Thursday, November 29, 2007
I love you Dad! Even if I sleep late & don't make my bed! Ha, ha!!!!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
As they got ready to come back IN, someone came in & asked where Bethany was. WHAT? She went out with all of YOU! I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I suspected she got scared & was hiding. She is 11. She is the oldest of the group. But she is autistic. Mild as it may be, she is autistic. That was a lot of people in a strange place. I did not get up to go look. I asked if Phil would go b/c I knew if she were scared and I found her, she'd not want to go down the aisle, but stay with me. However, when he couldn't find her I got up. I went up to the balcony. Someone up there working with the soundboard asked if she might be under a pew. I looked & didn't see her. Then, for a brief moment, a head full of long red hair popped up, then went back down.
I raced down the stairs (as fast as an overweight woman with bursitis & fibromyalgia can race), grabbed Katie, my niece-in-law, who was Bethany's walking partner in the wedding (each bridesmaid had a flower girl to escort), and went to find her. Between us we pulled her up. She would not show her face but pulled the hair over to hide her tears. Finally we coaxed her to get up & go out to the line. Becky, my niece, the bride, asked, "Would you rather not go first?" She had Katie & Bethany going in first. Bethany said yes, so they switched with Natalie & her partner. Even then, I had to walk down the aisle, but eventually got behind her & from the 4th row, she was able to continue with Katie.
While most the other moms had concerns about if their child would look just right, or smile at the right time, I had to wonder if my child would even walk down the aisle at the wedding. Becky told Bethany, "If you don't want to, you don't have to do it." I really didn't want B. to have that "out" but rather to know she COULD do this. On the other hand, I didn't want her creating a fiasco on the day of the wedding.
At the dinner, we had another "Bethany incident." It was late & everyone was tired and hungry. While we waited for the meal, we ate tortilla chips. If you aren't from Texas, you have to understand that when we go into a restaurant, we just assume there will be a bowl of tortilla chips and a bowl of salsa! Bethany found this tiny little chip. She made a bed for her chip, but laying it on a small plate and covering it with a napkin. Then she started crying. She wanted to keep "chippy" to take home, but she didn't think she should do that. I told her she could take it home if she wanted to. We went about eating our chips & waiting. Then, suddenly, she was crying again. I looked and Chippy was gone. I asked if she lost Chippy, to which she replied, through tears, "No. I ate it!" I just started laughing. I mean, if you want to save something, then you eat it, there is just something humorous about that. Sadly, she did not think it was funny at all. A bit later she said, "You are mean." Then a few moments later asked me, "Are you my real mother?" I assured her I was & asked why she would ask that. "Because my real mother wouldn't laugh about this." OY! What's a mom to do? We made it back to the hotel & she was fine. The next day I avoided the subject like the plague, and she only brought it up once. I did not laugh. After all, I AM her real mother.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I got home and Phil opted for a nice sweater to wear with his pants. Except the sweater was black & grey & white, and the pants were green. He insisted it was all he had. I dug around & found some black pants that fit him, though he says they are too short. He was willing to wear them. Phew. My 3rd child is so difficult sometimes!
Friday we loaded up the van and drove to New Braunfels to pick up my parents. We got their things loaded in and took off for Houston. We were on a tight schedule. We left around 10:30 a.m. and the rehearsal was at 6 p.m. No, it doesn't take that long to get to Houston. But, we HAD to be there in time for kick-off of the annual match between Texas A&M (Phil's alma mater) and University of Texas (their biggest rival). From 2:30 til about 5:20 Phil sat glued to the TV, and Natalie whined about being bored. I pulled out some of my stamps (this girl never leaves home without some stamping supplies, you know) and let Natalie stamp, then color in her images. That kept her from whining for about 30 minutes. Bethany is never bored as long as she has paper & writing utensils.
At 5:20 we left for the church. We arrived and Phil was relieved to see my brother's car. You see, Greg, my brother, had stopped by the hotel to pick up Nils, his son (my nephew), and while there told Phil that he had a mini TV that would pick up the game. Phil pretty much took off without us and found the game. He was met by several others who were all trying to watch this 6" TV. Once the rehearsal started, he & a few non-essential guests stayed with the game. Turns out, it was not only these few who NEEDED to know the score, but several in the wedding party, as well. For the record, A&M won 38-30. This announcement brought a round of "whoops" as is known to happen at the mere mention of words such as "Aggie, A&M, or College Station." The rehearsal was then allowed to continue in peace.
Becky, my niece, married a young man named Chris. Now, a typical wedding is confusing enough when it comes to family members, but this was not typical. Becky's parents have been divorced for most of her life. Greg remarried when the kids were 3 & 5 to a lovely lady named Robin. Jan, their mom, remarried 3 years ago, shortly before Nils married his lovely bride, Katie. Jan's dad died several years ago and her mom has since remarried. Take notes, as there will be a test at the end. Chris' parents also divorced many years ago. His mom is remarried, and his dad was remarried, but is no longer married. Can you see the confusion all this might cause when planning a wedding? The pastor, who flew in from....somewhere north of Texas (I didn't take good notes, so I failed the test), asked both Becky & Chris to introduce their families & attendants. An hour later (just kidding, but it did take a long time----did I mention there were 6 flower girls?) the rehearsal started.
We had a wonderful dinner at Pappasitos. I had called ahead to check on the menu as far as gluten free went. I quietly talked to the server & handed him a list of what I could not have. They prepared my fajita meat (um, for anyone who doesn't know, it's pronounced fa-hee-tah) without the marinade. I think they prepared it without salt & pepper, too. It was definitely safe to eat! They had some shrimp out that was safe as well & boy was it good! Chris' dad read us a lovely poem written for his son & Becky. After the meal, Chris & Becky thanked everyone & shared a bit about each person. They wanted this all to glorify God and they did an excellent job of allowing that to happen. We got back to the hotel & crashed. Except, the beds were very uncomfortable & I was very congested. Neither Phil nor I slept well, but the girls did. Morning came all too soon. I'll tell of the wedding in yet another post.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Before I go to bed, I have to share some pictures of our girls all dressed up for the rehearsal. We think they are beautiful, but we are a bit partial! These aren't the dresses my Mom & I made, but the "store-bought" dresses. That's a rarity for them! With 2 Grandmothers who sew for them, and a mom who CAN sew but doesn't do it much, buying a dress in a store isn't the normal thing to do! Hopefully they can wear these dresses into next year & maybe still next Christmas. One can always hope!
There is much to share about this past week and weekend, for anyone who has a desire to read about it, but I will have to catch up bit by bit. This post is mostly about cooking stuff, so if you aren't into cooking, or want to feel sorry for the gluten free people in the world (ha, ha), I'll spare you by telling you to just skip this post! The girls & I spent Wednesday baking. Okay, so I spent most of the day baking & they occasionally popped in to use my cool PC Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer, and to make "cookies" out of leftover gluten free pie crust dough. I splurged & bought myself a Black & Decker food processor early last week (it was on sale!) since my last one died a long time ago. With a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and all my PC tools, I rarely have a need for a food processor. I decided, though, that it would be much faster to make gluten free pie crusts in the food processor than by hand. Now, shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Don't tell the kids in my Middle School Cooking Class this because I just taught them how to do it by hand. Living gluten free means a lot of changes and holidays can almost become a burden when it comes to food, but I've tried to make do and make it painless for all involved. Pie crusts are just one sample of this.
I made an apple pie, cherry pie and a pumpkin praline cheesecake pie using my gf pie crusts. I had realized quite a long time ago that bean flour (one of the many gf flours available) just doesn't work well in desserts. Yes, bean flour is ground up beans. Garbanzo/chickpeas are a standard bean used, but often fava beans are added to this. I really am not sure what a fava bean is, but I know some people are deathly allergic to it. Lately, I've also seen a company that makes pinto bean flour and noodles. Gluten free flour isn't like your typical all-purpose flour (which is made of wheat, of course). When you cook gluten free, you have to mix different flours in certain proportions to make them work right. A typical blend includes rice, bean, teff or sorghum flour combined with a variety of starches like potato, corn, and tapioca starches. So, before even beginning to measure out ingredients in a recipe, you have to measure all the ingredients and make a flour blend. NORMALLY I use a simple blend of cornstarch & sweet rice flour for sweets. Without gluten, there is nothing to make the flours really stick together well, so we typically add in some xanthan gum (it's found in things like ice cream, too). For some strange reason, I decided to use a different flour blend to make up a big batch of gf flour. It was fine til I saw bean flour. I had bean flour, but I hesitated to use it. I went ahead & put it in. Pie crust was, well, not the best! But it was edible. I made 2 double crusts with that recipe, then used my standard on the other one for the praline pie. I also made our favorite: Pecan Tassies! The recipe link says butter tarts, but they are the same ones I make. YUM! We very selfishly left those at home! I did make a pecan pie with a normal gluten-filled pie crust for all the others.
I was not feeling 100% yet on Wednesday, or even Thursday, but was able to get the pies made. I ended up making up some GF dressing & green bean casserole. I made my own Cream of Mushroom soup, then used sour cream & onion potato chips rather than the French fried onion rings. It actually tasted good!
By Wednesday night I was quite tired & ready for bed! I'll post about our Big Thanksgiving Day in my next post.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Today we got a note telling us that he'd gone to the doctor first thing this morning with some problems. He had to have a catheter put in for a few days. He is not feeling well. They are not going to go to the wedding that the girls are in this weekend (my niece's wedding), and I am not sure he will be up to traveling for Thanksgiving even. Good news, though, was that this doctor felt where the tumor was & said it has definitely shrunk & agrees it is now operable. That is a real praise!
My tummy got to feeling worse at home. I definitely made the right choice. I spent some time lying on the couch. I've been up doing some things, but am not feeling super great. I MUST stay well as we have Thanksgiving in 2 days & a WEDDING on Saturday! I need to get to bed to get a good night's sleep.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Have a wonderful day!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Natalie's party was fun. She had a smaller group than in the past (we try to include so many that it's overflowing in our tiny house). The girls seemed to have a good time. There was drizzle outside & a very wet yard (though it quickly went away & we had no significant rainfall), so we had to do a pinata inside. The new pinatas have magic ribbons & one of them pulls open the pinata. Natalie said it was pretty boring, but Phil didn't want to let them swing a stick while he held the pinata. Go figure!
We had 2 sleepover guests. All kids were up late, so parents were up later. During the night my mattress (an air mattress in a waterbed frame) deflated. I was so tired & was quite the sight trying to hoist my fat body over the edge of the waterbed frame! Phil is testing it tonight to see if it's the mattress leaking or the valve where the pump stays in. I hope for sleep tonight!
I think I will call it a night & do my sewing tomorrow.
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."These words are on my heart tonight. There are some issues that have arisen elsewhere that have tugged at my heart. Everywhere I hear we are not to judge, that there are many ways to God or "gods," that we must accept everyone's beliefs as equal, that me must not make comments about anyone's spiritual destiny. I have listened to and read such words over and over and have tried to respond to such things lovingly and politely. I believe that God does not wish us to lash out when speaking to others. Yet, I also know that Jesus was not "meek and mild" but did, indeed, lash out when He confronted the money changers in the temple. I believe that Jesus got straight to the point. I talk and think like an African. In Nairobi, a man told us that they speak like a coiled snake. They start at the tail and go round and round to get to the point (the head of the snake).
3In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:1-8
I have been thinking about this for several days and have to say that I cannot, as a believer in Jesus Christ as my Savior, hide what my Savior says. He said to Nicodemus that one must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said in John 14:6, "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." And in Acts 4:12, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." There are places where we are asked to keep words like this quiet. This IS what I believe! It is not MY words. My words are futile. I could speak or write all day. But, ultimately, God is in control of where someone spends eternity. And He says Jesus is the only way to eternal life.
I want to be kind in what I say. I want to be patient. I want to be loving. I want to be gentle. But in doing so, I want to be honest. In a world and society that is increasingly preaching "tolerance" there is little tolerance for those who believe and proclaim what God's Word says. Come quickly Lord Jesus. But not until after I finish flower girl dresses and my niece gets married!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Phil (my husband, not FIL), is going up to Temple tomorrow to Scott & White hospital. He will stay overnight at the hotel with his mom, probably staying til Saturday.
The girls & I will be madly cleaning for the next 2 days. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEElllllllllllllllpppppppppppppp!!!!!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
This weekend & Monday:
- finish working on Flower Girl dresses for the girls for Becky's wedding.
- Shop for groceries and other items for co-op classes on Tuesday.
- Help the girls learn their AWANA verses that we have not learned this week.
- Be sure Bethany does some of her homework for her co-op classes.
- Pack for co-op
- Contact people about December Pampered Chef shows
- Try to get Phil well, because he has bronchitis & keep us well
- Get haircuts! All 3 girls need haircuts.
- More stuff I can't think of right now
- Co-op. This is an all day affair. We are making pies in Middle School cooking and doing things in American Girls that I can't even remember right now.
- Pack my PC gear for a show in New Braunfels on Wednesday.
- Get things ready for the girls to go to a cool Corn "Maize" (maze made of corn stalks) with friends on Wed. while I have a PC show.
- Get everyone to bed on time
- Get everyone up on time!!! Major feat here
- Leave our house by 9:15 to drop off kids at a friend's house.
- Drive to New Braunfels & pick up my mom.
- Go to my PC show.
- Drop Mom off at her house after the show.
- Pick up girls.
- Unload all PC stuff.
- Begin cleaning the house.
- Make sure Phil is packed because he leaves for Temple, Texas this night. His dad has an appointment with a doctor who will put a stint into him on Thursday for his clogged arteries.
- Work on dresses if need be.
- Phil's dad has the surgery to put the stint in at 9 a.m. (or when the dr. can get to him). I am debating about going, but think I need to stay here for the following things.
- Begin cleaning the house for Natalie's birthday party on Saturday. This is not just a "dust and mop" kind of cleaning. We live in a 1070 sq. ft. house. We own enough stuff for a bigger home. This is a find a place to store things while we have a party kind of cleaning.
It is an all day for 2 days affair.
- Go grocery shopping for things we need for Natalie's party.
- Work on dresses more.
- Continue cleaning.
- Make cake and whatever other foods need to be made.
- Get the house ready for a party.
- prevent Bethany from dragging things out when we have the house clean or trying to start new craft projects.
- Get really ready for a party.
- Feed the family so we don't just eat cake (except me, who gets no cake---wah!)
- Final countdown to the wedding---am I still going to be working on the dresses?
- Make pies for Thanksgiving & food for me to eat (I have to make separate almost everything for the meal).
- Start setting out things to pack for the wedding.
- PC show Tuesday night
- Decide if we are going to drive on Friday to Houston & miss the A&M game, or find a hotel room for Thursday night & leave after the meal on Thursday to go to Houston & be there for the game.
- Find a dress for Lori to wear to the wedding. Lori is very fat & doesn't fit into anything that could even possibly be used for a wedding. Lori needs something cheap and big and pretty. Does it exist?
- For a few short hours enjoy eating & relaxing. Til the dishes are ready to be washed. My brother & sister-in-law normally do that part. They have a daughter getting married this year, so I suspect my hands will be getting soapy!
- Drive to Houston? Drive home? What will we do?
- A&M plays t.u. This is the same game that Phil was worried about missing when I went into labor with Natalie 9 years ago.
- Drive to Houston?
- Rehearsal for the wedding. The girls are 2 of 6 flower girls. Will Bethany walk or balk?
- Try to find something on the continental breakfast bar that is gluten free. Note to self: pack gf foods to take.
- Piddle around curling hair & doing nails til it's time to go to the church.
- Try to find a church we will have been to only once the night before in the middle of Houston.
- Pray that Bethany will walk down the aisle with Katie (her cousin-in-law).
- Try to enjoy the wedding.
- Go to a reception to drool over gluten foods & hope they have some fruit or something on hand. Note to self: take food to the reception (will it fit in a small handbag?)
- Brunch at my brother's house.
- Drive home? Drive to Temple? If all goes well with this stint, then Bill will have surgery on the 26th to remove: a) the tumor b) part of the bladder or c) if necessary, the bladder
- Bill has surgery---do we stay in Temple? Drive home?
- Prepare for co-op---for a sub? for myself? Will Phil stay there & I come home?
- Natalie's Birthday---the OFFICIAL birthday when she turns 9
Friday, November 9, 2007
The other night I wrote that a neighbor of my parents had passed away. This morning when I woke up (we were still at my parents' house) my dad said, "We got a call that Richard McRae died last night." The McRae's are family friends from Georgia that we have known most of my life, since I was about 4 or so (nearly 40 years ago). I told my dad he shouldn't answer the phone anymore! Then, the phone rang. He learned that the wife of a man at their church had died last night. Also, the sister of another couple from church died last night. My heart has been heavy for these families. Yet, there is joy in knowing the lived a long life with those they loved, and while I do not know some of them, I trust that they knew the Lord and are with Him now.
We arrived home this evening, and had several things to do before I could go through our pile of mail from the past few days. In it was a letter from Montana. I hesitated to open it. Our friends who now live in Montana and minister to the people in their area are the ones whose daughter had the baby in October with Trisomy 13, the one I blogged about recently. Tommy & Sue don't send letters out that close together. I suspected I knew what was inside, and I was right. Baby Effie went to be with her Father in Heaven on October 30th. My heart aches for this sweet family. Yet, in the midst of this, you simply must read what Joanna, Effie's mommy, wrote in her memorial album: http://livingwithtrisomy13.org/AlbumEffie.htm The little girl in the picture is their first daughter, Corinna. Joanna counts it a privilege and blessing to have been able to hold their Effie and have her at home for a few weeks. They had not expected her to ever leave the hospital alive.
For me to read what Jo has written is one of those every emotion rolled into one kind of experiences. When we met Tommy & Sue it was 1993. Joanna was their older daughter who was "away" at college in Austin (we lived just about a 30 minute drive from Austin). They had 3 girls in high school at the time. Jo was their "rebellious" daughter. She was the one who defined the stereotypical "Preacher's Kid" reputation. She is a brilliant woman. When I read her words of how "intelligence is not as important as we all are inclined to think," I am reminded of how much weight we daily place on knowing things. She is a very intelligent lady who also wrote, "I was shocked into the realization that life is short and I had better wake up and get busy spending time with my other daughter, training her, loving her, enjoying her. And, I have learned that my parents were right all along – God really does help us through everything he gives us to bear."
My heart is aching for Jeff & Joanna, for Tommy & Sue, for Jeff's parents, for all the aunts & uncles who have lost this precious family member, and for little Corinna who will never know her sister. Yet, my heart rejoices in knowing this sweet one is with the Lord and is complete. I am humbled as I read the words of a young mother & wonder how much time I spend just enjoying my children. And I am left wondering if I truly trust God to help us through all He gives us to bear. I'm encouraged as I know that what Tommy & Sue invested for all those years in these girls is coming to fruition. And even IF we go through a rebellious stage with our girls (I am hoping to skip that part!), we might see the fruit of our labor years down the road. I am also left realizing I do not spend enough time in God's Word. I don't read and devour it like honey.
I feel like my emotions have been through a whirlwind, and it is only going to get windier with things coming up. I will post separately about all the activities to come.
Go hug your kids today. Or your husband. Or call your mom or dad if you have them. Find a friend you can help and love. Life is short.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
We were greeted by sad news. When we arrived, Dad told us that their 93 year old neighbor, Woody, had been taken to the hospital and then we got a call a bit later that he had died. He & his wife Edna had been married over 60 years. I think over 65 years. He JUST turned 93 this past weekend. He & Edna were over here at my parents' house last night & everyone was having a great time. He'd only started losing memory a bit in the past year or so, I think. Last night they said he was very clear thinking & joking with everyone. Dad said he was glad that Woody had a wonderful fun time on his last night. Apparently, he collapsed tonight completely unexpectedly. He had an aneurism, so we think that must be the cause. It was a reminder that each day is a gift from God.
Now off to bed so we can be the sewing Smiths tomorrow. (I was a Smith before I was a Garrison).
Monday, November 5, 2007
So, I am blogging to say that I am very tired. My older child is still up. My hubby is on the verge of bronchitis & my throat is hurting on & off. OH, and I had maggots in my sink today. How disgusting is THAT! I about threw up & you know I don't do throw up, even my own. I flushed 'em all down the drain & ran the disposal. I'm wondering if fruit flies got into the disposal & laid eggs. I feel like I might throw up still. ICK!!!!
There is my short, not so sweet, blog! Good night!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Yesterday was quite eventful! We met with the cardiovascular surgeon first and his report was that he would prefer to do a stint in Bill's clogged artery, rather than surgery, because of his blood and platlet situation and a stint is not as invasive nor as difficult to recuperate, nor the danger of a blood clot, etc. And he doesn't have to get off his blood thinners. Also, from the tests last week, his heart beat is slower and not pumping blood as fast as it should, which indicates maybe some heart disease, so now he wants an ecogram(?), another x-ray, a stress test and a new lab report. This will be done before the surgery/stint procedure. He will discuss all of this with the oncologist before doing anything.