May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 NIV

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Thanksgiving, Bathroom Re-do and Christmas..... Finishing up 2015

Time to finish up the year of this blog and send it off to the printer.  I might miss a few things and pictures but I'll do my best.

This year we traveled (as we often do) to Southern California for Thanksgiving. We had family fun playing miniature golf, shopping and just being together.

Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we went to an amazing miniature golf course which was very near our hotel. First, lunch with a bunch then eight people playing miniature golf.  We declined keeping score and everyone had fun giggling our way through the course.

Thanksgiving afternoon, we went to DeBell Golf Course for a brunch with Jim's family.  Our BIL, Dick, has been recovering from heart issues so he wasn't able to join us.
Cheryl and David

The three Sorenson sibs....Cathy, Dennis, Jim

The Sorenson family

Jon and Lissa

The three cousins...Jon, Cheryl, Darryl
The two DGDs.....Makayla and Violet
Thanksgiving evening, we went to Lissa's Aunt Nina's home in Pacific Palisades for another gathering of family and friends.  The meal was more traditional this time.  Aunt Nina lives in a location that affords a beautiful view looking out toward the Pacific Ocean.
Sunset view from the deck in Pacific Palisades

One of several tables set for guests.
Home from the Thanksgiving holidays and it was time to get out the Christmas decorations.  I pretty much do the same thing every year.  I like the tradition and I find that the DGDs do, also.  We added new lights to our atrium so everything is bright and beautiful and festive. 
Atrium decked out for the holidays
Santas on the mantle.....a holiday tradition

The precious from Jean and Roy

New Nativity....handcrafted in from Jon, Lissa and DGDs

Etagere decked out with its houses and a Nutcracker standing guard

And to finish off the decor for the season, I had fun decorating the newly finished bathroom up-date.  It is just what we wanted.  A simple update of cabinets, counter-top, and sink.  Very happy with the results. 
Lovely guest bathroom
And that wraps it up for 2015.  Christmas day doings and New Year's festivities will be recorded in next year's book.  It's been a busy year as always and I am blessed to be alive to enjoy friends, family, activities and all that God grants me. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

And November is Upon Us

I am a little early with my Christmas Blog Banner but if I don't do it now while the idea strikes, it won't get done.  

November is birthday month in the Sorenson family.  Jim starts us off on November 5th.  He seems amazed that he is 68 already.  I think that it is because past 65, you start looking at 70. Since his actual birthday was full of activities like a bathroom demolition and a dentist appointment, we delayed birthday dinner to Sunday night.  He chose the predictable Hana Japan since it works well for everyone including the DGDs. 

We have once again embarked on a bathroom remodel.  This time it is more of an up-date than a complete do-over like the master bath.  We have kept the toilet, tub, and flooring.  We are just replacing the cabinet, medicine cabinet and counter-top.  As of this writing, it is still a work in progress but it is moving quickly and might actually be done by the end of this week. 

I am currently working on a Quilt of Valor quilt that undoubtedly is going to take me longer than I think.  I have also used up some fabric stash to make some community quilts for babies/toddlers. The two pictures below are of a scrap quilt that I am making and some trick or treat bags for the DGDs.

 Just so I make sure I document it, I am including a picture of myself and my first cousin once removed, Anna Cleavland.  She is my dad's first cousin.  We caught up with her at the Callaway Family Association Meeting in October at Callaway Gardens.  She is about 3 years older than me so she didn't really know her cousin, my dad.
 And to finish this post, a lovely fall picture near my living room window.  Notice the lovely blooming cactus.  That would be a "Christmas" cactus. Guess it doesn't know how to tell time since I took this picture on Halloween.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hanging Out With "The Relatives"

We just got back from a two week trip to South Carolina and Georgia.  Fortunately we stayed ahead of the floods, rain and wind of Hurricane Joaquin.  We were traveling north from Aiken, S.C. to Ashville, N.C.  We had rain but not torrents of it. 
Located in Williston Cemetery in Williston, S.C.
First off, was the obligatory stop at a cemetery to find a long lost relative.  This is one of my gggGrandfathers - Richard Hankinson -  on the Callaway side of the family.  The cemetery stone was in Barnwell, S.C. but it had been moved from an area that the government took over for a nuclear plant.  His wife's would have been there also but it was not readable or in good shape when the time came to move the stones.

While still in South Carolina (before the Biblical rains!) we also stopped at an historic plantation village called Historic Brattonsville.  It was a very pretty setting and gave lots of good historical information.
Very typical grand plantation house of the mid-19th century

I enjoyed talking with this women demonstrating weaving at Brattonsville

We went on to two nights in Asheville, N.C. where it did rain most of the day.  We managed to get up to the visitor center on the Blue Ridge Parkway and to the Folk Art Center.  We had been to Biltmore twice before so we didn't go there.  No pictures to share of this place.  Asheville is always one of my favorite places.

Back in Atlanta, we visited one afternoon with one of my second cousins once removed, Dwaan Callaway Black.  His mother and my father were first cousins.  He shared some family stories and we took pictures of some family memorabilia that he has.
These plates were a wedding gift to my Great Grandmother, Leslie whom I am named after

They were handed down to her son William R. and to his grandson, Dwaan

The bedroom set bought as a gift by Charles W. Hurst for his daughter, Leslie Jane and her husband, William R. Callaway

Under the marble top is the original shipping label

The bedside stand that goes with the set
The next day it was off to the hills of North Georgia to visit the Thurmonds.  Jodi was head of school of Seneca Academy in Maryland where I had worked for 9 years.  Thanks to our GPS, we went the "back roads way" and so we saw this as we drove along a gravel road.......
At this point, we thought we were lost but about a mile up the road we found the paved road we needed.
Jodi and Paul have a lovely house with an incredible view in Jasper, GA.  They treated us to a nice lunch and a drive throughout the area.  So fun to catch up with friends.
A little overcast but beautiful all the same

Jodi and me catching up on life, grandchildren and school happenings
And the final leg of the trip was to Pine Mountain, GA for the Callaway Family Association meeting.  They are celebrating 40 years as an organization.  About 115 people came over the course of the weekend.  We toured Hills and Dales and visited the Troup County archives and museum.  We ate lots of good food, attended interesting meetings and caught up with "the relatives.
So Cool!!!!!!

Fuller Earle Callaway Monument in LaGrange, GA

Callaway Monument close-up, modeled after the Campanile in Venice

Hills and Dales, the Fuller Callaway Estate in La Grange, GA

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fall Begins, Life Moves Forward

 Fall is officially here and the weather in Alameda remains unseasonably warm.  The nice thing is that I can spend more days enjoying time on the patio.  But the days are getting shorter and day-light saving time will be here before you know it. 

On the quilting front, I have made a few things.  I finally finished a Quilts of Valor quilt to turn in.  The center applique was pre-made by a guild member. 
I also made myself a Conference Bag from a blog called "So Sew Easy".  The pattern and wonderful video tutorial was by Deby Cole.  It took some time and I may make it again.  I really like the size and usefulness of this design.  I might add a closure to the outside pocket next time.  That way, my iPad will stay in place.  Right now I am using this one as a Bible Study bag. 

The girls and I had sewing project days together.  Violet made a reversible apron and Makayla made a cute little stuffed owl.  Both of the girls tried out free-motion quilting on my Bernina 440QE.  They are both getting to be great little sewists. 

We only had a one day trip with the girls before school this year.  We visited the San Jose Mystery House and the beach in Santa Cruz.  Short time but fun. 
Next week we are off to Georgia to attend the Callaway Family Association Reunion.  First we'll sight see a bit in South Carolina.  Then we'll stop in the Atlanta area to visit my former Head of School from Seneca Academy, Jodi Thurmond and my cousin Dwaan Callaway Black.  We'll end up in Pine Mountain, GA at Callaway Gardens for the reunion activities.   

And when we come home.......another bathroom remodel will commence.  Life is busy.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Summer Fun and Travels

Just saw that my last posting was in May.  I'm really slacking off of regular blogging.  
The DGDs finished school the middle of June.  Next year Makayla will be in 5th grade and Violet will be in 3rd.  I am so excited that Violet's teacher will be Jessica, the teacher that I have been volunteering with for several years.  She is moving to 3rd.  We managed to get in  some fun time together just before their family headed off for a three week trip to Kenya.
Makayla giving Violet a manicure for the trip
I took everyone to the airport and on the way back, I stopped in San Mateo to check out a couple of Quilt Shops.  There is a summer shop hop going on across the U.S. where you can pick up free patterns.  I bought two kits but after doing the one row, decided that I'm not going to get too gung-ho about this project.   
Kits from 2 San Mateo quilt shops

One row finished along with a couple "just for fun" blocks
I am still working on the row by row challenge that I did with the Loosies a few years ago.  I am now on the FM quilting.  Little by little it is getting done. 
Everytime I work on this, I remember how much I like it.
Pulled out  a fabric bundle and made a quilt top for community quilts.  Of course, it needs to be sandwiched, quilted and bound.
If the DGDs were younger, I would give this to them
Everyone came back safe and sound from Kenya.  I prayed fervently the whole three weeks.  World travel can by a bit iffy these days.  They had a great time, new adventures, animal safaris, and interesting foods. 
Dear son, Jon came home with a beard!  So handsome!
While the family was in Kenya, Lissa's dad passed away in Los Angeles.  We went down to help out with the girls, visit Jim's sister Cathy and attend the Celebration of Life gathering. 
Visit to the Autry Museum in Griffith Park

Arnold Green in his younger years
Jon and his cousin Cheryl Karton at the Celebration of Life gathering

Game night
And to finish off this post, pics of a recent trip to Grass Valley, California where I renewed friendships with long-time friends.
Jim and Carol Posthumus, me, Amy and Bert Spencer