Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013..You're Otta Here!

Well, it's finally here...my last post of 2013.  I actually look forward to this one.  Just like I look forward to my first post of 2014 tomorrow!  I took some time to go back over my blog from this past year, marveling at how fast it all went. So many moments caught...not on film...but on digital.  I didn't post all of them, believe it or not! I condensed my life down for the blog.  There were moments this year that left me sad, happy, amazed, thrilled, scared, sorry, hurting, sick, numb, satisfied, humbled, and most of all....thankful.  Thankful for family and friends and work and play. Thankful for my faith, my country, and for blogging about most of what goes on around me.  I will put this all in book form after tonight. I'll have the saved photos, memories, and prose of what took place in 2013.  I hope to heaven someone will appreciate it one day! I hope they laugh at the good stuff, cry at the right stuff, and find my ordinary life that mingled with theirs, just a bit extraordinary!  Last year I posted about coming out of work on the last day of the year in the middle of a winter storm.  I remember sliding all the way home!  We're expecting a big snow fall tomorrow and Thursday...sometimes life repeats itself!  Today I didn't have to work which was a blessing since I've been battling a bad head cold since Saturday.  Jack has been too...we're partners in illness! But I did manage to get a few things done.  I mentioned to a  blog buddy that my Mom always told us we had 3 days to get well...Jesus rose on the 3rd day and so can we!  So on my day after the 3rd day, I rose and put all the Christmas decorations away..except the tree.  I filled the dining room table up with all the "stuff" and then hauled it down to the storage area.
This did not include any outdoor d├ęcor.  I really didn't decorate as much as I usually do...and after getting it all packed away I was glad! I love this season...but I'm not fond of the "take down" part.  Jack closed down his office at noon and we decided to get some vittles for New Years Day. Before we left town we stopped at Donna's to give her my annual Greek New Years Bread I made over the weekend.
I made a couple of loaves.  Hidden inside each bread is a coin (wrapped in foil).  Whoever gets the coin in their piece will have good luck in the new year.  Donna, if you read this, please know we wish you all the best luck in 2014!  We returned home late in the afternoon.  We went out for a quick dinner.  The waitress said they were giving away poinsettia plants and would I like one.  Well, I'm really not a big fan of those or any indoor plants. I usually end up killing them eventually!  But when someone is giving a freebee, I'm a sucker!  I thanked her and took this home:
I took a photo because I'm sure it will never look this good after living with me! Tonight Jack and I will stay home and watch the ball drop in New York City (if I can stay awake that long!) We'll have a few snacks and some punch and I even made some homemade icecream! It's really for tomorrow but I just might have to taste test it!
Vanilla with chocolate chunks...I actually already taste tested it and it's sooo good!  I hope everyone has a wonderful evening...Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"God Bless Us, Everyone" Tiny Tim

The tradition in our home has always been to celebrate with family on Christmas day. I know some families gather on Christmas Eve or other times that are convenient for as many as possible to be there.  When my in-laws were living, we headed down to the "farm"..they weren't really farmers since Jack's Dad was also a Chiropractor, but they had a beautiful piece of property...120 acres.. and a lovely home with space enough to gather everyone together.  We've carried on this tradition with our kids who live near us. We don't call our place "the farm"...just "Mom and Dad's"!  This year was no exception. Our grandkiddos are getting older. With Driana in college and Summer in high school, we know sometime in the future things will change.  Our #2 son, Craig, and his family are in Portland, Ore. now and we probably will never be there on Christmas with them. But, because of technology, we can talk, and laugh, and share a bit of the holiday with them.  We still have a couple of little ones who wait eagerly for Santa and get up early in the morning to check out the goodies.  That makes them a bit tired by the time they come to us, but we still manage to have a good time! After dinner usually the "Christmas Crash" happens and slowly some of the adults slip away and find a quiet place to nap.  One or two of the younger set fall asleep too, but a couple will hang in to the bitter end.  That was the story today! I can't let any gathering go without some photos to help tell my story.  Starting at the beginning....
Christmas Eve had the tree blazing and gifts wrapped in waiting for today.
Jack and I and 2 of our boys shared a quiet dinner. I always make homemade waffles on Christmas Eve.  Thanks Jack for the cutest table centerpiece ever! You could smell the flowers as well as the pine!
Christmas morning started out with Eddy going immediately to the fireplace and knocking down his stocking! He knew it was his! He enjoyed all his gifts!
The group arrived around noon, and after watching the Christmas DVD I made, we opened gifts.
Always a little crazy! I hope everyone enjoyed their gifts...I know I did! Thanks so much!  After gifts we had a really delish dinner.  Afterwards, the crowd thinned down.  Some were having that "winter's nap"...some headed outside to play with new toys!
These bow and arrow kits were a hit with these guys! They became the hunter and huntress cousins! Lexi, and Cameron!
Addy struggled with this toy....probably a bit too much for a 5yr old.
She needed her Daddy's help and then gave it up to play indoors with a new baby doll! It was really cold out today and she was the smart one of the group..and she finally had a nap too!
Jack and Eddy joined us later for some fun and a little hike into the Creepy Woods.  We really gave those kids a workout! They played outside until it started getting dark. Cameron made me laugh when we came in and he had to check out his legs because they were so tired from running all over the yard getting his arrows and then hiking in the woods.  I know 2 kids who'll be sleeping like logs all night!
This was my Kodak moment....Lexi passed out by the back door waiting for her Dad to get Addy and head out...she looked like I feel! Exhausted!
My spirit was truly made bright today with the love of family and the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  The real reason for this season. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!  "God bless us, everyone".

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

FYI

I got permission to post this today. Donna, my BFF, had surgery today. She had a total hip replacement this morning. I was glad to be there and she did great! I just saw her take her first steps with the new hip.  Good job Donna! She'll go home tomorrow. Our hospital does an awesome   job.  Just thought you, who follow her blog, would like to know! Have a nice Christmas Eve!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dear Mother (Nature)

Dear MN...You are such a crazy gal these days.  To usher in December you had temps dipping into the bitter chills and the snow flying and piling up.  However, to usher in the first day of Winter you sent torrential rain and temps in the 50's and 60's.  I just want to mention this..please don't take offense dear Mommo Nature...there's medication for your condition! Just sayin'....I hope everyone within eye shot of my blog is doing well and being safe.  We had so much rain some roads were closed and the rivers and creeks were up to the tippy top.  I had to run into town this morning and took a quick pic of  this "field"...I lovingly call it "Lake Middle Rowsburg".  It's really just a farmer's field.
A few more inches of rain and it would be over the road.  As you can see, the rain did stop and we had sunshine! I was amazed and so grateful...plus the temperature today was in the 60's...Sweet!
Ahhhhhhh........I'm not dumb enough to think, Dear MN, that it will last. Tomorrow the temps dip and the snow is coming back with Santa's sleigh.  Whatever...today I'll take this as a gift from you to me! (It's not only the perfect color, it's the right size!) I was outdoors for part of the day but soon had to slip inside as the sun dipped low.  I must say this however...the days are going to start getting longer from here on out! Wait..they don't really get "longer"..just brighter...Duh! I found a good indoor activity that brought out some big smiles.
Addy helped me make some Christmas cookies.
Eddy was fascinated! He has a sweet tooth.
More sprinkles please!
Top notch job sweetie! She sure loves  her PawPaw!  Goodnight Mother Nature..you wild & crazy gal!




Monday, December 16, 2013

Song: "I Was Home For Christmas"


I just changed the title of the song,  "I'll Be Home For Christmas",  to my post title, "I Was Home For Christmas".  We celebrated a little early, as we always do, with my family in Chicago.  Not all my siblings live there anymore.  A few of us moved to places like Ohio, Georgia, & Wisconsin.  But even if we've lived in our present places longer than our home town we grew up in, we will always consider Chicago "Home".  I think the memories you have as a child are not lodged permanently in the brain...but etched deeply in the heart. My Mother, thankfully is still with us, living in her home that my father built in 1951.  She may not be leaping tall buildings with a single bound, but she's involved actively with family, church and friends.  Maybe that's why we still take the time to migrate back if at all possible.  We feel those roots pulling us and uniting us with good food, good laughs, good times!  We try to do different ideas each year and this year we went with the trend of "ugly sweater".  And they were.  I was a bit embarrassed to realize how many I owned when I found a container of them way back in the recesses of a storage area. That is until I found out what they go for on Ebay!  Hey, I have a little retirement fund wrapped up in wool, bad Santa's, and jingle bells!  So if you'll forgive the following barrage of pics..here's my weekend in a Hallmark movie!  To begin with we had about 5in. of snow when we woke up Saturday morning. My hubby went out to shovel my Mom's driveway.  A little while later he came in and told me to grab my camera for a blogworthy pic.
The sweet neighbor kiddos across the street and a few from the "hood", came and just started shoveling and helping him out.  How sweet is that!  I think it's too bad we are so amazed at acts of kindness like this...but it did warm our hearts.  Jack was tempted to let us think he shoveled it all himself, but he knew I would smack him for letting a great moment pass unblogged! The kids live in the house that's behind them in this pic. It used to be my Aunt and Uncle's home.  My Uncle built this home and after he passed away my Aunt lived there until a few years ago when she also passed away.   It's great to see it lit up again with family, pretty decorations, and a heart of service for the neighbors. 
Mom's home all ready for comings and goings! A lot of living has gone on in this little home.  Like the parable of the "Fishes and the Loaves", it holds more and gives more than any dwelling on earth.

Jack was going to let me hold the shovel for this pic..but I believe in truth in journalism! I didn't help with the shoveling..just the reporting!  A little later we headed off for our "ugly sweater party" at my nephew's home.  Here is Jack's:
Sorry I cut off his head! But, he also came prepared if it got too hot in house to wear a sweater:
An ugly tee shirt!
My niece and her hubby were really cute and he won the contest with his elf sweater!
My Mom is the sweet filling in this family sandwich moment! Her sweater collection is as big as mine.  She also reminded me that I had given her many of the choices she had for that night! Ha! She's such a kidder! Right Mom?
My sister and I also made ugly sweater cookies for the table decorations...and they were ugly! Nobody even tried to eat one!  My sister Midge had a puzzle game for the kids to do. There was fierce competition!
It was so nerve wracking that little Andrew stripped down into his "wife beater" shirt (as we call it!)
Girls against the boys...even boys in crazy hats competed!
Oh, the victory of success! I won't show the agony of defeat, but tears were shed in the cousin puzzle fight..but at the end of the night, all was good..until next year!
We always have a "white elephant" gift exchange.  It too got a bit crazy when a few of the not-so-lovely gifts contained lottery tickets.  Oh my...we decided a no lottery rule will happen next year! No tears were shed and no big money was won either!
This gift has made the rounds year after year.  Not only is it still a perfect white elephant,  it still talks! The gift that keeps on giving...choose wisely my friend! Curtis is already wrapping it for next year!  We had to take time out for the family photo shoot.  Before we started I took this shot. What is Midge doing here:
1. Casting an evil spell on Mom?  2. Shooing away flies? 3. Being bossy and giving directions where we all should stand? Who knows...all I know is we did get the pics done!
Like the Mommo with her brood shot! I was really happy all of us were here this year. It made Mom pretty happy too!
The gathering wouldn't be complete if this guy didn't show up. He had delivered his sack of goodies to the kiddies and we sent him off with a plate of cookies with our thanks.  He (Val, my police detective niece's partner, has done this for us for the last few years! He's a gem!  He's also a big dude!)  The night was fun and it was great to see everyone again.  I put together a DVD of as many past Christmas pics as I could find and put it all to music. I was happy it turned out good and also amazed how much we've really done for this special night each year.  As I watched all the past photos go by on the screen I kept thinking...like that special Christmas movie we watch every year..."We really do have a wonderful life"!  All too soon it was time to head for home.
This sign made me smile:
I'm not very good at the quick pic shot while the car is moving maneuver...but it was good to get home....my memories again etched in my heart.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Made In China

I know I've said this before, but I can't believe a whole week has gone by without a word from Whispering Pines..not even any whispering!  The week before, and this week so far,  has been a mix of crazy busy and just plain crazy at the hospital.  The end of the year spells "Let's get it done" for many folks who put off getting that surgery all year. However, the deductibles have been met and now is the time before the new year. (Not to mention "Obamacare" surprises that will hit soon) Hey, no political statements here...I'm trying to be good..Santa is watching!  But the weekend was fast and furious and also fun!  Saturday morning Jack and I went out for breakfast.  We don't do that very often and we went to a place I've never been before. When I mention this place to anyone from Ashland they are shocked. The conversation goes something like this: Me: "I went to the Lyn-Way restaurant for the very first time in all the years I've lived here".  Them: "ARE YOU KIDDING?!"  And so on.  No I'm not kidding.  I finally can check it off my bucket list...I went to the Lyn-Way...and it was really good! So I'm thinking I'll go back.  Am I sad I put it off this long? Nah...I always thought it was a place for only old folks to hang out.  And it is..and I am.  Did I take any great pics to share? Pics of my food atleast?  Nope.  Then we went to Sam's Club and other places to shop.  Did I take any pics? Nope.  I had a weird experience in a public restroom too. Did I take any pics?  Nope....thank God.  I'll spare you.  Much later in the day Jack and I went over to our friends, Derrick and Shan's to watch Ohio State get beat and to eat some pretty yummy food.  Shan (I'm sure I'm spelling her name wrong) is from China and she made us noodles and fried rice that was really good.  The hot sauce I tried burned my lips for 3 days, but it was good too! Did I take any pics?  YES!
I admired Shan's top she was wearing.  She's so sweet.  She said..in her little Chinese accent..."Oh, I bring one back from China for you! They make extra, extra, extra large sizes!"  Did I mention she's also very honest?  It did make me laugh! But now I understand why our relations with China is not the best!  Ha!
They had gotten new furniture since the last time I was there...it's very sparkly...and it's also from China.  Of course, almost everything in America is also from China, but this was shipped from there.
They bustled about the kitchen getting the food ready.
Yep, very good!  Shan is just learning how to cook.  She grew up with maids and a nanny and never had to learn.  She wants me to teach her how to make sweets.  Sure, I'd love too.  Then she can fit into the "extra, extra, extra large" sizes too! Ha!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

And We're Off!!

I think the bells I hear ringing are not Christmas bells,  but bells that ring when the gates at the track open and the horses take off.  Except I'm the one running through the month of December!  I always consider November my quiet month.  The month to think of my blessings, family, turkey dinner and no rushing.  Ha! I was fooled! November this year was a busy, busy time.  Work was up and down.  Co-workers seemed stressed out.  Trials and tribulations here and there.  The month flew by!  The last day of this month was also a road race.  Literally! Yesterday my good buddy Donna, and myself, took off for Columbus, Ohio.  That's about 1-1/2 hrs  from us. We piled into her cute little car and sped down I71. The weather was beautiful and the company was even better! Thanks so much Donna for driving and navigating the big city streets! The reason for this trip was to meet up with Vicki from 2 bags full so we could get all the beautiful pink scarves that were lovingly made by people all over the globe.  We were suppose to meet around 2pm for lunch.  We did some shopping before hand. 
Donna carrying a few packages and probably some shiny fun things! (She'll understand just what I'm talking about!) It was fun to see the decorations at Easton. Easton is a shopping experience...you can't call it a mall because it's all outdoors.  It's really like a city all to it's self...very fun!
The tree was ginormous.
The Nativity was lovely.  After a couple of other stops it was off to meet Vicki!
We had a nice time getting to know her better and meeting her really nice friends she had traveled with.  It's funny to meet someone you've only known through blogging.  Kind of like meeting a celebrity! Well, aren't all us bloggers famous in our own little worlds? Ha! We had  fun laughing and talking about her special work she does at her hospital and before long she needed to continue on her trip.  So we gathered at the car and received the most beautiful selections of pink scarves!
I know all the patients who'll receive these will love them.  Thanks so much Vicki for doing this wonderful project and letting us join in.  Donna and I headed for home where we each had things to do.  We see each other almost every day at work, yet getting time to just have a fun day is rare for us with our schedules.  I'm so glad we took this day out with each other.  When I got home it was time to get decorating for Christmas.  I knew tonight we were having our youth from Church over for a meeting and I wanted the house decorated.  Everything was done except the tree. I'm saving that for a few days when my Grandkiddos can help get it decorated. We  had about 24 gather in our living room! Whew...it was a great group!


Everyone grab a chair!
Dining room ready!
My new kitchen light didn't have a chance to escape being decorated..poor thing!
Kitchen fireplace is good to go! I got most of the outside done, but still have lights that need to be put up.  I rushed and sweated and wondered why I go crazy like this. Oh well, it's done now and I like it and I'm ready to be off and running into the rest of  December!