small miracles.

Last year was the first time I missed Holidailies since I started doing it back in 2008.  I guess it was because last December was so stressful.  This month marks the 1 yr anniversary of Ki having his TIPS procedure done, or as he calls it, his robot part (because it is made of metal mesh).  It was a very scary time with a lot of unknowns.

Well things haven’t changed much.  Life is still a scary thing with a lot of unknowns but at least there’s a lot more hope.  Actually being on the transplant list, as surreal as it is, makes for a lot of hope.  It allows for a little room to breathe and a belief that just maybe there is an end to this journey through hell and a happy ending.  By no means will any of it be easy but I am so ready to get off this ride that is basically a descent into darkness and hop on the next which will hopefully take us back into the light.

And we might just get there a whole lot sooner.  The other day UNOS announced that the new MELD score calculator that adds sodium to the overall score will go into affect on January 1st, 2016 and our transplant nurse coordinator confirmed this for us.  This is huge for us.  I have now officially lost count how many times Ki has been hospitalized for chronic low sodium.  Despite every thing they have done to attempt to raise it, it stays low and is a constant battle to keep him out of the hospital.  His MELD could raise as much as 10 points when this goes into action and it might even be enough to push him to or near the top of the list.  I keep having a strong feeling that his transplant will come between Jan-March of next year.

So that’s our little Christmas miracle I suppose… for that to finally be happening.  I know it was debated for some years and I feared it would never happen, but yes… finally.

**

Tonight we went and got a tree finally… a beautiful real fir tree (no more pines here bah).  But… we got it home and found out our tree stand from last year is broken so it is out chilling on my porch and I swear to God if anybody steals my Christmas tree there will be hell to pay.  I’m trying to get lights up outside as well… Christmas is just starting to sneak up on me too fast this year!

Living across the street from Dad is certainly an adventure at times.  Tonight he sent me a text that we could come over and watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with him if he wanted… now how are you going to say to no to your 59 year old father when he wants somebody to watch Rudolph with him lol

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I’ve heard other people say that Christmas feels weird this year.  I expected mine too seeing current life circumstances but something else about it all feels weird too, so I guess I’m not alone.  I guess it seems sort of like it just snuck up this year.  Perhaps it was Thanksgiving being so late?  I don’t know but now I’m desperately scrambling to get Christmas shopping finished and all I really want to do is sit in front of  my computer and listen to music. (No I’m seriously on a music binge tonight, it is doing good things for my soul.)

This past weekend we were supposed to have a Christmas gathering at my mom’s house but instead we got 7 inches of snow, so that killed that.  Usually when they call for 7″ of snow we get 1″.. this time we got it all.  I only like snow when it is falling because it looks pretty, after everything is blanketed in white for a few and the snow stops falling it can just gtfo, I’m done.  But at any rate we now have to reschedule Christmas at mom’s.  This weekend is the gathering at my sister’s but time will tell if that pans out since they are once again calling for snow. Unfortunately not being able to make it to mom’s left me with a whole pan of 3 cheese garlic potatoes and a whole sugar cream pie, which…yeah…. not good for my ever continuing weight loss efforts.

I actually can’t believe I’m currently awake, I’ve been falling asleep way too early and awaking way to early.  Tonight I would like to accomplish to task of ordering the rest of dad’s Christmas presents but I am now battling a ROES photo ordering system that I have never used before and don’t have much patience.  Grr.

Ki went to a meeting with his business partners tonight.  I like seeing him go back to the routine of things.  My fingers are always crossed that maybe things can stay as normal as normal can be at this point and maybe we can get to the transplant stage without a bunch of horrible shit happening.

Well perhaps I will be able to post something of substance soon.  Still working out the kinks of this whole seasonal depression added to life depression bullshit.

Aside

Christmas pics Pt. III… having fun!

A pic of mom and her husband while they were there for our “gawddammit this is normal” Christmas =P

 

A perplexed tiny Santa.

 

Tiny Santa and his grandpa

 

 

I am so glad that this present was actually for Tristin! He zeroed in on it as soon as we brought it in and wanted to open it the whole night before it was time. It would have been quite heartbreaking for him had it been for someone else.

 

Santa lost his clothes at some point during the night.

 

Tristin helped hand out gifts this year.

 

My sister loved the necklace.

 

It was so funny because Dad was previously talking about Atari in the kitchen and how he wished he had a way to play some of the old games that he had, he had no clue he was getting this!

 

Daniel should just come uncaptioned. He made the comment that he wanted a feather boa like Hulk Hogan used to wear for Christmas, I relayed this to my sister lol

 

Tysen checking out his gifts.

 

Nacho conked out during presents.

 

Tristin gets a Hulk mask.

 

Terry was forced to open presents like this since the baby finally passed out for like 15 minutes.

 

Boy opens one of his presents I got him.

 

A Christmas card for the Moose.

 

Probably my favorite part of the night… Boy brought his guitar and sang us a few songs. Tristin was SO excited and grabbed his little guitar and strummed along singing.

 

Tristin later put on his Batman jammies I got him and ran through the house like a nut.

 

The end result of our Christmas the next morning, feature Ki and Moki in the middle of it.

 

Nacho got some fancy dog cookies for Christmas and I had to chase him through the living room with my camera to try to get a picture. I was so happy to see I managed to snap a super cute one.

 

How we ended Christmas night. Some eggnog and molasses sugar cookies.

 

 

it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… a little too late (and pic post Pt. I)

Well we finally got our snow!  It started Wednesday morning.  It’s wasn’t as bad as they were initially calling for, the grand majority missed us which is a teeny bit sad but also a good thing I guess.  I don’t like the idea of being stuck in my house due to snow, although Wednesday it was exactly that.  More snow last night and today.  Last night it was falling steadily and I kept staring outside looking at the snow falling on the pine trees illuminated by the Christmas lights, it was so beautiful.   The temps have finally been staying cold.  This is all the stuff I needed leading up to Christmas.  It feels like we should only now be starting to prepare for Christmas with the snow on the ground and icy nip in the air, but alas… it is gone for another year.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were wonderful.  I feel extremely blessed for so many reasons.

Christmas Eve we went to my sister’s house early in the afternoon since we got our mom to show up early so we could get that out of the way.  Everything is just so weird and awkward when she is around.  We all try so damn hard and she just doesn’t.  I guess she complained to my brother later on that she didn’t understand why we couldn’t have a “normal” Christmas with her.  Umm… we invite her to our rather normal events and she absolutely refuses.  The problem is that her “normal” is everyone else’s “abnormal” so by default we are always wrong.  That is why we all stopped trying to be right.  The end.

That issue aside, the rest of Christmas Eve was great.  Yummy food and lots of laughter.  My dad was there and even though he can barely walk anymore because of his back, he didn’t quite look on the verge of death as he normally does.  It’s hard for me to see him when he looks so bad so I’m glad he looked a bit better Christmas Eve.  My brother unfortunately showed up late due the fact that his stupid employer made them work until 6pm.  I swear, I really hate these stores and restaurants anymore who don’t give a crap that people want to be with their families on holidays, not squeezing the last few dollars out of somebody’s pocket who decides they need to be out buying or eating when employees just want to be with their families.

Christmas Day was really nice as well.  My husband spoiled me a little bit more than he should have.  I know I should just enjoy it but sometimes I feel guilty when he does that.. don’t ask me why.

So all in all I would say we had a wonderful Christmas all around with family and within our own little family.

I wanted to make this post a little more detailed but time as been getting away from me so I’ll just go ahead with some pictures to sum up our Christmas.

We decided to put the big tree in the living room this year and put the small tree (which for now has been designated the peacock tree) in the dining room/kitchen.  This was more of Ki’s idea than mine but whatever, it worked out.  I wasn’t sure this year if I would still love the peacock tree idea but once I got it up I fell in love with it all over again.

The big tree was then in the living room, everything has been a little cramped but you work it out when you live in a small house.  Better small house than tiny apartment!

And then this year I had an itty bitty 2 ft tree in the bedroom because I found these awesome hippy/psychedelic ornaments and wanted my little hippy tree!  They nearly overwhelmed the tiny tree but it worked out.

I mean just look how groovy Santa is!

I didn’t take pictures of all my treats this year.  There’s kind of a group shot of them in the tins.  And sadly my baklava tasted like crap this year =/  I had tried something a little different this year and it was just a no go… my BIL claimed it was good but I think he was lying to me lol

Treat tins for people!

I can’t remember everything I put in them but I think for the most part it was

  • White Christmas “trash”
  • Rolo Pretzel Bites
  • Chocolate Dipped Shortbread with Peppermint
  • Chocolate Dipped Shortbread with Sea Salt
  • Chocolate Dipped Matcha Shortbread
  • Oreo Fudge
  • Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Ritz Sandwiches
  • Haystacks
  • Pumpkin Pretzels

Yeah… that had to be about it

This is a picture of the White Christmas “trash” which is a mixture of Crispix, Pretzels, Peanut Butter M&Ms which is then coated with white candy bark.  I sprinkled some festive colored sprinkles on top just to make it well…extra festive.

Rolo Pretzel Bites… so good and so ridiculously easy!  Just place pretzels on a baking sheet, top with Rolos, let them melt for 3-4 minutes in the oven and then put a pecan half on top.

Peanut Butter Ritz Sandwiches… so good, so easy.  I just wanted to use up some extra crackers and this worked out so well.

My truffles… and I didn’t even get one this year! =(  I left them at my sisters.  I bet they were so good…heh.

And then, as a total experiment this year

I made fortune cookies for my MIL.  It was the first time busting out my fortune cookie maker so I had to give it ago.  Because I had already made so much I decided not to make fortune cookies for the rest of the family but it was fun to do it once for the holidays.

It’s probably not hard to imagine that I still have a ton of sweet sugary stuff left over in the kitchen, but I love making holiday treats.  I’m actually don’t care to eat a whole bunch of them but making them… yup gets me into the holiday spirit.

Next pic post… a few things I made as gifts.

apparitions.

Yesterday evening, while talking to my dad on the phone he told me a ghost story.  Only this one was apparently real.

 

Grandpa died a couple of months back.  A short battle with cancer…one of those cases where if he would have just not tried chemo when it was a hopeless situation anyway, he probably would have made it longer.  But he wanted to fight and fighting meant giving chemo a go.  My grandma had open heart surgery a few weeks after his death, and thankfully has been making a full recovery which I deem pretty impressive for someone her age.  One of my aunt’s have been staying at the home that she and my grandpa built and shared, helping her out as she recovers because she hasn’t been able to do a lot of things for herself for a while.

For as long as I knew them… grandma slept upstairs in the her bedroom and grandpa sat in his chair downstairs watching tv at night and then slept on the sofa.  You can deduce what you wish from this scenario, I can’t give you an explanation because I don’t know, never asked, and never really cared to be honest.  But anyways, the downstairs living room was grandpa’s area.

And so it was that my dad told me that the other night my aunt got up in the middle of the night.  The television downstairs was on.  She always turns it off at night but figured that she had just forgotten that night and went out to the downstairs living room to turn it off.  Upon entering the living, she swore that as clear as day she saw my grandpa sitting there in his chair watching tv.  He turned his head and smiled at her and as she quickly went to get flip on the light she looked back and he was gone.

I don’t know really what to make hearing her experience.  It is very fascinating to me. Some might say her mind saw what she wanted to see, etc but I tend to believe in things like this.   I feel like maybe he came back to tell her goodbye and show that he was okay.  It was strange because after he died, I can’t remember how long it was after his death but it wasn’t more than a few days I felt a very strong presence around me, yet a very familiar one.  Not long after I began feeling it, the light in the room flickered on and off.  I kind of just chuckled a bit and said “hi grandpa, I miss you” and not long after that the feeling of the presence lifted and left.  I always kind of viewed that as him telling me goodbye.  =)

Crap. It’s Thursday.

I need to….

  • Send out Christmas cards
  • Wrap Christmas presents for this weekend’s family get together
  • Go buy some yummy treats to make
  • Wasn’t I going to sew Tristin a blanket?…
  • Color my hair and get a trim
  • Finish Christmas shopping for my husband

It’s really not that much… it just feels that way after finishing up the semester.

I managed to find my BIL a 4 slice toaster that I could afford tonight!  And it was stainless steel/black and came with extra wide slots.  So I got it and will take back the other one.  I still think the 2 slot one was nicer, but after the hard sell I got from my sister about the 4 slice toaster (apparently there’s just never enough toast in that house lol)… I would rather think I got him something he wanted and would keep than something that would be possibly returned.

I dunno what I want to make for yummy Christmas treats.  Candy coated pretzels are a must.  Hmmm truffles maybe.  I’m torn between Oreo truffles or Oreo fudge.  I made baklava for the first time last year… I think I need to make it again since I can make a giant pan for a fraction of the cost to buy it already made.  Last year I found my syrup recipe for the baklava to be too citrusy though…I think it was too much lemon.  I think I ended up using too much zest.  And I didn’t have any cardamom so I left it out, but I think it was a very missed spice.  I might search the web for other variances of baklava recipes to see what other people are spicing up their syrups with.

I wanted to make French macarons this year… as gifts mostly… but it was one of those things that just didn’t happen so it is already on my to do list for next year.  I’ve never made them before and I hear they can be testy… Christmas is making me broke enough so I didn’t really want to bother buying the supplies needed to attempt to make perfect macarons.  I also wanted to make meringue cookies…which are so easy except… I have no good mixer to beat the egg whites.  My old $5 set of beaters is on it’s last stand… one of the… beating…things… no longer inserts so I’ve just got one.  It’s a sad situation when it comes to my baking life.  I asked for a nicer new one for Christmas.  Someday…someday…. I will have a Kitchen-Aid mixer.

I want to bring something super yummy to my sister’s dinner besides some sweets…right now I’m stumped…just browsing through Tastespotting….drooling.

And speaking of Tastespotting…I just found a post where someone had used the same cookie cutter that I bought last week…

This bad boy:

7.5″ of snowflake cookie goodness.  Dammit.  I had even forgotten I had bought it!  My intention?  One stunning cookie for every body as part of their gift.  I am wondering if through the magic of ready made sugar cookie dough, if I still can’t pull this one off.

….

I called my sister tonight and Tristin decided he needed to talk to me so she gave him the phone… I have never heard him jabber so much to me.  He was excitedly telling me about making candy with him mom.  I can’t believe he is 2 and a half already… I really really can’t.  I also can’t believe how much he can talk to me now and express ideas. On Thanksgiving he sat on my lap looking at pictures and he would come up with these little stories about the pictures and tell me about it… I’m like you’re 2.5…when did you learn to do this? lol   When I hear his little voice my heart completely melts.  I somewhat get what it must feel like to have a child of your own and love it and would do anything for it, because that is how I feel about Tristin.  It isn’t exactly like he is my own I am sure, but pretty damn close.  I would defend that little boy with my life.  I’m so excited to go to Christmas dinner at my sister’s and unwrap pressies with him!

insert product placement here.

Somewhere around the beginning of November, this was me:

And then the beginning of December rolled around and this was me:

I dunno man… Christmas shopping just didn’t make my high priority list this year.  But I finally managed to get the fam shopped for, putting in one last Amazon order tonight.

Naturally Tristin is the easiest to shop for and I could always easily spend beaucoup $$$ on him because TOYS.ARE.FUN.

This year I got him:

B. Meowsic Keyboard.  I want one of these for myself lol  It’s so fun looking and has all these neat little functions and the kiddos can even record themselves.   They can record the music that they play on the keyboard, but not their voices from the microphone apparently.

And hell who am I kidding, I want one of these for myself too… B. Eyelights… a kitty flashlight whose eyes also light up when rolled across the floor.  The eyes light up in four different colors.

So if it isn’t obvious, I think B. is a really great brand of toys for the kiddos.  I think they have so many awesome toys and I love how visually appealing they all are.

And I think I am gonna sew Tristin another blanket for Christmas.  I thought maybe that could be a tradition I keep up until he is around 5 or something.

For my dad… we three are going in on a Net 10 phone he couldn’t shut up about.  Since it benefits us all to go in on a relatively inexpensive phone I don’t see any of us fighting him on this one, we’ll find him the phone and save some money in the process.

For my mom…

The Serenity prayer set of Ganz Measuring Spoons.  I am obsessed with these and asked for some myself for Christmas.  I fell in love with Ganz measuring spoons when I saw them at Hallmark for the first time earlier in the year.  They are solid sturdy metal, are engraved with these gorgeous intricate designs, and you can actually use them (yay for things that aren’t just for looks).

I’m thinking about also getting her a Yankee Candle tart warmer and a couple Yankee tarts but we’ll see… the spoons are approaching my per person budget price.

For my BIL…

Boring?  Well that’s what he asked for lol   Actually he asked for a 4 slice toaster.  I had to report to my sister that despite all my searching, I could not find a nice 4 slice toaster that was less than $40.  I can’t spend that much on a toaster.  My search for a toaster did lead to a discovery of a $300 toaster on Amazon…and all I could do was think “whyyyyyyyyyyyy???”  Nobody on this planet needs a $300 toaster.   God her/himself doesn’t need a $300 toaster.

For my sister… I kind of really like her gift because I got to do what I really like to do but rarely get to b/c I just don’t have the money.  I put together a little gift box for her because she asked for several things that could easily be made affordable so I could get her more than one thing.  I kind of felt bad lol because I asked her if she had asked her husband for any of this stuff for Christmas and she was like “haha no, we are probably only getting each other one thing this year and I’ll probably ask him for something I need.”  I asked if this is what happens when you have children and she confirmed some of my suspicion on that one lol  So I decided to make her a “cozy” box of gifts of various things she asked for, including a pair of fleece pajama pants, a mini box of gourmet chocolates, a Yankee Candle tart warmer, 2 Sparkling Cinnamon Yankee tarts, a pair of super soft fleece socks, and a mini Body Shop Strawberry Body Butter.  It’s totally a box that I would be thrilled to open up so I’m pretty confident she will feel the same.

I also made these lighted Santas for mom, sis, and MIL which I need to take a pic of.

For my bro…

(Yes it is on my Christmas wish list as well…. hi… I am a Batman fan girl.)  My brother is the only person in my family where I sometimes worry that we bought each other the same thing for Christmas lol

I’m still kind of torn on what to do for MIL.  She came up to visit and I had the painted lighted Santas for my sis and mom on the table (had stupidly forgotten to put them away) and she picked them up and was ohh’ing and ahh’ing over them and asked me if I painted them.  I was just standing there like dammit, when she gets one of these it isn’t gonna be that much of a surprise now but at least I know she’ll like it.  She’s wanted a picture of Ki in his cap & gown since he graduated this summer and we still don’t have one and there really isn’t any ideal backdrop now for a picture.  Although I had wanted badly to get her a nice print.

Then tonight I ran across this tutorial http://cooklovecraft.blogspot.com/2011/12/diy-memory-wire-crystal-bracelet.html  and thought what a great gift that would make for her although I have no idea how much the amount of crystals necessary to make it would cost.

And as far as  mon mari goes… well I’ve gotten him 2 gifts thus far… and still have to finish shopping for him.  He’s always so difficult to shop for but I do have one top secret gift (for now) that I’m exceptionally proud of for him.

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