Friday, December 30, 2011

Gingerbread House 2011

Since Josiah was born, I started a tradition of having the kids make a gingerbread house.

 It was my first Christmas as a grandmother and I wanted to start something new.   I didn't do this with my children because they didn't have a ready made kit back in the day.  Now had I had this when they were little and I wasn't dirt poor, I would have gotten this for them to do.

I absolutely love this activity.  It sounds simple in theory.  Very few ingredients and just follow the picture.  This is were it gets interesting.  The house is always different year from year.  It has gotten messier and messier.

The first year, my kids balked at the concept but they put it together. It was the first time in quite awhile where they had to work together.  Talk about strong personalities in action.   Josiah had his first small part last year but this year was the year where both if not all three grandkids would be involved.  Or as involved as they could be and if being involved means eating the candy was your part then each had a hand in the making of the house.

I got the idea of building a gingerbread house from Acme a few years ago.  They were selling this kit.  I not only make dinner for Christmas but I am compelled to provide entertainment. 

Maybe I flash back to when the kids where younger and if I kept them occupied they would argue less. As the years pass,  I was open to new ideas to accomplish.  I see the kit and for $10 it doesn't seem like a bad idea.

I am so glad I started this tradition because if you think the years have made them improve their house making skills you are sorely mistaken. 

With so many hands in the mix, little ones eating the decorations, and the royal icing being so sticky it made for a wonderful activity. 

Jackson was looking for any little piece of candy to put his sticky little hands on. 

I truly enjoy watching this unfold from behind my camera. It brings me a smile even as I write this post. I feel like one of those wild life documentary journalist.  I stay quiet in the background and let nature happen. 

Alas, the house didn't make it past the hour after it was built.  It will live on in my memory and my pictures.

The Jane Goodall of Gingerbread House Makers Abbie

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Elf Talent

Bill and I were at the Walgreens and I spotted a microphone.  I tried it out and it changed my voice to sound like and elf.  I instantly fell in love with it. 

I have a naturally high voice so this made it ridiculous.  I sang songs from the book that was included with the toy.  Bill even tried a few and I giggled with delight.  It was so light.  I so needed to have some light hearted fun.  I also knew the kids would get such a kick out of it. 

I waited until Christmas eve to spring it on them.  After dinner, I took out the microphone and talked into it.  I could see their heads turn towards me to see what was happening.  The grandkids  loved it.    Miss Olivia turned into a little Beyonce.  The kids took turns singing and screaming into it.  They had so much fun. 

It was the best $20  I ever spent.  My cheeks hurt from so much smiling. 

 Karaoke lovin Abbie

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Edition

I haven't participated in Meet me on Monday for quite awhile.    I love Java's site.  I wanted to start getting back to things I enjoy doing.  Her blog is one of those things.

Meet Me On Monday

1.Wrapping paper or gift bags?

I mostly use wrapping paper until I run out then gift bags.

2.Real or artificial tree?

3.When do you put your tree up?
Right after Thanksgiving.

4.When do you take your tree down?
Usually when the tree is so dry and dead that it breaks as I take it to the trash. 

5.Do you like eggnog?
Eww that would be a no.

6.Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, I do.  He is the reason for the season.

7.Favorite Christmas Movie?
The Christmas Story.  I see it alot during the marathon on Christmas Eve.

8.Favorite Christmas cookie?
Chocolate Chip.  Not very Christmasy but I love chocolate.

9.Where will you eat Christmas dinner?
At my home.

10.Angel, bow or star on top of your tree?

11.Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

12.Do you like Fruitcake?

13.What are you most excited about the holidays?
Seeing the kids open their presents.

14.Do you open presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
Christmas Eve. I was always impatient.

15.Will you still be wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
I start on Christmas Eve.

Last week before Christmas, I hope everyone has a great holiday :)
I'll be in line with the other last minute gift shoppers.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Halloween 2011

I would say this is a little late in posting.  I was looking at some pictures and I had to write about it before too much time has past. 
This will occur more often and I probably will be posting Christmas items in July.  (insert laughter).

Some of my grandkids came to my house on Halloween.  I look forward to to seeing what costumes they will be wearing.  The theme for this year was The Wizard of Oz,  at least for half her kids.

Cowardly Lion - Jackson looking so cute in his lion outfit.

I love his little tail!

Miss Olivia was Dorothy. 

Josiah was Wolverine. I guess it is as close as you can get to the Scarecrow, if we were following with the theme of the Wizard of Oz.

As I look at this picture, the costume says a lot to me.  First, he wore it to school and you can tell.  Second, I loved touching his muscles.  Josiah was well padded.  He would pose for me.  Cutest thing.

Third, this brings back memories of when Denis, my youngest, wore a similar costume.  He didn't have padding but he loved to act like Wolverine.  He would pretend his fingers were the blades and even make the sound effects.  I have a video of my boy in a preschool play.  Always brings tears to my eyes.  How fast time has flown by.

Jesse was wearing The Lobster.  It is the first costume that was worn by Josiah.  Everyone of the kids have worn this little red number.  Unfortunately, Jesse fell asleep quickly after arriving my house and I never got to take the picture. 

On this night, Donna Marie and company arrived and took off to grab their loot of treats.  Bill went with them.  Bill loves to walk with them as they get candy. I like to be home and give out the candy and see all the costumes. There were some cute ones out there.

I think it was about an hour or so and they came back and started to raid their bags. 
My Miss Olivia looks beat.  Poor thing she worked hard for that candy.  Walking and trick and treating all over the place earning poops a little girl out. 

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My heart

Through all this dreariness, my husband has been my strength.  He has been my sounding board and my refuge.  I do not know how I would have gone through this without him.

He surprised me today with a photo frame for my picture of my grandson's first school picture.  Bill also gave me a nice set of headphones.  That way I can listen to music or tv shows on my computer while I do research.  Its the little things that he does that give me peace of mind and hope.  Bill knows what I need during this time.  

We will also be going to our first ever new years eve party.  In all our years together, we have never gone out and get all gussied up for the new year.  We will be ringing this year in style.  I want to toast this year goodbye and start the new year on a great note.  I hope the new year will be a good one. 

What is special about the dancing part is that he hates to dance but is willing to be "opened" to it.  I know the real truth he is doing it for me because it will make me smile.  Bill knows I love to dance and he knows it will make me happy, if only for a little while. My husband is a good egg : )

I want to write again about all the good things that have happend with my grandkids and with my life.  Life has to move forward. 

I just have to remember to get back up and dust myself off, when I fall.  But its good to know Bill will be there with an outstretched hand for me to grab.

Dusty Abbie

Still Adjusting

I am slowly adjusting to my new role as my father's advocate.  I used to call my parents once a week and see how they are doing

now I call them everyday.  I check up on my dad and see if he is taking his medicines and if he is exercising.  I have to take him on his word since I am here and he is in New York.  I don't always have confidence that he does what he needs to do.  I just have his word and the sound of his voice to get the whole picture. 

It's like your kids.  You can tell if something is on their minds or if they are not feeling well just by how they look or act.  This is a skill I have had to sharpen within these past few months in regards to my parents.

I have time and distance against me and now I am working against my fathers impatience.  My dad wants to feel better and he wants to feel better now.  I wish I could help him but what he has takes time and lots of it. 

He has endured a great deal of pain and dad has always hidden it from me.  He is slowly becoming more open with me.  As I said before, I am here and he is in NY and he doesn't want me to worry about him.  I can understand but I told him that I will worry whether he tells me the truth or not.

Dad told me he wants to go to another doctor about this arthritis and gout.  He feels the doctor is not doing enough.  Dad believes that she will just prescribes pills.  I asked when he last saw her.  He tells me two years ago. 

I told him that things have changed since then and her treatment may be different and would be more aggressive.  I seemed to have to repeat this same  kind of argument with my dad on many occasions.  Dad has a phobia with regards to anything medical.

How he got away with refills for his medicines without seeing the doctors amazes me.  I have accompanied him to several doctors appointments and each time has been an eye opener.  Dad loves to spin a story but he cannot do that anymore, when I get the cold hard truth from the doctors.  I have always seen through him but that didn't stop him from trying.   

As I have visited and talked with him, he realizes I am in it for the long haul and that I want to help.  He worries about work and I am in a position that I have a very understanding boss.  My boss knows my family comes first and work is slow that I can miss some time.  I informed my boss of what I am looking at and what is needed of me in the role of advocate.

In order for me to be more effective in my new role, I need to know everything.  I have to go back to New York and get all the names of his doctors, write down all his medicines, and get phone numbers and fax numbers to the pharmacies.  I need to have a crystal clear picture of what my father needs in order to get him the right road to recovery.

It all starts with open and honest communication between my father and myself.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fork in the Road

I had been meaning to write for some time but unfortunate circumstances have arisen that prevented me from purging all the thoughts in my head. 

How do I begin?

I looked at my stat and was surprised to see that the last entry was in September.  I can't believe how much time has passed. 

Trying to find the Christmas spirit which is hard, since I don't have little ones in the house.  Kids have a way to kick you in the butt and keep you moving forward.  My husband has done things to take my mind off things if only for a little while.

The reason for the blues.  In early October, my father had a heart attack.  I found out about it almost two days after the fact.  This is courtesy of my mother.  Which is a whole other story.

I raced to be with him and I am told that he will need to have a triple bypass surgery.   My dad needed to have an emergency right away but they needed to get him in good shape.  I come to find out as well as the doctors that he has many other problems.  My parents neglect to tell them about the other conditions that he may have currently. 

I come to find out he has kidney issues, prostrate troubles, and he is severely anemic. He has arthritis and gout.  Every day a different doctor came in because a new malady appears.   

How I wanted to run screaming from the room and have my Bill take me away.  Cry into his arms. Go home stay in bed and eat junk food.  There is a song by Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars.  A verse goes "If I lay here, if I just lay here would you lie with me and just forget the world."  This was never an option.  I had come to realize I needed to step up and take control of the situation.

I had to inform each new doctor about what was learned prior to their arrival and what my dad was feeling at that moment.  For some reason, the man, who I saw as the most proactive person in any situation, was not saying a word.  He was hoping for it to be all a mistake.  My dad was hoping at the last minute that he could go home and not have the surgery. 

My mom was not helpful.  She made it known that my father was a grown man and he can handle the situation.  If he needs to say something, he will.  I found out in the course of a day that was so not the case.

I turned into my dads advocate, defender and drill Sergeant. A role that is opening new roads in my life.  Making me look at my parents differently and questions are coming up that can be life altering.    Will I be prepared?

My father survived the surgery and he is home.   His heart is doing well.  We have to tackle the problems that were pushed to the side for the surgery and are now front and center.

He has a long recovery ahead but at least he has a heart running on all cylinders.

Its a start.