Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Sending Off 2019

Someone was not allowed to join our indoor picnic so some pouting ensued. 
For New Year's Eve, Greg and I enjoyed a plate of simple food by the fire and looked through the last ten years' family photo albums. It was a sweet walk down memory lane where we could literally count our blessings.









An early bedtime and plans to relax together over the next couple of days was the perfect was to send off 2019 and welcome 2020.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Winter Break Week One

The first week of winter break felt more like fall break and we were not complaining. Daily walks, outdoor Nerf wars and even a little fishing occupied our leisurely days. It was perfect.

Kate continued physical therapy and is making incredible progress. Her therapist is awesome, working with her one-on-one for a solid hour and making it engaging and fun. She loves going and we feel like we've made a friend.

On Friday, I took Kate out to use Christmas gift cards and a store credit. We had a great time and scored amazing deals. She got a lot for her money and we were shocked to not fight crowds or traffic while running multiple errands.

Then Ty wanted to spend a little of his Christmas money jumping at our local trampoline park and also at Target for a Magic 8 ball. He is having a blast asking that silly toy questions.

We borrowed a few friends throughout the week to entertain our very physical son because the rest of us were content to relax as much as possible.

Saturday evening, Layla injured her front leg playing. Given she never favored the leg she had a mass removed from, we are concerned she has done something significant this time because she is not putting any weight on it still today. It appears we are acquiring another vet bill this week.

Ironically today's message at church was about waiting and how to wait well. Given the status of our lives in a holding pattern this month, it was timely. These cuties all showing up in the spiderman shirts gave me another reason to smile. God's got this. And his trusty superhero sidekicks do too.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Traditions

I am grateful for the neighbor who let me borrow her sons for a reindeer food bar because I was facing the first Christmas in twenty-four years without someone watching the sky for the big guy in red. I recognize I am the luckiest to have had so many wonder-filled years and yet, somehow it still wasn't quite enough. These boys made my Monday morning.

He wanted to put out reindeer food before church Christmas Eve and it delighted me.

This portion of our group went to a candlelight Christmas Eve service before an evening spent laughing in the kitchen around appetizers and desserts.

Ty put himself to bed to escape the rowdiness so I never had the opportunity to ask him if he wanted to put out cookies and milk. Going to bed without making our traditional crumbs and tracking ash from the fireplace into the living room with Greg's work boots felt odd. This Christmas with big kids was strange but we enjoyed watching little ones squirm in church and remembered that joy came with a certain level of exhaustion.
This moment was my favorite. When her neurologist asked her what Santa was bringing her for Christmas, I laughed, "a helmet" and he had to sit down he was laughing so hard. Everyone thought I was kidding.

Our youtuber got a GoPro he can use underwater and rumor has it he will be creating epic videos in a buddy's pool this summer. We are looking forward to him learning how to edit videos.

This Christmas included unseasonably warm weather and I couldn't be more thrilled. I spent hours holding down my porch swing and took a walk Christmas Day.

We went to Erin's this afternoon so Greg could assemble some furniture and install her new light fixture. Her place is adorable. Once it's finished, I will share images of her condo now that it has the Erin touch. But this teepee was added for her cat today. She amuses me.
But Kate is quickly catching up to Erin's pet craziness.  Pip has his own Instagram account and needed a Christmas photoshoot recently. He has twinkle lights and a stocking.

And tonight, after grilled steaks for dinner we walked outside in time to see this......

If all Christmases could be this beautiful, I suppose I could lose the tradition of packing away the decor on Christmas Day. Because today, I selected a post sunshine nap instead. Perhaps I will manage it tomorrow. Maybe.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Weekend Moments

The famous youtuber among us was busted playing a prank gone wrong on his sister and failed to take responsibility so his channel has been temporarily shut down. Hours later, Greg read an eight year old youtuber is the wealthiest one in the world. He made 26 million dollars this year. Our HR department now wants to reevaluate its shutdown decision.

Facetime with Austin provided us with a tour of ornaments on his tree and his little face illuminated by Christmas lights was treasured. That baby has my heart.

New Brussels sprout recipes were explored and we have discovered another favorite.

A cat nap on my shoulder taken while I sipped tea and Greg grilled dinner. We'd already enjoyed a park on this unseasonably warm December day.

A friend to add to Nerf chaos was welcomed even though we questioned the need for ladders along the perimeter of the house as necessity. Boys are exhausting joy.

Noah had his birthday celebrated with ice skating and frozen yogurt. They are meeting his extended family in Kokomo, Indiana today which is ironically where my sister was born. The world is rather small.

We perused Greg's childhood scrapbook and stumbled upon this gem. There is no question who Ty favors. I sent it out to our parents and the girls and everyone was shocked. Group texts flew about all the similarities and it lead us down memory lane with Greg sharing stories. It was delightful.

Kate and I colored together until she was struck with a headache. I; however, found the project relaxing and enjoyed completing it. And while I did so? Our son who was not tired asked for popcorn and a movie in our bedroom.

Winter break appears to involve adequate rest. Thank God.  We are due for a few long winter naps.

I woke at one in the morning Sunday to a sudden, loud crash and discovered this mess on our deck. We have no idea what happened but Greg scolded me for running toward the noise with nothing on me to protect myself should I have been met with an intruder.

We were going to wait until it warmed up today to clean up the mess but Ty was worried about the animals and went to work before church.

My friend, Robbin came over for an afternoon of baking. After four hours, I surrendered the sugar for a hot meal so we have Ty's favorite, pizzelles on tomorrow's agenda. Several neighbors will be bombarded by sweet deliveries in the next twenty four hours.

We are wrapping up our weekend with Home Alone, Ty's first viewing.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Twas the Week Before Christmas

At work, my smallest friends were completely out of their minds. I finally asked one little guy on Tuesday if he had sugar for breakfast and he doubled over laughing at my ridiculous question. And then he answered, "of course not, Miss Sherri! I didn't have sugar for breakfast. I had cookies." Two more friends exclaimed they had cookies for breakfast too. I think parents hate us.
Edited to eliminate cold sores as promised to capture a Christmas image this year

Ty woke with one of his nastier cold sores early Sunday morning and his anxiety about facing new friends with his chin coated in painful blisters created some unpleasant mornings around here. He worked through it but it wasn't comfortable. He spoke highly of his favorite teacher one morning, stating he may be a teacher when he grows up because he doesn't like school so he can make it better for other kids. I complimented his thought process believing he would make an excellent teacher and then asked what he liked about his favorite, Ms. Cox. "She noticed when people were sick or sad or just needed a hug. She noticed me." Heartbreaking and beautiful simultaneously, I fought tears. And when I was composed, I text her a thank you. Both of my children knew they were loved in her classroom but for a child to articulate the simplicity of what kids needs, she noticed him. I made a point of sharing with our principals and left both of them wiping a tear. For a boy who usually shrugs when asked about feelings, he expressed himself beautifully.

We held our third annual Christmas light scavenger hunt and all three families located every item on our list within the one hour time limit so we will be making it more challenging next year. It has become a highlight for all of us. I used to take my kids out multiple times to complete a list as a way to pass time while Greg worked long hours for UPS but it evolved into a competition three years ago to include hot cocoa in travel cups and facetime with friends who moved to Texas as well as our local friends. We all look forward to this every year so I don't see the tradition dying off any time soon.

Kate's physical therapy is going well. Her therapist is amazing and spending a lot of quality time working with her one-on-one. She still hasn't made it through a complete school day but she kept up with the classes she did attend. Other than the choir director who is beside himself with concern over how to grade her this quarter (insert eye roll here), all of her teachers are working with her. She had a CT scan this week and we will get that result when we see her neurologist on Christmas Eve.

We learned Layla's cancer is slightly different from the initial diagnosis and this one has a 38% chance of recurring. This isn't the best news as we were told we would be facing more aggressive treatment choices if it does come back including amputation of the leg and radiation therapy. How we will navigate that remains to be seen as it was just too much to absorb Friday afternoon.

Greg's severance package was supposed to include paychecks and health insurance for the next three months; however, he wasn't paid last week as expected. It took three days to get an answer to his inquiries. There was a processing period that delayed payment and they won't be able to pay him until January. We are fine thanks to some savings but this is another example of why I like to be finished Christmas shopping long before the holiday and it just makes me wonder about the families who didn't have a little nest egg sitting in savings this most wonderful time of the year. For a widespread layoff, the company dropped the ball on a lot of families this Christmas.

Ty's school had a holiday performance and Greg was able to attend Wednesday. The highlight for Ty was the early dismissal afterward but Greg said it was pretty cute despite our son's lack of enthusiasm. And then Thursday night, another stomach bug hit Ty so he missed his party day on Friday. He was rather disappointed, to say the least.

Our grandson saw Santa on Friday and when asked what he wanted for Christmas,  he answered "a neigh". This is what he calls horses. If only Mimi had the budget, Lauren and Taylor would need a larger yard!

I was gifted with the sweetest packages and handwritten notes from my tiniest friends on Friday. I was pretty shocked by the gestures, including used glitter chapstick from a feisty kindergartner who wanted to give. I love my job. I suspect I will miss those little stinkers these next two weeks.