After last year we started 2016 in a daze.  It took us a while to realize the enormity of  2015 and the lasting impact it would have on our lives.  We told ourselves we were going to rest, reflect and give ourselves time to heal.  Well it didn't exactly work out that way.


  We ended 2015 and welcomed 2016 with a family Christmas over New Year's weekend.  We enjoyed dominoes, games and were thankful to have the time with our family.  Michael won the football pick'em challenge but Martin gave him a run for his money.
  In January we closed out my dad's apartment.  Possibly the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  I couldn't bear to part with a lot of memories so  . . .  well let me just say our attic is better stocked than many thrift stores.  
  We did a small remodel - Ha!  There is no such thing as SMALL remodel.   New flooring, counter tops and backsplash -  and we threw on some fresh paint.  Everything we bought I would think "that's one plane ticket,  that's a week on the beach, etc."   However, we are very happy with the results.  We actually called it the farewell remodel.  Everything is guaranteed for 25 years - by then - we ain't gonna care and sure won't do it again!
  Jan and Glynn surprised us by stopping by on their way to Houston.  These two always inspire us and make us smile.  We left so many friends in the panhandle and still miss them very much.  We just hope that someday they will all see fit to move south where they are closer to us and the weather is bearable! 

And then there was GCamp, which got way too big for its britches this year.  Each of the oldest grandkids wanted time by themselves with Gramps and Grammy as well as regular GCamp.  We had kiddos from June 21 through July 13.  Gatlin came for part of a week and it was hilarious watching the big grandkids deal with him.  All of them thought his crawling style left a bit to be desired and everything went straight to his mouth which resulted in the big kids picking up toys - fast.

The weekend of July 4th we had all of our kids and grandkids plus Marvin's kids and grandkids.  We had a great time and enjoyed seeing the cousins build friendships and memories.   AND we finally got to meet Colby's friend (and now fiance) Margine and her daughter Grace.


In late August my baby brother had surgery to remove a small mass.  Which turned out to be a very large malignant mass.  He squared his shoulders and faced chemo like his mom did - determined to beat the cancer.  He had his first chemo treatment in late September and his "facing it like a man" was put to a test.  He said nothing could ever prepare you for the  chemical poisoning called chemo.  At this time he is continuing his treatment and has been fighting an upper respiratory problem for almost two months.  He is exhausted and frustrated but not discouraged.    He is scheduled for a scan the week before Christmas and his blood work is looking good.  Thoughts and prayers please

My siblings and I have been working on our folks' estate business and proudly announce a baseball scholarship has been endowed in our parent's names at Lubbock Christian University.  We are amazed at the dollars they donated and shared through the years.  Frugal living and loving hearts go a long way in philanthropy. 

Our kiddos are making things work.  And in today's world that is saying a lot. 
  Jamie went back to work in July.  Sixteen months after his horrifying wreck they finally released him to return to work.  It is frightening when you have to deal with government agencies and the incompetence is overwhelming.  And you don't dare rock the boat - because no matter how bad it is, it could get worse.  Luchi is working on her teaching certification while working as an aide at the school.   Natalie is almost 10, a volleyball player and in the 4th grade.  She is our drama queen but also very tender hearted and kind.  Martin is 7 and in the first grade.  He is our talker.  And his stories tend to be interesting ... he recently informed his dad he wasn't buying a ring for his wife, she is getting an IPad and he is sure she will be very happy with his plan.  He is also a proud orange belt in karate.
  Casey's business is busy.  But as he says  - you don't complain about being busy when you own the company (Capitol Environmental).  He is also the proud owner of two miniature donkeys named Donkey and Trigger and a go-cart.  The donkeys keep his property "mowed".  The go-cart gives him something to work on in his spare time.  Katy is 8 1/2 and in the 3rd grade.  She is very smart but not overly fond of school, she just has better things to do with her time.  She is our girl scout and our player. She loves toys, dogs and anything but spelling words.  And is  quite adept at feeding donkeys. 

Many folks call her my "Mini Me."  (poor child)

Bethany is still with Vulcan Enterprises and Michael continues his daily commute - one hour each way to the store he manages for NOV (oil field folks).  Mr. Gatlin or G-man as Gramps calls him is the happiest baby I have ever known.  He struggles with allergies but a stuffy nose doesn't take away his big smile.  He is busy busy and loves his dog Mojo.    At one year his vocabulary consists of "who zat" and "wha zat". 

In September we made a trip to Uvalde where we helped Bethany and Michael move into their first home.  The house is very unique and has a wonderful patio for grilling and chilling.  All I can say is Michael needs a riding lawn mower. 

  Over the Thanksgiving weekend we had all of our kiddos home and enjoyed an early Christmas.  It is fun watching the grandkids enjoy each other and seeing our kiddos parenting.  We laugh about paying for their raising but so far they are lucky on that score.  IMHO the grandkids are smart, sweet and fun.



As always, we traveled ... (I'm sure some of you muttered - "a lot").  March found us back in downtown Vegas for the craziness of March Madness.  We struggled with smoke and massive doses of air conditioning and both of us came home with upper respiratory problems.    We still enjoyed the trip and the thought of skipping next year never crossed our minds.
  In May we spent 12 days on the beach in Mexico and I was in heaven.  And old.  We read, solved the problems of the world and vowed to do better taking care of ourselves.  I told Mick years ago I wanted to go to the beach some day and stay till I was through.  However, as long as McKito is at home we probably won't be gone too long.
In June I flew to Denver and then drove my Aunt Deal to Idaho to see Steve.  (her son, my cousin) He is the project manager for a massive building project and had shared photos and videos of his work. She and I decided we might need to go check on him. 

This is a 300 ton crane which according to google is 600,000 pounds.  Yep we got to ignore the "warning" tape, wear hard hats and I brought home a set of blue prints.  It helps to know the boss. 

I was shocked at the enormity of Steve's knowledge, ability and work.  Proud to call him Cuz.  Deal and I had a great trip and visit.   We weren't too lost too often and we saw some beautiful country. 

  In August I spent a week with Paulette and then Mick flew in and we attended the Silverton Homecoming.   My Aunt Zobie was the speaker and as always - she was amazing and entertaining.  We made a quick side trip to Canyon and enjoyed a visit at the Hopkins new (amazing) homestead.
  In September we made a brief stop in Houston so Voni could see her heart doctor, then we headed to Kinder where we floated the lazy river, ate like starving refugees and played (lost our backsides at) blackjack. 
  November 5th, a Saturday, actually THE Saturday before election day, we sailed out of Galveston on our official protest cruise.  Unlike celebrities who continually threaten to leave the country - we did it.  We didn't care who won, we left.  We were joined by James, Mendy, Gary and Vonaceil.  Election day we were in Jamaica.  Actually we were watching James and Micky boogie down on the stage at Margaritaville (Gary - bwok bwok bwok).  During the night a couple of folks cheated and checked the election results.  We quietly toasted the success of our protest cruise as we sailed away from the Cayman Islands.   After reviewing the trip we are thinking any presidential election is the perfect time to cruise.

Here we are at Passion Island off of Cozumel.  Something was extremely funny or the free drinks were extremely good.

Micky is counting down till retirement and looking forward to more "Micky time".   Because his boss is politically appointed the mood in his office was affected by the election process.  Well I'm sure you can imagine the ups and downs this election provided.   

It has taken me almost a year to come to terms with losing my parents and Mick's mom in just 12 months.  I gained a good bit of weight and seemed to have a hard time getting motivated.   We know life will never be the same, but it will go on.  And fat is not all that bad - although my doctor seems to mention it often.

  In 2017 we are going to Palm Springs to visit the Buleks and Vegas for March Madness - of course.  In May we are going to Mexico for a week with the Hopkins.  We are taking a cruise in mid August - a special surprise cruise that can't be explained yet.  (a teaser so you will tune in next year - lol).    Depending on how Marvin feels - we are hoping to take a trip with them to celebrate anniversaries - they celebrate their 25th in January and we celebrate ours in September.    And there is always Louisiana with the Chandler's.   I hate to admit it but we have a couple of other trips we are talking about.  So many places to go, so little time and money.
  Mick's retirement celebration trip has been booked.  We have one room left to remodel (our bathroom).  Micky is facing his last farm bill and I am still working on my novel.  I promised Glynn I would finish it and I am going to do it!

We maintain friendships from Canada to south Texas.  We have kiddos 4 hours north, 2 hours south and then another 3 hours south of that.   We thank the Lord for caller ID, wonder how long before technology passes us by and suspect our grandkids are the most amazing on this earth.   Our lives are blessed and we appreciate each one of you and hope you have an amazing holiday and 2017. 

WOW - 17 years since Y2K!

  Ramblings ad nauseam .... (previous holiday letters.)