Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Eve, Part One

Okay, Mama~here are some Christmas Eve photos and videos as promised.

After the I-cannot-believe-my-car-died-on-the-way-to-church-on Christmas-Eve debacle, we ate dinner and then moved on to opening gifts. Rick and I both grew up opening our family gifts on Christmas Eve, followed by unwrapped presents from Santa on Christmas morning. We continued that tradition with our kids. Keep in mind that Emma is the first great-grandchild and great-niece on both sides of our family. That makes for one ginormous pile of gifts for Miss Emma. It is so much fun watching her open her gifts with such excitement. It's even more fun to see how much she enjoys thinking of and giving gifts to others. She is such a sweetie!

We always let Emma choose something special to give to her mommy. This year, she chose a silver heart locket into which we put a picture of Emma as a newborn as well as a current photo. I really think she had anticipated her mommy's reaction even more than she had anticipated Santa's arrival. In fact, she told Mommy that now she can always wear Emma right next to her heart. Mommy, of course, loves it! Go on, say it. You know you want to: aaaaawwwwwww!!! 
Emma loves the Disney princesses, so she also gave Mommy a Belle ornament.
Emma has been begging--and I do mean begging--her mommy for a puppy. Her mommy is not keen on the idea while they live in an apartment. So what's the next best thing? A stuffed puppy for her Bitty Baby doll! Sugar (the puppy) even has a little snow sled and reindeer hat! (Thank you Aunt Lori and Uncle Bill!)
Tiffany really wanted the ribbon on this box.
A dear friend, John Dawson, always gives Emma a Christmas and birthday gift. John is seriously one of the kindest people I have ever met. For Christmas, John and his family gave Emma this beautiful dress. Emma wanted to model it without changing. Love her arms!
Emma and Brittany gave me a two-part gift. Emma was sooooo excited to give them to me. First up was the Pandora angel charm which I love.
The 989th kiss I stole that day. 
The second part was my very own ice-skating Barbie in a purple skating dress! Okay, I received my last Barbie 40 years ago. Can I just say that I am sooooooooooooooooo beyond thrilled? And yes, I opened it and played with her. And yes, I have played with her every day since. I never, ever, EVER intend to grow up!
Speaking of Barbie, my mom sent this dance teacher and student set to Emma. Emma is taking a dance class and loves it! She pretends that these are her and Miss Suzanne. 
For her uncles, Emma drew pictures depicting her with each of them. For Keaton, she drew the two of them playing in the snow. She even drew a top hat on Keaton! For Brennan, she drew the two of them in the house posing for me to take their photo. It even says, "Smile!" Do you think that means I take too many photos? NOT!
Have I mentioned that Emma loves the Disney princesses? Emma loves to play with her princess dolls with Papa, especially with Rapunzel. She insists that Papa have a favorite character, so he chooses Maximus (the horse from Tangled). So Papa had to get his very own, very special gift for his little princess: a stuffed Maximus.
Uncle Brennan gave Emma a Jungle Veterinarian Barbie set. I asked her what she thought and she gave me a thumbs-up. I guess she loves it, as if there was ever any doubt.
Ok, Christy, about that "squishy" doll: that's what Miss Emma calls these plush Disney princess dolls. In her opinion, they're squishy, hence the name. She asked Santa for an Aurora squishy doll, which Keaton got for her. It was so cute when she opened it. She announced to all of us that she might have twin Aurora squishy dolls because she had asked Santa for one. Uncle Keaton assured her that Santa knows what kids get from their families so she needn't be worried. :)
Keaton also gave her a fan that he brought from Spain. She was concentrating so hard on holding it just right that she couldn't smile, too.
This is the "not squishy" Rapunzel doll that we gave her. She was so excited!
Yes, my boys are grown men yet they still love to act like they're ten and I wouldn't change it even if I could. Brennan was teasing Rick about the fire billower that he had bought. So Keaton decided to billow Brennan.
And billow him and billow him and billow him some more.
Then Keaton had some fun playing with my camera. LOL
The boys gave me a great gift: a date with them! (More about that another day.) Rick kept trying to get a photo of the three of us, but we could not get a photo with all of our eyes open. Three monkeys in a circus are we!
Emma made Papa a festive hat. Papa is such a good sport!
She's so purty!
Emma found a Buzz Lightyear Operation game for Papa. We are having sooooo much fun with this! We had Operation when we were kids. This being a grandparent thing totally rocks~you get to have toys again! So worth getting old for this!
Okay, off I go to cook a prime rib, so that's it for today.
Happy New Year's Eve! Or, as Emma decided to call it, "Happy Last Old Year Day!"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Can't Be Very Far Away...

Well, I guess Christmas is very far away if you are looking forward to the next one. But since I am late in posting my Christmas photos, we'll just pretend that Christmas is just around the corner, k? That way my mama can be giddy with anticipation, just like Miss Emma was!

Speaking of Miss Emma (and really, what else do I ever speak of?), here she is giving her mommy the gift she made in pre-school. Emma was giddy! Brittany was doubly giddy and sentimental, as it is hard to believe that Emma is already old enough to be making school gifts.
Last Thursday, we took Emma to see Santa. Okay, this Santa and photo backdrop was totally lame. I mean, he wasn't creepy or anything. But jolly? Not so much. He actually looked like he was thinking, "How many more of these little people do I have to let sit on my knee? And if one more of them wets my Santa suit, I am so freakin' out of here!"
As if she could here those thoughts running through Santa's head, Emma sat next to him not on him. She quickly whispered her wish list (a Barbie house and an Aurora "squishy doll"), chose a candy cane, and she was done! 
Then I treated my girls to pre-Christmas pedicures. Does Emma look blissful or what?
On Friday morning, Emma and her mommy decorated Christmas cookies. Brittany totally rocks at making these cookies~the best ever!
On Christmas Eve morning, I was making pies, stuffing, and cinnamon rolls. The power decided to go out right in the middle of it all. Un. Believe. Able. I hadn't started baking anything yet, but I was wondering how in the world I was going to get ready for church. Bed head with flour it in just wasn't the look I was going for, know what I mean? Thankfully, it was only out for thirty minutes or so. Whew!

Then we got all gussied up and took our family photos.
Emma wanted to model her Christmas outfit for us. She even posed...
...and, at Mommy's request, gave some attitude! LOL
After taking these photos, we loaded up into two cars and headed off to church. As soon as we got on the freeway (technically, in MA, they're called highways, but I grew up calling them freeways. Poe-tay-toe, poe-tah-toe!). Um...ok...where was I going with this? Oh, yeah! As soon as we got on the poe-tay-toe, er freeway, my car decided to die. Die as in the front end was shaking quite badly and it limped off the freeway and back to our driveway where it slumbered until the tow truck came on Tuesday. By this time, we had missed the Christmas Eve service, so we ordered Chinese food, changed into comfy clothes, and opened gifts. 

Here's Miss Emma waiting for let's-open-some-gifts time with her favorite sidekick, Tiffany. Too cute!
Okay, off I go to work on the rest of the Christmas Eve photos. Happy Thursday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More Prayer Requests and Some Christmas Cheer

Holly is undergoing further tests. Following a cerebral angiogram, she experienced some difficulty coming out of sedation. They have determined that she had a "dissection stroke," meaning that the artery leading to her brain in one side of her neck had "split" or "branched" allowing a blot clot to form in the dissected area which ultimately broke free and caused the stroke. The same artery on the other side of her neck is also dissected. It has calcified, which means that she has previously had some sort of resulting incident but apparently was unaware of it. The big questions now are what caused the dissections and what to do about them. In addition, the doctors discovered that her hemoglobin level is too low. She still does not have all of her other test results. She still has double vision and will saw a specialist for that today.

My 21-year-old nephew, Trenton, has been having heart issues (vasospasms) for the last six months or so. The current belief is that he had a virus which settled into his heart, causing immflamation. Consequently, he expereinces pain and some heart attack symptoms. He has been wearing a heart monitor 24/7 for the last two weeks and will see a new cardiologist today. 

The father of my precious friend, Robyn, is undergoing chemotherapy for melanoma. He is tolerating it fairly well, though it has caused some sores to appear. In addition, Robyn's mother is experiencing some heart issues. And did I mention that Robyn is recovering from pneumonia? Yes, talk about being slammed!

My dear friend, MaryKay Huck, lost her mother on the 8th. MaryKay's parents had celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary just two days earlier. 

Yesterday I was chatting with a woman who owns a local store that we frequent. Last week, her 27-year-old nephew died unexpectedly while playing basketball. Her sister is having a difficult time as expected. The whole family simply cannot comprehend the death of a child and they have no idea what to say or do. I briefly shared Kyle's death with her and was able to talk about things that helped us and things that didn't. My heart is just breaking for this family...

One last reqest. Our friend, Carol Ferreira, lost her battle with ALS last Friday. 

Please pray for all of these families, as this will be a difficult Christmas for them. I wish I could personally hug each one of them. But I am sure that they will feel your prayers from afar.

Now that I have totally bummed you out and made you think that visiting my blog is not for the faint of heart, here is some Christmas cheer to make you smile again.
I'll leave you with that for today. Off to do some more Christmas preps!

Monday, December 19, 2011

An Update and A Simple Sketch

Okay, Mom, I have tried and tried and tried to upload two videos of Emma, but Blogger keeps crashing, so I'm surrendering for now. And I still haven't been through the rest of my San Antonio photos, so those will have to wait until another day.

Lesly, Steve, and Holly have returned to CA. Holly is doing well except for her double vision. They still have not received the results of all of the tests, but expect them sometime this week. I'll keep you posted. 

Someone asked me why I call my blog Canvasses of Poetry and Prose. I wrote these lyrics in 2005. They explain the title.

A Simple Sketch

You could dress me to the nines
and then take my photograph.
Airbrush out the flaws and lines,
add the features that I lack.
I could primp, I could preen
but all that would be seen
is just a simple sketch of everything that He
wants me to be.

And if you could commission
a Van Gogh or a Monet,
a masterful rendition
of my face he might portray.
I could pose, I could sit
but still in the end it
would be a simple sketch of everything that He
 wants me to be.

"A picture paints a thousand words," or so the saying goes.
So I paint my soul on canvasses of poetry and prose...

When this portrait session ends
He'll walk through my gallery.
Portraits hung in my defense 
of my faith's reality.
So I hope and I pray
that these words will display
more than a simple sketch of everything that He
wants me to be.

So I hope and I pray
that my life will display
the One that gave His life for me
so that someday I might be
more than just this simple sketch.
 (Copyright © 2006 by, Inc. All rights reserved.)

And that's all she wrote on Monday morning...

Hope your week is off to a fabulous start!

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

First, an update on Holly: she was released from the hospital yesterday. She still has double vision (which they expect to be temporary) and will need some physical therapy. They are still trying to pinpoint the exact cause of the stroke, but for now it looks like she may have Lupus which can cause the blood to thicken and form clots which, as you know, can cause a stroke. She has been cleared to fly back to CA tomorrow with Steve and Lesly. Thank you for your prayers. 

As for Miss Emma, she's still sick, but right now it looks like just a normal head cold with lots of sniffles. 

I am quite sure that my mama is REALLY needing her Emma fix by now! Here's a card that Emma made for us. Yup, I have quite the growing collection. She's turning into quite the little card maker.
 I know~aaaawwwww! Is it any wonder that I am completely smitten with her?
Here she is squeezing the breath out of Uncle Brennan...
 and decorating the tree with him.
Remember the "Countdown 'Til Christmas" boxes from last year? Yup, I did them again this year. She said she loves the "Emma-Giffy traditions" of the boxes...
and the gingerbread houses. Guess I'll be sticking with them! As if I wouldn't have anyway. It's my JOB, my familial DUTY to spoil her! Really, it is. Just look up "Giffy" in the dictionary and you'll see! 
Every year, I do a lot of cookie and candy making and send the goodies to work with Rick. Here's my loyal baking sidekick.
Keaton's girlfriend, Tina, just returned from Spain and brought Emma a flamenco dancer dress. Emma immediately put it on and insisted on sleeping it and is still wearing it! And did you notice that it looks like a ladybug? Cute!!!
I love learning to do new things. Right now, I am learning to knit. (Yup, I'm a grandma so I'm required to knit, lol). Tina's mom, Mari, is teaching me. I've made some simple and not very good scarves, but I want to learn to do harder things. So I started out by making this hat for Emma. She loves it. Me? Not so much. I see every mistake I made and they really, really, REALLY bug me. I finally decided it's good enough for my first project and I learned a lot of things making it (how to change colors, how to use circular needles, how to decrease stitches, how to purl stitch, etc.). And let's face it: it's a hat for a 4-year-old which means that this cat won't have anywhere close to nine lives. Since I've already robbed this kitty of three or four lives as I repeatedly ripped and reattached new sets of ears, I figure she'll possibly last through the winter and that'll be all this cat meowed. 
I am going to keep on practicing with hats because they're easy and quick and maybe, just maybe, I'll improve. Then I want to make a spring sweater for Emma. We'll see if I ever get there.

 Anyway, I'm off to bake with Emma. Keaton comes home tonight. Christmas is almost here and I'll be one happy mama with all of my kids here letting me hug them until they're afraid I'll never let go! 

Happy Friday!