Monday, December 29, 2008
The very first gifts to arrive at our house were from my TLT Secret Sister, Sarah. I was so excited when my box of goodies came while I was still recovering from surgery. It was just what the doctor ordered. Plus, being the competitive type you all know that I am, I was the 1st to receive my box and find out who my Secret Sister was. Here are pics of my ornaments. They are just perfect. Thanks so much Sarah.
Our first Christmas celebration was with my family, scheduled for the 21st. We were going to go out Saturday night and spend the night with them, however, a glitch showed up in the form of a virus with a fever on Wednesday with A2 a scratchy throat and lots of drainage and a headache. I didn't think it was strep, but we did all we could do to get him better in time. The fever had broken Friday evening and everything was good to go to Grandma's-Grandpa's too. Saturday morning and afternoon we were getting some last minute things done at home when A2 decided about 3pm to sit and rest because he had a headache-not good. Out came the thermometer and yep, we had a fever. Calls were made, my Mom was scheduled for surgery after the New Year and we didn't want her to get sick. We were going to all stay home and just go Sunday afternoon-those who were well minus an adult to stay with A2(Dad since it was my family), but A2, bless his heart, through tears of missing the whole Christmas celebration told A1 and I to just go ahead and go. He said that the guys would just hang out and be okay. So with my mother heart torn in two, by one who wanted to go and one who was going to be home without me sick, DH sent us on our way. Of course we forgot a lot of things that I wanted to take extra, but we survived them.
A1 and I arrived and brought our load of stuff inside in one trip-I should have known I'd forgotten something then. We had chili for supper and popcorn balls. We broke out the cards and played euchre-Dad and I against Mom and A1. Dad and I won, I had a beautiful lay down loan to win the game-we came from behind. It was so sweet as A1 was coughing loser into her arm when we losing 7-1. While we were playing we were just chatting away and having fun and staying warm. The temperatures had dropped into the sub-zeros without wind chills.
The next morning dawned bright and very, very cold. A1 had not brought appropriate church clothes for this very cold weather. So we made the decision to give A1 the boots for church instead of sandals and she wore her jeans. We also raided Grandma's closet for a sweater-that suggestion was met with the "Are you crazy/sure, eye-rolling look" typical of teenagers. We found a nice cream sweater that was long and big on her, but we also found a thin belt that she belted it with and viola-great look. I stayed back as I couldn't sing or talk yet and Mom stayed with me. We have a wonderful time cooking and talking, just us girls when we have done this before. This day was no exception. We had a few glitches with the oysters-the grocery had ordered the wrong kind so we had to make a quick run to exchange them, because stewing oysters just don't fry right. Even with that glitch we were still eating by 1pm. We got pics kids and I had to carefully place them so that I could photo shop A2 into the pic, read the book that the kids have read since they were little-see previous post for name- and started opening gifts. The kids were all excited and got through theirs. A2 opened his at home. A1 got her own box of Chocolate-did she share this with her Mom? Are you kidding-she is a chocolate lover like me. A1 in front of the tree before gift open.
Then it was the big kids turn. My brother and I had to open them together. As I got my box unwrapped I was confused-it was a digital converter box, which we didn't need, but I noticed my brother's box was different so I opened again. I had a ton of tape to undo-Dad likes, no loves, to use tape. When I opened the box and saw that it was a digital camera I was so, so very surprised, shocked and I, of course, cried. We hadn't put anything on our list at all. What was even sweeter for my parents was the fact that the night before while playing cards I was talking about our APS camera biting the dust. I had asked if they still had Mom's point and shoot 35mm and if I could borrow it for a while, possibly a long while. I didn't need the digital of their's and would just appreciate the other and being able to get pics. Dad said they were kicking each other under the table and trying not to bust up while I was talking. Of course they had said we could borrow the other camera, but I said that I wouldn't need it anymore. It was so cool how God worked that out. I didn't tell DH when I called later that evening to see if he thought we should stay another night because of the cold temps(sub-zero again) and driving at night, and I forgot to take his cell with us. He said yes to stay that Dad and my youngest brother were right it was a good idea. A2 was still running a fever, but they were having a movie festival and really didn't want the interruption. A1 went home with my youngest brother to spend the night with my niece. The next day I re-wrapped the camera and after a couple of power outages and helping Dad figure out if we needed to get an elderly neighbor lady and my grandma over to the house where my parents have a generator and the gas fireplace or not, I picked up A1 and we headed home. DH was very surprised and touched by the gift too. He had been thinking really hard he said about how he was going and when he was going to be able to get us one. He knows how much we use it-bless him-he is a great guy. The camera was the second thing.
The next event was Christmas Eve with my extended family-A2 was hoping hard, drinking lots of water and taking every vitamin that I told him to, but he was still contagious on Christmas Eve. This time I stayed home and sent DH and A1. He actually used the camera first. A2 and I watched Christmas specials on TV and cuddled on the couch. We also made calls about Christmas Day with DH's family. We didn't want the kiddos there to catch anything. SIL said that they had already had it and if A2 felt up to coming that was okay with her; she did appreciate the call though. Christmas Eve went well with the first ever taco and dessert night. Everyone loved it and had a great time I heard. That is all the details for that I have...I wonder why????
Christmas day dawned, fever 99.8, feeling up for Christmas-yeah we were all going. Everyone was excited. The guys had been working on a special project for the littlest nephews and A2 really, really didn't want to miss this.(SIL said that we would reschedule if he didn't feel good yet)-Blessing number 3. We packed up and had to take both cars-there was some things to do last minute that DH had to go to the office(shop) to fix and we met DH and A1 there. Then A2 finished helping put the final touches on the gifts with his Dad. We had a wonderful lunch and then came the gifts. The kiddos opened theirs first except for the one for both boys. Niece 4 loved her cradle for her Baby that Uncle Andy made. A1 and A2 were overwhelmed by Blessing 4-Grandma's gift covered their missions trip.(They are learning so much about how God provides and cares for us this year-I am even now tearing up) Then Nephew 7 & 8 got to open their present. They couldn't figure out what was in the big bag-neither could their parents or anyone else except for Abby the Nanny(she gave us this idea-thanks Abby). The digger was a hit. Oh, but wait there was another surprise in store for the bigger kids(think BIL and Abby-who said she would video how it worked for us if we needed more info when she went back to the place where the one that gave her the idea was. At this point, we wondered was this for the kids or for Abby to play with?-She said some things should just not be discussed when we asked her :DYes, DH had made a big people version of the digger. He didn't have time to get it all painted up, but everyone still thought it was pretty cool.
After gifts we all talked and played with toys including the Wii that "Santa" left at BIL and SIL's house for their family. It was a lot of fun. My kiddos didn't want to leave when we did later that evening, but their poor Mom was getting tired. We came home and spent the next day getting ready for our Christmas-continued in Christmas Blessings Part 2.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
|Which Christmas Character Are You?|
Like one of Santa's right-hand helpers, you're dedicated and devoted. From their pointy shoes to their pointy ears, the elves, and people like you, are the man in red's secret to success. Do you really think one person can make all those toys, harness the reindeer, wrap all those gifts, and get around the world in one night?
Quizzes and Personality Tests
Thursday, December 4, 2008
My sweet friend Molly at counterculturalmom asked if I wanted to participate in her Celebrating the Season Blog Carnival. I said this was just what I needed to get posting again. So I did two posts tonight.
We are suppose to post our favorite songs, books or things we are doing special this Advent season.
Music always plays a huge part in our Christmas celebration. Christmas music can be heard in our home actually anytime of the year as it is one of my favorite things to listen to if I am stressed. Christmas and not being stressed, an oxymoron in today's society you are thinking. Maybe, if you don't look beyond the lights, gifts, shopping, food, running, traffic, fighting for the parking space, toy catalogs marked up with things that the kids want. To me the music is what helps take me beyond that. To the calm and peace and wonder and joy of the season.
I love any type of Christmas music. Those who know that I love music are probably not surprised. We have everything from Amy Grant's Christmas CDs to Garth Brookes and Michael W. Smith. We have Mannheim Steamroller and Disney's Christmas collection. I grew up with Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Gene Autry, and that era. I haven't gotten any of those yet for our house, but I have the sheet music and try to learn a new one each year, or as the case may be this year, remember how to play the ones I can.
I learned my favorites and my Dad's favorites first to play for him. Silent Night, Joy to the World, The First Noel(this one needs work), The Twelve Days of Christmas was learned for my kiddos to dance to and count to, Away in a Manger-I used to sing this to them for a lullaby every night, Mary's Boy Child. I also learned Ruldoph and Frosty, and Silver and Gold. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is a real favorite as I hear it playing like the eight track while I play the piano. The music is calming for me. It helps me focus on the fun and joy of celebrating with family the birth of my Savior. I haven't found the sheet music for Little Alter Boy, one of my Mom's favorites and mine too.
The most special thing with music this year is both kids are learning to play Christmas Songs. A1 on the piano and A2 on the guitar. It is fun to listen to them play and now I understand why my Dad missed it when I moved out and my piano came with me.
We aren't reading any particular book this year for Advent. I have been reading to them the verses and history lessons at my other sweet friend Chris's Blog aka. Coach Mom has on her Advent Calendar. Maybe we will even get to one of the activities this year or I will plan for next year. Please go look it is awesome. My Sunday School class is reading The Blessing Book by Linda Dillow. It has been a wonderful reminder to remember what all He has done for us. Before opening gifts we read the Christmas Story at our home and at my parents home we did this until they found a story type book when the grandkids were littler and attention spans were shorter. When they started to read they would take turns reading pages. This has continued. The story is The Christmas Path-The Legend of the Luminaries by Sue Wright.
I also have a special surprise to post later, because I can't find it right this minute. A gift that came to me on the way to the store and had me scrambling to find something to write it on.
I am so sorry that it has been so long since posting here everyone. Things got a lot busier than I had anticipated at the end of summer before we started school. A1 was busy at work with her Dad and A2 was home with me doing summer swim and mowing yard and helping with stuff around the house. Then school started,volleyball games started then harvest started. About the time it settled down I found out I had to have thyroid surgery and that takes us to Thanksgiving and tonight. So I am going to catch y'all up while I catch my breathe.
In August A1 turned 15 and was happy dancing around for quite a long while about how soon she can get her learner's permit, although not literally dancing as she had a small run-in with a trash can at the volleyball overnighter. It took her out of practice for 3 weeks as she rolled her ankle and had to do rehab. She still currently will grin and remind me that I only have a few months left. I just grin back and say that I don't have to allow her to get one. I don't know if I am ready for her to drive or not. Less running for me, yes. Reality that time is flying by really quickly, no.
We nailed down our school year after deciding when we wanted to be done. They kids are doing 1/2 days on Saturday here so we started September 4th and will finish on May 7th. Volleyball team continued to practice two days a week starting in mid-July. A1 made the JV team again this year, her first year in high school.
We started our year off with a fun geography lesson that was extremely tasty and shared it with my parents. After all the chatter on the TLT group about cookie maps, I knew we had to try it. They loved it! What kid wouldn't love making a giant sugar cookie and decorating it then of course eating it.
We made cookies of Africa. My Dad thought that there should be more mountains added as he wanted lots of chocolate chips.
We made cookies of a close-up of the Nile River area in ancient times.
Then of course we ate them. That was the best part.
Both kids are enjoying Tapestry very much and are learning so much. They do very well at our weekly discussion and can expand on what they have read to come to conclusions that apply to things today. It is so much fun to see them making connections and loving to learn.
When we were starting up school we were also repainting out house, outside. Somehow we managed a lift this time. Thank-you to my BIL's connections. DH got it done quickly and it looks great. It isn't green anymore. He wanted a rusty red and that is what we had decided the next color would be we when eenie meenie minie moed between the two the first time. It is really close to BIL and SIL new house at the farm, but if you put them side by side it is different. That is the new color at the beginning of the post. We really love the new color. It changes with the sunlight. It is called Roycroft Copper Red. Sorry the wild flowers don't look as good as usual, it was a dry summer and we planted natives so we would have to water. They were blooming just not as much or for as long.
I had gotten a ultrasound done of my thyroid in September at the request of the Dr. we see for our allergies. He said that he felt a nodule. When the results came back the first week in October he wanted me to see someone for a biopsy. So we transfered info to IN doctors and I went to an ENT the last week of October. I had one brief moment of fear and went to my girls on TLT and posted for prayer. Within 5 minutes of hitting send I was back to total calm. Andy had to hear all this from me on the phone as he was on the road harvesting. Keeping the kids from hearing all the scheduling and questions was tricky too so I made calls from the front porch. We didn't tell them anything right away as we knew they would worry about everything. The same week I saw the ENT for the consultation I went back on that Friday for an ultrasound guided biopsy. The nodule on the right was fairly decent in size, but had calcifications in it and the Doctor said he would be most comfortable taking at least the right side out no matter what the biopsy said. So surgery was scheduled. We knew that if the biopsy during surgery came back positive that I would be losing the whole thyroid and have other treatments to follow. We also knew that again the kids were going to be worried. A2 can't stand anything to do with hospitals and needles. Probably from the times he has had to go in and they can't find the veins for the IV's. We told the kids the week before surgery that I was getting surgery on my thyroid. They didn't ask just said because it isn't working right. We said yes and let it go at that because we had no other answers to truthfully give. My prayer warriors at TLT were praying for this conversation to go well as I was more concerned about them then I was myself. The day before surgery A2 was terrified. Again I called on the TLT prayer warriors for help. I had spent a good 30-45 minutes in prayer with A2 the night before surgery praying for God's peace and calm to engulf him. That A2 would feel God's arm holding him tight and that A2 would see God at work in the whole thing. The morning of surgery he was still looking a little ragged. I had him come to the computer and showed him the emails that had come through in the night and that morning of the girls who were praying not only for him specifically, but also for the surgery. The one that really changed the look on his face was the one that reminded him that our group from TLT goes literally around the world. That we were being held up in prayer around the world. I had been showing him the different states and told him the other countries where others lived to. His whole body just took in a huge breath and he relaxed.
The surgery went fine. The kids had a good time with their cousins at BIL and SIL's farm. I came home by 10am the next morning. DH had posted to the TLT group how surgery went the night before so again I sat with the kids as we watched the praises come in. It was the most awesome thing to have all that prayer coverage and to see all the rejoicing going on. These girls are truly God's special blessings in my life, and I count each and every one of them as sisters. A1 and A2 said that they learned how God listens and takes care of us and the power of prayer. The biopsy results came back the Saturday after surgery-no cancer. I only had to lose the right half of my thyroid. Recovery is going well. My vocal nerve was bruised as the gland had expanded around it. So my voice is rather quiet and I can't talk above a whisper. The doctor at follow-up said it would come back as it heals. He knows he didn't cut it, but said he had to push it out of the way. DH said he is sending the man a fruit basket. BIL asked how long this would last and my own brothers thought it sounded kind of nice. What is a girl to do? Get a whistle :D
We have solved the problem of me yelling the kids name from across the house and them yelling WHAT back instead of coming. It just doesn't work anymore. My voice did come back fully a couple brief times within the last week.
I am typing this so I can do a post for a sweet sister on my TLT group and it was the kick I needed to sit down and write. Well, that and now a touch of the flu. Thank you Lord for older kids who can follow the assignments without a ton of teaching from a Mom who can't talk above a whisper and who is good to go for a couple hours in the morning then naps and a couple hours at night and goes to bed. The levels will be checked on everything and tweeked December 26th. Until then, this type A, first born, perfectionistic planner is having to learn to go with the flow. For those of you who know me well, I am tired of reading :D
We are currently on Week 16 for school studying in Judges, Ruth, Samuel for history and the Israelite and their neighbors. They are learning how their neighbors were allowed by God to effect the Israelite lives and used for the lessons God was teaching them. They are studying The Odyssey in literature as we are working at roughly the same time frame. In week 14 we started with Greece and we will be heading back there again after Christmas. A1 is now not so sure about loving lit. She is having to read the unabridged version, like college level reading. It is the first time she has ever had to really work at her school work, but especially her reading. She is doing an excellent job of grasping it. She gets the questions in discussion right and I think this week will even be able to start expanding on those answers. She didn't think she could do it. I knew she could as she has been testing at this level for many, many years. It was fun to watch her face light up that first week with the Iliad as she got answers right and even ones that the publishers said most first year Rhetoric students miss. It was a boost for her to see that she really was grasping it. A2 is doing the same lit, but at Dialectic level, meaning 6-9th grade reading. I have to tell him to only read what is assigned or he will go through the whole lit assignment in one week. He is having to work some at this as he is starting to get into analyzing the lit and taking it apart. I know he is not ready for the R level lit and since he will be doing this year at R level his junior year we are just keeping him at the D level for everything. He could do the history and Bible, but why if he is doing it again.
We started Latin this week. So I will keep you updated on how that goes. Now that we are in the swing of things, I am hoping to do better about the blog updates. No promises.