A Trip to the Mall

The other day I went to the mall with Mr. T and the Twins, my niece and nephew.

In case any of you still thought I made up the stuff I put on my blog, please see the attached photographic evidence.

Mr. T at the mall

The twins at the mall

Yes, that all happened.

And none of it was prompted or scripted! I looked up and Mr. T was styling it on the escalator.  Then I heard my niece giggling and I turned around and there she was pulling her brother over for a picture!

On another note – here is my picture inspiration for the new year:

Unstoppable

And lastly, is anyone else as excited as I am about the return of Downton Abbey? Like, seriously!

Downton Abbey

Christmas Eve Gift!!

Christmas Eve Gift!!

Ha! I got you first! You owe me a gift!

And for those that are lost, I’ll explain!

The goal of this game is to be the first to yell “Christmas Eve Gift” to the other person.  Then, the person that lost and didn’t yell out “Christmas Eve Gift” owes the person that did yell it a gift.  And who doesn’t want an extra gift?!?

Christmas Eve Gift

Technically, you probably don’t have to yell.  I’m sure a normal speaking voice would be fine.  In our family, we are so obsessed with winning the game that we tend to yell.

Growing up, our Christmas Eve always started well before the sun came up with mom coming in the room and yelling “Christmas Eve gift!!” and then running out before we could respond.  (Which, bonus points).

As we moved out, the phone would ring at about 6 am.

Now this is tricky – you have to time it just right and you have to get that phone up to your mouth super fast because the caller has the advantage here!  They can hear when you pick up the phone and they can start yelling as you are bringing the phone up to your mouth.  And, at 6 am, I’m really not at my best – I tend to answer “Hello, crap, Christmas Eve Gift” and at that point the caller has usually won the game!

Wait, I’m not done.

If it was dad that called you at 6 am, you aren’t done!

During the drive over to their house, I keep repeating “Christmas Eve Gift, Christmas Eve Gift” and then I walk in the door and get distracted and mom jumps out of the dark bathroom yelling “Christmas Eve Gift!!!”

And that is why my Christmas gifts are always in a bag and never carried in by hand!

This gets repeated over and over until you and every other person you encounter has gone through this!

And some years, you get to be the one making the 6 am phone call!

Not all of your relatives will appreciate this gesture of good will.

Just a heads up there!

This year our family hit a new low record.

Christmas Eve Gift text

6:15 am Dad sent out a group text.

Which I promptly ignored.

Cause there was no way he could prove I had seen it or read it.  (And this is the exact reason why I don’t have a “read receipt” on my text messages!)

Then my sister got in the action – but added Mr. T and her Twins to the group!

Christmas Eve Gift response

By now, it’s an hour later and so I figure it’s safe to respond!

And the best part?

We don’t actually get each other gifts.

Winning the competition is the only gift we need!

I’ve never actually met anyone outside of our family that plays this game, so you’ll have to let me know if your family plays this game – but in the meantime…

Christmas Eve Gift!

Black Friday Used to Mean a Goodie Bag

I remember when Black Friday meant getting up at 3 am and being in line by 4 am so that you could get the goodie bag the store was giving out.  Filled will all kinds of swag to make my 19 year old heart swoon.

Similar to this!

Similar to this!

Snow globe ornament with your logo bigger than the ornament itself? I’ll take it! So worth standing in line for.  My tree is 3′ tall – it doesn’t even have a tree stand, you fill the base with water so it doesn’t tip over and put it in a planter!

English tea? Of course I’ll take that sample! Never mind that I don’t even drink tea, it was free!

Coupons galore? Load me up, I’ve lived on cereal this past week.

A granola bar? Score!

Fast Forward 5-10 years and those goodie bags faded from existence and were replaced with MASSIVE DEALS.  Flat screen TV only $99!!!

TV sale

I got mine out of the return pile, because what most people didn’t realize was, the screen WAS flat, but it was still a tube TV.  (I think that was the start of deceptive advertising!)

Fast forward another 5 years and I’ve come to realize that I love a good bargain, but I have to really, really love it in order to stand out in the cold waiting to get in the store!

A few years ago I did, with my brother Lee, because he wanted to get everyone a gift but had a very tight budget.  But let me tell you, we divided and conquered at Target and he did score some amazing deals!  Even I was impressed!

My son and nephew have wanted to experience the thrill of Black Friday, so I’ve gotten up early for them and taken them out and around.  And we stopped by 7-Eleven on the way home, had them make us a fresh pizza, and ate pizza at 5 am and went back to bed!

Breakfast of champions!

Breakfast of champions!

So, there are some great memories associated with Black Friday.  But, it’s not really the shopping or the deals, it’s the time spent with family.  It’s the times we walk into Kohl’s and I immediately go stand in the check out line, which is wound all the way around to the back of the store, and my mom and sister one by one bring me a cart and then fill it with their purchases, and then take my place so I can so scour the store!  (We have since learned that it’s best to hit Kohl’s after lunch, after the crowd has died down!) It’s spending time laughing with my siblings, and teaching our kids fiscal responsibility comes in all forms.

It’s also the times I get to stand up and say “Yes, I was one of the crazies in that line.  And you know what, it was pretty awesome!”

It’s also been the times that we’ve bought so much we weren’t sure if the back of mom’s car was going to close.  I think cokes and pillows were on sale that year, add in the popcorn machine, well, things were getting tight!

It’s pouring over the ads in the Thanksgiving paper while we are cooking the meal and the Littles are running around  underfoot.

It’s having a kid run up and jump in your lap and go “I want this and this and this and this” and that’s when you learn that the Toy’s R Us ad pretty much never needs to be left on top of the pile!

The Littles - both in my lap :)

The Littles – both in my lap discovering the joy of seeing yourself on camera! 🙂

It’s the tossing of the ads back and forth trying to figure out what to get my grandmother.  “Do you think she’ll like this?  What about this?” and the occasional “Do we have to get her something? Didn’t we get her a gift last year?  That should cover it, right?”

No, we never really say that!

Out loud.

No one show my grandmother this post, okay?  Thanks!

So yes, I’ve been part of Black Friday madness, and I’m sure I will be again.  Having been on the retail side, I’ve had to work late the Wednesday night before setting everything up, and I’ve been up well before the sun to get to the store.  So, I’ve been there.  I needed and wanted a job, I was willing to make that sacrifice.  And I’m not here to debate the open on Thanksgiving or not issue.

Because you know what?

I’ve gone shopping on Thanksgiving Day, too.

And I have the most beautiful tree in the world to show for it!  No regrets!

Having admitted that, I’ll also admit that this was many, many years ago, back when the stores were actually still closed on Thanksgiving Day, but one retailer broke the mold that year and opened Thanksgiving Day afternoon, and my cohort, which may or may not have been my mother, told me “Move fast so the TV camera’s don’t catch us, I don’t want anyone to know I was shopping on Thanksgiving Day!”

happy-thanksgiving-banner-4

Lee Was Here

For those of you who have followed my blog for any amount of time, you know that a year and a half ago I lost my (28 year old) baby brother.  

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, mom and dad were on vacation and I was house and dog sitting.  Well, I thought they had an under slab leak, as all of the sudden there was a puddle in the living room! I totally freaked out, and spent hours trying to figure out where the water was coming from.  I finally traced it back to an ice maker that is supposed to be turned off.  

However, I got the water cleaned up, the ice maker turned off and we thought all was fine.

Until the wood floors in the kitchen / breakfast room started warping.  Apparently the water had been leaking under the kitchen / breakfast nook floor for several weeks before it even made it to the living room. 

Needless to say, this Saturday morning we ended up spending time pulling up the wood panels in the worst areas.  We got a big section pulled up and hauled out to the truck and as Mr. T was rolling up the thermal barrier, he goes “Look, there is Lee”

And we all stopped – and not going to lie – I was looking for a ghost! 

Not a ghost:

Lee Was Here

Lee Was Here

Lee would have been about 17 when he wrote this on the concrete under the new floor.  It was a wonderful surprise to find in the middle of less than pleasant circumstances.  

He is still with us.  

A Year Later

It has been over a year since I last talked to my brother and today marks the one year anniversary of his passing.  At times it is still surreal.  Just the other day Mr. T asked if I had seen the trailer for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie, and I said no, and he goes “It’s totally different.  I hate that Uncle Lee won’t be able to go see the movie with us.”  Uncle Lee did love TMNT growing up, and we’ve all seen the earlier movies a hundred times because he loved them – and yes, I hate that he won’t be here to go see the movie with us, too.

TMNT New

New look of TMNT

TMNT What have they done

TMNT Old School wondering “what have they done to us?”

 

Many of you were with me as I went through this journey, and you met Lee and learned about CRRT and how a mechanical heart works! While it really feels like it took a long time, it was 9 months from start to finish and one month from the time he started having real issues until his passing.

Several months ago I went through my Facebook feed and made a copy of all of my updates on Lee, I wanted to make sure I always had them, and today I am sharing them with you.

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April 6, 2013

Keep Lee in your thoughts and prayers. The meds he was put on to help his diabetes have made him sick, he’s switching to a new med, but still has to suffer thru the weekend while the old ones work out if his system. Please and thanks!

 

April 8, 2013

Lee is being admitted to the ICU for observation and monitoring. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. His blood pressure is very low and there are some other issues. Thanks!

 

April 9, 2013

I’m sitting on one side of Lee’s bed and mom is on the other. I’m checking emails and watching TV and for the last couple of minutes I just keep hearing mom giggle. Silence and then a giggle. Silence and then giggle, giggle. Not sure what she’s doing, but apparently that side of the bed is funnier!

 

April 9, 2013

(Mom’s post) I am asking everyone to put our son Lee in their prayers tonight. He is in ICU and is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. There is real concern about how his heart is going to handle the surgery. Please keep him in your prayers. He is being a trouper but his heart just isn’t helping him

 

April 10, 2013

Lee is out of surgery. He did good! He gets to go straight back to his room in the ICU and do his recovery there. Thanks to everyone for the prayers and the reaching out. Please continue to pray for his recovery.

 

April 11, 2013

Lee had a rough morning and his kidneys didn’t kick start like we wanted. So he had a port installed this afternoon so that dialysis could be administered. This will be a continuous bedside treatment to slowly clean his blood and remove the toxins. This should make it easier for his body to then work on its own. Thanks for the prayers and support. Let me know if you have any questions! And he had really appreciated the well wishes that have come his way!

Last picture of Lee and I together.

April 12, 2013

Lee is much more lucid today, which helps me out, I can tell what he’s saying, lol. The dialysis is working and his kidneys look good. His liver doesn’t look so good, tho, so we are calling in a new doctor for help. As always, thanks for the prayers and support!

 

April 12, 2013

We were told that Lee’s recovery would be up and down, and despite the setbacks, we do seem to be moving forward. Lee met some new doctors today. We’ve seen the GI doc, who is running some tests and had an ultrasound done on the liver, and we’ve seen the infectious disease doc who will just watch for a few days. Hopefully we can find out if something is wrong with his liver (it’s still congested) or if the issue is heart related. He slept a good portion of the day today, so I think his body is busy healing itself!

 

April 13, 2013

Small setback today, Lee has a fever, which is next to impossible when on dialysis, so they are working to find and kill the infection. They have also played, in essence, musical IV’s and removed the art and central lines and put in a picc line. He was surprised to learn today was Saturday, apparently he lost a few days during all of this!

 

April 14, 2013

Lee’s numbers look good today and his fever broke. Those are both big checks in the win column. We are very blessed that he has such a great group of doctors and nurses looking after him.

 

April 15, 2013

To my untrained eye, Lee seems better. His color has improved and his diet has been upgraded to full liquid so he gets things like cream soups and malt-o-meal. Of course, his numbers are still all over the place, not as stable as we want, but, he is moving forward. It is slow progress, but progress nevertheless. Please continue to send your prayers for Lee, and for his doctors and nurses and us! It’s been a full week in the ICU and there isn’t an end in sight just yet.

 

April 16, 2013

Lee had a rough day, but he was weaned off of one specific med, and this allowed us to stop dialysis. Tomorrow we should have new lab numbers to review, and the CRRT (dialysis) machine won’t be far away, but we are really hoping that his body is taking over and he won’t need more than a few hours a day, if at all. He is so ready to get better and be out of the hospital!

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April 17, 2013

Day 10 in the ICU and we are still showing progress, but it’s hard. Lee is struggling with pain and aches and today he went down for a traditional hemodialysis treatment. Please just keep him in your prayers.

 

April 18, 2013

Today Lee had a CT done for pictures of his internal organs and tomorrow he will have a Swan-Ganz right heart catheterization. (They will inset a small tube into the right side of the heart and arteries leading to the lungs to measure function and blood flow.) This will help get a full picture of what is going on inside his body and his doctors work on his treatment. Prayers please!

 

April 19, 2013

Lee is being transported to one if the UNTSW hospitals, not sure which, probably St. Paul. This will provide more specialize care. Sadly, I don’t think he’s well enough to really appreciate the helicopter ride, but the Care Flight staff will take good care of him.

 

April 22, 2013

Lee’s kidneys are doing better today, that’s a blessing and tomorrow they are going to attempt the right heart cath again. Hopefully they can do it this time. Everyone is ready to know the results of that!

 

April 23, 2013

I’m taking Mr. T to Diva Dinner tonight. Against his will. Good times ahead! On another note, on paper Lee is doing better, his kidneys and liver are responding. Sadly, he’s had a rough night and an even rougher day, he’s just out of sorts and very uncomfortable. He does have a small infection that they are fighting, but otherwise, looking good. On an even better note, more depts. have signed off on his transplant, so we might be able to get his case in front of the board for review and approval this week! The LVAD is also in serious discussion.  Prayers!!

 

April 24, 2013

Lee ended up being sedated and put on a ventilator yesterday evening and then had a contrast CT done. Found nothing on the CT that required surgery & he made it through the night! Prayers do work! He has developed a higher fever, so he is currently packed in ice and they are keeping him sedated while he is on the ventilator. Please keep sending prayers for him, his doctors and staff and family. Let me know if you have any questions! Thanks!

 

April 24, 2013

Lee’s fever broke! Yay! The ice blanket has been off for hours and he is running normal. The docs plan to do the right heart cath, no matter what, tomorrow (fingers crossed!).

LeeRemembered016

April 25, 2013

On another note, Lee’s fever came back, but has stabilized. The docs have decided not to do the right heart cath and just proceed forward with the surgery for the LVAD. Lee’s condition is hour by hour, but if he stays stable, they will do this tomorrow. Blessing!!! Also, today, his file is going before the transplant selection committee at St. Pauls. Please pray that he gets approved for his heart transplant!

 

April 25, 2013

Please pray for Lee’s surgery. Tomorrow he will have the LVAD installed on his heart. This is a very high risk operation but there is a surgeon willing to take it on and we are hopeful. He’ll have a rough couple of days afterwards, but this should help him while we wait on transplant options.

 

April 26, 2013

Please keep praying for Lee. We just got a report that the surgery is going well. He is still open on the table, but the device is installed. They are doing dialysis to cleanse his blood of the toxins and meds. Should only be a few more hours. Thanks!

 

April 26, 2013

Please keep up the prayers. The right side of his heart didn’t hold up when they put the device on the left side so they have had to go ahead and put an assistance device on the right side, too. They are still running dialysis to help clear his blood, and it should be a few more hours. Thanks guys!

 

April 26, 2013

Surgery is over. They will be watching him for bleeding and stabilizing vitals. They may go back in as early as Sunday and try to take off the right side assist device. He survived the surgery! Another victory!

 

April 27, 2013

Please be praying for Lee who is back in surgery this morning due to his assistance devices. Thanks

 

April 27, 2013

Lee just got out of surgery. Had to replace the LVAD unit. Took off the RVAD but added an Ecmo to oxygenate his lungs. They are filling up. The Ecmo will basically bypass his lungs to give them time to heal. I haven’t researched that item yet! Please keep praying!

 

April 27, 2013

Well, Lee no sooner got done with surgery earlier and they took him right back in. The oxygeninator (I made that word up) that was working his lungs wasn’t balanced with his LVAD. Considering they haven’t ever done this combination of equipment before, they are paying real close attention and pulling out all the stops. Please keep him in your prayers.

 

April 28, 2013

Lee was bleeding a lot last night, so they had to open his chest again to pack it and try to stop the bleeding. They will leave it open so they can go in and repack as needed. Please say a little prayer as you read this!

 

April 28, 2013

Sunday was a day of rest for Lee and he had a pretty peaceful day. His chest is still open and packed and probably will be while he is on the Ecmo, but that has allowed his lungs to begin to heal! Thanks to everyone for their prayers!

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April 30, 2013

This morning Lee is back in the OR and they are removing all of the packing, cleaning out his chest and doing an antibiotic “Paint” job inside before they finally sew his chest up. It’s been open for a couple of days now, so this is really good news that they can close him up! The LVAD is working well and they are keeping him on the ECMO a bit longer. Please pray for a successful closure this morning. Thanks!

 

April 30, 2013

Lee made it out of surgery this morning, but he’s been rushed back to the OR due to bleeding. Please continue to keep him in your prayers!

 

April 30, 2013

Lee had a busy day. Had surgery to close his chest, was rushed back in when he “sprung a leak”. It appears that closing the chest put more pressure on the organs and machines than expected, as once they opened him back up, everything was normal. So, now his chest is open (a bit more than before) and he is packed up again. They went ahead and installed a defibrillator on his right side, just in case, but as of now, only his left side is getting assistance. Also, prayers have been answered because he is off the Ecmo and back on the ventilator. Please keep the prayers coming! It is still a very touch and go situation.

 

May 1, 2013

In the wee hours of the morning Lee was back in the OR having the ECMO put back on, the right side if his heart just wasn’t keeping up. It was a success and he is back in his room, chest open and packed up. The doctor is thinking of waking him up later today. Please keep praying for him and that his heart will hold on.

 

May 1, 2013

The doctors have taken Lee off all of the anesthesia and we are waiting for him to wake up. He needs to wake up and be able to follow some basic commands and then the doctors can go before the transplant selection committee tomorrow with a good report. Please keep in mind his chest is still open and packed and he is back on the Ecmo, and he has just been through so very much. Today’s prayer is for him to wake up! Thanks!

 

May 2, 2013

Please keep Lee in your prayers as we are still waiting for him to wake up properly. They are calling in a neuro consult and will possibly do bedside CT tomorrow. Let me know if you have any questions and thanks!

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May 3, 2013

Today’s prayer is for Lee’s liver to function properly. They think the liver is causing some of his sedation issues. So, we’d love for his liver to start working better so we can see if he will wake up properly. Today he will have another procedure and they will remove the packing in his chest, give him an antibiotic paint job and then repack his chest. We appreciate all of the prayers.

 

May 4, 2013

Just got done seeing Lee. We still need lots of prayers for his liver! He is also back on CRRT, but that’s okay, his kidneys will bounce back. Come on liver! Work! Please and thanks!

 

May 5, 2013

Please keep praying for Lee’s liver! I talked to the nurses and they said we can post Get Well cards for Lee in his room. If you need an address please message or text me. I think he would enjoy hearing us read them to him!

 

May 6, 2013

This morning Lee has some GI bleeding issues that they are working on, and he is going to have a CT scan done soon. Please pray for the healing of his body. Let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll update you when I have more info! Just keep sending up the prayers!

 

May 7, 2013

Thank you all for your love, support and prayers. Today we released Lee from life support and he had a very peaceful transition to Heaven. My family and I are so grateful to all of you who have said prayers, thank you very much from all of us from the bottom of our hearts.

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Happy Easter 2014

Hi everyone!  I can see that you all have been up to no good, and I’m pretty impressed with that!

Friday I was off work, but due to the bad weather Texas has this winter, Mr. T had school.  As much as I missed him, it was so nice to have the house to myself and I cleaned!  I cleaned everything!

And it felt GOOD!

We’ve been so busy lately that my regular cleaning schedule fell by the wayside and it really did feel good to catch up and make my house sparkle!

I went and grabbed some take out for my dinner, because Mr. T wasn’t coming home.  I don’t get near enough random nights alone, but Friday Mr. T stayed after school for a basketball game, in the official capacity of School Mascot minus the suit.  I’m still not sure what he did at the game, but he had fun! After the game the cheerleaders had a lock-in at the school.

Yes, my son spent the night with a dozen girls.

🙂

I picked him up at 7 am Saturday morning and ran him back home to shower and help me load the car.  We had 8 am rehearsal at church for the Easter performance, and then we went out to breakfast and then headed into town for the Youth Group Car Wash fundraiser and spent the rest of the day washing and vacuuming cars to raise money for youth camp.

Car wash

Wonderful group of kids!  And the adults aren’t that bad either!

Car wash 3 Mr. T “cleaning” off the top of the truck… also known as spraying  anyone he can! car wash 2

After spending all day there, we headed to Grammy and Papa’s house – they have hired Mr. T to do their yard for the summer, and he’s just about as excited as they come!  He’s wanted a job for almost a year now, and he is devastated that no one will hire a 15 year old! But, his grandparents have come through and he’ll be working hard for his paycheck!

Once that was done, we hung out for a bit, mainly because we were too tired to even get back in the car, but also because my sister and her kids were over!

photo 1

Joshua, Bella and I taking a selfie!

photo 2

Everyone discovering the camera is more fun.

photo 3Really Aunt Kate, we can handle the camera!

photo 4 Mr. T having fun with baby Bella.

photo 5

Joshua learning the art of the photo-bomb!

Eventually Mr. T and I made it home and went to bed early.  Because we were up even earlier the next day to attend the Sunrise Service at our church.  Afterwards there was a potluck breakfast for all of us early risers… I cheated and stopped and bought donuts for the table.  And they were good! 🙂

Here is a shot I got of Mr. T.  It’s not very good, but I was at the back of the room up in the sound room balcony.  My part was just voice work, and even then I was totally nervous – but Mr. T, he was spectacular, as usual!

T performing

Eventually we made it back home and my dad was generous enough to swing by and pick up the towels we had borrowed for the car wash that I finished folding that afternoon.

Of course, I had made them a loaf of homemade artisan bread as a thank-you, but I’m sure that didn’t have anything to do with it! 🙂

Bread 2

And now, I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!

Box of Hats

What a weekend!  Let me add a disclaimer to start the post: I don’t have anyone’s permission to share this but am doing so anyway!  This goes for all of the pictures I’m going to include!

I’m working on learning how to make bread.  And I’m super glad that I never sold or donated this electric knife!

bread

We had Easter early this weekend.  Mom bought tie dye egg coloring kit.  Oh yeah – it was awesome!  No, I didn’t get any pictures of the eggs we created, and no, we didn’t actually hunt any of the eggs.  I’m not sure why we colored them, but I know we did have fun!

Easter eggs

We did go to a local Farmers Market.  Bella thought grilled cheese was just the most awesome food ever!

Bella1 Bella3

This is Bella’s brother Joshua.  He’s just too cute not to include!

Joshua

This is my new car.  It’s pretty awesome.

lexus

I also painted the work bench in my garage!  I had a coupon for a free 8 oz sample jar of paint, so Mr. T and I hit Lowe’s and I told him to pick a color.  We got home and I had a blast cleaning off the top and painting!  Right now, the top is as clean as it’s ever been! LOL.  Give me time and I’ll have more projects stacked on top of it again!

workbench

Mr. T and I went to church Sunday, and stayed after because he and I are both performing in the Easter service.

I say performing – I’m not really. Mr. T and several other wonderful people are performing – I am a narrator. I am reading. I can read.

After our table read, we were looking through the closet of clothes to see what costumes everyone would wear. And, well, we found a box of hats.

church

Pretty much I was loving my crown and made sure to get my crown in the picture and failed to actually get my face in there!

I hope that the rest of you had a wonderful weekend – and here is to a great week ahead!

Picnic in the Forest

In addition to Mr. T taking sophomore English in his high school class, he is also taking the first half of junior English on-line via a large university.  I’m really impressed with his drive for his education, and I’ve said extra prayers for him with everything on his plate, but sometimes, even the extra work is fun.

Tonight he came in and asked if I would help him write a poem for his on-line class – and he did such a good job, I have to share!

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I crawled all day through thick brush and thorny vines

To see her eyes that are so divine

I evaded predators big and small

Fast and short, round and tall

With me I carried my parcel and a sack

Full of dishes and utensils and a tasty snack

After a long days journey to see my sweet

I pulled out a blanket and set up a feast

Once the dishes were placed and the last candle was lit

I crossed my six legs as I prepared to sit

Then I looked up, saw her crawling towards me

And I had to shout “Oh, no! Lookout! The branch is falling from the tree!”

Crisis averted she gave me a hug

My one and only, my little lady bug.

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Sometimes it’s the little things that make the days brighter.  After he finished his assignment, he came back to the living room and we talked.  Not about anything special, the book I’m currently reading, his extra-curricular activities and such, but it is so nice that even after all this time, and through the teenage years, my son still wants my help and likes to sit and talk to me.  🙂

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So, Maybe I’m a Bit Sentimental

So, maybe I am a bit sentimental.  Or, maybe it’s just this time of the year.  I love the holidays, once we hit October 1st, I’m on a high the rest of the year (of course, some of that could be the candy and breads and other goodies!).

Halloween is super fun, Thanksgiving is a great time to renew my vow to live a life of gratitude, but Christmas, Christmas is all about the family life I’ve made.  Not just the nuclear and extended family, but my friends that have become family, too.

We put up our tree yesterday.  I know it seems early; however, Thanksgiving comes late and well, it’s a lot of work to put my tree up and I want to enjoy it as long as possible! I’m sitting here with a nice bowl of chili, watching the Cowboys and letting the glow of the lights on the tree take me away! (And, well, because doing three things isn’t enough, I’m writing this blog post, too!)

Tons of memories are made this time of year, and in our family, our traditions have traditions! Every year when we were growing up, mom and dad would let each of us kids pick out an ornament for the tree.  You could track our lives via the ornaments and year after year as we were putting our special ornaments on the tree, one of us would occasionally hold up an ornament and go “oh, I remember when…”

I’ve carried this tradition on with Mr. T, and yesterday was filled of moments “Oh, this was when you did this” or “I made this back when…”

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Our tree is nestled in the corner of the living room, out of the way but still visible from every angle.

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Here is the little stained glass church that was one of my childhood ornaments.  It is the first ornament to go on the tree, period.  Nothing goes on until I have placed this little guy.  I absolutely love this ornament.  I don’t remember when I got it, but it will always be my favorite!

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Look! It has my name!  All the way back from 4th grade!! Which also gives away my approximate age for those of you good at math!

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Merry Kissmas! I got this ornament when I was a teenager – and you know you’re as old as me if you recognize the character!

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Here is a new ornament!  My friend Kari sent this to me all the way from Alaska!  It’s entirely too awesome for words!

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I bought this for Mr. T’s first Christmas – isn’t it adorable? I did have a traditional baby’s first Christmas ornament that was a beautiful blue china rattle sent to me by my friend Melissa; however, one year we dropped it and no amount of glue was fixing that!

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First off, yes, there are candy canes all over our tree.  I load the tree up with peppermint and mint chocolate candy canes.  Everyone has gotten used to this and almost everyone who visits automatically grabs one off the tree to enjoy – including me and Mr. T!

Nestled among the branches and candy canes is Elmo, the first ornament that Mr. T picked out all by himself.

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Here we have a cloths pin reindeer that Mr. T made when he was little.

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Even Spongebob and Patrick get in on the action.  And, to be clear – those are two separate ornaments, I realize now that it looks like they are attached, but they aren’t.  We also have Shaggy and Scooby doo and on the other side of the tree in a perpetual battle you will find Spiderman and Dr. Octopus.

Putting up the ornaments gives me time to reflect on years past, think about the upcoming year and to spend 30 minutes with Mr. T where all we have to do is enjoy each other and sing along with Christmas carols playing in the background.  We laugh and joke, reminisce and make plans and let the stress of the world melt away.

And then I put up another one of my ornaments… it pretty much speaks for itself!

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On a slightly related note – I now have to go search for Supernatural ornaments – cause I think that I’d enjoying looking at this every year! Maybe when I write my letter to Santa I’ll ask if he can just wrap up Dean Winchester and leave him under my tree!

Seriously, who wouldn't want to be him?

I’m a Kid at Heart

I’m still such a kid at heart.  Yesterday was Six Flags day.  For those not aware, it’s an awesome amusement park.  When my brother Lee was young, he and I had season passes and went all of the time.  Now that I have Mr. T, we try and make it a couple of times every year.  I love it!  I have so much fun walking through the park, riding the rides and examining everything the gift shops have to offer!

I have learned some things, though:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes!!
  2. Don’t wear flip flops if you are going on the Batman ride
  3. It’s worth it to buy the refillable mug
  4. The last person to take a drink has to hold the mug – if they try and hand it back to you, just pretend you can’t see them.
  5. You are never too old for Yosemite Sam.
  6. You can be too old for the Titan (85 mph, with a 255-foot drop)

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Alright Six Flags, Bring it!!  Mr. T, Me, Samantha and Jayman.

Most kids line up for pictures with the characters… and then there is me.

Aren't we a great looking family?

Aren’t we a great looking group?  Jayman, his friend C, Amy, Samantha and Mr .T.  (Amy is my sister and Jayman and Sam are her twins.)

Six Flags family picture

Funny story.  As I was taking this picture, a Six Flags host walked up and asked if he could take the picture so I could be included.  Of course!! As I was running over to join the family a random stranger yells out “Hey, I want to be in the picture!”  Now, most families would be “no way!” but not our family!  We were like “Come on random stranger! Join our group picture!”  So, random guy is on the left.  He was a good sport!

Okay, even more funny story (funnier story? most funniest of stories?). Yet again I wanted a picture, and this time with Pepe’ Le Pew, and as I was holding his arm I was like “Pepe, you work out!” When the picture was done, Pepe indicated that I should really check out his bicep… dude was totally built! Then he wanted me to check out his forearm, which about as big as his bicep! So, as I’m groping him, it dawns on me, and I look at my sister and crack up “I’m totally molesting what is probably a 17 year old kid!!”

Six Flags Me and T

 

End of the day and another selfie with Mr. T, in front of the huge Christmas Tree.  It was a wonderful day and a great time was had by all.

And yes, that happened – I may or may not have groped the arms of a 17 year old kid.