Thursday, December 10, 2009

Leo Family Christmas Newsletter 2009

Dear family and friends, Once again it’s time to share news from this past year. We have been so abundantly blessed through a wide variety of experiences and events. We had some family milestones in 2009. Our baby, Erika, turned 30 in February, Tony and I celebrated #35 in April, and he turned 60 in November. But first and foremost, our precious granddaughter, Ruby Ellen Cribbs, was born March 21. She was 2 weeks early but was completely healthy, weighing in at 8 lbs 8 oz. She is a little doll and has joyfully enriched these past 8 months with her presence. Zoey (who turns 3 on Dec. 28) is a wonderful big sister, and she and Ruby clearly adore each other. As Ruby matures, she looks less and less like Zoey and is her own little person. She has Zoey’s coloring but her features are Dave’s, whereas Zoey more resembles Jenni. Dave is nearly finished with grad school. He’s 9 credit hours from his masters in engineering. We’re all very proud of him, teaching AP physics all day plus coordinating his school’s award-winning robotics program, then going to the University of North Texas 2 nights a week and finding enough time to study and work on projects. He’s also an amazing dad. Jenni continues to love being a mom. She’s very content, creative, and organized, making motherhood look easy. Zoey is extremely bright and funny, curious and charming, and very logical for her age. Ruby keeps us all smiling as she grows and develops. Her latest trick is pulling herself up on anything available, then grinning with pride at her achievements. Erika, Josh, and Leo are also doing great. Leo is nearly 16 months old and is all boy. He really keeps us entertained with his noises and adorable personality. He melts our hearts with his sweet smile, endless chatter, and big blue eyes. Tony and I had the privilege of keeping Leo for 5 days recently while Erika and Josh took a trip to Washington, D.C. for some R&R, and Leo did great. We enjoyed having him so much. Josh continues to amaze with his graphic design ability and genius, and he is much appreciated at Irving Bible Church where he is on staff. Both he and Erika are fantastic parents. They weathered a pretty tough storm around this time last year. They had gone to Round Rock (near Austin) to spend Christmas with Josh’s family, and when they returned home, they found water running down their driveway. A piece had broken off one of their toilets, and the entire house was flooded. They spent several months dealing with insurance adjustors and contractors, and although the process was grueling, their house turned out better than ever. As a result, we all learned to turn off the water to our houses when we go out of town! Tony, Millie, and I also headed south for Christmas last year, to Corpus Christi. It was a different way to spend Christmas, but with all the kids out of town we needed a diversion. Christmas Day we intended to head north to see the lighthouse on Matagorda Island, but there was so much fog that we couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces, so we headed south instead to Padre Island for a glimpse at the Gulf of Mexico. Millie wasn’t impressed with the ocean at all, but she rather liked the seagulls. We didn’t travel a lot this year, but we did have a wonderful week in Jacksonville in July. It was so great to be able to spend so much time with family, and my dear friend Jan and her husband Bob drove down from Hampstead, NC to spend a few days with us. We spent time at the beach, on the Deasons’ boat, and at the assisted living facility where Aunt Olga Presowitz now resides. Lisa moved her to Florida from New York State after injuries sustained in a fall made it clear she could no longer live alone. She’s doing great at 87, and she enjoys being close to family again. In August, my sisters Lisa and Alix, niece Erin and I met at Aunt Olga’s house in Endicott, NY to liquidate the contents of her house and get it ready for its new owner. It was a bittersweet time of memories and fun being together, but it was hard saying goodbye to the haven we had known and loved for over 45 years. Amazingly enough, because of all the preliminary work Lisa had done when she went up to collect Auntie several months earlier, we were able to successfully empty and clean the house top to bottom in a week. We were also able to visit with some folks we hadn’t seen in years, and that was the icing on the cake. By the time you read this, Tony and Dave will have completed the White Rock 1/2 Marathon (13.1 miles) in Dallas, coming up on December 13. Another retirement advantage has been the gift of time to increase his running and train for some of the races he’s been yearning to run over the past years. Jenni and the girls and I will be there to cheer on our men as they cross the finish line. I’ll try to post race photos on my blog and on Facebook. We hope all of you have a blessed Christmas season, and that your new year is full of every good thing. “For unto us a Child is born; unto us a Son is given.” Wishing you love, hope, and joy, Mona and family

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy 60th birthday, Tony!!

I hope you have the best birthday ever, honey! I love you so much, and you are the best husband, father, grandfather, friend, and Godly head of our family that I could ever ask for. May we celebrate many, many more birthdays together with our family, and may God bless you abundantly today and every day. We are going to have so much fun next December when I take you to New York City for your belated birthday present. I hope it's cold and white, with a million twinkle lights reflected off the snow. What a good time we'll have with my sisters and their husbands, seeing the Radio City Christmas show, taking a horsedrawn carriage ride in Central Park, looking at the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and the beautifully decorated store windows, and cuddling in our warm, toasty room after long days of walking and sightseeing! I'm excited that we have a whole year to plan and look forward to the trip. Happy. happy birthday!! (With all the pictures I take of the grandkids, I never seem to take many of us. This one is from our trip to Corpus Christi last Christmas. Remember all the fog?)

Monday, September 14, 2009


Sometimes it's not a terrible thing to have to get up several times a night to deal with a 59-year-old bladder. Last night, somewhere between 1:15 and 4:45 a.m., we lost power. I immediately set my cell phone alarm so we wouldn't oversleep. Then, being wide awake, I started worrying about all the food in our fridge/freezer. Of course, I had done the week's grocery shopping yesterday afternoon. Unlike the rest of my family, we do not live in a hurricane-prone area, so power outages are not routine. If we do have a power outage during a major storm, it usually doesn't last long. In our assessment of the situation, Tony checked the circuit breaker box to make certain the problem didn't originate there. Nope, everything good. So it was time to call the power company. Let me tell you that they were uber responsive. I'm not kidding. They were out in our alley within an hour of our call with 3 huge trucks and a team of professionals. They removed the cover from the transformer (?? not my area of expertise) box and immediately diagnosed the problem, which affected about 8 homes in our immediate vicinity. Fire ants. Yep. Apparently because of the record-setting rainfall we've had during the past 4 days, those pesky critters have been flooded out of their normal abodes and have begun to take up residence in such toney digs as transformer boxes. Being hungry as well as homeless, they start eating wiring, conduit, etc, causing blackouts in the neighborhood. The guys from the power company said they see it all the time. They had the problem fixed in a couple hours, and we're back up and running. Whew. It seemed like days, but we were only without power for about 7-8 hours. The food in the fridge is fine. My panic at not being able to work has abated. Speaking of which, better get going. So, FYI, next time your power goes out, don't discount the possibility of fire ants as the source. I never would have believed it had it not happened to us.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Why so Socialist?

If I still had children in school, there's no way on earth I would send them to school next week to be forced to listen to Obama's indoctrination/propaganda speech. Geez, where are we living? Hitler's Germany? Chavez's Venezuela? Castro's Cuba? How is this guy getting away with implementing his Marxist agenda? Okay, he was fairly elected. But we conservatives easily saw through his smokescreen of "hope and change and unity" to his underlying determination to transform our nation of freedom and liberty to his own personal socialist experiment. Why did his faithful blindly follow him even though there were so many red flags? Many of them are intelligent and reasoned. I just don't get it. I would hate to have to put my kids in the position of opting out of the speech and being singled out for ridicule by teachers and peers. Fortunately, the Lewisville Independent School District has decided not to waste its students' time by showing the speech on classroom time, and I applaud the administration for this valiant position. Unfortunately, though, many school districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex are not so brave. Or else they're drinking the Kool-Aid along with the rest of those who worship at the altar of Obama. I feel sorry for their kids. This is how the left works, subtly infiltrating the minds of the children who, in turn, take the message home to their parents. It's happened before in other countries, and it has failed every time it's been tried. We need to review our world history pronto and take action so we don't lose our beloved country.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Leaping lizards! Leo turns 1!!!

Our sweet grandson turned 1 on Aug. 27.  We couldn't be more delighted with this adorable little guy.  He has completely stolen our hearts.  Here are some pictures from his birthday party.  Enjoying Leo's special day were his mommy and daddy, his Grandma Kit, Grandpa Joe, Aunt Julie, Aunt Jenni, Uncle Dave, Zoey, Ruby, Grammy, and Papa.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lightning strike!

We were minding our own business, sleeping soundly early last Friday morning when in typical Texas fashion, a sudden, crazily severe thunderstorm blew in unexpectedly. The meteorological know-it-alls never even predicted it. It just snuck in undetected. We were greeted in the predawn hours with a light show that would rival the aurora borealis. It was a frenzied disco ball of lightning with a little thunder tossed in as an afterthought, and very little rain.
Later in the morning when I was walking Millie, we happened upon this tree in our neighborhood. The homeowner was standing beneath it and bewilderedly gazing up. He said he had heard a huge boom while still abed and figured something nearby had been struck by lightning. Turns out it was his tree. But instead of the usual split down the middle or missing branch, this tree was almost completely stripped of its bark. If you look closely, you can see the vertical stripes of bark interspersed with stripes of no bark, all the way up into the top limbs. It was the most bizarre thing I've seen in a long time. Thin strips of bark littered the man's driveway, yard, and roof in a radius of about 30 feet from the tree. It looked as though a very tall, very hungry deer had dined on it. Just when you think you've seen everything........... If you click on the picture, it will expand so you can see the detail. Think Ripley's Believe It Or Not would be interested?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Our wonderful week in Florida

Tony and I just returned from the best week ever in Jacksonville, Florida, where my extended family lives: mother, 2 sisters, 1 brother, their families, and now my 87-year-old Aunt Olga, who just moved from NY State to assisted living in Jax. It was a wonderful time of visiting, catching up, and seeing the changes (many) in the wonderful city we where lived from 1972 through 1980. It was a relaxing, refreshing, recharging week, and I wish we had been able to stay another week. Here are a bunch of photos--just a small representation of the hundreds I took all week--documenting some of the highlights of the trip. Oh, sorry about the layout problems. I moved stuff around a lot, and it seems the more I tried to fix the spacing problems, the worse they got. Josh, help!!!

This is my sister Lisa, with whom we stayed. She's extremely energetic, organized, and BUSY! Now I've finally learned her secret.

We finally had the chance to experience "Margarita Wednesday" at La Nopalera, which we had heard about and longed for. It was totally worth the hype. The Tex-Mex was as good as ours in Texas, and the margaritas were excellent. Left to right around the table: me, Tony, nephew Kyle Deason, sister Alix Hice, bro-in-law Larry Hice, bro-in-law Dr. Bob Deason, sister Lisa Deason.

Thursday we went out on Bob's boat. He is an able captain, as you can see. We launched at Mayport and cruised up and down the lovely St. Johns River all day long. It was a perfect sunny day. On board were Bob, Lisa, Kyle, Alix, Tony, and me.

It's hard to see, but that black thing in the water is a porpoise fin. As hard as I tried, I couldn't get a shot of the beautiful creatures leaping out of the water. Darn digital camera!
I thought this shot of a pelican hanging out on a buoy was so quintessentially Florida.
We stopped for lunch at Jackie's Seafood restaurant on the Trout River. My sisters and I posed for a picture on the dock--Lisa, me, Alix.
We enjoyed passing under the lovely Dame Point Bridge, which we had driven over many times. I still consider it "the new bridge" (there are several over the St. Johns in Jax), but it's already old enough to need repairs.
We passed a Navy destroyer in dry dock for repairs. That's a lot of boat!
On the way back to shore we passed a shrimp boat bringing in its haul. We laughed out loud at all the seagulls trailing behind, hoping for a snack.

One of the highlights of the trip was getting to spend a few days with my dear friend Jan Brown and her husband Bob. They drove down from the Wilmington, NC area just to see us. Jan and I have been best pals since 3rd grade, and we cherish every time we can be together. The last time we saw each other was nearly 2 years ago at Jan's and Bob's wedding. We met for dinner at The Rite Spot at the beach and of course had the fried shrimp. Delish!!
Later that evening we had drinks on the patio of Jan's and Bob's hotel as we watched a perfect Atlantic sunset. Life doesn't get much better. "Newlyweds" (2 years Aug. 18th) Jan and Bob relaxing at the beach. Jan recently had her left knee replaced, and although she still uses a cane for stability, she is doing amazingly well. I was so honored that she and Bob made the 7-hour drive just to be with Tony and me. Lisa and Bob had the entire family plus some friends over for a cookout Saturday night, minus poor Alix who spent most of our visit sick in bed with a miserable virus. She came down with it the day after our boat outing, but she and Larry still managed to provide not only Lupo's spiedies (shipped from Endicott, NY in dry ice with loaves of Roma's Italian bread) for the cookout, but also an absolutely delicious and complex Mediterranean orzo salad and a delectible stone fruit salad. I hated that she missed it. As you might expect, Mother Nature had other plans for the cookout and send a deluge. Larry, Tony, and Bob (not pictured) did the hero thing and grilled the spiedies and beef tenderloins in the pouring rain. Everything was delicious, and a good time was had by all. Here is my brother Mark (and Richard Gere lookalike; Mark is Alix's twin) and his son Brendan in Lisa's kitchen. We hadn't seen them since Erika's and Josb's wedding nearly 6 years ago, so it was a treat to hang out with them.
In the breakfast bay, my mother and Aunt Olga (sisters) visited with Jan.

The next day was Sunday, and Tony and I borrowed Lisa's car to drive to Good News Church (PCA) in St. Augustine. Smiley Sturgis, the pastor who led Tony and me to the Lord in Boca Raton in 1980, along with his precious wife Karen, started this church in a small community recreation room about 18 years ago. Since that time, the church has grown to have its own large complex of buildings and ministries, providing 3 back-to-back worship services every Sunday morning. We made arrangements to be at the same service that Karen and 2 of their 6 children attend, and we also had the additional pleasure of meeting up with Patty and Rick Pruss, who we had also known well in Boca (I taught their oldest, Rick, in kindergarten at SonShine School) and who drove an hour and a half from their home in Ocala. It was a wonderful, albeit short, reunion. Left to right in the first photo are me, Karen, and Patty.
In the second photo are: Rick, Patty, Karen, Smiley, their youngest Mary (14), me, and Tony. It was well worth the drive to see everyone once again.
After we returned back from St. Augustine, Lisa, Bob, Tony, and I went to the beach to meet Jan and Bob, who were heading back to NC the next day. We spent a few lovely hours around their hotel pool and walking on the beach. That evening we said our goodbyes over drinks on the patio at One Ocean, a gorgeous upscale hotel right on the beach.

Monday brought one last visit to precious Aunt Olga, my 87-year-old godmother, in her sweet assisted living apartment not far from Lisa's. It was very hard to say goodbye, knowing that future visits may be few, but we left her knowing she was in Lisa's and Alix's very capable, loving hands. And The Atrium is really a very nice place with kind, caring staff.
Later the same day, another storm rumbled through the area, and Kyle happened to look out his upstairs bedroom window to find that a gigantic limb had broken off one of the Deasons' ancient oak trees, blocking the road and taking out a young maple tree in the median. Before Lisa could even call her arborist to remove the debris, neighbors with chainsaws had already started cutting and cleaning up. Not long afterward, tidy logs and small branches were neatly stacked in the median, waiting to be picked up for firewood. I was so impressed by the spirit of community in the Hidden Hills subdivision.
That evening, our last in Florida, Kyle, his friend Scooter, Tony, Bob, Lisa, me, and our niece Erin Deason (who had just returned from a mission trip to Costa Rica), enjoyed a delicious pizza dinner at Al's in Atlantic Beach.
Kyle and Scooter went their merry way, and the rest of us enjoyed another lovely sunset at the Lemon Bar on the beach.
Before our evening flight back to Dallas on Tuesday, Bob drove us all up to Amelia Island to see the beautiful resort communities (vacation and residential) north of Jacksonville. We enjoyed a lunch of fresh seafood at a great beachfront patio restaurant, then we took one last walk along the beach. Left to right: Lisa, Erin, Kyle, Bob, and Tony. I picked up a few more seashells for Zoey.
Following that lovely afternoon excursion, the Deasons dropped us off at the Jacksonville airport for our flight home. We had a few hours to kill (Tony and I always like to be very early for our flights), and while sitting at our gate we were startled to see first 2, then 3, little sparrows winging their merry way around the terminal. They had no way of getting out, but they didn't seem very worried about it. They were quite bold, bravely going after crumbs and such on the floor very near excited children and cautious adults. I'm sure you can tell that we had a most enjoyable, fun, and relaxing vacation, just the kind of time every vacation should be. I already miss my sisters so much, as we are very close, but we will be seeing each other again in just a few short weeks when we meet in Endicott to clean out Aunt Olga's house for the last time before the new owner takes possession. It will be a bittersweet time because it's the end of a wonderful era, but at least we'll be together, laughing and crying as we relive wonderful memories in our former hometown. Thanks for sharing this travelog with me today.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Love to Zoey and Ruby

Hi, Zoey and Ruby! As promised, here are a couple of little videos for you from Grammy and Papa. We love you and miss you so much. Zoey, I used my video time to sing a couple of our favorite songs for you. I'm sure you'll remember them. I had to sing them pretty fast to keep the videos short. When you come home, we'll do some of the longer ones together: Mr. Alligator, Ring-Around-The-Rosy, The Elephant, and many more. I know Ruby is too young to watch these videos, Zoey, but you can sing the songs to her and tell her that Grammy and Papa love her. You're such a wonderful big sister!

We'll see you soon, darlings. Have so much fun at Kamp, and remember that Papa and Grammy love you so much!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cute videos of Leo

I was finally able to upload some videos of my adorable grandson. The key appears to be keeping them short, although it's so hard to stop the camera from recording when he is being so darn cute. I'm sure you'll agree.

The first video is Leo in the pool with Josh. These were all taken Saturday, June 27, at our house.

The next video shows Leo masterfully crawling toward his mommy, slapping away any obstacles that might impede his speedy motion. Notice the "fresh from the pool" mohawk! The last clip shows Leo pulling up on the gate separating him from a certain sliming from an enthusiastic Millie, then "dancing" with excitement. Millie not only thought Leo was really cool, she also expected treats. She got them. She knows any time the "little people" in the family come over, she gets treats AND any leftovers that are sure to remain on the floor under the booster seat after a meal.

Not to give short shrift to my granddaughters even though they're at Kanakuk for the summer, I now direct you to Jenni's blog to see their latest antics and endeavors. Just click on "The Cribbies" on the left side of my blog, and you'll be instantly transported to Zoey's and Ruby's world.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Over hill, over dale.....

I had a lovely post prepared to showcase sweet grandson Leo's latest endeavors, but it turns out the video clips I was planning to share were too long to upload. And being the technological dunce I am, I have no idea how to edit them. So I'll adjust the text and just add some recent photos of the little cutie pie, who will be 10 months old Saturday. Leo is getting very mobile. He can pull himself up and stand holding on, and he can crawl or get up on hands and feet if he chooses. Until recently, his preferred method of getting from point A to point B was the Army crawl, and one of the videos I had intended to post documented his scooting. Looking at the picture above will have to suffice to give an idea, but you'll have to imagine him in motion. He's as quick as a little garter snake. Time to childproof the house!!

Leo has been swimming in our pool twice now, and although he's still not quite sure it's his favorite thing, he seems to enjoy his time in the water. Erika dunks him under a couple of times to get him accustomed to holding his breath, and he does great. He has a very sturdy kick, so I think once he spends some more time swimming, he'll enjoy kicking and splashing in the warm water. Yes, it's already so hot here that the pool water is beyond refreshing. But it's a lovely temperature for a little one.

Leo is very adept at blowing raspberries -- he's teething quite heartily, and making zerberts must feel good on his gums. He puffs out his adorable little lips, sticks his tongue partially out, and blows bubbles. And of course once he gets going and has a positive reaction, he keeps right on blowing. This is such an enjoyable age. Everyone should have one of these little guys. But not this one! He's all mine!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Things I'm going to miss about Zoey and Ruby

My girl left for kamp today. They'll be gone 3 months, all summer. I would be totally bummed if I had not spent the past 6 Wednesdays with them, trying to give Jenni a hand while making summer-sustaining memories with my precious granddaughters. Zoey is almost 2 1/2, and Ruby is 8 weeks old. Here are just some, but certainly not all, of the things I'll miss about them while they're away:
1. Zoey's playfulness and sly little grin when she's pretending to try to get away with something.
2. Ruby's huge dark eyes exploring her world.
3. Zoey melting my heart when she asks me to sing "Deep and Wide" to her.
4. Ruby's toothless grin.
5. Zoey's spontaneous praying and singing.
6. Ruby's sooooooooo soft skin and hair, and her chubby baby folds.
7. Zoey's love for her new baby sister.
8. Ruby's fascination with her big sister.
9. Zoey's amazing memory and rational sensibility beyond her years. (Wonder where she gets that?)
10. Ruby's sweet, heartbreaking cry......."Muh-waaaah!"
11. Both girls' sweet tenderness, and the loving bond they've already established with their Grammy and Papa.
Have a wonderful summer, my sweet angels. Have so much fun, but hurry home to us in August! Grammy and Papa love you so, so much.