Saturday, December 30, 2006

More Christmas 2006

Just a few pictures of the package opening on Christmas Eve. Aren't grandchildren one of the most thoughtful gifts God has given us?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas 2006

Our grandson Jacob is old enough to unwrap his own presents this year and Christmas is once again a joyous occasion. Since our own sons passed the age of wonderment and anticipation for Santa's visit, we have had nice holidays...peaceful....but lacking in that "je ne sais quoi." I am so glad we get to be re-introduced to the merriment of a child's excitement during this special season. We were also blessed to watch Jacob "perform" in the Christmas program at their church on Christmas Eve morning. Although wearing the wings was out of the question, he did sport a lovely halo and gown, which I'm sure he will regret when the pictures reappear during his teen years. Here are just a few of the many photos taken at the program.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Free at Last!

I received the best Christmas present today. I was finally released from the Orthodontist!!! Granted, I will still have to wear the dreaded retainer while sleeping, but my days will be retainer-free.

Tomorrow is my second appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon regarding my shoulder and I'm a bit apprehensive about that. I've noticed some improvement in these past six weeks, but it is nowhere near 100%. We'll see what he has me do next. I need relief fast, 'cause my once toned and muscular arms (sort of) are becoming flabby and shapeless. Good thing it's winter and I can keep them covered up! I would post a picture, but am too embarrassed.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blizzard of 2006

Yes, I'm from Canada, and no, I don't remember it ever being colder than it is here in Tulsa today. We've gone from rain to freezing rain to sleet (how is that different from freezing rain?) to snow. The wind is so forceful, it's hard to tell if it's still snowing or just blowing. Jeremy, Trista and kids are snowed in at Trista's parents, so I'm here all alone. Got LOTS done today. Not quite sure what I'll do tomorrow. My mother-in-law called to check on me--what a sweetheart--said to call if I needed anything. Hmmmm. Wonder what she would do if I did need something since she's snowed in as well. Anyway.......

As a diversion to my productive and peaceful day of hemming pants, making chocolate covered pretzels, backing up all my digital photos and listening to Josh Groban, I decided to do my son a favor by checking on his dog, Hunter. Jeremy was worried that he wasn't using his dog house. Since it's apparent Jeremy will not venture out in this weather, I decided to feed Hunter and see what he was using for shelter. As predicted, he wasn't smart enough to crawl into his dog house, but instead, was huddled under a shrub next to the house. My concern was more for myself--how do I get into the yard since the gate is frozen shut? If I try to climb over it, I'll have to put the dog food somewhere and my arms are not long enough to reach over the fence. After much chipping, digging and pounding, the gate opened just enough for me to squeeze through. get the solid ice out of the dish to make room for the food. (I don't own a dog for this very reason!) Finally the job was done and I immediately called to tell Jeremy that he OWES me! A couple of hours later, news and weather reporters were guilting all pet owners into bringing their animals inside for the night. You've got to be kiddin' me! That ain't happenin'. But soon, the old heart started aching for this poor innocent dog who didn't have a choice (except the choice to get IN THE DOG HOUSE). The garage would be the logical place for him, so I set about clearing an area, plugging in a space heater (which I soon found was broken) and a trouble light. Now to go rescue Hunter. Much to my dismay, the tiny opening I had to squeeze through to retrieve him was plenty wide enough for him to slip through. Hunter!!! Wait!!! I'm trying to HELP you!!! By the time I've taken his bed out of the dog house to put in the garage, Hunter is nowhere in sight. I call him, but he really doesn't know my voice much less obey it. Why did I never learn to whistle? Luckily I've honed my tracking skills and tracked him through the snow to the neighbors house and proceeded to drag him by the collar to his new haven. Now Jeremy owes me BIG!!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lauren Update

Papa came home for Thanksgiving and enjoyed some time with Lauren, even though she slept through most of it. Still, Neal was happy to at least get some cuddle time in between hunting trips.

Sunday, November 26, was Lauren's dedication. Again, she slept through most of that. She looked like an angel.

I was finally able to get a photo of her big smile. She obviously was enjoying being with her great aunt Linda. Too bad her daddy had just messed up her coiffure. Her hair was sticking out in every direction.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tribute to Grandma

I have been blessed to have my Grandma for over 50 years. That era came to an end on Wednesday, November 22, 2006. At the age of 89, Grandma left this earth to go home to be with her heavenly Father. It still seems surreal to me, since I've known for several years that each time I saw her may be the last. I've attended many funerals and tried to imagine what it would be like when the day came that we would bury my precious grandmother. So at her funeral, it felt like another rehearsal, a time to prepare myself for the inevitable.

I have the usual regrets...that I didn't visit her often enough, didn't pick up the phone to talk to her enough, didn't write enough letters. But I KNOW that I LOVED her enough.

I remember Grandma as a hard-working farmer's wife, a playmate for her grandchildren, a servant to those in need. A woman of grace and poise, dressing in her best for church on Sunday and always adding the appropriate accessories--scarf or necklace and earrings to match. She made the best chocolate cake in the world...and knew I liked mine dunked in a glass of cold milk.

She taught me, played with me, scolded me, loved me. Grandma, I will miss you.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Lita's Lagniappe

For those of you who are not multi-lingual, "lagniappe" is a French/Cajun word meaning "a little something extra." Today's post is just that, information that might come in handy at some point in your life.

Lagniappe #1: A solid surface cooktop is very convenient in that it provides a level space to expand your countertop.

Lagniappe #2: NEVER set anything on this area that you do not intend to COOK.

Being such the Susie Homemaker that I am, this morning I decided to brown some stew meat before placing it in the crock pot. Mind you, it was before my second cup of coffee, when my brain was still not functioning on full capacity. Who are we kidding? If you're over 50, full capacity brain function is a relative term. My stew meat, still in it's cellophane wrapper and styrofoam tray and on top of the plastic grocery bag, was sitting next to my skillet. You know where this is going, don't you? A few minutes later, when I figured the oil would be hot enough, I discovered that I had turned on the WRONG burner. The plastic grocery sack along with the styrofoam tray were melted onto the the burner and the meat was already starting to cook!

Lagniappe #3: A combination of baking soda, Bon Ami, and Oops, together with strong thumb and forefinger nails will remove melted plastic and styrofoam from solid surface cooktops. However, once the aforementioned nails become wet, you will need to let them dry in between scrapings else you will only bend them to the point of breakage.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

One Month Five Days

Lauren gets more beautiful every day. These pictures confirm that her eyes are, in fact, blue. They were so dark for awhile I was beginning to wonder if I would have a brown-eyed grandchild. She is smiling occasionally, mostly when her mommy or daddy is talking to her. She refuses to smile for me when I'm taking her picture. She's going to be a stubborn one.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mystery Solved

The globe was found last night in the bedroom upstairs where the kids are temporarily camped out. It was tucked safely behind an old ladder that leans against the wall holding quilts. Needless to say, the lamp has been moved to the opposite end of the piano where it is not so easily accessible.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Case of the Missing Globe

Trista and I have both caught Jacob with the globe to one of my antique kerosene lamps. As you can see, its juxtaposition to the stairs is perfect for a little arm to reach over the banister and lift it off its base. Once I caught him on the stairs talking through it like a megaphone. The other instance was when Trista heard a clanging on the ceramic tile in the entryway, and discovered it bouncing on the tile, unscathed. This morning Trista noticed that it was missing and assumed I had done something with it. Wrong assumption. We've looked everywhere for it and the evidence points to Jacob. He either can't remember where he put it or has hidden it and isn't talking.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

More from the Photo Shoot


Photo Shoot

An old friend's daughter is making a career of photography. She specializes in babies and children and makes house calls. These are pictures she took of Jacob and Lauren at my house last week. She spent over two hours patiently snapping poses, trying for the ever elusive shot of both of them looking pleasantly into the camera lens. Even though that wasn't meant to be, there are some classics.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Continuing Saga of Lita's Ailments

My Chiropractor, who had diagnosed my shoulder pain as a bone spur, has given up on treatment. He originally admitted that there may not be any improvement and that he wouldn't wait too long before referring me to an orthopedic surgeon. I visited the surgeon yesterday, who is convinced it is a torn ligament, and sent me for an arthrogram/MRI today. Ouch! He warned me there would be a needle involved, so I fretted all last night and this morning. Neal wasn't too encouraging last night when he told me about having the same procedure on his knee several years ago. He was very evasive when I asked questions about the pain. Fortunately, they gave me a shot of novacaine first (which was painful in itself), but that numbed it somewhat for the REAL needle that they worked into my joint to administer all manner of dyes and fluids. Once they were assured that all the fluids were where they should be, I was ready for the MRI. Forty-five minutes of lying in positions that my shoulder didn't like. Next appointment is with the surgeon on Wednesday to discuss results.

I honored the long-standing Smith tradition of treating myself to a milkshake afterwards. While growing up, my mom would always take me for a milkshake after a particularly traumatic doctor's appointment which included shots, first gynecology exam, etc. -- you get the picture. I continued the tradition with my sons and they grew to expect the ritual visit to Braums after any doctor's appointment that included a needle. When Jeff was in college and suffering with back problems, he had to get regular epidural shots in order to get through the baseball season. He felt compelled to stop at Dairy Queen for a milkshake after each one! Who knows, maybe Grandpa took my mom for milkshakes after she got shots. (Did they immunize back then?) Anyway, the tradition is still alive and this time I added a burger and fries.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

House Progress

Bricking and stonework is done on the house. The sheetrocking is done and really makes the house look bigger...wierd. The kitchen, front entryway, and bathrooms have stained and scored concrete floors done. Trimwork starts today. Very exciting.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

3 Weeks

Lauren is 3 weeks old today. She and Jacob had professional photos taken on Monday that will be ready this evening. Can't wait to see them.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dinner Debacle

Prologue: When I visit Neal in Texas, Saturday night is commonly our night out. When I say "night out" I mean dinner. With his tight schedule there's never time for anything else. He gets off work at 7:00, home by 7:20, showered by 7:35, 10 minute drive to Kemah, then hopefully a relatively short wait for a table. Home by 9:15 and in bed by 9:30. Neal's morning alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m.

Scene 1: Last night, we wanted seafood, which is rather abundant here on the coast. The restaurant of choice was Pappadeaux, an upscale seafood restaurant with prices to match. Ambiance is romantic, food and presentation is worthy of royalty. But alas, the wait for a table was 45 minutes. No can do.

Scene 2: Pappadeaux is across the bridge in Kemah and surrounded by fish markets, where you can buy fresh catch of the day. We noticed a restaurant we'd never seen before called "Captain Wick's Seafood" just a parking lot away from Pappadeaux. Thought we'd give it a try.

Scene 3: Restaurant is empty except for the staff (all Viet Namese) and a group of people with children, that were not eating, just "hanging out" who were also Viet Namese. (Later determined to be family of staff.) Playing loudly in the corner was a Karaoke machine where the "family" were taking turns butchering country songs. There was a buffet set out, which looked semi-edible, but the kind hostess confirmed that there was also a menu. While perusing the menu, our hostess pointed out that the section labeled "Steaks" was crossed off. "No have steak." Okay. The seafood portion looked promising so we chose a table.

Scene 3: I ordered Grilled Red Snapper. Neal decided on the buffet. Before Neal had a chance to visit the buffet, our sweet hostess scurried back to inform me "No Snappa--fish mahket crosed--onry shlimp and oystahs." That's fine, I'll have the buffet as well.

Scene 4: Just envision the Thanksgiving dinner scene in "A Christmas Story" where the family is in a Chinese restaurant eating a sad excuse for turkey dinner and being serenaded by the staff singing Christmas Carols with a Chinese accent. The food was cold and tasteless (although the gumbo wasn't bad--but I was apprehensive, knowing how easy it is to disguise disgusting things in gumbo). The karaoke kept getting louder and more off-key, and Neal and I couldn't stop laughing. I actually showered, coiffed my hair and applied make-up for this?

Next time, we'll wait the 45 minutes at Pappadeaux.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

One of Many Firsts

Daddy gets Lauren strapped into her car seat for her first church outing--Oct. 15, 2006. Made a little simpler and more time efficient by allowing Jacob to spend the night with MeMe and PaPa Hill. As you can see, Lauren is really excited about her first worship service. I'm sure she's looking forward to all the "oohs" and ahhhs" as everyone fawns over her.

House Progress

Bricking has begun on Jeremy & Trista's house! It looked to be almost half done when Neal and I made a trek out to their property yesterday afternoon. We also noticed that the fireplace had been installed. The brick layers were packing it in for the day and will hopefully get started again tomorrow. It's raining today, and though we need the moisure, I'm hoping it will end tonight so that work can begin again in the morning. I know the kids are so anxious to be in their new home.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

More Lauren

Finally getting some pictures with Lauren's eyes open. She is so beautiful, don't you think?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

One Week Old

Here is our beautiful granddaughter on her One Week Birthday. She is doing well and sleeping pretty well at night. Some nights she'll sleep up to 6 hours. She is very alert and strong, already able to hold her head up for short periods. She was actually awake when these pictures were taken but even though I'm using the "less bright" baby mode flash, she still closes her eyes when I take the picture.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bad Year

This has been a bad year for me physically. For the first time since my kids were small, I have met and exceeded my insurance deductible and will probably have enough medical bills to get a deduction on my taxes. Besides all the typical 50 year old female problems and the surgery in August, I've had a number of other ailments. It started with tennis elbow/tendonitis in my right elbow. Then, probably due to overcompensating and favoring that arm, it soon moved to my left elbow. A few months ago my right shoulder began to bother me and steadily got worse. I finally made a doctor's appointment and found that I have a bone spur. Likely more surgery to come. Then yesterday, after my first "real" workout since surgery, I decided to reconnect my dryer hose that had partially come loose. My laundry niche is very tight and I had to climb over washer and dryer to gain access. That went fairly smoothly. But getting back out was a different story. I hoisted myself up over the machines only to come down HARD on the corner of the dryer--right on my tail bone! I'm sure it's cracked, but also pretty sure there is nothing that a doctor can do for it. So...I'm handicapped again!!! Someone needs to just put me in a padded room. I'm a walking disaster!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fringe Benefits

Since our house has become the temporary living quarters for Jeremy's family, I have discovered several fringe benefits. At the top of the list is being able to help out with Lauren. As those of you with sons, not daughters, will discover, there are some distinct differences in being the paternal grandmother. I'm still a bit unsure of this new role as live-in mother, mother-in-law and grandmother, trying to discern when to step in, when to back off, when to offer advice, when to mind my own business. When my first grandchild was born, I never knew how much time to spend at their house. Trista's mom was there to do whatever needed to be done and I felt a little bit in the way. Of course, after I started keeping Jacob when his mom went back to work, I was able to get in my "grandma time." I'm still trying to learn what will help Trista most, but the times that I'm here to just hold Lauren when Trista needs more sleep or a shower, are very special times. Add to that the benefit of flowers adorning my home. I am a huge fan of fresh flowers and would have them all the time if I weren't such a penny-pincher. The flowers that came home with the girls from the hospital are so beautiful and my whole downstairs smells like roses! Last, but not least is the wonderful tradition of bringing food to the new parents. We've been enjoying delicious meals and I think Wednesday will be the only day this week that someone is not planning to bring food. The way it's looking, we'll have plenty of leftovers for that night!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

More Pictures of Lauren

Cheap Entertainment

The new baby came home yesterday. As you can imagine, we had lots of company last night. Misha brought supper, and even though it was dark when she pulled in the driveway, Jacob saw the headlights and somehow knew it was Emma and Misha. There was no calming him down after that. Other visitors were Kenny, JoAnn, Gary, Cindy & kids and there wasn't a dull moment. Emma & Jacob entertained us all evening, with their dancing and gymnastics.