Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hmm, Guess it's Coming

Well, it's abundantly clear, that just like every year, Christmas is going to follow Thanksgiving.

Every season Kohl's has books they sell with a stuffed animal. I really, really try not to buy the gramerlings stuffed animals. The book though, is so very beautiful. And wouldn't you know the page where the child is swinging is superimposed onto a scene where dolphins are off in the distance. Of course, with the great love of the ol' blue dolphin swing I wasn't able to resist. I wrote each child a letter in the back of their book. So on this first Sunday of Advent, I made the usual, turkey salad, and loaded potato soup and had everyone over and gave them each their winter scarf, dolphin and book. Christmas has begun at Gramerly's.
Scarves for my wee boys.

I told my big kids that I make a concerted effort to not think about what happens to gifts when they leave my hand. Maybe they are regifted, stuck in the Goodwill box, whatever. This time I asked that they save those sweet books with my letter for always please.
We had a little photo session in hopes of getting them all at least looking in the same direction for a Christmas card. What was I thinking?

Our little Gideon was a happy boy all the day long and even let Pappy and I hold him a little bit.
Hopefully, we'll see a lot of him through the holidays and he'll get more and more comfy in our arms.

Pete and Mom both seemed to have a hard day today, though I'm not sure any day is good at the moment.Bless their hearts. Please keep them in your prayers.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Bird Day

An old friend once told me about a sermon she heard. The pastor challenged the flock to work on acting their way into a feeling over the usual route of feeling your way into an action. That was a long time ago and I still think of it often.
If I felt my way into an action this Thanksgiving, there would be no action at all cause that's what I'm feeling.
I'm trying here to go the opposite route and act like it is Thanksgiving.
Surely it is more than that twenty pound turkey.
Though I'm sad, I am thankful.
I'm thankful my daughter and grandson came and kept me company all through the afternoon's chopping and baking. Little baby smooches are a great encouragement.
I'm thankful for a nephew who made a special trip out to visit, peel potatoes and lift the heavy stuff for me. What a terrific young man.
I'm thankful for a mama who makes my favorite cranberry relish and wants to sure it is just right.
I'm thankful for my husband and the few who understand that I'm not over it yet.
I'm thankful for the chickie girls and the delicious eggs used in various dishes.
Speaking of eggs, I'll leave with a funny note.
No matter what I fix for a meal, Bean and Bugg usually want an egg. It wouldn't surprise me if someone even orders an egg today, in spite of the turkey. Anyway last Thursday they were eating their eggs and Bugg says, " I like chicken eggs." "I don't like the eggs they give me at playplace." " They tell me they are chicken eggs, but I know they are Walmart eggs. " " I'm not eating Walmart eggs." "I only like chicken eggs."
Now I know Walmart can pull off a lot of stuff, but I didn't know they could lay eggs.
The rare hens are laying.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Her Rose

We have had the most beautiful days this autumn that I can remember in a while. Still, we've had some cold and a few frosts now.
I have two old rose bushes at the side of the house. They bloom majestically in spring. I've posted pictures here before. Now and again I'll see another rose or two pop out through the summer months. But spring is their season.
Kaye loved beautiful flowers. That is another thing we shared.
Imagine my surprise, wonder, comfort and joy to find a bud on that rose bush on the day she died. A tiny bud from a dormant rose. If you look closely you can see a rose-hip behind it. All that I usually find on this bush in autumn.
Then, in full bloom on the day of her burial.
Such a sweet gift. I don't know, a little God present that says, "You are loved and I want to give you some comfort." Yes thank you, I'll take it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Well it is done. All done.
I walk a fine line between
gratefulness- no more surgeries, sticks, infections, meds, or dialysis,
sadness- she is so very gone and her huge presence in my life can do nothing but leave a gigantic hole in my daily living by it's absence, and lastly
brokeness- all of her pain, confusion, limitedness that I could do nothing about.
My heart's desire is that I will see the day when gratefulness wins, but today is not that day. I can't rest because the hurtful parts float to the surface and drown me in tears. Yet, I can't accomplish anything because I can't put two thoughts together without a painful memory interrupting me. I can't turn my work over to someone else because I've never learned how. I feel useless and drifting in this grief sea.
Ol' Mother Hubbard did an amazing making the situation all it could be.
Our pastor friends, all three of them, who came to the hospital, funeral home, led, spoke, prayed, could have done not a thing more to show their love and support of our family.
A pastor friend who sang her most favorite songs would have brought a huge smile to her face.
She loved flowers and they were so very beautiful.
The many friends who worked for days to organize and keep this big group fed were amazing.
The special ones who hung around the whole entire time, just to show support-such love.
A fountain coke on the morning of, a special CD for the long drive to the cemetery, copies of pictures of our family in happier times to pass around, a warm dinner and pretty flowers delivered to my house. Even cooking seems more than I can manage.
Little curly tops who fold into their Gramerly with a squeeze comforts like nothing I know.
A sibling who expects and embraces an hysterical moment.
Kind words when you've tried so hard to impress your love of her and value through a eulogy.
A classroom of fourth graders, their parents and a school community who rallies round and sends love swirling in a sea of hugs, notes, gift cards, visits, plants and work.
The friends who knew her value to me and acknowledged it in a visit, or card or phone call.
Cousins who came from near and far.
For the rain holding off.
For the hairdresser/family/friend who knows the importance to me of February hair on this day.
For my handy man, who quietly in strength, stands by my side and rides these waves of grief like it is his job.
The Word, where I find comfort.
Each and everything precious and treasured in my broken heart.

And so, perhaps another last, a post, wearing the label "Kaye." So sad.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veteran's Day

Mine eyes have seen the Glory.......
I've seen the mercy of the Lord as my little fourth graders carried out a very touching, sweet service project yesterday.
The timing of Kaye's homegoing left me a bit panicked, after the event itself had panicked me enough. Each year since I've been where I am now ( 7 years), I've done a big service project for our veterans with my fourth grade.
All the students in the building pre-school through 6th write a thankful essay to a veteran and one from each grade is chosen to read their essay at our Veteran's Day Breakfast. My students, with help from the music teacher, learn patriotic songs, and I teach them to sign. Then the afternoon before, my kids make egg casseroles and fruit salad. I add cinnamon rolls and biscuits, sausage and gravy. My students decorate the gym, serve the veterans, sit with them to enjoy the bountiful breakfast and listen to whatever stories they might tell. We then call in the other students and present the program.
My students sing a part of each branch's song as each group of veterans march in. Then our scouts present the Colors, a student leads prayers. Each year we change up the songs. They did Battle Hymn of the Republic first, essays, a sweet reading about how awful it is to watch someone leave and how wonderful when a soldier walks back into your arms, followed by a student on snare, then recorders with piano, followed by voices to When Johnny Comes Marching Home (with our little three and four year olds punching the air and yelling Who-wa, Who-wa), a couple more essays and the kids finish up with In God We Still Trust, retire the Colors, the vets march out to the cadence. Students are then free to visit the veterans and see the memorabilia brought in and talk to them about their military career.
I am not exactly sure why I started this. Having a son in the military and wanting to make people aware surely brought it center stage in my mind. Also, my children come to me nearly illiterate historically and geographically speaking, and I want so much for them then cramming boring facts down their throat, so I try to tie our learning to something very real. Our whole focus the last weeks of October and first of November is about our government, elections and military. This is way to put a face to the fact. Also, anytime I can pull them into to hands-on service, I do. The first year I did this it was challenging to get them write a decent essay to a veteran, as they had such little background knowledge. My kids this year have now been through this program over and over again through the years and when you ask them to write their essays, it is like racehorses at the gate just prancing to be turned out. For the program, they cook, serve, sing, sign and read with such enthusiasm. It is a blessing to see.
Even more are the men and women veterans and their response-precious.

If things had taken the accustomed route, Kaye's services would have been on Thursday or Friday. I really don't know what I would have done. After 7 years, I'm on auto-pilot with this program, but no other teacher can sign, or is much accustomed to cooking for big groups. I would have felt awful to have left my students. Well, it turns out I didn't have to. Ol' Henry's birthday is on Veteran's Day and Old Mother Hubbard didn't want his Granny's funeral to be on this birthday. So I was able to practice with my class and oversee the food preparations on Thursday and carry on through Friday's program with the help of a few great moms and teachers.
I shared with the kids that it would be a very emotional program for me. Not only was I so, so sad about my sister, but my son would be there. I assured them that I was fine and not to worry if I got really teary. Thank God, it wasn't nearly as hard as I feared. When 1st Lt. started the Army branch out, I nearly lost it and just had to look away while he marched in, then I was able to continue.
When these grown men come to me in tears and share their joy at having been so honored, I am grateful I persevered. It is a worthy cause indeed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Kaye was admitted to the hospital last week with an infection at the last surgical site on her right foot. That required a surgery and IV antibiotics. All sites above the waist were no longer functioning for such purpose, so a line was placed in her groin. In addition to being uncomfortable, she was not able to get up, even to sit in a chair. Now, the left foot was presenting problems, so an intervention (angioplasty to increase blood flow to the foot, another surgery) was scheduled for Friday at noon. The doc was called away on an emergency, so changed it to Monday. I went on Saturday to take her lunch and spend the afternoon. We had a good visit. As usual, she wanted to know what I'd been doing, then went through Handy Man and each kid, their spouse and their kids, and I filled her in on everyone. It was bittersweet to me. I had felt very, well I don't know, but just sensed our time was short. Usually, in her presence I try to be very upbeat about her recovery. On Saturday, I cried and told her how it broke my heart each time something hurt her and how very sad I was that we couldn't make her better. She just sadly nodded and told me she loved me. I can only say that it seemed to me the light had gone out of her eyes.
She went to surgery Monday afternoon and after surgery, things went south. Pete got to go back with her for a bit between surgeries, and she told him she was dying and to call the children. Apparently, in surgery, something was nicked and she was bleeding internally. I was there for the second surgery. The surgeon's report sounded vague- the bleeding had stopped, they do this all the time, they don't what went wrong, they couldn't find the source of the bleeding, he thought he'd stabilized her, maybe. Then the Rocky Horror Picture Show when they came out and told us they had put her on a respirator. Hmmm, that was not one of my finer moments. As best I can recall, that was about 11 something. She died at 3:30.
I would not bring her back here to face thirty seconds more of what her life had become, but I will miss her so. She was precious to me.
Elinda Kaye Howard
Newcomers Funeral Home Grantline Rd
Sunday 2-8
First Assembly of God Church
9-11 Funeral at 11 Burial in Brandenburg KY

Thank you for the many thoughts and prayers for our family

Fly Away Home Princess Sweetie

Ever so slowly the shade's been drawn,
Removing the dusk, revealing the dawn,
Of a day without pain, heartache or fears,
Though on our side, sorrow and tears.

But who would withhold the splendor and grace,
Forever with Jesus, face to face,
Leaving behind that which is worn,
Into perfection, your new life is born.

So fly away home precious sister of mine,
Pete's Princess Sweetie, now is the time,
To say, "Goodbye" to the person we've known,
But your love will live on in the seeds you have sown.

The children you've loved, the gifts you've given,
Will grow and spread on this side of heaven,
A legacy of caring, a garden display,
Leaving a mark that is uniquely Kaye,

You've slipped out of our grasp, but in our hearts you are near,
We will never forget, you'll always be here,
We remember your smile and your tender touch,
Wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend,
We love you so much.

Rest now in Jesus.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cutest Kids

Kinda late, but had some recent appearances of rather famous folk in my life.
Old McDonald had a tractor.
Rapunzel, let down your golden hair.
Now Pirate Smudgy might not be famous to you, but he's quite famous around these ports of call.
And of course Miss Cinderella who was rockin' it.
Captain Cody dropped in off his fighter starship.
And beautiful Belle visited our little town full of little people.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bunny Drama

There's a bunny mystery afoot. Because I have the largest class at our little school, and due to my rather bohemian style of teaching, I use two classrooms. Most of the day is spent in one room, while art activities, etc. go on in the other room. The bunnies spend Monday through Thursday in that room. They have a cage big enough to hop around a bit and stretch out when they're tired. There is also one of those yard pens that surround the cage. In the mornings, the students on bunny patrol feed the boys and let them out into the pen where they can hop about, up and down, in and out of their cage and a shoebox. On top of the cage sits the small blue carrier that I use to transport them to and from school. Are you still with me?
Okay, good.
Anyway, I do literacy groups all afternoon with fourth and fifth grade and they rotate through learning zones in and out of that room. After school, one of my kids asked me why Merry was in the carrier. Well, I assumed someone bumped the cage, knocking the carrier in the pen and Merry was hopping in and out of it. Imagine my dismay, and fury when I went in to return to them to their cage for the evening to find Merry zipped in that carrier, sitting on top of the cage. Someone took him out of the pen, put him in the carrier and sat him on top with no food or water. The last time I was in the room was at 8:50 when the students let them out and fed them, so it happened after that and before 12:50 when my instructional assistant was with my kids in the room. It was so one of those weird twilight zone feelings. Who was in the room? Who took it upon themselves to chase, grab, enclose the bunny and leave him on the cage like that? Did the guilty party think that was funny? They either knew how to handle a bunny, or they are likely very scratched up as Merry does not take to being picked up. Ahhhhh! It makes me so mad!
Well, speaking of bunnies, the last leg of their tour took me to Miss Antebellie and Miss Linee's preschool. I decided to use Knuffle Bunny in their class as well. The activities I used with Bean's class would have been too challenging for three and four year olds. So, since the story revolves around Trixie's bunny being accidentally put in the washer, I made an activity to allow them to retell the story.
A washing machine.
Next, each child chose a wardrobe and a bunny to color.
Then they put their clothes in the washer to hide the bunny. Of course, like Trixie, they found and saved the bunny.
A little pocket on the back to keep clothes and bunny in when not telling the story.
They were sweet and enjoyed the story, patting the bunny and having a cookie. It was a busy day and both the bunny boys and I needed a nap when we were done.
Kaye is having some drama of her own. She is back in the hospital as the last surgery is not healing and she is in a lot of pain with both legs. They went back in last night (uh, at 11pm) to clean it up, then followed immediately with dialysis, after which she had a seizure (that would have been about 4:30 am). So she and Aunt SuZQ had an eventful night. She now has to have a roto-rooter surgery on the left leg. Friends, it's awful and that's all. Keep praying.