I am a complete control freak about our Christmas tree. Complete.
To live as a Christmas tree at the House of Graham one must
a) have white lights. NO colored lights allowed, much to my husband's dismay.
b) ornaments are properly spaced and color coded to look 'randomly hung on the tree with great care'
c) must follow strict monochromatic dress code excluding the Faberge eggs my grandmother made forty years ago.
p.s.- any friend of mine does not have blue lights as part of their decor. If you have ignored this code of our friendship, we will not speak until Valentine's Day. I do this because I love.
Onto the post!
There has been quite a bit of construction on our road lately. Since it is a two lane road, the construction crews have been closing one side and having cars take turns to use the remaining lane still open. With this procedure comes a tired looking, sometimes eating Doritos (true story), man holding a sign that either reads, 'Slow' or, 'Stop'. Pretty straight forward, no? Jimmy and I were driving through the cone zone and stopped at one of the men holding a 'stop' sign. Strange. This part of the road has both lanes open... Well, maybe they are about to close one side. Hmmm...The sign man was standing there chatting it up with a few other workers while we patiently waited for the sign to change. We sat there for a full minute. Think: a mouth full of fluoride in the uncomfortable trays minute... not- the last minute of 'Glee' minute. That's how long it took for the man and his buddies to realize we were stopped in the road. Then the group looked at us confused as to why we were just staring at them. The exchange of meaningful looks went between us in the car and the men on the road for another full minute. Meaningful to the point where our eyebrows and theirs were about to have a serious brawl. Then one guy looked up at the pole he was holding on to and realized that he was holding a 'stop' sign. He quickly put it down and started waving us through the nonexistent traffic. As we rolled through, I glanced back at the men men laughing and pointing at the former sign holder... gosh, I'm glad I wasn't the only one.
p.s.- thank you all for your sweet and tender words from my Kenai post. Your words are very encouraging and it helps to have them in this difficult time.
Our sweet dog, Kenai, peacefully passed away today. I cannot believe the tremendous effect it has had on our family. I suppose the effect is reflective of what she gave to our family. Kenai was a happy, loyal and loving animal. She was tender and sweet to Kaitlin, despite the numerous times playing dress up. Jimmy and I have cried together more at this event than any other in our life together. We loved Kenai. She brought such a special spirit into our home. We will miss Kenai dearly. I have no doubt that she is cheering up many children in heaven. Jimmy and I both admitted to each other that her heart was clearly for children. She would follow Kaitlin around and just kiss her to pieces. I am grateful that I was granted a short time with, Kenai, the angel dog. Rest in peace, sweet girl.
The smells, the laughs, the friends, the family... it just feels so real to me. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that has given me this gift of the holidays. I am sorry to say that I don't have this wonder and awe every year. The gratitude for the amazing things in my life run deep and I feel anchored to it. I know that the spirit of Thanksgiving is not just about the food but about the gratitude and love for our loved ones. It's about those that granted us freedom and paved the way in a new nation. I know the spirit of Christmas is not all about the commercial aspect, but a true celebration of the greatest gift of all, our Savior. My love for the Savior is so real. I know without a shadow of a doubt that he loves me. I know that the birth of the precious Christ child is a miracle. Not just a miracle of that night... but of his whole life and example. How I love the knowledge of these things. I treasure my testimony of a true and living Savior. May this holiday season grant you peace and joy. May your hearts be filled with a tangible love and your soul be touched by the small miracles that happen everyday.
- The Rule of the One Messy Room- at no one given time may all rooms within the household be entirely orderly. One room must take the fall... usually mom's room.
- The Rule of the School Aged Child- you will never be able to wake your child early enough to avoid: the morning rush, banshee screaming/yelling, slow eating, lost shoe.
- The Rule of the Toddler- this child must act like a blender with the top removed especially at: the grocery store, the toy store- heck, any store...
- The Rule of the Teenager- anything a parent states must result in rolling of the eyes and a muttering of some sort. In most cases the uttering resembles, "whatever..."
- The Rule of the Laundry- it shall never, ever, ever, ever, ever be done
- The Rule of the Dishes- *see rule of laundry above.
- The Rule of the Potty- no matter how many times a child uses the restroom before an outing, once leaving the threshold of any given residence, will need to use the potty immediately. This rule is usually most in use during car rides when the nearest restroom is either at least an hour's driving distance or filthy beyond all reason.
- The Rule of the Ratio- 50:1 amount of time it takes mom to clean a room to how long it takes to be completely unrecognizable i.e. trashed.
- The Rule of the Food- only the food on mom's plate is desirable, even if it is the exact same food on everyone else's plate.
- The Rule of the Good Book- a child is equipped with ultrasonic hearing in that a page ruffle or spine crack of a good book is heard at distances between 2 and 40 meters from reading site. The child has two choices at that point: make trouble or play shadow.
- The Rule of the Toothpaste- a child may never leave more than 30% of current toothpaste in tube remaining in the tube.
5 year old Noah is in the last stages of a 2 1/2 yr battle with Neuroblastoma Cancer. The family is celebrating Christmas next week. Noah's request is to get lots of Christmas cards.
1141 Fountain View Circle
South Lyon, MI 48178
"I am a self proclaimed red button kid. The definition of a red button kid is this: one that sees a button, any button and has an overwhelming urge to push/pull said button. I still have to fold my arms when I walk by the fire alarm at the church. Luckily, there's a protective plastic shield over that alarm now. It used to be completely exposed... I would have to walk very quickly past that red button with arms folded and look in the complete opposite direction."
It seems that karma like to make a mockery of one, Stephanie Graham... because, literally touching the kindergarten class sign out sheet- the sheet I have to touch every day- is this:
- Jog-a-thon- yes, I did make two full-sized palm trees to flank the snack table. A snack table that was only up for 30 minutes. A snack table that was attended by a crazy lady catching the trees as they were bullied by the wind. Gosh, I hate being a show-off.
- Halloween party- crazy lady entertaining kindergartners for four hours. Think: jumping up and down, singing, making a complete and total fool of oneself. Cue: less than fresh orange sweater and daughter covering face in embarrassment.
- Harvest festival & baking of 20 pies for pie eating contest (that one was actually easier than it sounds)
- Meeting with financial advisor
- Compiling resume- argh! (thanks for the help, mom!)
- Feeling frustrated that every past job has come to me and sitting around waiting for a job offer is not being proactive. (anyone looking for a(n): event planner, professional organizer, caterer, seamstress, wedding anything, beneficiary to large fortune? Also, lines are open for pledges)
- Keeping a happy home- dude, I know that's dang short bullet point, but you all know what a happy home entails...
And so, so much more. Plus, I have realized of late that I was starting to write this blog for everyone else but me. Consumption of mind came from multiple daily comment checks, google analytics checks, etc. I've always been one to worry about what people think of me. From my mouth comes a scary high whining voice when I suspect someone not liking me. But this I tell you now: No more! (I put the exclamation mark there to sound more menacing- what do you think? Wait! Don't answer that! I don't want to know what other people think... for the most part. If it's a compliment... argh! Why am I so darn self-defeating?!) It's nice to have a online journal to look back on. I just read my blog from beginning to now and thoroughly enjoyed some of my antics and cringed at the things I posted because I thought someone else might like it. I came to the realization that when I am being most real, a legacy is left for the family that someday will only know me as the great grandma who uses an electronic chair to get up the stairs.
So, on the cons list of such a long hiatus: lack of detail with those bullet points when they all transpired. And on the pros list, not blogging has given me serious time to catch up on my Netflix queue.
The majority of the pictures I have are from the first night of dinner... I guess I was a little distracted.
I love that we cut the zip ties between the chairs before the staff asked us to refrain from doing so... well, permission was never asked and I'm still waiting to hear on that forgiveness. Overall, I had a great time! I was able to score while shopping using stored up giftcards. I even got dinner at the Cheesecake Factory on a gift card. Life is good.
One of my all time favorite moments:
We went on the California Adventure rapids ride with another family and really hit it off. I got got completely drenched and in turn, completely laughed at. There was speculation as to whether or not a certain seat is the one to always get drenched... to test our theory of the heavy side getting the most wet, we went on the ride again with that family. Approaching the front of the line, our plan of attack was decided- all the kidss on one side and all the adults on the other side of the circular shaped raft. As the raft flew down the first elevation, all the adults got a wall of water down their backs. And it continued. On the last and final drop, when the raft usually twists and turns, the raft acted as it had an invisible magnet- with the heavy side going down first, dropping like a lead balloon. Yes, our theory was right, but the only thing we had to show for it was a good, healthy soaking.
Mom's favorite ride: Thunder Mountain Railroad
Stephanie's favorite ride: The Tower of Terror
Jimmy's favorite ride: Space Mountain
Kaitlin's favorite rides: Indiana Jones and Mulholland Madness (we went on that ride 4 times in a row)
I suppose I wanted to remain vague about Kaitlin's extracurricular activities while both of her parents were napping because I wanted to keep all things as far from my memory as possible!
- First, she called nearly everyone in the address book.... I got several calls the next day from the lucky winners. Some had to erase multiple long messages on their answering machine. Because apparently, when Kaitlin leaves a message and the machine cuts her off- she calls back.
- The flowers that were so lovingly planted previous to our nap were transplanted onto the patio. It seems our little girl feels the flowers need more 'room to grow'.
- The dog got into the trash can because, as Kaitlin puts it, "He was really hungry, mom!"
- And last, but certainly not least, we woke to a terrible crashing sound. A huge mirror just happened to shatter mysteriously. A HUGE mirror. Like, six feet by five feet, huge. Yes, just mysteriously. It just so happens that when we came out of groggy afternoon nap-ness, Kaitlin was standing next to the shattered frame mysteriously.
Needless to say, we will be taking our Sunday naps in shifts again...
p.s. Disneyland post to come soon... we had a blast- just getting all the pictures together is taking longer than expected!
I am from the generation, "Where were you when the twin towers were hit?"
Jimmy and I were to be married in eleven days. I was busy with wedding plans. Working in living facility for the elderly gave me ample opportunity to view the attacks on our country on a huge screen with very loud commentary in the home's great room. The realization of what had happened to our country hit me like a ton of bricks. What I was more concerned about was this: I wasn't married yet. What if something happened and Jimmy and I were separated? I launched into panic mode because I wasn't bound to Jimmy in marriage... silly thoughts, I know, but I was very concerned. So much so, that I had considered eloping that night. Fortunately, we waited the eleven days to get married so that my family could be there. Luckily, their flights weren't cancelled! On the night of September 11, Jimmy and I attended the temple. It was eerie to be at the temple near so many flights paths without a single plane in the air. The things said at our session were striking and profound. The Spirit was so strong. I came to realize the love my Father in Heaven has for me. My heart went out to those who lost their loved ones- and it still does. I have a great love and deep respect for all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. The acts of heroism are just testaments of the strength of this great country.
p.s. I suppose I can't complain when we got to stay at this beautiful resort...
"Kaitlin, why did your teacher help you learn how to spell that word?"
"Well," Kaitlin said, "we had to draw picture of ourselves with our name and how we felt."
"And you felt sad?" Aww... she missed her mommy!
"No. I just thought it would be funny to put down that I felt sad!"
"What?! Did you tell your teacher about this 'joke'?"
"No. But, I did draw myself smiling, so she'll know I'm actually happy. But now she knows I'm happy and funny!"
After Kaitlin laughing so hard at her cleverness, I then poked and prodded her mind about the rest of the day. I should've learned from the last revelation to stop asking. Kaitlin informed me of the first thing she raised her hand about. Apparently, she felt it very important to ask, Miss Wade, on the very first day of school, if there were any ticks in her (Kaitlin's) hair... and then proceeded to ask the teacher to check! Argh!!!
I learned my lesson. I stopped asking about what else Kaitlin said to her teacher. I did, however, want to flip a u turn and explain that Kaitlin is actually a very content child and that we live out in the country and perform tick checks quite often. I am just waiting for the other antics that will be cooked up in the following school year... at least her hair looked cute.
UPDATE: Kaitlin came home with the first picture she drew of herself- not only did she write that she was 'sad' because it was funny, but to drive the point home of her hilariousness- she drew on herself a mustache.
It went great this morning. Jimmy and I dropped off Kaitlin in the morning and she did really well. No crying- for any of us. I already did my crying last week when I was sorting through Kaitlin's baby clothes. After dropping off Kaitlin for class, Jimmy and I went to the meet and mingle with other parents. I signed up to be the room mom and part of the hospitality committee. I am excited to be a part of such a great school! I am extremely grateful that I can be a part of Kaitlin's schooling. I have been so blessed to have the time to do so- thanks, Jimmy!!! Can't wait to update about the wonderful world of kindergarten!