Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our crazy but blessed Christmas

I can say that our Christmas was a bit on the crazy side because well not everyone spends their Christmas holiday in the hospital.  But the blessed part is that we were with dad and he is still with us.  Yes it has been quite the ordeal, having spent so much time there.  But looking at how much different it could have been I am just glad we have him still with us to be able to celebrate.

The setting might have been less than perfect, but the girls all got tons of stuff  and we had some pretty good food.  Brittnie made chili and corn bread for us all & let me just say my baby girl did pretty darn well.  She never wants to cook anything (not even something from a box)  So for her to make chili from scratch well it just makes my heart happy. 
Dad looks great and is home (at Dave & Nae's) resting.  He got to go home the day after Christmas and so now I guess you can say we all got what we wanted for Christmas.  I haven't been to see him yet, but will in the next day or two.  Britt has been sick and I didn't want him to be bothered with getting a stomach virus or something so soon after his surgery.

This is a short post with a few pictures again my head is swimming with things I feel i need to write about but now that I am sitting in a quiet house with the computer in my lap I am at a loss for words.  So I'll finish up & maybe next time I will have something more to share with you all.

The girls getting ready to tear into their loot

Haleigh about to enjoy some of Britt's chili

dad having his Christmas dinner
(not chili but maybe next time)

Katie & Christie
they are convinced that Santa
left the kindles for them while he was in the hospital.

My sweet Britt was sure
this was going to be the worst Christmas ever

Britt may just be the most spoiled cowgirl there is :)

It makes me smile to think that the twins look up to Britt the
way they do.  I pray she always gives them a good example to follow

Closing with the photo at left...

I know as we get older the giant pile of gifts we got as kids seems to dwindle.  And as parents it is about being able to give more to our kids than to each other.   While my girls are old enough to know that Santa does not bring their gifts, they do still want to wake up Christmas morning and find all the things they dreamed of under the tree.  It took a ton of help this year to make that happen but it did.
When the girls were busy with all their gifts my own Santa Stephen had pulled this gift out for me.  Now know this...he never does his own shopping which is why this was such a huge surprise.  I don't think I have ever really asked for this, but have always loved the Open Hearts Collection.  The one I was given has 4 hearts(one for each of us) and means even more because it will always remind me of the Christmas God gave David and I (and our whole family) our dad back after open heart surgery.

Thanks for reading I hope you all got what you were wishing for this Christmas and may 2013 be the best year yet for us all.

Have a great day

Love you all
tammy c

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wait, I'm sorry what?

Ugh...I can not even begin to tell you how many times this past week that phrase has come out of my mouth.  Sometimes more than once to someone about the same thing.  I don't want everyone to think I am just not paying attention or that I don't care because it is quite the opposite.  My problem is that I care too much and then I tend to think too much and well my head gets so full of all that mess that I don't listen well to what is going on around me.  I am not sure how I have made it this being my 4th day at work without royally screwing up. 

So what is all that mess inside my head.  Questions, worry, love, fear, anger, name it, its in there all of it swimming around clouding most rational though.  My kids and husband seem to be suffering from my mood swings most.  I'm happy joking and having a blast one minute and mad and angry the next(mostly because I am just tired)  I try to apologize but i fear they hear empty words.  I have tried so very hard to stay positive, cheerful & happy, but i feel it all moving further and further out of reach.

Now don't read into that or read it wrong.  I firmly believe dad is going to get better.  I have faith in the work God is doing.  But watching him struggle is what is killing me it is what is causing me to be less cheerful and happy.  I just want to make it all right for him and I cant.  He needs the hospital, the doctors, the nurses, the meds and the rest.  I want to be there holding his hand telling him it will be OK every single time he opens his eyes from a nap.

You would not believe how many people have said if you need anything just call.  Sometimes I wonder if that is just the nice thing to say and if anyone ever follows through with it...I can tell you this last week has been proof to me that yes, they do.  It has been pretty amazing.  I work with people that have never even met my dad and they ask about him every single day either when i see them at work, by texting me, by calling and even on facebook.  Some one offered to come clean or take care of the animals or Christmas shop & gift wrap for me.  This has me thinking..."do I look that tired, am I that absent minded that I need that much help?"   Ugh! 

People I think of as family have hardly called people who are almost strangers offer amazing help...all this also causing more questions and things to over think about.  Poor Stephen keeps telling me to not worry after all it is Christmas and everyone is busy with their own lives.  I guess he is right.  I just need to relax.  But who has time for that between working hospital visits and worrying if the girls are going to have a good Christmas or not.

Yeah so...that's me.  That's what is going on today.  No great story, no fun photos to post.  Just Tammy, crazy stressed and scatter brained Tammy.

If your still reading this blog next week I will be amazed.

Have a great Saturday.  Now go get ready for Christmas and enjoy every minute of it.

Love you all

tammy c

Friday, December 21, 2012

Make the most of it

I know it's nuts, and maybe my dad doesn't want to spend much time reflecting (or me sharing it with you) on this time in his life when he had to spend all this time in the hospital, but me I want to remember it.  All of it.  I kinda wonder why, why would I want to take so much time remembering all the little things about his stay but then I think...because if it weren't for him and his stay at the hospital bringing us all (the 11 of us) back together as a family it could have been something much worse bringing us back together.  So I am doing what I can to make the most of it for my girls and for dad. Trying to make it a better memory better than the time he could have died, but a time in his own way he brought his family back to the tight little unit they should be.

I want to take a minute and rewind...about 5-6 months ago.  July to be exact.  We were all hanging out for the big firework/birthday party that happens every year, everyone was getting along great having a wonderful time.  Near the end of the night my daughter was looking through her phone at photos on the app that everyone loves when my husband noticed a picture (that my niece posted)  that he felt was inappropriate, acting before thinking he pointed it out.  In his defense he thought he was doing right by telling grandpa about it and telling grandpa maybe he should say something or he would...long story short things were said people were accused and feelings were hurt.  I know that I had hard feelings about the whole issue and avoided even trying to talk to my brother and his wife unless I had to because I was accused of things that didn't even apply to the situation as well (women are catty and mean)  It was an ugly mess to say the least.

Now back to where I began...his hospital stay bringing us back together.  Its weird, but I have had a pretty good time spending all this time with my brothers family and my parents at the hospital.  These are not the best circumstances in which to gather with the family, but I think God was watching our little family unit being pulled and stretched further and further apart that he maybe took charge to fix the problem.  Have my sister in law and I sat down to talk about how much we have hurt each other with our words and attitudes no.  We haven't.  But I think that I am a big enough person to be able to grow and get past it.  As is she.  We all have just let bygones be bygones and we have just visited, stressed, prayed, played games, knitted, waited and just enjoyed being together during this rough time in our lives.  Dad is getting better and better every day.  He was moved out of ICU and into his own room again with the high hopes of getting to come home before Christmas ( me I am still pretty sure he won't but I don't want to upset him)  For now we are just making the most of it.

I have been snapping photos with my phone everyday that we have been here.  It seems silly I know but then we are a pretty silly family. But we know how to have a good time even in the worst of situations. Able to see a silver lining even in the darkest of clouds

Here is a view from the waiting room on the 5th floor.  I was there with Christie picking out the cool looking buildings that we could see.  We wondered all over this floor in search of windows to look out.  Its been fun.

The photos here is how the little ones have been passing the time, playing games on the Kindle and knitting.  They don't get too far from papa for very long.

This is just a couple of visitors, most everyone has been to visit at one point or another.  Dad has gotten so many comments about how big his family is.  His room on the 5th floor has been dubbed "the party room"  it has been fun.  Monica even brought him a mini Christmas tree to liven things up a bit. (just in case we have to be here that long)

We took mom outside the hospital to get some good food and some fresh air.  She fought us and didn't want to leave dad, but there were other family members with him so he wasn't alone.  She relaxed after a little bit and was being silly with the girls.  (she needed it)

When the girls weren't knitting, they could be found watching something on netflix, going ice skating,  reading, playing games or just being silly with papa ( they wanted to see how tall the bed would go)

I have lost count as to how many baby hats the girls have delivered.  They took some down last night and a nurse they hadn't met yet asked them if they were girl scouts.  I believe they were happy with their "no" answer because they were doing this because they want to not because they have to.  (Makes moms & dads proud to see what great daughters they are raising too)

I do think all this time is taking it's toll on us all...the craziness may be trying to take a hold and not let go...or we were already crazy and all this time in the same place for so long is starting to just bring it out in us all...

I'm not sure what this post was for, probably just for me and my thoughts spilling out onto the page.  Its a crazy situation to find ones self in.  Dad says getting old is not for the weak.  I think he is right.  I don't know if I am strong enough to face what the future holds for our family.  Because through it all we really are a very close family unit and missing any one of us would tear us all apart I'm afraid.

But for now we are doing what we do and making the most of it all.

Janae mentioned a hospital scavenger hunt for the big girls, papa keeps telling them no but maybe...just maybe they'll get one in before he is released.

Hope you have a great weekend before Christmas.

Love you all
tammy c

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wonderful waste of time

 I tried to warn you that I had so much to tell you...

So We have been spending so much time at the hospital with my dad.  I mean we were all there for several days (now we are taking turns-he's doing well and we had to go back to work).  And you know how it is everyone brings something to keep them busy so that they can ward off boredom.  Well Val had been using one of those round loom things that you can knit hats and such.  She had made herself one and while there her knitting caught the attention of one of my nieces (Katie) and she wanted to know how to make one for herself.  So Val being excited to show someone sat down with her and gave her the loom and some yarn and helped her along.  That girl made her whole hat.  She loves it and wears it everywhere already.  Before we knew it Haleigh was in on learning to make hats.  They were having such a good time knitting away while visiting with their papa and all his company.  I mentioned to Val that maybe they could make some little baby hats and see if the nurses on the maternity floor could take them for all the little babies born at that hospital.  The girls (& papa) thought this was a great idea and took a little hat that Val had made for our baby cousin (Matthew) down to show the nurses and see if they would take them.  They came back so excited and said that the babies could use all the hats we could make.  Grandpa thought this was a great idea and gave the girls some money so they could get more yarn.  That day everyone wanted to make baby hats to give away. 
After taking their first batch of little hats down, a nurse gave them a tiny little hat and told them if they could make them this little that they could really use this size (little green one on the left in the picture at left) 15 weeks gestation is when some of the babies there are born. They are so tiny it was hard (still is) for us to imagine how tiny the baby that needs this size hat.  After some google searches we learned that some are smaller than a soda can at 15 weeks.  Too small and sadly some do not make it out of the hospital.    

 The girls have been knitting and knitting and each day taking little hats down to the nurses to share with new babies.  It has been such a blessing to see all these girls working together for such an amazing cause.  I hope that their desire to do this also leaves the hospital with them so that maybe once a month we can make a trip to the hospital and deliver more hats.  The nurses also asked for tiny little blankets, but they take a little longer to knit so I think I am going to make up several small quilts for them as well. 
I've been told that there is a program called newborns in need that take little hats and blankets to share with those who need them and that is pretty much what these girls are doing.  But I believe it means more and makes them want to work harder for them to get to see how their efforts are making a difference. 
Knitting really is a lost art I think and you would be surprised how much stress relief you get form it. 

I think that this has helped us all far more than we all realize when it comes to how we are dealing with my dad being in the hospital with such a life threatening situation.  

         And just the amount of hours we are there can get mind numbing but thanks to Valorie Michelle we can all relax and just keep knitting, just keep knitting...(sing to the tune of just keep swimming from finding nemo, it gets stuck in your head be careful) just keep knitting, knitting, knitting.  And before you know it grandpa will be home and we will be missing all the time we were getting to spend doing nothing but knitting.
It is pretty cool what we can do when we work together.

I challenge you to find something that you enjoy doing and do it for someone else without expecting something in return.  Give without wanting to receive.  It is the best feeling in the world and I am so glad that all these girls have had the chance to feel that feeling.

Go to your local hospital and see if they need hats or blankets.  Not just for babies but the elderly as well.  Our girls are doing the small hats for the babies because they are done quickly and they can deliver them each day.  But everyone in the hospital could use a blanket or hat or maybe even little booties.  I would be surprised if your hospital didn't love the help.


Valorie plans to keep knitting and she is still in school so she and her cousins have a very limited yarn supply if you would like to help but don't have the time to sit down and knit please feel free to send her some yarn.  My e-mail address is  email me and I will make sure she gets your donation.

It really is a wonderful waste of time
Thank you for reading.

Have a great day everyone!

tammy c

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oh how quickly it fades

Its crazy how quickly one can go from having the best Christmas season to having a not so great season.  I posted last that my Christmas spirit was at a new high.  That I had all these awesome plans to finish up shopping and spend the rest of the days before Christmas just baking and having a great time.  Well as usual, nothing ever really goes the way it should...

I was sleeping quite well last Wednesday night only one more day of work before 5 off in a row.  I had huge plans to spend all that time with my girls and Stephen, maybe drive over and spend some time with mom and dad at their new "lake house" (aka their 5th wheel in an RV park on the lake)  They love it there and I haven't really gotten to see it in the daylight.  As it is always dark when Ive been to pick up Val & Britt.  Anyway...Sleeping pretty good when my phone started ringing, in the middle of the night (12:21 to be exact)  My phone never rings at that time of night unless something is wrong.  Mom was on the other end telling me that she and dad were at the hospital and that dad was having a hard time breathing.  I didn't wait to get off the phone before I was up getting dressed and letting her know she wouldn't be alone long that I was on my way.  (they weren't going to call anyone except dad said "better call tammy, she'll be mad)  Well yeah! 

upon arriving at the hospital we were told (by mom & dad)  It's nothing really probably just a respiratory infection or pneumonia.  Well after listening to what the Dr had to say and to his symptoms turns out it was far worse than that.  Congestive heart failure.  He was taken to the bigger hospital and there they sent him to the cath lab to see what exactly they were dealing with.  Time stood still.  For those that don't know me well my dad was the #1 guy in my life for 20 years (Stephen came along and I made room for both of them)  I am a true daddy's girl, in every form of the phrase.  I would do anything for him as he would for me. (or the granddaughters)  He has always been my rock.  My go to guy for any question that I couldn't answer or didn't like the answer someone else would give me.  He's my dad he is tough, strong and knows everything about everything.  (he has a hard head too) 

Well here I am a week after that night time phone call and he is doing well.  He had to have a triple bypass.  I don't know that I have ever really worried as much as I did this past week.  I know it was almost a year ago that we were in a similar situation with mom, but hers went so much quicker, we knew in about a day what was wrong and what needed to be done to fix it.  With dad it seemed to take forever! 

I don't know what has happened to me in the past few years, but I have become so cynical so "the glass is half empty" so negative.  I know when everyone would say, just have faith your dad will be ok.  the doctors know whats going on, trust God.  I would answer "I know"  and I do.  But something inside would not let go and let me fully believe that he would be ok.  I did not relax and believe it until after surgery on Monday and I got to see he was ok with my own eyes.  It was then that I went home and slept for what seemed like forever (its amazing what 14 hours sleep will do)  but because of all the stress I still felt so exhausted.

Its been a couple of days and dad is looking great, he is still in ICU but the hopes of him getting his own room back on a floor soon is looking good.  I am so thankful to God that dad did listen to his body and took himself to the hospital because honestly I'm not sure what life is going to be like without him.  But Thankfully this is not the time I have to worry about that.  He and mom will need to make some changes to their lifestyle but I believe they will be here for quite some time.

as for my Christmas spirit well it's still there...buried inside under the stress and sleepless nights and I am not sure it will make it back to the surface this year (I didn't even get to do my Christmas shopping for my girls) and baking well that isn't really going to happen either I'm afraid.  I will be spending as much time as I can at the hospital keeping my mom and dad company.  I don't even know if we get to be out of the hospital for Christmas yet or not.  Dad is a fighter and he is determined not to be in there at Christmas. so prayers please that we can sit around our Christmas tree at home opening gifts as a big family. (wonder if the girls like what I got them...wonder what I got them)  ;)

Today so many things are swimming in my head that I want to tell you  and all the things I want talk about, but I guess I will take it one day at a time.  Maybe I will get it all on here before I forget or find something else to share.
Thanks for reading

I wish you the best Christmas!

tammy c

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Spirit

Even October the cat is showin' his Christmas spirit   :)

It seems like it has been a few years since I last felt the Christmas spirit in my heart.  I'm sure it stems from losing the rock of our family (in both my family and Stephens family)  I had always heard people say that when the mother of the family passes the the family just falls apart.  I have now lived that in both of our families and I firmly believe it to be true.
Now my family does try to do a huge Christmas dinner and such but with everyone going here and there to see all the in laws (& outlaws) we very seldom are ever all together at the same place at the same time.   And our family has multiplied so much that we stopped giving individual gifts a long time ago, relying on a version of the dirty Santa gift swap game.  I don't know about you but I like to give gifts.  They don't have to be crazy expensive gifts but I enjoy the though process that goes into giving individual gifts and I miss that.
It's this time of the year that I miss my grandma the most because she was the glue that held us all together our rock our tradition.  Without her it really just isn't the same. (but we try) 

There is much to be said about Stephens family but not here and not by me. While she was ill and in the hospital the sisters had already began coming unglued and after her passing it just got worse rather quickly. And here 13 years later they don't hardly speak to each other, never mind spending a nice holiday together.(it kinda split down the middle)  His family is so out of touch with each other that my daughter saw her great aunt a few nights ago at the school only to ask me later if said aunt "don't like me anymore"  I didn't have answers for the questions she was asking but did inform her that said aunt and the rest of the aunts family was missing out because my Brittnie is a pretty amazing girl and everyone should know her like I do.  It really breaks my heart.

So Christmas spirit for me has been so limited in the past that I made a choice this year to just let all that mess not get me down. I am going to cook, bake, sew, play (& sing along with) Christmas music and buy gifts and not worry about the drama.  (say a prayer for anyone who may hear me sing...I really am horrible)

The girls put the tree up for me this year while I was gone to work.  It was a nice surprise to walk in the door and be greeted by all our Christmas memories hanging on the poor little tree that we are using this year.  Our nice big tree finally seen its last Christmas last year and we are using a small one my parents used for years.  They are happily living at the lake in their 5th wheel and had to buy a little table top tree. (thank goodness or we wouldn't have had one this year) 

I know it is already the 8th and I have only purchased 1 gift and a couple of stocking stuffers, but I plan to spend time this week completing it all and relax and spend the rest of the month baking or sewing or ya know go to whatever Christmas party or get together pops up.

I have so much Christmas spirit this year that I even livened up my blog.  Hope it puts a smile on your face

Well until later.

Remember why we celebrate (not for gifts and food)  but for the birth of Christ and enjoy every minute of this wonderful season.

Feel free to share what traditions really get you into the spirit of Christmas, I would love to hear about them all.

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Midlife crisis? Nah, just having a little fun.

I guess that is what some people call it when a guy nearing (ever so close to) 40 goes out and buys himself a shiny new (or not so new) motorcycle.  However that thought never really crossed my mind when Stephen asked to buy one off a guy he works with.  I wasn't thrilled with the idea, not because I thought he was having a midlife crisis, but because I thought there were plenty of other things we could spend our money on.  I said no.  We always talk about big purchases and agree when or if we spend the money.  I was sure this thought was settled and we would not be the owners of a motorcycle anytime soon.  Stephen had other ideas...
Stephens toy

He made the decision to get the bike (it really was a good price, I guess) and well now we are that crazy old couple that rides around on a motorcycle every chance at nice weather we get.

Here is a bit of history...My dad had a Honda gold wing when we were little (I was like 13)  he and my mom would take little weekend trips and we would stay with grandma or a friend or some other family member.  He would take us on little rides around town and even once took me to Kansas.  That was amazing right.  Well at 13 Kansas is like way far away.  It was the coolest thing ever at the time.  I loved it when i got to go with dad on his bike.  I was cool!  Well that was the last time I was on a bike until I met Stephen and got to meet his dad.  When I met his dad he looked like the biker dudes in the movies.  Big tall scary guy dressed in black leather riding a Harley.  It was this time in life that I finally got to ride on the back of a Harley.
His bike was nice a "Fat boy" is what is was I believe.  He only took me a couple of miles, but the bike did not have a back rest and I was so scared I was going to slide right off the back.  It was then that I didn't care if I never got on another motorcycle.

Have really started to like the view from here :)

Well that was then and this is now.  The photo above is my view from the back of his bike these days.  I will be the first to admit that the first couple of rides the only thing I could think about was "OMG it is going to hurt if we crash"  the road was just flying by and being that I work where I do I have seen and heard things that scare the crap out of me.  I know what kind of damage crashing a motorcycle can cause.  So to keep from spilling my brains out on the side of the road I wear a helmet(see picture at right...ha ha)  I think I look silly.  I have this mental image of what a chic on the back of a bike should look like and well I don't kid myself into thinking I fit that image.  I think she should be smokin' hot and thin and look amazing.  And well I am just not those things.  But I guess looking silly is better than looking dead right?  :)   And who cares really.  Stephen and I have a great time while out on the bike.  We have taken a weekend trip to the lake, several day trips all over roads we haven't ever been on just to see where they come out and lots of back roads that are just fun country roads.  It's a little crazy but him having the bike and us taking rides as often as we have has really brought us closer together.  Here I was worried we wouldn't have anything to do or talk about when the girls got old enough to move out.  Well guess he fixed that little problem.  I am already trying to talk him into buying me my own bike I have started to love riding so much.

Just look at goodness  :)
While flipping through some pictures the other day on the camera, Nikki said "wow he is actually looking at the camera"  I replied with "its crazy how he seems so relaxed and happy while riding, that he don't even care that I reach around to snap a fun picture" 

But its is amazing how when we get on the bike we don't worry about our phones or bills or work or anything really just us taking a ride and enjoying each others company when we stop to eat or look at a view that we never really looked at before.  I am loving this life we are living together.  The longer we are together the better it is getting.

Well I suppose I have kept you with my rambling long enough and I must be going now.

Until next time.
Have a great day!