Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Season 2009

Hi there everyone!

I am sorry it has been so long since I have posted. A great deal has been going on here. If I remember right, the last time I posted was right after Thanksgiving. Things have been good here this Christmas Season.

Rachel's appointment in Chicago about her eyes was a long one. She and Jack left here early that day, dropping Sarah at school and then heading up north. The storm that was going on in the Upper Midwest at the time, missed between here and Chicago, so driving in bad weather was averted. They arrived at the hospital in plenty of time. Jack did have a long walk from the parking area to the building, but once in the building, Rachel snagged a wheelchair for him. Matthew, Rachel's oldest brother, met them at the hospital. I finally got a call about three hours after the appointment started, they were being given a short break, while Rachel's eyes were being dilated for the next phase of the appointment. I was told everything was going well at that point. The next time Jack called was about three hours later when he had arrived at Matthew's apartment to drop him off. Matthew only lives about a fifteen minute drive away from the hospital.

In that call, Jack told me that the doctor wants Rachel to see another doctor in Peoria, which is only an hour from here. This doctor would place some sort of prism in Rachel's glasses to help her eyes see single instead of double. If the prism in her glasses work then she would have that prism surgically placed on her eye. If it doesn't work, then we would be back to step one, which is what do we do now? We need to get hold of this doctor and make the appointment to see him, but he was very hard to get hold of during the Holidays!

Jack had to start taking over a great deal of the driving duties because my glasses did a disappearing act in the middle of the night in early December. We still haven't found my good glasses, (I am wondering if our cats played hockey with them!!) but we did find a pair that I can see well enough to drive in during the daylight hours. I discovered I can see well enough to stitch, but not do much computer time. This also means that Jack doesn't really want me to drive when the roads could possibly be bad, which that is fine with me! Also, in a weird way this is a good thing because it is making Jack have to do more moving around. Because of his sciatic nerve pain he spends a great deal of time off his feet.

I do understand that it can be painful for him to be on his leg too much, but I think he needs to be on it a bit every once in awhile. The sciatic nerve problem isn't the only reason he stays off his feet, he has been 'nursing' a bad wound he got on the bottom of his foot Presidential Election Day, 2008. He actually had to have surgery the day after the election. We took him to the Emergency Room after Jack picked me up from being an Election Judge. They started surgery the next morning at 7:00. He was going to the wound clinic weekly until September because of that. The area has reopened and so now we are doing the same things the wound clinic was doing. We are discussing that he will probably need to go back about his foot, but he is trying to delay it until after January 1, because that is my birthday. He wants to be home on my birthday, not stuck in the hospital.

The girls finished up their second quarter of school when Christmas Vacation started. We don't know their grades yet, for certain though because they didn't get their report cards. Rachel thinks that she has straight A's. This would not surprise us, as that has happened most of her quarters of schooling. Sarah isn't really sure of her grades. The last two days before Christmas break, Sarah had to take semester finals. She thinks she did well on her exams, but isn't sure what the percentage of the test will be on her final grade for the semester.

Rachel was in the children's Christmas program at church. She played a Shepard because she is one of the tallest kids in her age group. She did a great job. Jack did take a picture of her in her shepard outfit, but hasn't downloaded the pictures taken yet. GRRR He wants more pictures on the camera before he does any downloading.

On the stitching front, I did finish Sassy about a week before Christmas. I was having trouble scanning her because of the size of the finished piece. Jack took a picture for me, but it didn't turn out right, so Tina ended up taking a picture of her the day we opened presents. She turned out so great!

On Monday of the week before Christmas, Jack and I were talking about what to give Tina and Harold for Christmas. Jack asked me how much of Sassy I had to do and I went and got it and showed him. At the time, I had most of the cloud above her head, some of each color blue, her eyes and the outlining of her left paw. I told Jack that if I was allowed to just sit and stitch that I would be done by Friday. Well, I felt like the week was against me because on Tuesday and Wednesday both we were having car problems. Because of those I was getting little done. On Friday morning I woke up at 6:30 and counted exactly how many X's I had left (plus the eyes and outlining). I had 782 X's to complete. I then sat down and began to stitch. All of the X's were in the actual cloud. Jack dealt with whatever the kids needed as well as everything else. I was only taking short breaks here and there for eating, bathroom, etc. When it came time to outline her left paw, I pulled up the actual picture of her and saw how her paw was laying. Then I drew the outline on my pattern. I originally stitched the outline in the color Tina had picked out for this. Jack looked and thought that the color was too bold for that, and so then he picked out a softer color. I then frogged the first color and replaced with the second color. Then it came time for the pupils of her eyes. I started to do them with black beads as was originally discussed. I was using a size 28 needle for this and the bead was too small to fit over the eye of the needle and broke. I then tried threading an actual beading needle and was having issues finding the eye. Jack started helping me thread the needle using the magnifying glass and then realized that the bead was too small to represent Sassy's pupil. We then looked at buttons, but all my buttons were too big. Then we decided that it would be best for me to do the Satin stitch to fill in the pupil area. Once that was done, she looked so life like to us. Just like she was saying, "My ball!" Sassy loved her tennis balls.

Tina and Harold loved it and started crying when they saw her. They didn't know that I was done with her. Jack and I wanted to frame her, but we couldn't get to it. I was relieved that they loved the finished picture as much as I did.

I have also been stitching on a hot pad/coaster that I wanted to have done by Christmas, but missed the mark. It is for my son in California and his wife. I have told them they will be receiving a late gift. As you can see, I don't really have that much more to do. I hope to be done with this before the first of the year. Then I can start on my next project, which will be IS 40:31. Jack has been wanting me to do that one since he got home from the nursing home after his cancer surgery. I had two different patterns of the project and he finally decided on which pattern he liked better while I was doing Sassy. I could be mistaken, but I do not think it will be too hard to put the parts of this coaster together to complete it properly.

My Christmas from Jack nearly put me in shock. Jack put something on lay-a-way in April. I had no idea what it was, other than suspecting it was a piece of jewelry. I thought maybe a Mother's ring because of the time of year the lay-a-way started. But, boy, was I wrong! He had been debating himself all year whether to give the gift to me for Christmas or my birthday, since the following ring story happened from just after Christmas til the day after my birthday. Most of the people he asked opted for Christmas. I am glad that he gave it to me then! :) The picture isn't the best, but the ring is a new wedding band. See, after Jack had his cancer surgery a couple days after Christmas of 2006, (December 27th) he slipped into coma. During this coma, he and I could communicate. December 31 that year was a Sunday. I went to church with my sister-in-law (the one from Texas) and girls. It was the first time I'd left his side for more than a few minutes since he went into coma. While at the church, just as sure as he was sitting next to me, he said, "Honey, let me die!" In response, I said, "No. The girls and I need you!" A few seconds later I felt a tug at my wedding ring. I looked down and saw that my rings were broken. The wedding band in one spot, the engagement ring in another. Also my diamonds had popped out. My finger was bleeding. I refused to take my ring off. Even though the gold was poking me. On January 1, 2007, my other sister-in-law (the one from California) arrived. As a family we prayed over Jack's bed. He had started improving almost immediately upon the conclusion of the prayer. About 30 minutes after we prayed, Jack was improved enough that the doctors took him off some of the things they had him on. He was out of coma by the morning of January 2nd and well enough to be transferred out of ICU by the afternoon of the second. The eerie thing to some, but not Jack and me, is not how God worked and made him better, but that the first thing Jack said to me when he came out of coma on January 2nd was, "Did I break your ring when I pulled on it? I was so mad when you said 'No, the girls and I need you!' " Earlier this year Jack put my original wedding band in for repair. He wants it to become a family heirloom. An example of how much we loved each other to our future grand children. He said that he wants our wedding bands to be looped together, by his band being cut, put in the circle of my ring and being re-welded.

I did get sad news a few hours ago. My oldest Aunt - she turned 84 October 21 - passed away in her sleep last night. She has been in a nursing home for several years, suffering with Alzheimer's. I started crying because at one time Aunt Dot and I were close but the last time I spent any time with her was before we moved from California and that was in December 1990. Jack helped me feel better. He told me to think of it that she and Uncle Don are finally together again and that could be the best Christmas present she could receive. Uncle Don plus her mansion in Heaven. I do feel better about her death since Jack pointed this out.

Back to the not so sad. The girls enjoyed their Christmas. Jack and I got Sarah a MP3 player and Rachel a sterling silver charm bracelet. They were very happy. Jack received a huge amount of tools. We realized how much he was in need of tools when the car broke down.

The praise report that I have is that we had a large hole in our living room ceiling and a smaller hole in the bathroom wall that needed repair. The ceiling hole happened when the roof had a leak. The leak was fixed, but not the inside damage. The bathroom hole happened when Sarah kicked out when she was straightening her hair while on the bathroom floor. I am still trying to figure that one out! I mentioned this to a church member. He mentioned it to another church member who happened to be part of the local crews to build the Habit for Humanity homes. They came over together a few days later and repaired the holes in a matter of a couple of hours. The Lord is good! :) I was worried about these holes because our heat was escaping right out them and I could just imagine the power bill! The house was warmer almost instantaneously! That did take care of some of my stress. It showed me that the issues I am stressing over will be resolved, eventually.

We are in the midst of our first real snow storm. We had received some snow three different times earlier this year, but no storm even completely hid the grass. Right now it has been snowing dor about eight hours and we have about six inches of snow. It is still falling. Rachel has been having alot of fun, going outside and playing awhile and then coming in for a warm up.

Well, I should be signing off, I have made this long enough, I just wanted to try and get every bit of news in since it had been so long since my last post. I pray everyo9ne had a great Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.