Sharecroppers Granddaughter and Making Mud Pies

November 23 2021

I’m still working my way through the mountain of old photos. Found this gem. High school graduation, with my paternal grandmother (mammaw, as we called her), Elnor Downs.

She didn’t make it past elementary school as her mom died, and she had to help the family. They were sharecroppers. She was an expert at growing vegetables, canning, cooking, and baking. (And yelling out the door at us not to use her good silverware to make mud pies!)

The last time I saw her while she was still living in her house, I spent the entire visit with her, talking and learning her history (and some about the early years of her marriage) that I’d never known. That was around the year 2000. I’m grateful that I made that visit.

Especially the part where she told me that when my dad and his siblings were very young, her husband (my grandpa) left her and ran off to Texas with another woman. She had to get a job cleaning the theater (picture show, as she called it). She took all the kids with her.

When my grandpa came back, he was sitting at the kitchen table, talking about how he had decided to go back to the woman in Texas. (I know you know what Southerners drink their tea out of.) She clocked him upside the head with her tea glass, and told him, “No the hell you aren’t.” She says it knocked him silly! …. And … I grew up knowing my grandpa. He stayed.

I never knew this, and would not have known had I not gone for that last visit.

I also would not have known that her family were sharecroppers. Never knew that before that conversation.

Team TLC and Romano Duo 2021 Thanksgiving

November 24 2021

Green bean casserole is ready! From beginning to finish. Thank you to my kitchen helper this year. Next up, cranberry sauce.

Cranberry sauce finished.

Mini cheese balls. From start to finish, with my kitchen helper.

November 25 2021

Team TLC and The Romano Duo 🧡🧡🧡

Some smiley photos and some ridiculous photos.

2021 Christmas Fayre – Books and Candles and Handmade Gifts

Beginning tomorrow, Friday, December 3rd, and running throughout the weekend. Join us for great gift ideas. Each day will hold different and beautiful gifts. With books, candles, and handmade gifts, there’ll be something for everyone! Have a browse and invite your friends too. The more the merrier! 🎄🎄🎄

Follow the link to join us:

Throwback Post: The Words Just Fly Out of One’s Fingers


August 21 2015:

Just emailed the article for the next issue of The Australian Institute of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ journal. Whew! 4,000 words in a week and a half. You know what that tells me? I can do it and I do have the time for that next book. YES! That felt great and I LOVED writing it! Completely and totally all from the heart … amazing how the words just fly out of one’s fingers when the mind is not allowed to give input! HA!

**December 2 2021 Update**

The article was published in November 2015. You can read it here …

My Journey With Intellectual Disability and Relationships – A Short Memoir

Throwback Post: Tips for the Journey – D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance


August 22 2012:

Thanks Momma for the review on Amazon … Yep, I’ve always been smiling …. from the beginning!!

“”D IZ FOR DIFFERENT” is a very inspiring and educational book. It will give you tips for your journey as you go through life raising your special needs child/children and will give you excellent resources for help and support from different organizations. What a very special person to share her family life to help others through a very difficult time. Thank you for writing this book!”

Me and Momma 9 months old

To learn more about D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance, go here …


Throwback Post: In the High Desert With Cornichons and Peaches


August 22 2013:

So very grateful to have the opportunity and option for Thomas and Lillian to attend High Desert Montessori! These are two of the quotes on the walls in Thomas’ building.

Thomas loves going there and loves his teacher, Mrs. Nicole. Lillian is happy and I love everything about it. This is our 2nd year at HDMS and it was such a relief to get rid of the constant back and forth about Lillian and her IEP at the traditional public school. Her IEP went from over 30 pages to about 7 pages when we moved to HDMS.

Thomas did have some rough bumps last year, but since he switched teachers after Spring Break last year, it’s been wonderful. Plus, over the summer the Friends of HDMS bought the building Lillian’s class is in AND the office building next door! Now, we’ve got the room for a HDMS High School (currently stops at 8th grade). YAY!! We LOVE HDMS!


Cornichons! Bought these thinking they were just tiny pickles. WOW! They are tart! The more I eat em the more I like em! Definitely a different flavor. Just did a search online and found: Cornichons are pickled French gherkins and not cucumbers. They are related but not the same plant race. YUM and You’re Welcome!


August 22 2012:

YUM!!! Thank you Kimberly Phipps-Nichol for always thinkin of Team TLC when you have too much fresh food … Yummy maters, fresh peaches and nectarines and even some delicious dried peaches!! Lillian took some of the dried peaches in her lunch today and I had the heirloom tomato and a fresh peach today with lunch … My mouth and tummy were happy dancin!!! I’m grateful for YOU and for yummy fresh food!!


August 22 2010:

Poultry Seasoning – breakfast of champion monster trucks.


August 22 2009:

Bloody Mary, boiled shrimp (tip: boil shrimp in beer (yummo)), salad, glass of wine, dancing with kiddos & step-father (Frank)! What a GREAT evening!!! YeeHaw!!!!!!!!!

Throwback Post: Conversation Adventures at the Team TLC Casa


August 22 2013:

Conversation adventures at the Team TLC Casa …

Adventure #1: Lillian in the backseat after school excitedly (and sometimes grumpily) trying to tell me something. Very hard to understand her so I ask her to slow down, repeat the 1st word and many times I have to tell her I just don’t understand. She wants to sign to me in the rearview mirror .. not a good idea! Then the kicking of the seat begins and escalation of her voice. Poor Thomas still gets bewildered when she does this.

Adventure #2: Thomas simply does not want to listen to Lillian sometimes … She insists on telling him all of her aches and pains and other tidbits. She gets frustrated and asks me to tell Thomas whatever it is she’s trying to tell him. Tonight at the table, she asked me to tell Thomas something. I told her he’s at the table right next to you, I think you can tell him. So, she did. I think she gets used to asking me to tell him things. Many times he understands her better than ME!!

Both adventures sometimes end in the little lady lashing out at us. Do I complain about this or am I sad or angry about this? Absolutely NOT! I am grateful that Lillian continues to try and speak, actually does speak and has the tenacity to get da** mad when someone is not listening to her! Rockin the Conversation Adventures at the Team TLC Casa y’all! 

(July 2013)

Throwback Post: How Do I Love Thee – Maria Montessori


August 22 2014:

Maria Montessori and High Desert Montessori School… How do I love thee? Let me count the ways … Seriously. Many years ago in my imagination I had envisioned the perfect school and learning opportunities for Thomas and Lillian …

Poof! A little while ago, back in the 1800’s, an amazing woman had her own ideas and with her vitality made her ideas a reality. I’m so grateful and blessed she did and that about 13 years ago a few people in Reno had the vitality and vision to create HDMS. Back to school night for upper elementary last night (Lillian) and it was FUN! Those teachers are some seriously kick bottom amazing and fun people!! Got a list of the homework assignments … LOVE!!! (see below)

Not only that but BOTH buildings are now fitted with solar panels. Last year they saved $30,000 due to the solar panels at the lower elementary building. Even bigger ones were installed over the summer for the middle school and attached office suites. Wahoo!!!

In line with the school motto this year of “Our Attitude is One of Gratitude” … I’m overflowing with gratitude for so many people and all the way back to 1870 when Maria Montessori developed her theory!!

Throwback Post: Sweetness and Kindness


August 23 2013:

After we got home from The Romano Casa tonight Thomas did all the things I usually do to get the camp-out-in-the-living-room set up (they get to camp out in the living room on the weekends).

Then he fluffed up two pillows on either end of the couch, went and got the bamboo plant out of the Reiki Oasis room and set it next to the couch. Told me to close my eyes and come lay on my tummy on the couch. Then he massaged my back with the car massager thingy!

I am infused daily with the sweetness and kindness of these two kids …. Blessed and grateful I get to be their Mom! After he got into bed he told me he knows why I’m so tired sometimes …. xoxo

(August 2013)