Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving week...

and I have been feeling homesick for the holidays. Last year I came here to IL for the holiday and it was easy, an adventure. This year it's for real and for keeps, and I have had a few blue moments knowing the family in MN will be gathering without us. I was really tearful on Sunday, but it seems better these past few days. I think it helps to have Eric home--he keeps me busy!

We still are up in the air as to what Eric's younger two are doing for Thanksgiving. Originally the plan was that they would be headed to their Mom's in IN for the weekend, but now she has to work much of it, so is just planning to come down here for the day and take the kids out. That, however, is dependent on the weather and her getting her car fixed (no heat). I hope she can make it; as a mom I know how much I treasure any time I get with my kids, and seeing my kids is a NEED for me, not just a want. I hope it all works out well for her. Rei and I are not going to MN, and despite my lobbying for it, none of my kids can make it down here this year. They will be with the family up there though. so I am content. I am making a huge turkey dinner here, planned for around 7 pm when Eric gets home from work, and will spend the day cooking. Last year Aurora and Eric primarily made the meal, and I just helped with the pies. We had such fun, and it was very tasty! This year it'll be me doing most of the cooking, although I may rope Rei into helping some... Eric and I went and got all the fixin's yesterday. Brianne has to work 6- 2 on Thanksgiving and her bet is that they will be busy--everyone wants coffee and donuts for their travels don't they? Hmmmm... Cliff should be around to help some too. I don't think he's working.

We have some good news on Betty: she has come home from the hospital now, and her fevers are under control. I haven't heard more details on what the tests showed, but am so glad she's feeling better. That was such a worry for all of us! Now I hope she takes things slow and easy--she is so stubbornly independent sometimes, and she thinks she's invincible... (just like a teenager!). Bless her heart, she is a wonderful person and I want only the best for her.

We've been looking at the christmas list of what to get for whom... I had to laugh at Eric because he seems so surprised at the effort and time I try to put into the gifts for everyone. I'm a bit sad because I have not made anything this year, and normally I'm finishing up projects about this time of year, but my usual gift making time has been usurped this year by other priorities! Oh well, I will get a head start for next year! I'm sure I can do that easily. I was joking with Liisa that I need her to get/set up a webcam on her laptop this year for Christmas eve at my mom's house, so that I can vicariously be a part of the festivities there. I have a web cam here, and I can set mine up too, then I can chat with family as they want to talk to me, and I can see the gifts as they are opened/exchanged... It could be really fun! Eric has to work Christmas Eve from 6 pm to 6 am, so it'll be a quiet night for me here.

Because I am not sure when I will next post this week, I want to just take a minute to count all that I am thankful for this year. I am so thankful for my wonderful husband, whom I adore, and for all that has come to me through our relationship; I am so grateful his kids have accepted me into their home and their lives, and that we are making things work as a family. I am so glad I have Reimond here with me and that he is starting to find a place here as well with school, bowling, and making friends. I don't know if I could have made the move if he hadn't been willing to come with me! I am so very proud of my big kids and all they have accomplished--establishing households, going to school, being responsible adults... I tried to do my best by them growing up, to teach them what is important in life, and to help them establish their values and beliefs where it truly matters... It has paid off, and I am so very proud of them! I am thankful for being able to have my grandbabies in my life--they are such joys and treasures, and while I wish I could take a more active role in their lives on a daily basis, I am thrilled that they know me and I have a relationship with them. My extended family and friends too are treasures I hold tightly to in my heart. One of my recent devotions talked about how when all is said and done, it is the people and the relationships that remains in one's memory, not the material things out of them, and how true it is. I have so many wonderful people in my life that I count in my heart as "family". I am most truly blessed!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone, and know that you are loved!

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's thursday already?

Where has the week gone! I sometimes feel like the time flies so fast, and yet the days have a tendency to run together for me (as my daughter can attest to when we talk on the phone and I am confused...) so that I am never quite sure what day it is. This week has been hectic anyway because Eric is in finals all week and has been spending time completing projects and papers, while meeting his work obligations and attending classes. The kids have many obligations too between daily high school bowling practice (Aurora and Patrick), confirmation class (Reimond), and working (Cliff and Brie), so I spend a lot of my time running the roads as "mom's taxi". I really don't mind--I just need to keep track of the time so that I can be where I need to be, when I need to be!

I finished my last spinning class on Wednesday night. I was a little disappointed that I didn't come home with any handspun, hand-plied yarn to knit with; the agenda for the last class was to learn about how to use the remaining tools to prep fleece for spinning, including how to wash/clean raw fleece, use a drum carder (as opposed to the slower process of hand carding), or the technique of "flicking" (to prepare raw fleece for direct spinning, complete with lanolin intact on the fibers), and three different methods of plying the spun fiber (done for strength and usability). All in all, the thread I had spun was used to demonstrate plying, but the entire bobbin was NOT plied, and what was was too small to bring home/do something with. But I was told I could purchase a "studio card" that would allow me to go in whenever I wanted to use the spinning wheel and other tools. That excites me, but I will need to find somewhere to get some fleece to spin before I avail myself of it, because you have to provide your own raw materials. That's going to be my "next project"--to find some fleece.

I've decided I am going to join the "Southern Illinois Artisan's Guild." I was going to do so last night, and attend my first meeting, but some running with the kids ran overtime and I would have been late to the meeting--not a good way to make a positive first impression--so I didn't go. In talking to their out-going president, who was my spinning teacher, it seems like it would be a good fit for me and my myriad of interests, and would give me some connections that would be beneficial for finding "raw materials" for many of my needlework interests, perhaps even how to create some of my own (like hand-dyed fabrics or overdyed flosses, or making yarn). And, I really would like to be a "re-creationist"--demonstrating old-time handwork techniques for others, like piecing quilts, or embroideries, or knitting... I am really excited about doing this!

Eric has decided not to take classes next term as he finally has his dates to go to the police training school in Arkansas. He will be gone the last week of January and all of February for this and once he is done, he will be certified to carry a weapon and get his badge. This training will occur over what would be his last weeks of the winter term, and the conflicts in time and so forth would make it too difficult to be manageable. Makes sense to me! I was talking to a girlfriend in Minneapolis and mentioned to her how nice it would be to have some company when he is gone--I think I will be lonely without him here (although I am really hoping to have some sort of job before then!) and it would be nice to have other grownups around...

Before I go I wanted to put a quick update on my sister's mother in law. She had surgery yesterday to remove a small cross section of her lung to see what exactly is going on with her. I haven't heard any details as yet other than she handled the anesthesia well, and had minimal bleeding issues (despite her low blood counts). She is on oxygen now, but is doing as well as can be expected. She remains in my prayers. As Reimond said, she has been a "grandma" to my kids these last 14 years or better (when my mother-in-law died she sent cards to Liisa and Tony offering to be their Grandma too so they would have another grandma to love them, and it was a huge comfort to them). She is a wonderful woman!

teeheehee....Don't know if anyone noticed, but when I wrote this I honestly thought it was Thursday.... Then when I looked at it when it was posted, I realized Oooppps! It's really Friday.... Color me a real blonde sometimes!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday evening, time to relax!

I don't know that there is a lot to write about tonight (although when has that ever stopped me?) but it's Sunday night and it's time to reflect a little on the week past and the weekend. This has been such a crazy week and I am honestly glad it's over. It has been emotional and high stress, and while I learned a few things about myself because of it, I am hopeful this next week will be easier, quieter.

As an update on the family: Betty (Rollie's mom) is still in the hospital, and is still spiking fevers. There are no clear answers in sight and she is doing as well as can be expected: she hates being in the hospital but is dealing with it with grace and faith. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Erika is home from the hospital now, and is recouperating at home. She too has a long road ahead of her, but each day is a little easier from what she has said, so I am optomistic for her. Her healing is a matter of time and patience, not always her strong suit (as she would be the first to admit!). Andrea is still being followed up on for her abdominal issues and should be fine. She too just needs rest and time to feel better. My mom, daughter, and Andrea's mom have helped out with the kids so she can rest some (although lil Miss Alexis is showing "princess" tendencies when her mother is around and wantes to be catered to; a diva in training!). I have not heard anything further on Jenna's mom, other than she went home from the hospital. I keep her in my prayers as well.

I have spent some time this weekend cross stitching, which makes me very happy, and I have even read a complete novel! It's been nice to have some down time. The kids had bowling on Saturday and Aurora did really well her last game with a 210, and Reimond had a 127 his second and third games; the boys (Rei and Patrick) spent Saturday at Jared's for his 16th birthday, and they seemed to have fun, and Aurora played at the football game Saturday afternoon. Sadly our high school football team lost to their undefeated rival, and our dreams of the state championship are now dead. They ended their season with an 8-4 record, which they should be very proud of. Brianne had to work Saturday, so she and Aurora had a quiet evening relaxing and watching tv, while I read my book and Eric did homework. Today we had church: Brie and Cliff were greeters, and Aurora and Patrick were servers, so we did the family thing there, and late this afternoon was a youth ultimate football game at the church that the kids all went to (some more happily than others, although in the end they all participated). The Pastor also provided dinner, and it ended up just being me and the kids there for that, which was nice, but odd. As I told the kids when they were grumbling about needing to play, we belong to a very small church, with very few youth, so to my way of thinking, Youth activities are mandatory to support the church, especially given they only happen about once a month. The two youngest weren't necessarily happy about it, but they did comply. Now they're out and about with their friends (running between three households), while the older two are on the computer/watching tv. Eric is focused on homework, and I am going to shortly pour a glass of wine and find my knitting. Definitely a nice way to end a challenging week!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

So far, so good--no early morning phone calls as yet...

I'm sitting here with my coffee and contemplating my day. It started with driving the teens to school: they were running a little late, and Patrick has all his bowling things he brings back and forth (Aurora and Rei leave their's at the bowling alley--both for bowling for gym daily, and for high school bowling practice; Patrick and Aurora are on the respective varsity teams). I've been doing better again about going to bed at a reasonable time, so I just stay up after I drop them off. Eric is at work, as is Brianne, and Cliff, I believe, is sleeping, after working 'til close last night. I'm feeling less frazzled today than I have been the past few days, and it helped to talk it out with Eric. He understands completely how torn I feel about wishing I were closer to everyone while things have been chaotic, and he told me in no uncertain terms that if I was needed in MN I could go with his blessing and he'd man the fort here. For whatever reason, that just set my heart at ease, and I could honestly say I am fine with being here and waiting things out. Maybe it's just the knowing that I could go if it were necessary that makes it easier. Regardless, I feel more at peace again today than I had the last few days.

Last night was my spinning class, and I actually used the spinning wheel. Let me tell you here and now, it is NOT as easy as the instructor makes it look. I felt like I had three hands and no coordination what-so-ever as I tried to make thread, and easily lost the beat of what I was doing. Gary, the instructor, said it needs to be a mindless coordination of foot, hands, and eyes, and if you try to overthink it, it doesn't work at all. I found myself easily flustered, and rather than frustrated, just laughed at myself, and had a ball. As odd as it sounds, it was fun to feel "inept" at something, because I had glimmers that I can do it correctly--I just need to find the rhythm--and I was totally learning something that I have wanted to know how to do since "forever"! (Some of my favorite fairy tales are Sleeping Beauty and Rumplestiltskin). I was given a plastic grocer's bag worth of roving (cleaned, combed, fleece, ready for spinning) and was told my "homework" is to go into the art's and craft center as close to daily as I can and "spin" for up to 30 minutes each day, to practice. I think the hardest part for me is combining the skill sets. "Treadling", or keeping the wheel turning at a constant rate of speed, is easy, until you add in feeding the fleece into the orifice and onto the spool (for sewers, think of winding a bobbin) at a nice, steady pace, and in nice managable amounts. My problem is I have a good beat going, then I stop treadling as I focus on what my hands are doing, or I hold too tightly on the fleece and don't feed out enough fiber to spin, or I allow the twist to get between my hands instead of keeping it in front of my left hand... I know this makes little to no sense to any of you, but it is helping me to process it through mentally. Gary says that spinning is 90% the spinner, and 10% the actual wheel used... I see what he means. I think I get it on an intuitive level--I can "feel" it when it is flowing right, as well as when there is a problem, and as I said, I had moments where it all clicked... They just didn't last long! I will perservere though, and Eric is completely supportive of my interest in this. I would love to someday make a sweater that I totally made from beginning to end (short of shearing the fleece myself), and with the opportunity to use the spinning wheels when I want to (you rent "studio time") there really is a chance to see if this is a hobby worth investing in (as if I need another hobby--although it has been pointed out to me that this is just a natural extension of one I already love and am engaged in). So I came home last night feeling like I was all thumbs and fumble-footed, but happy and determined as well. I am loving every minute of it!

On a totally different subject, I wanted to share that Reimond has now found a group of friends here in the "addition" we live in ("Timberbrook") that he is really enjoying, and he and Aurora are becoming quite the social butterflies. They spent Tuesday afternoon at the mall with their friends, and are spending less time in the house, or getting into arguements with each other. It's really nice to see both of them coming out of their shells, even if Eric and I are now on the opposite side of the fence from before ("go find something to do") to setting limits on "no, you really need to be home tonight" as they try to wheedle their way into going out and about at their pleasure... As we told Patrick too, it isn't that they aren't allowed to have the freedom they desire, it's just that we need to know where they are, what they are up to, and they have to check in... If it doesn't happen, then their wings get clipped a bit! Rei and Aurora are good at the former, whereas Patrick struggles a bit with that (especially the checking in part), but Patrick seems to handle "no" better than the younger two... Last night it was "no, you cannot hang at the bowling alley on base because no adult will be there to supervise you, you have NO money to bowl or play games with/eat at the snack bar, and you cannot just "loiter" there" and they tried to split Eric and I by seeing if Eric would overrule my "no" after I was very clear in why I said it... Little Brats! It is nice to see them getting along so well though.

I haven't heard anything new today on Andrea or Erika, so I guess they are both doing fine and feeling better. I'm sure I will talk to both of them later today. Again, thanks for the continued prayers and good thoughts!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hopefully this is the last update for today:

Andrea is on her way home as it was NOT appendicitis (it was, however, still something painful and needing medical treatment for); she will need to lie low for a number of days and take it easy, poor kid! And Erika said things are slowly looking better for her, and she could go home as early as friday from the hospital. I just cannot get over how managed care barely gives you time to get the pins back under you before they throw you out the door~ I am breathing easier anyway, although I am still wishing on some level I could be closer to help out both Andrea and Erika...

At least my laundry is close to being done (although I read my book and finished it instead of cross stitching--just couldn't concentrate on the stitches this afternoon!)

Sure do wish I were in MN right about now!

My son called me earlier today to say my daughter-in-law had been taken to the ER by him and the babies with stomache pains; he called a little bit ago to say that they think she has appendicitis and is currently on a morphine drip IV for the pain... Liisa has the babies at her house (although she has to work later this afternoon), and I am sure Andrea's mom will do a wonderful job of helping out and being supportive. I just feel so helpless right now being so far away! I wish I were closer and could be there to help out, or offer love and support! Right now all I can do is pray and wait (although I am not one to discount the power of prayer in the least--I KNOW it works!). I just am not a very patient person, despite what others think, and I am a worrier too. If I can see it with my own eyes, and hear what is being said, it helps me to understand and relax... My laundry and my cross stitching are getting a good workout today because I really need to keep my hands busy, and I am very glad I have my spinning class tonight (I think I get to actually try using the spinning wheel tonight!). I know that there is not that much I could do differently even if I were in MN, (except that I could help watch the babies) than I can do here--praying and worrying are universal after all--but I do wish I could be closer by...

Update on Erika

I haven't talked to her yet this morning, but Liisa and Jesse were there to see her last night. The good news is that she has been moved to a trauma unit from the ICU, but she has a punctured lung, a perforated liver, and a smooshed spine with some small floating bone fragments near her spinal cord. She is primarily on bed rest, and she is stiff and sore. They are still debating whether she'll need surgery or not, but she is making small gains. Thank you for the prayers being sent!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Please say a prayer for my friend Erika:

She rolled her Honda CRV last night while driving to a friend's house (in my old neighborhood) and was thrown from the vehicle. The Honda is totalled, and she is in the ICU with neck/spine and internal organ injuries. She called me at 6 am to tell me where she was, as we had just talked last night and she said she'd call me today--I just didn't expect it would be that early or for this reason! She is alert and talkative, which is a good sign, but they have her fairly immobilized for the time being and are watching her closely I would imagine. Anyhow, if you could just say a prayer, I would appreciate it. It's so hard being far away! I am grateful to my older kids for offering to go and see her on my behalf.

Erika and I at my bridal shower in July, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A quiet Sunday afternoon

It's grey and gloomy and oh so chilly today! The cold from MN has swept down in our direction even as my family travels back north, and my mom laughed when she pointed out she had packed and brought with her winter things--boots, hat, gloves, and winter jacket. Last I talked to them they had reached the half-way point, Cedar Rapids, IA, and it sounded like they were making good time.

It was so wonderful to have them here by me, to share my home, my community, and my new life with them. It was especially nice to do as some of my commentors from the last post suggested, sit back, relax, and enjoy our time together. They got in around 10:30 Thursday evening, and we sat up 'til midnight relaxing and sharing a glass of wine. That, of course made 5 am Friday come way too soon for many of us, (4 in Eric's case so he could get to work on time), but we survived the early morning. Mom and Jocelyn stayed here at the house while Kristi went with Rei and I to his appointment. We actually made pretty good time getting to St. Louis, and by the time we got parked and checked in, we were a half hour early for the appointment. The cardiologist was wonderful! He is from Wisconsin and was very familiar with our home turf--in fact his brother-in-law works for Dudley Riggs Brave New Workshop in Uptown, so he put in a plug for them as well! He answered my questions easily, reassured us that we had nothing to worry about with Reimond, and that he felt confident that we would not need to have him seen sooner than in another year, where he ordered a follow up EKG and echocardiogram. In fact, the doctor was quite pleased that Reimond is as active as he is, and said the "worst thing" he can do for his heart is just sit and play videogames. I assured him that while Rei does play them, he has the attention span of a flea most of the time, and quickly is back outside on his waveboard or bike.

We got home from the doctor's office around 10 am, and we collected up other family members, then made a run to Scott AFB to tour and "shop". My mother has actually moved into the 21st century now with the purchase of her first digital camera, and Jocelyn spent quite a bit of time that evening teaching Grandma how to use it. We got a few groceries at the commisary, ran by the pharmacy, and then came home to make dinner. I had put a beef (bottom) round roast to slowly cook in the crock pot at 6 am, so I added carrots and potatoes around 4, and what a tasty dinner that ended up being! I also made brownies and had vanilla ice cream for dessert, and we had a quiet evening here at home. In fact, after dinner I ended up going right to bed, as I got hit with a killer migraine headache as I was sitting quiet and watching tv with the family. It came out of nowhere, although my mom thinks it was triggered by the let down of stress from Rei, along with everything else that had been going on and a lack of good sleep. Whatever the reason, I was in bed just after 8 (didn't even get dessert!) after taking my prescription migraine med. I put the tv on quietly to listen to my shows, but I couldn't tell you what happened on any of them. Hurt too much to watch them and I guess I dozed through them 'til Eric came to bed.

Saturday morning I woke up feeling great, so I made apple-cinnamon pancakes and bacon for the family, and got everyone up and roused to go to the bowling alley. We ended up needing to go in two cars because of all the people going, and we had fun there. I was trying to upload some photos, but it isn't working for me today! Anyhow, we ran a bulk of the kids home, then took Aurora to the football game (marching band), where our high school team won, and now we move up another step towards the state tournament (Go Indians!); Mom, Kristi, Jocelyn, and I went shopping in "downtown Mascoutah"--all 6 blocks of it! They got some lovely sporting apparel from Letterman's (including a really nice stadium seat my sister has been wanting for her back when she goes to danceline competitions), to the Spice, Tea, Coffee, and Wine shop that we love, where we sampled some tasty vintages and my sister and I each bought a bottle of our favorites, among other things, and to a brand new beaded jewelry shop that has opened in town. The one store I wanted to take them into was closed, so off we headed next to (gasp) Walmart... Believe it or not, Sylvia shopped there and the sky did NOT fall! (Of course, I made up for it today by shopping at Target to the tune of over $100 in household supplies). We came home, relaxed 'til Eric got home from work, then went out for a delicious meal at Tony's in town. We got home around 9, watched a little tv, and were all in bed by 10 (some sleeping before that on the couch in the living room, heeheehee).

We were up around 7-7:30 this morning, as Kristi wanted to get an early start back--the weather being what is was "up north", Jocelyn having school tomorrow morning, Mom having an appointment, and Betty being in the hospital, it made sense that they would want to be home around dinner time tonight, even if it was hard to say goodbye. Then the kids and I (sans Brianne and Cliff) went to church. The kids thereafter went off with friends in their various directions, and I am home savoring a fairly quiet household. I put some stewbeef with spices and gravy to coming in the crockpot, I made a big cup of herb tea, and after I post this, I am going to *finally* enjoy my new magnifier and cross stitch until my honey comes home from work. I really need/deserve a restful afternoon!

I am so grateful to everyone for their prayers and support over these past couple of weeks, and to my mom, sister, and niece for making this trip down to be by us. I was so scared about what the news might be, and having things to do and people around made it so much easier to bear! I lost one Rei in November (my dad), and couldn't bear the thought that there might be something wrong with his name-sake. I would like to ask for prayers still for Betty though (Rollie's Mom). She isn't doing well at all right now, and is in the hospital where they are trying to figure out what exactly is going on. She was adamant no one change their plans on her behalf and stay home by her (for which I am grateful), but bless her heart, she needs prayers, love and support too as she spike fevers daily and they are not sure what is causing them. Our pastor had a wonderful sermon today on the 12 bridesmaids and their oil lamps, and what fills our oil for us so that we are prepared as individuals. He pointed out that faith and grace are strong components of what makes up "oil" for us, but he also reminded us that family, friends, and community also help to keep us filled up when we are running low. I have been so grateful for all of you "being here" for me as my life changes and transitions, and while I have always relied on God's grace to be sufficient for my needs, it helps to have all of you to rely on as well. Even my church community, as little as they know Rei and I, graciously put him on the prayer call list and lifted us up, and today shared our relief and hugs with us (as much as it embarassed Reimond at times). I feel so at peace today!

On a totally different subject (I'm sorry, I'm wordy today!) I was very excited to finally take a class at the art's and craft center on post. I had signed up for the spinning class using a spinning wheel. It is on Wednesday evenings, and I had received an email saying while I was the only one signed up, they were going to hold it anyway. Imagine my surprise when I showed up there a few minutes late to discover there was no one there to teach it! They called the instructor, who also happenes to be the center's director, and he came in personally to teach me. I am receiving private instructions! Our first night was devoted to learning the history of spinning, to understanding the different types of fleece (or other materials) used, and to discuss the mathematical properties of spinning as they apply to twist (for strength and stability) and usage. The instructor seemed surprised but pleased that I had a fairly good knowledge base and that I asked challenging and (he said) insightful questions. He encouraged me strongly to join the Southern Illinois Artisan's Guild, a guild of fiber and textile artisans (so spinners, weavers, dyers, knitters, etc.). He said I would fit right in with that group given my diverse interests and activities, as well as mastery of different skills. He said there were not too many sewers/quilters in the group as there are other guilds more active with those genres, but that members of this guild are also active in others. One thing I have ALWAYS wanted to do is dress in period clothing and demonstrate some of my hobbies, and they have a subgroup of individuals who do that, for demonstrations at schools or other sites. That would be so much fun! Eric just laughed at me when I came home all psyched for this. It would certainly help me to spread my wings and find friends who share my interests and passions locally! We'll see what happens...

Hope everyone has a wonderful and restful Sunday. GO Minnesota VIKINGS! (Liisa is stuck at work manning the parking lots during the game--poor Liisi, stay warm!)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Update on Reimond's cardiology appointment

We had the cardiac evaluation today and everything came out good. He has a "fistula" from his coronary artery to his pulmonary artery that is streaming blood from the one to the other when his heart is at rest (between beats), but it is very small, and only a small amount of blood is moving through this connection instead of going into his heart, where it is supposed to be. His arteries, valves, and heart otherwise look strong and healthy, so at this point they are not going to do any sort of intervention, just follow up and watch it. If his coronary artery was enlarged, or the flow of blood was significantly greater, then they would need to put in some sort of coil to block the flow, as arterial blood tends to take the path of least resistance, and thus the artery would need to work harder to get the correct amount of blood to the heart (hence the risk of enlargement). He could live to be a hundred with this without difficulties, although they do want to keep an eye on it "just in case" something changes. Bottom line is he is fine, I am relieved, and my mom, sister, and niece are all here and it is wonderful to have family around--especially learning that it is snowing "back home in MN" today and we are cool and breezy down here with sunshine. I think we are gonna go site-seeing in just a bit, and probably try to keep it a relaxing day cuz last night was late, and not many of us slept well (having to be up at 5-5:30 am sucked!).

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's slowly but surely becoming a home...

Eric and I have been working our butts off to get some things done around here. He got my old antique bevelled bathroom mirror hung up in the hallway for me last evening and it looks wonderful! Reflects the light so nicely, and I admit, it's nice to have a mirror near the doorway to be sure one is "together" before heading out. I deliberately tried to avoid including the boxes still against the dining room wall in the picture, so what you see is the entrance to the stairs going upstairs, the door to the "guest room" reflected, and the front door of the house is to the right. The dining room is directly opposite the mirror, and then there is a hallway to the right that goes to the laundry room and garage, and then the open back of the house: the kitchen and living room. he white bookcases are the ones I had been painting all weekend.
I also got the handmade craft table put together and set up in the living room; my grandfather made it for me when I was just a teenager and it has gone everywhere with me! It has a lamp built in to it, and a deep "well" (for lack of a better description) that was intended to house my projects when not in use. To see it in the living room, at the end of the couch makes me very happy. Today I got the catchall card table cleared off in what was the "dining room" and will be my "sewing room". Eric went to put my butcher block table together for me last night and we are missing the hardware for it. I *think* I know where it might be, but I could be wrong... In the meantime there are still many boxes to go through and make decisions about. Honestly! Where have three months gone?

I got my correct magnifier attachment today and man, has it been calling my name to stitch! So far I have been very good and left it alone--set up where I can see that it will be such an asset to my stitching (lol) but for right now, it's off limits 'til I get some other things done. Maybe tonight when Eric is doing homework I can stitch for awhile. They included a warning in the packaging not to leave the magnifier in direct sunlight as it is a 3x (or 300%) magnification, and as such, can be a fire hazard... I think one of my first sewing projects will be to make a cover for it to protect it from dust, scratches, and the rays of the sun! Please ignore the mess behind the floor frame; that is a part of today's organizing projects too...

I had some mail on Saturday that initially confused me, as it was from the Department of Veteran's Affairs! It was all very official looking, but seeing as I am not a vet, I didn't know why they would be sending me something, especially from Leavenworth, KS! Turns out it was in regard to my application for employment as a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant at the Vet's Hospital in St. Louis, where Eric works. They needed me to fill out a statement of eligibility for federal employment, and to list what my availabilities to work would be. They were very careful to cite on it that it was NOT an offer of employment, but Eric said I should feel optomistic. Then today I received an email stating that I met all the requirements of that position and that they were forwarding my application to the HR department of the hiring agency for further consideration, so I guess that is all to the good! I am cautiously optomistic at this point!

As promised, here are pics of our menagerie:

Leina............................................. Poelei

Midnight...................................... Pekeiko

Batman....................................... Rosie Cayenne
They are busy, naughty, loveable, and always underfoot... As they say, ya can't live with them, ya can't live without them!

That's the update for today! Don't forget to VOTE tomorrow!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Photos!

We had a wonderful time for Halloween this year! The weather was perfect for having kids out and about, and we live in an area that reminds me totally of the Halloween scenes in the movie "E.T. the extraterrestrial"--lots of houses go all out in decorating, and when the kids were out, it was so much fun! Jennifer and I sat at the door, drank beer, and handed out treats and laughed at all the little ones coming to see us; meanwhile Eric made dinner (spagetti) and drank beer in the house with Darrin and kept track of the teenage masses running in and out.
Reimond was a Crayola Crayon in Blue... He actually followed the rules about teens not being allowed to trick or treat (Belleville, the next town over, and home of our friends Darrin and Jennifer, passed a LAW that trick or treaters could not be older than 12, and anyone older than that seen out would be cited with a $25 ticket! Not sure how enforcement went on that one... Mascoutah, our town, just had the rule that kids could trick or treat from 6 -8 pm, and we had kids of all ages here!)

Aurora was a member of the "walking dead" as she and Brie were taking out the two "little ones" belonging to our friends, and thus they were in costume; some of the other teens were in costume just to be in the spirit of the evening and they were out "supervising" and being seen...
Jen got enlisted in helping do the makeup for Aurora...

The flowers on the table were for me from Eric. Aren't they pretty? He "claims" they were "just because", but he also indicated they were "renumeration" for staying up with Patrick the other night too (heeheehee)...

Elizabeth was one of many incarnations of "Hannah Montana" we saw through the evening, and Brie was an "evil Tinkerbell". Other popular costumes around here included Batman, Spiderman, Brides and Princesses (including the Disney versions), and the usual Star Wars characters, pirates, brides, and so on. Some of the cutest costumes I saw, however, were on babies, including the three week old sleeping spider (who was the youngest sibling of three and was just content to ride in the stroller while they had fun getting treats), a toddler dressed as a hatching egg (think egbert from the saturday morning cartoon of Garfield)--a round egg with chicken legs out of the bottom, and the baby's head and arms where they should be. It was precious! Another was a toddler dressed in an elaborate batman costume who came up to me and said "tricks pease!" I could have picked him up and hugged him!

Alex was a "Commando" and he was so excited to be out. One of the concerns about Belleville's new law is that Alex is 13 and it would have forbidden him from trick or treating, and he wouldn't have understood why he couldn't go but his sister could... When Jen clarified the law she found that kids who were in special needs classes were exempted from it that made her feel a little better, but they decided they would rather just come to our house for the evening... It was really fun to have everyone over! Each of the kids had their own age groups of peers come by and hang out with us, and even Reimond had a circle of friends here that only somewhat intersected with his sibling's group (there is overlap in the groups of friends, and everyone got along with everyone else, so it was loud and chaotic and fun!).
Reimond "borrowed" this costume from one of the kids, who had it sitting on the floor after they came in. Cliff was NOT amused as Jen commented "did you want fries with that order?" (Cliff now works at McDonalds.....)

Jared stayed the night, and a friend of the kids' stayed til after 1 am, watching a movie with Reimond and Jared in the living room (he lives just 2 doors down from us). And I couldn't forget to add this photo of the "lovely Doublemint Twins in Drag"--friends of Aurora's who stopped over (the rest are back by the door). She went walking around with them for awhile, and Patrick did the same with a group of his friends who also came over... It was such a fun night! Felt like my house in Minneapolis used to, so it was comforting and familiar, even if my "babies" were far away. Liisa graciously posted pics and videos for me on facebook shortly after taking them just so I could see and be a part of their celebration there...

Eric spent a part of Friday fixing my van--he got the Tensioner pulley on and replaced the belt so my van now drives again! He did an amazing job, even if he did need an extra set of hands (Patrick quickly stepped into the breach for us). Good thing we got it running as the CRX is now in the shop and needs a Vaccuum Assembly of some sort for the brakes (I forget the exact name of the part, but Honda no longer makes them; fortunately we found one at Auto Zone, and the dealership said they would be happy to install it for us once we have it in our possession). Auto Zone had to order it for us and it should be in by Tuesday. Then, fingers crossed, we will again have three working vehicles. Being down to only one really sucked!

Saturday morning Brie had drill and Aurora and Patrick ran in sectionals for cross country (their team moved on to the next level of competition and they will be running in that) , so Rei, Cliff, Jared, and I went to the bowling alley for Saturday morning Youth Bowling. Rei did fairly well: 119, 121, and 112 for scores, then he stayed at the bowling alley with Jared and went home with him for the afternoon, while I brought Cliff home. I then decided since it was such a lovely day and I was child-free that I would go explore Lebanon, IL and see if I could find the purported cross stitch shop that was up there. Got up there, parked in front of the funeral home at the end of the brick road, and explored all the shops up and down the length of "main street"--all 4 blocks of it. No cross stitch shops, but lots of cute antique shops that begged to be examined more closely (I was good--didn't go into any of them. I just "window shopped!"). I then stopped into their visitor center and asked about the shop, called "Mom and Me", and they told me it was closed and had been for over a year and a half. That made me sad. She did suggest the local Ben Franklin, or Hancock Fabrics, but while those are good places for the basics, it is like telling a gourmet chef to get supplies from the local gas station market... /sigh~

I came home and opened up the garage and got out my two handmade bookcases (I think my dad made one and my grandpa made the other), one of which was painted "princess purple" (my princess had had it in her room once upon a time), and set them up on newspaper, then painted them with "Kilz" white primer... They both had graffitti on them (phone numbers and misc. notes that the kids had written because "we couldn't find any paper mom!), and that purple HAD to go! I still need to do one more coat on the one (the purple one!), then they will be ready to go in my sewing room, to house my craft books again (it will be wonderful to unpack all my reference books again and have them at my fingertips). My daughter will be pleased to know that I only minorly slopped stuff on the actual driveway (but we won't discuss the newspaper underneath them). Eric says I did a decent job. At least they are now clean and neat again, and if I decide to paint them a color (to perhaps match whatever color we end up painting the walls) they will be ready to paint. A job well done!

Today the goal is to get the garage reorganized as we will have a gorgeous day to do so--highs in the upper 70s, and get the boxes gone through and moved OUT of the dining room/soon-to-be-sewing room... We are trying to get stuff done before my mom, sister, and niece arrive on Thursday evening. That trip may be up in the air right now as Rollie's mom is not doing so well (her hemoglobin is extremely low and she had to have blood transfusions on Wednesday of this past week--please keep her in your prayers!). We are operating on the premise that they will be coming, but certainly have no problems with it if it doesn't work out. Betty has to be first right now, and I support that completely! On another sad note, on Halloween late evening Liisa's dog Max got attacked by a neighbor's dog who got loose somehow, and his neck was bitten up pretty badly. Liisa and Jesse cleaned it pretty well, but since the attack Max has been moving pretty slowly and not eating his dry kibble (although he will eat treats). This morning he had a seizure up at the land and my brother Erik thinks the stress of the attack may have triggered the seizures. (This is a picture of Miss Alexis with Max, up at the land, that I took 3 weeks ago).
We got report cards on the kids on Saturday: Aurora did wonderfully, Reimond did as expected (but he's working hard), and Patrick needs to work a little harder.... No real surprises on them.

Today is Eric and my "quarter year anniversary"--been three months today and it still is amazing to me! I am so happy! On that note, I guess it's time to get dressed and get moving on MY day! Lots to do and despite it now being central standard time again, I have let the morning get away from me!