Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 29th and 83 degrees!

Tom and I landed in Florida this afternoon to 83 degree temps. It was wonderful (even though the temps back home were breaking records for this date) with the smell of summer in the air. We grabbed a Honda Civic (which is wonderful to drive) and headed for our hotel in Leesburg. We have no agenda so we just stabbed at the map and this is where we landed. After a little inquiring, it was suggested that we check out The Villages in Lake Lady. From 6-9 every night, people gather around the square and line dance and listen to live entertainment. I have never felt sooooo YOUNG!!! The buildings were very nice.

This was the BEGINNING of the crowd gathering.

Cars??? These people drive $25,000 golf carts!!!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


There weren't 126 candles in the house to put on Mother's 91st birthday cake and Brent's 35th birthday cake but Layla and Marley found two packages of candles to decorate with. Wow!!!  The girls were quite concerned as the birthday "glow"  got "glowier".
"Be careful PopPop and Daddy! That's a lot of candles!!!"

"Should we call 911, Daddy?"

"I think everything is going to be ok."

"We love birthdays!"

Grandma (91) and Grandson (35)

My Mother

Friday, February 24, 2012

91 and Counting.........

     Mother will turn 91 on March 1. We will celebrate her birthday and Brent's 35th birthday tomorrow. Since it wasn't Leap Year, Brent missed his grandma's birthday by a day. But right now, my focus is on Mother. 

     Carol Janice Culver was born March 1, 1921 spending most of her first 42 years of her life in tiny Tekonsha, Michigan. She graduated at the top of her class in Tekonsha  and attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI (known then as Western State Teacher's College) where, again, she had the "highest standing in the 1938 graduating class".  Her "claim to fame" is that she was among a group of 7 who were the first "student teachers" to ever go off campus to live and teach. The newspaper headlines read: WSTC Students to Teach In Novel Educational Project. (This type of "project" had only happened in California.)

     These students were "assigned to a one-room school in one of these counties to teach full-time during the next six weeks. Not only will these students do full-time teaching, but each will live in the community to which he or she has been assigned, become as familiar with it as possible, and actually participate in church, club, Grange, and PTA activities. They will be required to spend their weekends there and will live in homes in the respective communities. They will teach all subject matter and every grade level in the school."  (From the Kalamazoo Gazette)

     A few years later, she married my dad, Kenneth A Walbeck and they began their family.
My Grandma Grace, Great-Grandpa Randall, Barry and Mother

Music and family have always been a huge part of Mother's life. If there was music in our house growing up, it was because Mother was sitting on the high metal stool as her fingers flew over the keyboard. She used music to  accompany people, choir rehearsals, and such but to play for fun, Mother didn't need music! Her music was in her head and in her soul. She will tell you that she doesn't have perfect pitch but when she is yelling from two rooms away that "it should be an F# in your left hand...not an F natural", I tend to refer to that as 'perfect pitch'.

There was always a large stack of Etude magazines on top of the piano. Here, Paula gets ready to "perform".

Mother is resting with Debra on her lap.

Well, here is the entire Walbeck clan in our Tekonsha backyard. Just looking at this photo, I can smell those huge, gorgeous lilac bushes that we are standing in front of. 

This is the most favorite photo of my parents that I have. My sister, Paula, happens to be in it since we were walking home from the elementary school after her Kindergarten graduation. My mother is beautiful! She was dressed to perfection down to the white gloves and little hat.
See that camera around my dad's neck? My love of photography is all his fault! Now, I'm wondering who took this picture?

Mother spent a lot of time in the kitchen. If I recall, she wasn't usually smiling. She was a busy mama!!!  Oh! Does this bring back memories!

Time to fast forward. Such a busy life with her kids and a husband to raise, church music responsibilities for more years than you can count (she finally "retired" from church pianist in the last few months!) and Grand Organist/pianist for three OES (Order of Eastern Star) organizations. Few people can do what my mother does, though she would poo-poo this idea very quickly,  and she has used these gifts to make people smile, dance, sing and clap since she was a youngster. Her "1 year of piano lessons taught her to read music" she took it from there.

Grandma Carol has 11 grandkids, 11 great-grandkids and 2 great-great grandkids. In this photo, Great-Grandma Carol loves on Layla.

It was fun to get the family together for Mother's birthday not too long ago.  Here is one of our rare photos taken together. 

This was taken at  Birchwood Methodist Church in Battle Creek on Mother's 90th birthday. Several family members "appeared" and it really made the day extra special.
This year, we promised that we would not buy her gifts so this blog is my gift to her. (I will be buying her a gift for her 100th birthday even if she gets mad at me!!!)  She has been a gift to me and I love and appreciate her very much. She is my friend.  Happy, happy 91st Mother!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Busy! Busy! Busy!

This winter is flying by. It's only 5 1/2 weeks until Spring!!! (For 2 1/2 weeks of that time, Tom and I will be in Florida! Yipee!!!) Here comes the reason for all of that "busy":
I spent several days painting the new addition (part of which can be seen here) at Bob and Kathy Thies' house.

Layla began her cheerleading experience with Upward basketball at Trinity UMC (1st game above was at Riverview School).

Alexis thinks that hugging is the greatest thing ever!!! Her mommy, brother Blake and she were all sick last weekend so I made a quick trip down in answer to Blake's text which said, "I have a fever. I wish you could come." Trust me! I went!!!

I returned home to go with Marley and PopPop on her fieldtrip to Shipshewana. We went to a music shop, rode on a "miracle-round" and made a pretzel at JoJo's Pretzels.

Tom and I returned to Noblesville this weekend due to our "baby" (no, not Lexi!) turning 39 on Monday the 13th. Lexi decided that she just HAD to shop!!!

Saturday morning, Nicholas had Upward basketball. He has improved sooooo much! He made another couple of baskets!

Kendra and Jason went shopping during the afternoon. I happened to take a bunch of stuff with me for the boys to use for cards for their mommy. I turned them loose. They loved it!

"There! I think it is all in order!" says Nicholas.

"These fancy scissors are the greatest!" says Blake. "I hardly know when to stop!"

"You kids can help me blow but.....don't spit on the cake!.....BLAKE!!!!!"

Alexis, Blake and Nicholas can help blow out all 39....woops....12 candles!

"Did you say 39???????????"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hey You!!! It's Lexi Lou!

"I am soooo happy!"

"I want you to see my new Build-A-Bear that I got for Christmas from Layla and Marley."

"Oh! You won't believe this!!!"

"Our shoes match!!!!! Isn't that just amazing?"

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Layla "Cheerleader" Kattau

Today was Layla's first experience as a cheerleader for Upward basketball. We could tell that she was very nervous before the game. She didn't smile or talk very much. It was only a matter of time (and confidence).
Layla! Layla! She's our girl! An Upward cheerleader with a curl!!

"Layla! Layla! She's my sister! Yeah Layla!

"We are the Lightening Bugs! Go team go!

"Go team! Go!!!"

Nana and Great Nana got to watch Layla cheer! That made Layla (and Marley) smile!

Good job Layla! You did it!!!!

Layla's "star" was for knowing her cheers! That cheer book went everywhere with her!

"I did it and it was fun!!!"

This is cute little Sarah!

This is sweet little Lily! Such a nice group of girls!

"I got a gift from my secret pal. Oooooo. I see purple!"

"I did it!"