Tuesday, December 28, 2010

At Last

The gifts are gone...
...and my girl is a happy camper
resting in the shade of our Christmas tree,
comfy on the quilted tree skirt.
I hate to break the news to her, but that tree is coming down!
Very soon!

Christmas Eve at 1727

We had Christmas Eve at our house this year. We had 23 people here. Our home is 1100 square feet. The dining room is 8x8. What's a girl to do when the tree and gifts fill the dining room up?
Just smile like jolly old St Nick.
Be very thankful that the rain filled clouds moved on and brought beautiful blue skies.
Set all the snack-e-snacks outside.
Have some cute table settings,
with candles to set the mood.
Then have everyone find a seat....
...in the garage!
The detached garage!
Just roll a table with the food on it right up to the door.

Cover everything in foil and hope the food stays semi-warm.
Then pass around the serving dishes, family style!
We also put a few space heaters inside to help warm the room.
Tom was real sneaky, I found him nice and cozy,
in front of the TV in the house.
Smart man!
These little guys were on the table with all the sweet treats.
More random pictures!

My dog Daisy

Our patio

Our kids
My nieces and
The kids craft table
Let the gift giving
paper ripping
happy dancing
squeals of delight
This was a really nice Christmas Eve.
Thank you all for coming!
One thing for sure....
this old houses walls were filled to the brim with love!

On a Sunday Afternoon

This was a very quick mini project we recently did on a Sunday afternoon.
We haven't had a head board in ages.
I wanted an accent wall in our bedroom.
Who needs a head board?
Not me,
I love this room now!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Letter to Claire

Tis the Season, and I am Humbled

I wish I was dedicated enough to able to say this is a daily occurrence, year round, for me. I’m not that thoughtful though. For me, it starts right around Thanksgiving. Thinking of all we have and being thankful for the many blessings that my family has. We are blessed with health, just enough money to get by, and an abundance of love. From Thanksgiving until Christmas I try to do a random act of kindness on a daily basis.

But, this is not about praise or boastfulness on my part. I don’t do the things I do for recognition, it’s a purely selfish reason….It feels good …and I love that!

The following are words written in a Christmas card to me, from one of my mother’s cousin.

Claire wrote;

Jan, I’m not sure where I was at emotionally when your mom died- I just know I didn’t acknowledge it with a card/letter , and I’m sorry for that . I’m enclosing a check in her memory- hopefully it’s not too late for you to put it towards something Karen liked to do for others at Christmas. Or maybe you can find some other use for it that she would like to honor…..So I was trying to think what I should do. This will be our 4th Christmas with out Mom.

Mostly, in lieu of flowers people gave to PanCan, for Pancreatic related issues. Our first Christmas with out her was difficult to say the least. My daughters and I decided we would do “Karen’s Wish” every year in her honor. Because she loved Christmas and was such a giving person, we would find a family in need and try to make their Christmas a little brighter, anonymously. Year one and two were fabulous! We had other family members pitching in to help with money, and we were able to help several families! Last year, with the economy the way it was, we weren't’ able to give as we had previously. This year, things are still tight and I have been doing small things on my own, but this is not about me.

This is my letter to Claire:


Thank you so very much for the Christmas card and the generous donation. Did you know that there were well over 200 people that attended Mom’s funeral? She had so many cards, and donations to her cause, it was mind boggling.

I was very surprised and thankful for your cards arrival. I have been contemplating what to do with the money. I decided I would cash it, and let fate take over from there.

Monday, December 20, 2010.

On the way home from work, Jerry and I stopped at our bank to deposit our company bonus check. We had a bill we were anxious to pay off, so we went to another bank to do just that. We walked out feeling great to be free of that monthly bill. As we ran to the car in the pouring rain, and were seated ready to make our way home, I noticed a lady speaking to me. She was nicely dressed and standing under the overhang of a store front business trying to keep dry. I got back out of the car so I could hear what she was saying. She was asking if I had any spare change she could have.

Random act # 1….I quickly went back to the car and returned with a twenty dollar bill. Claire, I wish you could have seen the look on her face when she saw it was 20 dollars! Jerry and I had a little discussion on her appearance, and need.. My thoughts are yes, she could have an addiction…. or maybe, just maybe with times being hard, she really had the need! I can’t imagine having to stand in the rain to ask for help or the hurt of a parent not being able to have at least something to show that indeed Santa didn't forget them.

There is a lady that is always sitting at the bus stop on our main street corner. She is a woman of color. Her favorite color is purple. Her hair has been kissed by the sun she sits in daily. I’m sure her hair was once a deep black, and has faded to a rusty brown, just as her purple shirt has faded to dingy lavender. I call her Miss Rusty for lack of knowing her birth name. I have been in the market at the same time as she. She is not a very friendly person, and frequently shouts out at no one in particular. I was very excited to take her gift to her. I went and bought her this

I’m hoping she will not be offended and love her new long sleeve purple shirt and reversible vest, especially when she discovers a crisp twenty dollar bill in the pocket.

Friday, December 24, 2010.

I drove to the bus stop looking for Miss Rusty. She was not there. I drove 5 miles up our main street checking all the bus stops looking for her. To no avail, but as I was looking I saw a make shift camp just off the main street in some bushes. Could it be her? She is always at the bus stop, but with all the rain we have been having maybe she found a way to shelter herself.

Random act # 2....As I pulled up I saw a man in the middle of this camp. He had a friendly smile as I approached him. I had twenty dollars in my hand and asked him if I could buy him a warm meal with this money. He wanted to know if I was from the police department…..a church… was I going to turn him in? As he held out his hand to accept the money, he asked God to bless me! His name is John, John Toughey, please God, bless him! I asked him if I could take a picture with him. He worried that he wasn't presentable…his hair wasn't combed. I offered him my brush from my purse, and said he should keep it.

We took that picture, and as I showed him the screen as proof, his reply was…That is YOU, but that is not ME. I wonder when he last saw himself? I asked if he knew Miss Rusty and he said he knew she wasn't very friendly and she sometimes gets vouchers for a motel room. Perhaps that is where she is. I thanked him and wished him Merry Christmas, then drove away.

December 25, 2010-12-25

Today I drove around looking for Miss Rusty again. She was not to be found. I worry about her. We have had some nasty weather by our standards and my new friend John told me she will not go to the shelters. As I was looking for her I remembered that there is a young man I see frequently. He appears to be 25 or so and is usually near our city park. Most days he is barefoot and not dressed for the weather. Sometimes he is in shorts with a blanket over his shoulders in place of a coat.

Random act #3....Today I found him sitting on the corner at the park. He was partially hidden by the vegetation. I parked and he watched me approach with cautious eyes. I held out a twenty dollar bill and asked him if he would like to go get some food. He spoke not a word, only shook his head in acceptance. As I was driving away I could see the very beginning of a smile, evident from the rosy cheeks that rose to his eyes. His smile was ever so familiar. Behind the hard life he is wearing, his smile looks very much like that of the rosy cheeked Saint Nick. Please bless him too

I will keep Miss Rusty’s bag in the car to give to her as soon as I see her again.

Claire, thank you for joining me and (I‘m sure) my Mom on this years “Karen’s Wish”! What an awesome week this has been. Merry Christmas

Thank you, thank you!

Love Jan

Friday, December 24, 2010

Flashback Friday

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Frightful Night..Not Involving the Weather

Last night was one of those nights that a parent, or grand parent hope they never have to face.
Kelsea has been feeling a little under the weather, with the cough that seems to be going around this year. Still, she has been in a happy and playful mood. I guess that quickly changed last night. She didn't want to walk down the stairs for dinner, she wanted to be carried. By 6:30 she said she was tired and wanted to go to bed. She also complained she had a headache. She was given some ibuprofen and she jumped into bed. A few minutes later she was having some sort of issues and her Mama was helping her ...that's when all hell broke loose. She was drooling terribly, her tongue was doing weird things, she started throwing up, and her speech was babbled. Kevin called a friend that was a doctor, who lived close by and came right over. He thought the worst of the episode was over, but she should go to emergency to have her checked out.
We met them at the hospital where they processed her, put her in an emergency room to wait for the DR. By the description of her symptoms he thought she might have had a Focal Seizure. He ordered blood tests, and she had a cat scan.
She was a trooper!
She just laid there while her labs were drawn,
holding very still. Then she was off to have the CT.

When she came back she was given a Popsicle.
It was after 10 PM and our little girl had been through a lot. She wanted to go to sleep. So, the light was shut off . She went right to sleep while we waited for the results of the tests.
This sleepy girl passed all her tests and was allowed to return to her cozy home with her Mama and Daddy.
This morning she has a follow up with her pediatrician.
Lets pray this was brought on by a virus and is NEVER to be repeated again!

I quickly typed this post before I was out the door to DR's appointments with Dana this morning. Kevin took Kelsea to her appointment, and I met Dana at her OG/GYN Dr. Kevin dropped her there so he could get across town to Kels appt. It stinks having TWO appointments at almost the same time. Good news all around Kelsea is fine. Her DR. does not think she had a seizure. She just has a throat/viral infection. Very common with the Gus family. Also, everything looks great for Dana and baby G too!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kelsea the Snowkid!

Kelesa is wearing the snowman head while I ask her a few questions. Our house guest, Tom can be heard in the background talking on his phone. Sorry, but at one point you can clearly hear him say(s#*!)...sorry. This is just too cute to worry about that!...Scroll to the bottom to pause the music.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Playing in the Kitchen

I've been busy making
treats for this weekend.
This little guy is standing
while these friends are
Here are
Oreo's dipped in white chocolate
Where did I get my inspiration?
Making these are not as easy as they look, Check out these beauties!