Saturday, December 25, 2010

For Unto Us a Child is Born

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

I call Him Jesus, and seek to honor Him in my heart as if everyday was His birthday!

Each year, as I shop, it bothers me more and more how few things reflect the source of my Christmas celebration. I made my own cards this year. I didn't know how much longer the kids would be willing players in my Christmas card scheme. To range in age from seven weeks to 6 years, they were very cooperative.
By beautiful blue eyed newest boy.

His equally beautiful blue-eyed sister.
Who can resist chubby cherub hands from my precious red head.
Bean loves me, but he loves this lamb more. He wanted a picture of lambie in the manger.

Wishing you a blessed Christmas!

Kaye- As I noted yesterday, Thursday evening was day four of Kaye being terribly sick after dialysis. We changed her Christmas dinner to noon, yesterday. We had no sooner got there with all the food and all the gifts and her four grandkids, when the kidney doc came in and said since they couldn't figure out the problem, they would just start eliminating possibilities. So, though they could grow nothing out of port (bacteria), they were still going to replace it and it had to be done right now! We asked could we have an hour since we were all there to do her Christmas. "No, it has to be done now." Well, I guess Ol' Mother Hubbard and I get an "A" for effort. The procedure went fine and I pray that this will relieve her post dialysis agony.

I had big plans to visit someone very special to me as a surprise for Christmas Day, but have fretted about the weather putting a stop to my plans all week. Well, it doesn't look to bad, so I'm off. Let's hope and pray this goes better than my attempts at having Christmas with Kaye.
Thanks for your continued prayers.

Christ's Peace and Love to all this Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tying Up Loose Ends

Literally, I have been finishing off some scarves I knitted for Christmas. I love fiber arts, the feel of wool, but I don't have a long attention span I fear. So, as soon as one comes off the needles, I can't wait to start on some different fiber. Which leaves all these loose ends dangling, so I've been tucking them in, before sending them out.
I wish you could feel them. They are so very soft. Well, most of them anyway.

Here a couple more shots of the bookcases Handy Man made the children, without my reflection thankfully.

I think they are so beautiful.

I went to see Kaye yesterday afternoon-one word-pitiful. The infectious disease guy says the UTI bacteria has ceased growing and the type of pneumonia in both lungs is very responsive to the antibiotic he has her on. No one seems to know what causes here to react so badly to the dialysis. Her temp shoots up and she experiences dramatic shivering, more like convulsing. She is very weak, so Pete has to physically move her when she needs to restroom, etc. She is clearly in abject misery and this goes on for two hours or better after dialysis. They've made her have dialysis everyday, as her toxins are too high.
So, as opposed to a Christmas Eve evening, as is their custom, we're going for a Christmas Eve lunch, in case they order another dialysis. I have the potato salad and eggnog salad ready.
This evening, I'll head to Mom's.
What last minute ends are you tying up?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ol' Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

Baby Boy needed two hats and and two mitts to begin
the cooking.

Ah, life is interesting, isn't it? My sister Kaye was such a fan of toddlers. I'm not sure I ever knew anyone who loved you so passionately, just because you were three. I couldn't wait for her to have grandkids. I didn't know what kind of grandmother I would be, as I spent most of my toddler's days ticking off all the things I didn't feel I did right, but I knew what kind of grandmother she would be.

Unfortunately, her health took a serious nose dive before she was able to experience much about being a grandma. Sadder still, their other grandma's health went the same down hill direction, leaving them with grandparents with the same old want to, but without the means to do. I suppose it goes without saying that it routinely breaks my heart for everyone.

Ol' Mother Hubbard and I have always been very close. Naturally, I also want to have a relationship with her children. It's awkward though. Kaye is still quite aware of much, especially what she isn't able to do. So, I try to plan things separately, to do a grandma type thing, and keep it on the down low. My sister SuZQ does the same.

Then I try to help Kaye recreate Christmas Past. Last year, and the plan this year, was for Ol' Mother Hubbard and I to prepare their Christmas Eve dinner with her, while the babies nap, fixing all the things she used to fix. This causes no end of confusion for Bean and Bugg, who think that Ol' Mother Hubbard's kidlets belong here, just like them for every celebration, or, at the least, they belong there. They are always surprised to not find them here for my Christmas party. None of my explanations seem to make it understandable. They are here for everything else, why not Christmas? Yes, I am sort of their Gramerly too, but not exactly.

Well, I'm afraid she won't be in on the fixin's this year. We'll be taking it to the hospital.
She has a different UTI infection than ever before, a lung infection and a possible port infection.
She still is spiking a temperature high enough to render her out of her head and unable to function.
Okay, enough sad stuff.
Tuesday SuZQ, with her grandson, Big Al, and I headed to the Cupboard to celebrate Christmas. Ol' Henry started this tradition with his love of black bean omelets, so I bring my chickie girl eggs and let them make their own omelet. We eat supper together and lots of fudge and caramels and play away the evening-good times!

Ready Santa, uh, Kymbi.
How cute can you be?
First you shake the eggs.
Next you pour them in.
Wait for them to cook-yummy!

Flirt furiously with photographer cousin Big Al.

Merry Christmas from the not quite Baker's Dozen!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

After the Christmas Party

It seems another tradition is staying on at Gramerly's after the family Christmas party. Bean and Bugg ask to spend the night almost every Wednesday night that they visit. Everytime I have to say, "No sweetie, remember Gramerly has to go to work tomorrow?" It is nice to say, "Yes!"

On Monday we grabbed Miss Raina and headed to Choo-choo Pizza to meet Ms. Glitzy her little ones for a summer playdate reunion. After lunch we went to the Science Center to see my mostest favorite claymation flick, "Twas the Light Before Christmas." Bean and Bugg have seen this for the third year in a row, but are still as thrilled. We explored all things science for the rest of the afternoon, then headed home to pick-up Pappy.

Next, we drove to Santa Claus and visited the light show at Rudolph Lake. I have those glasses that make headlights look like giant snowflakes, stars, angels, etc. The children enjoyed viewing life through those lenses on the ride over. Rudolph Lake, as you might guess, has a light show that depicts the story of Rudolph. It was adorable.
We sang Christmas carols all the way to Miss Raina's door.

Yesterday morning we broke out the new games and enjoyed playing for awhile and then moved onto to more science.
Though we've had quite enough snow and ice to suit me this December, we haven't had colored snow. Um, well, not these colors anyway.

Put a tiny scoop of magic powder in the cup, add water, and watch.
It is growing.
Though she belongs to 1st Lt., Miss Bugg inherited her Uncle Drummer Boy's disease of being allergic to looking directly into the camera. She will give you one swift direct glance, but before the focus is set, she's either batted her eyes for cut her eyes away. By the time of this fifth re-take, she was in stitches.
Now let's try blue.

Yep, blue works as well.
Now to grow some fish eggs. Just drop the teeny tiny eggs in water.
Check in an hour.
Check the next day. They feel so neat.

Alas, time to pack those poopies up for home.
On the way, I had to stop for gas. Upon informing the gramerlings of my plans, Bugg gasped, "Gas!" as if she had never heard the word, then exclaimed, "I thought Pappy was the gas-getter."
Off to the community college to drop off portfolios and grades, and get ready for my Christmas evening with Ol' Mother Hubbard's cupboard of wee folk.

Kaye- Yesterday they did a culture to determine what type of infection she has and put in a picc line. She always has to have those very potent antibiotics. She is at herself again. We don't yet know how Christmas will be.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We Interrupt this Holiday Season

We interrupt this Christmas season to bring late breaking news from the Kaye front. During dialysis yesterday, she was weaker and weaker. When Pete went to check on her she was quite feverish and out of her head. She's in the hospital with a UTI and some type of lung infection. She is on oxygen and resting now.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Waiting

So yesterday was our long awaited family party. It seems a long time in coming this year, as we had a big surprise for our grown-up kids.
First things first. I hung a blanket between the kitchen and living room, so the gifts were out of sight. We munched on appetizers and had our last Advent. Each child's family in turn lit the candle. The Advent focus was on thankfulness, so we each shared things for which we were thankful.
1st Lt. 's Family
Bean is old enough to do the honor.
Drummer Boy's family
Rae-Rae and Michael showing signs of their upcoming family.

Better blow out the candles before moving onto gifts.

Handy Man has made a cradle each time one of his own starts a family, along a few other odds and ends. A few years ago his niece, Old Mother Hubbard, commissioned a set of barrister bookcases. Since then, I've thought it would be nice for each of our kids to have something that would be in use all the time,from their daddy, as opposed to a cradle, that often ends up stored. So, he started on the bookcases months and months ago and trying to keep it secret has been difficult. Throughout the year, I picked up books,as I found them, that I thought would be of high interest. We are all big readers around here, and lots of our conversations are around a book someone is reading. A bookcase seemed a most appropriate gift.

I am sorry to not yet have a whole picture. When I was downloading the piks today, I noticed that the full length ones include a reflection of me, uh, in my nightgown. I won't be posting those.
These are the type of bookcases where the glass panel on the front swings up and slides back into the case.
Not only were they made by their Daddy, the wood came from a tree that fell in area after a tornado. That old cherry tree has been turned into some beautiful wood furniture. There's enough left for one more cradle.
Lots of merry making and good times.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chickens in Ice

Slip Sliding Away

The path to Cluckingham Palace all covered with ice.

I felt I'd been fever free for awhile, so I decided to brave the elements and venture out into Iceville today. My thought was to take care of palace and give Handy Man a night off. I feel a little overcome with guilt when I've been home all day and he has to go out in the cold to deal with my girls.
First, I cleaned out the frig, and heated up some yummy leftover dibs and dabs. Next, I suited up in an interesting variety of layers.

Do you have some of these? Handy man warned me not to go out without them. He refers to them as my cleats. Ever since Kaye's fall and brain injury, I feel quite anxious on slippery surfaces. Even with them on, the above pictured path seemed daunting, so I tossed some hay I was carrying to the chicken yard across the ice. Thankfully, I didn't slip or slide once.

Reports from Cluckingham this week have been that most girls weren't too interested in venturing out either. I guess that warm food was calling to them. Out they poured, with my Kingly Caillou, the wonder rooster right behind.
Caillou, if you recall, is my knight in shining armor, only bested by the Handy Man. I stood by the palace forever before Silver King would finally come out. He's mean and hateful.
I wasn't quick enough to capture my Knight reminding Big Cat Daddy of his place. As soon as Silver King got too close to me, Caillou swung around and nailed him, sending him scurrying the opposite direction. So finally, I was able to get in the coop and gather the eggs. The water was nearly empty so I took it in to clean and refill.

Even warm goodies weren't enough to entice Snow White out. She is my last remaining Andalusian. She's been a good layer, but she's very small. See how they keep their wee tootsies warm? Under those toasty warm breast feathers.
Alas, when I returned, Silver King had also returned to the coop, so my plan failed and Handy Man had to put the water in anyway. I know if I go in the coop with him, one of us will leave harmed (uh Silver King, not Handy Man). Since I won't go near him without Caillou, Arwen or the shovel, it wouldn't be me.

Lastly, I headed to school to wrap up some business, where my temperature shot straight back up and sent back to hibernating on the couch with my cough and knitting.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Free Range Christmas Ramblings

Ahh, snow days, or in this case ice days. A mixed blessing.
As a teacher, I always feel like someone is shoving me in the back since the Monday after Thanksgiving. This week was totally packed, so to hack off two days is difficult. I also teach a college class at night. Tonight final portfolios would have been turned in, with only a teeny tiny window of time to get them graded. College is also cancelled.
I do have a bit of flu it seems and have been feverish, coughing and generally miserable, so it's nice to be home on this icy day.
It is also helpful, considering I always, always underestimate the amount of wrapping I have to do. Why might you ask? Well, I buy too much, plain and simple. Many moons ago, I had an antsy toddler, made miserable by all the stimulation and waiting at Christmas. In order to ease his angst, I started having stockings ready early and allowing them a little gift each day. This was so very easy because I would always stock-up on new pencils, crayons, scissors, etc. after Back-to-School sales had been severely discounted. The same antsy school boy, who will remain unnamed, had long since lost all his supplies by then, so it was a good plan all around.

Filling stockings for adults is a little trickier.

So, it has been a wrapping frenzy this morning. All the stockings are full and most of what you see wrapped as well.

About 9 I realized I was starving. I fixed the pooch and I a yummy breakfast of eggs, toast and bacon. This is a bit unusual for me as I am not a breakfast lover. I tossed and turned from 2 until the Reach Alert phoned at 5:30 with the school closing notice, then just got up, so I'd been busy awhile by 9:00. The best part of breakfast topped my toast. A yummy thank-you gift of spicy pear butter. Thanks Claire!

I have a lot of Christmas stuff, but since I started teaching, I often don't come close to getting it all out. At school, I've already put up a tree, taken down a tree, played Christmas music continuously, been a part of two programs and a mass, given gifts, received gifts, eaten goodies of all kinds. It's hard to come home and do it some more.

My sister SuZQ does it up right though.
Each year she hosts all the siblings for a fabulous Christmas meal. You couldn't buy this meal at the finest restaurant. The house is so warm and inviting, tempting appetizers, divine main course and hardly a spot to stick a taste of sweet ending. She and her hubby work so hard and it is a perfect Christmas evening.

Each year she changes things up a bit. This was a first for silver and white.

.Now seriously, have you ever seen more appealing green beans. They were crisp and delicious.
Many thanks SuZQ and Stephen.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fudge, Fudge, Fudge

Well, the fudge is all done. Chocolate plain, with pecans, and with walnuts, peanut butter plain and with chocolate, white with coconut and white with toffee, cause you sure know everybody has their favorite and who ya goin' leave out being as "tis the season" and all. So far, it's been quite enjoyed.
Last week when I picked Bean up from school, he told me that day the teacher read aloud, The
Giving Tree. You so do not want me to get started on how vital I think read aloud time is in the classroom. Anyway, he was writing about it being better to give than to receive. Bean spent most of his first month in the local children's hospital, and, not to be outdone, so did his sister Bugg. I wasn't surprised that the area of his interest in giving would be to that hospital.
He said, "Gramerly, do you think you could write me a Christmas song and we could learn to sing it and go sing to those little sick kids at the hospital." Be still my heart. I love that boy in big way.
I usually keep the gramerlings on New Year's Eve, so this year on New Year's Day, in addition to taking the tree out with homemade bird feeders, I want to work on a change saving project with them. Then next November, we'll use the change for gifts for others. I am not sure my little ones can grasp the idea of orphanages, but they can understand how buying a flock of chickens for a family would provide much needed nutrition. It's so hard to turn the focus on others sometimes, especially when you so loving gifts to your very wee folk.

Lastly, some more good time pictures from the Gingerbread Party.
My blue boy only had eyes for his Pappy, and those were sleepy eyes.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Crazies

This has been a wild and wooly week of Christmas. Last Saturday was the Annual Gingerbread House Party and Thursday was the Christmas musical at school that I'm sort of in charge of. Both came off wonderfully, thank the Lord, though I was seriously doubting that reality on more than one occasion.
I put the houses together for the wee folk, so they are dry and hard as concrete. That way the little house will hold up for the weight of ten pounds of candy.

This is the way we make the house, make the house, make the house,
This is the way we make the house, very late on Friday evening.

Here on number twenty-five you wonder why, you wonder why,
Here on number twenty-five you wonder why you do this.
( I didn't actually have quite that many to make this year, but it rhymes so nicely.)

This is when you remember why, remember why, remember why
This is when you remember why, so this boy has a tradition.

Yes, the concrete did survive, did survive, did survive,
Yes, the concrete did survive an avalanche of candy!
Did you know this is what most four year olds do? Well, now you know.

And here I am already to another Saturday and today, it's all about fudge!