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Day 2 of 16 with the Grands *Biscuits, Gravy, and Disneyland*

I “blew it” on the first day the youngsters were here, but I didn’t find out about the mistake I had made until the next day. When by snickering whispers, knowing looks, and finally a confession, I learned what I had done. I felt like poking every one of these three in the middle of their funniest bone to make them suffer. Happened this way:


People who live here in southern California will probably find it hard to believe, but these youngsters of mine have never been to Disneyland. Never. Now I don’t believe they have suffered in any way for this lack of entertainment for they’re well adjusted friendly people, and don’t seem at all disadvantaged or in any way abused or neglected. 🙂 Anyway, I decided to treat them to such a trip while we are keeping them, ran the details by their parents, then ordered and printed out the tickets. It would be a secret, I decided. They would know we were going on a very special outing, and only when we arrived at the gates of the “happiest place on earth” would they know our destination to be Disneyland.

I was so excited. And so dumb. Left the tickets in full sight on the desk in the study; a desk that is not off limits, a desk where they are allowed to work, and to get tape, pens and such from its drawers.  Ella saw the tickets first, ran to tell Brady, then Cole saw them a few hours later. None of the little rascals right away said anything to me, but when I mentioned the secret trip they had blank looks on their faces, nodding wisely and sweetly. Finally Cole whispered to me, “We’re going to Disneyland, aren’t we Granny?”

“These youngsters of yours are little rats,” I later told Andrew on the phone.

“How did they find out?” he wanted to know. “Brady emailed me last night that they were going to Disneyland.”

Amidst slightly embarrassed laughter, I told the deed. And now you also know the saga of the almost secret trip to Disneyland.


For breakfast on Tuesday we had biscuits and gravy, and when we were eating dinner, Brady said, “I love biscuits and gravy, Granny. We could have that for breakfast every day.”


During these days we’re eating breakfast and lunch at the bar, and since we only have four bar stools I’m usually not sitting with the rest during these times. Love seeing Pappy with these special grands, hearing him say a prayer over the meals, or asking one of them to do so. Unforgettable, dear times.

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Buxton Ninjas

Not long before lunch, a group attacked our motor home. They did not knock, just rushed in, and at first glance, I thought we had been invaded by terrorists, but when I voiced my concerns aloud to Jerry, one of them responded. “No Granny, we’re not terrorists; we’re ninja’s.” We do good things they had told me, but I did note each of them carried long wide swords. Come to think of it, earlier I believe I had seen these same ones dashing about the bushes here on Steve’s property.

Ninja Drake opened the screen and said to Pappy, “I’m very thirsty, and I see lemonade in your kitchen.”

I poured five small plastic glasses full; four with ice, one without. Ninja Seth lapped up the spilled lemonade like a puppy.

The eyes of Ninja Thane glitter.

Sweet little great-grandchildren of mine. They’re in the air now heading back to Carson City. “Are you ready to go home, Drake?” I asked this morning.

“No, Granny,” he solemnly responded.

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Second Day of Ten

We were awakened early this morning by the loudest thunder I believe I have ever heard, and since we get very little of such weather here, we were all startled to the core. I jumped straight up in bed and bounced out onto the floor. Lightening had been flashing around our room for a few minutes, and now came an absolute deluge of hail–heaviest hail I have ever seen. When I looked out the bedroom window it appeared that someone was pouring buckets of hail over our chimney and almost immediately the ground was white. Jerry and I dashed about the house closing windows and checking on the youngsters who had all been awakened by the storm.

By 6:30, everyone except Chloe and Ella were up. It’s been quite a day; a nice day. The storm passed, and the temperature maxed in the low 70s. The boys helped Pappy cut up the small tree they cut down yesterday. Gentry made four loaves of delicious banana bread.


Cole was the meal person, and he chose spaghetti, setting the table, of course, with our butler dishes. Rebecca and Nathaniel joined us for dinner, and when they left this evening, they took Gentry home with them. (Giggling–pretending eagerness to pray–Nathaniel and Chloe had their heads lowered while Cole was passing out the napkins. )

Two down: eight to go! 🙂

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My 70th Birthday Party

Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in the country, the home of 15 museums, several renown artistic venues, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo: altogether, the park covers 1400 acres. Pepper Grove is the section Rebecca had chosen, Jerry and I took written directions the hotel furnished, and we found the area with little delay. Others coming from different streets, despite the large BUXTON signs stuck around the park, had a tad bit of trouble finding the group. The park is set among rolling–sometimes steep–hills and finding a certain area can be a challenge given the very large area Balboa covers.

The setting was idyllic; the finely clipped lawn stretched wide, then plunged steeply into a narrow canyon, its far edge rising to other green hills where grew also ancient California Pepper trees akin to those whose gnarled trunks and low-hanging branches stood before me in stately form. I gazed as Jerry parked the car, taking in the white tent that had been erected and the red and white checkered cloths that covered the tables.

Grandchildren ran to us, and thus began the party.

If the party had not been perfect, I wouldn’t try to convince you of such a notion, but in all truth, I can affirm that it was. From setting, to food, to conversations, to treats, “entertainment,” and to guests it was a sterling, perfect party, and it is safely ensconced in my memory bank, filed as a very special time and event.

“I want this to be a simple affair, Rebecca,” I had told her in the early stages of planning the party that my children were pitching for my 70th birthday. “I want my family and a few close friends there, but I don’t want anything extravagant; I don’t want it to be a burden on anyone.

“”Okay, Mom.”

That was the genesis of the party style, and I left it that way. Somehow these four marvelous youngsters of mine executed exactly what I wanted, even though I didn’t precisely know myself just what I envisioned. It was a dream party.

I had wandered around, admiring and exclaiming over everything, including my baby and childhood pictures that were displayed, which Rebecca had pilfered from our “picture room” in Crestline. The decorations were adorable and included bouquets of sunflowers and white daisies, stuck into large Mason jars and tied around with raffia streamers. Such was the thoughtfulness of these children of mine, that on every table, as part of the centerpieces, were resin ants, high-legged ones. I suppose those bug-eyed and fetching critters were to insure a realistic picnic ambience, just in case the natural born insects failed to make an appearance.

I was so engrossed with these things, that they had completely set up and were playing music before I even saw them. Those responsible were watching my reaction and later told me it was as though I was oblivious to them as two young women moved across the lawn, set up their instruments and began playing. I turned and saw that a cellist and a violinst had been engaged to furnish music for my party. Beside the people, who of course, ranked first, this music was my favorite part of the whole deal. With only a couple of breaks they played for the better part of two hours. That the music was so hauntingly beautiful, and afforded such a splendid visual sight, and that my children had thought of such a treat, moved me so that I stood in tears as I took it all in.

Michael had bought prime rib roasts and hand cut them into steaks, which he grilled to order, along with chicken breasts, and hot dogs for the children. Corn boiled in a giant pot, gourmet cheese was passed and green salads and luscious bread and plain butter and herbed butter, and fiery red watermelon slices were handed around. Then was the cake, black and gooey, and there were huge cupcakes with sunflowers in their centers, and gifts, and Happy Birthday sung to the string accompaniment and then I said, “It’s Shawnna’s birthday,” so we sang again, and this time I joined in.

They thought of everything; had engaged people from Andrew’s church to help serve, brought bottles of bubbles for the children, and their paper plates of food were served atop a Frizbee, so that when they finished eating, a Frizbee game went on for hours.

We visited for a very long time, and then the light began to fade, and we gathered for group pictures.

My four marvelous kids and their daddy and their mama.

And after this picture was taken, I said, “Okay, all the adults be gone. I want a picture of my grandkids with their granny.”

In no way do I deserve the life I have lived; the marvelous husband I married, the astonishing children God gave us, our 12 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren and the large number of loyal and loving friends. I’m thankful for health and physical possessions and that I live in this wonderful country, the United States of America. I’m ecstatic that I’ve been blessed with 70 good years on this earth.

This morning, we had a two-hour breakfast with Steve, at 3:00 we’re meeting Rebecca and Andrew and their families at the beach in Imperial Beach and at 7:00 we’re having dinner with our dear friends, Nita and Johnny Hodges.

The birthday lives…:)

NOTE: Click on the pictures and they will enlarge.

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Grandkids Week Day 8

Welcome Home Mom and Dad, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

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Grandkids Week Day 7

Important Announcement

TENT REVIVAL today between 2:00 and 3:00 o’clock.

Public is invited.


Because of some traveling challenges, it happened that instead of Andrew and Shawnna returning here last night as had been originally planned, they will come in tonight after Andrew preaches in Desert Hot Springs. So here we are, Rebecca and I and six grand youngins’ for one more day.

Jerry left about 10:00 yesterday for Lake Havasu, for of course we had church there today. We really had no way to get to church here in Crestline for Rebecca’s car is much too small for all of us.

Yesterday, our neighbor Mary had a garage sale, and during one of the breaks of fine weather, I let the older ones go over and “shop.” Nathaniel came back with this tent that Mary had given him.
“Mom, may we set up the tent in the garage?” Nathaniel asked this morning.
“Why?” I whispered in Rebecca’s ear when no one was watching…and then
I overruled her. “It won’t hurt a thing for them to do that.”
“Yes, Nathaniel, you may set up the tent in the garage”
…then someone said, “We can have a tent revival.” For we had planned to have some kind of little service seeing it was Sunday morning and we couldn’t get anywhere else.
We didn’t get started until after 3:00 and it was sort of a progressive church service, as we gathered for the first segment in our basement where there is an old small Hammond organ.

Song Service in the Basement

In honor of Memorial Day we sang God Bless America, followed by Send it On Down, then Jesus Loves Me. At the conclusion of the song service, we moved into the tent, where Aunt Becky, who was the MC, welcomed everybody.
Chloe taught a very good lesson on Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.
I was very surprised when we were arranging the service that Brady volunteered to preach. When he was called, he walked right up and told a story about George somebody. We couldn’t help ourselves–we were all rolling in laughter–that is until he sweetly ended his message with the words, “and then they nailed Jesus all over and on His head.”
Gentry gave the first testimony, and several of us added our own.
Aunt Becky and Ella worship enthusiastically.
Nathaniel brought a challenging sermon on The End, encouraging all of us to be prepared for the end of our lives when we will have to meet God.
…and Aunt Becky had all join hands in benediction.
9:00 Sunday evening
The tent has been disassembled, dinner has been eaten and Ella Claire, Cole and Brady are asleep. We’ve made a cleaning sweep through the house, the suitcases are almost packed, we’re trying to make all the socks match, and the final load of laundry is chugging at this moment. Andrew and Shawnna should be here by midnight.
“Want to stay up until your folks get here?” I asked a few minutes ago.
“Yes, please, Granny.”
So here we are, still tearing around, lots of life yet. Me? I’m on my way to a long hot bath. Well, maybe, just maybe, I’ll stay up long enough to say Hi! to Andrew and Shawnna…that is if they don’t wait too long to get here. 🙂

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Grandkids Week Day 6

Mama is Building Her Nest, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

The day began with a building dispute, and it so happened that from my chair in the study, I observed the entire matter. Evidently, this beautiful fat robin is “expecting” and has selected the wooden ribs of our deck umbrella for her nursery.

No one else was up yet when I first saw her. She winged around the umbrella, then flew inside the canvas circle, and, for a few minutes, merely sat where the posts converge, contemplating the location, I presume. The spot must have been anointed, for the next time I saw her fly in, she had twigs in her mouth…and so began the construction.

An hour or so later, I chanced to look out the glass door to spy a stellar jay sitting on the construction site, his beak full of twigs and now tearing apart the robin nest. I wrenched open the door and yelled loudly, all the while waving wildly my arms. (I’m writing this on Sunday morning, and within the last few minutes I have been called on to repeat this action…so I am sadly wondering if indeed this incubating area will endure.)

At another time yesterday the prospective mom glimpsed the Jays approaching her nest, and she flew fiercely at them. Squawking loudly, the ill-behaved birds settled into the nearby pine trees.

After my in-the-house-brood were up and about, I showed them the developing maternity ward and asked them not to go onto the back deck. It was still cold and wet, so most of the day, they were inside anyway. These four spent the better part of a couple of hours sorting, admiring and stringing buttons.
It seems that out of all the youngsters, Nathaniel and Cole have been assigned the most homework. Cole is in the first grade and besides math sheets, he brought two 30 page books, which he had to read, then write in his own words, the main idea of each page. Quite a lot, but he is dedicated to doing it. Nathaniel’s work has taken more than two hours a day. Gentry and Chloe didn’t have much at all to do, and have been finished for some time.
“Granny, may we please make a fort in the living room?”
“No, you can’t. But you may make one upstairs on the balcony.”
So, now this is the interesting view from our living room.
And this is a side-angle view of the fort.
In my original fort erection remarks, I had told the youngsters to be sure we could walk through to the game room which sets just past where the fort is now. So, when I first saw the completed project, I had to complain, “I thought I told you to leave a path to the game room.
“But there is one, Granny,” one of them insisted. “Look, you can crawl all the way through to the game room!”
And indeed one could, but I didn’t…and they had “outfoxed me.” The fort remained standing as originally constructed.
The house was quiet on Sunday morning. Seated in my study chair before the glass doors that view the back deck, I watched for awhile as Mama Robin continued her work on the nest. I drank coffee, then poured a tiny milk and sugared cup for Brady who was the first up today.
Then I crept up the stairs to view the building site of the three older grandchildren, who had slept in the fort. I held steady my camera and snapped this picture.
Stunning place, isn’t it?
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Prayer is Needed

…so, within the hour, Jerry and I are on our way to Crestline. Coming in tonight are Andrew, Shawnna, and their five youngins’ who range from 13 to just over a year old. We’re babysitting while Andrew and Shawnna go to St. Louis where they have been invited to participate in a Home Missions Conference.

Tomorrow after Nathaniel is out of school, Rebecca is coming up to join all of us for a turkey dinner (had one left over in the freezer since Thanksgiving.) Depending on what his teacher says on Monday, Nathaniel may also spend the rest of the week with his cousins and his Granny and Pappy. Rebecca will be in and out…

Andrew and Shawnna will leave in the evening sometime–flying out of San Diego at 6:00 on Tuesday morning.

Pray for Jerry! Pray for me!

We’re planning on a delightful time, got the bicycles up and running, the portable basketball hoop set up, lots of food laid in; plans to make ice cream, walks in the woods, a trip to the “dump,” maybe to the lake, and to the Oaktrunk.

Talk later……..prayer, remember, I need prayer. 🙂


My devotional blog is here.