Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Memory Tree Lane

I'm sitting here by the computer's glow admiring my beautiful tree.  There are no ornaments on the lower third of it, there are clumps of ornaments all in one place, and huge holes where no ornament can be seen for what seems like miles, there's no star at the top, few ornaments there either for that matter, it's the only artificial tree I've EVER owned, there's no tinsel, and no flocking, but to me it's the most beautiful tree in the world.

It contains the memories of generations past, present, and future... in a way, it contains my life in a 4' by 9' space.  Let me show you my life in this little box of mine.  Let me take you down Memory Tree Lane.

Let's start with the obvious... my family of nuts in the tree.

 This little gem is only a replica, but it reminds me of my Oma's tree growing up.

 This is one of a collection from my Mema  I adore it in all it's plastic splendor.

This perfect little angel (made by yours truly) reminds me of beautiful times crafting with my Siewert Family.

 This stern little guy was made for me by my Uncle Tom and keeps my family far away close in my heart.

And last but certainly not least is this angelic ballerina from my Aunt Peggy... she believed in me against all odds... still does!

Then there are the friends who hang around all the nuts...

which apparently blogger doesn't like, so I'll be continuing this post in another post.  See you over there!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How Do You Say Goodbye to a Friend?

Seems like we are forever saying goodbyes in December.  Our beloved Prince went to the vet today, and we got the call that he has congestive heart failure along with a number of other things.  He is miserable and tired and just plain old. 

So we are left with a hard decision.  Do we put him to sleep, or do we keep him with us and let him go naturally?  It feels wrong to me to decide to euthanize him, but it also feels incredibly selfish to keep him here with us while he is in so much pain.  And then there is the issue of the kids.  Lovely L is likely to have a break-down either way, and Miss P and Awesome A won't understand what we are doing, and if they do, how will they feel about it?  Will they think that if they get too sick or too old, we'll put them to sleep too?  Rockin Writer has had him since she was a baby... she even named him. How do we break the news to them about their beloved Prince?  I am overwhelmed with sadness and fear.  I am so worried that we will do the wrong thing, both for him and for the kids, not to mention Josh and I. How do you say goodbye to a friend?  How do you go on with all the holiday hoopla when your heart hurts so much?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Please Welcome...


 She has been fighting hard to win the hearts of the grown ups for over six weeks now.  For that matter, she had some pretty convincing advocates.  When the kittens were born to the Momma Putty Tat down the street, Big Daddy and I said "NO" firmly, repeatedly, and without doubt.  We did NOT need another mouth to feed or another mess maker (there's enough pee in our house without adding a litter box to it). 

Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing cuter than a kitten, and I LOVE cats, Josh not so much.  But we were in agreement on this one.  I was NOT ready for a new ball of fur!  We were standing firmly together.  Little by little the kids kept bringing me the same kitten over and over to hold.  She was sweet and fluffy and so quiet.  She slept any time she was held for more than a minute or so, and anyone who's held a sleeping kitten knows how it lowers your stress level and releases all those good endorphins.  Now I'm not saying the kids had it all planned out (ok, so maybe they did), but it started to work.  I needed those endorphins!  And would you look at that face?!  Even Big Daddy was smitten with the kitten!

So we had a plan not to be the bad guys... We told the big girls(they were the real culprits if you must know) that we couldn't afford to have a kitten right now.  There were vet bills for shots, kitty litter, food, and eventually getting the kitten fixed and declawed.  We did our research and laid it all out for them... it was just too much!  Especially with Christmas right around the corner.  So we told them if they would be willing to give up their Christmas gifts and commit to having the litter box cleaned twice a day EVERY DAY, as well as proving themselves responsible for their own chores and school work without being reminded, then we would consider the kitten.  We didn't think they'd go for it... really we didn't!  But they showed us up once again.

So, after much cuteness and purring, and lots of work on the girls part, we have a new family member!  We love her like crazy and she seems pretty happy here too! 

Since it's a post all about pets I thought I'd give you an update on Prince (our old man dog).  He has been steadily losing bladder control, and just last night he had another seizure.  I think he may be getting ready to go home.  We are hoping he makes it through the Christmas season.  Funny enough, after he had the seizure, he was acting just like a puppy, bouncing around all over the place and wanting to play.  It gives me hope to know he feels well enough to romp and play like that!  I love that old man, and I'm not quite ready to let him go yet!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Missed Her Today

She is on my mind alot this time of year in particular.  It was her favorite time of year.  I know, I know, most people love this time of year, but it always gave my Oma such joy to be with all of us this time of year.  It put a twinkle in her eyes like nothing else did~ and her eyes twinkled ALOT!!!  Whether it was with mischief(frequently), laughter (always), or plain pride(in all of us, of course), it seemed to me her eyes were always twinkling.  I so miss that twinkle.

And today while cleaning some things in the cabinet I came across a small piece in her church newsletter that they wrote about her.  It decribed her so PERFECTLY that it brought me to tears that I haven't come back from yet. So, I thought I'd share a little about how who she was shaped who I am today.

I learned so many things while at her kitchen table.  How to eat being the first order of business.  It seemed like I was never quite plump enough to suit Oma.  It makes me giggle now, but back then it meant I had to eat all kinds of crazy stuff.  Like red cabbage, cabbage rolls, goulash, bratwurst, sauerkraut.  I learned to love all those thing later in life, but as a little one, it seemed to be a never ending variation on cabbage (well, it kinda was).  But the thing I looked forward to the most was the noodles.  Oh, the noodles... covered in butter, or sauce, or even better, crunchies.  I lived for those noodles.  I think she'd appove of my plumpness these days.  I still have my love for noodles, they're on the table several nights a week, but I never did master the art of the sauce.  Or maybe it was the cookies, or the cake, or the kolaches that I lived for.  It was ALLL good.  As a matter of fact, it was GREAT! 

I learned the art of visiting there too.  I remember many many nights spent just sitting and listening  to the grown ups visit.  It wasn't until it got late in the evening and the grown ups got rowdy that my Oma or my mom would shoo my little brother and I into the living room.  I heard all about her life growing up in Romania, her time in Germany, her trip across Poland during the second World War.  I heard aunts and uncles visit, discuss, and downright argue, but we were together, so no matter what it was a priviledge just to be there.  I learned the art of listening to the same story told over and over and never appearing bored, because she had great stories that needed telling and were SO worth hearing even if you had no idea who the characters in the story were.  There is a subtle give and take in visiting, and she had it down to a science.  I like to think I learned a thing or two about visiting while in her company.

I learned about the importance of family.  She taught me that no matter what, we were a family and we were all we had!  I learned that distance and time apart didn't mean a thing if you had a family like ours.  I grew up thinking ALL families were like mine.  That everyone spent every holiday together, and the time between looking forward to the next time we would be together again.  I realized later in life that this kind family is more like a fairy tale, and in reality it's a little (ok, alot) scary for those being brought into the inner circle for the first time.  I think every person who has ever married into this crazy family has a story to tell about their first time.  It was a right of passage kind of thing, if you could handle the fam, and navigate the ever present food with grace, you were in... after a little hazing of course.  We're a little more overwhelming these days.  There are more of us (and yes some of that falls squarely on me), and we're a little more spread out, but we are a family, and we're a family because she made us this way.

In her kitchen I learned how to cook without measuring.  Ok, I know to most of you you don't think of that as a life skill, but I love knowing that I don't have to measure to make things that are edible.  It takes the pressure off!  Knowing that with a couple of eggs and some flour and water I can make spetzle noodles from scratch if I want, frees me up to create amazing food!   Oma rarely followed a recipe, and we tried more often than not to get her to let us write it down, but when we did get it on paper, she almost always left a little *something* out.  I'm pretty sure she did it just so none of us could ever cook as well as she did.  It still makes me laugh!

I think the most important thing she taught me was how to live my life without bitterness and defeat.  My Oma, she went through so much in her life.  Hardship was never far off, even her life here in America was full of trials.  Yet through it all she never gave up, and she went about life with a joyful spirit.  The person she was drew people to her like a magnet.  Not just her family, but everyone within a hundred mile radius!  It was magical to see her in action.  Her mouth was always smiling and inviting more and more people into our little family.  We never knew who might show up to dinner at Oma's, but it was sure to be a treat.  Because of her, I have learned to trust in God for His grace in my life and be thankful for everything and everyone in my life,  instead of focusing on all the things that have gone awry. 

Tonight, I cried.  I cried for the loss of someone who taught me so much about life and how to live it.  It's been years since she passed, but her spirit lives on here everyday.  So this season, while I'm muttering about parenting woes, and too much shopping to do, and endless tasks to undertake, I'll try to remember the lessons she taught me: To eat and love it, to listen closely to others life stories, to value my family and make sure they know it, to wing it sometimes... in life and in the kitchen, and to never give up and just keep on trusting God that He knows what He's doing better than I do, so I should just keep smiling and inviting people to join me at His table. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Goals and Dreams

So on to lighter subjects today.  I have some news to share!  I will be taking on a new role in the new year.  I will no longer be babysitter extraordinaire, I will be opening my own shop... Paper Mountains!  I will be selling online through Etsy as well as in a few local shops hopefully soon. 

So what will be in said shop??  Glad you asked.  If you don't know much about me, know this: I LOVE paper in all it's glorious forms, but especially books of all kinds, preferably old and dusty and smelling like and ancient library.  I will be using this love to craft furniture, home decor, and beautiful hairpieces.  Ok, I know that sounds like a crazy mix, but trust me it all works!  I have had this vision for several months now, and when the creeping crud waylaid knocked me on my butt, I just had to stop the process.  So, now here I am felling better and looking forward to the new year.  My family is on board, and my sweet honey is trying to ignore all the crazy mess around here and that in and of itself is a huge encouragement for me.

On to my goals:

1. To have my Facebook, Etsy, and new Blog Page fully operational (hearing StarWars in my head) by mid January.

2. To have my items in at least one local shop by March.

3. To have my business pulling a decent profit by this time next year.

So, stay tuned to see all the crazy things I'm gonna do with all my Paper Mountains... I'll be sharing a few things as I get them done here on this blog until I can get the official one finished!  Here's a Sneak Peak...

This little cutie is my favorite right now.  She may get to stay with me forever.

~~~~  Update on Miss P~~~~  I just got a call from the school nurse, Miss P peed her clothes and even managed to pee her shirt (which I didn't send extra of), so wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pneumonia Sucks Wind~ Really

The headline reads Pneumonia Sucks Wind~ Really, the subtitle would be local mom of five waylayed for over a month by entities unseen by the human eye! 

Hi everybody, I'm back to my "normal" abnormal self, but with a new purpose and goal.  First of all let me give a shout out to Dr Stanley!  He totally rocks!  He kept giving me crazy meds until one finally worked and laughed with me through all the crazy.  Here's to you Dr Stanley~  without you I wouldn't be breathin'!

Next on the agenda is a detour into RAD land with Miss P and all her wonderful pee!  I know you've missed hearing about all her adventures in the power of pee, so I'll fill you in.  As her birthday (in the beginning of November) drew close, she was looking for any way on earth to get us to not love her enough to give her the big party that we had planned for her this weekend.  It started with the usual small stuff, you know, intentionally doing something the wrong way, or half-way, or being passively defiant and pretending not to understand what we were asking of her.  As the big day approached, The pee started flowing like a river.  We DID give her the big Birthday Tea Party, and she did her best to ruin it, but we just flat wouldn't let her.  Now those of you who haven't the foggiest what all this means, take a look back at this post.

Now birhtday party was just a warm up.  Little did I know how warm it was going to get.  See, Rockin' Writer had her Birthday Bash just a week later (they're less than a week apart), and RW getting all those feel good vibes just really struck a wrong chord with Miss P!  Let's begin with the glasses.  It started with a little nibble here and there on the ends.  She then chewed the nose pads clear off, then the ends, and now she's taken to just taking them off and leaving them at school.  If you've never had a kid in glasses, you're in for a shock... They're EXPENSIVE!  And she know it!  So let the destruction begin.  All this before we even got as far as the pilgrims landing! Next she started really stepping out of line at school so that she would get a consequence at home... deliberate disobedience and touching other people all day long at school.  Now, I've been sick since about the 3rd of November, so I haven't exactly been a paragon of virtue when it comes to therapeutic parenting lately.  But come on give a mom a break.  Every single day for the last two weeks she has peed her pull-up.  EVERY SINGLE DAY!  And not just once, or maybe a "couldn't get there on time", we're talking sagging to her knees peed!  What's a mom to do?  Well, I'll tell you!  Tomorrow, she goes Pull-up free!  I'll be sending a change of clothes for her, and she'll be taking care of the mess, not me.  Anywho, all that to say, trauma SUCKS especially when the momma in charge is down for the count, and her parenting skills are a bit, shall we say, lacking!  Heck I'm just glad to be able to string more than two words together today...  More tomorrow on the goals and dreams stuff.  I hear a husband and a bathtub calling my name!  Christine, I may just be on board after all for the whole Christexmas thing!

Happy tubbing to all and to all a good night!