Sunday, December 16, 2012

Leo family Christmas newsletter 2012

L to R: Dave Cribbs, Jenni Cribbs holding Sam, Zoey Cribbs, Tony Leo holding Ruby Cribbs, Mona Leo holding Maggie Cribbs, Erika Wiese holding Etta with Leo Wiese in front, Josh Wiese
Dear precious family and friends,                             December 2012

It seems I was just sitting down to write last year’s letter. Time goes more and more quickly with the passing years, doesn’t it? We hope you’ve all had a good year with far more joys than sorrows. Our year has really been quite uneventful, except for......

The birth of our newest grandchild! When I wrote last year’s letter, we didn’t even know there would be a new baby this year. Samuel David Cribbs, Jenni’s and Dave’s fourth child, was born Oct. 8 (what would have been my dear Grammy’s 116th birthday), 12 days early but weighing a solid 8 lbs 3 oz. Sam has already carved a place in all our hearts, particularly those of his 3 older sisters. He’s a little doll and we couldn’t be happier with our quiver of 6 wonderful grandangels!

Our oldest grandchild, Zoey Cribbs (who will turn 6 on Dec. 28), started kindergarten this year and is doing great in her dual language program. Part of her day is spent in a regular English-speaking class, and part is spent in a Spanish immersion class. It won’t be too long before she’s bilingual. Zoey is also active in AWANA Sparks at church, Sunday School, and extracurricular ballet and gymnastics. And.....she recently learned to ride her bike without training wheels. Hooray for Zoey!!

Our grandson, Leo Wiese (4 1/3), is also busy with Sunday School and preschool at his church. He’s a sweet, tender little guy with an inquisitive mind and an almost photographic memory. If you ever want something remembered, tell Leo and then forget about it because he doesn’t forget anything! Leo has also learned to ride without training wheels, impressive for 4 years old!!

Ruby Cribbs (3¾) is our resident “class clown”, very funny and smart with a unique, quirky sense of style. We’re contemplating writing a book of “Rubyisms”! Ruby started AWANA Cubbies this year and she enjoys Sunday School and dance class.

Etta Wiese (2 on January 7) is our “wild woman”. She’s bursting with energy and is very verbal and social. She’s tall for her age and acts so maturely we call her “2-going-on-20”. It’s fun to watch Etta interact with her younger (by 10 days!) cousin, Maggie.

Maggie Cribbs (2 on January 17), is our cuddle bug. She is a sweet, huggable little girl who chatters and sings all day long. She has lots to say, although much of it is still unintelligible, but she’s very earnest with her delivery. And she absolutely adores “her” Sammy!

Jenni, Dave, Erika, and Josh are doing great. The guys continue to enjoy their respective jobs and the girls love mothering their children. They are the best parents Tony and I could ever have hoped for, and we continue to learn from them.

Tony and I enjoy retirement more and more every day. We have the freedom to spend time with our kids and grandkids, and we’ve been able to do some traveling. In February we visited family in Jacksonville, FL, bringing Jenni and her 3 girls along this time. Lisa and Bob were wonderfully gracious as usual, never skipping a beat even with 6 extra bodies staying in their home. Zoey, Ruby, and Maggie had their first beach experience and loved it....well, Maggie was unimpressed but the other 2 had a blast. In July Tony and I spent a week on Topsail Island, NC, enjoying the beach and the company of my dear best friend since 3rd grade, Jan Brown, and her husband Bob, who live in nearby Hampstead. This was our official retirement frolic as Jan, the last of us to retire, finished up her last year of teaching shortly before our trip. It was the perfect vacation, one we would love to repeat again soon. Then in early October I had the pleasure of spending a long weekend at Disney World in Orlando with some treasured high school friends. We had an absolute blast sharing memories and making new ones. It was a weekend I’ll never forget. Love you Deb, Terry, Bobbie, Terry, and Betty!

So, as we approach 2013 with all its expected challenges, we hold fast to the truth that our gracious eternal Father is still on His throne and has our future well under control. Whatever comes, He is faithful to stay with us and help us get through the rough times, and He is ever present in the good times as well. How blessed we are! May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and abundantly blessed New Year.

With much love,


 Leo, Papa holding Sam with Ruby in front, Grammy holding Etta and Maggie, Zoey
Ruby, Maggie, Zoey with Sam, Etta, Leo
This was one of our fun impromptu pics. Someone--probably Papa--told the kids to show their bellies, and they were only happy to comply.  But poor Maggie was wearing a Onesie, and she spent several minutes trying to figure out how to pick up her top to show her belly.  Sweet baby!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Random videos: cuteness, fun, and aerospace trials....

I rarely post videos, probably because I rarely take videos.  Being an O.P. (Old Person, an endearment attributed to Sweetie White from back in our Jacksonville days), I often forget about anything other than still photographs, even though I do love technology and really need to remember that my little point-and-shoot camera does indeed record videos.  In no particular order, here are a few  I hope you'll enjoy.

Happy 4th birthday to Leo, Kanakuk style (8-27-12)

As most of you know, our Cribbies spend 3 months of every year--mid May through mid August--at Kanakuk Kamps K-7 near Branson, MO.  Dave serves as an assistant director while Jenni runs the business office.  The little ones have an awesome time enjoying God's creation while being cared for by carefully selected babysitters provided by the kamp.  The kids return home every August full of stories, songs, and routines learned at kamp, including a very special way to celebrate birthdays. 

Tony's stability test (9-1-12)

As long as I've known him, Tony has enjoyed building model rockets.  After a long dry spell of "rocketlessness", he has started building again.  I think much of his recent motivation has been our grandkids, who are gradually becoming very interested in Papa's projects--especially since he started putting M&Ms and other candy into the payload section, to be shared by all of them after the soaring rocket returns to earth.  This particular rocket (above) has given Tony some stability problems, and I recently caught him performing a successful stability test out on the driveway.  I think we'll be ready for another launch very soon.  Video to follow--if I remember to do it!

Rocket launch (10-15-11)

Launch days are great family fun. Here is a video of one we did last fall with all the kids. It was their first launch, and they really enjoyed it--especially the M&Ms surprise afterward!

Maggie laughs! (9-11-12)

Ruby has the uncanny ability to make Maggie absolutely crack up, the little ham.  I love her fake laugh toward the end!

**And watch soon for my coming post which will follow a very eagerly anticipated trip to Disney World Oct. 5-8. Some long-time favorite high school girlfriends are meeting for a weekend of fun at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, and I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to post when I get home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Labor Day = Family Fun!!

It's always a great day when our entire family is able to spend time together.  With 5 kids under the age of 6 (soon to be 6), we fondly describe our family gatherings as "controlled chaos", but we all love being together.  Since at some point we will have cooler fall temps (please, God!), we decided to enjoy possibly one last pool party of the season, and Labor Day was the perfect opportunity--a gorgeous, sunny, hot day, and everyone was available.  In a few weeks the days may still be warm, but nights will drop down and render the water too cool for comfortable swimming.
Here is my lovely Jenni (46 days til her due date with Cribblet #4) and precious 19 1/2-month-old Maggie, just relaxing on the steps with a snack cup of slightly soggy goldfish crackers.
Our entire family of 10 (sans me, designated photographer) enjoying the sparkling water and prompting the idea that we may need to think about a larger pool.  Notice my basil, mint, and freakishly huge rosemary plants along the fence, growing strong, healthy, and forgiving despite my total neglect.
My beautiful girls with their beautiful girls.....Erika holding almost-20-month-old Etta, and Jenni holding Maggie with Zoey (who will turn 6 in December) in front.
Leo, who just turned 4, has really come into his own in the pool this summer.  He's not only an expert "jumper-in-er", but he also loves to be tossed breathtakingly high in the air between his parents, and he's also learning the basic elements of swimming.
Not to be outdone by her big brother, fearless Etta also loves being airborne above the water.
And Zoey's already an old pro in the pool after spending the entire summer at camp, much of it in the water.
Here's 3 1/2-year-old Ruby, also wild about jumping in and learning some swimming basics.  The 3 young Cribbies gain so much confidence during their 3 months spent with wonderful camp staff and campers.
Sun-kissed Etta enjoyed a spin in her floating island.
And Maggie had fun splashing in the security of her daddy's arms.
My Favorite Five, who graciously indulged Grammy's request for a quick group pic while yearning to get back to water play.  Sweetest kids ever!!
Before we move inside, here's a cute video of Zoey jumping into the pool, all gangly arms and legs which keep moving even after she's airborne.
An afternoon of sun and water gives everyone a hearty appetite, so we gladly dried off and came in for dinner.  We are now officially a 2-table family, and I couldn't even get both entire tables in a single frame.  Maybe along with the larger pool we should consider a larger house?
The kids' table, more or less.  I love that all five kids enjoy being together and get along so well.  It's such a blessing to be able to have everyone together so often.
After dinner, Etta decided the pictures on my fridge needed to be rearranged.  I have several family photos in magnetic frames for the little ones to look at and move around.
Then Maggie's creative juices started flowing and she completely reorganized Etta's handiwork.

As usual, Grammy and Papa breathed a sigh of contentment and total exhaustion after everyone left, and it wasn't 5 minutes later we wished they'd all turn around and come back.  I love my family!!

Next up:  Random videos.  Check back Oct. 4! 

**And watch soon for my coming post which will follow a very eagerly anticipated trip to Disney World Oct. 5-8. Some long-time favorite high school girlfriends are meeting for a weekend of fun at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, and I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to post when I get home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I've enjoyed riding bikes all my life.  When I was in elementary school in upstate New York, I had a "big girl bike" named Lightning that I loved to ride around the neighborhood, pretending she was my horse.  Here in Texas, springs and autumns are perfect for bicycling; in another couple of weeks the trails will be full of bikers anxious to move their legs again after imposed dormancy caused by the  brutal summer heat.

Last year, though, I had a fall that prompted Tony to encourage me not to bike anymore.  I was riding to Curves as I enjoy doing when the weather cooperates, and a pedestrian was approaching on the path.  I always move out of the way to give pedestrians clear passage, so I carefully moved onto the grass to let the man pass.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize the lawn sprinklers had recently activated, and the grass was wet and slick.  Down I went, in slow motion as such disasters seem to occur, tumbling into a mess of muddy Mona and metal.  There were scrapes, bruises, and some lingering soreness, but thankfully I wasn't badly injured.  Still, it was a wake-up call.  We put the bike away to decide its fate.

A few weeks ago while walking Millie I saw a couple of women my age riding 3-wheeled bikes, and an idea was planted.  Until recently I hadn't even considered a "big girl trike" because, after all, MY MOTHER RIDES ONE!!  She's almost 86, and I thought adult trikes were strictly for older seniors.  Heck, we used to see them all over when we lived in Boca Raton (retirement capital of the world), and THOSE PEOPLE were REALLY OLD!!  But seeing these two happy, classy, nice-looking ladies on trikes in my neighborhood changed my mind in a flash.  I presented the idea to Tony, who was on board instantly.  We started researching adult tricycles and decided on a 3-speed Miami Sun, which we ordered and picked up a week ago.  Coincidentally, we had a couple of cool-ish mornings (just a tease, it turns out, because a week later we were back in triple digits, or "triplits", as I like to call them), so I was able to try out my new toy a few times.  But it won't be long before the mornings are fresh and cool on a more consistent basis.
Now I just need to think of a name for the trike.  At age 62, I just don't think Lightning is going to cut it.  Any suggestions? 
Incidentally, one of my siblings--if you know me at all you'll easily guess which one ;-) --thinks I've prematurely entered old f**tdom, but truthfully I'm very content in my skin at this age.  There have been numerous embarrassing moments in my life that have served to etch away any remaining vestiges of self consciousness--including pushing out two babies without any drugs or anesthesia and lots of yelling--so looking less than cool doesn't cramp my style.  I love riding and being outdoors, even if it does take 3 wheels to get rolling again. 

So look out, folks!  Here she comes!!  Uh-huh!!!  (double fist pump) 
Eat your heart out, Margaret Hamilton.

"32 days til Baby Cribby is due!"

**Next up: Labor Day swimming fun with the whole family!  Check back September 26!

And watch soon for my coming post which will follow a very eagerly anticipated trip to Disney World Oct. 5-8.  Some long-time favorite high school girlfriends are meeting for a weekend of fun at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, and I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to post when I get home.  Don't look for any shred of self consciousness here, either!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Leo's 4th birthday

It's lots of fun having a grandson, and a grandson's 4th birthday is an extra special time to celebrate.  Leo had 2 parties: a friends party at The Ark two days before his actual birthday, and then a family party on his birthday.  The first 7 photos were taken at The Ark, a wonderful, huge, indoor playplace at a local church.  We had the whole place to ourselves, and the kids were free to climb, slide, run, and scream to their hearts' content.
Here's my sweet Leo with his yummy birthday cupcake, listening to everyone sing the happy birthday song.
Erika did a fabulous job creating the wild animal cupcakes, in keeping with The Ark theme.  They were delicious!!
To balance the sweets, Erika also created a lovely fruit tray.  I'm glad I got a picture of it because it wasn't long before the fruit vanished!
At first 19-month-old Maggie was a little shy about joining in the fun, so Jenni stayed with her in a quiet corner while talking to Papa and Josh's coworker, Julie.  Maggie eventually warmed up and had a great time.
19-month-old Etta had a blast riding down the huge slide on her mommy's lap.
Here's Zoey, fresh off the slide and ready for another run.  The jungle gym is huge and constructed such that adults can use it, too.  Participants must climb and go through obstacle courses to get to the slide, which is 3 or 4 stories high.  Behind Zoey are 32-weeks'-pregnant trouper Jenni, finishing her sliding run, and little Etta.
The nursery gym was a little more Maggie's speed.  Here she is sliding with Jenni as Ruby awaits her turn.
Monday was Leo's actual birthday, and the family enjoyed a pizza dinner and lots of fun at his home.  One whole wall in the family room was decorated with cards and birthday tributes.  Along with Leo, his parents, and his sister Etta, those helping to make his birthday a happy event were Aunty Jenni, Uncle Dave, Zoey, Ruby, Maggie, Grandma Kit, Papa, and Grammy.
Leo and Erika eagerly awaited the first present to open. (sorry I forgot to fix "red eye" on this one)
Sweet Etta loved helping celebrate her brother's big day.
All the kids "helped" Leo with his gift wrap deconstruction.
Ruby had a good time driving Etta's car around the living room, with Maggie in the background.
And Maggie just had a good time playing with a different cache of toys than she's accustomed to at home.

Happy birthday to my very favorite grandson, Leo Joshua!!!

"40 days til Baby Cribby is due!"

**Next up: Mo gets a big girl tricycle!!  Check back September 18!

And watch soon for my coming post which will follow a very eagerly anticipated trip to Disney World Oct. 5-8. Some long-time favorite high school girlfriends are meeting for a weekend of fun at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, and I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to post when I get home.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Zoey's first day of kindergarten

One of the most significant milestones in a child's life is the first day of kindergarten, and I firmly believe it's a Grammy's duty to make this landmark event as special as possible.  As first grandchild Zoey's momentous day drew closer, I made a date with her to go shopping for a first-day-of-school outfit and lunch at a restaurant of her choosing.  Zoey spent the night on a Tuesday, then Wednesday morning, fortified with a hearty breakfast from Mama's Daughters' Diner, we hit the stores.  Afterward, we had lunch at Chik-fil-A, came home to watch a movie together, then headed to Zoey's with her bundles.  Here are pics of the cute outfits she picked out.  The kid already has outstanding taste at age 5 1/2.
We hadn't intended to buy church clothes but Zo fell in love with this dress, and it looked so cute on her I had to buy it.  Ditto the shoes.
A sundress was also not exactly what I'd had in mind, but this was on clearance and was so adorable on Zoey.  I couldn't NOT get it, and because our summer is so long, she'll get several months' wear from it.  Also, with 2 (possibly 3) younger sisters, Zo will be able to pass it down the line.
Zoey did select a cute school outfit, and she bought the purse with her own money.  She'd seen it on an outing with her mom and decided it was necessary to go back and buy it.  All in all, we had a lovely, successful day together.
And suddenly, it was Monday morning, the first day of school!  Jenni asked Zoey what she wanted for breakfast, and Zoey ordered pink oatmeal.  I'm not sure if she expected it to taste different from regular oatmeal, but she was too excited to eat much, anyway.
She got herself dressed and ready, complete with new sneakers.  But I think she was in too much of a hurry to smooth her socks inside the shoes, and they were uncomfortable.  Two more shoe changes later, she was ready to roll.
Looking like a typical school kid, Zoey posed outside her front door with backpack and monogrammed lunch bag.  I didn't mean to do this (Sorry, Jenni!), but you can see the reflection of Jenni and baby Cribby in the glass door.
Zoey was posing for her mom's camera but I managed to catch her sweetness as she made her way down the sidewalk.
My heart was simultaneously bursting with pride and yet breaking as I watched this sweet little girl embark on a journey that will last the next 13+ years.  It was a joy seeing her so excited and confident, ready for her new adventure.
I remained at home with the Zoey's two younger sisters as Jenni walked her the 2 blocks to school.  When I saw her after church today, I asked her how her first week of school went, and she enthusiastically shouted, "I love it!".  That's the answer every parent and grandparent hopes to hear.  Zoey is participating in a dual language program in which the students spend half their day learning in English, and the other half learning exclusively in Spanish.  The English-speaking students help the Spanish-speaking kids, and vice versa.  So far so good.  If she continues in this program throughout her elementary years, Zoey will be bilingual in no time.  Awesome!  I love you, my Zoey!!!

**Next up: Leo's 4th birthday!!  Check back on September 10!

And watch soon for my coming post which will follow a very eagerly anticipated trip to Disney World Oct. 5-8. Some long-time favorite high school girlfriends are meeting for a weekend of fun at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, and I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to post when I get home.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A week at the beach, 7/21-7/28/12

When I retired nearly 2 years ago, I told Tony I would love a trip to one of the Wilmington, NC beaches as a retirement present.  Since my best friend since 3rd grade, Jan Brown, lives in Hampstead, we decided North Topsail Island would be the perfect destination.  Jan's husband Bob and Tony were both retired as well, so we decided to wait until Jan retired so we could all be free of employment bondage.  The last day of her stellar teaching career was in June, and on July 21 Tony and I met up with Jan and Bob for a week of fun in the sun.
Here are a couple of bathing beauties who still enjoy spending as much time as possible together after 54 years of friendship.  If you keep reading til the end, there will be a blast from the past for your enjoyment!
Our condo was on the ground floor of Topsail Dunes, just steps from the surf.  We spent hours reading on our balcony and enjoying the lovely ocean breezes.
View of Topsail Dunes from the ocean
Lucky Jan and Bob, living so close to the beach all the time!
A sea turtle nest, protected and monitored until the babies hatch and head to the sea.
We saw some pretty creative sand sculptures and castles.
We wouldn't mind waking up to this view every morning and taking  relaxing walks with a cup of coffee, feet in the surf, searching for perfect shells.
After sitting on the beach and playing in the surf, we cooled off in the lovely Topsail Dunes pool.
I took about 50 pictures of seagulls to try to capture one in flight with wings spread.  This is the best of the bunch.
Tony and me, having drinks and dinner with Jan and Bob at an outdoor beachfront seafood shack. Yum!!
The view from our table at the shack.  It was fun watching the surfers during dinner.
Jan and Bob had us over for spiedies one night, along with some of their wonderful friends plus Jan's daughter Erin and her family.  Here's Jan whipping up a batch of her delicious frozen strawberry drinks.
Jan's oldest grandchild, Sarah, who turns 6 on September 11.  She's a very sweet, very motherly sister to 3 younger brothers.
Jan with her daughter Erin Keech and the most recent addition to the family, Samuel Hunter Keech--2 weeks old in this photo.
Erin's second child, Joseph.  He entertained us with his serious but adorable personality and enthusiastic stories.
Erin's 3rd child, Benjamin.  Ben isn't talking a lot yet, but he made up for lack of speech with total cuteness.  Tony really bonded with this little guy, who kept putting his toy soldiers in Tony's pockets.
The heavenly view from our balcony.  I never get tired of this scenery.
Marine helicopters from nearby Camp Lejeune on training exercises.
Amazing how such pretty flowers can grow in dry beach sand!!
We stopped at a gift shop to pick up some homemade fudge to bring home for our kids.
The George Clooney look-alike fudgemaster, flawlessly executing his craft
Now, for the piece de resistance I promised earlier.  Jan found some old photos from our senior year in high school that I hadn't seen since 1968.  She let me borrow them to bring home and scan.
This picture of Jan and me with our Maine-Endwell High School Christmas dance dates was taken in her living room, December 1967.  Jan and I made our gowns!!  I remember how much I loved mine and how proud I was of it because sewing was never my gift.  It was made from a really pretty iridescent soft aqua brocade.  The gown disappeared somehow during my family's move to Florida in 1972, doggone it!
Here we are in Jan's house again, this time for senior prom, June 1968.  I loved this gown so much!  It was really floaty and feminine, and it cost a lot more than I could afford.  Fortunately, the gown shop had a layaway plan, and I worked after school to pay for it.  It turned out to be a good investment.  Years later my youngest sister Alix wore it in several teenage beauty pageants in Florida, and I ultimately cut off the bottom and let my daughters play dress up with it when they were little.  We definitely got our money's worth!  Ah, memories.  I can't believe I was ever that thin!!

Stay tuned for new blog posts on Leo's 4th birthday and Zoey's first day of kindergarten, coming soon!!