday.   Ha-Ha!  Just kidding...maybe.  :)

Photo Dump

Lots of pictures on the ol' SD card.  None of them are really related to each other nor is there rhyme or reason to them.

I lie!  More like I'm mistaken.  They are related.  They are pictures of things I love.  Pictures of the little moments in our lives.  Take this one, for instance:

Milo and Cheecho Boy looking out the window.  This was way back at the beginning of the year.  It warms my heart remembering how fascinated both of them were of the "outside world" haha.

I must admit...I miss this li'l man.  I mean that pretty literally.  I miss THAT kid.  The kid he was in this picture.

And this picture...

We were at the Toyota place.  Good ol' 5,000 mile service visit.  He played and kept himself occupied.  I watched in awe of his imagination and in fear of that moment he might turn into a brat.  But, he never did.  He listened and was very well behaved the whole time.  It took some time for us to trust ourselves to be able to handle the unpredictable behavior patterns of children and of this baby boy.  That is only after being incredibly overconfident the first time we took him out.  Fools, I tell you, we were fools.  

The very first time we took him out was the first weekend he was with us.  We took him to church.  I figured it was going to be a cinch.  It was not.  And, we are Catholic.  We have a "cry room" where we can take the children when they are restless and still participate in the Mass.  It was still a disaster.  Ronnie told me later that he could hear him crying all the way near the front where he was sitting, waiting for us.  When it came time to go to Communion, that little man decided he did not want to walk.  He turned into the Jello Boy - Jello Boy on a hot August afternoon.  He melted to the floor.  So, I carried him.  He was a heavy li'l guy even then.  Not only that, he was about half as long as I am tall.  Ay Chihuahua.  He struggled, cried, threw himself back.  Geez.  And, like a fool in denial, I wore heels.  Ronnie could not give me any relief because of his knees.  If the image seems funny to you, it really was.  If the image seems humiliating and sad, it really was.  Haha!

We made it a long way from the day he arrived to the day he left.  This series shows Ronnie "stealing his nose", teaching him "Bah" and them just holding hands.  Love.

Our hooligans.  Milo on the left and Mija-Bella on the the right.  Ronnie named her Mija, which is a Spanish term of endearment for daughters or little girls in general.  Our grandchildren came to town and quickly liberated her from the name Mija and bequeathed her the name Bella.  Hence, Mija-Bella.  Milo is sweet and fiesty, shy and loving, barky.  Mija-Bella is gentle-hearted yet wild, soulful yet wild, wildly intelligent yet wild.  You get it?  She is strong too!  But, dang we love her.  We love Milo too.  I didn't want to.  They both came along too soon after Jake's passing.  Too soon for Maggie Mae to be the head dog in charge as long as she deserved to be in charge.  But they are definitely our Babies now.

Milo playing "Cat-Dawg".

My incredible, incredible husband.  Don't get me wrong...I gripe at him, I make rude faces at him, I roll my eyes at him...I ride his ass more than I tell him or anybody else how incredible he is, but let me just say it again...My incredible husband.

A rare afternoon at the beach.  It was still early in the year and pretty chilly out there, but I was determined to go because it is so easy for us to let the days pass with out doing anything or without going anywhere.  It's too late, or too far, or gas costs too much to waste just to visit the beach, or I'm tired....  We have a jillion excuses not to do some things.  This day excuses didn't get in the way.  We are going back VERY SOON!!!

Along the same lines, my brother and his family live just a few minutes from us.  We rarely visit.  My cousins live about 20 minutes from us.  They visit a lot, us...rarely.  I guess we have become complacent.  But, this past Saturday this Li'l Lady, my cousins grand-daughter, had a birthday party and we attended.  Oh.em.gee.

That's it for now!

Msgr. Morgan Rowsome

I have had a heavy heart this past week.  I think a lot of the heaviness left me yesterday, via tears.  

This is what happened....

Last Saturday, Ronnie came home for lunch, as usual.  We ate, we visited and he went to sit on the sofa for a quick little snooze before going back to the job.  He motioned for me to go sit with him.  I joined him on the sofa.  He held me.  I could tell there was a serious thought he needed to express, but I thought it probably would be related to the sale of our house in Dickinson since we just put it on the market.

He started, "Pablo Hickey made a post on Facebook this morning.  Father Morgan was in a car accident on his way back to San Antonio from Corpus yesterday."  

My mind said, "Tears, stay where you are!!", but my heart sensed the weight to his tone.  It knew the strength in his embrace.  

He continued, "Father Morgan is no longer with us."

Period.  End.of.story.

My heart broke and sadness seeped in through the cracks of the broken pieces.

Of course, I asked for more details but he had none.  We sat in silence.

He went back to work and I spent the afternoon teary eyed, remembering our wonderful, joy-filled friend.  At that point they did not know if he had fallen asleep at the wheel or if perhaps he had a heart attack.  I prayed for him when I could, but I just couldn't stop thinking of him.

We later learned he had a heart attack as he was driving.  We were told that a minister passing by stopped to check on him.  She said they prayed the Lord's Pray and prayed some Psalms together.  The Bishop that delivered the Homily at his Mass comforted us, reminding us that God did not leave him (and does not leave us) at those last moments.  

I don't remember exactly how I found St. Peter, Prince of the Apostle Catholic church, but I do remember I fell in love with the parish the first time I went there.  It felt right and the more we attended the more we felt a part of the family.  I believe that not only was it Msgr. Morgan's love for God that made it feel that way, but also God's love that came through Msgr. Morgan.  It was abundant.

(source:  St. Peter, Prince of the Apostle Catholic Church Facebook page)

(source:  St. Peter, Prince of the Apostle Catholic Church Facebook page)

Msgr. Morgan was the priest that helped us prepare for marriage.  He kept a gentle hand on our paperwork as it went through the diocese in order for us to be married in the Catholic church.  Ronnie received his first Sacraments from him after RCIA.  He presided over our wedding.  He was the thread that weaved the spiritual moments of that time in our lives together.   

frmorgan53115
frmorganandus53115

I have never known such joy in a persons eyes and smile.  It definitely was the the joy of serving God.  

He loved to tell jokes!  

My favorite was of the two boys that were always getting into trouble.  Finally, one day their mother took them to talk to the priest, hoping he could help.  The priest called one brother into the office.  He asked him, 

"Where is Jesus?" The boy did not answer.  The priest asked again.

"Where is Jesus?"  Again, no answer.  

Again, "Where is Jesus?"

The little boy ran out of the office, grabbed his little brother and said,

"Come on, Jesus is missing and they think we took him!!"

I would love to ask him if I got it right, but at least, thankfully, I can still hear his Irish voice in my head and that beautiful laugh and smile he had.  

(Source:  Stella Hatch, St. Peter, Prince of the Apostle Catholic Church Facebook page)

(Source:  Stella Hatch, St. Peter, Prince of the Apostle Catholic Church Facebook page)

(Source:  St. Peter Prince of the Apostle Catholic Church Facebook page)

(Source:  St. Peter Prince of the Apostle Catholic Church Facebook page)

We went to his memorial in Corpus Christi, yesterday.

I was a wreck.  I cried through the whole Mass.  I already missed him so much and was so, so sad that I did not get to talk to him one last time.   We both loved him so much.  So many people loved him.  I was not the only one with out a dry eye.  He truly touched many.

I know he is with Jesus and I know he is watching over us.  I feel quite sure we now have a VERY powerful intercessor before God.  I wish he was in a hospital, recovering, but he isn't.  We may not understand but if I recall correctly he used to say "Only God knows."

He also used to say, "Have I told you lately, that I love you?"  Well, I know I had not told you lately, but I DO love you, Fr. Morgan.  You will always be in our hearts.  You will never be forgotten, of that you can be sure.  

Rest in peace, sweet servant of God.

Chicken, Again?

He usually likes almond flour chicken, but not what he was in the mood for tonight.  iphone pics not so great.

"Hmmm...maybe if i say 'hocus pocus' it will change into pepperoni pizza...".

"Nope.  Still chicken.  Maybe if I try, 'Abracadabra!'".

"Oh well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Matagorda, Texas

I bet you wonder what we will blog about when this little guy goes home.  I wonder too.

Yesterday, Saturday, was the laziest day ever...for all of us.

We were up early to try and secure some good tickets to the Matagorda County Livestock Show and Rodeo, so it kind of threw us all off kilter.  Even the little guy.

He would play a while and then act like he was just plain bored.  I would say, "Ya wanna go watch cartoons?" and he would run around gathering the favorite toys of the day and head for the back room, straight to his bed.  

We watched TV, napped and just lazed around in general.

So, today we thought we would go ahead and get him out and about.

02_22_15n.jpg

Off, to Matagorda we went.  It is amazing what a little beach, sun and family can do for the soul.  

Mom went with us.  The boy played and ran and stepped in fire ants.  

Only a few takes before we got a really good one, haha.

We ended the trip with dinner at La Casona.  They love this boy over there.  They are always so sweet to him.  We give every waitress the option of taking him home.  No takers yet. 

Yeah...I'm just joking about that.

"Hot Diggity Dog"

This little guy is fixin' to be two.

He had just gotten his hair cut.  I tried once before to cut his hair with the clippers but just the sound of the clippers resulted in resistance.

Did I say resistance?  I meant screaming and tears.  He wouldn't even let the clippers close to him.  Have you ever seen The Blob or a similar scary movie?  One of those where the actors place their arms over their head trying to protect themselves from the inevitable, mouth wide open, screaming, terror in the eyes.  

Yeah...that was him.

So, this time I quietly pulled out the comb and scissors, gave him an item he had been hankering for and clipped away while he was sitting in his eating chair.  The result was not perfect, but it was one I could live with...for about a minute.  

A few days later the unevenness of the front of his hair was too much for me to bear.  

Out came the scissors.  

He was on to me.  

I went to the left, he went to the right.  When I finally did grab some hair the hands flew up in defense.  Eventually, though, I cut.  Gaps, mostly.  

I conceded.

His birthday is Wednesday, but we had a little party for him this past Thursday.  

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Meeska Mooska Mickey Mouse!  M-i-c-k-e-y  M-o-u-s-e.   It isn't M-i-c  K-e-y  M-o-u-s-e, anymore.    Nope, it's, M-i-c-k-e-y  M-o-u-s-e.  

Glad we got that straight.   

Anyhoo...there were hamburgers, hot dogs, cake, Mickey ears, goodies, presents, the Hot Dog Dance!

OK, we didn't do the Hot Dog Dance, but a girl can dream, cant she?

We prepared all day, because I am a procrastinator.  My husband is the champion of husbands.  We were both worn out, knees hurtin' by the end of the day.  We did our best to wear out my Mama too.  

We were so tired that by the time it came time to open presents, we forgot to give him ours.

A Mickey Mouse chair.

Although, I think we could have just ordered the box.

In the end, it was fun to see the family.  The boy received some sweet presents and we wound the night down quietly and peacefully, with love in our hearts and blessed to be able to bring some joy to this little Cheecho-Boy.

What more could a girl ask for?

That's right!!  The Hot Dog Dance!

 

 

Ode to Maggie Mae

O, Maggie Mae,

You're as golden as the sunshine.

O, Maggie Mae,

You're as fine as any wine.

O, Maggie Mae, 

I'm so grateful, so grateful,

for the day God made you mine.

IMG_2170.JPG

I've been sitting here several minutes trying to figure out whether or not to write something or just post a few pics of our sweet Maggie.

My Take

It isn't as if there isn't plenty to write about this ol' girl.  
Like the day I picked her out of the litter.  She was the only one really hanging around me.  The others were playing and chasing each other, but not Maggie.  Maggie was nipping at my heels, running around my feet as I walked.  I thought for sure that was a sign, and it was...it was a sign that she was going to be a wild child.
Oh, Maggie...she was a stubborn one.  We would take her out to potty and stand and stand and....  Maggie would not "go".  She sniffed and played, but she never pottied...until we went inside.  Then it was straight for the carpet the first minute we took our eyes off of her.  It's funny now.  
Maggie loved to wrap the house in toilet paper. Ronnie and I both had the pleasure of jobs that allowed us to come and go when we wanted.  So, we would leave Maggie inside knowing we could go check on her in a couple of hours.  Sometimes we would forget to close the doors to the bathrooms.  We would come home to toilet paper everywhere, especially wrapped around our little fur ball.  She so loved mischievousness!
She mellowed as she got older.  She was such a sweet girl.  I never even realized she was getting older.  It wasn't until my niece asked "why is her face so much whiter than the rest of her? Has it always been that way?" Then it hit me, she's eleven years old - almost twelve.
She was very healthy and active until her eleventh year.  She was still full of vim and vigor, but we knew she had a growth in her abdomen.  Ultimately, it came time to consider, then make the decision.  As always, it broke our hearts.  
Dr. Muegge and her assistant, Austin, from  Bay City Veterinary Clinic  came out to our house so we wouldn't have to put Maggie through the discomfort of getting in the car and all.  I can not say enough about how grateful we are that they offer that service.  And, they were so caring and compassionate.  They did everything they could to take any unbearable part of the process of our shoulders.  

We love you Maggie Mae.



Adventure at La Casona

We took this little guy out to eat today.

And boy was he ready!  The weather has been so cold and yuk in general that he has spent quite a bit of time inside.  

He knows when we put pants and shoes on him he is going on an adventure!  He takes in every moment.  And we take in every moment with him.  You probably won't see the moments when he is crying or when I am screaming or when....

Luckily, all went well today.  We forgot the diaper bag.  We forgot a toy for entertainment.  We forgot the ever lovin' sippee cup.  I am kind of surprised we did not forget the kid.  Who could forget this adorable, little man?  We were going to get his hair cut today, but it just did not happen.

He is really getting to be an expert on eating with a spoon.  He enjoyed the red hot sauce but would not try the green sauce.  The green sauce is my favorite.  

This is what we call La Casona Bliss.  

Actually...we call it "cheesin' it up".

 

The Birthday Lady

I actually wrote this post on January 11.  But I have been trying to update the blog to a new version of Square Space and for some reason the original post wont show.  I'll get the kinks worked out, though.  So just pretend its Sunday, January 11th for a minute:

It's Sunday night.  The house is becoming very quiet.  I can feel the peace of night-time setting in. I try to get my thoughts in order as the sounds of the baby laughing and playing in his bed gently travel to my subconscious from the back of the house.  My heart smiles at the sound of his laughter and the thought of the smile on his face.  Ronnie sits behind me looking for something to watch on TV and I am here, in front of the computer, trying to figure out where to begin.  

There has not been a post to Casa Causpanic since May or so and not one for almost a year before that.  It is difficult to begin writing again.  As I read back on our posts, it seems like a different life, different people, a different me, for sure.  It is a good different though, on all counts.  A different I like.    

One thing that is not different is the cadence of life.  Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, birthdays, holidays...all the things that drive us through the year. We move through one event, savoring the blessing of the moment and then looking forward to the next.  Today's event:  my mama's birthday.  We celebrated a little differently this year, so no pics. All the photos are from last years birthday party...that I never got around to posting.

I know everyone says this, but I have the most incredible mother.  I feel lucky to have realized at a very young age how much my parents meant to me.  They both were strength and faith and love and loyalty.  Oh yeah, they fought and annoyed each other, but they did so knowing one would never leave the other.  I digress, but it is hard to describe my mom without including my dad because they were one to me.

momsbday11114.jpg

My mom....she is strength and fun and friendship.  She is full of opinions and advice.  She is encouragement.  She has faith in me.  She calls me out on my bratty behavior.  She consoles me and makes me laugh.  She LOVES to watch the news and QVC and HSN.  She has strong political views and I really think it hurts her when we don't see things the same way.  And although she is strong, I feel a fragility from her, at times, and it melts my heart.  I love her dearly and I am so very grateful God blessed me with this beautiful spirit as a mother.  

1_11_15.jpg

She had a great day.  My brother and his family went to visit her and I know she cherished that moment.  It was weird not celebrating as a family, but the weather has been trying to beat us down with the cold and the rain.  Mom just didn't want to get out in it.  So, I guess everyone went to her.  Ronnie, RJ and I went this evening.  We took her some good ol' Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Christi joined us at Mama's table and we enjoyed the meal as we talked and laughed at RJ's little ways.  It was not a spectacular 82nd celebration, but it was one that made her happy.  That is all that counts, no?

I'm glad to have gotten this first post under my belt after so much time of not posting. I am not going to go over it or rehash it or analyze it.  I am just going to post it and see what tomorrow brings to mind.  I love you my Mama!