Cat Tales Archives

Dec.19,2007 was the day Tasha and Mikey were given a two week vacation from journalling. The two cats lazed their days away in sunny Florida while the two humans drove north to Wisconsin for Christmas with the families. Here is the rented Mazda 6 that faithfully traveled for over 3500 miles round trip through sunshine, rain, fog, snow, snow and more snow.

Fri. Dec.21,2007 We arrived at Jeff and Kathy's house in Mauston, Wi. We hadn't been here since Sept. 23rd. It felt good to be back with family. After hugs and conversation, Robb and I went to our pole shed, two miles away to winterize our attire. The snow was plenty deep at our abandoned abode in the woods. Inside we opened boxes finding the usual Wisconsin winter appearal boots, gloves, scarves. Robb affectionately said hello to his motorcycle, apologizing for leaving it behind in that cold shed. Afterwards we spent the night at Jeff and Kathy's. We woke up Sat. to fog. A snow storm was predicted. We wondered if we'd make it down to Mukwonago for the Vermilyea get together. Braving the elements, we loaded up Kathy's new Envoy with gifts, cookies and the four of us. Jeff got us there safely and we had a nice time with family. The ride home that night was foggy, snowy and icy...welcome back to Wisconsin!  

Sat. Dec. 22,2007 was a wonderful Christmas get together at The Vermilyea's (Kathy's brother Gregg's and Shelly's house) in Mukwonago. What a super surprise for our 3 youngest grandkids, who were unaware that Nama and Dampa were going to be there. Long loving hugs from Eydon, who just wouldn't let go accompanied by big smiles and girly giggles of sheer glee from Nevaeh will never be erased from this Nama's memory. We might be a little biased but these three kids are so cute we can hardly contain our joy! Many of us including Jamie, drove through dense fog to make sure this night would be a happy, beautiful night to remember.

Here is a very small portion of the many pictures I snapped during the night. Sorry to those I missed (like my brother Gregg...oops) Top left: brother Lee and Alane from Madison, Wi. Top right: sister-in-law Shelly with her first grandchild, Logan.  2nd row left: daughter-in-law, Jamie and grandaughter, Nevaeh from Waukesha, Wi.  2nd row right: niece Jessie with her husband Jim and their son, Logan from Eagle, Wi. Jessie and Jim are expecting a baby girl in April.  3rd row left: nephew, Jason from Hartford, Wi. and Dana from Cudahy, Wi.  3rd row right: brother, Jeff and wife, Julie with their daughter, Katarina. Jeff and Julie are expecting a baby boy in June.  Bottom left: cousin Jack and wife, Mary from West Allis, Wi. with Bailey and Christopher.  Bottom right: son, Corey from Phoenix, Az. with his cousin, Justin and wife, Sabrina from Menomonee Falls, Wi.

Babies are beautiful. Robb calls Eydon, Beautiful Boy. We are not biased! We speak nothing but the truth.  Beauty runs in the family. Look at this cutie, our great niece, Ilyana. Her brother, Connor is also a beauty. Her mom, Lisa was at the party (sorry for not getting a picture) dad, Marty had to stay back home in Madison, he was missed.

Sun. Dec.23,2007  As stated earlier, the drive from Mukwonago back to Mauston started foggy. The further north we went, the clearer it got but then later it snowed and the roads were snow covered and icy. It snowed all Saturday night. Sunday we planned to go to church, so Jeff got up early to plow the driveway. The city plows hadn't made it out to their country roads yet so we were snowed in. Blowing snow drifted piles up as high as the hood of Jeff's pickup. We weren't going anywhere soon! Kathy and I had a very nice mother/daughter time as we sat in the snuggler together. She got her bible and a study guide. We had a devotional time that was precious to us both. Later, Sunday afternoon we were able to drive to Milw. as planned. As you can see from this Mauston picture, it was not a fun drive! The normal 2-1/2 hr. drive took 4+ hrs.

Yes, what a harsh reminder of why we decided to go south for the winter.

We were happy to arrive at Pearl's. Although the snow is no picnic to drive in, it can make for some great pictures. Despite the weather we had a very nice time with Mum as she treated us as her special out-of-town guests. Plenty of time to visit, eat and relax had made for a fun stay. Thanks, Mum, for your generosity.

Dec. 24, 2007 was enjoyed at the Blanchette's (Robb's brother George's and his wife Carol's house) in East Troy, Wi.  They gave Granny Pearl a break from the tradition of spending Christmas Eve at her house in Milwaukee.  They were terrific hosts.  The house was decorated beautifully and the food... wow, all I can say is mmm, mmm good!

Carol and George out-did themselves. Look at the table settings! It was like eating in an elegant resturant.  We each had a small, colored, glass ornament at our place at the table with our name painted on it.

Once again I snapped plenty of photos.  Here is a small sampling of them.  Top left: Brother, George with his daughter, Serena and our son Corey.  Top right: Our daughter loves being Auntie Kathy to Nevaeh and Eydon.  2nd row left: Daughter, Kathy with her husband, Jeff.  2nd row right:  Robb is admiring Corey's new I-Phone.  3rd row left: Robb enjoys a little battle of the raspberries with Aysha. I'm not sure who won.  3rd row right: Granny Pearl loves to cuddle the babies but thinks that George and Carol's dog, Vera is adorable too.  Bottom left: Kathy and Corey catch up on life.  Bottom right: Grandpa Jerry, (Jeff's dad) is all smiles when he gets to hold Aysha.

Once again I snapped plenty of photos.  Here is a small sampling of them.  Top left: Brother, George with his daughter, Serena and our son Corey.  Top right: Our daughter loves being Auntie Kathy to Nevaeh and Eydon.  2nd row left: Daughter, Kathy with her husband, Jeff.  2nd row right:  Robb is admiring Corey's new I-Phone.  3rd row left: Robb enjoys a little battle of the raspberries with Aysha. I'm not sure who won.  3rd row right: Granny Pearl loves to cuddle the babies but thinks that George and Carol's dog, Vera is adorable too.  Bottom left: Kathy and Corey catch up on life.  Bottom right: Grandpa Jerry, (Jeff's dad) is all smiles when he gets to hold Aysha.

One tradition in the Blanchette family is EXPLODING gifts. Any soft, unboxed gift gets exploded. George developed the technique. Place the gift on your lap, raise arms and hands above your head (crossing them if you like) take a deep breath then in one smooth action quickly lower your arms with force against the gift on your lap and....poof, it is blown wide open. Well, Nevaeh has watched this technique for a couple years now, and she devised her own EXPLOSION! It brought a hardy laugh to all the adults as the gift opened with a poof. Robbie was so proud of her, saying Uncle George would be jealous that he hadn't thought of it himself.

Granny Pearl is easily pleased. If you run out of ideas, just buy her some scratch-offs. That's what Kathy and Jeff did. After a while you do wonder what to buy an 80 year old woman, who is satisfied and can't think of anything she's missing in her life. Good for you, Mum!  

Because Kathy and family had to leave we took a picture of every gift they had purchased for Pearl and Robbie's family. They got to see the expressions of thank you that each gift brought to the respective recipient. Here Jamie is modeling an outfit that was for Aysha. There had been so many nice gifts for the kids Jamie couldn't believe there was yet another precious outfit. Not only does this picture say, "awwwwww" it says, "I want one just like it."

Rob really is happy, honest! For those of you who may not know. Rob is a manager at Sam's Club. He had worked many 12-15 hour days for weeks during the Christmas season. He missed the family party on the 22nd because of work. He worked the 24th until close, arriving late at Uncle George's house then got up early the 25th for church and now is enjoying Christmas Day with family minus his sister, whose gifts he had just received. So, believe me, he really is happy, honest!

Jeff and Kathy spoiled the children and loved it! Here is a large box filled with all kinds of fun things to eat. Eydon is a 'natural' model as he strikes a pose with the biscuits! Nevaeh and Aysha keep digging deeper for more treasures. How fun!

Look at the great chairs Rob and Jamie got for us. We didn't bring them back to Florida. We would not have had room with all the stuff that was already in the trailer. But next winter we'll make sure they go on the road with us as we once again head for warmer weather during the winter.

It was a tough decision to keep the chairs in Wisconsin. After sitting in them we realized they were ultimately comfy. We could've really shown them off this year too, as The Packers are in the playoffs. Woo-Hoo, Go Pack!

Earlier I said that snow has the ability to make great pictures. I think the trees were simply stunning on this snow covered street in Milwaukee (Greenfield.)

Fri. Dec.28,2007 I went to lunch with my two best friends from the Muskego Schools.  On the left is Christine and on the right is Yolanda.We did not let the Wisconsin snow ruin our plans. Despite the gobs of snow that fell we all made it and had a great time. Now I am back in Florida and I miss you both! God Bless you!

Sat. Dec.29,2007 Robb and I drove up to Mauston bringing Nevaeh and Eydon along. We were suppose to do this on Friday, but guess what prevented that from happening? Did you say, another snowstorm? Well, yes you're correct. The good part about the snow was we played with the children in it. There were many pictures taken and some movies too that were just adorable with Kathy's dog, Buddy, and the kids. It was another day of memories that will not be easily removed from my mind. You know, one thing I've realized is just how precious time spent is. I am so thankful for all we were able to do with those we love in the short time we were home. Thank You, LORD.

After playing outside, we warmed up, and then opened Christmas gifts with Jeff, Kathy, Josh and Justin. Here is Josh.

This is Justin. What do you buy teenage boys? Well, these two like Beef Jerky alot, so that was easy enough. With all the electronics out there it can be expensive, so thank goodness there are gift cards like I-Tunes. It seems to be a popular gift for young people these days. What? Did you say for not-so-young people too? I guess you're right.

Later on we knew the kids were tired so Kathy and I laid down with them and watched a Disney movie. Before long Eydon was asleep and Nevaeh followed shortly after.

Do you recall that older commercial about buying expensive gifts for your kids and that they have more fun with the box it came in? We all have seen that this is most certainly true. Here Nevaeh demonstrates the truth of it.

Eydon had shown interest in a box first and was having quite a happy time. Nevaeh saw all the fun he was having and had to join in. They were both looking so cute that I couldn't resist the photos.

No matter how much fun the boxes were, there is no greater fun than a horsey ride on Dampa's back.

We had a very fun Saturday with The Behnke family and Kathy always feeds her guests great meals. Thank you, Jeff and Kathy for the wonderful memories at your house. Thank you for all that you do for all of us. You both are a huge blessing from God. We slept over night but woke very early on Sunday to drive to Waukesha to meet Rob, Jamie and Aysha at church. This is a picture I took as we left Mauston.

 

Mon. Dec.31,2007  This is our last night in Wisconsin before the trek back to Florida. We shared it with Rob and his family at their home in Waukesha. We stopped at Boston Market for a meal to share with them. We had another memorable night. I took lots of pictures except this one. We told Nevaeh to take one of us with Daddy, she was more than happy to and what a good picture it was... even made it to the internet!

Daddy loves his kids. Here he's showing off a new shirt that Uncle Corey had bought Eydon for Christmas. Is this one of the ones that glows in the dark?

There was alot of rough-housing going on. Nevaeh can't get enough of Dampa and that horsey back riding.

Just before the final goodbye, Rob snapped this photo of Robb and me with the kids. What a great shot!

Tues. Jan.1,2008 Happy New Year to everyone! We left Milwaukee very early so we could avoid Chicago traffic. We did! Our drive was fine until it started SNOWING! We had no problems in Illinois but Indiana was another story. We think the crews must have been off for the holiday. We drove through deep snow in the northern part of Indiana then it tapered off but did not completely stop until Georgia! Robb determined to drive all the way back himself. He did, and it took him a week to recoop when we got back to Florida. This picture was taken in Indiana but it represents a good portion of the trip through Kentucky and Tennessee also. It was a loooooooooong drive. But as usual, God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. We made it to our campground in Florida on Thurs. Jan. 3,2008 before 11:00am. We returned our rental car with over 3500 miles and covered in road salt, not often seen on Florida cars!