Thursday, November 29, 2007
One day last week we were at Mom's house and I was cleaning up after a day of unpacking. As we were unpacking, Mom was placing things she wanted on Fred's remembrance table into a basket. Somehow one thing - a letter - got taken out of the basket (I wonder how, Sophie!), and I picked it up off the floor, and, being the ever-curious one, I opened it. It was a letter from me to Fred. The background of the letter is that when I found out Mom and Fred would be moving to NY, I just felt that I needed to let Fred know that he was important to me and that I loved him. I was glad he never tried to take the place of my Dad, whom I dearly love, but was grateful for the parental presence that he provided in my life, among many other things. I don't think I sent it to him until they had moved (chicken!), but I did indeed send it.
So when I read it that night, I got a little teary.
(Incidentally, but I don't think coincidentally, Fred had found that letter just a week before he died and read it again. No joke. Again the hand of God!)
Sean was in the room and asked me what I was reading. I told him it was a letter that I wrote to Grandpa Fred. He asked me to read it to him, and I told him that I couldn't read it to him just then because it made me sad, but that it said that I loved Grandpa and that he was special to me. Sean came over to me and gave me a BIG hug and said, "That's from Grampa Freddy."
He melts my heart.
Love you, buddy!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Fred and Sophie at Easter time this year. I'm glad he got to meet her. They had an affinity for one another that was very endearing.
Fred's headshot for his acting career. Circa late 1980's.
We got to spend some quality time with him this trip, and perhaps in another post I'll go into detail, but he was in great spirits and very excited about the move. Moving would be a three-day process (packing boxes on day 1, loading truck and driving to new house on day 2, unloading at new house on day 3). The movers did most everything, but Mom was pretty busy tying up loose ends so Fred was around more. Fred's the kind of guy who WILL talk on the phone, but it's so much more fun to be around him because of the interesting topics of conversation that pop up. Just a few days before we made the trip, I called him because I was excited that one of his favorite local restaurant chains opened a new restaurant in our tiny town. I told him I was looking forward to eating there with him next time he came to town. But I digress. We had lots of fun with Fred those days, but while he was getting ready for his day on Wednesday morning, he had some breathing trouble that turned out to be a heart attack that took him so much more suddenly than the cancer were we expecting to suck the life out of him. I'm very glad it was quicker and more painless, but I'm in shock that it happened so much sooner than expected. He didn't act sick, and he didn't look sick to me...at least as sick as that first few months after his diagnosis two years ago.
I've done a lot of reminiscing over the past few days, and a lot of crying. But I really want to honor him tonight, and just let the memories wash over and comfort me, and to say again, "I'm thankful for you, Freddy. Love ya!"
Hope you're raising hell in heaven! :)
Hope to be here more often!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
So, we truly ARE the October family. We hardly even noticed fall sneaking in because of the great temperatures, and now it feels like winter already! Where did the time go?
I don't have pics on this computer, so I'll try to post again soon on another computer by tonight, after yet another birthday celebration. Despite the busy-ness, I did manage to take my camera along to several of the events. :)
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
We got the desktop back up and running and it's quite nice, but I haven't gotten around to downloading my few pictures on it yet, and Chip hasn't run a recovery on the old hard drive for any old pics I could post. Also, once we got the computer back up and running, our internet decided to "crap" out on us...let me tell you a little story...
Saturday we go to Best Buy and get an awesome hard drive. Luckily there was a nice sale, so Happy Birthday To Us (and all I was hoping for was Amy Grant's new cd and biography), we get a "750 Glorious Gigabytes" (it actually says that on the box) hard drive. Chip gets home and installs it and our lovely friend Michael helps out. Things are going well, and we rejoice. Except for the fact that 3 of our 6 goldfish die. That's sad. I flush them, but sense that the other 3 aren't long for this world.
Sunday morning dawns and 2 more fish are dead. I leave them in the tank because one of them is "Goldie", the fish that Sean won at the school carnival that started the whole fish thing. The internet starts acting up - stick with me, these things really ARE related - but it works long enough for me to pay my cable bill online. Ironic, huh? Sean wants to bury the goldfish in the back yard. But...I'm squeamish and don't want to mess with any of the fish until the last one dies.
A few hours later, the last fish is dead. We turn off the TV and say we'll bury the fish after we eat supper (now that I'm telling it, that seems mean, but there were Steaks on the grill you see...we couldn't interfere with THAT). After a yummy meal, Chip kindly puts the remaining dead fish in a box and grabs the shovel and out we go for a lovely burial. Sean loves digging, and since we'll be putting in an egress window (that's a window so that you can have legal living space in the basement with an accessible exit in case of emergency) soon, Chip decides to let him dig over by the window. Sean's not very strong for that kind of shovel, so I have Chip demonstrate how to jump on the shovel to make it go in the ground. Sean likes that. We go inside.
Chip and Sean go play a video game and I turn on the TV, but there is no cable. I'm so upset! I spend 45 minutes on the phone to $(*%@#) Charter and am very upset that they can't come out to look at the problem until Tuesday. After all, besides all the fun I have online, Chip is looking for a JOB, and it's about the only way nowadays! I go to bed livid.
In the morning, I say to Chip, "I just don't understand how we turn off the TV to eat and when we come back we have no signal - especially since they were just here a week ago to supposedly fix everything!" Chip says, "You know what I wonder...how far did they bury that cable when they re-wired it last May (you can see why I'm a bit frustrated with Charter - we've been fighting this since last March!!)?" I say I have no idea, but knowing Charter it probably wasn't very deep. So...out he goes. And sure enough, right where Chip had shown his skills with the shovel, there was our cable line severed in two.
Well, at least we figured it out before Charter came out and charged us $75. But it's still not working right. We can see TV at least, and the desktop has Internet access, but the laptops are essentially useless. Unless you want to play Zoo Tycoon. Or do actual work (yuck). No can do writing blogs while Sophie's sleeping on me and I'm watching Dancing with the Stars or LA Ink. No can do checking email while Sophie naps and I'm watching Ugly Betty or Big Shots.
Oh well. At least this computer works. Now if we could only find our Microsoft Office disks...
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Life here is the same. I'm still working hard. Chip's still working hard to find a job.
Sean had a birthday yesterday, and it was "my worst ever", according to him.
He's a cub scout and tonight was his 3rd meeting. He's already almost done with the requirements to get a Bobcat badge, and next will be his Tiger Cub patch and then elective beads. He's working towards everything now...and would you like to buy some popcorn from him?!? They are so nice to let you know that you don't have to buy the popcorn - you can just make a donation.
Sophie's birthday is tomorrow, and at least she can only say "hot" and "up", so she won't tell me it's her worst ever.
That's about it for now. Hopefully I'll find either my card reader or my camera's USB cord soon so I can show pics of the birthdays...
Friday, September 21, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I guess it loses a little in the writing, but this was my favorite joke when I was a kid. I laughed so hard. I mean, he lost it! Are you kidding? Hilarious! And yet so sad...he lost it. It was the special beret that was only used once a year in the contest, and he LOST it!
At church today we heard about the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. If these are important to the shepherd and the woman, respectively, and they go to what some would call extreme measures to find their lost items, just imagine how important the lost people are to God and how hard he "searches" for them.
I'm quite familiar with loss. Aside from the babies that were never born here on earth, I'm prone to losing things. Most would argue that of all things I've lost, it's my mind they miss the most. Haha. But seriously, every day it seems I'm looking for something that I haven't seen in a few days. You would think some organization would help, but my attempts at organization tend to just make compacted piles of junk to look through.
I'm sure some of the lesson we are to learn from the Bible is in working your best to not lose things - to organize things and to teach people so as to prevent loss in the first place. But let's concentrate on what we do when things are beyond help and they go "missing."
Three years ago, we bought a used car. We had to drive separately to pick it up so we could drop off the trade-in. The next day, my keys were nowhere to be found. I know I used them to drive us home, but I hadn't seen them since. I searched for days. Chip even helped. To no avail. I had new keys made and decided it would be ok to not have the others, even though I had some irreplaceable keys on them (so I don't scare people, I won't say how many of their house keys were on the ring!).
Two years ago, I was working. My cousin babysat Sean for me while Chip and I were at work. Somehow in the course of one of those days, she and Sean were playing while watching TV and lost the remote control. This was a special remote control that we got when we signed up for cable, and it was $50 to replace it. Well, we couldn't find the remote anywhere! We looked high and low, moved furniture, and ransacked the whole house for it, but that remote was gone. Figuring it got thrown out with the trash, we ended up buying a cheap universal remote that luckily worked with our cable system.
The point is, I mourned these losses. Just about every time I used my new keys or my new remote, I thought about the missing ones and wondered where they could be and how I could possibly have lost them so easily.
I'm sure you have some stories like that...things just go missing and there's no finding them.
My replacements, while useful, didn't seem good enough. The features weren't as good or as easy, and I couldn't get into some places...and my cute pig key chain was gone!
Since you probably think my sense of humor is terrible, let me redeem myself with another story.
My friend wanted to ask his girlfriend to marry him, but he wanted it to be memorable. He booked a cruise for the two of them across the Atlantic, a trip she'd always wanted to take, and then they would spend some time in Europe. Once on the boat, he worked out a plan with the kitchen staff to put the engagement ring in the lobster one night at dinner. It was her favorite meal, and he thought it would be a perfect surprise!
The night finally arrived, and they got all dolled up for the "captain's meal." He told his girlfriend how beautiful she looked in her red dress (I'm sure he also graced her with a low whistle - do I read too many romance novels?), and escorted her to dinner. He had butterflies in his stomach knowing that this would be a real moment of truth. He thought she loved him, but would she take the plunge? Would she agree to marry him? And if not, it was a smallish ship...what would they do then? She already knew so many of his flaws...
But there were no flaws with the dinner. The champagne was wonderful, the Hors d' oeuvres, exquisite (gosh, I had to spell check that one - I like calling them horsie doovers better!). The salad had just the right amount of dressing, and no yucky cukes. Now, though, it was about time for the lobster course, and he was sweating and shaking during the conversation. His girl even asked if he might be getting a bit seasick or something! The waiter arrived just then with the lobster. It looked so yummyand perfect! He waited while she cracked open the lobster...and then fainted. Because the ring wasn't there. But there was still something...could it be? Yes, it truly was! The beret the guy lost!
Oh, in my youth it was a grand thing that I had such a strong bladder or I would have wet myself I laughed so hard at that! My sense of humor is definitely warped, and I know I probably didn't redeem myself, but I couldn't help it.
I do have a point, though.
About a year or so ago, I was looking for, well, I can't remember what now, I think maybe some jewelry or some money, and I looked in an old basket. I saw something shiny and pulled it out - and it was the key ring I had lost! I laughed and laughed, thinking of the beret joke, and then I celebrated the return of my keys! I think I'm still dancing over those!
Last weekend, I couldn't find my camera. Did I mention I lose things a lot? I wanted to take some pics to post on my blog because Sophie was being adorable. I knew it was home because Chip had used it to show someone some pictures a couple of days before (when the house had been clean). But I just wasn't having any luck! In a moment of weakness, I offered Sean a dollar if he found it. He was ecstatic - woohoo! a whole dollar! So he started looking and I sat down for a minute. I could feel him messing around near the back of my chair (recliner). In just a couple minutes, he said, "Well, Mom, I found something, but it wasn't a camera!" and held up his prize. I turned around, sure I would see some kind of crumb of food - perhaps popcorn - and burst out laughing! For in his small little hand was the remote control we had searched so diligently for almost two years ago! I laughed and laughed...and gave him TWO dollars for that find!
Oh yes, and about an hour later, I found the camera. Luckily I didn't have to wait years for that to re-surface!
How much do we rejoice when the inconsequential things we "need" so badly in our earthly lives are found?
You could be one of the behind-the-scenes efforts for someone God loves. Are you open to taking the time for a search-and-rescue mission? Have you given up? Or do you have more pressing things to search for, like a remote?...
That's what I got out of today's message, even though it quite possibly wasn't even the direction the paster took - sometimes it doesn't matter if you're listening, as long as you get some meaning out of it.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Am I adorable or what?!?
This was sort of an action shot, as she was trying to walk to me as I was taking the photo.
This was Sophie having a fit because Dad picked her up to put her in the stroller for the return walk. She was not having any of the stroller, and she screamed and screamed. Dad and Sean got to continue their walk to the gas station for a slushie, so I walked back by myself. Luckily about halfway home, after alternating between having her help me push the stroller, carrying her screaming squirming self, and letting her scream IN the stroller, I remembered the cracker sticks that I had packed and she quieted right down! I think she was even close to sleeping by the time I finally made it home with her. After I got her in jammies, she settled right down and was out!
She's not really enjoying the fact that I'm back at work, I don't think. Her naps are rather sporadic, and she's into screaming much more lately. But it's nice to come home and see her face light up and her reach for me for a great big hug! Sean even likes to see me when I get home...for about 3 seconds!
Here's a picture of HIM on tonight's outing. In my defense, the walk was to the playground, so he did actually exercise!
I wish I knew what brought it on. I dreamed about an evil person in my life who came back and haunted me as a ghost. Odd enough, this person claimed to be haunted for years by a ghost. I really hope I am not a new generation to be haunted. In the name of Jesus, get thee behind me! Seriously. I thought you had no power over me. Is it an odd fascination/horror for the unexplainable that has me dreaming this? I don't know. Perhaps it was just a bit of undigested beef, a bit of mustard, or an underdone potato. I did eat at Culver's the night before. Hmmm...
Anyway, I just thought I would get that down. I mean, it was in color and everything. And I haven't seen The Sixth Sense in years! Why last night? Why was the person just staring at me? At least there was no gore.
Where was I? Freaky. I think I'll turn on the lights a minute. There. That's better. But I still think it's better to go on to a new topic. Let me make a new post. Don't want to tarnish pictures here.
Here's to sweet dreams tonight!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Saturday, September 8, 2007
I started a new job a week ago. It's part time, but every day, and I'm doing a lot of online training at home, too. I'm working a lot in Excel and I feel like I'll be pretty proficient in that program before long (the temp agency thought that I did well in the initial testing - 84 or something like that - and I knew so much less then!), but it's a lot of work doing the tutorials and looking for ways for the new learning to fit into what we do there.
It's a neat job. I've never really been in "corporate America" before. I'm right in the heart of the city and have to worry about parking, and the company is one of the top ten accounting/consulting firms in the country with offices all over. It's cool, but I feel a bit like a fish out of the tank. Glug, glug. Everyone I've met is nice, but I'm really glad I'm getting along with and getting to know the two gals I work with/for most. They are great!
Chip passed his test on Thursday, so now he's officially a "Certified Project Manager" and hopefully someone around here will hire him because I don't REALLY want to go so far away from family, and I really like my job and all my co-workers...but if I have to go, I guess Tampa's not too bad, and not much more than an hour away from the happiest place on earth (which I could use a bit of right about now!).
Sophie's taking more and more steps on her own (but she likes to dive into us better than walking to us), and she's taking after me more and more each day, which of course you know is not a good thing! :) She is very LOUD. I'm going to have to start wearing earplugs if I don't want damage!!
Her chatter makes people laugh, though. It's so adorable. She says many of the same sounds over and over again, so we know she's trying to tell us something. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to post a video here so you can hear her, too.
Besides her volume, her hair also seems to be from my side of the family. It is growing longer and is still fine, so it sticks up in all directions a lot of the time.
Sean started first grade this week. Tuesday was good; every day after that he asked us to call him in sick! Friday he even had specifics - "My head's hot!". "Yes, Sean, it's 90 humid degrees. Of course your head's hot. Get out from under the covers and get dressed. In your shorts." He's a real card. We're working on the bedtime and hoping that's the issue. Of course, they're also reviewing the alphabet, and numbers up 'til 10, both of which he's known since he was 3, so boredom is quite possibly an issue. He said his Tuesday Spanish class was "stupid" because he just listened and then drew a picture of his house (he didn't even laugh when I said No - you drew a picture of your CASA!). Gym on Wednesday was boring because he only got to do "rubberband warmups" and didn't get to do anything fun. He liked music class on Thursday and says he has a silly teacher who tucked the banjo back into "bed" when he put it in the case, and talked to it and said it could come back out soon. He must have had a special class on Friday, too, but I don't remember what it was. I'll have to ask and keep you posted. "Oh, it was art", he says. "It was stupid. Actually, it was fun. It was fun stupid. It was fupid." His exact words. "We just drew lines with black paint. Zigzag, curvy, strait, and diagonal." "The teacher said we had to carry our pictures by the corners to the drying table, because it was by a fan and if we didn't hold the corners, it would fly into our faces and get black lines on our face."
We've also had grandmas on both sides go to the hospital this week. One is home and doing better. Gram "Kraaker", however, just seems to keep getting weaker and weaker. If it's not one thing, it's something else. Her visits are getting more and more frequent, and sadly, it seems she may have lost her fighting spirit. I think we'll see if she's up to visitors sometime this weekend.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Sean began his first day of 1st Grade on a good note...we got lost. Well, we technically knew where WE were, but we couldn't find his teacher. I guess they think that after Kindergarten, parents automatically know where their kids are supposed to go. We walked in with such confidence that the ten or so "helpers" didn't even bother to ask us why we were wandering around inside while all the other kids were outside. We're just goofy. But at least we finally found his teacher's line, and we got to get a picture of him in front of his room while we were looking for everyone!
He says he's not a first grader anymore - he's a pre-second grader. Isn't that great?! One day in class and he figures he knows it all.
Oh, and in case you wonder, the lovely flame-covered item in the photos is Sean's test divider. Since the kids sit at tables, they need a way to have privacy when taking tests. Sean picked out his own fabric to cover it (and boy was that an ordeal...he wanted one of each fabric (especially fond of ones with skeletons, and the flaming skeletons especially - I told him the girls at the table would be too scared to take tests with that cover) and then he wanted me to buy fabric for a blanket...maybe next time). Of course, he had some help from dad, but I think it's pretty cool.
The highlights, according to Sean:
*He didn't get to eat his pudding because they wouldn't let him have a spork since he didn't pay for hot lunch (never fear, he ate it for an after-school snack!).
*Math was easy - 1+1, 2+2, and 3+3
*Taylor (one of his female tablemates) called him "a turd" (I really wish I had been there to hear why, but I'm laughing anyway...)
*The fire truck on the playground was "cautioned off" because too many kids were getting stung by bees
*He made a calendar
*The teacher kept getting Hannah and Anna confused (poor teacher!)
That's about all I know about it - he was too busy playing to find out much more. He seemed to be having a great time, and I'm excited to hear more each day.
Sean had great fun, and I enjoyed getting to spend all my energy on him.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
I trying it out! I hope it works, but I'm still looking for something better. I need to check out "CompassPointe" again (see link on top left of my blog) to see if I can find out how she does it!
In the meantime, enjoy Sophie and her first "stand on my own" moments from a month or so ago. She was standing long enough to clap, even. Now, of course, she is standing a lot (she likes to do "look ma, no hands" to us), and she's even taking a step or two a day. I'm too tired to work on this anymore, but hopefully I'll be back later today.
Here's my description of each photo, left to right, top to bottom:
Sean checking the lie of his ball, Dad and kids, the Water Tag sign (it was too warm for Laser Tag, but I believe Sean will agree that we had plenty of fun shooting water instead of laser beams!), Dad with Sophie eating our golf balls, Sean enjoying tag with me, Sophie still enjoying the golf balls, go-kart riding (he got to ride a double one with Dad, too), everyone except me, Sophie eating the golf club, more fun water shots, Dad golfing (does he get a handicap for holding the baby?), and then for some reason, the top row again. What fun. I'll figure this out SOMEday!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I'm not sure if Gram "Kracker" (great-grandma to Sean and Sophie) would appreciate these photos being available for anyone to see, but I think they are very special! Gram isn't doing so well these days, so it's nice to see these pics from this summer when she was feeling better. She had a wonderful time with all the grandkids, and they had fun with her, too. Eyes lit up when they saw each other across the room. Truly wonderful.
Speaking of truly wonderful, look at this sibling moment.
She's got a big stick and she's not even beating him with it!