Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thanksgiving Week

On Tuesday, I picked Kate and Ty up early from school to drive to Columbus, Ohio for my great Aunt Nina's funeral. Aunt Nina was the youngest sibling of my maternal grandfather and much like the baby of all families, she was confident, strong, a little feisty and exceptionally loved. I have only fond memories of her even though most of them occurred in hospitals as she was often there when I was visiting my grandfather all those years he battled for his health. She was not only someone who could carry on a variety of conversations but she had a way of listening to you that lead you to believe you were the most important person in the room. She carried herself with grace and strength until the end when she declared she was ready to be with Jesus. The fact one of her ex-husbands and a boyfriend were in attendance at her funeral was a testament to her slightly more ornery side. Just in September, she disappeared on an RV trip with that boyfriend and scared her kids to death. When I am 84, I aspire to live as fully as Aunt Nina did.

I don't know if you have heard, but according to my son, Aunt Theresa's house has no rules. So obviously, this is his favorite place. The boys have cool video games and love basketball. In Ty's mind, this is right up there with Disney World. Needless to say, no visit is ever long enough for him (or Kate either) so they campaign for additional time every visit. The results usually end with someone driving to Lexington to meet someone else with the kids in order to retrieve them. This trip was no different. Makenna and Noah returned to the highway Saturday to meet at Donato's, which only sweetened the deal as we don't have one any closer than Lexington, and brought the kids back with them. It is a little crazy we indulge this but at the same time, I love the relationships the cousins have formed.
Because we were on the road both Tuesday and Wednesday for the funeral, Theresa prepared Thanksgiving this year. I was still able to roast the turkey and bring some pies but otherwise took the year off. It was a nice change of pace!
After she woke, she was in full southern Momma mode and threatened to beat the children who were fussing at each other in the backyard. My sister, shocked by the outburst demanded to know who woke her. We were all laughing because nothing about this was altogether unusual in our house but apparently a side of Erin she had not yet had the privilege of meeting.  (For the record, Erin hasn't beat anyone. Ever. She just enjoys pulling out her southern accent for effect.)
The guys had football games going while the rest of us enjoyed a gorgeous day on Theresa's enclosed porch. We couldn't have requested better weather. The conversations never lulled and the laughter continued for hours. It was a great day together.

My dad and I exchange lines from old shows frequently and this one makes the rounds every Thanksgiving because we are classy like that. When I saw this tee shirt, I knew he had to have it and ordered it immediately. He was as delighted receiving it as I was giving it.

Our grandson met Santa this weekend and was mesmerized by him. It appears Santa was a bit smitten too.
I took the girls out for small business Saturday while Greg yelled at the Ohio State game. We kept tabs on the score while we were out to determine when it would be safe to return home. Thank you Buckeyes for not ruining an otherwise gorgeous weekend.
Today, I had my final scheduled photo shoot after church while Greg smoked chicken thighs. We decorated last night and I am still tweaking today but Kate couldn't wait any longer to have twinkle lights displayed.  I scaled back my decorating once again. I just crave more simplicity. However, Greg looked around and asked if we needed four nativity sets. Silly man. Each one of them is sentimental so yes, we do in fact NEED them all.

I scaled back the tiny, all white nativity set to just the holy family on the mantle. Erin's stocking is in storage and she says she isn't digging it out so she will be given a gift bag of goodies this year.
Two nativity sets are displayed on the entertainment center. One is my original Willow Tree and the other was my grandma's. On the bookcase, I am displaying the one my mom always had. She gave it to me for Christmas last year. And anyone who knows me, knows it wasn't displayed for more than a minute because I put away all decor on Christmas Day.

I still love the simplicity of my little tree. Whereas I no longer have little ones here every day to get into a larger tree, Austin will be here next month and is quite mobile now. And....Erin's cat Ada will likely do enough damage on this scale.

The kids each decorated their own trees and added a string of lights around their windows. It was a pretty cozy scene when I looked in on them in the night. There is something gentle about little lights in the gray days of the season. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Random Middle of the Night Musings

I am leaning more and more toward a minimalist lifestyle in that I want things as simple as possible so I can keep up more easily. Storage has been a bit of an issue since Erin moved home in April. Sister has a lot of stuff; like an entire apartment's worth. I have been considering hidden storage possibilities to help streamline the cleaning and maintenance. One area I dared to investigate was the closed cabinet space on the entertainment center. This happens to be the location we collect old cds, dvds and wii games. Generally speaking I am not one to hold onto things we no longer use and occasionally jump the gun and eliminate things we actually might use someday. So why we are keeping dvds when we watch Netflix is beyond me at the moment. Greg's cd collection takes up one whole side of the entertainment center despite the fact the only cds in the disk changer are Christmas themed remnants of last year's celebration. As it turns out, they have not been moved out of that changer in several years. But I attempted to purge old mixed cassette tapes he made in the late 80's once and he was irritated with me because they were special. Noting we didn't even have the capability to play said tapes nor would the sound quality be something we could endure in this digital age, he still held onto them for a few more years until the day I snuck them into the trunk and after they sat there for a few weeks without him noticing, they were disposed of. And by disposed of, I mean donated and to the poor folks at Goodwill, I am sorry. I know you didn't need this particular donation; however, putting them in the trash may have ended my marriage.
Makenna and Noah went to Walmart and came home with this guy. I have mentioned storage being an issue, right? But she is clearly amused with her purchase. And the little certificate? She works with kids before and after school providing childcare. They adore her. The feeling is mutual and as result she plans to pursue education after her gap year. She has skills well beyond her age managing children and it has been noted repeatedly.

So this has been quite a year around here. We entered 2018 with notices from physicians stating we needed to make appointments if we wanted to remain in their practice. It had been two years since anyone except Makenna had seen our primary doctor and she only went in for a vaccine last year. But being Baughmans and unable to do things with little fanfare or drama, we have more than made up for lost time and have met our outrageous deductible as result. Kate has a tumor that needs on-going observations and was diagnosed with asthma this summer. Ty's educational evaluations lead to additional DNA testing which was fascinating, by the way and he is being monitored for vision discrepancies. He has required two pair of glasses in nine months in addition to multiple eye exams. Makenna had sudden onset acute pain in one eye last week. That landed us in the optometrist office twice last week and they forwarded us to her primary care physician. It appears she has an autoimmune condition and the seventeen tubes of blood they drew will hopefully reveal exactly what we are dealing with when we get results on the 29th. We know from my psoriatic arthritis, how difficult it is to diagnose these conditions but I am praying for concrete answers. Makenna's only concern is how much her diet will have to change. In fact, the whole family has been placed on notice. They will all be joining me in the paleo journey after Christmas as it has kept me medication and flare free for over five years now. Medical care is expensive and time consuming so eat your greens already!

Since we met our deductible, I am having some hormone issues evaluated and I finally scheduled the hearing test my doctor recommended two years ago. I failed it. I have more extensive testing next week and an appointment for those results the following week. I have already been informed I am not a surgical candidate so I am trying to wrap my head around the idea of possibly needing hearing aids. Apparently 45 is a lot older than I initially suspected. But as I laid awake in the middle of the night next to my handsome husband who was lightly snoring with a weird blowing breath sound, I wondered why I can't select which sounds I want to hear. Whining? Nope. People chewing with their mouths open? Not a chance. Gum chewing? Please God, make it stop. But I do want to hear the sound of rain falling and my son's speaking voice more clearly.

Ty mumbled something behind me yesterday afternoon and once again, I asked him to repeat himself. He blew up, "you never listen to me!" and I quipped back, "Dude, I honestly can't hear you. I failed my hearing test as proof!" Makenna doubled over laughing and Ty stomped to his room ticked off and convinced she was laughing at him. She was of course, laughing at me. Welcome to my world.

These next few weeks will be interesting as we come to terms with our new normal around here. We are praying whatever Makenna has can be managed with diet and lifestyle changes rather than immune suppressant drugs and that my hearing loss isn't as significant as they suspect. And those hormones? I don't even know what to think about them but if I could be just a little less crazy, that would be great. In all of life, it will be what it will be but I am feeling just a bit overwhelmed with the weight of it all at the moment.

However, in God's infinite wisdom, I no longer have to juggle other people's children in the midst of all these appointments and still don't have obligations beyond what I choose to place on our schedule. Having that much control in this season has been a gift.

Lauren turned twenty two yesterday and we celebrated it with our first snow day. Lord help me. It is entirely too early for that nonsense. But I am thinking about Christmas cards and finalizing shopping a lot later than usual for me. Living as a UPS widow for 22 years prepped me well for early planning and I won't be letting go of that despite Greg's much easier holiday schedule. It's just more pleasant this way. But I am debating a letter to accompany the card this year and Erin requested I not include her. Of course she won't allow me to take her photos so she can be in the annual family album either. Who raised this girl to be so stubborn and independent anyway?

But eight month old Austin continues to entertain us via video chat daily. He is as rotten as we anticipated he would be with the genes we supplied. He is crawling and loves the freedom this newfound mobility has provided him. He is keeping his momma busy. Uncle Ty is counting down the days until they fly home for Christmas. We all are but he has the data readily available if you are interested. We cannot wait to love on this little family in person again.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Seven O'clock Bedtime Please

We moved the clocks back and Sunday I was pretty sure we weren't going to make it until bedtime. By 7pm, my brain was ready to put the children to bed and head there myself. Parenting is tough. I hung on until 8pm but it was against my better judgement. But under that heading, I saw a banner online and have requested Erin make one for me. It will likely remain a piece of living room decor for years to come. It simply says, "Please leave by 9". As much as I enjoy entertaining, I do have a bedtime. It appears I am fully embracing my Mimi status.

During communion Sunday morning I was thinking about how I run around and use a wet wipe to quickly polish up the bathroom when people are stopping by. I realized God was asking me to look at the areas of my heart I like to present as polished and shiny rather than be honest and clean up my "dirt". Just as the bathroom appears clean after a quick wipe down, my heart can also with enough projecting and guarding. First, welcome to my brain at work and second? It has given me a lot to think about this week.

My photography business has kept me busier than I dreamed possible when I launched it in September. I feel supported and have loved every minute of it. Here are some favorite images from the last few weeks. I am a little more melancholy than usual over the loss of gorgeous fall leaves this season as I know my creative outlet will likely wind down now. I hope to be invited into homes for lifestyle documentary photography this winter.