Monday, November 27, 2017

Memories, Light the Corners of my Mind

Did you ever hear the old Chinese Folktale about someone meeting a friend along the road and sharing what things had happened since last they met?  The narrator tells of something tragic and the listener exclaims, "How awful."  The narrator agrees, but then shares something great that came from the experience and the response is, "Wonderful!"  Again, the narrator concurs, but goes on to share something  not so pleasant as a result of the wonderful. And on it goes.  My Saturday brought this story to mind.
Ceece about has more work than she can do on December Saturdays, when everyone and their cousin Ned want pictures NOW!  That's good for the Christmas cash flow, but not so good for my Missy Bugg who doesn't want to put solar panels on the Lake Shed with the guys, or be at the studio all day. Poor Bugg- right? Then there's me, who has always loved everything Christmas and was happy to find myself in a school where we celebrate Christmas all month long- hooray, except, between orchestrating Veteran's Day and the Christmas Play and the interactive Christmas Shoppes and the Christmas Stitchery, I find myself with little time, or interest honestly, in more Christmas at home.  So I save Bugg and she saves me by coming to help with the decorating, so it looks somewhat festive for the millionth Gingerbread Party.

This year she was joined by her cousin Giddy-Up who is equally enamored with all things holiday.  First they filled the Advent Calendars and then we moved on to the tree.  As I was hanging Rae's First Christmas Ornament, I was showing Giddy-Up and explaining that it was his Mama's very first Christmas.
 Next, out came a little church.  Aunt SuZQ used to have a sibling Christmas Supper where she pulled out all the stops and the church was a little table favor.  Giddy-Up declared it the most beautiful ornament he'd every seen.

 Bugg chimed in, "Oh just wait, the no-face angel has the best story."  Be still my heart.  These kind of conversations round the tree with the carols in the background make my holiday.
That little angel.  It was 1978 and I was engaged that Christmas and went to Walnut Ridge for the after Christmas sales, as I knew the next year, I'd have my very own little home and tree to decorate.  I could not wait to show Handy Man my finds.  Oh my, Handy Man could not have possibly cared less and my heart was broken.  Ahem, that should have been his clue to run.  Still, in  December,  1979,  I loved putting that sweet little angel on our first tree.  I smiled recalling me pulling it out of the Captain's wee 10 month old hand just two years later, and seeing the two tiny teeth prints marring her face.  Ahhh, she wasn't ruined, so we kept her and I looked for those little teeth marks every year.  We moved here, where Christmas pretties went to the attic in cardboard boxes.  So, when I joyfully pulled her out one year , I was most dismayed to find that a little field mouse found her as tasty as the Captain, and her angelic little face was gone. I know, so sad.
 But, upon closer examination, the two tiny teeth prints were still visible and so she continues to grace the tree each year.  I told the story to Giddy-Up when we found  our little velvet angel.  For whatever reason it crossed my mind that when the day comes for my kids to sort through my stuff, what Bugg and I see as a great story, others would see as trash.  Honestly, I can't even imagine with my unsentimental crew, anyone even sorting, into the dumpster it all will go. I said, "Bugg, one day, when I'm not here for Christmas, I want you to be sure to get this angel ornament and share the story with your family."  She quickly said, " Umm, I want all your ornaments."  Giddy-Up, momentarily alarmed said, "Can I have half?"  And my sweet party girl agreed.  Waaaaaaa, all the feels people, all of them. So sweet.

Lastly, the Lil' People Nativity that has been configured six ways from Sunday.

 By this time, Bugg was sneezy from dust from Christmas Past, so we headed outdoors to find some greenery to dress up the porch a bit.  After trimming with evergreens, I sent them to clip some dried flowers and my little Missy was quite dismayed.  "Why do you want to use dead stuff to decorate?"  Her idea of outside decorating includes giant inflatables.  I explained that number one it is free, number two- I like it and lastly, it all just goes back in the compost in the end, so a win all the way around.  She was not impressed.  It was a glorious afternoon to be out and putzing and I enjoyed my time with these two holiday elves immensely.

Back before my birthday, I had an idea. My idea was, for Mother's Day and birthdays I would love a concrete garden bed or two, or three as the years go by, from my boys.  I'm not getting any younger here folks. Any of you have that same problem? In addition, my garden area is very wet and I thought it might be great for many reasons to have raised beds.  I actually thought this would be relatively cheap and easy.  Ahem.  So Drummer Boy presented different ideas and he didn't like the look of these beds and so after much discussion, he told me he would do something.   I think it is easy to put Mom on the back burner, but thankfully, Gwen wasn't having it and became the foreman for this job I'm told and look what materialized yesterday morning in my garden.  I am so thrilled and excited.  I've already planted an acre of plants in mind.    Just like my dead plants for decorating, I think it is beautiful.

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Beautiful Day for Thanksgiving

Yesterday was such perfect Thanksgiving weather to me. Sunshine and a bit of chill in the air. Not so much that all of our little gobblers couldn't get outside to play.  Rae and Michael hosted and it was a lovely afternoon.
While this particular Thanksgiving was all cute and yummy and fun, these napkins have made me chuckle every time I've looked at them since I bought them weeks ago.

I managed to have the wherewithal to round up all my people for a picture before time to eat. I so very much dislike pictures of my myself, but part of this crew I am, so I'll take my spot. I'm always amazed at what joy it brings to me to see such big smiles on my kiddos.  Gwen is a very entertaining picture snapper.

 One little one is missing here, our Wayside Sassy Pants -that I can't have a full face picture of on anything social, even though we've had her for 14 months now.  Speaking of which, we got an emergency baby over the weekend.  He was so tiny and sweet.  Alas, I had the sniffles and didn't want to give it to him, so Pap got the honors.  He hates that job, can you tell?

Since Rae ended up with a tiny boy all weekend (he has since moved to a long term placement, much to the heartbreak of his weekend big brother), I told her to send the kids out Thanksgiving Eve and allow her to get caught up a bit.
We made turkeys and pilgrim hats and rakes full of leaves.

 Next, we broke out the crayons for some barnyard art.

Back to Thanksgiving.  Uncle Jimi and his crew made it..  Jakester made a delicious brussel sprout roasted medley. 
 Mom has had a tough time coming back from those two big infections.  I delivered her dinner to her and she ate up every bite and loved it.  Last night was the most normal and interactive I have seen her in over a month.  Thank you Lord for a little added Thanksgiving blessing.

 I usually bring a little craft to do after the eating has stalled for a time.  Nothing as creative as last year's scarves, but enjoyed all the same.

We no longer have handful of babies to juggle so Michael, Gwen and I actually sat down and not only started, but finished a game.  Woo, hoo.  Good times all around!
We have some new fluff balls to replace our decimated coop. They are pretty friendly.

I was asked to donate a Cinnamon Roll Baking Class to our Parish Night Auction and will need to do that in the morning.  Of course, this is also the week I volunteered to do coffee hour at church and the Gingerbread Party is next Saturday, so there is much to do today.  
Usually, I have Advent Story boxes ready to go by Thanksgiving as I've wrapped them over Fall Break, but there was a delay in something I needed, so I wrapped two boxes full yesterday and hope to finish one this morning.  
Christmas, here we come.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fall Back

I feel like I've fallen back a little.
We spent yesterday at a swim meet and watched  Bean and Bugg do their fish thing and do it well.
In the evening we headed to high school to see our Nick in "Newsies" and it was all kinds of amazing.
I got a call this morning at 1:00 that they were sending Mom to the hospital, the one closest to me. She was having trouble breathing.  I woke myself up and Handy Man and I made ready to head out, but before we got out the door, another phone call, she was in heart failure and they were going to the closer hospital.
It turns out she has pneumonia and a raging UTI.  She had to make a stop in ICU and now a step down to TCU. They expect she'll be there a couple of days for the IV antibiotic to take affect and then, oh happy day, they'll transfer her back to the nursing home facility.  Ugh.  The last time was a most unpleasant experience.
Just say  ICU to me and more memories than I care to have come rushing back like the wind.
It was funny, the nurse asked what they do for her in assisted living, ahem, it is more like what little they do compared to what we do.  It did make me feel good that she was surprised what great shape her skin is in.  She commented that she was in better shape then people twenty to thirty years her junior on the floor.  I didn't say, but certainly thought, "Girl, you have no idea how well I know, having gone down that awful road with Kaye, Jimi and Glenda."
We've tried multiple things to deal with her severe shaking.  They plan to call in a neurologist to see if there is something that hasn't been tried already.
Needless to say, she's not a happy girl when hospitalized and it looks like ten more days of unhappy ahead, so I feel sure she'd appreciate prayers, cards, visits, you know.
I've been doing stuff with kids, but not photographing much or writing about it.  Drummer Boy and family came for a visit last Saturday morning and we were due our first big frost that evening. The kids and I tramped around the yard to collect all the flowers we could find. They went home with three beautiful bouquets.  It was a great visit.
I pulled out the dregs of the chalkboard experiment after doing it with Bean and Bugg and  my students and had enough for Giddy- Up, Mr. Smiley and Sassy Pants to give it a go.  Kids just love that stuff.

 We thought we'd be in a new house for Ol' Mother Hubbard's traditional Halloween affair, but not quite yet. Her new home is coming along.

It was a big time.
It seems strange that the week of the Veteran's Day program at school always seem fraught with difficulty.  Just do the next thing and pray for grace.