Wednesday, December 31, 2008

no big deal

For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning- though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. ~ from Psalm 90
This afternoon Bobby and I took advantage of the extended days for the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the NC State Museum of Science. It was a little disappointing, (an hour long exhibit for six pieces of a scroll?!?) but at the same time enjoyable and informative. One of the neat things was the English translation of the scroll or papyrus on display. This particular one listed several passages, so I made a mental note to look this one up when I got home.
Sometimes I hate how quickly time passes and how little it seems I can accomplish. New Year's Goals? Yeah, maybe I'll actually get one accomplished, and if I do that's a tremendous accomplishment! I really like this passage from Psalm 90 (the above is the NIV translation, which I think is what they were using on the tablet), as it reminds me that God's view of time is not the same as mine. He asks for my best, not perfection on the world's timetable. And that is SO refreshing and freeing.

Monday, December 29, 2008

get your house in order

My grandmothers were very clean people. My mother thoroughly enjoys cleaning, though she doesn't quite hit the same level my grandmothers were on. I don't enjoy cleaning, but I do like things to be clean. I've almost given up on neatness.

One thing that they all instilled in me is the crazy concept that your house must be in order before you go somewhere big - like a vacation or something. After all, you could die in a car crash or have to go to the hospital, and then people would go into your house and find it in a terrible mess. Who wants to be remembered by that?

So up until this past year, I would sometimes be up almost all night not only trying to get things packed up, but also trying to totally clean house as well. Or should I say, make the house presentable?

The Chinese had a horrible superstition that my mother and grandparents would have enjoyed. Spring Festival (the Chinese New Year based on the lunar calendar) required EVERYTHING to be cleaned top to bottom before the new year began. After all, it was exceptionally bad luck to take old dirt into the new year. The ladies would clean like mad and almost wear themselves into a frazzle cleaning before the big event. And my students were mortified to find we didn't have such a custom. Many of them assumed that was why we took such a long Christmas break in America...to clean for the New Year.

I've thought about both of those traditions/customs off and on the past few days. Partly because I actually had several days off of work, thanks to Christmas and the weekend falling back to back, and I used some of that time to actually straighten up some things that were in desperate need of attention. I've actually cleaned out five kitchen drawers (and yes, I crazily tend to ignore the big things like sweeping and mopping and go for the minute details that no one else will see).

I was supposed to clean Grandma White's house the weekend before she entered the hospital for a routine surgery, but due to various reasons it didn't happen. She told me we got it clean enough the last time and it wasn't how she wanted to leave it but it would have to do. She had other things in the house to get in order. She died in the recovery room. My other Granny, whom we called Rea-Rea, died in her sleep. They said her house was meticulous. The dishes were washed and in the drainer with the cloth over them as she taught us, the broom was in the hallway, and as always, everything was spotless. They both had their houses in order. Me? I've left instructions that when I die no one is to enter the house until someone comes in to clean.

I don't think I'll ever reach the "cleanliness is next to godliness" mantra. I'll probably never once reach the Chinese level of cleanliness before a New Year. But I might actually manage to finish cleaning out all the kitchen cabinets. So if I die and you come to my house to weep and mourn, overlook the floors and dust, but you can check out my organized kitchen cabinets and pantry!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

spoiled selfish

It's not often I get to go shopping (a.k.a. browsing), so when my sister called Friday and asked if I could meet her and the girls Friday I was thrilled. There were several things I wanted to look at, and thought this would be the great opportunity to have bonding time with my nieces.

hahahahahahaha What was I thinking?

Gone are the days when my nieces were predictable little people whose personalities were blatantly obvious and they were very easy to shop with and for. Deja vu to the '80's where I exasperated my mother to no end, only this time I was in the adult shoes. I didn't have any objection to anything the girls picked out or wanted to try on; they did a great job of choosing modest clothes that met their own personal sense of style. And there's part of the rub...I can't quite figure that style out. If I get the "look" right, the colors would be wrong, etc. They weren't rude or snobby about it, but I could tell by the facial expression that Aunt Monica was Soooo out of touch. And after almost three hours of standing in line, fighting traffic, and observing, and getting a headache, I had yet to look at one thing I was interested in. I noticed my sister didn't look for anything. Talk about an eye opener! I knew my life was scheduled, but I had never realized how, well, selfish it is. I enjoyed the day; I learned a few things about my nieces, but I also had to constantly focus my mind on the girls as people with individual wants, personalities, and needs. Today when I spent part of my time shopping my youngest niece, I was reminded again of the change, and realized how quickly that day is coming/has come when she will no longer be thrilled with what I predict she wants, for her developing personality will be trying out new things and changing.
I don't want to be a stuck-in-the mud person. But I also recognize for us to maintain a somewhat sane balance in life's rat race, we must stick to our rigid schedule. Bobby's disability and my stretch for some semblance of order demands it. And yet somewhere in this structure, I also recognize the need to flex myself in ways that aren't happening. People with large families develop that flexibility as there are multiple personalities to contend with. In our household, there's just two people to make happy: me and my husband. And most of the time that's fairly simple. Six weeks out of the year when the kids come, that dynamic changes considerably. And I struggle - bad. I want my life back in order, I want my job back in order, I want my relationship with my husband back in order....I want, I want, I want. We're supposed to be thinking about New Year's Resolutions, which I quit doing many years ago, but I'm contemplating that maybe some changes are in order. Having kids in the house for 6 weeks should make me realize how selfish I am...but a shopping trip? Guess I've got more to work on than I wanted to admit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Gift

A few years after my grandfather died, my grandmother stayed at our house to spend Christmas Eve with us (the entire extended family would come for Christmas day). She actually came up on the 23rd, and shocked me and my siblings by jubilantly waking us up Christmas Eve with a "Christmas Eve Gift!" shout. Come to find out, it was a tradition in my Mom's family when she was growing up, and evidently in my Grandmother's childhood home as well. There wasn't an actual gift given, but was just the game of seeing who could say it first. We thought it was funny, and it became a game we took on. The remainder of her life, we would always try to call her Christmas Eve, but she realized it had to be one of us or her other grandchildren, and started answering the phone with "Christmas Eve Gift!" It became a challenge to try and say it as soon as we thought she had the phone to her ear.

Two years ago, like this year, it was our turn to have Christmas in NC instead of AL. So I made my Christmas Eve phone calls, and took up Granny's habit of answering the phone that morning with "Christmas Eve Gift!" as Dad had already got me. Only halfway through my list of people to check off, Bobby's niece called. We don't have caller id, so I had no way of knowing who it was. There was a dead silence on the other end, and I quickly realized I had a non-AL relative on the other end. I started laughing and tried to explain, but got a drawn out, "OoooKay" as if to say "Aunt Monica is totally crazy." Bobby suggests we should get caller id just for Christmas Eve, and the crazy thing is: I actually briefly considered it!

So if you for some weird reason have to call me tomorrow and I answer with a loud "Christmas Eve gift!", the proper response is to say something along the lines of "Christmas Eve gift to you, too" or "I'll get you next year!" I'm really not expecting a gift.

So now you know!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

the grinchies

Today is one of those days when I should be singing, "Joy, joy, joy JOY to the world!"
My cousin Sharon is still alive and has shown rapid improvements: she's off the ventilator, has had dialysis cut back to 2x a day, is totally and fully alert, has her memory, and is off most pain medicines.
The Bryan clan is going to Meadow restaurant and lights tonight.
I have my tree up and 2/3 of the nativity set unpacked.
2/3 of the Christmas cards are done.
1/3 of the dogs' underground fence has been rerouted.
I was able to work only one hour late to get everything I needed to get done finished.
I have tomorrow off, and we'll leave for Myrtle Beach as soon as I get us packed tomorrow.
A good chunk of the laundry is done.
So why do I feel like the Grinch?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

tales you don't tell your Dad

Once upon a time and not so long ago, there was a very shaky pier. It was so shaky in fact, that at least one of its owners feared instead of fishing for fish, she might one day have to fish for her husband. So they called the people with magical tools and knowledge of pipes, wood, and water to come and majestically replace the battered and worn pier with new wood and a different platform.
The work began, and the waters receded from the sides of the pond.
The old majestic pier was chopped down, and tree roots and empty fishing nurseries appeared also known as old tires and barrels. Deer tracks became prevalent in the mud, and the scooped pools of renowned fishing beds were brought to light, revealing the hatcheries of numerous eggs from days gone by.






















And the waters subsided some more, to the point that the building of a new and glorious pier could begin.
With the recession of the waters came a wondrous discovery: the stream that fed the pond.
Now mind you, this is not just any old stream. It is a stream that has managed to continue past the building of the nefarious beavers and their two dams. As seen below, dams are not the cutesy dwellings as seen in the Chronicles of Narnia, nor are the creatures themselves nice and cuddly. For the sake of time in this story, we'll just call them mutant rats. And these mutant rats take trees and limbs and strip the sides of a pond bare to build a monstrous mess. Then they pile mud in around the mess, which will then produce growths of grass and seedlings and will acquire layers of pine straw. Quite sturdy the ugly little constructions are. Which is part of the reason I've never understood my father's admonitions to stay away from such creatures and their habitats.
So on this particular beautiful December day, to celebrate for the first time ever in the history of our marriage the ability to walk the entire circumference of our property, I embarked across the beaver dam. Halfway across, a mud pit was encountered. Perhaps it was a flaw in the dam, or the entrance to the beaver's home where their ancestral skeletal remains or an old arthritic mutant rat was sleeping. Maybe beaver dams are really not that structurally sound and the supports just gave way beneath my feet. But whatever reason, one leg was stuck almost knee deep. I lean forward to pull my leg out in hopes of keeping my shoe on, and my other leg sinks to the knee. I feel the mud seeping in.
You know how people talk about their lives flashing before their eyes? Mine didn't, but I did have a multitude of thoughts flash through my brain at one time. If I keep trying to save my shoes, my hands are sinking in this as well. My camera costs more than my shoes do...keep your waist above water. There could be snakes in here. A beaver could be here! They have sharp teeth. These sticks could trap my leg. Bobby can't see this spot from the house, and it's another 45 minutes before he gets home. This water is cold. Would he hear me if I yelled? Why can't this just be water underneath instead of muck and wood? What's Bobby going to say when he finds out I've lost my new orthopedic shoes?
I escape, shoeless and breathless. I temporarily pause and debate crawling back and attempting to retrieve my shoes, but sanity overrides and I gingerly make my way back to the house.
And as if to mock me even more, the first tree within grasping reach is one the beavers have chewed. A plant grows from its top, giving it the appearance of a planter combined with a bird house - a symbol of home.
And with that simple touch of irony, I go home and do what I should have been doing in the first place: putting up Christmas decorations.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Morning Reflections

There's times when I don't have a camera, but there are certain images ingrained in my brain. Here's my mental scrapbook from yesterday:

Photo #1: Jessica Reese standing and rocking Baby Jesus backstage to the beat of We Three Kings Of Orient Are.

Photo #2: Josh McLean grinning, looking at his costume, then drawing his arms back into a karate stance.

Photo #3: Justin turning his head left and right to see what's happening around him while I'm trying to place his headpiece on his head.

Photo#4: Jasmine asking me for a candycane because my "daddy" wants one. I asked her if it was for the guy in the wheelchair, and she nodded and said, "yes, for your Daddy." I laughed and told her that was my husband. She then insisted that he eat it, which he couldn't because it had paper on it. Josh McLean stepped in to help, and then got in trouble for having sticky hands! Serves Bobby right for picking on kids about their candy!

Photo #5: The primary girls going through the hand motions of Away in a manger, and the boys belting out their parts.

Photo #6: Dress up time in the nursery.

Photo #7: Jonathan's facial expressions as I teased him about his Christmas list while he helped me set up communion.

Photo #8: Michelle's smile as she calmed down.

Photo #9: My finally up and ghastly lit Christmas tree. I ran out of lights and mistakenly bought a strand of colored lights instead of clear. 3/4 of my tree has clear lights, and the top part has multi-colors. But I'm too tired and ready to get it done and over with to go back and redo. And it will probably save me time because i won't be as inclined to sit and smile and look at it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Sharon update

The dr met with my cousin's family today, and is thankful that the hemorrhaging has finally stopped. They are stopping the sedatives and since she has shown some signs of alertness he is going to try and stop some of the pain medicine in hopes that will help. The infection has moved into the bloodstream, and the dr has warned that she will be in critical condition for some time. Her sister took little Jake home from his hospital yesterday, and made a recording of his cry. When the played it for Sharon today, her eyes snapped open and she grinned very big. She's also motioning that the ventilator is uncomfortable. They are still giving her blood, and she is still on dialysis. Please join me in praying for a complete recovery, and in rejoicing that the prayers of God's people have prevailed when the doctors were saying she would not survive through Friday.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

time

It's strange how one minute you can have a frantic to-do list checking off in your brain, feeling both exhilarated and exhausted at the never ceasing tick of the clock, and then in one minute it can all change.

Yesterday was one of those days. I was pleased with how my to do list was continuously getting checked, feeling as if I were headed in the right direction. Then I called my Mom, and as I heard her tears, my heart lurched, and ever since my head and my heart have been riveting from one bunny trail to the other, feeling as if so much of life is so unimportant.

Thursday my cousin went to her doctor, and was told that due to an infection they were going to induce that afternoon. Hours after giving birth to a healthy baby boy, she was airlifted to B'ham, her husband being told at departure they didn't expect her to make it. She is still in critical care. All last night while listening to people talk about babies and pregnancies, my mind is pondering if Sharon will make it, what her life will be like physically if she survives, and wondering how her husband is coping with a child in one hospital county, a wife at death's door in another, and a daughter with relatives. How do you explain to a child that Mommy left home okay but will now be in the hospital for a while? It seems I constantly hear the news of mothers killing their children, but a godly woman will be taken, leaving her children behind. I know that thanks to sin we live in a broken world and broken things hurt, but sometimes I just wish things didn't seem so out of whack.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hawaiian Pie

Crust:
1.5 sticks of butter
1 tsp sugar
1.5 c crushed graham crackers

Crust Directions:
Melt butter. Add sugar and crackers, firmly packing in 11x13 pan or dish.

Pie:
3-4 bananas
1 can Eagle Brand Milk
1/2 c lemon juice
2 T sugar
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 large cool whip
Optional: chopped nuts and cherries

Pie Directions:
Slice bananas onto the crust. In a bowl, mix milk, juice, and sugar. Spread over bananas. Drain and spread pineapples. Put cool whip on top. If desired, decorate with chopped nuts and cherries. Refrigerate. Eat!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas goodies

Realistically I won't have time to bake any this week, but these are some of my favorite goodies my Mom or Grandma always made at Christmastime.

  • tea cakes - I LOVED making these at my Aunt Linda's because she would let us eat the dough. Mom would only let us eat the tiny portions of scraps left over at the very end. And speaking of scraps, evidently most people don't roll them out and cut them into various shapes. Most pictures I found online were circles or were not what I remember as tea cakes.
  • Instant Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
  • Ritz crackers & peanut butter coated in chocolate - both white and dark!
  • FUDGE!
  • Hawaiian pie - Pineapples, bananas, nuts, cool whip, sweetened condensed milk - all on a buttered graham cracker crust....YYYUUUUMMMM!
  • chocolate covered pretzels
  • fried apple pies (individual size) - This was my Grandma's speciality, but something I haven't quite mastered. My big apple pies are okay, but not these small ones.
  • sausage balls

Mom also made something she called Martha Washington Candy, though it wasn't my favorite. Bobby's family has peanut butter balls (a peanut mixture, coated in chocolate of course!) which I absolutely love, homemade peanut brittle, which is also awesome but I haven't ventured into the challenge of making, chocolate chip cookies (and no matter what I do or how many tips she gives me, mine NEVER turn out like Mrs. Bryan's!), and my older sister introduced me to Oreo balls - oreos crushed, mixed with cream cheese, then coated in chocolate.

Is it any wonder why Mom always thought we had enough sweets on hand at Christmas and I didn't need a birthday cake?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

so very very true

It's been a LOOONGG but very good week. Between all the craziness of life, in the middle of the current whirlwind, I had an unexpected break yesterday. A trip that some of us planned months ago happened up on the calendar. I looked at my to do list, and thought about canceling. And then I thought about why I wanted to go, how long this date has been circled in its square in PEN, and said "I'm going." We left at 7am, arrived at the Concord Mills mall at 10am, shopped until 5pm, then headed home, stopping for supper, of course.
So this morning I'm sitting in church, not only tired, but VERY sore from all that walking and evidently carrying my too heavy purse and bags (I'm not kidding...even my arms were sore this morning!), thinking about what needs to be done, how I don't have any Christmas decorations up, and a myriad amount of other things, all the while trying to pay attention and ask God to settle my chaotic mind. And then lyrics from a song I've known since childhood just really grabbed me.
The world treats you mean, Lord.
Treats me mean, too.
But that's how things are down here.
We don't know who you are.
You have told us how.
We are tryin.
Master, you have shown us how, Even when you were dying.
Just seems like we can't do right.
Look how we treated you.
But please Sir, forgive us, Lord.
We didn't know it was you.
Sweet little Jesus boy, Born a long time ago.
Sweet little holy child, We didn't know who you were.
Does that not sum up our world today? All my silly fears and feelings of inadequacy, my constant struggle to not only feel but to show Christ's compassion to those who are in need (specifically the ones who brings things on themselves) or to those who just simply irritate me...aren't all those things brought about because I'm not recognizing the King of Kings for who He truly is? A very sobering thought, but also so very reassuring. We can't get it right, but He is faithful to forgive me...those mercies that are new every morning.
So maybe I won't get to decorating my house for Christmas this crazy week, or baking Christmas goodies, or writing Christmas cards, but that's okay. I know who He is and I know that I am his child. If I can just keep that forefront in my mind this week, I think I can deal with those things "down here."

Friday, December 5, 2008

it's all in the genes

My Mom claims that I had normal sleeping patterns as a baby until the dr gave me an antibiotic when I was sick. He told her it might make me sleep more. It didn't. What it did do, according to my Mom, was confuse me as to when it was night and day, and she claims I've never been straight since. All I know is that I am not, and have never been, a morning person.

I never quite know how to answer someone when they ask me what time I get up. Our alarm goes off at 5:45am Mon-Fri, at 6am on Sundays, and Saturdays depends on what we have to do. Note I said our alarm goes off. That doesn't mean I wake up. It's not uncommon for me to wake up with a very bad pain in my shoulder or neck where I've (unknowingly, of course) turned off the alarm clock then scooted as far away from Bobby's pointy elbow as possible, meaning I'm about to fall off the bed. I've even been known to get up and answer the telephone, and a few times even talk to the person before I wake up. That's never a good feeling when you wake up with a telephone in your hand and someone on the other line.

Now, having said all that, my parents very seldom let us "sleep in". Sleeping in meant being up by 8am. So while I consider 8am late (and my husband thinks the day is half over at that point), my energy level is far from its potential at that point. I guess you could say my schedule is like this:
5:45am - shut off the alarm
6:00-6:15am - get up to shut Bobby up
6:25am - hit panic mode and start rushing
7:20am - hopefully Bobby's out the door and I start getting ready
8:30am - I head to work
10:30am -I'm wide awake, ready for a snack or second breakfast and ready to go
4:30pm-6:30pm - Don't sit still or I'll fall asleep
8:30-9:00pm - start getting Bobby to bed
10:00pm - I've got my second burst of energy and have to decide whether to lay there until I fall asleep or do something until I get tired (or until 11:30pm, whichever comes first).

As a teenager, I used to think that it would be neat if the whole world operated on a late morning late night schedule. Especially those mornings when my little sister, whom I shared a room with, got up at 5:00am just to wash and dry her hair for school. (Remember the big bangs days of the '80s?) But then years later I spent a week in Thailand where it's that way. I discovered that I still wake up fairly early because that's what my body is trained to do. And while I don't mind staying up late and sleeping in, there's something to be said for eating breakfast either as or after the sun has woken up as well. These mornings before sun up, well, they aren't even for the birds.

does that answer your question, Sara?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

so much to do....

If I quit my job, quit cleaning house, quit doing laundry, here's what I'd do with all my free time:
  • Art -all those little idea starters in that drawer? On canvas or paper. Who knows? I might even try one design in every single medium I could think of!
  • Read - that pile of books on my dresser that I keep thinking I'm gonna get to... :O) They'd be replaced by new ones (because I'd have time to finish those, of course!)
  • Quilt - Not only would I finish Bobby's quilt, but every single quilt idea I have sketched out, or tucked away somewhere in my brain, or have actually bought material for - they'd all be finished. Yeah, dear, I know....there's not enough time in a year for all my project ideas.
  • Sew - the only sad part is that 2 of my 3 nieces would no longer be thrilled with home-sewn clothes.
  • Create - I've always wanted to make a dollhouse...how cool would that be?
But since I can't quit laundry and I only clean now when I have time or absolutely have to, and I probably shouldn't quit my job, I'll continue to tackle things in small increments. Hence, my December goals:
  1. Sew - finish up the few costumes for the children's play. (Deadlines, aren't they wonderful?!)
  2. Quilt - Get Bobby's quilt pinned and into the frame, and at least DECIDE about a quilt for Andy and Amie. (Realistically, this won't be ready for their June wedding!)
  3. Read - Um, that book our ladies' book club read by Elizabeth George about our minds? It's 3/4 read, so let's finish that thing and get that off my dresser!
  4. Art - finish that one big painting I've started.
Most likely, these goals will fall into the same category as my August goals: to be continued...but hey, I might get at least 1/2 of them done, right? There's always hope. (At least we know I HAVE to finish goal #1!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

one of many reasons why I'm not a girly girl

My brother and I share the same sense of humor. We both immensely enjoyed Calvin & Hobbes growing up, and I imagine if he reads the comic strips now, Pearls Before Swine would be on his reading list. Get Fuzzy is also at the top of my list.
And sometimes that sense of humor poses a dilemma...like buying presents, for instance.
My brother is engaged to be married on June 13, 2009. My older sister and I discussed having an outdoor shower for camping, fishing, or tailgating gear since those are all things Andy & Amie like to do. My little sister opposed. Mom just shrugged. Then after taking a realistic look at all of our calendars and remembering the distance factor, there's no way we can throw them a shower at all. Which is really sad. When asked if there was anything she needed (keep in my mind they both have apartments/trailers), Amie smiled and said they were going to register somewhere. So I go online to Target, and find several household items that both my brother and I would not only find amusing but would actually have in our homes:

I think this tissue holder is hysterically funny. My husband would not. He would not even let me add his name to such a gift. My sisters would laugh, but they would never ever buy this, much less put it in their homes. But what would my future sister-in-law do? And there is my dilemma. She's fashionable, much like my little sister, but she also hikes and fishes and watches football, like my older sister. Two out of three. Dare I hope she could match all three of us and possibly share mine and Andy's sense of humor? I fear she'll be like most girls and not have the same sense of humor. I may break down and change my mind and buy some frilly little crystal bowl that she'll only use on special occasions, but I doubt it. And if we do the pounding like someone has suggested (for those of you who don't know, a pounding is where you take staples and canned goods to someone's house), then I will continue the FWBBC shower prank of providing a nice big box of canned goods -with all the labels removed. And since my little sister didn't like all the poetic hints I taped to hers (I was TRYING to be nice), they'll just get the plain old naked cans.
Decisions, decisions.


Monday, December 1, 2008

home again

There's absolutely nothing like going home...except maybe returning home and settling back into a routine. This Thanksgiving reminded me of the many things I have to be thankful for:
  • parents who not only love me, but taught me how to walk in Truth

  • family who practice the story of the Good Samaritan, and not just hear it

  • my church family

  • the rich life of America - adequate roads, vehicles, hotels, restaurants, well-stocked grocery stores, houses with extra bedrooms & heat, etc.

  • police & EMS crews - who actually respond to calls in a timely and mannerly fashion

  • my job - I'm part-time but still have vacation hours!

  • Dr. Pepper

  • the diverse beauty in our nation

  • the small smidgen of artistic talent humans receive from God, as we display in architecture, design, artwork, etc

  • Alabama winning the Iron Bowl!
  • my brother-in-law graciously allowing us to crash at his house to watch the Iron Bowl on his nice tv
  • my brother-in-law allowing me to quickly use his internet to catch up on things
  • a week without internet or cell phones at Mom & Dad's
  • a husband who graciously drives 12 hours one way to spend 5 days with his in-laws and never complains!
  • and so much more!
and now it's back to the whirlwind of Christmas celebrations: costumes, plays, choir pieces, decorating, cooking and FUN! Fun! fun!