Thursday, December 27, 2007
Vitus is a Swiss movie about a young boy who is a prodigy, his struggles to be "normal," and his relationships with his family. It was a wonderful family-friendly movie and was enjoyed by all of us. It also had really good music.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
We had our extended family gatherings on Friday and Sunday. Friday night we got together at my mom's. Every year the kids re-enact the Christmas story in costumes that my mom makes for them. (In spite of the red eyes, I like this picture.)
Mom is always trying to keep up with the growing kids. Abby's angel gown is a bit short this year! Of course, having Abby with us, doing so well, was a huge source of joy for all of us.
On Sunday, after church, we went to my in-laws. It was nice to be able to have a relaxing day there without the pressure of needing to get to another place afterward. My little nieces are so adorable. I forgot my camera, so I don't have pictures, but trust me! We had some good laughs watching Colin's sister's wedding video from almost eight years ago. We got home late that night, but stayed up until after one watching White Christmas together.
On Christmas Eve we decorated our tree and then my mom and step-dad joined us for dinner. We used the good china and had a lovely dinner. We headed over to church for our 10:30 service. Christmas Eve services at Redeemer are always wonderful, but the music was especially good, and Pastor Petersen preached a fantastic sermon.
After we got home I tried to fill the stockings as quickly as possible, because I knew Christmas morning would be there before I was ready.
Especially since my alarm didn't go off! When I woke up and it was light outside I knew we were late. My family surprised me and they all got ready and out the door in an hour.
We had another wonderful church service and another great sermon. I thought that I was going to make it through the service without tears for the first time in months, but as the row behind us returned from the communion rail quite a few of us shed tears of joy as we watched a friend who had his leg amputated above the knee, make his way back his seat with a walker for the first time since his surgery. It has been a rough year for many of us, but there is also so much to be grateful for.
After church I made my first attempt at cooking a whole beef tenderloin. We had a lovely time with our guests, Katie and Nathan. We sat at the table for hours after the meal talking, reminding me of dinners we've shared with the rest of Katie's family.
And, oh yeah, I got an iPod!
I love the week between Christmas Day and New Years. We have services every day at church. Colin is home. Today, since we had sun and relative warmth, he played basketball and went for a bike ride with the boys.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Yesterday I played a little game. I wanted to see how many people I could make smile and/or wave at me while I was in my car. (I briefly considered seeing how many people I could make jump frantically out of my way, but I don't think Bethany would have let me.)
I am usually pretty good about letting people cross in front of me, pull out into traffic, etc. But I discovered that when you do that and give them a big smile, almost everyone smiles back. They don't just hold their hand up in a quick wave of acknowledgment. They smile! There was only one person all day who didn't smile at me. Bethany and I decided that--from the way she looked--she was probably on her lunch hour and preoccupied with everything she needed to accomplish in that short time period, so we cut her some slack and didn't run over her.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Got this from my friend Meg's blog. Since I've been a bit blog-challenged lately I decided that these questions were just the thing I need.
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper.
2. Tree - Real or Artificial? Real. We go to a local tree farm and pick the perfect tree.
3. When do you put the Christmas tree up? Sometime between the 20-23.
4. When do you take the tree down? After Epiphany.
5. Like Egg Nog? Love it. Especially spiked and topped with real whipped cream and fresh grated nutmeg.
6. Do you have a nativity scene? A couple of them
7. Favorite gift received as a child? I'm not sure. Probably the baby doll and carriage that I got when I was about four. Or maybe the guitar that I got in seventh grade.
8. Hardest person to buy for? My youngest brother-in-law. He's single and really lacks nothing that he wants.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Bethany. Hands down.
10. Worst Christmas gift? Can't say. :)
11. Mail or email a Christmas Card? Mail. Ideally. When I get them done. Which isn't often.
12. Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? The day after TG
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? shhhhhh--yep!
15. Favorite food to eat on Christmas? Cookies!
16. Clear or colored tree lights? colored
17. Favorite Christmas Song? probably Hark the Herald Angels Sing
18. Travel during Christmas or stay home? Stay home as much as possible. For the first fifteen years we were married we lived out of state most of the time, so we had to travel, attend less-than-stellar Christmas services, and cram in tons of stuff into a couple of days. We vastly prefer to be at home, relax and enjoy our church services!
19. Can you name Santa’s reindeer’s? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, Rudolph - but then Meg had them done already.
20. Angel or Star on tree top? Angel, now, but I want a star.
21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Day
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? All of the debates, blather etc., about the secularization of Christmas. The commercial Christmas season is secular. It's become a part of the American culture. But nothing anyone else does or doesn't do can secularize the season of Advent or the Christ-mass that we celebrate. I enjoy both parts for what they are!
Now the tagging: I'm feeling lazy. I may come back and do real tags later, but for right now, if you read this, consider yourself tagged.
She is still in the hospital having about six hours a day of speech, physical, and occupational therapy. We aren't sure when she's going home, but it sounds like it will be soon. After that she will need to go to outpatient therapy for a while.
She's got some work to do, but she's doing great!
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
We have had continuing good news about Abby. She is doing really well and is no longer in ICU. I am not the kind to throw words like "miracle" around loosely, but when I look at where we were on Friday and where we are now, my heart overflows with thanks to God!
(And I've heard enough medical people and those with experience with things like this using words like "incredible" and "amazing" the past few days to tell me I'm right.)
She's still got some recovery to go, but things look SO much better than anyone expected at this point. She was so excited about seeing her little sister and her big sister last night!
Saturday, December 01, 2007
No, I haven't lost interest in blogging again, but we're been in crisis mode since Thursday.
My six year old niece, Abby (in the self-portrait with her big cousin Bethany,) was taken to the hospital Thursday night for what turned out to be a blood clot from an arterial bleed in her brain. She is at an excellent children's hospital in Indianapolis, had successful surgery to remove it, and all seems to be going better than expected. There are still concerns: The clot was in a very vital location and the damage that she may have suffered could affect speech, cognition, and possibly the vision in one eye. There are still concerns about brain swelling and infection. But we are all cautiously optimistic.
I want to thank all of you who have been praying for her up to this point. I think that our whole family has been encouraged and strengthened by the people all over who have been praying.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I couldn't get these pictures of my desk to upload last night, but I promised some friends that I would put them up.
These shelves and filing cabinets are the relatively good part. This is leftover sanity from when my organizer came and helped me. My files are in good shape, I just need to catch up.
And you can't see the three shopping bags of stuff that has been carried up from other parts of the house. Those need to be dealt with, too.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Assorted scraps of paper with unidentifiable bits of information are all over. For instance "03826," "blue," and "Mary" written in different spots on the back of a Far Side desk calendar page. Here's a phone number with no identifying info on a post-it. (I have post-its in at least six colors among the clutter on my desk.)
This feels like an excavation.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I went with my mom, Bethany, my sister-in-law Kim, and my niece Kate to The Fashion Mall at Keystone in Indianapolis. We have tried other malls for the post-Turkey Day shop, but Keystone is the best. It isn't mobbed by bargain hunters; we always find some good gifts; and there are good lunch options.
Lunch. Mom treated us to the Cheesecake Factory. It was yummy. Mom, Kim, and I were sane and shared a piece of cheesecake.
Too bad. It was soooo good.
The people watching at Keystone is fun, too. Different. Lots of designer bags and people looking like the "Dos" in a fashion magazine instead of the "Don'ts." I love seeing people who wear their clothes really well! I, of course, dressed in my signature black.
After the mall we made a quick run to Trader Joe's. I stocked up on coffee and chocolate.
All in all a most satisfactory day.
I even considered deleting my blog. I hate neglected blogs. But I can't do it. So I'll have to write. I'll have to be disciplined.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
This is the anniversary of another one of my favorite days. Twelve years ago today Andrew Robert Casey made his grand entrance in Highland Park, Illinois. He has been keeping life fun and interesting ever since!
All the world is indeed a stage for this child. He is a total ham. Until he was about 4 he honestly believed he could fly.
Here he is at four. That sparkle in the eye tells you all you need to know!
Here he is at nine playing soccer. His main occupation on the soccer field is always checking to see who's watching him.
I love this picture from the spring of 2006 at Foster Park.
This picture of him with his big brothers at the Milwaukee Zoo this summer is pretty typical.
And then there's this view of him captured by his sister:
This really catches my favorite side of him that I have been fortunate to see lots of over the years. This is the sweet Andrew who would snuggle on my lap in the mornings and who always has to hug hello and goodbye with his brothers and sisters, grandpas and grandmas, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, cats....
And he's growing up quickly. By the time his next birthday rolls around he's going to be taller than I. I keep getting alternating glimpses of my sweet, goofy, slightly spoiled baby and the man he's going to become. You'd think by the time my third son is hitting this stage I'd be getting used to it, but this is my baby!
So, happy birthday, Andrew!
Friday, November 02, 2007
My bags are almost packed and I'm almost ready to go.
This weekend I'll be scrapbooking with Bethany and a couple of non-blogging friends at a Y camp in northern Indiana. With the exception of a break Sunday morning to drive home for church I'll be buried in photos and scraps of paper all weekend. Well, and maybe we'll take the break or two to walk in the woods or play tetherball.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
It was started by a lady who has a blog called Blue Tea. (Thus the name!)
According to the original poster, the rules for this meme are: “Devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take. Tag five.”Meg's classes all look really cool, but I think I'll take this one: Carpentry and woodworking class. This is an area where I have very little skill. I've done a bit of refinishing, but I have more that needs to be done.
What else would I take?
Oh, my......this is tough!
I would take Guitar. I haven't played for years and I miss it. I would even cut my fingernails.
Excel. Yes, I know it isn't exciting, but it would sure make my treasurer job easier if I could do Excel without calling my husband for help.
German. The class would need to include reading old German writing. That would be quite helpful in my genealogy research.
Church history. This is an area where I really feel a lack of knowledge. I know I could just read some books, but sometimes it's fun to just have someone tell you.
Organic gardening. Yes, our garden did fabulously well this year. That was beginner's luck! I would love a class where someone help me know the best time to plant certain things, how to have nice healthy compost, how to deal with certain pests, etc.
Sewing. Sewing, sewing, sewing.
Digital photography. I do okay, but I would love for my pictures to be better, and I'd love to learn how to use all of the functions that the camera has.
Finally, although I believe it is hopeless and likely pointless, I would take a class in Organization.
Now for the tags. Hmmm. This is hard. The good thing is, I know you all will tag everyone I couldn't. Melynda. Barb TEG. Lora. Susan. Cheryl.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Okay, I may not love all cemeteries, but I love the country cemeteries where earlier generations of my family are buried. (The one above is Elhanan Cemetery in northern Wells County.)
For a history buff like me, who is also part of a close family, family history is a natural interest. I have been researching for over 10 years now, but moving to northern Indiana five years ago really reinvigorated my searches. Both of my parents are from the county to the south of Fort Wayne, and the last immigrant ancestors of mine arrived there in the late 1840's. Our families were among the early settlers of three northern Indiana counties: Adams, Allen, and Wells.
This gives me an enormous feeling of connection to this part of the country. I love finding the homes that family members lived in, seeing the churches the attended--and often helped build--and walking through the cemeteries where they were buried. I love finding newspaper snippets about their comings and goings, reading their letters, and seeing their names on old plat maps.
I love the cemeteries for their serene country settings. I love the signs of the faith that was an important part of their lives. There are eight cemeteries that I know pretty well, now, but each time I go I seem to make a new connection. There are a few I have yet to find. A beautiful fall day is the perfect time to go search.
My great-great-great grandparents, Joseph and Anna Harrod moved here from WiIlliams County, Ohio.
Their son Enos and his wife Hester have one of my favorite headstones. Enos and Hester's daughter, Alta Jane Harrod Ruhl was my great-grandmother and I was named after her.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
It's a cool fall day. My hubby is in town. Apple butter is simmering in the crock pot. Some nice fresh bread is rising.
I had a stressful week last week, but Sunday I went to church and got what my soul needed, and on Monday some medical tests turned out in the desired fashion and took care of that bit of stress.
Oh, sure, I'm still behind. I still have way more to do than I can realistically handle. But life is good.
I'm a shopper and I like a bargain, but I don't think that what we're getting at Wal-mart is a bargain. Check out this video, which was linked to by Scott for a look at an amusing take on Wal-mart's "low prices."
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
1. Link the person who has tagged you.
2. Tell seven true things about yourself.
3. Tag seven new people.
4. Leave a message with the person you have tagged so they know about it. I am supposed to name seven truths about myself............. and tag seven new people.
Hmmmmmmm, seven true things about me.
1. I need coffee to function at anything resembling an effective level.
2. I love to buy gifts.
3. I would rather read than just about anything.
4. My house is a wreck. (Hmmmmm, could there be a causal relationship between those last two?)
5. I wish that I could go to the beach, even just for one day.
6. Then I could read on the beach.
7. I do not color my hair.
7. My house is a wreck.
Now for the tags. I haven't been getting around to blogs much so I don't know who else may have been tagged. If you read this, consider yourself tagged. Except for Bethany. You are tagged.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I've deleted thousands of old emails. Why was I saving those?
I've emptied my half of the closet, sorted through all of my clothes, put my fall clothes in order in my closet, and put my summer clothes in the office closet. I've got a nice bag to take to the clothing bank.
I've dusted my ceiling fan and the cobwebs around the beam in the vaulted ceiling in my bedroom.
I've gotten my calendar all filled in and thrown away dozens of post-it notes. I've put the proposed church budget for next year into Excel.
I've gotten everything disgusting out of my fridge and I've made supper. (Those two are NOT directly related.)
My life and house are still pretty chaotic, but they're WAY better than they were yesterday.
And , as an added bonus, I've gotten to listen to hours of Issues, Etc. archived shows while I work.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I have been buried. Absolutely plowed under.
Yesterday I finally had two hours at home in a row to work in my office, so at least I can see the surface of my desk again. As this week goes on I plan to slowly reclaim my house.
I haven't just been busy. My life has felt like a vortex of swirling chaos. Everything is out of control. I even paid some bills late because they just got buried.
So in my moments in the car I have been reading Getting Things Done again. I had read and partially implemented this before, but I'm working on getting it fully implemented. This is the only one of the dozens of organization/time management books that I have read that seems to work for me. I need something to help me keep the vortex of chaos at bay!
Sunday, September 30, 2007
So I didn't post about the St. Michael Conference or Pastor Stuckwisch's encounter with a bottle of Dr. Pepper as was requested by at least one friend. (By the way, Andrew is very sorry!)
I didn't post about planting our trees, although I may get to that yet.
I didn't post about planning my class reunion, lost library books, teaching a class of 6-17 year olds, or myriad other topics that have spun through my head.
Maybe I'll get to some of them. But first I need to clean my office. And play Scrabulous.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Now, first, everyone remembers that just 13 days ago my oldest turned 21. Right? And some of you remember that I celebrated my 40th birthday in Florida a few years back. Right?
So, last Friday morning,
I was at the grocery store buying bread, Doritos, beer, and cheap wine. The girl at the register said, "Can I see your ID?" I thought she meant the little scanny-discount-card-thingy so I handed her that and she swiped it. Then she kept waiting. "Can I see your driver's license?"
Still not getting it, I pulled it out and gave it to her. I thought that maybe the store had switched to a new system and needed ID for my debit card or to make sure I was using my own BigBrother discount card. I was just getting ready to ask her why she needed it when she looked up at me and back at the ID. "Wow! You look really young!"
I think I floated out of the store.
Just for grins, here I am at 21.
I think my attire may have had something to do with it. I was carded about two years ago when I was wearing a sweatshirt, tennies, etc. This time I was wearing a pale pink fleece pullover and jeans and cute earrings. And then there's the whole Doritos & beer thing.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I am relaxing by playing with a book-related site that a fellow homeschooler led me to. Goodreads. Come be my friend.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Look! My dining room table is clean! No scrapbooking stuff!
This is the tiramisu from the Pioneer Woman Cooks. It was incredible! Although I do know two things that I want to do slightly better next time. Some of my lady fingers weren't quite soaked with the espresso, and I want to use a slightly smaller pan. (The Pampered Chef pan is bigger than a true 9X13.)
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
|You Are a Yellow Crayon|
Your world is colored with happy, warm, fun colors.
You have a thoughtful and wise way about you. Some people might even consider you a genius.
Charming and eloquent, you are able to get people to do things your way.
While you seem spontaneous and free wheeling, you are calculating to the extreme.
Your color wheel opposite is purple. You both are charismatic leaders, but purple people act like you have no depth.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
A bottle of good Chianti was an important part of the experience, because the fiasco is signed by everyone present to commemorate the evening.
Bethany with her brothers on Monument Circle.
Buca, with the Artsgarden in the background.
Bethany climbing off her chair after the waiters had her stand on it for the singing of Happy Birthday.
Opening gifts with the oldest of her girl cousins, Kate.
Bethany with her fan club, aka, brothers and cousins.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Twenty-one years ago today, September 7, 1986, I held the first of my children in my arms for the first time. I can't say I became a mother, because I'd already been a mother for about nine months, but the absolute joy that I felt when I first looked into my daughter's eyes that morning has rarely been matched.
She was an adorable, precocious child who has grown into a beautiful, smart, hard-working, lovable adult. I am happy to say that she is not just my daughter, but is also one of my best friends.
Happy birthday, sunshine.
(I tried and tried to find a picture of Bethany alone. Every picture has a cousin, brother or someone else in it. I finally picked this one because I like it!)
I may try to scan a few older pictures from her younger days later on.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I have not uploaded photos since last Labor Day weekend. I have an entire year of photos to upload. How on earth did I let a year go by without doing this? This order could really cut into my Starbuck's budget for the next few months!
I'm trying not to get too bogged down in looking at pictures, but it has been quite a year! And I can't believe how much all of the kids have changed. So I may have to share a few favorites, such as this one of my mom and step-dad with my brother on his fortieth birthday.
Or maybe this one of my hubby, also taken at Buca.
Or maybe this one of my kids and sweet nieces from Symphony on the Prairie this year:
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
She is walking in the Breast Cancer 3-Day this weekend and I am so proud of the determination she has shown in getting prepared for this. As I have watched her struggle through these months of preparation, I have prayed for her in her discouragement and watched her push through.
And she's going to do it. Go Jen!
Monday, September 03, 2007
Then I was tyrannical about organizing what went back in. After eleven hours we all gazed in exhaustion at our beautiful, clean organized garage.
Organizing the newly clean shelves.
Patrick isn't going walkabout. He's just making the long trek back in with the camping equipment.
The side yard at the height of the chaos.
A moment of fun before the hula hoops are put away.
Yesterday was a lovely day of rest. Today we labor again.