Saturday, November 29, 2008

I've Lost It

I am old. Not saying that all old people don't have it going on anymore ... but I've definately gone and lost my technical capabilities. I used to be the "go to" person and the "in the know" person ... and now I'm floundering to find someone to go to that knows.
This morning .... well for the last few days actual, I've realized that I made a big mistake. I went and bought one of these new phones. I can't figure it out. I don't know how to make it ring. I have to carry it in my pocket so I can feel it vibrate. I don't know how to save numbers in it. I can't find anything ... and to top it off I somehow set the alarm to go off at 5:12AM every day. I found that out this morning bright and early.
Yesterday evening I went to Verizon to get some help. They offered me an online tutorial and ask if I've read the book. Yes, I've done both ... and now I want some personal upfront and close help in the form of a younger person that can simply show me the buttons! I walked out more confused than ever with a sack full of accessories for my new phone that I can't work. Figure that one out!???!
Oh well .... I have twenty-three days left to return my new toy and get me a sensible flip phone just like my old one. One with large buttons for my fifty year old eyes and one that rings loudly that I can hear over my screaming kids.
What's your opinion? Stick it out and learn it ... or return it?

Friday, November 28, 2008


This morning, so early that I can see my reflection in the window by where I sit ... I thought about the things I'm thankful for in my life.  Like most of you ... there are many.

My life.  The lives of my children and husband ... and my family.  I have three sisters and a brother and their families, and two Mothers and two Fathers.  How blessed can I be?  We all get along and we all love each other.  We're a close family and all these years we've been blessed with health.

We take so many things in life for granted, until harsh reality comes knocking.  Up until less than a month ago, my family had never known that gripping fear and possibility of losing one of us.  Of course, we've had our ups and downs with surgeries and illnesses that we get over .. but we've gotten over it and life went on.

Less than a month ago, my brother in law Kenny was diagnosed with a large brain tumor.  A week ago, he had surgery.  They weren't able to get all the tumor, and it is cancer.  It's hard for me to even write that word, and it's almost if I don't say it .... it isn't so.  But it is, and we're facing a battle.  I want to wrap my arms around my sister and protect her from all that is ahead of her and Kenny and their two boys.  I want to wave a magic wand and make it all go away.  I want to give them another twenty-six years together ... and I want my family to not have to deal with this.  This is a first for us, and we don't want to be in these shoes.

We've been in a crisis and it ruffled our feathers.  During Kenny's surgery, as the day wore on ... my sister kept getting sicker and sicker.  She'd been through a lot emotionally as the day drew closer and we thought she was worn down and had the flu, when in fact she had a small bowel obstruction.  Robin ended up in the same hospital in Indianapolis admitted and facing surgery.  As it ended, Robin was transferred to our hospital since Kenny was coming home and things are looking up for her.  Hopefully, she'll come home tomorrow.  Kenny made it home for Thanksgiving at Mom's, and through out the day we all went to the hospital to visit Robin.  She's okay.

Yesterday at my Mother's, it was wonderful to be with my family and be together.  I saw everyone in a different light and I vowed to not take life or my family for granted.  Even though it's unspoken, I know we're all feeling that way right now.

In a brighter light, the picture above is my sister Kim and her husband Danny.  They just celebrated thirty years together and we did a little photo shoot out by the woods at Mom's house with their family.  Kim was loving it ... Danny wasn't so keen on it ... but like a good husband that loves his wife, he at least cooperated, and like most men, after they see the pictures, they love them too.  I got a few good ones and I bet within a few days ... they'll be hanging on their wall.

So in closing ... remember the good times, ponder on them and take the time to make more.  Fix the problems and forgive, for when it's all said and done in life ... you, your family and God is all that we really have.

I hope your Thanksgiving was as good as mine.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Down Comes the Wall

Today marked the era of an historical event!  Marlboro Man committed to and began a project that he was totally against .... only love could have moved him to do this, or the fact that I told him if I he didn't ... he had to buy me another house.  He took the cheap way out and took out the wall!

We live in a almost 200 year old farm house that his Great-Grandfather built when they came over from Germany many years ago.  I kind of think this house is the homestead, but I wasn't around back then and don't know all the history behind it.  I love the house ... but the kitchen was the only room that MM hadn't modernized when he bought this house and restored/remodeled/updated/fix'd-er-up!

When he did this about ten or fifteen years ago ...  he didn't know me yet.  I definately would NOT have put my kitchen stove in front of a window, and today ... it had to go.  I no longer could deal with a greasy window.  No more!

One day last week I met up with MM at Lowe's and we began this project.  In one hour and ten minutes, I picked out a new stove and refrigerator, countertops, floor tile, ceiling light and cabinets.  Talk about decisive ... that would be me!  Then I changed my mind and decided to have the cabinets custom built by a Amish Cabinet maker.  Even MM agreed with me on that move.  So it's all in the works and construction has begun!

We have, or should I say ... had a galley kitchen.  It sure was a long and skinny little thing!  But now it's an alcove off of the dining room and WOW ... what a difference it made.  The kitchen was a add on years after this house was built and the main wall is all windows.  I only have a thirty inch piece of wall in the entire kitchen and that will be the home of my new stove.  My sink is being moved to where my stove was ... my stove is being moved to where my fridge is and my fridge is dancing down to the end of the kitchen where a few glass cabinets will be knocked out!  Three floor length pantry's are coming and another one will be around the corner in the dining room. 

Not even this picture cold excite me as much as getting a new kitchen!  Only thing is ... everything in my house is covered in dusty dirt from the wall being ripped out, and MM told me I am not allowed to make any changes at this point.

As I sit here and blog while he's asleep ... I'm thinking now that I don't want woodwork around the big opening ... and I'm already planning on how I'm going to paint and what saying I'm going to put above the entry way! 

I think I'll just leave him a note about the woodwork ....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Say Cheese!

When all the kids were here Sunday ... we played Photographer and did family shots for Juli and a few for Joey and Mariah.  Josh and his family had already left and Jared and Elissa opted out since I do a full blown shoot every time I get my hands on them.  So we set up a backdrop in my living room and pulled out my hot pink and lime green "alien bees" strobe lights and said CHEESE!  It almost looked like a Disco!

Here's Juli and Derek in the "love pose."  We kicked the kids out of the way and snatched a few of just these two.  Did I ever tell you all that Derek is over a foot taller than Juli  ... and she is tiptoeing on a stool since he's so tall.

Love bird city here.  Mariah has Joey caught!  These two love having their pictures taken ... and I love taking them.  I catch them every chance I get too!  They're my practice targets!
This one was Mariah's idea.  I love it!  Wonder what she'll say when I tell her to do this at their wedding this coming July when I take their pictures! ????
This one was my idea.  I love this picture of them ... and for all of you that heard the ring story ...  here it is!
I'll try to post the gallery link to all of when I get them edited!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

It couldn't have been more perfect!  Today we celebrated Thanksgiving at our house and all my 'littles' made it home.  This is the first real family picture of all of us together with our families.  I don't have a remote to my new camera, so I hit the timer and ran each time to get in the picture!  It was so funny ... and so much fun.  I only snapped six shots and prayed that one of them would have all of us looking at the camera ... and we did ... just once!  It's not entirely in focus ... but I love it and have already uploaded it to print a 10 x 20!

My entire mission for today was this picture.  Posed exactly like this in individual little groups, but yet all together.  I already had it planned out where everyone would be.  It was a little nippy and we all ran out in the field behind the house with my son-in-law Derek carrying the chair from upstairs.  He's that big dude in the middle!

From left to right, Josh is with his family, Amy, Carter and Luke.  Standing is Jared and Elissa ... then Joey and Mariah.  Juli is with Derek, Kelcie and Landen in the front on the ground ... and of course, Me ... Von and our little littles!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope yours will be as wonderful as mine was with my family today!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Girl Time

This afternoon Meg finally decided to venture outside with the boys ... all decked out for a winter snow storm.  Actually this coat is an old one from my Brother's little girlies.  After seeing this picture I snapped I think I like it ... for pictures that is!

It's cold outside baby!  The boys bundled up and braved the chill and helped their Dad blow leaves and pick up sticks.  They had a big old fire going down by the barn!

Meg, on the other hand, wouldn't stick her precious little nose out the door until I mentioned pictures and modeling and twirling and such ... then she jumped into hyper-mode and out the door we went.  For two minutes!  Two!

Like the snow in the picture?   It's not real .... just photoshop!  But it's coming, and it will be way too soon for me!  I don't like the cold ....  brrrr!

Tonight I'll post a few pictures of the boys outside today!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Waiting on Santa

We're starting early this year! We're waiting on Santa!

Yesterday morning the littles woke up at six o'clock in the morning ... way too early for me, but what do you do when a smart little kid comes and crawls in your bed and jerks your face towards yours and says, "I've gotta go poop." You get up! You come downstairs and you poop!

Only in this case ... that little kid was pulling a slick one. His name is Jay and he only wanted a piece of gum. In his meltdown because he didn't get his way ... he woke up his cohorts in crime!

SO ... we sat on the couch, all in a row and covered up with Sam's green monkey blanket and we waited on Santa. We talked about toys and presents and reindeer and that man that has white hair (who they say they will talk to this year)

We decided that we have to give away all the old toys that they don't play with anymore because Santa might not come here if he sees that they have too many.
So starting this weekend ... my kiddo's will be gathering up toys and sorting things back together to give away. I'll be cleaning toys and bagging them nicely because we're going to take them to a teen pregnancy center for little kids to play with. We did this on their second Christmas ... with a lot of the presents that they received, and it felt so good. Not only to declutter ... but to give something away to others.
We want them to learn that for everything you receive ... you too have to give. So what is a better time than now, when they're so excited and they're waiting on Santa!
So this is our new tradition for every Christmas here out ... and we'll make it a family time. A time to talk about how fortunate we are, and a time to thank God for all that he gives us ... and a time to share. We're going shopping next weekend to find a new present for someone that we'll give along with the used toys that we're donating.
SO ...what are your ideas on this? Do you have any traditions that involve life values? Do you think they will do it? It's going to be touch and go when it comes right down to packing up their toys. BUT .... they might just surprise us!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dear Megan

Dear Megan,

It just doesn't seem possible does it?  You're four years old now ... and you think you're so grown up.  In retrospect to how small you were four short years ago when you were born, weighing almost 3 lbs, you are big.

Last night you clung to me.  Every move I made ... you were there.  Underfoot, beside me, on me ... and with me.  You're always with me.  Even when we're apart ... you're with me.  You wanted to help me and we made a game out of it ... you unloaded the dishwasher, picked up the laundry and you even washed the kitchen floor.  I was right there with you ... and I saw you in a different light.  Right before my eyes, you transformed from the baby girl I delivered back then ... to a beautiful little girl that is growing up fast.

We hardly spoke to each other, as you were so involved in your task.  I couldn't help but stand back and smile at you as I watched you, and as I assigned you more work to do.  It wasn't that I wanted you to do my work ... you're only four years old, but, it was that I wanted us to be together.

For the first time, you and I had that same unspoken sense that you have with your brothers.  We didn't need to speak.  Your eyes said everything ... you love me, like you should ... I'm your Mother, and we were spending good time together. 

I love you Meg ... more than you can know right now ... but I'm sure less than you'll think in a few years and certainly when you have a child of your own.  It's amazing how love grows and how much I love you more and more every day. 

Every day turns into something even more wonderful being your Mother ... and I want to thank you for making my job easy.  You're only four now.  I can't even imagine how this will feel when you're eight ... or all grown up at twenty-two.  I love you no more than your brothers and your sister ... but you are one of the greatest blessings that was bestowed upon me ... and for that I'm so very grateful.

Meg, I'm looking forward to many more years being your Mother ... and I have many plans for us.  The very same plans I had for your sister ... and the very same things that I'll do with you.  Juli still remembers ... and so will you.  It's called love, and it's beautiful!



Saturday, November 8, 2008

Kid Sandwich

For the past couple of weeks we've been 'kid sandwiches' at night. I wake up contorted, in pain and miserable. BUT ... my littles are snoozing like little angels right beside me. No matter how many times I carry them back to their own bed ... they migrate back to us in the night. The order of our 'sandwich' goes something like this:


We are wall to wall legs, arms and butts every night, and we're also the meat that holds this sandwich together. Von and I literally have to hold the outside kids onto the bed.

We've had so many 'thumps' when they hit the floor that I've gone out and bought bed rails for our bed. Something is seriously wrong with this picture, eh? I would love to have a aerial view of our bed in the middle of the night. A triple decker sandwich!

So now instead of slamming the floor face first when they roll out, Meg and Sam are crunched against the new bed rails instead.

Ever been a kid sandwich??? .... and what can I do about it??? Help!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dear Littles - Chapter Thirteen - November 4th, 2008 - President Barack Obama

Dear Littles,

Last night our nation made history, and with this great thing that has happened in your lifetime, I want you to some day read the words at the end of this letter, believe them, and live by them. Words of a man that we people went to great extreme to vote for. Words of a man that shook this entire country to it's core, and led us to encircle our nation, join hands and bring him forward to be our President. Words of a man that I believe with all my heart will change America and will make a difference in your life. Words of a man that I believe in, and words of a man that I know in my heart is a Christian. Words of a very wise man that your Father and I voted for.

With you in our minds, and with all the years ahead of you ... we have our hope in this man and we hope with the changes coming to this nation ... you'll reap the benefit all of your life.

My hope for you is to live in peace in a fruitful country and be proud to be American. I want you to be safe in your lifetime and I want you to prosper. I want you to be honest, and work hard together with your peers to continue to change for the better. I want you to be happy ... and have less stress. I want you to have opportunity and a clean world. I want your voice to be heard. I want you to not just survive on this planet, but to live ... and to live your life to the fullest in a world that is good. Because of my love for you, I voted for Barack Obama ... because I believe in him, and I believe in his words.

I believe that the words that follow will go down in history as one of the greatest speeches of all time, from one of the greatest leaders that this world will ever come to see ... and you will live your life to be a part of this. Today at four years old, you might only know his name ... but in all your years to come, you will know who this man is, and by the time his Presidency is over, you will remember the man, and you will live in a better world.

Not that he is the first black President of the United States of America, ... that is not important, for his skin color makes no difference ... but my hope is that you will know him for being compared to Abraham Lincoln, who abolished slavery and freed so many people. President Obama will do the same ... he will free this entire country and bring us together as one. One nation ... one country ... one people, and I was 'one vote' that was heard. All because I love you with all my heart.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

November 4th, 2008

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America...."

"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America

- Barack Obama, President-Elect of the United States of America