Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Concussions, erector sets and calls Home.

Ahhhh.  Christmas decorations have officially been put away as of....
25 minutes ago.

Which means my Christmas bloggy sabbatical is over.

And before I officially move on from the holiday shuffle, I need to recap a few things that have happened over the course of the last few weeks - just to catch you guys up on the drama of that which is my life.

In November, while setting up some Christmas decorations, my mom fell off a ladder and decided to take on the solid surface counter top.
With the back of her head.

the countertop won.

This earned me a trip back to their house sans children to keep an eye on her for the night.
Everything turned out ok
and I had a night off of kid- duty

She had a concussion, took a few days to recover, and we are now all a little wiser to ladder usage when no one is around.

Lesson learned.


In December,  we celebrated A's birthday on the 12th with grandparents.

I took this picture of my dad (wearing A's birthday present) before cake and ice cream:

As I took this picture, I had a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I literally heard my mom say, "I'm at the hospital....with your dad."
I brushed it off thinking I was just being a nervous nelly about the weather forecast and their drive home.

Until the next day at noon.  When I received a phone call from my mom's cell:
"I'm at the hospital with your dad..."
He fell on the ice and shattered his tibia and fibula.

Then he crawled to a hardware store (which was closed), crawled back to his truck, and decided to DRIVE HIMSELF to the ER.  Oh, by the way...his truck is a stick shift.  I have no idea how he did it, but he made it there.  Then, he laid on the horn for a wheelchair because he "got just about as far as [he] was going to get on [his] own."
Then he sat in the ER by himself because he wouldn't let anyone "bother" my mom until she was done teaching for the day.

Let me tell ya, they don't make men like this anymore.

So, they did surgery late that night to put pins in to help align the bones.  He's got quite an erector set going on that leg.

We're hoping that he won't need more surgery.  Time (and healing) will tell.

My dad is holed up in their family room with hospital bed and walker.  He's completely non-weight bearing for at least 3 months.

Dave and I decided (insert sarcasm) to give my mom a break and fore go the traditional meal of  prime rib and crab legs this year.

So, we had a very low key Christmas picnic gathered around Papa Ken's "sleigh."

It was actually a fun memory that I know the boys will remember for a long, long time.


On Wednesday, Dec. 22 we received another phone call early in the morning.

Dave's grandfather had suffered a massive heart attack.

About a half hour later, we received another call informing us that God had called Grandpa Home.
It felt very surreal since the day progressed rather....regularly.

And that afternoon, I got the mail.  In that stack was a Christmas card.
from D's grandpa:

In all honesty, I must admit that my interactions with grandpa over the past 11 years have been less than 40.
They were usually limited to Christmas, weddings, funerals, and basic familial get-togethers...

The only time I've really ever had a conversation directly with him was when he and Grandma Betty took us out for our engagement dinner.

But, even though I didn't know him as well as many others, I usually try to make a conscious point to remember three things that I appreciated about people who have passed on, so here's my three things:

1.  This man appreciated the value of a hard day's work.  (sound like anyone else you know?  Anyone I may be married to?).  After grandpa retired, he STARTED a carpet cleaning business to keep himself busy.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again...this family:  born and bred workers.

2.  He loved his family the way he knew how.  Grandpa was always mindful of his "number."  This was the number of his great-grandchildren.  The total, I think, was up to 25 when he died.  My most vivid memory of grandpa was shortly after I had A.  He was no more than 3 weeks old, and the whole family gathered at a local church for Christmas.  The first time Grandpa held A, he let me know that he was WELL AWARE that even though A. was his 6th great grandchild, he was the first fourth generation boy to carry on the last name.  He looked at A and said (teary eyed, of course), "A, wear our name well."  Later that night, we took the following picture of A, D, D's dad and Grandpa (far left).

I really treasure this picture.  My family only goes back three generations.  Having a four generation picture of all males (with the same last name) is quite rare in my picture books.

3.  He loved and knew God.  He said the prayer at (almost) every grandchild's wedding - including ours.  These prayers were often teary-eyed with some heavy microphone breathing.  He held a great deal of comfort in the fact that most of his grandchildren had a living relationship with the same God. 

It really made me think as we were going through the visitations and funeral over the past few days.  D. and I decided to let the boys come along and allow them to be exposed to death and what it means.  A. asked a lot of questions, and made a lot of family connections.  When he realized that this was his grandpa's dad, he asked me if his dad would also die someday.  I told him the truth that "yes, we will all die someday, but then we get to have everlasting life with God, and that it's not really good-bye....more like see ya later."
A. replied:  "You mean like John 3:16 everlasting life?"
Yes, A.

So, as the family filed past grandpa for one last good-bye before the funeral our little foursome family was last.  D. placed his hand on his grandpa's arm and said good bye.  I told C. to wave goodbye to great grandpa.  He said, "  I'll wave See ya later."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas letter 2010

Hi family and friends!

If you've stumbled on this page you're either 1) a recepient of our Christmas card which had our blog addy on it, 2) a regular reader of our blog, or 3) a combination of both (Hi, Melody and Kathy!).  Whichever you are, welcome!  This blog started as a way to keep family and friends posted our our Love Shack progress, but when progress came in small clumps with years in between, well... I found other things to write about.  Now, I post our Christmas letter here because I'm too lazy to write it out, copy it, fold and stuff it into 72 envelopes going green.  (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!).

Ok, quick recap of our year:

D. is still working for himself.  He's going on 7 1/2 years now.  He still has yet to advertise.  All work he has is by word of mouth.  I cannot tell you how proud of him I am!  He has built our house with his own hands (with help from a few others). He's also plowing, again, this winter and serves our church as an elder.  In his spare time, he loves taking the boys on hikes through the woods, playing catch with footballs and baseballs, and shoots hoops with A. in the driveway.  Now that the boys are older, they're identifying more and more with their dad (read: not so much the mama's boys anymore), and its so fun to watch them blossom under his guidance.  He really is a great dad to them.  (Which makes me love him all the more).

I am still working out of the house as an auditor.  I'm enjoying it, and the adult interaction it gives me, but its quite a challenge to balance everything.  I also serve on my MOPS steering team (crafts!), and am the PTL president for A's school.  I'm also the coordinator of the SCRIP program there.  I gave up the Wedding Coordinator position in October to make a little room on my overflowing plate.  This year, I was asked to be a blog contributor for a local website, and love doing that.  I'm figuring out that I'm much more right-brained than left, so anything that gets my creative side going really rejuvinates me.  The boys are my little helpers, and they still love cuddling with me while we read books and watch movies.  I love that!

A. is in first grade this year.  He's LOVING school.  He's achieved the top reading group and is excelling in math as well.  I was shocked pleasantly surprised to see straight A's on his report card this fall.  He played on a Jr. Basketball league last winter (D coached), and took swimming lessons over the summer.  He really enjoyed both, so we're going to continue those throughout 2011.  He just received the Flat Stanley books and U.S. map for his birthday, so if you live far away from us, be prepared to see an envelope in your mailbox in the coming months.  Stanley has lots of traveling to do!

C. started three year old preschool this year.  It's really used as a day care to give me some uninterrupted work time, but he's LOVING it.  He's learning all kinds of social things that I don't think to teach him, and making all kinds of new friends in the process.  He follows his big brother everywhere, and wants to do all the things A. can do.  C. is, by far, the biggest mama's boy of the two, but growing out of it faster than I'm willing to admit.

We have a huge update on our house!  As of September 21, 2010, we received four APPROVED stickers for our final inspections.  All of our inspectors made comments on how they admired D's work, and loved that we were doing it debt free.  They all also said that they admired my patience (every single one said their wives would NEVER go for that).  I simply replied that, "I'm not a patient person, by nature, but I do believe in my husband and his ability to finish anything he starts.  That's what got me through."  So, we moved into our addition shortly after.  It's been so much fun to decorate and make the space ours.  The boys are loving their new shared room complete with bunkbeds.  We have more room to move and aren't on top of each other all the time.  The kitchen hasn't moved over yet, but will by the end of 2011.  Now, we get to save and save and save more before we're able to tear the existing Love Shack down and rebuild in its place.  Stay tuned for updates on that saga in the next four years.

Well, that's it for our little corner of the world.  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The fearless one

When asked about differences between the two boys, I usually say:
                                    A. tends to be more apprehensive,
and C. jumps in feet first and asks questions later.

This has happened in almost every situation...until now.

We were at Walmart last weekend quickly (at least, TRYING quickly) returning a few things and picking a few other things up.  We had finished the loop, and I was starting to make my mad dash to the registers.

Then, we heard it...

"HO, HO, HO..."
(have you ever seen The Christmas Story?  That Santa?  Yeah...sounded just like him)

Then, he said it again...louder
"HO, HO, HO"

Only this time, he was motioning for us to come see him.

(sigh- so much for my mad dash to the registers...)

A. said he wanted to go see off we went.

A. walked right up to him and said,

"I'd like an official NFL football for Christmas this year, please, Santa."

He got a cookie, a candy cane, flashed a smile for the camera and left the "christmas area"

C., on the other hand....

I couldn't get him close to Santa.

He wanted nothing to do with him.

Wouldn't talk to him.

I told the picture elf to just snap the picture as soon as he looks up.

Finally took a cookie....after I played the middle man.

So much for my fearless one...

Monday, December 13, 2010


I blinked.

I shouldn't have, but I did.

And in that blink,

we went from this:

to this:

Yesterday, my boy turned seven years old.


How did that happen so quickly?

That's it.  No more blinking for me.

This time is going by too quickly!

Happy (day after) Birthday, A!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If you give a kid a hat

If you give a kid a hat,

He'll want to bring it to preschool to show his friends.

And since he's in preschool, he's a big boy now, and

he'll ask you for privacy when he goes potty.

And when he asks for privacy, he'll close the door right in your face.

And since that door is closed, he'll probably get a little curious in the bathroom.

And chances are...if he opens the drawer, he'll find the hair grooming kit.

And....he'll probably open it.

And once he sees the oil in said kit, he'll probably see if he can open it.

And perhaps even apply some to his hair.

And while he's in the kit, he may just decide to help mommy out and give himself a haircut.

And after the door has been shut for a few minutes, his mommy may just come in to find the kid up to
"no good."

And she may just find this: 

And if he looks like this, his mommy may just dig out that hat and give it to him.

 At which point, he'll ask to wear his hat....the next time he goes to preschool.

Monday, December 6, 2010

ONE DOLLAR craft/ gift idea!

Yes, ONE dollar!

This is a great idea to make for those people that you want to give something to, but don't want to join the rabble of candles and lotions on the teacher's desk.

I found these at The Dollar Tree:
Just plain air tight flip lid glass jars.

I have a Cricut machine (the OLD schoool Cricut machine- it's old, but it does the job)
You do NOT need a Cricut machine for this craft.
These can be done by hand - you just need more patience than I'm capable of.  :)
I used the Opposites Attract cartridge, 2 1/2" width.  Medium pressure.

Do you see that black oval button?  Yep, fourth row down, fourth from the right.

I cut it out of clear vinyl Contact Paper:

You don't need the oval part, you need the outline part.

Clean a side of the jar and place it on the jar.

Make sure all the edges are sealed.

Then, using the same cartridge, but dialed down to 1".
I cut the word "yum."
(In order for this to show up right, you need to cut the vinyl with the clear side up)

Stick it to the middle of your oval.
Again, make sure all sides are sealed.

Pull our your Armour Etch acid and paint brush.
(Latex gloves too!)

When applying the Armour Etch, try to do a thick layer and apply it from the top down (like blotting it),
 not brushing on.
To avoid bleed through, go easy on the edges, but make sure you apply a thick layer.

Wait 90 seconds.

Wash off with warm water.


Fill with candy and giveaway to someone special.

Or, in my case, someone(s) special.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Random Friday List

1.  A chest cold on the heels of the stomach flu is cruel and unusual punishment from the germ gods.

2.  Especially during the Christmas season.

3.  I am tired.

4.  But I'm getting a ton of stuff done.

5.  Which makes me a healthy sloth and a sick producer.

6.  Wha?

7.  I have ZERO shopping left!

8.  And I'm under budget.

9.  I'm in full-on craftista mode.

10.  I need coffee.