Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Who Needs Toys When You Have Bubble Wrap??

Christmas was very different for me this year. It really seemed to sneak up on me. Even though I knew for 12 months that it was coming, I still wasn't ready for it.

It might have been because I'm still grieving Buddy. He was such a big dog and has left a huge hole in our lives. I can go on for a while without even thinking about him then all of a sudden, it hits me. The pain is... so deep. (I would never compare a dog to a child, but I sure have been thinking about Carly's and Kristen's families.) Not having Buddy here for Christmas sure put a damper on the holiday for me.

I found myself wrapped up (no pun intended!) in all the gifts this year. I was stressed over what to buy and how much to spend. I desperately tried to remember the reason for the season. I originally put the nativity scene in the office, then moved it next to the fireplace and finally placed it under the tree. Didn't help much. We have a large wicker basket that I put under the tree with a blue blanket. On Christmas morning, I place 'baby Jesus' in the basket. We have done this since our kids were small and I was excited about starting this tradition with the next generation. But Allison is only one and wasn't very interested in it.

Work has been very stressful and even though I've tried to make some changes there, the process of change has been stressful!

I woke up Christmas morning at 7 AM. I had planned to sleep in but once my eyes were open, I was too excited to sleep! I turned on the Christmas tree lights, fixed some hot tea and curled up in Chuck's recliner. That was all I needed. I spent some time praying and just thanking the Lord for everything we had been given. The word Abundance kept going through my head as I looked at the presents under the tree. The day was wonderful. It was relaxed and stress free! Lots of great surprises, fun gifts and family!

Monday we were back to work and it was Diana's birthday. My youngest is now 20, no longer a teenager. We had planned to take her to dinner, but the flu got the best of her. She spent the day on the couch.

Ryan and Sharaya are moving this week so we spent some time at their house this morning packing and hauling boxes over to their new place. Diana is feeling better so we're taking her to dinner tonight. Then back here for cake and ice cream. And more presents.

Do you like how most of our ornaments are on the top half of the tree?
We've done this for years because Buddy's tail would slam into it and break ornaments.
(We called him our 'Happy Dog' cause that tail was always waggin'!)
This year, we knew Allie would want to touch them all.
So only non breakable ornaments on the bottom half.

New Jammies!

Allison helped me hand out the presents.

"Who is the fairest of them all?"
(A present from Great Grandmother.)


Even Sugar got a new toy!


I hope you all had a great Christmas
and pray this New Year is your best yet!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oh To Be One Again!

I got to babysit Allison today.
She's getting over a cold so she's been sleeping alot.
After her nap I pulled out a large box that had recently
been delivered to our house.
She loved it!!
She would open and close the 'doors' and then laauugh!!

She was playing peek-a-boo with Snoopy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mail Call!

We get Netflix.
We love getting those movies at home, right in our little mail box!
Its fun to watch Beth when they arrive.
She opens each packet, careful not to tear the return envelope, and sets it aside.

Once she has them open, she holds them upside down
(doesn't want to see the movie prematurally! Has to wait for just the right moment....)

Wait for it......







Then she flips them for the big reveal!

'Hmmm. Some Christmas movie for Mom and Dad.
And Hunchback of Notre Dame 2. Not bad!'

She also got an application for an American Express Card.
That went right into the shredder.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Doctors Orders.... Kinda

Beth is still having a hard time going to sleep at a decent hour. So the other night I went downstairs and told her what the doctor said.

I told her that doctors did a test with two people. One slept for 5 hours, the other slept for 8. Then they both woke up. The person who only got 5 hours was sleepy and grumpy and didn't do a good job at work.

The person who slept 8 hours was happy and was strong and did well at work. So doctors tell us that we need 8 hours of sleep. Everyone needs 8 hours, me, dad, Aunt Debbie, Aunt Kathy, our neighbors, our friends at church. Everyone.

I told her we can use math to find out when she needs to go to sleep. We know when her bus comes every day and we know when she needs to wake up. So we count backwards from then.... and we find out what time she needs to turn out her light and go to sleep!

And it's worked two nights in a row!! Woo hoo!

So.... I sort of made up the part about the test. But I'm sure there were tests done somewhere to determine a good nights sleep = 8 hours! Right? And it's working! Ya gotta give me that! :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fold, Dip, Stuff, Giggle

Chuck was at a motorcycle show yesterday and Diana had to work. So it was just me and Beth. We got a lot accomplished!

Beth folded laundry while I did dishes.

We made chocolate dipped pretzels.
Next time I need to find a different dipping bowl.
This one was very messy!

We worked on our Christmas cards.

And Allison came over for a while!

She's always good for a giggle! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fun Photo Friday!

Tonight we celebrated Allison's 1st birthday!
I can't believe our granddaughter is already a year old!
Happy, happy Birthday Allison!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

'Adult' Conversation

Beth and I went shopping today. You know how it is during December; Christmas shopping, grocery shopping, shopping for baking supplies.... it seems we're at the store almost every day!

I took Beth out today and she finished her Christmas shopping. One gift for every person on her list and now she's done. Beth's an adult; I don't have to bring a stroller or a diaper bag. When I need to use the bathroom, she usually does too and visa versa. We walk, we shop and we talk. Oh, the conversations we have!!

We pulled into one parkinglot and she said,

B - "Dis remin me of Toy Stowy Thwee."

Me - "It does? How?"

B - "Da Playgroun."

(We were nowhere near a playground. We were in a parkinglot. I'm desperately trying to remember a playground in TS3.)

B - "When Woody is outside."

(I noticed a little patch of grass with a chain link fence. Then I remembered Woody going outside at the daycare center.)

Me - "Oh I see it now!" :)

We pull up to a red light and a large truck in front of us pulls into Jack in the Box. Beth points toward JITB;

B - "That remin me of Harry Potter."

Me - "What reminds you of Harry Potter?"

B - "Da tree. There was a big spidow! I no like big spidows. Only liddle ones I can step on."

Maybe we need to cut back on her TV viewing time.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fun Photo Friday!

Beth wrote this note and left it on the counter for me to see when I woke up this morning.

Translation - Mom can I use my card please.
Tell father about my card pleaseeeeeeeee tomorrow morning for shopping.
Do not say no mother!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Knew it Was Time

I don't think I told you that our dog Buddy, a black lab, was diagnosed with cancer a couple months ago. There was a small bump, like a blister growing in his nose. The vet did a biopsy and it turned out to be cancer. Because of where it was located, they couldn't really do surgery. They would have had to cut into his nasal passage and that would have been just too difficult.

(We rescued Buddy 10 years ago from a local shelter. He was a year old and was so big, they told us that if no one adopted him by that weekend, they were gonna put him down.)

We had the vet take a chest xray and that showed the cancer had spread into his lungs and lymph nodes. They basically told us there was nothing they could do. It was growing so fast, it began to cut off his air supply. He started having a hard time breathing; I would wake up with him in the morning and he'd be trying to catch his breath. Each day got harder and harder.

Early Saturday morning his ears were warm and he was struggling to breathe. I knew in my heart it was time.

We didn't know how Beth would handle being there when Buddy was put to sleep. Maybe it was better to experience it first with an animal, rather than a person. But we decided to let her decide. She chose to stay home, but gave Buddy a hug and began to sob. I gave her a hug and we cried for a while.

Buddy was excited to go for a ride! He always loved car rides! In the back of the van, you could hear his tail thumping against the back seat as he stuck his nose out the window. I told the vet later, "It would help if he would at least act sick!"

Just before 3 PM yesterday, Buddy went to heaven. (I don't know how all this animal stuff works in heaven. I know there will be horses, but for the rest, I'm not sure. For now, we're telling Beth that Buddy is in heaven with my mom and our cat Tigger.)

I pulled out a bunch of pictures last night. Many I had forgotten about!

Each Christmas we put our tree in the corner of the livingroom. For 11 months out of the year, it's where Buddy's bed is. One year Chuck took the tree outside and I went to get the vacuum. When I came back, this is what I saw:

That goofy dog was trying to get settled in the tiny spot left by the Christmas tree stand! He hated it when we moved his bed!

He was a big dog. He was the only dog we had ever had so we didn't really notice how big he was. Until he got around other dogs. and people. Everyone commented on how big he was! We decided to take this picture last week so Allison could one day see Buddy. (You can see the carcinoma in Buddy's nose.)

This picture was taken in January 2009. That dog loved the snow. He would jump and run and dive and eat snowballs. He could play in the snow for hours.

He loved to 'get the paper'. We would ask him, "Buddy, do ya wanna get the paper??" He would practically kill himself trying to get out the door. Off the porch, across the yard, to the driveway. Grab the paper and bring it back to the porch. Then he'd head into the kitchen for a bone.

He loved 'bowling for mellows'. We would get on one side of the kitchen and roll mini marshmellows toward him. He would scramble to eat them before they hit the carpet.

When I would go outside to pull weeds, he would stand in the gravel area and wait for me to throw small rocks or pebbles. He would just stand there, poised, eyebrows raised, so excited about chasing rocks!

We're gonna miss him. He was Our Bud. Our Budster Dog. Buddy Boy. It's just not going to be the same without him.

"I see the cheerio! Does anyone else see the cheerio?!
I see it! There it is!! There's the cheerio!!"

Nothin'  like a good shake after a swim!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Thanksgiving Like No Other

We had Thanksgiving on Tuesday, November 23 this year. Never done that before. Chuck had taken the day off from work to stay home and cook. He's the cook in our house. I went into work and when I got home, there was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatos all ready to go! Ryan, Sharaya and Allison came over and after dinner we played Mexican Train. It's a domino game. Chuck and I had never played it before but it was really fun!

Wednesday I stayed home and Chuck went to work. That evening we went to church to get our final instructions for Thanksgiving Day.

Each Thanksgiving our church hosts a free dinner for the community. (This was our 16th year.) We have 3 seatings, with about 450 people each time. Dinner is served Family Style, with 9 people at each round table. (There were 45 tables this year!) The food is brought to the table and a table host facilitates the conversation and serves the guests. The dinner is free; there is free transportation if needed; we have a reception area with puzzles and games while you wait for your dinner seating. You can have family photos taken or look through our food and clothing bank. For a few years I ran the Staff Childcare (more than 400 volunteers to make it all happen!) while Chuck worked in the kitchen. For the last few years, he has driven the shuttles while I am in the 'pantry'. I prepare the condiment trays that go on all the tables; pickles, black olives and cranberry sause. Plus prepare the roll bowls for each table. And we cut and plate over 1300 pieces of pie, complete with whipped cream! I'll admit it's exhausting, but we love doing it. One year our family decided not to participate and we all felt strange being at home knowing everyone else was at church!

I had to leave church a little early yesterday because we took Diana to the airport. She got on a plane at 7:30 last night and headed to Australia. Yep, the Land Down Under. All by herself. She isn't going with anyone and no one is meeting her there. I am slightly nervous. She is very excited though! Planning to see the Great Barrier Reef, visit a rain forest... her week is packed!

Came home from the airport and Allison arrived. We watched our 1 year old granddaughter overnight last night! The first time! Oh my gosh she is a doll. People can describe to you what it's like to be grandparents, but you can't really know until you become one! Allison slept 10 hours last night, not too shabby! I brought her into bed with us this morning. She smelled so good! All warm and squishy.

We've never had a Thanksgiving quite like this one!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chains for Your Feet

Seattle is in a deep freeze. We had a few inches of snow fall on Monday, then the temperatures dropped into the teens. Watching the news last night, the temperature outside was 11. Just a tad nippy! That's unusual for Seattle.

So when Chuck headed out to work, I put out the Trax. Have you seen these? They're incredible! They work like magic, making it viturally impossible to slip on the ice. Slip 'em on your shoes and waa laa! I'm surprised everybody doesn't wear these. They're called Yak Trax and we got ours at Big 5 for about $20. A little steep, but SO worth it! (They may be cheaper in the off season.)

Chuck's also been taking the train this week. The freeways have been parkinglots with all the accidents and spin outs. People have just given up, parked their cars on the side of the freeway and walked home. Public transportation has been a mess. I think they said on Monday night there were 200 busses spun out or stuck on hills. Chuck usually takes the bus into work, but (my brilliant husband!) thought to take the train into downtown Seattle. He sent me a text this morning, "Made it in just fine. Right on time. No hassles." Did I mention he was brilliant?

Monday, November 22, 2010

This is What Our Yard Looks Like Today

November 22, 2010
It's not much, but it's the first snow in 2 years!!

And, it wouldn't be our yard without a picture of the palm tree!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Look What I found!!

Tis the season for white fudge covered Oreos!
NOW the holidays have officially begun! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Down Syndrome - circa 1984

In the early 80's the life expectancy of people with Down Syndrome was 25 yrs.

Beth was born in 1984. She's 26.

We've come a long way.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What Would it Be Like?

I'd like to add a few more things to the list on the right side panel. If people with Down Syndrome ran the world....

People would be genuinely happy when their family and friends succeeded.

When your sister is getting ready to celebrate her birthday.

When she gets an awesome Christmas present.

Even when she gets her own room
and won't be sharing a room with you anymore.

When your friend makes a basket!

What do you think? If your son or daughter - or sister or brother or...
with Down Syndrome ran the world, what would the world be like?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hopping Isn't the Right Word

Beth is still getting up on time, getting herself ready and hopping on her bus! Well, hop might not be the best word to use, maybe more like slowly... climbs... onto.

Wednesday mornings the DART bus comes between 9:30 and 10:00. Beth was still asleep but I controlled the overwhelming desire to go downstairs and wake her up! I don't know why that's so hard. At 10:00 her bus arrived and I went downstairs to see if she was awake. I was a little surprised to see her standing in the middle of her livingroom, she was still kinda groggy, but she was dressed! We got her lunch and cleaned her glasses and out the door she went!

I don't know why I'm surprised when she gets out on time but I am.

DART stands for Dial A Ride Transportation. We had to fill out a 12 page application in order to get her on DART. Then they sent us the approval, letting us know she was approved to ride. And now they pick her up at our house and drop her off at the door of wherever she's going. The bowling alley, work, wherever. She's on a set schedule; she goes to the same places each week but if we want to add a ride or cancel one, we just call 'em and they take care of it.

We love DART. It allows Beth some independance and she likes having her own life as far as she isn't always counting on us to get her places. I have the van, Dad takes Community Transit and she takes DART. They have been a Godsend for us.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Move Over Nick Jonas

Today was the Mukilteo Pinbusters year end bowling party and awards night. It was supposed to be last weekend but the bowling alley was already reserved. So the kids all wore their costumes today, did some bowling, ate some pizza then received their awards.

We usually don't dress up for halloween. I mean, the girls are grown and we haven't gone out trick or treating in years. We often help with the Harvest Party at church but we didn't even do that this year.

Beth has a new love. Nick Jonas has taken a back seat to.... Marty McFly. Yep, Marty, from the Back to the Future Trilogy. She watches that movie over and over. So, when she found out that they could wear costumes today she asked to go as Marty McFly. Um, okay. Last night we were at Value Village looking for a red, down vest. They actually had quite a selection! Anyway, after an hour, we walked out with the perfect ensemble.

Receiving her award.

Miranda dressed up as Fiona, Warrior Princess from Shrek 3.

It was so cute to see everyone in their costumes. Those kids sure know how to ham it up! We arrived home and guess what's on TV tonight? Back to the Future. Yep, all 3, back to back to back. Beth is so excited!