Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Ol' Betsy

When Mister Bean was about two, we started watching Davy Crockett. He quickly became a huge fan. Every girl in his life was Becky, and every stick his gun Betsy, every guy Davy's sidekick Georgie, and, for about two years, we had to call him Davy.

At the time of his birth he had six grandmas. In order to tell us apart, we took different names. He has a Oma, a GiGi, a Granny Wandy, Grandma Betty and me, Gramerly (His great, great grandma has sinced passed away). Well, one time he got a little confused an referred to his Pap's mom as Ol' Betsy. As his grandparents, of course, we thought it adorable, but I wasn't sure how Grandma Betty would feel. Handy Man couldn't help himself and just had to tell on Bean. Well, she graciously accepted the moniker gifted by her first great grand boy. Today is her birthday.
So, Happy Birthday to you Ol' Betsy!! We hope it is a happy one.
Since she loves Lemon Pie, I made her one. She also feels some serious affection for bourbon balls, as does her son. The plan was to have them for Christmas. Ummm, why do I make plans?
Handy Man thought he'd help, then thought maybe he wouldn't-yucck.
"Okay, I smiled nicely for the first picture, now quit already." " No one needs to know that I licked the bourbon ball bowl clean."

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Big Week of Christmas

Christmas busyness begins in earnest for me about when I put up the last of the Thanksgiving dishes. When you work in a Catholic School, it's Christmas every day. Then, with my own kids last Sunday.

A friend had given me a Christmas movie her children had outgrown with characters having both Antebellie and O'Henry's name. I made a date to watch it with them on Tuesday past. Of course, I had a little gift for them and had made pot of black beans, and they like black bean omelets. I called Aunt SueZQ and asked her join us, and she brought her grandboy, Big Al. A good time was had by all.

At a craft fair in the fall, an elderly woman was selling these little drawstring purses that open and fold down to reveal a tinest baby with a tinier crocheted dress. I was likely her best client. I wish I had a video of Miss Linee cuddling and smooching that littlest doll, so sweet.
The chickie girls provided the eggs and each wee one in turn chose an egg, shook it up and made their omelet and we enjoyed a yummy dinner together. Then we all gathered in the kitchen, as we are easily entertained, and enjoyed watching a flat silver pan expand into a blimp, as we popped up some Jiffy Pop. It was very Christmasy.

Yesterday, I headed to Kaye's around one to help Pete and Ol' Mother Hubbard aka Tiff and David, make their Christmas dinner. She was feeling good and helped peel potatoes and stir up green bean casserole. Then O M Hubbard left to get the cherubs while we set the table. I was able to get a picture upon their return.
Then I headed to my Mama's to have Christmas with her. Mom seems to be about the best she's been in several weeks and was enjoying the company of all her people. Bean and Bugg were there so we visited for awhile and when it was time to leave, they wanted to come home with us, so we brought them out for a couple of hours, tracked Santa on radar, and when it appeared he might be close, they headed home. As we were driving here, Bugg was very interested in that baby Jesus and what happened to Him, so I told the whole story to the end, that marks our beginning.
Today SueZQ invited us to bring chickie girl eggs and have brunch and go to a movie. This day was truly spent like no other Christmas for me. Brunch was delicious, the movie was fun and I survived.
Hope everyone enjoyed a peaceful day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Goodnight

Looks like they've had too much eggnog?

No,you can't make us tell anything!

You have to guess where we hid your presents.

Santa's elves are busy in their self-made Santa hats.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ho, Ho, Ho

This year I celebrated Christmas with our children and grandchildren on Sunday. My mom and siblings always had Christmas on the eve of the big day, so around here we were Christmas morning folk. After the boys married, of course, this became more complicated. Rae Rae was still home, so I told the boys that I understood if they couldn't make Christmas morning, but Christmas morning would go on as usual until Miss Rae became a Mrs. Well, two days after Christmas last year, she did. The man she married has family a bit south of here and a sister in Vermont. I knew, if that sister and her three babies could get this far, Rae and Michael needed to be available to mold to their plans to her availability, so we officially changed tradition last year, and moved our celebration to the Sunday before.

It was a necessary change, but it will take me awhile to get used to it. I have just always been a person who likes to celebrate on the chosen day, be it birthday, whatever. Last Christmas, I spent the entire day cooking for the wedding reception. By about 6 o'clock, I was seriously spent and feeling quite lonely. I asked Handy Man if he would just come sit in kitchen and talk to me awhile and he did. We'll see what this year feels like. Maybe, sometime, Handy Man and I will find a place to volunteer on Christmas. Christmas and no children feels sort of prickly to me.

That being said, they are some high points to the Sunday before. No one has anywhere else to be, which seems to ease the tension in everyone. We chose post nap as the time for celebrating, so all the poopies are in good form. It's the first presents of the season, so not as much over stimulation. They can actually look and play with their toys. If not for the pre-party car wreck, it would have been practically perfect in every way. Lastly, gramerlings that wish to, can spend the night. Bugg and Bean always wish to.
Miss Bugg was thrilled with her mixer, that actually mixed. Party folk however grew quite weary of the whirring of the beaters after twenty minutes or so-grinches all.

1st Lt. read a book about whaling that contained parts of an actual diary used as the basis for Moby Dick. 1st Lt. gave it to Handy Man, who kept telling me bits and pieces, that roused my curiosity, so I read it. All of us talked about it so much, that Bean developed quite an interest in the whole whaling business, and endlessly asks for whaling stories, where he, naturally, is the hero. Lo and behold, I found a whale rescue toy set with the helicopter, big boat, little boat and little people whale rescuers, and let's not forget, a big whale. Bean declared the delightful to Gramerly's ear words, "This is exactly what I wanted," and hardly looked up the rest of the evening.

Miss Buttercup did what 15 month old babies do and simply scuttled about happily playing with whatever was handy.

We had a yummy dinner, but all the wee ones ordered an egg! So, we cooked eggs! Dee-wish-us!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy 75th Anniversary Aunt Lois and Uncle Berry

I read this prayer from Sue's prayer book at the anniversary brunch yesterday.
Then we said, "You can kiss the bride."

Dewey, Debbie, Randy, Toni, Kimberly
Susie, Aunt Bett, Scott, Aunt Lois and Uncle Berry

The woman who drove her car out of a parking lot into the path of our car on the way home-good times!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thanks Girls

This ol' house has been a whirring dervish of wrapping, cleaning, and cooking as I finished Christmas with my students and have to be ready by tomorrow at 4:30 to celebrate with my gramerlings. The bean dip, cheese appetizer, Texas potatoes, and lettuce wrap filling is done and I'm tired.
First, however I'll travel to Florence, KY in the morning, to celebrate my aunt's and uncle's 75th wedding anniversary. Aunt Lois was excited for me to get chickens and fresh eggs, and I'm excited to take some to her in the morning. She loves eggs and the girls have laid some giant ones this week. Aren't they pretty.

The ones in the front are the size of regular eggs. It doesn't seem like I can really get a picture to show them off properly.

This is the first time we've had a pale brown one be so huge. I think it was just a special anniversary gift.
Kaye was supposed to go with us, but she isn't feeling up to it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Frosty the Sn, Jingle Bel, Santa Claus is, We wish

The title is bits of what you will hear if you walk into our happy home on poopie night.
When Mr. Bean was one, I purchased a snowman, about two feet tall, that swung his snowflake and tipped his hat while singing Frosty the Snowman. This turned out to be one my very favorite Christmas memories, because our little toddling Bean loved nothing better than to push the button and dance while Frosty sang. Then, anytime the boy would see a snowman, even the one on my Christmas shirt, he'd press on it and look at you expectantly until you broke out into a rendition of Frosty, and he'd dance. When Handy Man, who typically refuses to sing, would give it a whirl in the middle of Kroger where Bean located a pack of napkins with a snowman on it, I knew he was really a papaw.
Since then we've accumlated quite an assortment of singing critters and Missy Bugg loves to hear them all at the same time, it's quite loud at Gramerly's at Christmas. I added two to the collection recently.
Tonight, when I picked them up, I told them I had a surprise when we got home. Bugg said, "For both of us." I replied, "I have a surprise for each of you." "Okay," came the sweet little voice from the back, followed by, "You can give my brother his first." She can be the sweetest bit of cuteness on the planet. I won't ruin the moment by bring up anyway else she can be-ha.
Well, it was a big craft night as Bean has wanted to make pins and use the "real" glue gun for sometime. The moment had arrived. Bean has done a lot of things I wouldn't let most little ones I know do. He has always been the best listener, and does just what you ask him.
Tah dah, Bean glued pins!
They are beautiful.

It was fun to listen to him think about
which pin he wanted to give to which person.
. Alas, crafting was not yet done as his new puppy (he barks a song-I'm a glutton for punishment) needed a Christmas present, so he made him a bracelet, wrapped it and put it under the tree. He said though that he was going to write "dog" on the package, cause he could spell that and he can't yet spell "puppy."
Miss Bugg made a santa hat, which I will show off when it's dry. She has an abnormal amount of patience for art projects for a three year old.
She was also busy stickering a little princess mirror that is supposed to make a magical sound. She was sitting way upstairs in the crib, stickering away, when the press of a button failed to produce the expected sound of magic. Immediately she begins yelling, "Pap!" "Hey, Pappy!" "A battery, this isn't working!" She thinks her Pap makes magic too and can hear her and supply her needs eventhough he is outside.
I called Kaye this evening and she said she wasn't feeling too good, but maybe she would be tomorrow. Bless her heart.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kaye Up to the Minute Confusing News

I knew when I had no word at 10 today, that Kaye made it through the night without getting worse. The doc told Pete to call him at 10, so I waited a bit, then called. Doctor says he saw the lab report and is sending a two week oral antibiotic to the Rite-Aid. Umm, wait just minute, the same one who said it was next to impossible to treat this infection if it occurs again?
Please note that Kaye was on an IV antibiotic for 4 weeks, when the bacteria mutated and rendered her comatose, then it took days in the hospital to find one she'd respond to, then five weeks on that. So Pete asked how this Klebsillia was different from that Klebsillia and the doc said he hadn't really looked at her past record and this is what he was sending.
I have no earthly idea if good medicine is being practiced here, for if Pete is being placated, but if Kaye ends up the the horrible shape she did before, then what? Oh yeah, I will be horrified for her, and broken hearted, mad and none of that will be able to pull her out of the clutches of these endless infections.
Are you as confused as me, or do I just have screw loose (be kind) and this makes perfect sense to everyone else?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Kaye Report

Last night most all the siblings and my mom met for some Christmas cheer. Sister Sue ZQ bought Christmas Crackers with wee horns, a directing baton and song sheet, and we attempted to make merry tooting carols. Umm, we really need to practice, but we laughed a lot.

I will confess to having a lot of jumbled feelings where Kaye is concerned these past ten months. I don't feel I had the need to know that a person could suffer what she has suffered. Had no idea you could even live through what she has lived through. I'll admit, I've wondered more than once, "For what?" But then Pete bucked authority, took her home, did what they said he couldn't and we've watched as slowly she's improved. I mean just four months ago she couldn't eat, talk, feed herself at all, or care to eat, for that matter. Now, we're celebrating Christmas and she had Pete call me last week and she asked me to pick up Mom and bring her to the party and I understood it. She enjoyed her dinner last night and rumor has it, she's walking with help and the walker a bit more each time at therapy. I've adapted to the "This is how Kaye is now" groove, and my topsy turvey world seemed more topsy than turvey for a moment. It was a good moment-it's gone.

Tonight was Kaye night and I headed to town about 4:30, but she was already in bed and Pete was in an absolute tizz. He asked for a urine test last week and the results came back today-Klebsillia Pneumonia, again. The urologist office called to say they'd called in Bactrim and he returned the call to say that it doesn't work for her. He told her what they'd given her last time- remember 5 weeks through a picc line, and they said they weren't familiar with that and he'd need to call the doc who prescribed it. He'd been trying every which way he knew to get ahold of that doc, but no luck. This is the bacteria that rendered her unresponsive, then psychotic for days and sent her right back to not eating, talking, knowing us etc. David suggested just calling information for his home phone and Pete did, apologized profusely, but got the doc at home. The doctor said he'd check her records in the morning and tell Pete what to do. If she spiked a temp, to go to the emergency room. Then he said that he didn't want to dispel our hopes, but it practically impossible to cure a recurrence.
It's just so scary, as now I have awful images of what might be in store for her if it goes south like last time.
So, if you will, just pray for all decision making parties to have wisdom about her care and treatment. And just as much for Pete. I know if I feel terrified, how much more he feels it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

P U at the Palace

Hmm, wind, rain, sleet and snurries made little time for chickie girls to be out and about this week, so Cluckingham was a little smelly. All it takes is turning over the litter and opening the front and back doors and the P U is gone. Wish all P U's in life were so easily dealt with, don't you?
I was fairly determined, when I got the girls, to be the primary coop cleaner. Handy Man is as unaccustomed to seeing me wield a shovel as I am in wielding one. I know people have issues with it, but we just never have. I do the traditional girl stuff, and he does the traditional guy stuff. I'm just not in anyway insulted by him scraping my wind shield, starting my car and toting all the heavy stuff. It doesn't hurt his feelings to find his supper on the table and clean socks and underwear appear on his bed, placed there no doubt, by the good laundry fairy. So, when I clean the coop, Handy Man just stands and looks at me-the whole time. He's waiting, I know, for the familiar, "Gee, this is heavy," or " Aghhh, there's a mouse, snake, wildebeest (you get the idea) in these poopy chickie wood chips." Alas, far too familiar, " Ummm, I don't want to do this anymore." Then he will save me, just like in the fairytales, just like in our daily living.
I am of a grateful heart for all this saving through the years, but in the hen house, I persevere and he watches, that sweet man.

Handy Man models Christ to me in that way. My decisions, to do things on my own in my own way, aren't always as purposeful as coop cleaning. When it gets too heavy, when I come to my senses, and realize my idea wasn't such a good one, I turn to One who hasn't forgotten, but was just waiting and watching, ever forgiving and loving.

I love that I can celebrate Him where I work. This week was the Christmas Musical. I'm sort of in charge of the drama, costumes, etc. I mean, seriously, it was the sweetest play. The message was the one of our hearts and has a place in our school, but especially sweet, because two students, no one would've expected to find on stage, were the stars.

I have always had a heart for little boys that most teachers, people in general, find a bit out of control. I have no clue why. I really have to fight all year to not play favorites. I got a little guy this year, who came with a reputation. My school is small and we all know each other, so every time I talked to the parents through the years, they would say, " Just wait till you get Mr. Question Man!!!." I replied, "I am not scared." Now, he can't easily let anything go, and he thinks I am his personal encyclopedia, but I love this boy.
Crazier still, is the way I love quiet, backward, hard working girls. Ummm, no idea. Of course, I always have at least one and this year was no exception. My little wallflower would easily fade herself right into the woodwork, just working her fanny off and being good.
Mr. Question desperately wanted a part in the play and Wallflower wanted no part in being front and center. So, I threw caution to the wind, asking myself, "Where else will Mr. Question be allowed this opportunity?" Then, I shamelessly pulled that, "I will do anything for you teacher" card on Wallflower, and she reluctantly acquiesced. Both of them shocked and amazed us all, in addition to making us all cry.
I'm crazy over nativity sets, and have too many, of every make and model, but no matter how they appear, every Joseph I snuggle in the straw with Mary and the baby will wear the face of my sweet boy, Mr. Question. Each time I see Hawaiian stuff, Wallflower's beautiful face will be on my mind. Precious!

14 to 16 eggs a day this week. The girls knows we're getting ready for Christmas

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Annual Gingerbread House Party

Long ago and far away, when 1st. Lt was a serious, quiet, three year old, daily aggravated by twin one year old siblings, we made our very first gingerbread house . Since then, it's been an annual event. One year I awoke on G-Day with a bad case of vertigo, and the house was made later at Granny's Christmas party. Other then that one unfortunate event, it has gone on. Saturday was twenty-five years.
This was my favorite picture of the day. Uncle Jimi has been at most every gingerbread event and, as I said, Jakester has been old faithful. After decorating his Gramerly built house, Bean wasn't out of the decorating mood, so Uncle Jimi helped him construct another one.

Baby Boy's 1st
Not long after the house that came from a catalog, I found a pattern for wee house from graham crackers, allowing each decorator his/her own house, and that's been the norm. I've not only done it with mine and our adopted families, but in classrooms where I've worked, at afterschool programs, etc., etc. I would love to know how many of those houses I've made. I used to tell my nephews they wouldn't be too old for gingerbread until it was time to bring their own babies. Jakester took me at my word and was faithful to show.
For everyone, this time of year is hectic. I head up a Christmas Musical where I teach, and I teach. I planned to get all of the decorating done over Thanksgiving weekend, but my plans were changed. Simply put, I just didn't see how in the world I could get it together for Saturday morning. It was Saturday morning, because Antebellie was having her first recital. I didn't want her to miss the party, and I didn't want to miss her first recital, so we had a Gingerbread Breakfast. Everyone who cared to went and plucked their own egg from the palace for breakfast. Anyway, not everything got done. There was a tree, it had some lights, it had no ornaments, no one cared-maybe lights will be its only decoration this year.
On a sad note, a dear friend came to watch the sugar laden chaos. I offered it as a distraction after the sudden, unexpected loss of her beloved pet. I knew her house would be lonely without her fancy, prancy, girl. Isn't that all we can do when someone experiences loss? Just offer something. It doesn't fix anything, just lets them know you care. I know the holidays will be painful for several folks I love this year, and of course, tons I don't know about. Just offer yourself, that's the best we can do.
Woo, hoo, we got 14 eggs today. That's a record!
And yet another record- today I made about twenty pounds of fudge. Peanut butter fudge, chocolate with pecans, chocolate with black walnuts, chocolate with toffee, chocolate with chocolate, white chocolate with toffee, white chocolate with coconut and plain ol' white chocolate- and now, I'm all done!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Mom called last night. I expected it. I knew in the coming days she would need lots of contact. Since the egg basket is overflowing, I stopped by to see her on my way to the grocery with a dozen. It always leaves me sad. She had a brace on her foot, an ice pack on her knee, a pillow form around her neck and oxygen in her nose. For someone who loved doing, it is so hard for her. I do believe she's breathing a bit better. This watching someone leave this world is quite a stressor. I know we'll need to hover close by.

Is it just the lot of being female to always feel pulled in multiple directions. As I was leaving, she asked me to make her some Mexican Cornbread and told me I really disappointed her when I made it at Kaye's and didn't bring her any. I remember that Sunday. It was a Kaye day and I try to make supper for her and Pete and then make ours at the same time, then I was going to drop some off to mom. My original plan was to do just that, but as usual, plans changed. Ceece and 1st Lt. needed a sitter at 4, and Miss Bugg had been begging to see her best friend Antebellie. I had Antebellie and O Henry's birthday gift, so I said for 1st Lt. to drop the kiddos off to me at Kaye's and I would take them to play at their cousins and deliver the presents. 1st Lt needed his Dad's truck, so he then took Handy Man's dinner to him. Alas, another stop didn't make it into the agenda.
Tonight I ran by with the eggs, but had two errands to run to be ready for the Gingerbread House Party and because I'm teaching rocks and need to make an edible example of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rock, to move it from my students short term to long term memory, and had to be back at PTO meeting at 6:30, so no time to cook supper for Handy Man. Then I feel disappointed in myself, but sometimes, I just can't make it all work.
I do believe however that the above paragraph contains the world's longest sentence.

At PTO, the question came up about Christmas gifts for teachers. First, I expressed that my students don't owe me a gift at Christmas. Ones that are handmade and heartfelt are appreciated, but really, mugs and favorite teacher ornaments are, well, not so much. I mean if the intention is to spend five bucks, I'd rather have a gift card to the local coffee shop for five bucks. Same for fragrant lotions, bubblebath etc. Handy Man buys my favorites and I have no real need for more. Gift cards to places like Hobby Lobby means way less is spent out of my pocket on their kiddos. It surprised to me hear that some parents were surprised to know a teacher would like that. Typically parents have no idea how much money we spend out of our own pocket every year. My kids do a ton of projects and most of it I pay for. I did have someone in leadership for a time who would help me out, which was certainly lovely. Anyway, I was glad they asked.

One reason I love teaching in a Catholic School is that I get to celebrate Advent with my students every day. We turn off the lights, light the candle, have a devotion, scripture, prayer and song in the candlelight. In this season of craziness, it is sometimes the very best part of my day.

What's the best part of your day?