Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Tears

It has been a bitter sweet Christmas.  Sweet because Tim and Lisa came from Arizona for 9 days and the whole family was together to be able to call Jordan in Brazil on Christmas morning, but bitter because on Christmas Eve Day Tim's father passed away after his short battle with lung cancer -- diagnosed in August and gone in December. 

Early Thursday morning Tim and I will be on our way to Minnesota for his funeral on Friday.  Tim and Lisa graciously offered to stay with the kids at home and that will make our travel time shorter and less expensive.  Because we won't be home to get Tim and Lisa to the airport in Louisville for their flight home on Saturday some great friends offered to get them there for us -- thank you Bunn Family! We so appreciate your kindness in doing this for us.

 A visit to Minnesota in August 2010
Tim, Jeff, Dad Don, Peggy and Ron
(*missing from this picture is Pam who could not be there when this was taken)

This was the last picture I took of Tim's dad as we were pulling out of the driveway of their home headed back to Kentucky. What a sweet moment to have captured. He will be missed.

When we are back home and things have settled down I will update the blog on our Christmas happenings. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

We wish you a wonderful Christmas that brings love, joy ,hope and peace. 
That is what this time of year is all about -- the love of  Jesus Christ for each of us, the joy His presence brings in our lives, the peace in knowing he is our Savior, the hope of the world. 

Tim, Loretta, Andrew, Jacob, Abigail, and Annah

Merry Christmas!

*Missing from the picture is Jordan who is serving as a missionary in Brazil until October 2011 and Young Tim who is married and living in Tempe, AZ. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Life is too short for matching socks

A package came in the mail last week. It was from my sister. For a split second the thought crossed my mind that we should just put it under the tree and open it on Christmas morning. But that thought went as quickly as it came and we opened the package.

Packages from Cretta, always are exciting.  She has an knack for gift giving whether it's things she makes herself or the things that she has bought. This year was no exception.

This is what she sent to us......

We each got a pair of wonderfully, colorful socks called Solmates. They are knitted in the USA at a family owned knitting mill, hand finished and then "mismatched with care." The woman who owns Solmates Socks says, "Life is too short for matching socks."  :)  I agree!  I LOVE my socks! 

Even Jacob tried his on!  He's good sport!

And if our wonderful socks weren't enough, she also sent this...
This is more true than I can express.  She has been there through the downpour and she always went with us for a walk in the rain. 
Thanks Cretta :) Our feet and our hearts are happy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gingerbread House 2010

It was that time of year again...time to make our annual gingerbread house! We do cheat and begin with a pre-made house.  Only a few years ago the kit came with pieces of the house and you had to begin by using the frosting glue to put it together but now the kit comes with a fully put together, naked house to begin decorating.  That is all fine and good except this time our house was broken in 3 pieces when we took it out of the box!  After a little "gluing" together it was good to go and we began creating. We didn't even need a drill this year to hold it all together! :)   

We made our family (the ones living at home) -- Mom, Dad, Jacob (complete with headphones and an iPod!), Abigail, Annah and Ella, our dog. We didn't do the two cats much to Jacob's dismay.

After making the gingerbread house the kids each made a creation all their own. Jacob made a house that he kept together with a C-clamp till it dried enough to stay on it's own! In the end the house was shaped like a coffin with two Gothic looking people standing outside that were meant to be missionaries! :) 

Abigail made a maze that was inspired by our October trip to a corn maze!  I loved her Christmas tree with the angel on top!

Annah made a two story house complete with bench and a side pool!  Her roof did have to be reinforced with tongue depressors but the building was saved from collapse!
It just doesn't feel like Christmas until we've been creative AND totally trashed the kitchen! :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kentucky Ice

Last week it was snowy and icy in Kentucky. 
First came the snow and then came the ice. I think all the neighbors could hear the jubilant cheers from inside our house as school was cancelled four out of the five days last week! 
I cheer too -- I love snow days!
This week begins the kid's "official" Christmas vacation from school.  Their two weeks off has now become three with a little help from Mother Nature! Even winter haters have to admit it is a beautiful season to behold!
What's not to love about the transformation from brown to white and from matte finish to glossy?  
Welcome winter!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

O December!

Oh I do love December!  Of course I think I also said that about September. And October.  And November. But I do love the cold and the days that are filled with hopes for snow and December brings that ever closer.

How fitting that on December 1st it was cold here in Kentucky and it was spitting snow!  I knew it wouldn't cover the brown grass that lays matted till spring let alone stay, but, it was thrilling to see white flakes floating in the air! Then days later more fluffy white trailed form the sky and this time it came to stay a little longer.  And that really made me smile!

Decembers have become somewhat of a milestone in our family.  It was two years ago this December that Tim was diagnosed with throat cancer.  Often it is so hard for us to believe that two years have passed since that devastating day the doctor confirmed our worst fears.  That December was a blurr.  Dealing with the shock of the news, trying to be engaged in Christmas preparations all the while trying to figure out how to keep life "normal" for our family. It seemed an impossible feat but somehow, with means beyond our own, we were able to do what we needed to do. We were aided by angels, seen and unseen, to get through those very dark days.

Just last week Tim had another CT scan (it's been 6 months since his last one) and then this week he saw Dr. Arnold, his oncologist.  She was happy to give us the report that all is well!  She thought Tim looked great (aside from him being a little skinny -- something I am pretty sure we knew already) :)  Tim often comments on how he wished that he had all these people around him telling him how great looked back when he was in high school!  hahahaha!  

We talked to Dr. Arnold about tests -- how far in between, what kinds, which of all of the "ologoists" to see and when.  After the questions Dr. Arnold said to Tim, "You want me to tell you that you don't have to come back, don't you?" 

It wasn't really a question but a statement.  She was right.  When she said that to Tim I choked back tears and avoided eye contact with her so I didn't cry right then and there.  Dr. Arnold knew what Tim's true desire was but the reality is that he will continue to go back, although less frequently. That is progress and something that we are really happy about.

So December brings a remembrance of that dreaded diagnosis but December also reminds us just how far we have come.  And we know in the journey we were not alone.  We weren't alone then and we are not alone now. 

O December.....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks For the Good Stuff...

Thanksgiving was a really wonderful day in our home.

The day before I made our usual two pumpkin pies and an apple pie.  (I think next year we might make two apple pies -- I made an exceptional apple pie this year --if I do say so myself-- and it went so fast we should have had two!) I also did the sweet potatoes and the green bean casserole ahead of time so it only required reheating on Thanksgiving.  That turned out to be a really good plan and I don't know why I hadn't thought of doing that in previous years.   

On Thanksgiving Day Andrew came over.  It was really good to see him again.  He's been busy working and we really hadn't seen him much over the past few months.  But we were really glad that he accepted the invitation to come to have dinner with us.  I think he grows taller every time we see him! 

In honor of Jordan I had to have Brazil nuts. :)  I do love them but to actually shell them yourself takes brute force and these days brute force is hard to come by for me with my still nagging tennis elbow that I've had for 3 months now.  (I did finally go to the doctor and was put on an anti-inflammatory for it.  It really helped while I was taking it but once the medicine was gone it was back to hurting a lot more.)    

After calls to and from family we had dinner just about on time. :)  Something always seems to delay the meal but we did pretty good with getting everything out and ready for our 2:00 meal time. 

This year we decided (at Annah's suggestion) to use some beautiful etched glasses that came from Hawaii. We received them as a wedding gift almost 25 1/2 years ago and aside from an anniversary or two, we have never used them. We met in Hawaii so they do have special significance! The bases are thick glass but the body of the glass is thin so it scares me to use them thinking they will get broken.

But this year when Annah asked about using them I thought, "Why not?"  Really, what is the point of saving the "good stuff" and never use it?  We save the "good stuff" for those special occasions but really, what more of a special occasion do we need than to have as many of our family members as could be  gathered together for a day of giving thanks for all that God has blessed us with?  I can't think of anything more fitting for the "good stuff"!  

And speaking of the "good stuff", Tim had the errand of going to the linen closet upstairs and bringing some sort of doily for under the center piece for the table.  He came down with a doily that my Grandmother Vroman had crocheted.  My first thought was, "We can't use that -- it's too special."  But reconsidering I said, "Yes, let's use it! It will be perfect."  And it was -- unraveling parts and all.  My grandmother, who was born in 1901 and passed away in 1987 at the age of 86, made that and it is very special so why not use it for our thankful day? 
Later in the day the missionaries called to ask if they could stop by.  Last Sunday I had asked if they had somewhere to eat on Thanksgiving Day and while they did have a place to go, I told them if something happened and it fell through that they could come over to eat with us.  Their invitation didn't fall through but they decided to come by and share part of their day with us.  We were more than happy to have them (and feed them pie!) as it reminded us of our own missionary son. Maybe someone in Brazil is deciding to care for the missionaries there as we care for the missionaries here.  That is my prayer as a mother. 
We ended our day with a phone call to Tim and Lisa in Arizona.  The first time we called they were eating dinner so we waited to hear from them when they were done with their meal.  It was good to talk with them again and catch up! 
We had a lovely day filled with good people, good conversation, good food and so many things to be thankful for. 

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts...and be ye thankful."
~Colossians 3:15~

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Field Trip...

Tim announced on Saturday that he was taking the girls on a field trip.  

They were all excited and asked him where he was taking them.  They wanted to know how far away it was and when they were going. Their facial expressions changed when he said it was a field trip in the house.  When they asked again where they were going and after some thoughtful thinking he replied, "To the land of running waters."  The guessing began. 

"Are we going to have to CLEAN something?" 

"You're going to make us clean the shower, aren't you?" 

"Are you going to make us clean the toilet?"    

Their agitation was brewing.  They wanted to know right then and there where their "field trip" was to.  Finally the time came when Tim decided it was time to disclose the location of their destination.  

He asked the girls to follow him, leading them from the entry way, through the living room, through the computer room, into the kitchen, into the hallway that leads back to the entry way.
They were not amused. 

Off the hallway is a half bath.  Tim stopped and opened the door and invited them into "the land of running waters."

They groaned. 

Still not knowing what the field trip was for Tim began with Exhibit A..........

The eye rolling and sighing began as Tim explained that this was NOT the proper way to put toilet paper on the roll. Then step by step he explained and demonstrated exactly HOW to replace the toilet paper roll! BWHAHAHAHA!  
(Below is the demonstration in progress.
I so should have been video taping it!!!)

 So they watched and frowned and tried to be irritated and even snickered a few times.
Just when the girls thought the field trip was over Tim announced that they couldn't come out of the bathroom until each of them demonstrated their ability to properly replace the toilet paper roll for themselves! 

More groans. 

At first they refused. 
Then they found out just how serious their tour guide was....

"If you don't do it you will lose computer." 

They still weren't budging.

"If you don't do it you will lose the computer and the TV."

Still not convinced.

"If you don't do it you will lose computer, TV and no ice cream tonight."

That was the tipping point....for Annah.
  She announced, "You can take away the computer and the TV but don't take away my ice cream!"  

Abigail, on the other hand, was still holding out.  She was in the bathroom for a while.  I opened the door to see this.... 
       Her and the cat just hanging out. 
I asked if she did what she needed to do and she replied yes.  I looked in around the corner and this is what I saw..... 

I guess sometimes you just have to roll with it! :)   

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bidding October Goodbye...

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
~George Eliot~
(I love this quote by George Eliot -- who, by the way, was a woman!  She wrote under a pen name feeling that her chances of getting published would be
greater if it was thought she was man!) :)

It is hard to believe that it is already November.  It doesn't even feel as though I had time to blink and October is gone.  I suppose it was the busyness of the month that made it go by in a blurr.

Halloween was a confusing event this year. I know, you're thinking, "What's so confusing about Halloween?" Can't be that tough, can it? Well, usually it's not but when Halloween falls on a Sunday it becomes confusing. Some places change the day of Trick or Treating so it is not on the Sabbath Day and other places keep it the same. The real "Trick" is finding out what your particular county has decided to do -- change the day or keep it where it falls. Sounds easy enough...except when your county has two different times....depending on whether you live "in the city" boundaries or "in the county" boundaries.

We've lived here for 15 years and while I've heard the terms of being in the "city" or the "county", I've never known which one we were in. I don't know where that imaginary dividing line between city and county lies, and until this approaching Halloween, I had no need to know. The need to know grew out of the fact that if you lived in the imaginary boundaries of the our little city then your day to Trick or Treat was on Friday night. If you lived beyond the imaginary boundaries of the city and/or lived in the town of Wilmore then your day to Trick or Treat was on Saturday. While those who live in Lexington, the next city over, had their Trick or Treating on Sunday, the actual day of Halloween. Are you with me? Or are you as confused as I was? All you really need to know is that the kids in any of the surrounding areas could really clean up by being able to go Trick or Treating on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday! On top of that, our ward Trunk or Treat Party was also on Friday night! What to do, what to do?

Well, on Friday night we decided to go to the Kelley Farm to go to the corn maze as John and Debra were kind enough to send us a pass for our family to attend!  What a great time we had!  We did both the mazes (the easier one and the harder one) and made it out without needing to call for help. :)  We did a hay ride and had hot chocolate and funnel cakes.  It was a perfect night!

And this is the corn maze that we wandered through. Isn't it that amazing?!

The Alltec World Equestrian Games were held in Lexington, Kentucky in October so in honor of the games this is the maze they made!  We look forward to seeing what they do for next year!

We had such a good time! 

And so did Jacob when he went to a church Halloween dance in this costume...
He won the prize for the scariest costume!  BWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!