Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy List

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It is time for our HAPPY LIST party hosted by Ricki Jill over at ART @ HOME.  Go on over and check out all the happiness.

This week's Happy List ...
I considered skipping posting a HAPPY List this week.  I think it is because well deep down, I am not happy right now.  I am extremely sad.  Then I thought, I cannot be this way.  I have so much to be HAPPY about.  I have had time to reunite my relationship with my Dad and my children with their Grandfather.

 Picture above is this year's Christmas without Matthew.  He was in Ohio.
Below is last year with all of my boys.

 Above Last Christmas; Dad and I

This makes me very HAPPY!

Seeing the children react to their gifts this year made me HAPPY!  Finding out Hannah reads my post makes me HAPPY.  Now I know Miss Hannah I will have to post what I make for you after I give it to you sweetie.  Ha ha ha... I do find you adorable and a good fit with my first born.

Emily touched my heart this year, she truly loved the paintings I did for her.  She was so cute, she took a picture of it on her wall and sent it to me, thanking me once again.  HAPPY

Taj made Christmas fun again.  I love Christmas with children who believe.  It has been missing in our family for just a few years but oh what joy it is to have a little one around Christmas who believes in Santa.  HAPPY!!!

Todd makes me feel great!  I am so blessed finding my soul mate.  He is helping so much with keeping me grounded and smiling while I am going through this with my Dad.  He is there with a shoulder or just to hold me when I need it.

You know what?  We are honestly making plans to go to an all inclusive resort in the Winter in three years from now to celebrate our 50th birthday.  I am super excited and HAPPY about that.  Now, I have to get to work on this weight loss so I can go out and sight see where ever it is we go.

My last HAPPY I saved for last because well...in my opinion it is THE BEST kind of of HAPPY!

Last Saturday, Miranda was in a great place.  I was able to play with her while her Mother went to Walgreens with my Dad.  We played Patty Cake and Itsy Bitsy Spider.  She was singing with me.  She smiled.  Miranda turned five last month and I have never seen her smile with my own eyes.  She was talking to me.  I wish I knew what she was saying but she was loving it and I was too.  She wanted held and I would keep singing to her and she laid her little head on my shoulder smiling and humming along.  At one point while I was holding her I told her how much I love her and she just looked up at me and smiled and then kissed on me.  Miranda has never kissed me either.  My heart totally sung and was so full of HAPPINESS and LOVE with Miranda.  She was so lovey to everyone that day.  No seizures.  No fussiness from pain.  She was totally enjoying the moment.  Oh I pray for more HAPPY days like this with Miranda and for Miranda.  Love you babe to the moon and back.

What do you have to be HAPPY about?


Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Christmas

I wanted to wait for our Christmas with my side of the family before I posted my Christmas posting which was yesterday.  I have to say, it was a great Christmas.  Christmas Eve we have Todd's side of the family over at our house.  Here we always have Connie's oyster stew (Todd's Mom) and her chili.  We also have deli meat, turkey, roast beef, and ham for sandwiches and a wide variety of cheese.  This year I made little smokies because sandwiches are a hit or miss with Taj.  Of course we have the trays of sweets as well.  Typically I make a few dips which we have with crackers, only I completely forgot about them this year.  I feel with everything going on in my life right now, if the dip was the only thing I forgot, well I am doing well then.  I love Christmas Eve at our house.  We have a large enough house were we are able to have everyone inside and plenty of room.  Some eat in the Kitchen, some in the small Living Room and the remainder downstairs in our main Living Room.  I loved the feeling of the main Living Room, we had the fire going and with all of the Christmas decorations it was perfect. 
 We took Taj's booster chair off the chair in the Kitchen to create another seat for a big person
 He did not mind because he was able to eat on his Planes table. 

After dinner it was time for more chatting and laughter.  I wish my side of the family lived closer too because I think it would be awesome to have all of us under one roof to celebrate Christmas.  Matthew missed dinner time because he was working and had to do inventory and payroll.  I wish I would have been on my toes and picked up Hannah but they did make it prior to everyone leaving.   Towards the end of our evening it was gift exchange time.  We all gathered in our main living room.
 Todd's sister's youngest two children are sitting in front of the fire place.  The guy closest to a small image of his sister is her boyfriend.  I am glad Michelle has found someone who is treating her good. 
 Sitting on the love seat is Joshua, then Kera and Emily.  Behind Emily is Michelle's oldest Lyndsey.
 Next to me on the couch was Jim, Connie's boyfriend and Connie is standing behind Joshua.
 On the chair and ottoman on the other side of Todd (who was next to me) is Todd's sister Michelle.  Next to her in the plaid is her boyfriend and her oldest son, Andrew, is behind her.

I wish I was on top of my game (Once again one of many little moments during the holiday season.) and took a picture of Todd with her gift she opened.  We all went together and bought her a Nook, a Nook cover and screen protector.  She was hinting big time to Michelle how she LOVES Todd's Nook.  She was near tears when she realized what her gift was.  It makes me happy to see her so surprised.  She is a great person and I could not have been so lucky to have such a great Mother-In-Law.  After everyone left it was just the kids, their girlfriends, and time to open our gifts.  Remember all those gift under the tree?  Yeah it took awhile to open.  We take turns, the youngest starts and opens one gift, then the second youngest all the way to the oldest, then we start over again with the next present for the youngest until all the gifts are opened.  Here are a few pictures I took during this part of Christmas Eve.

 Taj giving some kisses to his Mama.
 Kera opening her gift from Taj.  Taj just loves looking at pictures of him.
 Taj with his new stocking from Nana and Papa.

 I loved his facial expressions.  I wished I had my other camera which does a better job of recording. 
Every time he opened a gift it was:
"Oh My Goodness. It's funny!" or 
"Oh My Goodness.  It's adorable!"
 Noah with his new art studio kit.
 Abbey, Ethan's girlfriend opening a gift from him.
 Ethan opening his set of silverware.  The kid is a Junior in High School and
he asked for necessities for when he moves out.
 Joshua with his rice cooker which was number two on his Christmas wish list.
Number one he received as well, a new toaster.
Next to him with the bows is Matthew.  I love listening to the kids having a good time.
 Hannah opening her Outback Bowl T-shirt.
Everyone but Noah, Ethan, and I received this gift, only Todd's was a sweatshirt. 
I know what several people will be wearing come New Year's Day.  Go HAWKS!!!
 Matthew opening one of many movies.
 Emily opening her painting.  I think this girl thanked me, 
maybe four times and hugged me just as much.
She absolutely loved it and loved it more when she realized I painted it.
She even sent me a picture by text message after she hung it on her wall
Thanking me again and telling me how much she loves it.  *fist pump!  SCORE!*

 Yes, he is kissing Slinky Dog.  

Kera loved her painting too.  I think Joshua liked his picture but he did not show his excitement as much as the girls did.  

Christmas Eve, Joshua spent the night with us.  He played video games with his brothers Ethan and Noah.  Matthew and Hannah went to Ohio to spend Christmas and her birthday with her side of the family.  Her birthday is one day after mine.  Christmas Day was low key and I enjoyed it immensely as well.  The boys and I watched Elf and Despicable Me 2 while we played a couple of games.  It was an enjoyable time with the boys. 

I also fixed a ham dinner with my mashed potatoes which everyone loves, green beans and dinner rolls.  The girls and Taj came over for dinner time.  (Todd had to work on Christmas.)

Saturday we drove to Des Moines to have Christmas with my side of the family.  My sister Lisa and her son and his family did not make it.  Miranda was in a beautiful mood and it was so wonderful seeing her interacting and smiling.  She was talking to us as well and loving so much.  Mom's boyfriend and his son and girlfriend was there.  It is kind of weird seeing my Dad and my Mom's boyfriend being friends.  I like that they are.  He is not really a boyfriend boyfriend but more of a male companion.  My Dad was in a lot of pain, and I spoke about it with my Sunday's Song post, but it was great seeing him enjoy the boys and all of the grandchildren who were there.  My Dad has a special bond with Miranda.  I love watching him interact with her.  For our lunch my Mom made homemade lasagna, garlic bread, a salad, and she made brownies.  It was a very nice time.  After dinner, the kids opened their gifts.  Alright my Mom and Dad did too.

 I got the girls bracelet kits.
 Below is a picture of me taking a picture of my Dad taking a picture of me.
I took it while he was focusing.  My sister, Katie was shocked because I sat there 
and smiled at him.  She told him he should feel privilege because I do not let people 
take my picture.  I told her I even smiled nicely for him and she just laughed.
{She is right.  I try to avoid the camera.}
 Miranda trying to sit up.
 Below is a picture of my Dad with my boys, Noah, Ethan, and Joshua.  Matthew was there in spirit.

My Mom with the boys. 
 My sister Amy with her son, Carlos, and my Dad.
 My sister Katie and her daughters, Miranda (she is holding) Lexy and Kaylee.
 My Dad and all the grandchildren who were there.  
The oldest three are not present.
My nephew Carlos, is standing on the couch.  
He hates being the shortest grandson.
The only thing that would have made it perfect would have been Matthew, Fred, Julie, and Lisa being there.  It was a Merry Christmas.


Sunday's Song

 {Please play prior to reading my post.}

This weeks Sunday Song is what I am feeling right now.  Yesterday was a very difficult day. I spent an afternoon with my Mother, three of my sons, two of my sisters and their family, my Mom's boyfriend, my husband and my Father.  

My niece Miranda was in rare beautiful form.  She smiled, first smile I have seen with my own eyes in nearly three years. She talked to me (baby babble) and sung with me.  She even giggled while I tickled her. She will forever shine and Angel Rays are watching over her.

One of my son's stopped to see his Dad prior to going to my Mom's for our Christmas celebration.  My Mom and he were talking about his Dad's job.  In February the office he works will close down. My Mom was asking if his Dad has a job prospect yet.  My son mentioned that my ex-husband is trying to relocate closer to the boys.  Oh, I have such mix emotions about this, major fear. My ex-husband has been planting seeds into my youngest about living with him.  My youngest wants to spend time and get to know his father in the worse way.  He was four years old when we moved to Iowa City and their father has spent very little time with them.  To be honest, he does not know his father.  My heart is breaking when it comes to this because in some ways I feel abandoned by three of my children at times when it comes to their father.  I am not saying I should be first at all times, but when we are all together, I am pushed in the back.  Now, I know logically why, they rarely see him.  I am the one who has to discipline them and they know I am the one that will always be here for them.  If this comes true and he does move closer, I still cannot agree and let my youngest live with him.  I cannot because of the past history.  My second oldest tells me he has changed, to that I say I am glad, however my boys are not worth the chance to show he has changed.  The youngest two are at a mouthy stage, you know teenagers, this is when he became abusive with my oldest.  Now, what I hope is he will keep his visitations and the younger two will have time with him where they can get to know him.  I also hope that the stressful life I had with him and his wife does not reappear again. I will just have to put my faith in the Lord with that one.  I know in the end when they grow, they will see everything I have done for them, so in the end (maybe years from now) I will shine because I did have Angel Rays watching over me.

Finally, my Dad.  Now, with this one I am having a hard time even putting this into words.  This song could be about our relationship.  He definitely earned another chance and the time:

But time will heal what your heart conceals
And this I know too well
The road you’ve known that takes you home
Is waiting strong and true
For this child of mine
She’ll forever shine
Angel Rays watch over you 

I fear the worse for my Dad now. He told me how much pain he is in.  He shared what the procedure of draining the fluid all pertains for him and how painful it was.  It looks like he is needing this every week now.  He has fluid building up around his ankles and fluid is leaking from the pore making his socks wet.  He is getting confused now big time.  He told me he does not want to be drained any more because of the pain.  I think he is beginning to give up.  I fear he wanted to make it through Christmas and Lisa's and My birthday and since he made it, now ...

My heart is full of emotions; love, joy, fear, and sadness from this weekend's visit. 


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Ramblings


 It is definitely Winter here in Iowa.  We had a snow storm over the past weekend, which kept me from going to my side of the family for an early Christmas. Today I am on the road to Des Moines to spend our postponed Christmas.

We had an Arctic front come through after our snow storm.  Brrr Baby It's Cold Out was NOT only a song title.  Monday, December 23, while I was driving home from work it was -19 out and with the wind the temperature was -23.  My knees are feeling it and I am definitely moving slower.  This coming week I will be back to working out regularly and the hot tub will do wonders for my joints especially my old knees.  Back to Monday.  As I was driving home that night and complaining out loud to myself about the cold I noticed the beauty this deep freeze had given.  I have only seen it one other time.  There was a rainbow around the sun. This is called a Sun Dog.
I wished I had my camera on me at the time, however this is exactly how it looked.  I called my Mom and told her to step out and see if she can see it too.  I was not sure if she would be able because our temperatures can be different with only 2 hours difference.   A Sun Dog (or Sundog) is the halo rainbow effect around the sun.  It is from the ice crystals in the air from our deep freeze.  Shortly after I exited the Interstate and as I was driving up a rather large hill my tire blew.  Yes, while it was -23 outside.  I had no choice but to keep driving until I was on more level ground.  I knew it would be a risk to try to change a tire on a steep hill.  Needless to say, my toes were freezing by the time I came home and was back to complaining out loud about how cold it was outside.


I had a great birthday.  I had to work but that was fine.  I never ask for my birthday off, this way others are able to spend time traveling to be with their family for the holidays, however while at work I made the decision in three years I will be 50 and on that birthday I will ask to have the day off.  I shared this with Todd and he thought it would be great to get away maybe for a cruise or somewhere warm.  I love that idea.   All the boys told me Happy Birthday and I feel so blessed.  Todd took me out to dinner and a movie.  It was great going out on a date with him.  He surprised me with a gift.  I was not expecting anything because he gave me my personal trainer for my birthday, well three sessions, not the man.  I presented me with a beautiful heart necklace.  I will have to take a picture of it later.  My favorite thing was the card...
For My Wife
I love the way
you can read me
before I even
say anything,
the way you do
so many
nice things for me
just because
that's how you are,
the way you live life
with all your heart...
I can't imagine life
without you as my best friend
because you're everything
that's beautiful to me.

I love you
Happy Birthday.

Then he added his own message about how he loves more and more each day and how blessed to have me in his life.  Well Todd, that is how I feel about you.



Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday Confessional

It is Friday and you all know what that means?  Yep you guessed it, time to fess up.  Come join the fun over at Aubrey's High-Heeled Love.  She host this little party every Friday.

Today is a special day, so this Friday Confessional will be a dedication to my sister Lisa.


I confess...

Lisa was born on December 27, 1967. I believe I was either two or three in this picture, which made Lisa either one or two.  Lisa used to be my very best friend.  We would do so many things together.  She was the Tom Boy, until teen years, and I was the Girly Girl.  We shared a bedroom until we moved into the house my Mom still lives.  I remember we used to stand on our bed (It was a canopy bed) and act as if it was our stage.  We would run around and dance.  We would perform.  We would get into trouble.  Once my sister Katie (the youngest) was  born, we started to share bedrooms again.

I confess...

Lisa was a little ornery and could be mean to me at times. She gave me my first black eye before the age of Kindergarten by kicking me in the eye. She did not mean to do it.  My second black eye was on the count of her too. She kept picking on this boy while we were on the school bus by poking him in the back of the head with crutches all the way to school. When getting off the bus he made the mistake thinking I was Lisa and punched me in the eye.  That boy was punished by three people,  the school, his parents and Lisa made him pay for that later as well.  He never reported it was she who beat him up.  Lisa was very protective of her big sister.  She would battle anyone if she thought they were hurting me she even turned my entire class against a boy who cheated on me. 

I confess...

She has two beautiful children who have beautiful children of their own. Lisa is blessed with four grandchildren.

I confess...

This picture was taken the day Lisa was born. 

I confess...

I love her and dedicate this song to her.

They say it's your birthday
Well, it's my birthday too, yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you

I confess...

She was my first birthday gift.  Lisa was born on my birthday you see.  We used to race to see who would call into the radio station and dedicate the song above to one another. She was the one who started this little tradition. The tradition stopped when I moved.  Now I get to do it through post like this or Facebook.  The song is perfect for us and she knows how much I love Paul and The Beatles. I honestly do not think she regretted listening to their songs as much as she complained. *wink*

I confess...

It has been a long time since we celebrated our birthdays with one another. I do hope in three years when I turn 50 she and I will be able to celebrate one together.

What do you have to confess?


Litterary Friday

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I am participating with Ricki Jill's from Art @ Home , weekly party  Literary Friday. You should go over to her blog and check out all of the other book reviews.

Milk Maid In Heaven: A Novella

This week's review will be another book by Samantha Jillian Bayarr Milk Maid in Heaven.  I typically enjoy her books.  They are all very sweet books and easy reads less than 200 pages, this one however I had a hard time getting into it.  I think I picked it up several times and put it down, so often I had to start all over to read it. I am not sure what was about the beginning of this book but I had a hard time getting into it.  I would have to say, it is my least favorite books she has written.  My favorite still is the Little Wildflower series and I am still waiting for her to finish books four and five.  

This book begins with one of the main characters Mitch Rutherford struggling with his new found faith as he works in a prison work-release program at a dairy farm.  He has a great friendship with the dairy farmer Ethan Stuart and is close to be released from prison.  Ethan has taken a liking to Mitch and wants Mitch to come live on his farm and be the person in charge next to his daughter Emily once he is released and she is out of school.  Ethan is very sick and is dieing, it is because of this illness he leans more on Mitch.  Emily comes home for the holiday with her best friend only to find her father's health is declining. She made the choice to not go back to school to finish, she is just weeks a way from graduating.  Emily is not to keen on the idea of her father feeling so closed to a work release prisoner. She fears Mitch is trying to take advantage of her father. She also worries about her father because he has not accepted Jesus Christ as his savior and she fears for him.  Emily and Mitch develop feelings for one another and try with all their might not to give into them.  If Mitch kisses or reaches out to Emily in any way other than work he may risk being released from prison. The author does a great job describing the childhood of both Mitch (of course a troubled one) and Emily ( a loving and Christian one) both characters were torn from their Moms early in life.  Mitch's Mom left his Dad and Mitch chose to stay with his Dad and Emily's Mom passed away.  Ethan does not want Emily to give up graduating to take care of him or the farm.  He tries his best to encourage her to finish.  Mitch is torn about staying on the farm after he is released, it is not his farm and he was not sure how the other work release prisoners will react to him once he is released.

Mitch tries hard to allow his feelings for Emily to grow and he feels like he is betraying his friend Ethan by falling for his daughter.  Emily wants to make sure her father is not being taken advantage of and ends up falling for Mitch herself.  The story is about this young couple who share faith in God and find a path which leads down the same road.  You will have to read the book to find out if Emily finishes school as well as if Mitch decides to stay on the diary farm to help Emily run the business.  Also will the two give into their feelings and become one couple. 


He Loves Me