Archive for the 'Extended Family' Category

Roberts Reunion 2019 – Part 1 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

It’s family reunion time, in honor of Scott’s mom being 85 this year. Memorable events of our trip thus far include:

~ My decision to drive 5 mph over the speed limit for the duration (and a good thing I did!)

~ Siri’s sending us on an unplanned visit to Karnak, IL (was the Highway 60 Mississippi River bridged closed or not?!?).

~ Finally arriving at Town Place Suites in Knoxville at 3:15 AM local time, assuming we’d need to leave by 7:00 (meaning get up at 6:00), gratefully learning we wouldn’t need to leave till 10:00 (meaning sleep in till 9:00, ah!), and then being startled awake by a phone ringing incessantly at 8:15 (it was Stuart, very cheerful, just calling cheerfully).

~ First seeing Katie and Grandma walking toward our apartment at JAARS.

~ Playing Five Crowns – first with Scott, Patty, Andrew, Katie, Grandma; then dealing in super-tall Florida John.

~ The look on Katie’s face when she found all the freezer meals and I told her why they were there.  = )

~ Stuart and Susie came over, left for a short “date,” returned, and told us Hannah’s flight had been cancelled; she’d arrive right at reunion time on Sunday.

~ Fun supper of white chili, watermelon, and misc munchies with all eight of us crammed around our loaded table.

~ A brief late-night visit to Joneses; their driveway gives new meaning to parallel parking.

~ Sunday morning worship at Stuart at Susie’s apartment – guitar, flute, “Step By Step.” Kevin, Elsa (flew in) and John – “wow, have they grown up too!” Stuart challenged us with a message about discretion.

~ A fun grocery run to Waxhaw’s Walmart Neighborhood Market with Andrew and Katie; if you can’t find sausage biscuits, just get the croissants.

~ Had a sandwich lunch (with cheddar & sour cream potato chips, yum) with us four and no more, before heading to Waxhaw Bible Church for the actual, “official”reunion.

~ Present:


Kevin, Elsa, John

Stuart, Susie, Hannah, John (later Maggie and Mitchell by Skype)

Scott, Patty, Katie, Andrew

Becky, Milt, Ian, Rachelle, Amanda, Isabel


~ Many games were played (Five Crowns, Trekking the National Parks, Spot-It, Cornhole, Angry Birds(?), Risk, and Kevin gave massages to Milt, Andrew, and Grandma.

~ Circle time with many questions was wonderful, and the goal of making Grandma smile and/or cry was definitely achieved over and over. Lots of great and funny stories were shared – dancing on the car, where the Roberts killer competitive instinct came from, skiing at Crested Butte – along with some bittersweet ones – what she’s learned in the past two months.

~ Milt and Becky presented an awesome slide show of pictures of Grandma through the years, to the song ”  ?  ” (more tears for many of us). I intend to get a a copy of that video.

~ Grandma catered Chipotle for dinner and we all built our own burritos.

~ After a quick clean-up, we all trundled back to JAARS for a professional photo shoot that went well and wasn’t too long.

~ Part of the gang stayed at Stuart and Susie’s to finish (?) their Risk game, while Andrew knocked out his chemistry, and Becky, Milt, Grandma, Scott, Katie, and I went to Joneses to play Bridge. I bid poorly, and Grandma bid in mysterious ways that no one could understand, and there was great laughter. (Note for future reference: a two opener means that one has 20+ points, NOT that one has 6 points and ace, king, queen of a suit… unless the one happens to be Grandma!)

~ While there we got to Skype with Jessica and Eli, who was on maximal cute detail. What a kid! What a mom!

~ Back “home,” we had a rematch of Trekking the National Parks. It’s definitely best with three or four, and Katie prevailed mightily.


“O, the infinite value…”

Of a skilled Research Consultant.

A mere 20 minutes after I posted “Sunset in Somerset” in which I bemoaned our failure to locate Scott’s dad’s grave marker in Somerset, Kentucky, Katie sent me this link, which please do click. As you can see, the upright gravestone we so diligently sought does indeed exist (Whew!), and there’s a good reason why we never found it: We were scouring cemeteries in the city of Somerset in south central Kentucky, but Scott’s father’s U.S. headstone is not and never was in Somerset at all; it’s in Warsaw, a city on the Ohio River some two and-a-half hours (146 miles) north of Somerset!

I feel simultaneously both somewhat dumb (or at least ignorant) and very, VERY relieved.

To Katie I can truly say, “Yes, good has been done here. Thank you!”

Recent news

I do remember blogging.  Honest, I do!

I go through these periods of time when I blog regularly and feel so productive and happy, but those periods are inevitably followed by times of hecticness – either literal or mental – in which I blog not at all.  Rather, I don’t blog on the computer.  I am ALWAYS blogging in my head!  Nearly every day something happens that makes me think, “Now that would make a great blog title!” or “Oooh, it would really be fun to blog about that!”  But the time isn’t right (I’m standing on the bridge in the rain during my final lap. . . or I’m in the shower. . . or I’m driving – or being driven – down the road with Andrew. . . etc.) or I just don’t have time, and so it never happens.  Then, when I do get around to it. . . you know, my Aunt Mil gave me a “round to-it” when I was a kid; it was a cross-section of a tree limb, about an inch thick and four inches in diameter, with the word “TUIT” wood-burned into the surface and then varnished. . .  As I was saying, when I do get around to it, I feel guilty that I haven’t kept up, and I feel a need to go back to where I left off, but it’s too long ago, and I can’t remember what I was going to say, and I regret that that memory is now lost and won’t be written about, and I get discouraged, so I don’t write anything, and then the next day it’s all worse!

So today, I am going to just say, for the sake of saying SOMETHING, that I am really, really thankful that my mom is OK.  A few days ago, she suddenly lost consciousness in Wal-Mart, collapsed, and landed hard on her back and head, giving herself a concussion.  After an ambulance ride, a couple days in the hospital, and an awful lot of tests to try to figure out why she had this very scary episode, it was determined that she is almost old (well, she’ll officially be old in a few weeks).  She also has some rather complicated heart issues that can’t actually be corrected, but that mean that her heart works very hard and can’t keep up when her brain requires extra blood.  Now, while there is certainly nothing humorous about her situation, one does wonder what exactly it might be about the meat department at Wal-Mart that could require extra blood flow to the brain.  Anyway, Mom is home now and recovering, with instructions to take it easy, avoid certain positions that send extra blood to her legs, and see her cardiologist again in ten days.

I am also thankful for my amazing husband, our four wonderful children, and a great place to live.

I am not thankful that I am hopelessly unable to beat my amazing husband at Ticket to Ride.

I will blog again soon.  Without feeling guilty.

What a nephew!

Last week, our nephew, Christian, came from North Carolina to spend some time with us and attend a one-week Christian (no pun intended) camp with Andrew at Kids Across America.  Christian is 15 and was adopted by Scott’s sister, Kristy, last year.  He is – like all of us – a unique fellow.  He and Andrew spent some time at Silver Dollar City (on what had been the hottest day of the year to that point) and another half day at White Water (where they both favored the KaPau Plummet slide – the one where the floor suddenly drops out from under you and you basically free fall down through an enclosed tube – a slide I would not go on for $1000 dollars!)  We also went swimming at Big Rock, where a horse fly harassed Christian mercilessly.  “We don’t have horse flies in North Carolina.  And since I’m not a horse, why is he after me?!?!”

Christian is big into eating (cereal at any time, watermelon when available) and sleeping (in the car, on the couch, under the desk, on his bed, at the breakfast table, really anywhere).  When he’s asleep, only an earthquake will wake him.  He has a fun sense of humor and a good attitude around the house.

The camp they attended is designed for inner city youth and there were some 200 such kids there. . . plus Andrew.  = )  It was a real eye-opener for him.  His very first words to me when they got back were, “Mom, thank you for not being a crack-head, a drug dealer, an alcoholic, or dead.”  Both guys seemed to have a good time at camp, and they were very talkative to Scott all about it in the car on the hour-long drive home.

His trip out here was Christian’s first time to fly, and not only did he have a connecting flight to catch at Chicago’s O’Hare, he had to change airlines and terminals!  With a short layover on the arriving leg.  He managed it OK, but said he had been frustrated in Chicago because his boarding pass said “A” (concourse?) and “They don’t have an “A” there, so I kept going in circles!”  His suitcase was painted to look like a soccer goal – very colorful and distinctive – and when we went to the American counter to sign him in and check his bag for his return flight, the ticket agent said, “Hey!  I remember that bag!  I remember seeing it when it came in, and I see a LOT of bags!”  Then, to his colleague, “Hey, look at this bag!”  To which the co-worker said, “Oh, yeah, I remember that bag when we unloaded it.”  Pretty funny.  I would think it’s pretty hard to have your suitcase leave an impression on an airline employee, but Christian did it.

Now that Christian has returned home, we’re getting back into a more scheduled routine.  Andrew’s doing his 10th grade schoolwork with a good attitude – so far – despite the fact that it’s a heavy load that requires a lot of time.  Today he cleaned the church, did school, did some house cleaning here for Scott’s men’s group meeting tonight, did more school, went to worship practice, and did more school.  Now he’s relaxing with an episode of “Duck Dynasty” and a bowl of cholocate chip cookie dough ice cream.

I am relaxing by blogging.


Special visit

My folks came to see us today, specifically because . . . drum roll, please. . . all of our kids are home at the same time!!!  What a blessing to have all eight of us around the table again.  That hasn’t happened since Christmas of 2011.

We talked, ate, did a lot of dishes, discussed, “toured” the new camper, played pinball, and played pool.  There was no “Trouble in River City,” but Grandma did sink the eight ball with style to give our team (Grandma and me) a well-deserved win over the opposition (Grandpa and Jessica).  However, I guess I should tell the full truth:  Scott and Katie then proceeded to beat Grandma and me, first in one of the shortest eight-ball games in history, and then in one of the longest!

I especially appreciate their coming to see us, because I know that they are both in pretty much constant pain and traveling is difficult.  It was a fun time and a very special visit.

Extra-nice grandpa

In honor of a major event in our lives, our kids are planning a totally wild and crazy trip to hear comedian Tim Hawkins, who will be performing in Little Rock.  The details of said trip were only worked out today.   The trip is tomorrow.  As some of our readers may know, Team Roberts is rarely inclined toward advance planning.

The tickets for the event were sold out online, but Our Purchasing Agent learned that a very few tickets were still available left.  However, they were going like hotcakes and could only be purchased in person, more or less immediately, at the host church in west Little Rock.  Four hours from our home and thirty minutes from my parents’ house.

Our Purchasing Agent contacted my dad, a man historically NOT given to fits of spontaneity, and he very graciously hopped in his Toyota, high-tailed it to west Little Rock, and obtained the requested tickets.  Wow!  He is truly an extra-nice grandpa!

Disappointed devotee decries dead daisies

Actually, they are iris (not daisies), but that messed up the alliteration.

My parents were up for a brief visit last week to attend our piano recital, and Mom commented that she was MIGHTY tired of going to my blog and seeing “The iris are blooming!”  In fact, when she came by the house the next morning, she informed me in no uncertain terms that the iris are obviously dead.  Of course she’s right, and I really will make every effort to post something on a daily basis.  To that end. . .

Scott’s mom is visiting right now, and we are all enjoying having her here.  There are several predictable results of a visit with Mom:  few to no academics, wonderful meals and baked goods that I do not prepare, plenty of bridge (accompanied of course by plenty of bridge mix), the constant realization that every time you reach to wash the dishes or fold the laundry or straighten a room or iron some clothes, it’s already been done (WOW!), and ice cream at all hours of the day and night.  = )

The above go without saying, but it’s also fun to get to share with Grandma the kids’ AIM presentations, our piano recital, our home group fellowship, and – in a couple more days – Jessica’s GRADUATION!

Because my time is limited, I will add only that there are several non-iris flowers blooming in our yard right now.  Pansies, marigolds, and coreopsis I recognize, but the rest of them just came up in the front bed, and while they are quite pretty, I have no idea what any of them are called.  They are NOT called iris, however.  The iris are  – while technically not dead – done blooming for this year.