Friday, December 12, 2008

2008 Leo Christmas newsletter

Dear loved ones, Merry Christmas, everyone! What an amazing year this has been, full of the Lord’s blessings and joys, and even some unexpected surprises. We hope your year has been blessed as well, and that you’re already enjoying the season and its reason. We are happy to announce that our family expanded again on August 27 with the birth of Leo Joshua Wiese, who entered the world at 7 lb. 9 oz. and 19¾ “ long. He is a beautiful, healthy, robust young man who captured our hearts from the moment we first saw him. Erika and Josh are instinctively great parents already, and they are unabashedly in love with their son. We are all enjoying our family’s first baby boy and the promise of trucks, trains, cars, sports, and dirt to come. In early April, our 9th family member is due—Jenni’s and Dave’s little boy or girl. Again, they’ve chosen not to find out the baby’s sex, and we’re all looking forward to meeting the next Leo grandchild. Zoey will turn 2 on Dec. 28 and is very enamored with her cousin Leo, so we have no doubts she’ll be an excellent, loving, helpful big sister. She is such a sweet little girl, funny and bright, and it’s an amazing experience to once again discover the world through the senses of this unconditionally loving child. Best of all, she LOVES her Papa and Didi! Our first surprise of the year was new kitchen appliances! We had talked on and off for several years about replacing our 24-year-old original appliances, but they just wouldn’t die. We finally just decided to go ahead and do it, replacing our dishwasher, oven, microwave, and cooktop with stainless steel gas cooktop, double ovens, over-the-cooktop microwave, and large-capacity dishwasher. It’s like a whole new kitchen, and I love cooking more than ever. Now we just need to accelerate the demise of “Gordo” (Tony’s term), our huge white refrigerator, so we can replace it with a smaller, stainless steel model, although Gordo is showing no signs of slowing down. Humphh. Our second, even more significant, surprise was Tony’s retirement from IBM in April after 34½ years! He wasn’t completely ready to retire, but things were getting more and more difficult at work, and his blood pressure was steadily climbing, so he decided it was time to leave on his terms. He was fully vested, and pensions had been frozen at the end of last year, so there really wasn’t much of an incentive to stay. He has fully embraced retirement, enjoying the ability to increase his running program, helping me around the house A LOT, and engaging in lots of projects he never had time for before. He also recently completed the H&R Block tax preparation course, so in January he will be working part time for Block. I’m still working from home as a medical transcriptionist and plan to continue at least until we are eligible for Social Security. I still love my work very much, although I can no longer type a full 8 hours a day because of my troublesome wrists. One of these days the pain will get bad enough for me to seek treatment, and then hopefully I’ll get back to full-time typing. I’m also working a few hours a month at the Curves where I work out, one Saturday morning and an occasional evening as needed. I love being part of the Curves sisterhood! In September, my sister Lisa, our cousin Pat, and I surprised our sister Alix with a 50th birthday trip to New York City. We had a ball together, and the most fun part of all was watching Alix as surprise after surprise was revealed to her. We took the “Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour”, saw “Wicked”, wandered through the Festival of San Gennaro in Little Italy, ate plenty of NY deli and Italian, and worshipped Sunday morning at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, home of the famous gospel choir. What an awesome experience it was to praise the Lord in harmony with our multicultural, multiracial sisters and brothers! It was a memorable trip for all of us, and the most wonderful time of sisterly bonding. This Christmas will be a little different for our family. Jenni, Dave, and Zoey, as well as Erika, Josh, and Leo, will be spending Christmas with their other families, so Tony and I have decided to take Millie in the Suburban and head down to Corpus Christi for a few days. We’ve never been to the Texas coast, and Millie has never been to the beach, so we’re hoping for a good time of R&R. Of course, we first need to find a hotel near the beach amenable to a very energetic, 80-pound, 17-month-old Great Dane mix puppy. No problem, right? I’d better get working on that right now. Here are some fun family blog sites to peruse when you have the time and inclination. There are many great pictures and diaries of what’s been going on in our respective families: (Mona’s blog) (Jenni’s, Dave’s, and Zoey’s blog) (Alix’s blog) (Mona’s e-mail) (Tony’s e-mail) May the joy of the season bless you and yours with much health and happiness. Christ is born!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008!!!

We had a wonderful time with the entire family on Thanksgiving Day. We started the day with our 11th annual Dallas Turkey Trot, Zoey's second and Leo's first. The weather was perfect for a brisk 5k walk with more than 34,000 of our closest friends. :) After working up quite an appetite, we continued our TD tradition with breakfast at IHOP, followed by relaxation, football, and later dinner at Jenni's and Dave's. Here's a little sample of the day in pictures. The first one features Tony with Millie at the start of the race, Erika and Josh with Leo in his stroller, and the top of Zoey's face in the corner. The next picture was taken later in the day at the Cribbies', with Zoey adoring her little cousin Leo. Then there's our official Turkey Trot photo in our race day shirts. Finally, do click on the video of Leo cooing and talking to his bouncy seat friends. Precious!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Autumn in Texas (sung to the tune of "Springtime for Hitler" from "The Producers")

Yeah, I know it's been a long time since I've posted. In fact, my sister Alix, blogger extraordinaire, gently reminded me of the fact last week. I've been really busy, and there hasn't really been anything earthshattering to blog about. We've had our two days of fall, and the leaves were quite pretty during those two days. We'll never have the gorgeous lush colors of upstate New York, where I grew up, but we do get a little color here in Texas. I took a few pictures on one of my walks with Millie last week, so here are a couple for you to enjoy. I have a ton of new pictures--here's the link to Flickr--and you can just imagine the primary subjects of said photos. Good guess -- Zoey and Leo, of course. Zoey is at such a fun age, and she loves to cooperate with a family of amateur photographers. Leo is getting to be such a chunk, so adorable! He's 2 1/2 months old now and is smiling and "talking" all the time. There's a problem with his photos, though. His eyes are so big and clear blue that even with red eye adjustments, his eyes always look sinister. They're really beautiful, but unless the flash is off, they glow red or white. We're all getting excited about the approaching holidays. We'll all be together for Thanksgiving, and we'll start the day with the Dallas Turkey Trot as usual, then do dinner and football later on at Jenni's and Dave's. We'll probably be scattered for Christmas, and it's wonderful that our kids can spend holidays with other family members. Tony and I are very happy with any times we're all able to be together, and we certainly don't mind "sharing"!! In a few weeks, start watching for the annual Leo family Christmas newsletter, which I'll post here. In the meantime, be sure to check Jenni's and Alix's blogs for fun stuff and photos.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Zoey spins!

We had a little family gathering at Jenni's and Dave's for the Steelers game (which they won--YAY!!!) this past Monday night, and Zoey was in rare form. She had eaten a good dinner and was very wound up. My sister Lisa always called this "roach mode" when her kids were little. When they're winding down toward bed time, they start acting like dying cockroaches, spinning and wearing themselves out. The video is in two parts because it was accidentally stopped during recording, so watch the first one, then the second. Don't I have the absolutely most adorable grandchildren ever?!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Warski Women Take New York By Storm!

I had planned on writing a large journal entry about our wonderful NY trip, but my sister Alix, blogger extraordinaire, got to it first. Hers is so good I'm mainly going to just defer to it, I did post a bunch of photos on Flickr, though, which pretty much go along with Alix's chronicle. Basically, my sister Lisa and I planned a surprise trip to NY as a 50th birthday gift for Alix, and happily, our cousin Pat joined the fun. The surprise was a total success, and we sisters and cousins enjoyed each other thoroughly for three full days. Do visit Alix's blog for the whole narrative. It's long but very enjoyable, particularly because it's from Alix's perspective, and she reveals the multiple surprises as they were revealed to her. The weekend left all four of us hungry for more bonding time, so I have a feeling we'll be planning another trip together in the near future.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Please join me in welcoming..........

......... Leo Joshua Wiese!!! Our beautiful grandson was born yesterday at 9:09 p.m. He weighs 7 lb 9 oz and is 19 3/4" long. We couldn't be prouder of Erika, who worked very hard all day to produce this little miracle, and Josh, who heartily devoted himself to the coaching role of a lifetime. We are so pleased and proud that they chose our family surname to be their son's given name!
Jenni chronicled Erika's labor and delivery all day long on her blog, so if you'd like to read about it, go to Here are a close up of little Leo, a picture of the happy Wiese family, and a little video clip of Leo getting checked in Erika's room, with Josh's mom Kit looking on. There are more photos on Flickr.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

She's home!!!

Our Zoey left a baby and came back a little girl!! I can't believe how much she changed in just 3 months. Her summer at Kanakuk was full, fun, and exciting this year. She was constantly surrounded by kids and young adults who loved and cared for her, and of course her mama and daddy were never far away. They spent lots of time with her every day, and when they had to work at their kamp duties, Zoey was in the very capable hands of her summer babysitters, Miss Katie and Miss Olivia. Every day Zoey and her little friend, Mylee, would enjoy great adventures at the lake, in the pool, on the trampoline, etc. Once a week, the Cribbs family would have a 24-hour break from kamp in Branson. At almost 20 months, this little girl is quite the traveler, and she adapted so well to every situation. Jenni has lots of kamp adventures and photos on her blog, so be sure to check it out. Zoey's Papa and I are so so so so so glad she's back. We missed her so much! Oh, and Zoey is going to be a big sister in early April, so next summer we'll have TWO Cribblets to miss. I see a drive to Kanakuk in the future! There are 47 new photos posted on Flickr.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy 1st birthday, Millie!!!

Those of you who know us will understand that there have been many times during this past year when we weren't entirely sure that Millie would make it to her first birthday. She is, to put it mildly, a very challenging dog. She's sweet and loving, but she has a very strong alpha personality, and she seems to think she's in charge. Even Lucy, our Rottweiler, never seemed to be as alpha as Millie. But we are persevering, and every day is a little better. I guess I expected the Great Dane in her genetic makeup to outshine whatever her dad's breed contributed, but I think she's a daddy's girl. From Millie's appearance, he must have been some kind of shepherd or shepherd mix. She now weighs 75 pounds and has nearly stopped growing. We're taking obedience classes, and while she hasn't yet been kicked out of class, she's not exactly valedictorian. I'm hoping the classes will help me understand and work with her. There's a lot of prayer involved as well.
Family update: baby boy Wiese is right on target, with about 4 weeks to go. He weighs about 6 pounds and is head down, ready to launch. We're all getting very excited! Jenni, Dave, and Zoey will be home from kamp in 2 weeks, and we are very ready for them to be 30 minutes away rather than 8 hours away. Zoey has really grown up over the past 3 months, and it will be fun for all of us to get to know each other again. Tony is still loving retirement, and I'd better quit this and get back to work!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Meet me in St. Louis, Millie

Last month we took a quick road trip to St. Louis to visit Tony's family. It was Millie's first long car trip and first formal visit. While she was not on her best behavior, she did as well or better than expected. At almost 11 months now, she's finally starting to settle down a little. The photo to the left was taken at Tony's old high school, which is right behind his mom's house, where we took the Millinator to let off some energy. The rest of the pictures are on Flickr. We had a nice visit with Tony's mom, brother, sister, niece, grandnieces, and other assorted family members. The drive was pleasant except for about an hour and a half on the way home in a raging thunderstorm. Millie did great in the car during the 600+ miles each way. We had wanted to stop at K-7 to visit Jenni, Dave, and Zoey, but it didn't work out this year with the kamp schedule. I almost cried both times when we passed the turnoff to Kanakuk. But it's now less than 2 months before they come back home, and baby Wieselet is due right around the same time. We have much to be excited about and thankful for.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Now I'm in the advertising business.

A few weeks ago, I had an intriguing email from an unknown entity named Al Malekovic. Apparently he had found my blog, and he had an interesting proposal for me. His company, Country Bob's, makes an assortment of sauces and seasonings, and he asked if I'd review his all-purpose sauce if he sent me some. Before I agreed, I did as much homework as I could, and I concluded that this was a legitimate offer. So I received my two bottles of Country Bob's All-Purpose Sauce and proceeded to incorporate the sauce into my cooking. The sauce is delicious. It's a combination barbecue/sweet 'n' sour sauce, with a kick. We've tried it on hamburgers, both during cooking and afterward, and on steak. Most recently, I made a batch of my sauteed mushrooms/onions/barely wilted spinach, and I stirred in some Country Bob's right before serving. YUM!! It really is all purpose. I may try it on chocolate cake next. Okay, that was a stretch, but I will definitely use it in lots of dishes.

The really neat part of all this is that Al and I emailed back and forth a bit, and he's a really cool guy. His company's motto is "Christ is our C.E.O.", which was enough for me to give him a chance, even though he was a perfect stranger. Well, he's a stranger no more, and if we're ever in the Centralia, IL area, we'll meet him in person.

Country Bob's products are widely available in grocery stores. You can check everything out, including a list of places to buy the products, at
Update 6/30/08: I just got back from Wal-Mart, and I found Country Bob's All-Purpose Sauce with the barbecue sauces and marinades. Good thing, because I'm almost ready to start pouring it over ice and drinking it. Last night I sauteed some shrimp with garlic and broccoli in olive oil, and right before serving, I dashed on a good bit of Country Bob's and stirred it in. It was delicious! My sister Alix has also blogged about this sauce, and she said there are bunches of recipes on the Country Bob's website. She said the meatloaf is to die for. I'm going to try it soon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Baa the way........

My friend, Fran, has a small farm on a street not far from our house where I walk Millie every day. She has pet sheep who love bread, so I make special trips to the Mrs. Baird's bread store in Lewisville to buy big bags of expired and/or crushed bread to feed them. They are so sweet and tame, and they eat the bread right out of my hand. The original six, shown in the picture with Zoey from December, are named Ramago, Chocolate, Half n Half, Ewenice, Ewehaul, and Ewenique. All the females have "ewe" in their names--so cute! This week, Fran got 3 more of the "black bottom" variety, a mother and 2 babies: Sheba, Mark, and Rachel. They're still a little shy, but I'm plying them with bread, so it probably won't take them long to join the hungry throng at the fence. Some of the older ones have become so bold as to jump up on the fence if the bread isn't coming quickly enough. I know, I really need to get a life. Zoey loves them, and every time she stays with us, we make a trip to see the sheep, cows, horses, chickens, and turkey that reside on this particular street. It's country in the city, and we're very glad to live so close to this peaceful agrarian oasis.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A baby shower for Erika

Last Saturday, May 3, 2008, we had Erika's first baby shower. Jenni wanted to be able to give her sister a shower before she left for Kanakuk for the summer, since Baby Boy Wiese is due right around the time the Cribbs family returns from Kamp in August. The shower brunch was hosted by Jenni and Erika's friends Amy Cheatham (at her house), Sarah Valor, Charla Dixon, Shannon Flanagan, and me. Sarah, Charla, and Shannon are treasured college friends of Erika, and they were her bridesmaids. Amy lives behind Erika and Josh, and her husband Dennis works with Josh at Irving Bible Church. We had a great time of fellowship and wonderful food, and Erika received a ton of gifts for the Wieselet. She now has many of the important items she will need when she and Josh bring their son home for the first time. Thanks to everyone who participated in the shower and honored Erika in such a kind and generous fashion. Enjoy the pictures posted on Flickr.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Adieu, Big Blue!

On April 30, 2008, Tony became an IBM retiree after 34 1/2 years with the company. It was a bittersweet farewell. He wasn't really ready to retire, but he felt led in that direction. He's still in the "I'm on vacation" phase of his first week of retirement, and so far he hasn't bugged me too much :) . Seriously, he's been helping me with chores and honey-do's around the house. I'm nowhere near ready to quit working, and it's nice having him home with me, knowing he's just in the next room, playing with Millie. Our kids recently gave us a nice barbecue at Erika's and Josh's in celebration of Tony's retirement, my birthday, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. We had to combine the events because Jenni, Dave, and Zoey will be leaving for Kanakuk in a couple of weeks, and we were running out of time. Here are some pictures from the party--the rest of the pictures are on Flickr.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A week with Zoey

Tony and I had the greatest privilege a few weeks ago when we took care of Zoey for a whole week while our kids took a Caribbean cruise together. It was a wonderful experience, and Zoey made it fun and easy. She's such a good baby, and she loves to entertain us with her antics. She soaks up new experiences like a sponge. We didn't do a whole lot, but I made sure we got out somewhere every day, just for a change of scenery. She ate well, slept well, and never gave us any indication that she was lonely for her parents. I'm sure she was, but she didn't act it. I documented the entire week for Jenni and Dave in pictures, so click on the Flickr link to see the chronology. There are 6 full pages of photos. Yes, I got carried away, but she's so darn cute and photogenic! I warned you I was going to be an obnoxious grandmother. It was so good to be able to help our kids take a well deserved vacation. They had always wanted to cruise together, and with Erika's and Josh's baby due in 3 1/2 months, this was a good opportunity for them to get away before their lives change in August. They all had a great time and came back tanned and relaxed. Check Jenni's blog, The Cribbies, for lots of pictures and narrative of their cruise.

Friday, April 11, 2008

An exciting time!

Erika and Josh had their 20-week prenatal ultrasound this past Monday, and they were sweet to invite both Josh's mom, Kit, and me to join them. It was such a thrill to meet our new grandchild before his birth. Yes, I said HIS!!! It's a boy!!! At the halfway point of his gestation, the baby is perfectly whole and beautiful, even though at his present size of about 6", he would fit in the palm of an adult hand. God is SO GOOD!! It was amazing to see such evidence of His perfect handiwork. We are all very excited at the prospect of having a precious little boy in the family. It will be a new experience, as until now we have basically been a family of girls. My friend Terry says little boys are born making truck noises! I can't wait to be a part of the world of little boys. Here are two pictures of happy Erika and Josh with their ultrasound pictures shortly after the exam.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter 2008

I thought I'd show a little comparison between Zoey last Easter and Zoey this Easter, nearly a year later. At nearly 15 months, she's so aware of everything, and she really enjoyed her first Easter egg hunt yesterday afternoon. Whenever we get together, Zoey agreeably provides all the entertainment. There's a little video clip to watch (click "play" twice), and I've posted some more pictures on Flickr. Enjoy!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

global warming debunked

I took this from our front porch at about 3:00 p.m. today. We haven't had the first snowflake all winter, and this week, the first week of March, we've had snow twice! Crazy Texas weather! Today's snowfall is much heavier than Monday's, and it's supposed to snow all night. The weather reports predict four to six inches before it's over. Of course, then it will warm up quickly, and everything will be melted in a day or so. Still, it's so much fun to have such pretty, pristine, fluffy white snow. We're enjoying it! (You'll probably have to click on the PLAY button twice to activate the video.) You can also check out Jenni's blog for more pictures. They had 9 inches!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A joyous announcement!

We are thrilled to announce that our daughter, Erika, and her husband, Josh, will be making Tony and me grandparents again in August--on or around the 24th! We feel so very blessed to be anticipating this first Wiese baby. Erika is feeling great, and baby Wiese (who I'm calling The Wieselet, and Josh's mom, Kit, is calling Baby Miracle) is thriving and growing. Erika is using the same midwife, Heather, that Jenni used, and she's wonderful. Of course, I'll keep the blog posted on The Wieselet's progress, along with that of happy and excited cousin Zoey. Here's a picture of Josh and Erika from Christmas.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lap puppy

Here are a couple of new pictures of Millie, age 6 1/2 months. She's well over 60 pounds now, but she still thinks she's a tiny puppy. Normally she enjoys spending evenings curled up on Tony's lap, but once in a while I can coax her to sit on mine. It's challenging to cuddle with her and still maintain circulation in the legs. Zoey thinks Millie is her own personal pony!

Monday, February 4, 2008

We've moved!! (just kidding)

Tony and I just had our living room painted, and I want to share the pictures with you. There's such a difference! For almost 24 years we've loved and lived with our lovely oak picture frame paneling, but it was always so dark in the living room. The past 10+ years, we've considered having the paneling painted, but it was such a big step. More and more of our neighbors were doing it, and we finally decided to take the plunge. Here are three "before" pictures for comparison.

Now, here are the "after" pictures. Big difference, right? We love it! It feels like a whole new house. Amazing what a little paint and prep can do for a room. The pictures don't really show how pretty it is.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Zoey walks!!!

The kids were over last night for a little while. We had such a good time watching Zoey zooming around the living room. She's been gradually walking more and more, gaining confidence and balance. I took two small video clips with my still camera, so I'm going to try to post them and see what happens. (I think you'll have to click on the "play" arrows twice to activate the videos.) As you can see, we are enjoying this little girl's every new achievement. This grandparenting thing is awesome!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Christmas 2007 and Zoey's 1st birthday

We had a wonderful Christmas! Besides seeing the holidays through the eyes of our first grandchild, Zoey, we also had the pleasure of having family come to town. My sister, Lisa, husband Bob, children Erin and Kyle, and Erin's boyfriend Maury, spent four great days here, and Dave's dad, Don, spent a week getting reaquainted with his granddaughter. We packed as much as we could into the days we had together. Of course, the main attraction of the Christmas visit was Zoey, and as you can see below, Lisa was in baby heaven. Zoey loved all the extra attention. In fact, once everyone had gone home after Christmas, she was quite unhappy as things returned to normal. But she soon became preoccupied with new things in her life, like taking her first steps, learning baby sign language, and figuring out that all those vowels and consonants can be used for communication. Naturally, I think she's a genius!

Three days after Christmas, Zoey celebrated her first birthday. Jenni made a 3-layer cake, reserving the top layer for Zoey to dissect. Zoey had never had sweets before, so she wasn't too sure what to do with the cake, and she didn't really love the taste. By the time she was finished digging into it, she was covered in chocolate, and Jenni just scooped her up and plopped her into the tub, clothes and all. Of course, the adults had much more fun watching her than the birthday girl herself.
Zoey's birthday was also Millie's 5-month birthday, so I thought I'd include a picture of the growing girl, too. She's still very sweet but is still very much a puppy, only now she's so big it's hard to remember how young she really is. She'll be spayed on Jan. 14, and we're hoping she might begin to settle down a bit. She has almost all her "big girl" teeth now, so when she teethes on our hands and arms, we have to encourage her to be gentle. If she gets excited and starts biting, it's like an attack from "Jaws". She's about 50 pounds and lives for mealtimes.
Check Flickr for lots of new pictures!