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/