Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Gramma Betty - a Great 77 years

Saturday was my mother-in-law's 77th birthday! She is suffering with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and is no longer able to swallow at all and is only able to communicate in writing. We are all facing the fact that she is failing and this may well be her last birthday. In honor of her big day, we got all of the family possible together for her day. There were in total - 3 sons, 2 daughters-in-law, 7 grandkids, 8 great grandchildren and 10 friends! It was a fun day and she looked so happy to have them all there.

Here's to Gramma Betty - wishing you comfort and peace as you struggle through each day. Know that we love you so much and are so lucky to have you in our lives.

Megan made a fabulous scrapbook page for Gramma about the things she learned from her. i cannot say things better about Gramma so I will just include this picture . . .

Sunday, August 23, 2009


My best friend and I have been dealing with LOTS of apricots for a week now. We have a mutual friend who has trees of apricots that they just use for themselves but can never use all of them. She told us we could go pick all we wanted. Well, if you have never picked apricots, it is easy and goes very fast. That is a good and a bad thing. The good is you have what you need (and more) in less than an hour. The bad is that it is hard to stop as it doesn't seem like you have picked long enough.
Between the two of us, we have made nearly 70 pints of freezer jam (thankfully she has a clean nearly empty freezer to keep it in). I made 4 quarts of apricot syrup. I dried a dehydrator full of them. We have eaten lots as well.
We will remember these apricots well into the winter when we are covered in snow and wishing for sunshine!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Long Time Dream Fulfilled

Many of you know of the time and trials of the adoption of Chase. Being an international adoption it came with ups and LOTS of downs through the paperwork process. Getting his referral 11 days after he was born and then it taking nearly 9 months more to get the travel OK to go get him was tough on the whole family.

I am the oldest child and my younger sister had no children at that point either so this was the first grandchild for my parents. My Dad was over-the-top excited about a grandson to taking fishing, hunting, camping, etc. Mom was excited as well but Dad had dreams of things he would do with Chase before he ever got to hold him.

We lived from one picture to the next for that nine months as that was our connection to this little boy we loved so dearly. We were trapped in the system and had to wait it out. It was stressful for us all and some of us (namely me) were more vocal about the stress we endured. Others (like Dad) kept dreaming of this baby in his arms in silence. Dad had a heart attack summer of 2003 while we were in this waiting period. He spent several days in the hospital getting stents placed and recovering. During this time, we all became more aware of his emotions related to Chase. He worked so hard to recover and get his health in shape to be able to go to Guatemala with us.

Finally in November 2003, we go the plane tickets and Dad told his boss he would be back when Chase was home from Guatemala as he and Mom went with us. We took a red-eye flight to Guatemala City. Upon arriving after a long night of flight, we got to our hotel (Hotel La Casa Grande) and checked in. The agency had told us to call the attorney when we arrived. I did just that. We were told to be prepared as with it being a Friday before the election weekend in Guatemala we may not get to even see him and likely wouldn't get to have him till Monday. I was shocked when Leticia (our attorney in Guatemala) asked me if we would like to "get" him that morning. I inquired for more info as to what she meant. She told us she could be there with him and we could HAVE him that morning. We all raced through the shower (as we were all in one suite so the one shower was busy).
FINALLY we got to have him (we ended up waiting in Guatemala enjoying him in our hotel for 3 weeks while final paperwork was completed for travel home)! After a short visit with the attorney and the foster mother, they left and we were on our own. The poor little guy had just been removed from all he knew and he started crying. We all took turns walking the floor with him trying to calm him. Mom and I took turns singing to him (she had learned to sing Jesus Loves Me in Spanish) and rocking him. Dave took his turn too and finally Papa got his turn. He walked out onto an open landing area and talked to Chase and finally got him settled and he fell asleep on Papa's chest. What a sight as you can see . . .

I NEVER knew until a couple of months ago what Dad had talked to him about while trying to comfort him that day nearly 6 years ago. I now know that he was talking to Chase about the things they would do together and how he looked forward to teaching him to fish!

Chase and Papa have gone fishing quite a few time together and really enjoy one another's company as you can see.

Yesterday (August 17, 2009), Chase (with the help of Papa) caught his first BIG fish. He has caught several blue gill and perch but yesterday was different. He caught a 15 lb, 32 inch KING SALMON on the Columbia River near Brewster, WA. Boy was he proud and so was Papa - I think the picture says it all . . .

A Long Time Dream Fulfilled

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A fun card making evening!

I went to Jill's last night after kids were settled with Daddy and we had a wonderful time making cards and laughing till we hurt from laughing. It was a great time for both of us and a good end to a busy fast week. Here are the creations we made!

Using the CTMH Stamp of the Month to make stripes

Another use for CTMH stamp of the month

A creation using the Sweet Home paper set in the Autumn/Winter 2009 CTMH catalog

Same card but with the new Grace paper and the Childhood Portrait Stamps from new catalog

More stripes with Stamp of the Month

Love this circle card using a template from the CTMH Wishes Book

Love this card with the new paper Grace and Childhood Portrait stamp set
It pays that Jill is a Director with Close to My Heart so she gets goodies from the new catalog early!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Sweet Little Boy

As I blogged yesterday, Mackenzie is in KinderCamp this week and next. While I am missing her and the things I am used to her doing around the house, I am also enjoying the reconnecting with Chase that is happening when he has all to himself 1:1 time with us while she is at school. He was only 15 1/2 months old when Mackenzie was born and we had only had him home from Guatemala for 6 months so it has been a long time since there was just him. He is a totally different kid when not competing with Mackenzie over every little thing. While we have not done anything spectacular while she was gone, he has been tickled nonetheless just to share the couch with one of us and not have to share. He is all of a sudden the snuggle bug I remember from those days over 5 years ago. He is so helpful and wants to make everyone happy. We have enjoyed a trip to the park with our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We have played Fishing Master on the Wii. He and Daddy have tossed football and shot baskets with the basketball. He has sat and read Biscuit books to me. He has been right under my feet in all that I do while Mackenzie is gone. What a joy to get to have these special alone times with him that we have not had for so long. Memories in the making . . .

Now, don't be mistaken, he does miss his sister as he is right out there to greet her as she gets off the bus and runs to give her a love but he also loves to snuggle with me and tell me of the fun things we did that just he and I know about! How sweet my little boy is!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Baby Grows Up

Well, as the beginning of school approaches, I am realizing how much the kids have grown up. Mackenzie is spending this week and next week in 4 day a week 9 am - 2 pm KinderCamp at the elementary school in order to get the routine down. She is absolutely loving it and I am having separation anxiety. Chase has been in school at least part time for 3 1/2 years and Mackenzie has been a constant at home. Even last year she was only in preschool for 3 half days - and that 2 1/2 hours flew by for me. In a mere 3 weeks, I will be sending both of them off to full day school. How do they grow so fast?

Mackenzie has really enjoyed her first few days of KinderCamp. On the first day, I drove her to school and when I went to pick her up, she wanted to ride the bus home with her friends. Thankfully Mr. Peck (the fabulous principal at MOE) could quickly arrange for that so Chase and I drove home and waited for her to come home on the bus. I asked her what she did at school and got some fragmented little snippets. I thought a more pointed question would give me the information I was looking for so I asked what her favorite parts of her day were . . . her reply - riding the bus home ang getting chocolate milk for breakfast AND lunch at school. I asked what else she had for lunch - her reply - I can't remember exactly but maybe a corn dog but I DID have chocolate milk. On day two, we waited out front of the house and the bus came down the hill, she was so excited to run out to meet it. She climbed on the bus and sat down. I stood in the driveway waving - - - she didn't even look out the window at me - she was busy visiting with her friends . . . I cried! She arrived safely home on the bus after day 2 - her favorites that day - recess and chocolate milk! She is on the bus on her way to school this morning as I type (again no wave for Mommy, but no tears either). I am sure she will have fun. She comes home and hugs Chase immediately but doesn't seem at all worried about what she "missed" by not being home. I wonder what will join chocolate milk as her favorites today - guess I will find out at 2:45 pm when she gets home. . .