Thursday, December 30, 2010


OK, it's only a week late, but I wanted to post some of our Christmas photos. We didn't go overboard this year like normal. Just didn't have it in me. I always try to make sure all my kids (cousins) know how much they mean to me and spoil them a bit, much to the dismay of their parents. I can't help it, when I'm on the hunt for just the "perfect" gift, I can forget the pain for a few minutes. Besides, I like to see their faces when they realize what they're holding. I can "hold" that image in my mind and bring it back when I'm being jabbed and stabbed, poked and prodded by whatever specialist I'm at this week. So, it's really a selfish reason for me to spoil the kids. Like this one of my cousin Lilly opening the Glee hat and Michael Jackson tee shirt I found for her. Who wouldn't love seeing that reaction to their gift?

My MIL wasn't able to go out shopping at all, so we did what we could for her. She wanted to have some things to wrap and put under her tree. Christmas is an important holiday for her. We gave her a snowman last year and a pin this year that says, "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." It's her outlook on it. We don't discuss religion. Much safer and keeps everyone on speaking terms. :) We also did the shopping for my mom since she stays with MIL and helps out while Arielle is at school. I think I've mentioned that she's pretty much moved in to help her grandma.

We started out at 6 a.m. here at home, getting the last of the presents ready and ran the sweeper one last time before my parents and brother as well as Arielle's boyfriend Rustin showed up at 8 to exchange gifts. For me, the highlight of the morning was seeing my mother's face when she saw our gift to her. It's a new 42 inch LED TV. She and my dad deserve something extra nice. They do so much for us, we wanted to do this for them. Mom kept crying that it was too much, but how can it ever be too much for two people who has given me the world? I can make a call and say I need you and they are here practically before I hang up the phone. I only wish I could do more for them.

After they left, we cleaned up the last of the wrapping paper and loaded the gifts for my family's gathering at noon. We were all meeting at my aunt's house and we had dinner and did the gifts. With around 30 or so people, it gets crowded and noisy, but always filled with love. Any holiday with my family can get overwhelming, but that's what happens with a very close-knit family like ours. We gave everyone one of Arielle's senior photos. The kids also got a few extra goodies.

Then it was back home and to MIL's for the final meal and gift exchange of the day. She always says not to give her anything, she has everything she needs. Can't do that though. We thought about what she might need and decided a new phone system. The ones she had were forever being left off the hook because they were old and didn't sit right anymore. Of course, she loved that. Arielle was the big "winner" of the day, I guess you could say. She got a new laptop since she'll need one for college in the fall. Trevor also got more than enough with all the video games and gamer clothes. He has a different gamer hoodie for each day of the week and enough tee shirts to not wear the same one twice in almost a month's span.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that 2011 will bring only good. There's been too much suffering and hate in the world in 2010 and I for one am good and tired of it! Why can't we just try something new and let peace reign? How much longer are we going to keep sending our troops off to fight endless wars? It's obviously not working, so how about we try to stay out of it? I realize how radical that sounds, but war isn't working. I better get off my soapbox or this post will never get up.

A gag gift for Randy from my dad. What a joker!

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New Update with work photos

Just have a second before I run out the door. Have to go photograph a log cabin that burned early this morning. It's about 50 miles round trip.

My MIL is doing well. She's healing and getting around. Thanks to everyone who left words of encouragement as well as all the prayers. I do appreciate all of you!

I'll post photos from Christmas when we get home later tonight.

Here are a few of the photos from the fire scene. Pretty sad to see a family lose everything right after Christmas. :( It took about an hour to find the place, after driving through back roads. One was even named "Bob's Road", yes, I said that. Thank the electronic deities who created GPS or I'd still be roaming the woods trying to find the place and my way home again.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Camera Critters

Athena checks out Yuri. It looks scarey, but the hamster is in no danger. Athena doesn't have a taste for hamster meat apparently.

To see more of the cutest animal photos in the global universe, just check out Camera Critters' home page.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

My updates

Sorry I haven't been around lately. We had another family emergency and it's taken over all my life and thoughts. This is the first time I've even opened my laptop in about a week.

My mother-in-law got very ill on Friday afternoon and we had to rush her to the hospital. On Saturday, she was bleeding very badly and was sent immediately to Hamot Hospital. They wanted to fly her, but the weather was too bad, so it was a stat ambulance. We followed and go to Hamot around midnight. By the time she got there, she had been given almost a dozen bags of blood and 5 or 6 bags of plasma. It was a very scary day and we almost lost her.

She was in Erie four days and after exploratory testing, they found the bleeding had stopped on itself, so she didn't need to have surgery. We're very thrilled about that. We brought her home Wednesday night. After the holidays, she'll be getting her knees replaced. She's in horrible pain from them and can't take much more of it.

She's home now where she feels better. My 18-year old daughter has moved in to help take care of her. When she leaves for school, my mother goes over to hang out. MIL won't let me just stay there because she's too worried I have too much on my plate to bother with her. Silly and I've told her that, but she won't budge. I can stop by and have lunch and run a few errands, but that's it.

This was another of those turning points in life for me. I've always known how fast we can lose those we love. We make sure we hug and kiss and say I love you before we leave. Those should be the last words your loved one hears.

Since it's Christmas time, the moral of my story is to please make time for your elderly family and friends. Record that show or football game and go spend a couple hours making grandma happy. Have her tell you about Christmas when she was young. Let it be the start of a family history. Record it and you can make special gifts for everyone with photos and words telling about their family tree. Imagine how important those CDs will be for future generations.

We all need to tell those we love that every day. I hope everyone has a wonderful season!

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