Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Ok. you know you  really went all the way through your finger with the sewing machine needle when it bleeds on both sides of your finger AND you broke the needle when you reacted by pulling back quickly.  Unfortunately this isn't the first time that I have managed to poke the needle in my finger but this is the only time that I remember going all the way through my pinkie finger.  YES, it does hurt.  Sewing can sometimes be a 'combat' sport or maybe I am just not too coordinated.  (Remember I am still wearing a cast from my last accident)  I frequently burn my arms and hands while pressing my quilts.  I think that any hobby must include a little pain, especially if it requires some hot tools, sharp objects and coordination.  I will bandage my finger and go back to sewing.  I will try NOT to harm myself and/or get blood on my project.  It is a Christmas fabric but I don't need extra red on the fabric.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving weekend

The last few days I have been experiencing some tech problems.  It seems that I have exceeded my allowed 'free' picture space on my blog and since I didn't want to delete any of my entries, I had to buy more space.  It is important for me to include a lot of pictures so it is a worthwhile and small thing for me.  As you go through this post you will see why I need some more picture space.  

Thanksgiving Day started out with Bud putting up our Christmas tree.  You can see that it was a very warm day so a perfect day to put up the tree.
We then went over to the Noble's house for dinner.  It was a wonderful time to catch up with all those college kids and their activities. Brittany is in her 3rd year of medical school, David is in his final year as an undergrad at U of M and Jack is in his 2nd year there too.  Charlotte is in her junior year in high school so Sue and Walt have a little time before they will become 'empty nesters'.
We had a great meal with lots of laughter and talking.  It was a great evening.
Friday morning we were up early (at least early for me) and on our way to Grand Rapids to spend our second Thanksgiving.  Life is pretty tough when you have to eat Thanksgiving dinner two days in a row.
Matt and Diana came up from TN and the first activity of the day was to go get Gram's Christmas tree.
Surprise, surprise, they picked this one out rather quickly.  I'm not sure if it was because it was so cold for those TN kids or it was just luck but this tree was 'THE ONE' and we then went inside Horocks to do some shopping in the warmth of the shop.
The tree received the seal of approval in the corner of the living room.
Finally the turkey was done and we settled down to dinner but not until a few pictures were taken.
Leo joined us for dinner too.  I know that this looks like Matt and Leo are performing a play, reading their lines but NOT so.  Leo didn't spend the night so they are exchanging Christmas gift cards. Leo just came home from spending the weekend before in North Dakota with Glen and Penny. He was there visiting them when I was with Eva at the Cape.  He had a great time with them and managed to get there and back without any big snow storm. Next year he is going to use his vacation time in the summer instead of waiting until the year is almost over and driving out in the questionable weather season.
The Christmas tree lights were put up and Gram enjoyed the snuggles of those grandchildren.  More than once she expressed her happiness for having such wonderful children and grandchildren around her this holiday season.  She was beaming.
That night we celebrated her birthday that had been the day before;
Sara and Leo sent her a new journal and some flower bulbs from their garden.
The tree was decorated by her lovely children and grandchildren.
And once again a beaming grandmother with those grandchildren.
Saturday morning we were up and ready to celebrate our Christmas together. It started with the traditional Christmas story read by one of the grandchildren this year.
Doug was especially stylish this year with his shorts and his boots.  Doug is joining the family in February.  We did tease him that now that he 'has the woman' he doesn't need to worry about style.

The presents began and this one is one of the first from Gram.  You may notice that I don't use the names of the grandchildren in my posts.  This is a way to keep the young ones off the 'web' until they are old enough to make that decision on their own.  Anyway, this little girl LOVED her new cowgirl boots from Gram.
H. was into the zebra theme this year so Gram went all out with sheets, picture frames, a pillow and curtains. (I made the curtains and pillow for Gram since she was busy and I'm house bound still.)
The MOST exciting thing was very puzzling.  A. opened the first clue bag and started unpuzzling this gift.

Doug received a book that looked pretty interesting.  I thought I put a picture of Bud in here too but must have uploaded the wrong one.  Anyway, both of them were engrossed in their books as soon as they received them.  The lesson for next year is to give them their books at the end of the gift giving time.  They managed to bring themselves back to the celebration fairly soon.
A. and Daddy just sitting around waiting for a gift.
Matt got a nice warm fleece.  He was a happy man
Gram got new PJ's so she will be warm this winter.
The puzzling continued with more pieces being added with each child and adult.
A future basketball player is ready to play.  She is on a team of kids her age.  According to Diana, it is fun AND interesting to watch.  B.  isn't always sure which team she is on and which basket to put the ball in but the team is having fun.  Matt is doing some coaching too.
With the puzzle all together, they took off to follow the clues.  Out the door and through the gate to the neighbor's house.  Being still crippled, I waited on Eva's back deck and took these far away pictures.
There they found a kayak for the whole family.  It was a GREAT surprise for the whole family from Sara, Leo, Erik,Jessica and Doug.  I am sure that Matt's family will enjoy it very much.
It took a place of honor in the garage.  It is a 'sit upon' type of kayak.
After all the gifts we had breakfast, everyone cleaned up and another opportunity for pictures with Gram and the grandchildren.
You could tell that Matt loved his new toy.  He spent some time in the afternoon checking on paddles for his new toy.
Christmas cookie decorating was on the agenda for the afternoon.
I even had a few cookies and they were delicious.
Jessica used her sticker making machine to put symbols on the kayak.  The first symbol is Jessica and Doug's logo.  It took me a few minutes to get it but first is the J for Jessica, then the D for Doug on the top of the J and finally that makes a P for Powers.  I can't believe that they have their own logo.  Doesn't everyone????  The next symbol is for Sara and Leo, their 'Mountain Wave' logo.  Finally the e is for Erik.  I guess he will have to work on getting his own logo although the 'e' looks great.  Let me know if you are working on a family logo or maybe have one for us.  Anyway, a very creative family.
Smiles all around for the day.
In the evening we celebrated Matt's birthday which is December 25th.  Death by Chocolate was his birthday request along with flank steak for dinner.  It was our last evening together but we managed to pack in a lot of activities.
AND of course, all the internet research for new paddles was unnecessary since Eva bought him some for his birthday.  The gift was complete and everyone was happy.

Matt packed up the car, including the kayak and a tree that they bought in Michigan that evening.  They got up early and put the sleeping kids in the car for the long drive home.  They left about 4 in the morning or so I heard.  I didn't get up and say my goodbyes.
Bud and I left in the morning and were home by noon.  It was a great weekend.

I am thankful for family.  Sara, Leo and Erik spent Thanksgiving on the Cape, waiting for those new babies.  They only have a few more weeks before we will meet them, at least with pictures.  They are growing and so is Sara.  Erik is home for a while.  I heard from Jess that he is staying through Christmas.    Glen and Penny , Myria and Amy were in ND for the holiday and us Michigan family had a great time together.
I am thankful for such a wonderful family.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Retail Thanksgiving

OK,OK, I am resting quietly in my home listening to NPR as they discuss the new practice of stores opening their doors earlier than midnight for Black Friday.  Now it seems that stores will be opening their doors earlier or maybe even some of them not closing for Thanksgiving so that employees will need to miss the holiday time with their family.
Now I know that I am going to risk sounding like I am out of touch with current culture but wouldn't it be nice if we could just have a holiday to relax, enjoy family, friends, football and food without having to make it a retail experience too.  I was amazed by the practice of people getting up or maybe not even sleeping and going out at midnight.  It really isn't a practice that attracted me.  I must admit that I have indulged in the practice of heading out Thursday morning with coupons in hand, getting some good deals and saving some money but I do think that the line should be drawn at 'regular' store hours.
I know that this is driven by DEALS that are offered but it is also driven by SHOPPERS.  The retail stores wouldn't do it if people didn't show up.  Family traditions seem to be slipping. As a 'social liberal' I would like to see this practice stopped.

SO, give your family values a boost for America.  Stay out of the stores on Thanksgiving.  Spend time with family doing all the traditional things and skip the retail experience.  Maybe you could even express your thankfulness regarding our blessings here in America.  I feel very blessed with wonderful families to spend this Thanksgiving time with.  I am looking forward to catching up with everyone's activities, listening to stories, laughing and maybe even watching a little football.  OH, I forgot to mention that I also get to eat turkey twice and that is also something to be thankful for.

Blessings to all of you this coming week.  I know that I am blessed.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A star is born

Well, I am back to the routine of my retired life minus my ability to drive around.  I have been just relaxing the last few days, reading and such.  I am so thankful that I had a week of traveling out to the Cape, not only to have a chance to see Sara, Leo and those little babies but also to distract me from my confinement.  Bud has been VERY good to me, driving me to and from Grand Rapids so that I could travel, taking me out in the evenings to run errands and making sure that I don't spend too many days in a row here at home.
Friday night we had the pleasure of going to the Traverse City Central production of Fiddler on the Roof.  Charlotte was a star in this production.  She played the oldest daughter and did a fantastic job.  We have such talented students here in Traverse City and I count Charlotte as one of the best.  It has been fun to watch her grow stronger and stronger in her ability to sing.  She did a wonderful job of acting too.  It was a great production.  We are pictured here with Charlotte and Bud's cousin and wife.  They attended the production too.

Saturday Bud left me alone for the day and went down to Ann Arbor to attend the Michigan/Iowa football game with the Noble boys.  Michigan won in case you didn't get to watch the game.  I didn't watch it since we have VERY limited cable and I am not that interested in football anyway.  I did laundry, read did some sewing, and napped.  It was a good day for me too.

Since I was inside all day yesterday, Bud took me out this afternoon.  I managed to do a little shopping and he bought some new jeans.  He was pleased that his weight loss had allowed him to go down a waist size.  He has lost about 20 pounds but is kind of at a plateau right now.   That happens sometimes when you are dieting. He has been pretty committed to his diet though.  The holidays coming up will be a challenge for both of us.  I have been trying to lose some weight too but not as successful as Bud.  It always seems easier for guys and my activity level is pretty low right now.  I kind of "bump and slide" with my walking cast.  It will be just 3 weeks this coming week.  I  have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday and we will see how it is healing.  It is still tender if I spend much time out and about.  I am thankful that I use my left foot to 'drive' my sewing machine so at least I can sew.

SO, that is all for me this week.  I am looking forward to a little 'Thanksgiving' diversion this week.  Another activity to help me though my confinement.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My trip to Cape Cod

Warning, this is a long post with lots of pictures but I think it is worth your time to check out the fun Eva and I had visiting Sara, Leo and those two babies she is carrying around.  
Bud, the gem that he is, drove me down to Grand Rapids Wednesday afternoon.  We had dinner with Jessica and Doug.  I didn't take any pictures of our dinner so sorry I can't share that moment.  By the time you get all through this post you may be grateful that I skipped those photos.  
Eva and I left Wednesday morning and headed to the Lansing area where she had a morning meeting that went a little over into the afternoon.  I sat in the lobby of the meeting space and just read while keeping my 'bum foot' elevated.  We left a little after 2:00 and headed east, driving through Canada and stopping at night in the town of Syracuse, New York.  We were up pretty early and on the road.  We arrived  at the Cape house about 2:30, just in time for Sara and Leo to return from their appointments.  
 Sara is doing a great job carrying those little babies.  Eva was excited to see her.
 We chatted for a while and Eva checked out those little ones.
 The main reason for this trip, other than an opportunity to see them, was to take this rocking chair out to Sara and Leo.  It was in the cabin at Spirit Lake and Eva had it repaired and refinished for Sara.
 Everyone was pleased with the new chair.
 It was about time for the sunset so we took a short drive to the ocean before Sara left for her Friday evening class.  The sunsets there are beautiful.
 Leo was our cook Friday evening and he made a wonderful dinner for the 3 of us.  Sara  had class again Saturday morning so the three of us just relaxed around the house and talked.
 In the afternoon we went to lunch in the town of Wellfleet which is the nearest town to them.  Then we took advantage of the sunshine and sat along the bay, and enjoyed the water.  Eva managed to take a little walk and collect a few shells while there.  Sara and I stayed at the bench since we aren't suppose to walk a lot.
 It was a chilly day but the sunshine was wonderful.

 Again the sunset made a beautiful background for our bench sitting.
 Later that evening we went to a local restaurant and enjoyed a wonderful dinner.
 Saturday evening Eva shared the remaining little treasures that she brought along with her.
 Jessica and Doug sent along some buttons from Thailand and some nuts for Sara's collection of beads for the delivery room.  Eva brought along the little beads from David's bracelet that he received when he was born.  For the younger set, little babies were given a bead bracelet when they were born many years ago.  The beads had the letters of their last name.  Babies of my generation have these little treasures in their baby books if their mothers saved them.  David's mother saved them but the 's' bead was lost somewhere along the line.  Sara asked the people in her life to send along some beads that she is stringing and will take with her into the delivery room.

 Eva also brought along some items of clothing that belonged to David when he was little. Here are a pair of little booties that Eva had repaired. They were still in the original box although they had been worn.
She also brought along some baby pictures of David so they could compare the new babies to their grandpa.
 Grandma Schoon had done a wonderful job of documenting David's early days in a baby book that Eva also brought along for Sara and Leo.  It was full of wonderful insights and little treasures.
 I am sure that this book will be referenced many times to see how these little babies compare to Grandpa.
 I brought along some baby bags that my friend Kathy made for the babies.
 And some receiving blankets that I made for those little ones to keep warm.
 These 2 outfits were worn by David.  One of them was the little outfit that he wore when he was baptised.  Great treasures for the new family.
 Sara needs to slow down so an afternoon nap is required.  She doesn't always sleep but does lay down and rest.
 Sunday we went back to the beach for a brief visit.  This is a steeper dune so Sara and I sat on a bench while Eva took a walk.  The surf wasn't very high but the waves were making a wonderful sound anyway.
 In the evening on Sunday Leo met with some of the people in his class to work on a project so us girls had the lobster experience.  It is a fun thing to do on the Cape.  There is a trick to putting these guys in the water quick so they don't suffer and of course a blessing for the food they will provide.
 The lobster was great and Eva had her first lobster boil on the Cape.
 Sara gave great directions on how to eat lobster and the meat was fantastic.
 Monday was our last day together so we drove off to the beach for a little sunshine before leaving.  It was a warm and wonderful day to enjoy the waves and the sunshine.
WE took in the last rays of the Cape and left about 11:00 to head west.  We had a little GPS problem with the  programming that got us a little off track for a brief time but we did make good time and managed to get west of Buffalo before spending the night even though it was raining quite hard the last few hours.  Tuesday morning we were up and on the road early again.  We arrived back in Grand Rapids about 2:00 so Eva was able to unpack and make her 4:00 meeting on time.  Being disabled an unable to drive I spent the night in Grand Rapids.  Bud was unable to come and get me until Wednesday afternoon when he was finished with his meeting.  I just relaxed and read while waiting for my driver.

As you can see, it was a wonderful trip.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to go with Eva and visit Sara and Leo.  I didn't think that I would be able to see them while Sara was pregnant and I will treasure those memories of the time we spent together.  Stories to tell those little babies when they are older.  Eva was a great driver and a generous sister to share this experience with me. I feel blessed to have had this weekend.  Blessings come in many sizes and shapes.  This blessing is stored in my heart for me to bring out in future years to remind me of the wonders of this world and the beauty of little babies and little moments with their parents.