Happy New Year!

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

breakfast with friends

Enjoying spending time with Raleigh and Shirley in Indiana

We returned home from visiting Wes’ family in Indiana, for Christmas, later this past Wednesday evening. We had only been home for about two minutes, when the phone rang, and my mom called to tell us that my dad was in the ER after falling off of their metal roof! I was completely terrified, with my overactive imagination running wild with the numerous possibilities of his condition and state! Fortunately for him, but unfortunate for his squashed guardian angel, he “only” broke a rib, crushed his collarbone, punctured his lung and has a very sore left hip, but we all knew it could’ve been much worse. Now, days later, and with dad’s present confinement to a wheelchair, to get around, my nephew Tyler has found much delight in pushing “Gandpa” around, and my mom says occasionally she sees my dad flying through the living room with Tyler hanging onto the back of the wheelchair while doing a spread-eagle and laughing uncontrollably! One of the hard parts is really with the major soreness he’s presently experiencing, causing it to really hurt him to move much and especially laugh, so I have to limit my talking with him at present, as he and I have a tendency to get tickled very, very easily, at just about anything. Nonetheless, this is certainly not how my poor dad intended to start off the New Year, and so I ask for your prayers concerning his hopefully quick recovery, and strength for my poor mom, his “home nurse”.

christmas photo

Tyler and Haydyn hamming it up for Christmas, down in FL

However, before this dangerous episode with my dad occurred, we were in Indiana, where we spent several days with Wes’ family. We arrived at his parents home late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, and after enjoying a nice supper together, we drove to Charlestown, IN where we enjoyed looking at their wonderful Christmas light display in the downtown area. It was beautifully decorated with scenes ranging from the manger to Santa in his slay, and it was all choreographed to Christmas music, creating quite an entertaining show to say the least! Early the next morning, Christmas, we headed over to Wes’ brother Greg and his family’s house, where we all enjoyed eating breakfast together and seeing the kids new toys.

hanging out

Will, George and Zeus, just hanging out on Christmas morning

petting sweet Zeus

Zeus is really enjoying his petting and attention

The afternoon was spent back at Wes’ parents home, where we enjoyed a nice walk around the neighborhood in the beautiful weather we had been blessed with for Christmas day. The first stop was to feed the resident horses their Christmas dinner of fresh carrots, which they ate quickly and cheerfully with great satisfaction! Happily for me they also were quite content to receive lots of petting and loving as well. The next stop was the playground, where we spent time burning off the calories we had consumed at lunch, while swinging, sliding and playing tag with our niece Caroline . . . and come to think of it . . . I think that Wes is still “IT”!!

horse photo

Caroline and I feeding the horse his Christmas dinner

swinging

Seeing who can swing higher

in the kitchen

Laughing because we’re feeding Hammy on “Deedee’s” clean counter top!

That evening after Wes’ brother, Greg and his wife Lisle returned, we all enjoyed a nice supper together, and played a few rounds of Old Maid with Caroline afterwards. I also enjoyed spending time with Hammy, the hamster that Caroline was taking care of for holiday break for her class at school. He was a sweetie and enjoyed all the special attention as well as being hand-fed, little morsels of fresh carrots! Monday was another nice day in the Louisville area, so we spent it at the wonderful Zoo there with Wes’ mom and dad. Although some of the critters were obviously not out because of the cooler weather, there was plenty to see and enjoy watching as they played and frolicked in the crisp winter air. We really enjoyed getting to see the new baby Polar Bear, Qannik, and watching her be hand-fed. She was quite excited about the entire process and let it be known throughout her hand-fed meal, with loud grunts and an occasional soft Rrrrrr! There were countless other critters we enjoyed seeing and watching as well. One particularly funny encounter was in watching the Giraffes’, as they were indoors at the time I was there, and it was obviously suppertime for them. After grabbing a nice big mouth full of hay, they would walk over to the edge of their enclosure, reaching their necks as far as they could over it, while chewing, and the slobbers would form and start pouring form their mouths and dripping, until they became almost a continuous stream where they collected in a puddle on the ground below! The funniest part of this comical scene was watching and listening to all the kids saying “Oh yuck”, and watching the non-observant people almost taking home a “wet souvenir”! Hee hee!

photos of penguins at the Louisville Zoo

The adorable Penguins lined up to enjoy a “spray bath” from their keeper, an obvious treat for them

photos of penguins at the Louisville Zoo

Photographing one of the precious Penguins

Louisville Zoo

Three “Dodo birds” at the zoo, and obviously in their winter plumage!

Later that evening, we enjoyed some delicious NY style pizza for supper, and then rode through the Louisville Mega Cavern featuring the “Lights under Louisville”, which was really interesting, and quite amazing, just to see the size of the man-made underground cavern. As we drove along admiring the lighted displays, Caroline and I sang Christmas carols, making it quite a memorable trip. The next day we went to a couple of stores in the afternoon, where Wes found me a new peanut feeder for our birds, since a Black Bear stole ours last summer. He also found shelled peanuts on sale by the pound, and bought me a BIG bag of them, which was a wonderful Christmas present indeed! That evening we met Greg and his family for supper at Olive Garden where we celebrated Caroline’s 9th birthday. The next morning, it was time to say our goodbyes to Wes’ parents, and then we drove to a nearby restaurant, where we met Wes’ childhood friend, Raleigh and his wife Shirley. It was certainly a highlight of our trip for me to finally meet Raleigh, as Wes has shared stories, with me, about him for over twenty years now! They are such a sweet couple, and we greatly enjoyed our time with them, listening to recalled stories from Wes and Raleigh’s youth, as well as their stories of experiences through the past twenty or so years.

In Rural King

A very happy girl with her BIG bag of peanuts!

Fresh off the easel; I finished my miniature painting of a Chimpanzee this past week and have started to paint on another one of mice that I photographed at the Louisville Zoo last week. Wes finished his miniature of one of our resident Chipmunks named Chippy, that I photographed in our front yard one day this past summer. I think she almost always has stuffed cheeks! He is currently painting on a miniature of a very small Nuthatch.

chimpanzee painting miniature

“Chimpanzee” by Rachelle is
3½ x 2½ inches

chipmunk painting miniature

“Miss Chubby Cheeks ” by Wes is
2 x 2 inches

As we begin this new year, I leave you with this thought provoking poem . . .

“Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”   

~ William Arthur Ward

Happy New Year and remember to “Collect the future’s history today while it is still affordable.”

Until next time ~ Rachelle

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