Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year?

I wanted to do a look back post - maybe after the new year when things are more settled. Hard to do from a phone ;)

Yesterday I got up at 4 am, out the door at 5 and at the hospital by 6. My brother-in-law had back surgery, some serious stuff. Things went very well. We are soooooo thankful. So many prayers went up and we are so very appreciative. 

Right after we got there, a family claimed the corner and I immediately became wary. My instincts were right- they were that loud group that had no consideration for anyone else. No effort to speak soft or not laugh so loud. We moved to try and distance ourselves but It didn't work. 

So we were with them from 6 am until 6:00 pm.  I know I wanted to cry at one point. Katie wanted to hit one girl. And she was really the ring leader - the family jester holding court. My mom, who is usually telling us to stop complaining, looked up and said - she talks non-stop. She never quits. Nope. About her job. Her husband cleaning out the car and not under the seats. How to clean out your car when you park at home. This great earring holder she found in the gift shop. It came in blue but she really wanted pink! And the rain boots were 25% off! 

Now I realize people handle stress in different ways. But seriously. I remember being in a waiting room and laughing in my normal obnoxious voice and my mother told me to tone it down. I learned from that and am concious of the grief and stress others are experiencing. 

Ok enough of that. So after talking to the dr, you feel better. And I liked this doc a lot. So we spoke to him at 1:15 and understood our boy could be in recovery for up to two hours. That would be 3:15. We waited. Yup. We waited. 

Eventually they tell us there is no rooms available and smuggle Katie back to prove Rog is ok but she can't stay. He's in an area where people are still coming out of surgery to recover. He is beyond this stage but stuck due to no rooms. Pre-op is also full with people waiting. 

6:00 pm we finally get a room! Hooray! I plan on checking into what the heck went wrong wih this back up. One of the nurses said they take all these last minute people trying to beat the insurance and don't consider how many beds they have. Grrrrrrr....

Anyway he's in a room. Hopefully last night went ok.  I thankfully talked to Donna the whole way home to stay awake. Got home, gave Macy a bath, ate and crashed. Soooo tired. 

And today, New Years Eve, I'm heading back up to check on the family and partying with the cutest two-year-old when I get home!!! :)

I'm sure you realize this is just a dump of all things yesterday. We are very blessed. There were things that could have gone wrong and God watched out for us. I prayed and prayed (along with lots of others) that He guide the surgeon's hands and be with all the medical personnel. So thankful. 

And I probably failed a Test of tolerance and love with that family. I guess y'all now know I'm not perfect. I do know at the end their person was doing ok but having a few issues. I hope he is doing well now. 

Ok y'all, let me get moving before I fall back asleep. Thanks for continued prayers. Recovery is going to be months. So please pray. And have a great ball drop tonight and celebrate a New Year! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Christmas & Such!

The holidays are here and gone! And for a person who absolutely LOOOOOOVES Christmas, I can't tell you how happy I am it's OVER.  I was actually excited to come back to work today because it gave me a break from my disaster of a house.  Sheesh.

I'm so disappointed in myself this Christmas because I allowed myself to completely lose sight of the true and only meaning to Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord.

I'm already looking ahead to next year and ways to put this first and foremost in the Christmas celebrations because I never want this to happen again - or to have this completely empty and lonely feeling.  I'm exhausted and ready to pack up 2014 and start fresh with 2015.

This said, of course we had a good time with family and watching a 2-year-old find such joy in every single gift she opened.  She loved every one of them. But was totally overwhelmed and didn't even open all her presents.  At one point I asked her if she wanted another present and she said, "No thank you, I'm fine."  And went back to playing with her old toys. :)  The 12-year-old was so gracious for every gift she opened and showed appreciation for them all.  It does make you feel pretty good about it.

I'm truly looking for ideas to bring the focus back on Jesus next Christmas and would love to hear your ideas.  Seriously.  Share.

Part of our problem was sickness kept us from many events - our family get-together, our church services and church program - we have quite a bit hitting the family right now. I'm asking for prayers for every single immediate family member because each one of us are battling with issues right now. I won't get into the details, but do ask for prayers.

I had to add this picture of my Dad.  My sister-in-law gave him this squirrel that fires foam "nuts" from its nose or mouth.  He was attacking us throughout the day with that thing! And he figured out to load it so the ammo would really travel! It was quite hilarious.

My mom's beautiful tree.  Loved the gold beads she added this year. And tucked in the branches are stuffed animals! It was really neat!  

My vet cousin and princess Macy.  These two (and one other vet) were so cute dressed up in one of their Christmas Eve presents.  So stinkin' cute!  We managed to stuff about 20+ people or so into my mom's house for Christmas Eve.  I'm so tired of cooking - I think everyone is because no one really ate all that food we made.  I don't want to think about how much of it is going to be tossed out.  

I have to tell you I'm excited about my Christmas present - a Brother SE400 Embroidery/Sewing machine.  Holy cow, I don't even know what I'm going to do with this beast of a machine. Put monograms on everything Macy owns! hahaha!  If you know anything about it, give me some pointers! I need help! But I'm so excited to have a good sewing machine so I can attempt some quilting and monogramming.  I'll never see my dining room table again. 

Ya'll, I hope your Christmas was blessed and beautiful, I hope your 2015 is filled with happy memories.  Thanks for joining me on this adventure called life via my blog and thank you for each and every comment you leave or prayer you send up or just happy thought/smile you give as you read.  It's appreciated!!! 

*hugs* to you!


PS - My kitten is still visiting me, although she's still a little skittish. She's my bright spot, I'm so happy to have her! :) 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Run Faster! Catch Up With Life!

I feel like life is leaving me behind and I'm running after it, so excuse the randomness that will be this posting. :)

Saturday was an adventure of Macy in Wal-Mart.  We actually had a VERY good time. We went early so it wasn't as crowded and she ran up and down and up and down pretty much every aisle of the store.  Made it interesting to attempt shopping while keeping up with her.  The highlights of the trip: her hugging the bag of marshmallows like a treasured baby doll for at least 3/4 of the trip.  Visiting the pre-lit Christmas trees and petting every one.

...And accidentally running into Santa.  I didn't even see the man there until Macy started jumping up and down, chanting, "Santa! Santa! Santa!"  Oh my, she was star struck.  She told him how she wrote him a letter last night and blew him a kiss.  It's ok that Santa resembled one of Duck Dynasty's cousins... he did a great job with her.

I hate her mama wasn't with me to see it, but she was at the doctor. Because, you know, every sickness passing through our neck of the woods attacks our family.

Anyway, Sunday I loaded the two Sweet Nieces up and headed to church for Sunday School because I was NOT missing another Sunday of the Christmas Story in detail.  So glad I managed to get there, but didn't stay for preaching.  Everyone else was SICK, so we packed it up and went back home.

Celebrated Katie's birthday, where she finally opened the canvas photos I had made for her! They look SO GOOD.  I'm glad she liked them - I'll get pics and post/review those two companies soon. CanvasOnDemand and EasyCanvas.

Sunday night I kept baby sweet niece while Sweet Niece #1 went back to her mom's house. Can I tell you how bad I am - I let her fall asleep. EEIK! I didn't mean for that to happen! I'm fired as babysitter for sure.

Monday - work work work.  Tuesday - work work work. Wednesday - took off to take care of baby sweet niece, since Dad had a dr appointment, Mom had another steroids shot (please pray for her neck), and the babysitter had the flu.  We had a BALL.

Do they come any cuter than this?? I don't think so!

Every hug needs a kiss, right?

Called Uncle Clay to come have lunch with us and she wrapped him up around her little pinky.  She was so good all day - I'm so thankful.  I love moments like this, treasures to store up.  (How responsible am I as an aunt, I went a bought a bib to keep her new shirt clean! uh-huh, I'm good!)

So I don't think I told ya'll that a sweet kitten adopted me! Or if I did tell you, just pretend to be excited about it.  She showed up, totally claimed me, hopped up on my lap - she's got me wrapped. I've named her Noelle and I think she's adorable.  An outside kitten right now, but maybe she'll make her way in the house. I need to do a vet check first, but holy cow, it's only CHRISTMASTIME so that might just have to wait.  But I'm happy with her.

Let's not even get me talking about the medical company that charged my entire remaining bill on my debit card this week, completely without my permission.  Seriously? The week before Christmas and, of course, it takes 3-5 business days to reappear on my card.  So it has the potential to get wrapped up in Christmas, which pushes it into the week after Christmas. Really? *sigh*

But ya'll, blessings abound in my family.  We've gotten good news on my dad twice now, my mom's shot is hopefully helping her neck AND she agreed to buy a turkey from a catering company.  We have so many things to be thankful for, so let's all CHEER! :)

Holy cow this turned into a novel. Sorry about that. Just happy to share some happiness.  Especially at a time where the holly jolly-ness of the holidays is running a little thin and we are all feeling squeezed by the pressure to have the perfect holiday, right? This holiday, ya'll, it is perfect.  It is - perfectly beautiful, brought to you by the most amazing miracle birth of a baby savior.  It's beautiful, so shrug off the man-made stress and send up a word of Thanks for the lovely miracle given to us from God.  :)

And on that note, I'll hush! Merry Christmas, ya'll!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday's Letters

Hello weekend! I see you peeping around the corner... don't worry, I'll get you soon!

Dear Flu - you are ruining everyone's happiness around here.  First you attacked my b-i-l, which made sweet niece very unhappy since she was banned from the house. She REALLY missed her Daddy.  Then you attack the babysitter, but only after Macy was already there for the day. Oops. That visit was cut short. So how about packing your bags and moving on outta here, ok?

Dear Christmas - I'm almost ready for you.  Almost. I need to get two more gifts and do a lot of wrapping to be totally ready.  And make lots of cookies, which starts tonight! Hopefully Sweet Niece #1 will be able to help me this weekend.

Dear God - You really answered prayers for my family this week.  Dad continues to be bladder cancer free, based on his test this week - THANK YOU! and other blessings I am so very thankful for... Thank you, Lord.

Dear Book of Job - you are killing me.  Man, I just ache with sadness reading this book! I'm doubling up on my reading, trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel.  One thing I did learn, however, is more often than not, the best thing you can do to be a good friend is to listen and pray.  "O that you would be completely silent, and that it would become your wisdom!" Job 13:5  As Charles Stanley writes, "Very often - more frequently that we know - our best counsel and most helpful advice is to say precisely nothing.  'Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, his is considered prudent.' Proverbs 17:28 "

Dear friend - Thank you for my surprise at my desk this week!!! I called in Monday so I could go to the doctor and hopefully get some meds (I did, but they are so powerful they scare the dickens out of me, so I won't take them anymore!) - as I ran by the office to get packages, I discovered this SUPER COOL SCARF on my desk! Whoa... you rock for this! Thank you Thank you Thank you! (and thanks to photo programs that hide the spots on my two front teeth. Awesome!)

Dear Prayer Peeps - anyone that is a praying person, our church seems to have been hit with sickness and sadness lately.  I've also had personal prayer requests that a few of you know about. So Prayer Peeps, please pray for my personal family and church family, if you don't mind. God will understand your intent  :)  Thank you.

Well folks, I hope you have a festive weekend of family and friend fun.  Hopefully I'll take more pics this coming week to make these posts more exciting! :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

{Review} Online Shopping Experiences

I have done quite a lot of shopping online this Christmas, helping out Dad, Katie and getting my presents without the hassle of parking and crowds.  (With that said, I'm also a firm believer in shopping at locally owned stores and did some of that, too).

I definitely noticed major differences in how my online shopping experiences went, so I thought - why not share them here! Maybe it would help someone make a better choice.

1.) :  This was actually pretty good!  They have a lot of selection online not available in stores.  Many things, however, you can have shipped to store for free and it eliminates the need to wander about and find dozens of other things you "need" causing a huge Walmart bill.  The shipping (I had it shipped to the office) was quick, everything looked good, nothing was too badly damaged.  Even the books, which are easier to dent and ding up, were in good "giftable" shape. Hooray!

Really? This is how I received my order from Amazon? And this isn't unusual.  
This looks like poop.  But I'm giving it anyway. :)  - Amazon
2.) : I'm a little frustrated with Amazon. I ordered the absolute most from them, so several boxes came into the office.  Every one was CRUSHED. Is that a problem with Amazon or UPS? I think Amazon is using crappy boxes that end up smooshed. We had to send some items back and re-order because the product boxes were so damaged we wouldn't gift it. This requires serious advance planning if you have to do this! In this box above, the product box on the bottom is slightly damaged, but I'll roll with it.  Thankfully, the rest were clothes. And for some reason. Amazon hasn't
been speedy like everyone brags about.  

3.) :  I know, Office Depot, who orders from Office Depot for Christmas?  I did. And I love them.  They had super fast shipping in these great boxes with not a single dent.  The packaging inside protected everything nicely. So fast - the fastest of anyone! Thankfully it was the priciest one, too. Go Office Depot!

4.) : For the love of Pete, this is the slowest shipping on the planet.  I ordered on November 14, 2014, and I still don't have all my stuff.  Some of it is in Mississippi.  Seriously - today is December 11! Got some super cute things, I feel like we got good deals, but... I WANT MY STUFF.  Also some damaged packaging.

5.) Got a great deal via Groupon - I'll talk more about this after I give the gift.  But their shipping was Super Fast, just a little less than desired.  One of my canvas prints was kinda tossing about loose in the box? But it wasn't damaged.

6.) This is a company that did it right.  Took a hair longer for me to receive (also another Groupon deal woop woop!) but they did a great job packaging it up nicely.  No damage to the box or product. Wrapped their box and gifted it because it looked good and fit the canvas perfectly.

---- Let me also review UPS for a moment, who delivered my boxes not to the government building I work at, but to the nursing home two doors down.  Thankfully the nursing home people are nice - they brought it over to me. I went online to chat with UPS.  They said you are not promised a reimbursement if your packages are not received. And when I explained the destroyed boxes and damaged product boxes, I just kept getting "We are sorry. We are sorry." I finally asked where she was located - Pacific Asia. They don't know anything specific about me, so nothing will be done. I'll call my local office tomorrow and make sure someone understands how to read shipping labels. (No, this isn't a snarky remark - I want to make sure the new guy understands what he is doing).

---- Adding to this - FEDEX, who shipped out my package from NV and had it meandered across the country in various random states before dropping at my local post office and my mail carrier delivered it.  Interesting concept, but this took an insane amount of time.

I don't know if that will help anyone out there or not.  Just my observations on the companies I ordered through in the past 6 weeks or so.  :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DIY Gifts

I'm cross posting this from Pressed Clovers, my "crafty" blog. It's a few DIY gift ideas that I seriously think you could still do before the holidays are here.  Enjoy!

DIY Gift Ideas

Ya'll know I started this blog as a play to show my scrapbooks for my Etsy company, Pressed Clovers.  But then I started doing other crafty things and putting pics up here, so it's turned into a crafty blog. 

When I started thinking of ideas for homemade gifts, I realized I had quite a few tutorials or ideas already posted on this website! Here are a few reminders and links to things I've posted in the past.

1)  The Christmas Scrapbook.  I make my mom one for her birthday on January 4th and print dozens of photos from Christmas for her to put into it immediately.  This way she hasn't forgotten any of the details and can have it ready for the next holiday season.  Don't forget to include the double sided stickers for the photos! (more photos in the link). Basically, each page has a place for a photo and is already decorated. All she needs to do is put in the pictures and write her memories.

2)  Photo Flower Pots.  While I made these for Mother's Day, I think it would be nice for Christmas, too. There are still flowers in the winter!  This isn't difficult at all and is completely personalized.  Print pictures on plain white copy paper and mod podge them to your flower pot. Easy Peasy!

3)  Monogram is all the rage! Many of us have tons of buttons laying about - buttons in jars, buttons in drawers, or in my case, buttons from a yard sale.  Tons of buttons. A quick run to my local craft store for a burlap canvas and some hot glue can turn buttons into beautiful monograms. Loved this gift idea! So quick, can finish it in an hour. 

4)  Teenagers! What about them? I wondered the same thing. Which started another one of my traditions - a scrapbook for my preteen niece.  With her, however, I buy lots of fun teenagerish stickers for to her decorate the book herself. I provided the book and basic layouts, tons of printed photos which all included her, and the double sided tape squares. She really impresses me with her creative ideas! This year, I'm giving her all the supplies pre-cut (mats for the photos and decorative strips of paper and tape, and stickers, of course) and letting her design the actual pages!

5) Toddler Artwork  This is my most favorite DIY project I've done to date.  Having my baby niece participate by "painting" four canvases and then I hand lettered the word LOVE on top. This is currently hanging in my bedroom.  Not keen on something that large? How about a small canvas or cardstock even, let them add a little paint and you add a monogram with a sticker!  Make it your own creation! :)

6) Baby on the Way.  New mothers or mothers-to-be... even grandmothers! love having these premade scrapbooks for the newborns most stellar moments.  The delivery day, the first day home, the first bath, baby sleeping - this provides a place for all those photos and will become a gift to the baby one day.  While baby boy is featured, just think pink for a girl.

I hope some of these ideas may inspire you to try a handmade gift this Christmas or into the New Year. Share your ideas with me, I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Saturday letters

Y'all know it's always something .... Today it was confirmed my brother-in-law has the flu. And my sister thinks she may be getting it, too. Baby Sweet Niece is with my parents knight for a "slumber party."  She's cried all day wanting her daddy. At one point I was crying with her because she was so pitiful. So yes, I've lost my marbles.

But let's look at my Friday Letters before I bawl again. :). 

Dear Ellie Bellie, you are a sweetie and I enjoyed seeing you last week or was it last weekend? Either way, you brighten my day! Why is your aunt Donna letting you grow up on us??? 

Dear friends in general, I'm so thankful for you and glad I'm able to spend some time wih you. Dinner with Sara (above), lunch with Corree, run in wih Martha Jean and Kathy, dinner with Donna and Ellie, devotionals with Paulene, letters from Raynore and Melissa is week after next! Loving it!!

Dear Sharon, I love Macy's scarf and hat. And she loves the baby doll blanket! And once the elf is found, he'll enjoy his scarf! 

Sweet niece #2, seeing your excitement for Christmas is adorable. Granted you've said you are asking Santa for corn on the cob, a puppy, an a hug. If that don't melt his heart, he's not the real Santa. Sweet Niece #1: be ready for a seriously packed weekend next week! Gear up and get excited!! 

Dear Paulene, we have got to get back on track with Job. We must get through this book! 

Ok folks,  wiped out and ready to see sleep. I hope your weekends are going great!  Night! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Halloween...& Thanksgiving!

So yes, this is a Halloween update after Thanksgiving, but before Christmas! So don't judge me too harshly. I realized I didn't post pics of the fairy princess Macy and our cousin, Chase from Paw Patrol.

Rylan (I mean, Chase!) and his daddy (my first cousin).
 I'm pretty tickled that at this age you can get away with pretty much anything. So it wasn't fancy, but that's totally cool when you are two. And it was cold outside, she was half sick, Halloween was just not the best day for us in general. We debated the trick-or-treating deal because there is no where to trick-or-treat in the boonies. But thankfully a local church held a trunk-or-treat for the first time and it was perfect.

We have horrible photos from Halloween. I'm not sure how I'm going to add this to my scrapbook because honestly, they are rough looking. But oh well, it is just how life goes sometimes.  (Funny story, one of the people in the line up dressed like a monkey and gave out bananas - Macy's favortie!)

Let's move on to Thanksgiving, where I still didn't get many good photos, but I managed to snap a few.

 My sister and her husband

 My brother and his wife

 My cousin's hubby and their son and my brother and niece
All the kids want to swing!

 The boys are brothers, Macy in the middle

 Becca and the boys

 Meghan is due in 10 days and her son Rylan

Wade (my cousin - Becca's brother) and Rylan. 
He's married to Meghan and Wade has a twin, Josh, who couldn't make it 
to Thanksgiving, but will be home for Christmas! 

 Whenever Sweet Niece #1 comes home, Macy refuses to let her go.
She definitely gets the rock star treatment from little niece. 

 You know my mom is one of 12, right? Here is part of the crew: 
Brenda, Mom, Linda and Ann

My sister and her family.  This will be part of the Christmas Card

So Thanksgiving involved over 25 people or so with a ton of food. Our Thanksgiving isn't the tablescapes with place settings and elaborate decor like you see on tv commercials. It's more of a line-the-counter-with-an-abundance-of-food, grab-your-plates-and-fill-them-up, find-a-place-on-the-couch-or-on-the-porch, you know the deal.  So good. So much to be thankful for, ain't that the truth.

Now that those two holidays are in the past, time is marching forward to Christmas. I'm so thankful I'm almost done. Now it's time to wait for presents to appear at the office, where I'm having everything delivered. Love it. I've totally overspent and I wonder what on earth went wrong in my head as I just kept buying stuff for people. But I love finding things I think they'll love, so it just finds its way into my "cart" and CLICK, it's coming to the office any day now. 

*sigh*  Family is my downfall, what can I say? 

Ok ya'll, I hope you are enjoying the holidays and not totally stressing yourselves out. 
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