Monday, December 26, 2016

Early Christmas in Virginia

On Friday evening, December 16th, Darryl and I left St. Louis ice storm and headed east toward Virginia to spend an early Christmas with Skye, Ryan and their girls. The roads were so bad that Missouri closed their interstates. Of course after 10 minutes on the road we were in Illinois and we didn't know if the roads were opened or closed. We traveled about 40 MPH for the first 25 miles then saw dozens of cars and semi's that had slid off the road and traffic had stopped. Four hours later we had traveled another 19 miles and pulled off the road at a truck stop for some sleep. We slept for a couple of hours and by 3:00 the ice was melting and we were back on the road. Darryl was in his truck pulling the trailer and I followed in my van. We got to Skye and Ryan's around 5 p.m. Saturday evening.

We went to church with them on Sunday,

Christmas Shopping in Lexington on Monday,

And Monday evening we had an early birthday for me,

And opened Christmas gifts. It was a short visit, but so very fun with these two little cherubs!

We left Tuesday at noon for North Carolina and to Spend Christmas with Darryl's Mom, Peggy

And with Shiloh and Cami and all the Guffeys. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

After having Thanksgiving dinner in St. Louis with the Mike Nevarez Family and Pedro Moreno from our crew and 4 missionaries, we spent the rest of the weekend at Michelle and Kevin's in Indiana enjoying the wonderful autumn weather. Of course I forgot to take photos, but it was wonderful!
The fist of December Darryl and I drove over to Belleville, Illinois for their Christmas on the Square Celebration.

Belleville is a town of German immigrants and the Christmas square is called the Christkindlmarket.

It's full of surprises!

The Market entrance.

We visited with a couple of reindeer...

The following weekend we met my brother John and sisters Michelle, Patty and Sandy in Branson, MO for an early 60th Birthday celebration for me. 
On the way to Branson, Darryl and I stopped at the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, Missouri, the Grandaddy of all Outdoor Stores, to have a look around. 
Santa was there, of course,

 Darryl found his "Ultimate Dream" buck...

We hope these aren't Santa's deer...

They had a Cajun Christmas display complete with live alligators.

 While in Branson we took in a couple of shows, played games, ate great food and just enjoyed each other's company. Of course, they left us a little surprise. The first night when we went to bed we found it full of confetti!

 Sunday Brunch with the family!

What a wonderful way to celebrate 60 years. With the people who know me the best and who I love the most!
 We were missing Chuck and David, so I'm hoping they can make it to the next one!
I love my family. Thank you for making this a wonderful Birthday!

A New Hobby

When I was a teenager I remember watching an old guy on TV paint beautiful landscapes with what looked like, regular house painting brushes. I always wanted to try it. His name was Bill Alexander and you can find his old show on YouTube. Their motto is "You can paint, we promise". A few years later another guy with an afro hairdo had a TV show doing the same type of painting (he was a student of Bills). That was Bob Ross. Since Darryl and I had a lot of time on our hands we decided to get creative and try our hand(s) at oil painting, painting along with Bill and Bob on YouTube and Netflix. 

Darryl practicing with Bob.

We soon learned that the little aluminum table top easel doesn't work too well, so I bought Darryl a Painter's Easel for his birthday. 
This is my very fist oil painting. I see so many mistakes, but Darryl wanted me to keep it to have a comparison for future art work. 

Working on Painting #2.

As I continued to paint I realized that when I looked at the world around me I started seeing things in Light and dark, subtle shadows and highlights. I actually payed attention to the way the sun shines on things.

Some of my paintings are okay, most, like the one below, are lessons in technique and patience and end up getting scraped off and the canvas re-used another day.

Just an autumn scene on the river.

My first attempt at a seascape had it's problems, but I loved my sky. 

This was Darryl's second painting. 

Remember my very first oil painting?

Well, I decided to try it again and I think it turned out much better.
I still have so much to learn, but I am having a wonderful time learning a little here, a little there. 
On the painting below, I messed up the mountains so badly that I decided to just practice trees and reflections on the canvas before I scraped it off.
I tried the seascape again.... nope... still didn't get it right. I'll keep trying.

My little woodland path turned out nicely and I like how the frame enhances it. 

I have a long way to go when it comes to flowers. Man... they are hard.

Tried to paint a little cabin like we lived in out in Carbon, Indiana. So much to do over, not enough light source or reflection... But it is always fun to try and something about painting and creating is so relaxing for me.

Sunlight on the meadow. This is my favorite.

I am gaining a whole new appreciation for what framing can do for a picture. 

Well, that's all the damage we've done for now. We'll keep you posted if we paint anything worthy of posting after this. Now go get some paints and try it!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Old Friends, Time Capsules, Mines and More!

First things first, a new "Do" for me. I love it and it's much easier to take care of with all the layers. 

 I have a dear friend from High School who lives in St. Louis, Bill George. We were able to get together for lunch a couple of times and he took me on a tour of St. Louis University where he works. We talked and visited and the 25+ years it had been since we had seen each other seemed like nothing at all. 

I have some very vivid memories from when I was a little girl. One was from the Sesquicentennial celebration for the state of Indiana and the City of Brazil 100th Birthday. My mom made us pioneer dresses and there were Balls and parades and the City of Brazil Buried a time Capsule.  

I remember standing on the Brazil Courthouse lawn and my Grandma Eppert holding an envelope she was going to put in the time capsule and saying "This is for my grandchildren to read in 50 years". I never forgot that, and my almost 10 year old mind realized I would be 59 yrs. old and it would be 2016 when I would get to read the letter.

The city of Brazil had a grand celebration on October 1 to Celebrate it's 150th birthday, and I went over for the opening of the time capsule.

Michelle met me there and we also found Aunt Peggy and Uncle Ronald and some of our Loughmiller Cousins. 

 Michelle and I with Uncle Ronald..

I was surprised to see my cousin Bill Loughmiller,

Here is a picture of my sisters and I before the parade and time capsule ceremony 50 years ago. I am on the left, then Sandy and Patty, and Michelle is the tall one on the right. Grandma also included some newspaper clippings, tickets to one of the balls and a letter for her grandchildren.

Aunt Peggy reads the letter to us. Grandma started out the letter by telling us Charlotte (our Mom) insisted that she put something in the time capsule for us.

Yes, Michelle and I teared up and cried as we red the letter. It was a beautiful reminder of our wonderful grandmother and her testimony of the Savior and her Father in Heaven.
Here we are with Bill and our Cousin Dale Loughmiller. We also saw Judy (Loughmiller), John and Amy Berry. 

Back in St. Louis my sweet husband, who is the garage sale master and auction king, found this beautiful Mink and Persian Lambs wool coat at a garage sale. I love it and yes, it is very warm!

The Indian summer hung on for a long time and we really enjoyed our walks around the lake at the park in Arnold.

For the Halloween Trunk or Treat at church we used a wardrobe box to make a mini- soda machine and passed out the mini Sodas! It was a hit!

And we won first prize!

One beautiful Saturday in October we went to Bonne Terre to tour the Lead Mine. It has a large, clear, underground lake and is a scuba diving mecca in the U.S.

It was amazing how they had a whole city that operated underground with a barber shop, movie theater, store, etc. 

There are mineral flows all over this mine.

The mine operated until the 1960's, but now is a wonderful tourist attraction for the town.

at this point you are about 90' below the street. This mine runs under the whole town.

The underground Billion Gallon Lake Resort!

There was so much to learn in Bonne Terre, and I would love to go back and go Scuba diving there one day!