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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Remembering Our Son Mike

Taking the time to remember our son Mike, 
who passed away nine years ago.

We long for the wonderful man you had become.

Missing you...
and maybe the wife and grandbabies 
and happiness your life would have brought to everyone.   

Love you and miss you, Mike! 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Wedding Weekend

I gathered my "something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue" to head up to our oldest daughter's home this weekend.  Why?  Because she has brought a wonderful man into the family fold who was marrying her and her two children.

They wanted a private small ceremony, and will later have a family celebration with siblings, friends and Waylen's family from Oklahoma in September when they come to visit.

Steve and I, along with my ex-husband and his wife, were present for their adorable small ceremony. I was the witness for Erin and my ex was the witness for Waylen.  We signed the license papers with the clerk and headed into the courtroom for their personal vows and simple ceremony. It was held with the local judge (who's last name is Judge... yup, Judge Judge!).

Little Chelsea was the flower girl, and had a basket of flowers (along with a "secret weapon" hidden inside, more about that later)   and Clayton was the ring-bearer.  I had to make TWO ring-bearer pillows in case both kids decided they each were the ones to hand over the rings.  LOL

To keep the kids occupied until Judge Judge came in, I had prepared a few little gifts for them... Chelsea got her own pink diamond wedding ring, to be a symbolic part of her new family, and Clayton got a "wedding car" ...  who cares if it doesn't make sense to anyone else, it is perfect to keep a three year old boy occupied!  haha  We were fortunate to be the only ones scheduled to be in the courtroom, and had it all to ourselves.

Soon the ceremony began,
with Chelsea glued between her new parents bodies,
not wanting to miss a thing! 

When it was time for Clayton to hand over the ring to his Mommy to put on Waylen's finger...
 well, he exclaimed "no no no"... and didn't want to give it to his mommy... 
because HE was going to put the ring on his new parent's finger!  LOL  

It was wonderful that the children were allowed to be part of the ceremony! 

 Judge Judge remarked that it was a Happy Thing
 to have such goodness happen in his courtroom.

Of course, the groom had to kiss his bride....
Which little Chelsea hollared out from being squished between them: 
"Hey, I can't breathe in here!"

It was such a great joy to see our oldest daughter so happy again. 

Remember I mentioned the "Secret Weapon"???  
Well the kids kept it a secret throughout the entire ceremony without telling.

I took them outside ahead of the adults and 
had them ready with a bag of birdseed hidden underneath the flowers 
in Chelsea's flower girl basket! 

They got to shower the birdseed on the newlyweds
 as they emerged from the courthouse door!

(birdseed is better than rice, which rice can disrupt or even kill birds who try to eat it) 
Here is a little video clip:

We headed out to the Breakwater Park on the shores of Lake Michigan,
for a few photos.

Now you can understand why it's SO hard to get a family photo with children involved??? 

 Just check this out:

I especially like this one:

From there, we went into nearby Dockside Supper Club for a Wedding luncheon... I managed to sneak up a wedding cake for the event, and the little topper wedding bell ornaments that can go on their Christamas Tree every year!

Waylen was in charge of the cake cutting, doing a good job with my old cake serving utensils from OUR weddding (something borrowed)   We sugared up the kiddos good on wedding cake, and there was enough leftover for them to freeze for their first anniversary. 

We can hardly wait for the family celebration in September,
with all of our children, and Waylen's family visiting from Oklahoma too.

Be happy, my beautiful daughter. 
Live your life full of love and tenderness with your sweet new husband, 
and making a family with your two darling children. 

Mr. & Mrs. Waylen Choate
July 24, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cancer in the Family and Doing What We Can

Cancer... it sucks.

Plain and simple.

Steve's family just had another member with the sad "C" news... a cousin now has breast cancer.  Please offer prayers or good intentions if you wish.    This is the sixth person in his family now to have cancer.  Sadly, three have passed on, and three are survivors.

On the upswing, Steve's brother Mark has just been declared cancer-free!   He had a rough situation of bladder cancer and underwent some magnificent surgery and recovery.  We are so thankful that he has been able to overcome this.  Sadly, during his recovery, his darling wife (our sisinlaw) Shirley contracted breast cancer.  She didn't make it with her brave battle against this awful "C".  Leaving behind a loving family of a recovering husband, three wonderful daughters and two darling grandsons.

Steve's entire family has been suffering terribly with this horrible disease.

Please pray for a cure.

My own personal battle with Barrett's Disease is that it can develop into cancer at any time is scary. I get scoped and checked regularly. I have had my stomach and esophagus cut apart and put together a couple times in efforts to halt it's progress. Makes for some difficult digestion issues, for sure.  My body is also good at growing tumors (very fast) and I am sick of having surgeries to remove them.  I am scarred from stem to stern with multiple wounds from my hospital stays.

We do what we can, and deal with what we are able.  And we trust in our doctors and hope for the best.

We as individuals are helpless to do any research or make major strides in the development of drugs or cures.  We are not doctors or scientists or big politicians directing funds to pay to find a cure.

But in my own little corner of the world,
 I can sew.  
Yes, I can sew! 

The local Extension Agency has a program called "Stitches of Love" ... and we sew up lightweight cotton bandanna scarf type caps for summer wear for chemo patients.  These are made from crisp cotton. They are not itchy and hot like winter caps.  I went last month to a "Stitches Of  Love" gathering at the local courthouse to help cut up hundreds of bandanna scarfs and get started on sewing them up.

 It's amazing how many we could get cut up in one day! 

I took home a pile of cut up bandanna scarves and set to work on sewing them....

In the last few days, I managed to sew up forty four of them!  While I sewed, I thought of each person we have lost, of each person who has struggled, and how Cancer affects all of us.

Wheeee  It was such a lovely day that I sat sewing sewing sewing.. the humidity was down, the windows were wide open, and the breezes were coming in.  Usually Finnegan is laying by my side as I sew, and Binney is usually laying in the foyer just a few feet ahead of me, on the cool hardwood floor.  But this time, while I was sewing (and not paying attention to them) they both were GONE....   Where did I find them?  I looked out into the diningroom and saw them perched on the chairs!

I snuck the camera phone out
 and snapped a pic before they jumped down....
I think they are having a Tea Party??

I went back to my sewing, and I finished the bandanna scarves up.  I got them all pressed and tagged and brought over to the UW Extension Office in Oshkosh... As each person brings in their caps, the gals at the office take care of getting them to the oncology units at the local hospitals.

They are pretty easy to make, and we think of comfort as we construct them.  A softly padded brim, and inside stitched all tucked away so nothing rough or itchy would rub on tender skin.

Here is a You Tube link 
of a video on how to sew them:

I set this blog aside while we took a walk around the block before dark,
 with two sassy doggies on their leashes.  

It was nice to stop and chat with a few neighbors around the route we took,
 and before we knew it, it was dark and the skeeters were biting. 

Home again, Home again, 
Jiggidy Jig. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Muggy Icky Humid Yucky.... and more stuff around Our Old House

I know most the country is in a heat wave and I shouldn't add to the negativity by grousing and complaining.  (but I will)    ICK!   I can not take this 100+ heat index crap!

I am suffering from a kinda summer head cold, and that makes it even tougher. I was going to take a couple grandtots on Friday, but I felt too icky to even do that. I stayed inside my air conditioning and got some sewing done and whined about the heat and humidity.

Saturday was a bugger too, and we sure didn't enjoy any of it. We started out with thunder and lightening, and high winds but only about half inch of rain.  We could have used more of the rain, as things are getting brown and dry around here.  I kinda flipped and flopped around the house all day Saturday, but I did manage to brush out both dogs...  Binney is finally shedding her winter coat.... that big pile of fluff is from only one side----

 She is finally getting a longer silkier Shetland Sheepdog Coat... 
and not just tufts of short fluff. 
I think her coat was sooo bad when she got taken out of the hoarder's pit hole from Hell, 
that her heartworm infestation
 and horrid skin & bones condition 
took it's toll on her coat. 

Now they look so PURTY! 

By bedtime I was running a fever again, so I dosed up good on Nyquil and went to bed with the AC blasting. Take THAT heat and humidity! There.... 'nuff said.

By Sunday morning the weather broke, and it was soooo peaceful and quiet.  I woke up at 6 am and we enjoyed coffee out on the front porch.  Soooo sweet and quiet, with chirping birds and golden sunshine and soft breezes.  I guess we gotta appreciate the good days when they come.

I even shot a little YouTube for the morning... just to play it back on a freezing cold winter day when I am complaining about that weather!! LOL

I decided to work on a project today around Our Old House, redoing the upper shaker porch railing. See how it's just two horizonal railings and not nearly anywhere close to being up to building codes.

The railings are too low and there is too big of a gap between the railings and also the floor.  Since it's summer weather, we do like to keep that upper back door open to the porch to let in a breeze.  Any child or dog could easily slip between those railings and it would be Bad News! We do keep the screen door locked at all times, but all it takes is "once"!  Duke zoomed out between my legs once and almost dove headfirst under the railing and onto the garage roof!~   I grabbed his tail at the last minute and pulled him back! Soooo it's a good time to get this task underhand.

 This is the "Before" shot of the second story shaker porch railing

During the week we bought some new spindles from Home Depot (thanks Dan and Heather for Steve's Fathers Day Gift Card!)  and got two coats of solid colored white stain on them.   I like solid colored stain because it can be applied right away on green treated deck wood and it "breathes" so the wood can still dry out from under the layers of stain.  It doesn't flake or chip off like paint does.  I used Cabot's Solid Acrylic Stain in white.

Steve moved the topmost horizontal boards up higher to meet code
and moved the bottom horizontal boards to a lower level for more strength.
We squared it up and leveled it, and started to put on the spindles! 

Even the neighbors complimented us on the good looks....
now it matched the porch rails and gate below 

We kinda changed the way the corners met with the spaces at the posts, so we needed to get 11 more spindles. I got those stained up and drying while we had breakfast and another cup of coffee.  I wanted to get them all up before the sun came over to that part of the house in the afternoon. It was warming up into the 80's but at least the humidity was down.

Wow.. that looks SO much better if I do say so myself!   I strung the little clothesline across from the corner posts. I like using that to air out bedding, even in the winter months. Better than trudging through snow out to the backyard washlines in the middle of winter.

We thought we had enough spindles, but nope, we need FOUR more! Steve wants to replace that center 4x4 post too as the original was too short. (that is the old height that is below the height needed to meet building codes)   I will get more of them from Home Depot tomorrow on a trip up to Appleton for a weaving guild meeting and then the job will be complete!

So that was another project for Our Old House! 

We also cleaned up a few weeds, 
trimmed a few shrubs
and refilled the birdfeeders.

This evening after dinner, I finally felt good enough to wash a few windows on the front porch.  Last week we tried that Windex type unit on the hose sprayer and all it did was muck up the windows, make them blotchy and streaky and clouded. You can see how bad they are on that You Tube video clip above.

Since we sit a lot on the front porch and enjoy the view, I decided to use the good SpryWay aerosol can of foamy cleaner and a roll of good thick papertowels and get the windows done right.  Steve hauled out the ladder for me and I got the lower outside ones done. He had to reach the highest ones while I did the inside windows too.  Sure improved our view while I type this blog, sipping wine and listening to soft music on the MP3 player.  

Ahhhhh two doggers curled at my side, hubby with his 'puter reading Craigslist, and life is good. 

Guess I will stop complaining about the weather now, huh?