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Tuesday, December 24, 2013


When I was a kid, one of my favorite shows was EMERGENCY! You might remember it. Roy and Johnny were the paramedics that saved the lives of young and old, accident victim and fool, rich or poor. They spent much time riding around in their rescue squad. It's number was 51. They were part of station 51 in Los Angeles. They inspired me in many ways. For a very long time I wanted to be a paramedic, or a fire fighter. Neither was to be, but I still love to watch the show now and then when I stumble upon it.

While the number 51 inspired me as a kid, the number 51 as a birthday? Ah, it hasn't been bad, but I wouldn't say it was inspiring. At least not on birthday morning. Not that birthday morning was bad. On the contrary it was very good. It started with grandchildren waking me up. Smiles and hugs and "happy birthday gramma" from Kahlen, and something that sounded very much like a happy birthday gramma from Paxton as well!

The day was filled with chasing kids and hearing giggles. Kahlen and Willie went to the store to buy the things needed to make a birthday cake. They worked together to make my cake. It was dark chocolate with chocolate fudge frosting. My favorite! I'm not sure that it all ended up in the pan to be baked though.

She did a wonderful job with the cake and helped make my birthday supper as well. Tater Tot casserole. Wince if you must, but Tater Tot casserole has always been one of my favorite suppers. When I was a kid, I would always have a very hard time deciding between Tater Tot casserole or spaghetti and meatballs for my birthday supper. When Willie asked what I wanted for my birthday meal, at first I couldn't think of anything. Then like a flash of an old memory, Tater Tot casserole jumped to mind. When they went to the store, tots were bought.

While birthday morning was full of fun, it wasn't until birthday afternoon the the number 51 invoked inspiration on to me once again.

Willie and I were playing chase with Paxton. Willie was carrying Paxton and chasing me around the house. Paxton was giggling and laughing as hard as he could. He may have wet his pants. Since he is still in diapers, being barely over a year old, we will never know for sure. It was great fun for all.

They got me cornered in the kitchen behind the couch. They thought they had me trapped! They snuck ever closer. (The word "snuck" being used very loosely here, as Paxton was giggling the whole time.) As the crept closer, I found my escape. I would roll on to the couch from the back, I would show them just how very clever I was, HA HA HA!!! I made my move, I climbed onto the back of the couch.  I slowly lowered myself back planning on landing on the couch seat. Yes, a brilliant plan, brilliant indeed.

Soooo.... the couch, it had a different idea about how brilliant this plan of mine was. Somehow, this slowly, lowering myself on to the seat of the couch turned into an out and out backwards somersault and I found myself on the floor between the couch and the coffee table, (which I felt move as I fell.) And I did this without the benefit of even a single drop of alcohol in my system, in case you were wondering. Tah Dah!

What could be inspiring in such an obvious lack of judgement and all out stupidity you surely must wonder? First, my left hip had been hurting, pretty badly for a few days. Hurting to the point where I was having a really tough time getting up and down stairs. I was starting to wonder if I needed to go to the doctor. I landed on said left hip after my acrobatic tumble off the couch, and it hasn't hurt since! That's right! I stood up, since I did NOT stick the landing, and the pain in my hip was gone! A couple of other places hurt, and bruises would soon arise, I was sure, but my hip was fine! I was happy! Willie looked at me like I was crazy when I started smiling and laughing. But I was so happy the pain was gone from my hip I couldn't help it!

Second, our coffee table is right in front of the couch. We put our feet up on it when we watch TV. Yet, though I flipped over backwards, and landed on the floor between the couch and coffee table, somehow, I did NOT hit my head. Didn't even graze it against the table. Still don't know how.

Third, my coffee table is full of Christmas ornaments that could have easily been smashed if they had been knocked off. One, the Charlie Brown statue, was given to me by my son, I would have been broken hearted if it had gotten ruined. Though the coffee table moved, not one thing fell off or even tumbled over. Heck, as hard as I landed, if I had landed on the table instead of next to it I could have easily demolished the entire table.

Back to the inspiration. Something that could have been a minor disaster at best, or a major disaster at worse, was neither. And something that had been becoming more and more of a problem, my hip, is no longer a problem.

My 51st year of this life, which started on winter solstice 2012, was a wild ride of wonderful and dreadful. Full of emotional upheavals and shocks, and beauty and wonder. June brought my father's diagnosis of dementia that turned our worlds upside down. He moved out of his home of fifty years into ours. We have watched him regress and stabilize only to regress again. One minute to the next cannot be predicted. He may be fine, happily reading the paper, then not remember how to use his toothbrush. He may go several days without an accident, and then go through four pairs of pants in one day.  Adapting and reworking have become the norm around here.

Early August brought Kahlen's fourth birthday. Chicken cake was made and presents were bought. A birthday was just what was needed to take my mind and turn it to happy thoughts instead of the constant worry about Dad.

Late August ushered in the last days of my brother's life. Days that were unexpected and rapid. Days that feel like a blur looking back now. Days worrying not only about my brother and if he would live or die, but about my father and if he really understood what was going on. September brought my brother's final day. September 7, my father lost his only son. My sister and I lost our only brother. The whirlwind that surrounded us for nearly a month settled and left the debris of pain and loss in its wake.

As fast as loss and pain over took us, joy and happiness regained its strength and on September 22, Noah William was born. Our third grandchild and our second grandson. This little life could not have joined us at a better time. His birth renewed the sense of life in our family.

Of course there was Paxton's first birthday in November. A day I think that was more fun for Kahlen than Paxton. Poor Bubs wasn't feeling very good that day. He was tired and cranky, but still got that ever so important first experience at opening presents that will serve him well come Christmas.

With all of the wonderful ups and devastating downs of my 51st year, the one thing that my ever so ungraceful fall from the couch on my 51st birthday taught me was this. My fifty second year will be better! There will still be ups and downs, but the fact that I took that fall with out permanently damaging, well.... anything, means what ever this coming year of my life brings, it will be better. I will be stronger, our family will be closer. Things are going to be easier, even if just a little. The tough times won't take as big a toll, and we will come out stronger for them. My 52nd year will bring wonder and happiness. If grief comes calling again, I know, while it may not be easier, God will send us a guardian angel to help us move through it all. Even in the worst of times, we are blessed, we are loved and we are never alone. And in the best of times.... we are blessed, we are loved and we are never alone.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An Oh Yeah and A Woops

Oh, yeah, I forgot to add this picture of the banister on the last post. 

And this is my bestest bud! He was born 25 years ago on December 8, 1988. Isn't he the cutest ever! I didn't forget to tell him happy birthday on his birthday, honest! The post might be a woops, but I remembered in real life. I even called and left him a message singing Happy Birthday. Ok, that was probably more torture than a nice thing. It was the thought that counts.  Just think, he can listen to that over and over, or pull it out at parties when he wants to get everyone out of the way. 

He is my one and only son. He makes me laugh. He has a very, we'll call it unique, sense of humor that some times I think I'm the only one who gets. His dad has a harder time with it. Josh and I can go back and forth and back and forth and it is a natural as pooping. Poor Willie has had to learn how to tell when Josh is joking, which is usually most of the time. Willie has gotten better over the years. I think it is because they don't live in the same house any more so he doesn't have to figure out what is a joke and what isn't. I miss that, it was fun watching Willie pull a Sheldon trying to figure it out. (Don't tell him I said that though, haha)

I know it is two days late, but if you consider he and Caitlin's birth-aversary-day, I'm still right on target. 


Christmas Decorations 2013

 I love Christmas! I think I've said that before. I know I'll say it again. I love the decorations and the lights and just how everything springs to life during the winter drear of December. These two ornaments are for mother and daughter, Kahlen wanted them together. 
 This one is from the very first Christmas tree Willie and I had together so very many years ago.  
 This one I bought in Adel, just because it was pretty. No special story. 
 Valerie Got me this one. It is deep purple, my favorite color. (what? You knew that? How did you know?)
 The decorated tree. Kahlen helped so much. It was a great time!
 A little bit of window dressing. The snowflake is from Josh and Caitlin's wedding, two years ago today. Happy Anniversary!!
 The little stove Willie bought for his mom many, many years ago. Since she passed away it has been a part of our Christmas every year. 
 This bowl was given to me by my son in law, Shane. It was hand made by someone he knows. It is absolutely beautiful! 
 This is a bobbaloo! He is the cutest darn thing ever created by human hands. His name is Merlot. He was lovingly sewn by a lady named Kit Lane who lives in Minnesota. She has an Etsy shop if you want to check out more of her wares. She makes a lot of wonderful bobs, and other critters. She is a great artist!
 My elephant always has to get into the act. 
 Willie got me the snowman glob for my birthday, many birthdays ago. I love snow globes. 
 Elephant again. He's just cool!
 Another snowflake from Josh and Caitlin's wedding. There are MILLIONS of them!
 Nothing special about this pretty red ball. I'm just happy with how the picture came out. 
 Yeah, yeah another snowflake. But they are SO pretty!
The embroidered Mary, Joseph and Jesus were made by my mother. I have had them for thirty years. 
It is a way that I can still have my mom as a part of every Christmas. Although, she never really liked Christmas much. She died over 25 years ago. I'm glad I still have this type of thing to remember her by. 

I hope everyone is having a joyful holiday season. Whether you celebrate or not, believe or not I wish you happiness, love and peace to finish the year. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bazinga and the Snow

 Bazinga loves the snow!
 He loves snow more than any creature great or small.
 He loves to chase the snow!
 It makes him feel proud and tall. 
 Bazinga runs in the snow at the speed of light. 
He runs and runs till he's tuckered out right. 
Then Bazinga runs more,
he never gives up a fight.
Bazinga is a snow loving fool,
he thinks snow is really quite cool. 
Many have wondered, 
quite often out loud, 
how such a small dog, 
can run in the snow so proud. 
People can wonder all they want, says Bazinga. 
I'll run in the snow, until my toes are all tinglin'.
This guy does NOT get what Bazinga sees in the snow. 
Pack up his bags and off to Florida he will go! 

Christmas Tree Time!

 Willie had the Sunday after Thanksgiving off work. Alyssa and the kids stayed the weekend. We were babysitting Noah for the weekend as well. With that many "helpers" there we decided it was a perfect day for putting up the Christmas tree.

We have had our Christmas tree for at least twenty years. Willie got it while he was still working at a garden center called Earl May. It was out first full sized Christmas tree. There have been a few years that we got a real tree. Last year included. I like real trees, but I have this fear, a true fear, of accidentally leaving a favorite ornament on it when it is put out on the curb.

I've been collecting ornaments as long as Willie and I have been together. We still have some from our very first Christmas together over 32 years ago. I have ornaments from the kids first Christmases. I have ornaments from the grandkids first Christmases. I have ornaments that my children made when they were very little. The idea of any of these ending up out on the curb with a tree, literally  kept me up at night.

This year we decided to use our ever trust worthy, ever true, artificial tree. I was reading an article yesterday about the environmental impact of using a real vs. fake tree. It turns out that in order to make up for the environmental impact of a fake tree, you need to keep it at least ten years. DONE! We even have another ten in the bank for when we decide to get a new one.

Noah very intently watched as Willie and Kahlen put the tree together. He watched as she put each branch in the appropriate hole. He studied each move, like he wanted to learn so he could do it next year. He has plans, this little dude, he has plans. I'm pretty sure his cousin Paxton will have ideas and plans for him, too, next year.

 Kahlen got the hang of how to put the tree together quickly. She and grandpa separated out the different colors on the stem and started putting it together. They got the very bottom row on first. When they were done Willie looked at it and looked at Kahlen. "I think we need to build this from the top down." He told her. He realized she wouldn't be able to reach over the bottom branches to reach the top.
 Between the two of them the tree went up quickly. Kahlen was very proud of her accomplishment. She had worked hard to put up the tree. Once it was all up it was time to fluff the branches back out.

 Fluffing branches was not something that held Kahlen's attention for very long. She pretty much left that to Grandpa. She had other mischief to get into.

Once the branches were all fluffed, well most of them anyway, it was time to decorate! I think this was Kahlen's favorite part. I took out each ornament and told her stories about many of them. I showed her which ones were from her mommy's first Christmas. We looked at ones that the kids made over their school years. We had a good time.

About the time we got all of the ornaments on the tree, Paxton was up from his nap. He was overwhelmed by all of the possibilities to get into fun shiny stuff. As fast as Kahlen was putting things on the tree, Paxton was busy taking them off.
He found a string of gold pearl garland.  They were the most beautiful things he had ever heard! Yes, I said heard. He walked around shaking the garland and dropping it on the floor. It was a perfect symphony of rattle and bang. It was noise! What could be better!

Then he found something even noisier! What a discovery! It was a Christmas tree that SANG! It sang and danced! Paxton danced with it. He shook his golds pearl garland as he danced. He kicked the singing Christmas tree. It worked much better when it was on its side, don't you know.