Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

So 2008 is just about over. We lost two family members this year, Ralph's Uncle Frank and my Aunt Mary, both from long term illnesses. While we're sad to see them go, we hope they're in a better place.

During 2008, Steph moved to her first apartment, and Heather and Ed moved to their 4th house- this one in North Carolina. They all like their new places.

Manda, Ben, Steph and Michael are continuing their education. Joseph just graduated with an associate degree, and is going to continue going for a bachelor. Brittany is planning on starting college. We're proud of them all. Me- the only classes I want to take are quilt classes!

I did a little traveling this year, with trips to Texas and Florida. I finally need more than one hand to count my plane trips!

Manda and Ben were evacuated for Hurricane Ike. Manda was evacuated before, when she was in school in Daytona. She's the only one in the family to ever be evacuated, and we hope to keep it that way.

Ralph and I bought some neat toys this year- I got the HQ16 and a Janome 9700 embroidery machine. Ralph bought a little yard tractor.

Manda and Steph both went on business trips for work, something none of the rest of us have done.

So, goodbye 2008, and welcome to 2009!


Monday, December 29, 2008

December 29, 1974

That is one of the most important and memorable days of my life. At 0156, our first child was born. We always knew she was going to be a girl, and picked the name Heather early in my pregnancy. I don't think we came up with her middle name, Noelle, until she was born.

Heather was a healthy 8 lbs, 7 oz when she was born. In those days, we stayed in the hospital for 3 days after delivery. I came home on New Year's Day, but she had to stay a few days because of an elevated bilirubin, so basically I came home and cried til she was released. I couldn't stand to go see her and feed her and leave her again, so my brother went up each day. To do it over, I'd be there from morning til night, but at the time I had post-delivery hormones going on.

Heather is now a lovely lady with a wonderful husband and a son and daughter of her own. She is a labor and delivery nurse, and has a BSN from Rutgers. They've just moved to NC, which is heartbreaking for us.

For her 21st birthday I made her a cross stitch sampler, which she has hanging in her bedroom. It reads:

My Daughter

All the things I prayed you'd be
Are all the things you are.
You were once my little girl
and now my Shining Star.

Happy Birthday Heather!


Saturday, December 27, 2008

The travelers have arrived!

Manda and Ben's flight out of Nebraska got cancelled last night, because of fog in Chicago, so Ben's parent's picked them back up (how anticlimactic is that!) and they got a flight out at 0700 today to Cinncinnati, then to Philly. They got in at 12.30. After having lunch, they napped for a couple of hours, since they had been up since 4 a.m. their time.

Heather and Ed left their house at 4 a.m. and got to Ed's parents house this afternoon.

Tonight a bunch of Manda and Steph's friends are coming over to hang out. Tomorrow Ralph has to work, and Monday we'll do an early dinner, presents, then the whole family is coming over to see everyone and wish Heather a Happy Birthday.

It's mild out, in the upper 40's. It was overcast most of the day.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Over the last week I've been making a real effort to say "Merry Christmas". I have a friend who works in a big bank, and the staff is not allowed to use the word Christmas. They have to say Happy Holidays, even if they're responding to someone saying Merry Christmas. They can have disciplinary action taken if they say Merry Christmas. How ridiculous is that?

So when anyone wishes me "Happy Holidays," I've been responding with "Merry Christmas." The usual response is a startled look and a "You too." Our country has gotten entirely too politically correct.

It's finally Christmas Day! Last night Steph, DMIL Florence and I went to Kevin and Naureen's for a Seven Fishes Christmas Eve Dinner. Ralph was at work, as he is today. The downside of working in a hospital. Frank and Charlotte, and Jim and Sharon and the kids- "The Bubbas" as Kevin calls them were there, and Charlotte's mom and brother, and Naureen's parents and sister, and Kevin and Naureen's daughters. We had a lovely evening.

This morning I talked to Manda in Nebraska, and Heather in NC. It sounds like they're both having a nice day, although Manda's started earlier than she'd have chosen. I have sweet potatoes and carrots roasting with dill and garlic to take to Mike's, and Steph is pretending to be awake.

Mom, Steph and I are going to Mike and Donna's for Christmas dinner. Michael is home from Florida for the week, so we'll get to see him.

The ER staff is all bringing in food. Being a guy, Ralph got off easy- he took in 2 bottles of soda. This year, next year to work, and the following year he'll be retired and won't have to work any of the holidays! Then we'll just be working around Heather's hospital schedule.

And the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and it's not real cold out!

Things to be happy about:
I have a wonderful family, every one of them!
Ralph's health remains good!
Ralph's health remains good! (yep, I count that one twice, because it's so important)
My daughter's are all healthy and happy.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

That's what my kids always called today. We talked to Manda tonight- she's in Nebraska visiting Ben's family. She said she texted Merry Christmas Eve Eve to Steph this morning. It sounds like she's having fun doing holiday things with the Briles family. And they have snow, which (I'm glad) we don't.

Half day at work today, now I'm off until January 5th! And I finished up the last sewing I had to do last night. Today Ralph and I did some errands, tomorrow I have to do some food shopping, and some of the gifts really have to be wrapped.

Steph gets out at 2 tomorrow, and will come directly here. Toast stayed over, so Steph doesn't have to go home first.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Here's the link to make a wordle. You can just type in a bunch of words, or you can have it get the words from a website or blog.

We started out the day cleaning up our house, then Ralph and Steph went to my Mom's with me. She wanted to go into the basement, and the steps are steep and without a railing. She hasn't been down since Dad died, but she wanted to bring up some Christmas things. We ended up spending three hours down there, and filling up 6 large trash barrels! We talked her into parting with John's rusty baby chair (John is 52), but she wasn't ready to part with the rusty tray tables. Baby steps! We were all exhausted when we were done.

One and a half work days til Christmas vacation starts. Today is the first day of Hanakkuh, and the Winter Solstice- the longest night of the year. I just got a new Melissa Etheridge CD of Christmas Songs, and she has a great song about the longest night.


My wordle!

I got the link to do this from Mary's site. Isn't it cool? It takes all the words in my blog and comes up with this design.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Isn't he the cutest?

This is Eddie, before it got too cold out. Isn't he the cutest kid? He's going to be such a heartbreaker with that red hair and those gorgeous blue eyes. And he's such a sweetie.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shopping, shopping and more shopping.

I'm almost done! I ordered more things from earlier this week, and those things are on the way. Last night Ralph and I made a Sam's club run, and tonight we went out in the cold, dreary rain and went to Target. I have to sit down and make a final list, and get to it.

I'm not sure if we're decorating. The fact that there is no furniture in the dining room is holding everything up, or maybe it's giving me an excuse. (Not that I need an excuse to not decorate!) I'll have to consult with Stephanie this weekend. After all, that which is decorated must eventually be undecorated.

I just finished "Tribute", the newest Nora Roberts. A little slow at the beginning, but then it sucked me in and I didn't want to do anything but read it.

Now I have to think about getting all the gifts in one place and wrapping them.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

December is moving right along!

I did some Christmas shopping this morning, both in person and on line. I like the online shopping- no lines! And I even went grocery shopping, which I do when we're low on cat food or iced tea mix- the necessities of life!

Joseph was on his way home from work and hit a patch of black ice and crashed his car. The car is totalled, but Joseph is fine- he walked away from it. Cars can be replaced, but there's only one Joseph.

Tomorrow is the funeral for Aunt Mary. We won't be going because my Mom could never get into the church with her walker, and for me to miss work tomorrow would create a hardship for a lot of people. I'll be there in spirit.

Steph and I decided that next fall we're going to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert. We've both heard that it's a fabulous show.

I'm really enjoying the new carpet. Hopefully Ralph will get the electric outlets to his satisfaction tomorrow, so the dining room furniture can get put back.

Goals for this week:
Finish shopping.
Finish a few gifts.
Get the dining room back together.

Things to be happy about:
We're not having a blizzard!
Heather, Ed and the kids will be home right after Christmas.
Manda and Ben will be home right after Christmas.
Joseph is fine.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

This is Julie playing in the yard, while it was still warm out! She's so cute!

Finally Friday!

Another week over! John was up from Sunday til Thursday, so I got to spend some time with him. The rugs got put in on Tuesday, and look fabulous! We're still putting the house together, and sorting as we do it. Last night I made an inventory of all the DVDs and VHSs we have, as I put them back into the entertainment center.

Eddie has started his new school in NC. Heather said everyone is settling in nicely. I still can't believe they moved 500 miles away.

I got a call from my cousin today, that my Aunt Mary died. Aunt Mary was the widow of my Uncle George, my Mom's brother and my godfather. Their daughter Linda was my flower girl. We didn't get to see Aunt Mary often, which was our loss, as she was just a sweet, nice lady. She will be missed. The funeral is in Philly, on a workday. I know my Mom wouldn't be able to make it into the church, and it's a day that would be hard for me to take off, so we'll send out regrets.

Tomorrow is the Memorial service for our friend Gene. Steph and I are going- Ralph has to work.

And so it goes.


Monday, December 8, 2008

This is just unnecessary!

This weather! It was like 22 degrees when I left the house this morning. That is just ridiculous! I actually had to put on my winter coat, something I hate to do. And the high today was just over 30!
Even in the house, I just can't get warm. I have socks and a sweatshirt on over my regular clothes, and I'm still cold.

My brother John drove up from Florida yesterday. He said when he was going thru Baltimore the winds were 80 MPH and it was snowing sideways!

I have to go back to emptying the family room, but just had to share the temperature.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Snow!

Not much, actually. Just a dusting, but it's cold, and gray, and windy out. Ralph has the hallway all painted, and the ceiling and top half of the dining room. He's working on the bottom half, which is going to be green. The carpet will be installed on Tuesday.

I spent the morning clearing out the entertainment center and the desktop and hutch. Luckily we had already painted the family room, and it's in good shape. Toast has been helping by barking whenever Ralph makes noise.

My brother John is on his way up from Florida to visit and help clean out Mom's cellar (and hopefully take a bunch of stuff home with him). He left Polk City at noon yesterday, and thought he'd arrive in the middle of the night. Driving a truck with a trailer? yeah, right. He hit ice, and had to stop for several hours, so he got a long nap. We expect him between 3 and 4 p.m.

Heather and Ed have all the trucks and trailers emptied. When I talked to her at noon, she was arranging and decorating. Tomorrow she has to register Eddie at his new school. She arranged Eddie and Julie's rooms similar to their rooms in NJ, and they seem happy.

We have birthdays this month! Ed will be 41 tomorrow, Heather will be 34 on the 29th. Nephew David will be 25 on the 19th.

I finished quilting, binding and labelling the rail fence quilt, which I named Green Tea. It went to it's new home on Friday, when I gave it to my long time friend Carol. Carol has had so much go on over the last three years that she was in dire need of a quilt. She was shocked, and cried a little.

Goal for the week:
Finish emptying "stuff" out of the family room.
Carpet comes Tuesday.
Put everything back in its home.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

They have arrived safely.

That kind of says it all. Settlement was yesterday, and they didn't leave until 7 p.m. I had been worried about Heather driving Ed's pickup with the kids, towing a trailer. Ed was driving the moving truck and towing her car. At the last minutes, Ed's wonderful dad (also Ed) told Heather to drive his minivan, and he'd drive the truck and trailer. I was so relieved! Heather is a wonderful driver, but that was a lot, and to be on unfamiliar roads, in the dark! So when I talked to her last night at 10, they were near DC.

I talked to her around 5 tonight. She was having trouble with the cell phone reception, so we were only on the phone long enough for her to tell me that they'd arrived 2 hours before, and we starting to unload.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Almost moving day

Ralph has been down Heather and Ed's all day, helping Ed load the moving truck. Today was Eddie's last day of school in NJ. Tomorrow morning is settlement, then they hit the road for Albemarle, NC.

My feelings are so mixed. I'm happy for them that they were able to sell the house (no easy feat in today's market) and find a house in NC that they love. I'm happy that Heather has a comparable job to go to, and I'm sure Ed will find a job without much difficulty. Eddie is so sociable that he'll be fine in his new school, and Julianna will blossom anywhere that Heather, Ed, and Eddie are.

But we're going to miss them so much! Even tho we don't see them really frequently, it's no big deal to go 25 miles to visit. Driving 8 hours will be a big deal. We'll all adjust- we adjusted to Manda being first in Daytona and now in Houston, and NC is only a third as far as Houston.

I'm going to be like Scarlett O'Hara, and think about it tomorrow.