Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saturday Summary

It's been a nice Saturday.  Sandi and Kori and the little boys were here.  Ron, Reece and I were already at Gran's when they arrived, so they came there first.  They liked Gran's new apartment.

After awhile they were hungry, so they followed me almost home, but stopped to pick up Chick-fil-A.

Reece, Aubrey, Camryn and Gina were so excited to see their little cousins.  They all played very well together.  

After spending some time here, we went back to Gran's.  Sandi and Kori arranged furniture, got rid of some clutter, and made decisions about what to hang where.  It already looked a lot better when I left Mom's around 6:15 PM.

They were about ready to stop for now.  The little boys were tired and ready to go home.  There is still much to be done, but they certainly made a good dent in it.

It was fun to see them all, and I loved getting to know little Finn.  He's absolutely adorable.  Both of them are all boy, rough and tumble and ready to play.

Ron had to repair a kitchen cabinet door that was hanging by one hinge when we got to Mom's.  I don't have a clue how that happened.  Ron said the screw was stripped.

He also hooked up the dryer, and Sandi started a load of laundry.

Still haven't found Mom's keys.  I have a spare one, but I don't want to give it to her for fear it will also disappear.

When I got home I ate a piece of toast, read stories and sang songs to the girls and put them to bed, and I'm about ready to crash.  Reece is in here with me, playing with Playdoh Ninja Frogs and fire snakes.  Ninja Frog is his latest obsession.   

Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Five

It's a chilly Friday night and I'm glad to be snug at home.

1.  Ron took me out to see a movie this afternoon.  That was fun.  We saw The Hobbit, and I enjoyed it very much.  I had seen some bad reviews, but I thought it was a good movie.  Total escapism.  I wondered about taking Reece to see it, but now I know we will not be doing that.  Some of the villains in the movie are too scary for little kids.  I liked the music and the fantasy scenery.  So pretty.  Lots of violence, though.

2.  I made vegetable beef soup using the stock that we made from the leftover prime rib bones.  It was delicious.  I put in the leftover green beans from Christmas dinner (including the caramelized onions and pine nuts) and a couple of potatoes, cubed.  Not only did we enjoy eating it, but it was fun making soup from scratch.  We got a loaf of sourdough bread from Panera Bread to have with it, and that was delish, too.

3.  Reece, Ron and I went to Gran's today.  She likes her new apartment, and doesn't seem to be having any trouble adjusting to a new place.  We still need to find homes for some boxes of pictures, etc., and we need to buy a 3' long piece of dryer vent hose to hook up her dryer.  Ron got the washer hooked up, but discovered the dryer hose that was on the dryer is too short for this setup.  Gran has misplaced (or hidden) her apartment and mailbox keys.  I couldn't find them today.  It's very frustrating.

4.  My sister Sandi and her daughter and two little grandsons are coming down from Austin for the day tomorrow.  It will be nice to see them.  I have never seen Sandi's youngest grandson, so I'm really looking forward to meeting him.

5.  Jason and his family will be here sometime this weekend for an extended Christmas celebration.  I'm always happy to have them here.  

Have a great weekend, dear readers. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post Christmas Day Post

A cold front came through here on Christmas day, making it feel like winter/Christmas.   It's still cold. 

Our Christmas was lovely, despite the fact that mountain cedar pollen is wreaking havoc with everyone.  Dinner was beyond delicious.  Josh's prime rib was perfect.  Cyrise made mashed potatoes and fresh green beans with caramelized onions and pine nuts.  We had grape salad, sliced tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and yeast rolls.

The kids got me a really good knife, which I've wanted forever.  It's lightweight, but so sharp I'm a little afraid of it.  We've already used it a lot.  

We surprised them with a new laptop computer.  Their computer stopped working months ago, and they had been using the Kindle for everything.  It was fun to surprise them.  :o)

The grands got lots of wonderful new toys, but we didn't get them any clothes yet.  I decided to wait until the after-Christmas sales for those.  Clothes don't rock their world, anyway.

Our oldest son and his family will be here sometime this week, and we will continue the Christmas celebration.  The kids are out of school until January 9th!

I made it to Confession and Mass before Christmas.  After the cancer came back the second time, I seemed to enter into a period of spiritual dryness.  I knew in my heart that God had not abandoned me, but I had more or less abandoned Him, not out of anger, but sort of giving up on my faith.  I knew better in my head, but it seemed like nothing could really change what was happening, and I'd just have to get through it somehow.  Thank heaven I had lots of other faithful, wonderful people praying for me!  And God never gives up on us.  That has been the best Christmas gift of all.

Happy Boxing Day, Merry Christmas, and keep celebrating!  The twelfth day of Christmas is not until January 6th.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I pray that you are all having a beautiful Christmas.  May God bless us every one.

Monday, December 24, 2012

And It Came To Pass...

[1] And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. [2] This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. [3] And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. [4] And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, [5] To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.

[6] And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. [7] And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. [8] And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. [9] And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. [10] And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people:

[7] Her firstborn: The meaning is, not that she had afterward any other child; but it is a way of speech among the Hebrews, to call them also the firstborn, who are the only children. See annotation Matt. 1. 25.

[11] For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. [12] And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. [13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: [14] Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will. [15] And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us.

[16] And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. [17] And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. [18] And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. [19] But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. [20] And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


We rented a U-Haul on Friday and got most of Gran's household goods loaded onto it.  It was after 5 PM by the time we got to her new place, and then all the unloading had to happen.  Thank goodness for Kelly and Josh!

We mostly just did the basics last night after getting her stuff unloaded; made the bed, got the TV and phone working, unpacked the food for the fridge and pantry.  

Today Ron and I took the moving van back, then went to the old apartment to load up the rest of the stuff in the car and pickup truck.  Josh met us there.  We still didn't get everything, but there's not much left now.  I vacuumed all the rooms except the kitchen, but they are keeping her deposit anyway, so I didn't knock myself out cleaning everything.  I'll vacuum the kitchen when we get the rest of the stuff out.

There's still a ton to do at the new apartment, trying to find a place for everything.  There is a bit less storage in this apartment.  We'll need to do some culling to make it all fit.

We have all been exhausted for the past two nights.  I worried about Mom the first night, afraid that she would wake up in the middle of the night not knowing where she was and suffer a psychotic episode.  But she said she slept well and didn't wake up all night.  Yay!

Having Teddy with her, and all her familiar things around her helped, I'm sure.

And now I am going to sleep and let this tired old body rest.  See you back here soon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This and That

The world still seems off-kilter.  But tilted or not, it keeps on turning and what must be done must be done.

Kelly came to Gran's yesterday, and fueled by her energy we were able to get most of Gran's apartment packed up.  We will rent a U-Haul on Friday and hope to move it all at once.

When Reece got home from school, he went with me to find a sofa for her.  We found a  nice one in chocolate brown microfiber.  It won't be delivered until January, though.  Meanwhile, I'll look for a pet cover for it, to keep it protected from Teddy the Terrible.  

Reece and I stopped at Costco, where he saw one of his classmates.  It was precious.  Blake and his family were in line at the checkout when he saw Reece.  He had the sweetest smile on his face as he called to Reece and waved at him.  Then suddenly he ran to Reece and gave him a great big hug.  My heart just sang.  I told Blake's dad that he has the sweetest little boy, and the dad was beaming.  What a nice encounter.  

The tree is up in the family room.  Ron got some lights for outside, and put them up this evening.  There aren't many, but it looks pretty.  My thrifted Eiffel Tower looks pretty, too.  I didn't have enough white lights, so I used colored ones.

My appetite is slowly but surely returning.  I still can't eat a lot, but I'm managing to eat a couple of meals a day now.  That's a huge improvement!  I look like uh....a cancer patient.  :o)

Hope you are finding some joy and balance in this week before Christmas.  I wish you peace.

Monday, December 17, 2012

God Have Mercy

I start to write about the mundane happenings in our lives, how the weather is perfect, about grocery shopping for Mom last night, about going to her place today.  It's all so unimportant.

I gave Reece and Aubrey a special love when they left for school today, holding them a little longer, praying for their safety as they left for the day.

I remembered their cookie baking session yesterday, and thought how grateful I am for their loud voices and exuberance.  They are alive, we can hold them and snuggle them.  They are alive.

Dear God, please comfort the families of those little precious children who died at Sandy Hook School.  May the children and adults who died rest in peace and may the perpetual light shine on them.  Amen

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cookie Baking At Our House

Here's what Christmas cookie baking is like at our house.

It starts out peacefully enough, with Mommy wanting to make a fun Christmas memory for her kids.

She tries to find some Christmas music on the radio, but can't find any.

Mommy gets a package of sugar cookie mix and mixes it up with the kids watching (and helping).

She starts rolling out the dough.  All the kids want to use the rolling pin.  So they take turns rolling for a bit.  Reece is pestering the heck out of Cammie and she is screaming like a little banshee at the top of her lungs.

Mommy says, "Don't touch the dough," and turns to the sink.  Aubrey immediately touches the dough, Reece sneaks a piece to eat, Cammie puts a dirty cookie cutter on the dough.  When Mommy has finished washing the cookie cutters, they each get turns to cut out a few cookies.  Reece is not particular, and uses whichever cutter is in front of him.  Cammie has a weird oval one that she likes, and Aubrey has chosen an ugly horse that Cyrise keeps setting aside because she doesn't want to use it. But Aubrey insists, so these ugly Christmas horses are mixed amongst the bells, trees, stars and gingerbread men.

As the rolling out and cutting continues, the noise escalates until I have to leave the room.  They are fighting and whining and crying.  Cyrise has never made sugar cookies before, and they get a little darker and harder than desired, but they smell good.

They all want to eat the cookies before they are frosted and decorated.  More crying and screaming ensues when they are told they have to wait so that they can have the fun of decorating the cookies.  They each have a couple, but that's not enough for them.

Gramma loses her temper because of all the noise and chaos, smacks Aubrey's butt down onto a bar stool, does the same with Cammie, who is silently stealing and eating as many cookies as she can get her grubby little hands on while no one is looking, and goes to ask Daddy to put the girls down for a nap.  He agrees, and more screaming and crying happens when he tells them they are going up.

Now it is peaceful, but Gramma feels like a grinch.  I think a little more planning needs to happen next time.  Maybe Mommy can make the whole batch of cookies herself the night before while the kids are asleep and they can do the frosting and decorating the next day, each decorating their own little batch of cookies so there is no argument.  No screaming, no fighting, no ugly horses.  :o)  Or maybe not. 

Sigh.  Trying to keep it real, folks. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Four

1.  Whew, I am barely beginning to see the light at the end of this flu tunnel.  I was so afraid I was going to have to go to the BMT clinic and that they would put me in the hospital.  I'm still sick, but I'm better.  Very weak because I haven't been able to eat much, but today I've had a mikan, half a banana and some Andes mints.  Ron is pushing me to have some soup, and I will for lunch in a bit.

2.  Isn't that the most gorgeous, huge poinsettia ever?  I sent it to Johnnie as a Christmas present, but mostly as a thank you for my one-year-since-the-transplant birthday.  I ordered it from Dutch's Greenhouse in Wichita, KS.  They've always had the most beautiful plants and flowers.

3.  I ordered two more for Jewell's funeral.  She passed away on Monday and the funeral is Saturday.  I won't be able to go.  The flowers are being delivered today.  Please send up a prayer for the repose of Jewell's soul.  Thank you!

4.  Johnnie was at work when she got her poinsettia.  She said her co-workers could not believe the size of it.  I was amazed when I saw the picture, too.  Isn't Johnnie a doll?  I love her so much.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Thoughts

Ron is home, safe and sound.  So afraid that he will get the flu.

All of us have been sick.  I do hope the kids will feel well enough to go to school tomorrow.  They have missed a whole week.  But I won't be surprised if they have to miss a bit more.  This flu has been really awful.  Obviously, my flu shot did not work.  It would have been a miracle if I had NOT gotten it, with all the little coughing children surrounding me.

On December 7 I celebrated the one year anniversary of my second stem cell transplant.  I am so blessed to still be alive and doing well.  My sister Johnnie's stem cells, nearly a perfect match to my own, are working beautifully.  I am so grateful for the amazing care I have received for the past two and a half years.  I have been fighting the cancer as hard as I can, and my wonderful doctors, my family and lots of people I don't even know have been fighting just as hard for me.  I thank God for them, and ask His blessings on all of them.

And now, Christmas.  Last year I was so so sick at this time of the year, and had to spend Christmas in the hospital.  I haven't done much to prepare for it this year, but I am excited to begin now. Let the cookie baking, candle lighting, decorating, and present wrapping begin!  :o)

Yesterday I was talking to Cammie (3 year old) about Christmas.  I asked her what Christmas was all about.  First she said "Christmas tree", then "presents," then she said "birthday."   I was so happy that she knew it was Jesus' birthday.  Then I made the mistake of asking, "Whose birthday?" and she replied, "Mine!"  :o)  So we had a little talk about the baby in the manger of the nativity set and who he is and how much he loves us and how much we love him.

Time to go to Gran's.  See you here again soon.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday Chitchat

Thursday night and I'm missing Ron.  He won't be home until Saturday afternoon.

It's been a pretty non-eventful day.  I went to Mom's early in the afternoon, then came home and went with Josh to do a little bit of Christmas shopping for the Grands.

I got another email from Jan, who said that eight of my cousins from Kansas City and Oklahoma had been to see Jewell yesterday.  It was a big surprise for her, and I'm sure she loved seeing everyone.  I wish they had come while I was there.  I haven't seen them in years.

My little guy is lying here on the bed next to me.  He feels hot again, but he ate a little and wanted water to drink.  The girls are sleeping.  The downside of an early bedtime is that they get up at the crack of dawn.

Now to get Reece to bed.  He's not very sleepy, having napped off and on this evening.  But I think he will settle in once the lights are out and he's heard a story.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dwight for Jewell

For Jewell.  Kind of a gruesome song, but good music.  I love Flaco Jimenez's little accordion in there with the bass guitar.  The two of them (Flaco and the bass player) look like they're having fun.

My all time favorite Dwight song is I Sang Dixie, but I like almost everything he does.

Wednesday With The Grands

I'm here with Camryn and Gina while Josh and Cyrise take Reece and Aubrey to the doctor.  They haven't been to school all week and both of them are miserable, especially Reece.  They have bad chest coughs, runny noses and just want to sit around or sleep.  Poor little kids.  I hope it's just a chest cold and not bronchitis or pneumonia (or whooping cough).  Reece was holding his fingers in his ears a couple of days ago, making me think he may have an ear infection.

I was at Mom's earlier.  She is doing fine.  I took her some lemon chicken and rice for lunch, and a plate of salmon patties for dinner later.  She is doing well and over the cold she had.  

Someone from her new apartment complex called to ask if we would accept a different apartment.  The lady who is in the one Mom was supposed to get has asked to stay longer.  They have another one on the ground floor in the same building, and I told them that was okay.  The new one faces the same direction as the first one, it's just at the other end of the building.  I told them we didn't want her to face the parking lot or trash containers, and they assured me it doesn't.  

Ron is in Colorado. Bless his heart.  He had to leave the next morning after we got back from Kansas.  Not much time to rest.  He calls every night, and things are going well there.  

My cousin Jan sent me an email saying that Jewell had been sitting up, and had eaten some potato soup.  She said that Jewell had a slumber party on her bucket list, so the other night they all put on their PJs and had a little wine and listened to Dwight Yoakum.  :o)  Wish I could have been there for the party.

I had my first visit to the BMT clinic in over a month on Tuesday.  My labs are all normal and Dr. O doesn't need to see me again until the end of January.  He was a little concerned about the darkening of my skin, but I told him it isn't itching or hurting, so I'm not worried about it.  It seems a small price to pay for being alive.  The graft vs host disease seems better to me.  Maybe is will gradually go away.

The girlies are watching the movie Brave.  It's a cute movie and they are both totally engrossed.

I am anxious for the kids to get home to hear what the doctor had to say.  Will let you know later.

The doctor said it's the flu.  He said to keep them home from school until next Monday.  Reece, Aubrey and Cammie were sitting on the couch all looking miserable.  Camryn slept most of the time the kids were at the docs.  She had a fever when they got back.  Reece doesn't want to eat or move.  They all just need to go to bed.

Glad I got my flu shot and hope it works.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Kansas and Back

Ron and I made our very quick trip to Kansas to see Jewell over the weekend.  We left Friday around 11:30 and got there around 9:30 that night.  By the time we settled into our hotel room it was well after 10 PM.  The drive went well except for a terrible traffic jam on I-35.  Ron found an alternate route that paralleled the highway.  It was a dirt road, but we were able to bypass most of the traffic.  He's a map genius!  :o)  I'm afraid the people that stayed on the highway sat there for hours.  It was a mess!

We got up early Saturday morning, and after breakfast at the hotel we went to see Jewell.  The hospice people had set up her bed so that she could look out over the beautiful view of her farm.  There were many family members at the house.  Jewell is very loved by her family and they mean the world to her.  She was in and out of consciousness.  They are giving her morphine for pain, but of course it makes her very sleepy.  Hospice is there 24 hours a day.

One remarkable thing that happened is that Jewell recognized my voice before she ever saw me.  I was talking to someone in the room before I approached her bed,  and she asked Barbara if that was my voice she heard.  :o)  She was happy and surprised to see me, and we were able to really express our love for one another.  I'm very, very glad that we made the trip to see her.

It was nice to see other cousins and relatives, in spite of the sad circumstances.  While Jewell was sleeping, Barbara went with me and Ron out to the cemetery where Ron's parents and some of his other relatives are buried.  When we got back, my Aunt Sue had arrived with her daughter, my cousin Jan.  Aunt Sue and Mom are the last of their generation of our family. 

We spent part of the afternoon there (it was hard to say goodbye to Jewell), then we went with Johnnie and Mike to visit their son and his wife, and I finally got to see precious Allie (Johnnie's grandbaby) in person.  Oh my goodness, what a wonderful little girl!  She is so much fun, and loves Mike and Johnnie so much.  Of course they are wild about her, too.  :o)

Johnnie had told me Allie liked owls, so before we went to Jewell's, Ron and I went shopping for an owl for her.  She liked it.  It is a little stuffed barn owl.  She was hugging it, and Johnnie asked her what it was.  Allie replied, "It's a bear!"  I guess it didn't quite look like the owls she is used to.  :o)

Allie's mommy and daddy took her to her other grandmother's while they went to a Christmas party.  Jared suggested we stay at his house so Ron and Mike could watch the football game there, so we did.  The guys went down to the gorgeous basement to watch the game and drink Jared's beer, and Johnnie and I stayed upstairs and talked and talked.  We ran to get food and came back and talked some more.

Jared and his family moved into a beautiful new home in the spring.  He gave us the full tour, and I enjoyed seeing it, but I especially enjoyed seeing how happy he is with his home and family.  He's such a good man, and a wonderful father.

We met Mike and Johnnie this morning for breakfast before we left.  It was nice to be with them again. I wish we lived closer.

The trip home was uneventful, traffic was much better and we didn't run into any traffic jams.  We got home around 8:15 PM.  It's good to be home, but our Reece is sick.  :o(  He had a fever when we got here, and feels awful.  Josh said he didn't do much of anything all day, and didn't eat much.  He ate a bit with me, and then he went to sleep with Papa.  He will stay home from school tomorrow, and may need to see the doctor.

Thank you all for your prayers for Jewell, and for safe travel for us.  The weather was perfect all the way there and back.  I usually run into a blizzard or ice storm when I go to Kansas in the winter.  Not this time.  They were having record high temps in Wichita today.  (73 degrees)  I was glad it wasn't cold!

I took my camera and didn't take one single picture.  :o/  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Need Your Prayers

My sweet cousin, Jewell, is very ill.  She left the hospital Thursday and will be in hospice care now.  Please pray for her and please pray for a cure for cancers of all kinds.

Ron and I will leave tomorrow and drive to Kansas so that I can see her while she is still fairly well.  You may remember that Jewell and another sweet cousin, Barbara, came to visit us last year in the spring.  Reece absolutely loved them, and Jewell has sent him a letter and pictures of her calf.

Jewell and her sister Joan and brother Sammie Joe are my double first cousins.  When we were little we always lived close by, and I have many fond memories of times with them.  I remember Joan and Jewell walking me home from kindergarten in Coffeyville, Kansas.  A pack of dogs started chasing us, and each of them grabbed my hands and ran with me to the steps of a church.  They must have been able to run the dogs away, but all I recall is being scared to death and knowing that they were taking care of me.

When I was little I just called both of them JoanJewell.  

I remember them playing their records during their teen years, and I loved to listen to their music.  The record I recall right now is Stagger Lee.  If you remember that one, you're old.  :o)

One cold winter night Jewell made snow ice cream for us while she was babysitting.  I was very young, but that impressed me.  I thought she was wonderful.  I still do.

Please keep us in your prayers for safe travel, but most of all, please pray for Jewell.  Thank you!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Great Gran, Cheddars, Macys, Goodwill

Mom had her endoscopy yesterday morning.  She did great; didn't even realize she had had it when she woke up in recovery.  She thought she just had a little nap and they hadn't done anything yet.  :o)  
They didn't find anything that could be causing her anemia, though.  The doctor said that she had some irritation in her stomach lining that he thinks is probably caused by her medications, or perhaps a little infection in the past.  He prescribed Pepcid for that.  He wants to see her in January for a follow-up, and will talk to her about the colonoscopy then.

She wanted barbecue for lunch, so we stopped and got some and took it back to her place.  She had a chopped brisket sandwich with hash browns, pinto beans and cole slaw.  And peach cobbler.  

Ron went with me today when I went over there.  We took her enough leftovers for a couple of days.  She enjoyed hot wings, fries, whiskey river baked beans and celery and carrot sticks with ranch dressing today.  She polished it all off.  I don't think her stomach bothers her at all!

Ron and I ate lunch at Cheddars before I dropped him off at home.  I needed some cold weather clothes that fit, so I headed to Macys.  I got 3 pairs of pants, all pull on type and cozy, a cute jacket and a couple of tops.  I have a couple of jeans that still fit, but most of my clothes are too big.  :o(  

Then I stopped at Goodwill and found the cutest eiffel tower made of twisted metal wire.  It's about 3 feet tall.  I'm going to put little lights on it for Christmas.  

I found a couple pair of jeans for Reece, one Gap and the other Levis.  And a sweet little pair of Gap overalls embroidered with pink flowers for either Camryn or Gina, whoever they fit.  Still no dishes to match my stoneware.

I think I'll wait and publish this tomorrow so I can get a picture of my eiffel tower.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bugs and Grubs

One day while the kids were here, one of them ran in all excited and wanted me to come see a "leaf bug."  I went out with them, and they showed me this bug on their play set.  It looks kind of like a grasshopper, but its wings and body look exactly like a leaf.  He was good enough to allow me to take his picture.

Then today Josh emailed me this picture of some enormous grubs that were in the backyard under a log.  I wonder if they might be the larvae of that giant moth the kids found awhile back?  Whatever they are, they are nasty.  And pictures like this are the reason I can hardly eat shrimp.  I always think they have the same texture as grub worms. Crawfish, too.  Josh put his keys in the picture to show their size.



My birthday was Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.  I'm very thankful to have another birthday!  Kelly wanted to take me to lunch and shopping, and we were joined by Kismette (Jason's wife) and Ahlyssa (13 year old granddaughter).

I must have had a smudge on my camera lens.  All my pictures from Friday had that blur in the middle.

We went to Gruene and ate lunch at the Rio Cantina.  They have seating out in the yard and patios, as well as inside.  I found a table way at the back of the yard.  Everything was fine until the wasps found us.  We fled to an indoor table.  Then we started recalling all the times anyone in the family was stung.  Now we can laugh.

Lunch was yummy and fun.  Then we went shopping.  Kelly got me a flow blue tea pot in the Blue Willow pattern at the antique store.  It has a ceramic insert to put loose tea in, and has the cutest little round shape.  I love teapots.  She also got me a little nun in amber glass.  It's only about 6" tall, but it's very heavy.  It's unusual, and I love it!

When we got home I had more presents!  Ron gave me a Cuisinart food processor, Jason and family gave me a nice Pampered Chef pepper grinder and a funny, cute salt and pepper set.  Little chickens hold the salt and pepper.  I'll have to take a picture because it's hard to describe it.  It makes me laugh.  They all like to tease me about my taste in salt shakers, teapots, etc.  This little set fits right in with all my other funky stuff.  :o)

Cyrise gave me a new recipe box.  I had been looking through recipe cards one day and mentioned that I needed a new box.  The one I had was an ugly old plastic green thing that I've had forever.  So she and Josh went to Hobby Lobby and found a box and Cyrise decorated it for me with flowers and my name stamped on top.  Very sweet.  I love it.

Lily made me a beautiful card, and I got a pretty one from her family as well.  

We used the sherry nutmeg cake that I made for Thanksgiving as my birthday cake.  We had four pies, and no one ate any cake on Thursday, so that worked out well.

So, I had a lovely birthday and feel very loved.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Big Feast

All of our children and grandchildren were here for Thanksgiving. Great Gran was sick and didn't feel like going out, so we missed her.  But we had 16 for dinner, and it was really nice.  We took Gran a big plate of food later in the day.

Most of the food was still in the kitchen at this point.  We filled our plates in there, and had just a few things on the table.  Everything was delicious.  

See the little paper place card in front of Ron's plate?  Jason made those when he was about 5 years old (he's 41 now).  They're looking a little grubby, but I still love using them.  

I got out my Christmas dishes and plan to use them from now until Valentine's day for special dinners.  

Here is Reece, getting a close up look at Mr. Turkey.

We moved things around and put two extra tables in the living room so that we could all eat together, sort of.  Jason's kids ate at the big round table, and Josh's at the small round table.  The 8 adults ate at the dining room table. 

I love Thanksgiving and having my family home.  It was wonderful.

Thanksgiving Feasts

Aubrey's class had their Thanksgiving feast the Thursday before Thanksgiving.

Here she is with her teacher, making turkey prints with her little hands.  Aubrey does not like to have dirty hands, so I doubt that she enjoyed this activity too much.  The little turkey print is darling, though.

And here she is with her "feast."  She had a great time and was happy that I was there.  I loved watching her at school.  She's much quieter there than she is at home.  :o)

Reece's feast was the next day.  It was a lot rowdier than Aubrey's, but it was lots of fun.  They decorated their little indian vests for their craft.  Reece didn't want to wear his, though.  They also had pilgrim hats.  He hates having things on his head.  But you can see that he is enjoying his feast.  Looks like he only has corn on his plate, but by the time we served them everything, their plates were very full.  Their feast was their lunch that day.  

It's fun doing things like this again.  I was always a "room mother" when my kids were little.  I'm delighted that there are lots of other grandmothers (and grandfathers) who help out at school.

Reece's Field Trip

Reece's class went to see a play the week before Thanksgiving, and I went too.

In the first picture we are sitting in the darkened theater before the play started.

Then there are some pics of Reece and his classmates as they left the theater.

After the play, we went to the park for a picnic and some playground time.

That poor lady must have had an aching back--she lifted each child up to grab that handle, let them slide to the other end and then lifted them off.

Reece had so much fun.  I want to take him back to that park soon.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dying Man Finds Miracle

A beautiful story to give us hope.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ahlyssa's Art

Our thirteen year old granddaughter, Ahlyssa, made these drawings of lilies and a rose. 

The color is not quite true because I enhanced them to make them a little darker and easier to see on the computer. 

They arrived this morning, and she brought a large drawing of a rose in full bloom for me and Papa. We love it! I told her I'm going to have it framed. 

I've made my cornbread, now on to pies and a cake. Hope you're all having a great time getting ready for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Getting Ready

I took Mom to the gastroenterologist yesterday.  Her new primary care physician referred her to this doctor.  He was very nice and like all her other doctors, he thinks she is incredibly healthy for an 86 year old.  Her blood count was 9.9, so low but not dangerously low.  They want to figure out why she is anemic.  She said she didn't want to do a colonoscopy, so he said they will do the endoscopy first, and if they find out something there they won't have to go further.  If they don't find anything, he will "negotiate" with her and try to convince her to have the colonoscopy.  I'm just grateful that they want to do everything they can to help her, despite the fact that she is 86.

Mom had not had anything to eat and was really hungry by the time we finished at the doctors.  I was hungry too, having had only a piece of toast with butter and jam for breakfast.  So we stopped for a late lunch about 3 PM.  I took her home and did what needed to be done there, and it was nearly 5 PM when I got home.

Josh, Cyrise and I wrote up the menu for Thanksgiving and made a grocery list this morning.  Jason and his family will be here tomorrow--hooray!  


The kids went grocery shopping and got a 22 lb. turkey.  It's huge!  It should feed all of us with no problem.  The fridge and pantry are stuffed.

I've been cleaning downstairs today.  Josh and Cyrise worked on the upstairs, where our guests will stay (bedroom and bathroom).  I should have made the cornbread for my stuffing, but I'm too tired tonight.  Will do it first thing in the morning.

The kids are so excited that their cousins are coming.  They are wild about Uncle Jason; the little girls pester him to death, talking, talking, talking and asking him questions.  He's so patient with them.

They wanted to be with me, "helping" while I vacuumed, cleaned with Murphy's Oil Soap, dusted and cleaned some spots on the carpet.  I wish I could be as patient as Jason and their daddy.  I'm constantly saying, "Don't do that!" "Leave that alone!"  "Why don't you go outside and play?"  I just need to chill out.  :o)

If I don't get back here by Thursday, have a Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm very thankful for all of you who visit me here each day.  Thank you!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend Chatter

Reece's Thanksgiving feast on Friday was very nice.  They had turkey and all the trimmings, and they didn't have to eat cafeteria food.  The moms and grammas helped with crafts before the meal.  That was fun.  The kids wore little "deer skin" vests made of brown grocery bags.  They decorated them first.  And they all had pilgrim hats.  They looked so cute.

I went to Mom's after the feast and took her a big mac, which she hadn't had in ages, if ever.  She really enjoyed it.  Yesterday she had some leftover apricot glazed chicken that Cyrise made, with rice and stir-fried mixed veggies.  Mom really enjoyed it.  She's so little, but can eat a lot!

Today I'll take her some leftover pizza and pasta.

I stopped at the thrift store Friday, looking for additional pieces of my stoneware.  They didn't have any this time, but I found a couple of new looking shirts.  I'm wearing one of them now--a turquoise 3/4 sleeve linen and poly with pleats at the bodice and in the back from Croft and Barrow.  It's loose and tunic like.  I like it.  The other one is a dark red, long sleeved, and has pleated ruffles down the front and on the cuffs.  I've washed them both, but haven't worn the red one yet.  Oh, they were $3.98 each.    

The sunflowers I bought at Trader Joe's last weekend are still gorgeous.  One of them died, but it was because the kids messed with it.  

Josh and Cyrise took the girls to the park this morning, but they are home now, causing chaos.  Reece and I are going to Great Grans.

See you back here soon.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Five

1.  Mom's application for her new apartment was accepted, so she will be moving in December.  It wasn't done without problems with her current apartment complex, and I'm more ready than ever to get her out of there.  I'm excited about her move.  She wants a new couch, and she needs a new telephone, so it will be fun to shop for those with her.  
2.  I've been busy with the kids this week.  Wednesday I went with Reece's class to see a play (Goldilocks and the Three Bears Thanksgiving).  It was kind of silly and unprofessional, but the kids didn't mind.  They had fun.  After the play we went to the park where they all had sack lunches and played on the playground.  I loved watching them all, especially Reece.  I enjoyed the day, but was pretty tired that night.

3.  Then yesterday morning Aubrey came into my room and asked if I would go to her Thanksgiving feast.  I didn't really want to, but I hated to tell her no since I went with Reece's class the day before.  So off I went to the school.  I enjoyed watching Aubrey and the other children during class time, and I liked helping with their feast.  I made fruit salad, and they had a lot of other goodies, too.  I stayed there for her entire class time, so tired again when I got home.

4.  This morning Reece's class has their Thanksgiving Feast, and I'll go to that, too.  If you're looking for me, I'll be at school.  :o)

5.  We had a fire in the fireplace Wednesday night for the first time this year.  Reece asked if we could have hot chocolate and sit by the fire.  That was nice, but now the house smells like wood smoke, even though the flue was open.  I don't mind it too much.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gina Is Two!

Gina had her second birthday on Thursday, November 8th.  Poor little girl, she wasn't feeling well on her special day.  But she got a couple of toy gifts and a couple of new outfits and one of the little birthday cakes her mommy likes to get for them.

Gina had her birthday cake in front of her, and Cammie said, "Dive in, Gina!" and tried to push her face into the cake.  I told Cyrise that would have been a funny video.  :o)  Gina didn't make too much of a mess with her cake, and we all enjoyed having a little piece.

We turned in Mom's application for the apartment today.  We should hear whether or not she's accepted by sometime tomorrow.  I sure hope she gets it.

It has been cold here.  Our high today was 62, but it was in the 50s most of the day.  Mom and I wore jackets and scarves when we were out.  The low forecast is for 38 degrees for tonight (or early in the morning) and 60 for a high tomorrow.  Reece will definitely need long pants in the morning, and his sweatshirt jacket.

I'm having some hot chocolate with a dollop of sweetened condensed milk in it.  Oh yum.

Ron is having a little vacation.  He took off Friday, was off today for Veterans Day, and will be off Tuesday and Wednesday.  I'm glad he was finally able to get some down time.

Not sure how many we'll have here for Thanksgiving, but I'm hoping for a house full.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Busy Weekend

Ron and I went looking at apartments for Mom Friday morning.  We looked at several complexes close to us, and wound up liking the first one we looked at best.  It's very close to where we live, too.  

We took Mom out to lunch, and then to see the apartment Saturday afternoon.  She liked it, so we are turning in the application tomorrow.  It was also approved by Reece.  :o) 

The apartment won't be available until December 21st, but that shouldn't be a problem.  The manager at the complex where she lives now said that she can stay until she finds a place.

This morning Josh and Cyrise took the three oldest kids to Wurstfest.  Gina stayed with me and Papa because she is sick.  They had a great time riding the rides and eating food on a stick.  :o)

I went to Mom's and took her a huge plate of kalbi and rice.  Made some corn over there.  She loved it, as usual.  Teddy did too.  :o\

I got back, the kids got home and Ron and I left to meet Kelly for lunch and shopping at Trader Joe's.  We had lunch at The Quarry at Canyon Cafe, then Ron went home and Kelly and I went across the street to Trader Joe's.  There was a line to park, and once inside, the line to pay went from one side of the store to the other.  It went pretty quickly, though.  They are very organized, and most people were not buying a lot.  Everyone was just checking it out.

Kelly and I both got flowers, which my friend Linda said were good buys, and boy was she right!  I got some cookie butter, walnuts, tahini, and I can't remember what else.  Kelly got wine, hummus, cheese, tomatoes, cookie butter, and a bunch of other stuff.  She spent twice as much as I did. 

The store was smaller than I expected, but had a lot of good stuff.  I'll go back again.

Kelly brought me home, but first we stopped at the new apartment complex so that Kelly could see where Gran will be moving.  She liked it, too.  

I'm really tired tonight.  Glad tomorrow is a holiday and Reece and Aubrey have no school.

Happy Veterans Day to all the vets out there!  

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I got two pair (or is it two pairs?) of pajamas a couple of weeks ago, and I like them so much that I want to tell everyone about them.  I usually sleep in nightgowns, but after the cancer and chemo and weight loss, I'm cold all the time.  So I wanted long-sleeves and long bottoms.  And I'm particular about how they feel, so they had to be really soft.  I didn't want fleece or flannel, I wanted something soft and comfy and not too heavy.

I found these at Kohl's.  One pair is gray, the other pink.  The pink is my favorite.

So if you need some new PJs, check them out.  They would make great Christmas gifts for any woman in your life, too.

This is not an ad for Kohl's.  :o)  Just sharing my PJ preferences. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Extreme Disappointment

I don't even know what to say.  I can't believe this happened again after what has gone on for the last four years.  It seemed as if so many who voted for Obama in 2008 were not planning to vote for him again.  The ignorance of half the population stuns me.  They must not do any research at all.

His extreme stance on abortion, his support of gay marriage, his failed economy, the bail outs, the way he divides our country along racial, political and economic lines, his policy on immigration, his failure to pay down the debt, instead raising it to over $16 trillion, his treatment of the military, no energy policy, no budget, redistribution, his treatment of the Catholic Church...I could go on and on.  People should learn about these things before voting for someone.  Instead we see videos of people being interviewed about the election, and most of the Obama voters don't even recognize a picture of Joe Biden and think Paul Ryan is black!  They don't even know what they are voting for.

I hate politics and don't say much about it, but I am extremely disappointed.  Half the population are "takers," and I'm sorry, but that is the truth.  The "makers" are expected to pay higher and higher taxes to support the "takers."  And the takers won this election for Obama.  He is taking our country down the path of socialism.

My son says that no matter who is elected, we are still on that path, just at a slower pace.  Maybe so, but my prayer for this election was that we get Obama out of the White House.  

No matter what has happened, or will happen, I know that God is in control.  I just wish I understood His plan.  So, I put my faith in Him, and go on with my life.  I still have the things that are most important to me--Ron, our family, our home, our faith.  I'll focus on all the delightful things in the world rather than the negative, ugly things.  But I'm afraid things are going to get even uglier.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Chatter

How was your day?  Hope you've had a good start to a new week.

The time change always throws everyone for a loop for the first week or so.  The little girls were up at 6 AM today.  They've been going to bed around 7, and yesterday went down at 6.  They didn't know the difference, it felt like bedtime to them.  :o)  But no wonder they woke up so early!

I always get up to spend time with Reece before he goes to school.  Sometimes his daddy makes his breakfast, and sometimes I do.  By the time he eats, gets dressed, brushes his teeth and combs his hair, it is about time to leave for school, which starts at 7:30.  They are supposed to be there at 7:20 or 7:25, though, or they get locked out of the drop off spot and have to go in through the office.

When Josh got back, I went upstairs to take my meds and get online for awhile.  I'm sick of the election stuff and am glad it will soon be over.  Praying like crazy that we have a new president soon!  Reading online made me sleepy, so I went back to sleep (bad habit I have).

I went to Mom's about 1 PM, taking her some of the pork tenderloin and roasted potatoes left over from dinner last night (and a piece of cherry pie).  I heated up some canned green beans to go with it, and you would have thought she was having a feast.  She enjoyed it so much.  She's always impressed that Josh and Cyrise do the cooking, and tells me to tell them how good it was.  :o)

Her next door neighbor was outside when I was on the patio, and stopped to talk.  She had made some jumbo pumpkin nut muffins, and gave us two of them.  I only ate half of mine and left the other half for Mom, so she had all kinds of goodies today.  Those muffins were outstanding!

Mom's neighbor on the other side has moved.  She is such a sweetie.  I hated to see her leave, but she didn't feel safe there, either.

I gave the office notice today that Mom would be moving.  The lady there asked why, and I told her the truth--I don't feel that my mother is safe there, and I worry about her all the time.  She totally understood.  They didn't require that Mom sign her lease, and said that she can just pay the rent each month until she finds a new place.  I'm hoping to find something by the end of the month.

The kids got home from school, and I stayed downstairs with the family until after we had dinner.  Cyrise made Willie Strange's Very Good Soup and rice.  It was very good.  :o)

A young man came by the house and asked if he could mow the yard this afternoon.  He gave me a good price, so I had him go ahead.  I admire young people who hustle and work hard on their own.  He has a business doing lawn care, fencing, irrigation, masonry, pressure washing, tree trimming, landscaping and landscape lighting.  I asked him to give me an estimate to replace the fence along the street side of our house.  We will get another estimate or two, but if his is in the ballpark, I'd like to hire him.  He did a good job on the yard, and I've never seen anyone mow grass so fast!  He also trimmed and blew the clippings away.  The kids were fascinated that a stranger was working in our yard, and wanted to follow him around and talk to him.  Aubrey got their little play lawnmower and was pushing it around.  We had to put them on the patio and tell them to leave him alone.  :o)

Reece has been watching Benji on Hulu again.  He came downstairs after the movie and ate the rest of his dinner and we did homework.  Then he watched a couple of episodes of Pingu and went to bed about 8.  He went to sleep right away; he was tired.

I have to go to the BMT clinic tomorrow for most of the day.  :o(  Dr. O wants to give me the IVIG again.  It's to fight bacteria, so I guess I should have it.

Well, if you read through all that brain dump, I'm surprised.  But thanks for visiting.      

Saturday, November 3, 2012

UT Ninja Frogs

Reece and Aubrey went with me to Great Gran's yesterday.  Here they are in front of her patio.  Reece was pretending to be a Ninja Frog, from a game he plays.

And then little sis wanted us to laugh at her, too, so she pretended to be Ninja Frog.  I love the way he is looking at her and smiling.  He thinks she is so cute, and if any of us punish her for something, he gets angry.  We are to leave Aubrey alone.  I love the way they love each other.

You can see the apartments across the way reflected in Mom's window.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Five

1.  Johnnie emailed me yesterday to ask about my PET scan results.  That reminded me that I hadn't posted about it here, either.  No sign of any lymphoma.  :o)  Happy news!

2.  Dr. O said it did show some "fuzziness" in my lower right lung, and he thinks I had pneumonia.  We thought it was allergies because all of my chest x-rays were clear (the scan shows a lot more) and I had no fever.  He put me on antibiotics a couple of weeks ago when I told him I thought the sinus congestion had morphed into an infection.  I'm much much better now.  If it was pneumonia, it must have been a fairly mild case of it.  In any case, he put me back on Bactrim and Noxafil and wants to give me another infusion of IVIG next Tuesday, all of which will help my immune system fight bacteria and viruses.  He said that I have come too far and done too well to get sick now.

3.  I got the IV iron Tuesday, and I feel more energetic.  My HGB and red blood counts were up to normal levels anyway, though.  So the combo of the iron and higher counts have made me feel better.  Dr. O always said that the red cells come back last, and now Johnnie's cells are beginning to make them
for me.  :o)

4.  In other news, Mom's lease is up this month and I'm seriously looking into moving her.  There have been several shootings in her neighborhood, and since they opened up a percentage of the apartments to Section 8 housing there have been some scary looking people walking around her complex.  I don't think they can limit the age of residents if they have Section 8.  There are a lot more younger people there now.  They also raised her rent $60.  Higher rent when the complex is going downhill?

5.  And in a lighter vein, a brand new Trader Joe's is opening in San Antonio tomorrow.  I've heard so much about them, and I'm excited to check them out.  What should I look for there?  I know about the $2 wine (which will be $2.99 here).  What else?

That's all.  Have a great weekend.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween WiggleWorms

They were so wiggly and excited, it was hard to get pictures. Reece is the Angry Ice Bird, Aubrey is the candy corn witch, Camryn is a little bee, and Gina is a cute little zebra. All of the girls have worn the zebra costume now.