Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

Another Christmas has come and gone. For me, this Christmas was very different because it comes just weeks after my mom died. After her surgery and release from the rehab center, we had planned on Megan and I flying down to help care for Mom and her hubby, Jimmy. Phil and the boys would then drive down and we’d spend Christmas there, my first Christmas with my mom in 14 years.

But that was not to be. Mom passed away December 2nd, and our hearts, barely beginning mending from my beloved brother Steven’s death in 2014, were shattered into even more pieces. My battered heart seeks comfort and refuge in my Savior, as I remind myself that Mom’s death passed through the hands of God...he allowed it for reasons we may never know. But knowing he is on the throne soothes the deep bruises on my heart.

Even with our ever-present grief, we had a nice relaxing Christmas. The kids decorated gingerbread cookies, as per our annual tradition. That was so much fun!

Ryan and Timmy had each asked for one high price item, which we were able to finagle, with the help of my lovely daughter Caitlin. Ryan’s is an iPhone that unfortunately won’t arrive until the 27th. But he’s being a good sport about that. :-)

Timmy’s big ticket item is an Xbox One S with Minecraft on it. He’s been playing it ever since. ;-)

Megan, of course, wanted puzzles and new dollhouse people. We got her an entire Hispanic family and then a set of differently abled people! There are a man in a wheelchair, a deaf woman, and about 4 more people with various special needs.

Megan was especially thrilled with the man in a wheelchair, so I tried to get a photo…..

Then I said, “Megan, smile this time.” And this is what I got….

She looks like Grumpy Cat. Seriously, doesn’t she? Hahaha

I hope everyone else had a nice Christmas too. Whether you’re in the midst of change, a difficult situation, or grieving the loss of a loved one, Christmas is a time for families to gather and remember the birth of the Savior, God’s own gift of hope for us all. Be blessed! ♥ 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Scrap Ribbon Tree Ornament

This is a very simple craft project that you can do with your children of almost any age and end up with ornaments for the Christmas tree. If they are able to perform the first step of tying shoes, then they will be able to make this. And if not, maybe this will help them learn how!

What you’ll need are:

a twig for each ornament, about 8 inches long and about ¼ inch in circumference

ribbon in several complimentary colors (cloth or silky varieties, wide or narrow)


twine for hanging (optional)

Cut the ribbon into 6-7 inch strips. I chose to arrange them in an eye-pleasing order so the kids could use them in that order, but they ended up just choosing them randomly as they saw fit, and then I realized that was even better. They truly used their own creativity in making them. ;)

Start from the bottom, wrapping a ribbon around the twig in the fashion of the first step in tying shoes, about 1 ½ inches from the bottom of the twig.

Megan is shown in the middle photo working on hers, and Angela is on the right, adjusting the placement of the ribbons on hers.

Add on strips of ribbon until you get within about ½ -¾ inch from the top. Adjust the ribbon and flatten as needed or as desired.

Now it’s time to trim the ribbon so it takes on the shape of a Christmas tree. I found it easiest to turn it upside down, with the top towards me, and trim that way. Cut diagonally, closer to the twig, and gradually getting further away from the twig as you go down, so the bottom ribbons will be wider across.

Turn it around, and tie on a hanger. We used some simple twine, but you could use a piece of ribbon if you desire. The twine seemed to hold good.

Your children now have their own handmade ornament for your Christmas tree!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Another Conversation With Megan #5

Megan and I spent some time with Caitlin at her new house today, a special time of a mom and her daughters. You know how much Megan loves her sister and will squeal when she sees her!

So after lunch and some shopping, Megan and I had to head home.

Megan: Dare’s a catapiwwewr on dat leaf (on the windshield).

Me: Oh yeah, I think I saw him yesterday.

Megan: Dis mowrnin’, Mum, dare was a stinkbug on my tee shiwrt nightgown.

Me: Oh really?

Megan: He spwayed. He spwayed his smeww.

Me: I just peachnut them away from me.

I demonstrate it on the steering wheel.

Megan: He spwayed his smeww on it an’ I smewwed it. OOOOOOOO it smewwed gwoss!

Me: Well I’ve never smelled it, but I hear it’s gross.

Megan: Yeah, Mum, it is. It smewws!! He bettewr not do dat again.

Me: I’m sure he won’t. I think he learned his lesson.

Megan: Yeah, he bettewr. Can we get a slushie?

Her indignation spent, Megan and I had a calmer ride the rest of the way.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Conversation With Megan #4


When Megan says, "Guess what??" you just never know what's going to come out of her mouth. 

Me: What?

Megan: Darwes a SUPEWR...DAWRK...GWAY...out dawre.

Me: A cloud?

Megan: Yes....SUPEWR...DAWRK...GWAY.

Incredibly serious...

Me: Oh. so do you think it’s going to rain?

Megan: Yes. An’ I have a supewr dawrk gway cwayon.

Me: Ohhhhhh, good.

Megan: Want me to dwaw a supewr dawrk gway cloud fowr you?

Me: Yes, I’d love that.

Megan: Okay. I dwaw it fowr you.

Me: Thank you!

I take a pic of her face and ask, “That’s your serious face, isn’t it?”

Megan: No, it’s my scawred face.

I put the camera away but Megan tells me to get it.

I snap another shot.

Megan: Dis is my scawred face. I’m scawred. It’s SUPEWR...DAWRK...GWAY.

Me: Okay then. You’re just beautiful, Megan.

And off she trots to get her supewr dawrk gway cwayon to draw me a picture.   

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Megan Discovers the Camera

So, we recently got Megan a Fire tablet for kids, that comes with a nifty rubber protective case to keep it safe. Timmy and Ryan received one for Christmas, as did I. I love mine and use it constantly, mostly to read books, but I like playing a few games on it too.

When we got Megan hers, I needed to set it up for her, and I somehow linked hers with mine so that she has all my books on hers. I knew I should have had Caitlin handle this for me, but I really thought I could do this simple task. I still haven’t gotten the time to take it to her to fix this mess for me.

This morning I discovered that not only does she have all my downloaded books, but Megan has discovered the camera on hers. Oh boy, did she ever discover that camera!

She got ahold of Caity’s camera once years ago and when I used it and then loaded the photos on my laptop, it loaded everything on the camera, including a bazillion and a half photos of Megan’s TV, herself, her dollhouse, her dollhouse people….you just don’t know how big that particular day’s folder was due to all her pics! It was about 813 photos or something!

Anyhoo, here is what I discovered amongst the 106 photos and videos she took the other day:

Her lovely face. Or, um, part of it.

She gave one of the videos a name, which just might be written in Swahili or some other language. Hey, we’ve been Pentecostal before; maybe she was speaking in tongues. At any rate, Megan named one of the videos Ggfghjggddfhjt. Ghhjuuyggjjkkn. Yiiiiyoojjjmjhhgffiklm. Yifjjhb. And she added some smileys for good measure. ;-)

This particular lady, I’ve noticed in her play, has always been the one with bandages on her, and Megan always says she broke her leg. I’m wondering if she has Munchhausen syndrome…

So Megan took many pics of her people singularly…

...and then come all the photos of multiples.

I’ve come to learn one particular thing about Megan’s dollhouse through all these photos: it’s very dirty, and that is my basting brush that went missing!

And that is the salt shaker! Jimmy Buffet doesn’t have to wonder anymore...his shaker of salt is in Megan’s dollhouse! ;-D 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Beauty and the Beast

Megan and I have some of the funniest conversations. And they can be about anything at all. Yesterday she came to me with a large coloring page she had colored for me, depicting Beauty and the Beast’s Belle. I exclaimed over the good coloring job and the pretty colors.

And tried desperately to hold it together when I saw that instead of coloring Belle’s irises blue, she had colored the whites of her eyes blue. Omgoodness, it looks so funny!

So anyhoo, I asked her about the picture to let her know I appreciate the sweet things she does, like coloring pages to make people happy. And in this little exchange, I was once again made aware of the limits of Megan’s understanding. 

Me: So, this is Belle, right?

Megan: Yeah, it’s Beww. (Belle)

Me: And Belle is from Beauty and the Beast?

Megan: Yep. Beauty an’ da Beast. 

Me, pointing to the horse: That’s the Beast?

Megan: No, no, dat’s da howrse. 

Me, pointing to Belle: Okay, but this is definitely Beauty, right?

Megan, laughing: No, dat’s Beww.

Me, laughing: Well I know that’s Belle, but she’s the “Beauty” part of Beauty and the Beast, right?

Megan: MUMMY! Dat’s Beww. Hewr name is Beww! 

Me: I know her name. Beast is the animal guy in the movie, right? <Megan nods> So she’s named Belle, but she’s also the Beauty….

Megan’s eyes go wide with pretend indignation and frustration.

Megan: Oh stop it! 

She stalks out of the room, giggling and putting on an air of one who has to bear up under much frustration with her parental unit. 

And while I’m reminded of the limits to her understanding, I’m also reminded again of the pure, sweet innocence of Megan, that simple essence of joy within her that never fails to touch my heart anew. And everyone around her.  

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Callie the Cat

I'm in the kitchen and need to go to the bathroom.

Callie: Where are you going, slave? I have need of you. Go open the door so I can use the outdoor facilities.

<Callie runs directly under my feet>

Me, stumbling into the wall: Oomph! Get OUT from under my feet!

Callie: You’re the one with only TWO feet who can’t operate them properly. 

<Callie runs to the door and scratches it.>

Me: I’m coming, I’m coming. 

Callie, dancing frantically at door: Move faster! There’s a blade of grass out there by the hedgerow with my name on it.

Me, opening the door: Okay, there you go.

Me: Come on now, go out.

Me: Callie, go out! You asked to go out, now GO OUT! Go THROUGH the door! 

Callie,  peering out and sniffing the air: There’s a dog 2 blocks away on Eigth Street. 

Me, huffing: You do this every time! Don’t ask to go out if you’re not going to actually go through the door!

Callie, turning and sitting down: I changed my mind. It’s my feline prerogative.

Me, shutting the door: That’s it. I’m not going to play Doorman for you cats anymore. Grrrr!

Callie, casually licking a paw: Oh yes you will. It’s part of your job description. 

I’m halfway down the hall when I hear Callie meow at the door.

Me: Seriously?? I just tried to let you out and you wouldn’t go!

Callie: I changed my mind again. It’s my feline prerog---

Me, opening the door: Now GO this time! 

Callie, daintily walking her girth out the door: Don’t get huffy with *me*. Remember your place. 

I close the door after her and am halfway down the hallway *again*, when I hear scratching at the door again.

Me, opening the door once more: NOW who is it??

Callie, nonchalantly sauntering into the house: Someone ate my blade of grass. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My Brother, My Playmate, My Friend

Two years. It’s been two years now since my younger brother Steven died. I can never forget that call from my father, in the early morning on February 3rd, telling me Steven was dead. Nor the grief….the grief so great and sudden and heavy that came upon me as if a giant anvil had fallen from the sky and crushed my soul. 

I think the only other time I have felt such immediate intense grief and sadness was when my baby Bethany died. It’s a feeling so weighty you feel like you’re flat on the ground, unable to get up, unable to even lift your head. 

The sobs that were unwillingly wrenched from me woke Caitlin, who was asleep upstairs. It was like finding yourself in a barren land, feeling so desolate, looking around and finding no one, so alone and cold and raw. 

And wondering how this could be. How could it happen? How could Steven be dead? 

I still find myself trapped in that land of emptiness, wondering how Steven, a man so full of life and bright with love and humor and generosity, could possibly be gone from us. It’s like you can’t seem to grasp it, you can’t accept it…Steven was that much of a living, beautiful force on this earth. 

And so I still struggle with his death. 

I wish everyone could have known him. He was such a good person. He had his problems, his burdens, the demons he dealt with, as have we all as humans. But nothing could tamp down his loving personality for long.

I think everyone who knew Steven would agree that the one thing that most defined him, besides his pure love of the people in his life, was his sense of humor. It’s a trait that runs strong through our whole family, and if Steven was in a room with you, you were guaranteed to be laughing before long. 

He looked at life through eyes of seeing the humor in things, in just about any situation, and one reason he and I were so close is because I have that same “virtue.” ;-) He was very Gary Larsen-esque (the comic strip The Far Side). 

When I think of Steven and how funny he was, his genuine quirky humor, I think of so many comedians and actors, but mostly Jim Carrey. He’s one of my and Caitlin’s favorite actors, and every time we see him in a movie, she and I both comment on how he reminds us of Steven. Just so hysterically funny, being with Steven you run the risk of peeing yourself. 

It’s a risk I’d take in a heartbeat….if only he were still here. 

If only he hadn’t had so much stuff to deal with. If only he didn’t struggle so much with who he was. If only he had found his peace sooner. If only….

I miss him so much. I think of him every day. I wish, every day, that he hadn’t died, and beg God to turn time back and make it not happen. But that can’t happen, so I have to accept it and allow myself to feel my grief and sadness when it hits me, even after two years, and cry my tears from the heartache. 

I love you Steven, my brother, my playmate, my friend. ♥