Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wrapping up September...

Last weekend we drove up Norte der hey when I got off work on Friday.

Our usual scenic route was tainted with heavy smoke from the two fires along the way.

The worst being between New Meadows and Grangeville.

But that didn't stop us from our plans to visit Erin and Chris
who recently celebrated Erin's birthday and were preparing
 to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

We watched the Vandal Alumni Lacrosse game
 (any excuse for some 'laxing donchaknow)

(check out the haze hanging in the air...
perfect for a morning of strenuous outdoor athletic competition)

We had lots of fun catching up. 
What fun to see so many of the "old duffers" return for the game.

Despite the area's reputation for nasty and inebriated, we did not have a single drop.
We took Erin to dinner early Saturday and shared breakfast with both Sunday morning.
Both Erin and Chris worked Saturday night.
Mike and I entertained ourselves with a rebuild of their kitchen plumbing.
(Don't be jealous!)
I didn't even have a glass of wine or beer... (though in retrospect maybe it would have been better)

We had a great time visiting with special Moscow friends over lunch in their home.
We also were able to see for ourselves how 
the second trimester is treating Erin much better than the first.

Tuesday morning I woke up feeling off.

Our favorite five year old slept over Monday night and had swim lessons in the morning.

By the time he left for school I could no longer be a big girl.  I had to take a nap.

I worked Wednesday but came home Thursday early to spend the rest of the day like this...

(Do not adjust your monitor - I was horizontal all afternoon and into the evening...)

Friday morning the doctor said I had strep and tonsillitis...  REALLY?  How old am I?

If I really were five years old like most are with this ailment, I'd be getting the yummy liquid form of antibiotic instead of choking down these horse pills. 

I am happy to report that 24 hours into my meds I'm feelings more like my sassy self.
Though I would never turn down a nap mid-day.

After six weeks of hit and miss with my WW meetings on Saturday morning,
I decided this was as good a time as any - I needed to get back into my groove. 
Happily I showed a negative number. 
Getting back on track...

This afternoon I had my five year old assistant to help with groceries...

and we even had some fun in the park.  

Pushing forward into the new month.  Bring on October! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

11 Promises You Must Make to Yourself

Make these promises to yourself, and keep them.

"Repeat after me: “I promise…”I will accept everything I am, and everything I am not.” – Self-worth comes from one thing: thinking that you are worthy. So be confident. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be something we aren’t. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when you accept everything you are, and aren’t, that you will truly find happiness and success. Read The Road Less Traveled.

“I will appreciate others for who they are.” – Sometimes the way you think about a person isn’t the way they are. On the outside, maybe they laugh, and maybe they cry; but you would be surprised at everything they keep deep inside. So pay close attention, and love the people you care about for who they are, and not for who you want them to be. In the long run, this is how you will get the best of them.

“I will speak kindly and consciously to others.” – Open your mind before you open your mouth. Don’t mix bad words with a bad mood. Just be calm and deal with your emotions. You’ll have many opportunities to change your mood, but you’ll have an extremely tough time recovering the words you have spoken.

“I will speak kindly and consciously to myself.” – Wait, what did you just say to yourself? Were they the inspiring, comforting words you would speak to a friend? Or were they the belittling remarks you might shout to an enemy if you had no heart. Or the negative assessments about life you would utter if you had no faith? All day long we speak silently to ourselves, and a part of us believes every word. So stay mindful, and ask yourself, “If I had a friend who always spoke to me in the same way that I am speaking to myself right now, how long would I allow that person to be my friend?”

“I will stop trying to control everything.” – I hate to break it to you, but you can’t control everything in your life no matter how many safeguards you put into place. But thankfully, you don’t have to control everything to find peace and happiness. It lives with you always, deep within. More than getting into the nuances of control itself, you should be more interested in encouraging yourself to commit to giving it up, on purpose. See what happens when you loosen your grip, throw your hands into the air, and allow life to just happen and flow as it does, without constant micromanagement. Read The Power of Now.

“I will appreciate the beauty of small moments.” – Positive minds live positive lives. There is always, always something to be thankful for and something to smile about. The happiest people are not those who get everything they want; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, notice and appreciate the beauty and sweetness of everyday moments.

“I will do what I think is right.” – What comes easy won’t always last, and what will last won’t always come easy. So do the right things, not the easy things. Whatever comes your way, whatever battle is raging inside you, you always have a choice. In the end, it’s the choices you make that make you who you are. And no matter what, you can always choose to do the right thing.

“I will grow from my challenges.” – You can be stunned, awakened, and changed by what happens to you, but choose to grow from it, and refuse to be reduced by it. Repeat after me: “I am determined to live a happy life no matter my challenges. I will turn all my tales of fury into tales of glory. I will turn all of my tales of woe into tales of WOW!”

“I will realize and use my power.” – The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. In a world filled with doubt, you must dare to dream. In a world filled with anger, you must dare to forgive. In a world filled with hate, you must dare to love. In a world filled with distrust, you must dare to believe. And once you do, you will find that power you once thought you lacked.

“I will follow the path my heart longs to take.” – Life is too short to live with regrets. So love the things that make you smile, let go of the things that make you cry, and believe that everything happens for a reason. Follow the path that your heart longs to take; it’s your time to shine. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. You are far from what you once were, but not yet who you are going to be. Read The Last Lecture.

“I will have some fun while I’m doing it all.” – Some people frantically seek a predetermined definition of success as though their entire self-worth depends on whether or not they make it to the top. Their goals and routines are wound tight around stringent routines that they repeat every single day without stopping to breathe. And while discipline is important, think about how much better off they’d be if they unwound their vision just a little – like kite string – and ran with it like an optimistic youth, breathing and working, just for the joy of seeing if they can make it touch the clouds.


Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm torn...

It's fairly common knowledge of my birth rite - I'm a proud Cheesehead.  We cheer on the Wisconsin Badgers and the Green Bay Packers, just the same way you root on your home team.  It's not just in Texas that follows their teams to obsession.

Tonight I watched the Packers playing in Seattle.  Had I thought about it sooner we might have tried to get tickets and make the trip but honestly with all the other summer events I just didn't consider it a possiblity.  Our daughter and son-in-law did...  they went to the game to celebrate their first anniversary. (Jealous!)

The first half of the game was a disappointment to Packer fans.  Penalties abounded for both sides.   Nothing seemed to work - the Pack just didn't have their mojo.

The second half our Packers came out prepared to fight and you betcha did they ever.  Their hurry-up offense seemed to set Seattle back on their heels for awhile. 

The first three weeks of the NFL season has been plagued with the referee strike and inexperienced whistle blowers on the field.  Tonight's game was no different.  The referees had so many questionable calls and at the end - two obvious calls...  a pass interference call on Sam Shields and then the ultimate 'YGTBSM' when the cluster of Packers and Seahawks jumped for the final pass in the end zone, Tate pushing down Shields to climb higher, Jennings clearing Tate and coming down with the ball pulled tight to his chest. 

The crowd went wild.  The players were struggling to gain control but the camera angles showed Jennings with the ball and Tate tugging.  The commentators were calling it a simultaneous catch.  The referees?  Scroll down to see what they did (in case you went to bed at dusk or have been living in a cave.)

 And after reviewing the scoring call as required the play on the field remained as it was called...  A touchdown for Seattle (not the interception). I don't know what was worse.  Listening to the commentators declare the incompetency of the referees covering for the NFL referees on strike now or watching the Seattle coaching staff, players and fans scream like they won.  It wasn't a win.  It was a gift.

Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rogers both showed what a class act they are in the interviews that followed.  Seattle's quarterback Wilson did his best to play down the controversy but still enjoy his "W".  Sadly all the talk that is inevitable, takes away from Seattle's defense which brought the Packers to a standstill the first half.  The defense managed to shut down our MVP quarterback and even sack him 8 times. The poor refereeing takes from Rookie quarterback Wilson's repeated 'Hail Mary' attempts to put the ball over and over, in the end zone.  What an arm. 

What is it going to take to bring back the NFL referees to the field?  At what point will the team owners say enough is enough.  I think it's time as a fan to show our dissatisfaction and do what will affect their bottom line - I love my Packers but if this is the quality of the game we are left to watch, I'm done watching.

I'm not a poor sport.  I accept defeat and acknowledge when our team is outplayed.  This was NOT one of those times.   Seattle's famed 12th man was wearing black and white tonight. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


This weekend our favorite five year old was left in the care of his grandparents.  His folks drove over to Washington to participate in the Navy promotion ceremony for a good friend.  The five year old spent Thursday and Friday with his maternal grands.  We picked him up Saturday morning for our turn. 

 Guess who's grandson is in the spotlight at the Y this month? Yep! 

 My partner in crime.  Papa was camped out with his Saturday schedule of college football.  It happens once a year and I don't worry.  It gives me time to run and play as I choose for a few hours too.  This weekend I had a sidekick.  We managed to run a few errands, take a few pictures for a project I'm working on, and scout out some stores for the perfect pieces we were seeking for a gift.  I even had a date for lunch!

 Clearly Lola was thrilled to have her five year old stalker in the house for the weekend.  He's learning to approach her slowly and she even sticks around once in a while.

 We had to work in the yard for awhile.  My "Super" helper found his cape to make the tasks go quicker.  I cut back day lilies and iris.  Later we dug the iris out of the flower beds and carried them over to their new zip code and replanted. 

 And we found a really cool bug in the yard...

The basket of puzzles was a good place to find what we needed to keep busy.

We had to get ready for swim lessons in the morning.

 Time for school.  Dressed, teeth brushed and gel in hair, he turns to me, makes this face and hand motions, does a little strut and says "Rock Star". 

Schools done.  Waiting for his folks who are their way home again.  He wanted to work his "States" puzzle.  He's getting pretty darn good at this one.  We always pick out where he, Papa and Boppy were born (Washington), where his Cousin Friends live (Oregon), where Denie and Granpas live (Wisconsin), Uncle Michael (Virginia) and Auntie Di, Uncle Kevin and the kids (Illinois).  He shows me Utah, Texas and Alaska (it's where Whitee grew up Drahma).  I always loved this puzzle when I was a kid (hush there were STILL 50 states then too!) and think we'll keep working on State Capitals too.
It was a fun weekend, a little more energy, louder giggles and constant five year old questions.  And with him back in his own bed, today was way too quiet today! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sharing the News!

It's Official - and I have permission to share. 
Erin and Chris posted this picture on Spacebook announcing the big news.
Cosmo the Fetus is a boy and we are thrilled. 
And our favorite five year old is delighted to have a new boy cousin to play Lego's... 
(I didn't have the heart to tell him it might be awhile and he may not feel the same.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to our beautiful daughter Erin. 
You were the first to steal our hearts.  We've watched you grow into a beautiful, loving woman - soon to be a mommy. 
It's a journey we've enjoyed at every moment!
3 months 
4 years
7th grade 

College Life
Introducing Chris to Kalaloch
and soon


Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Circle of Life...

Happy Grandparents Day!

Grandparents are such important people in our lives.  From the very beginning they show us unconditional love.  I grew up with grandparents close to our home.  So many of my childhood memories include moments spent with them.

I remember Sunday dinners, sleepovers, board games, music lessons, walks around the Square and yummy banana bread or sugar cookies from the cookie jar.

I remember picking raspberries from the garden.  Some even made it to the old ice cream bucket we were trying to fill.  I remember climbing an old crabapple tree and feeling on top of the world. 

There were afternoons in the glider swing while we waited for the temperatures to cool or a breeze to find us; and old family stories told at the kitchen table while drinking yummy strawberry soda.  We rocked in chairs on the porch and helped to count the cars that passed on Main Street.

There were sleepovers with cousins (and sometimes without), in beds warmed with heavy quilts.  Peaking into the biggest cedar chest I've ever seen and admiring the treasures or knew I could find a pair of hand-knit slippers or mittens to warm me when I needed.

I love those memories.
My dad's mother.  Raised her four children primarily as a single parent.  Widowed when my dad was 7 years old.  Worked long days.  I don't think I ever heard her complain either.  
With some of Dad's family, a weekend at the cabin near Black River Falls. 

Elma (Hollibush) Dreher - her eyes smiled.
I was pregnant with Erin and visiting WI.  Grandma was in the nursing home already.  She passed April 23, '88.  
My Grandpa - Lloyd Apfel, my mom's father.  I don't think there is a single memory in my heart that doesn't see him just like this...  He worked at the Farm Co-op, where I could walk by coming and going to the public pool in the summer months and always knew if I poked my head in the grain door, someone who find him for me.  He smelled of popcorn from the dried corn and wintergreen from his chewing tobacco; and ALWAYS had those small mini rolls of lifesavers to share.  He watched the traffic in our small town from his front prch and new who drove by.  I always knew when I rode my bike over I could find him in his rocking chair.  He loved to garden and be in his yard.  In the end, that's how he passed - a heart attack in the yard August 17, 1973. 
So many events at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  So many cousins... (just the oldest ones here)  It didn't matter if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas, Palm Sunday (remember the tornado) or Easter, Memorial Day (after the parade) or 4th of July...  there would be plenty of food and drink for everyone. 
Corinne (Murwin) Apfel.  She was raised by her grandparents and was a teacher as a young woman.  She had five children and had to endure the death of one daughter.  She raised her family to be strong and proud.  When I was born I stayed with Gram during the week while my folks worked - until my sister was born 3 years later. Maybe that's where my bond with her began.  From her I learned how to love my family always and without reservation. She wrote letters faithfully when i joined the Navy - and later to Mike when he went on cruises. 
She was Gram to me (my mom's mom) and Great-Great to our children.  When we retired from the military we moved back home.  Often I would run errands for her or take her to an appointment.  Sometimes we'd just go hang out with her for awhile.   The kids would stay with her if needed.  They liked "babysitting" Great-Great.  Our daugher proudly shares her name. Gram passed in November 18, 1997.  I miss her.
And then it was our turn...
Our first grandson Adam, born April 28, 1983 in WA.  He is the son of Mike's oldest Rex and his wife Debbie.  With Adam's arrival I was officially a grandma before my own mom! 
Mike and I at the baptism of our first granddaughter Andrea, born May 26, 1984 in WA.  Her folks, Rex and Debbie, brought her to Santee, CA where we lived, for her baptism in our church.  We were her Godparents as well as very proud Grandparents. 
From the beginning Rex and Debbie have been family as well as good friends.  When you have a family tree which resembles a forest you have to celebrate your uniqueness.  Our visits have always been memorable - good times.
Washington visit Spring 1985 - granddaughter Andrea, daughter Erin and grandson Adam.  Andi is eight months younger than Erin and Adam is six months older. These two were the very first to call me Gramma Deb.  
Mike with our beautiful granddaugher Jourdan, born July 3, 1992 in Jamaica to Mike's daughter Renee and son-in-law Jerry.  We were so blessed to have them visit us once or twice a year in Wisconsin.
Our next grandson Kalen was born in Texas December 4, 1994.  He too grew up in Jamaica where his folks, Renee and Jerry, opened and maintained a private Christian school for local children.  His big brown eyes just melt my heart.  As a senior in high school this year, he is big football player on the field and a loving young man always.

Grandson #3 is Caleb, born in Texas October 10, 1995.  Welcoming his arrival were Mike's daughter Tonya and her husband Danny.  He was such a little bundle then, now a long, lean talented musician like his Dad, with a heart of go

Our first blue-eyed grandchild, Mikayla was born in TX January 12, 2000 to Mike's daughter Tonya and son-in-law Danny.

Papa and Mikayla.  We loved her visits to Wisconsin as well.  She had such a sweet little smile.  Such a girl!

December 2000 - The Grands from Jamaica arrived to Wisconsin for their first white Christmas.  Mike's daughter Renee and son-in-law Jerry later finalized the adoption of four Jamaican children, Ricardo, Mandela, Alex and Naidia (who did not make this trip).
Hopeton - lived with Renee and Jerry as a young man, now an adult working at and care-taker of the school.  He was never officially adopted but is family in our hearts.
Nardia, too, came to live with Renee and Jerry as a young teen, and now assists at the school as an adult.  She is a beautiful young woman who has a heart of gold.  We love her as one of our own.
Hopeton, and grandsons Kalen and Mandela. Mandela remains in Jamaica where he is volunteering in their community and helping at the school.
Grandson Alex.  Now on his second tour in the USN, serving on the USS Carl VInson - following his Papa's footsteps in the Navy's aviation world.
Our beautiful granddaughter Naidia.  Graduated highschool in Texas, works and attends college in the Dallas area.  Children are drawn to her big heart and contagious smile.
Our youngest grandson (to date) and MY first grandchild Taten, born in WA April 4, 2007.  

Both Mike and I have such special memories of times spent with our own grandparents.  We love having this same opportunity with Tate. 

We are so blessed to have Tate be a part of our every day lifes.  He spends two mornings a week with Papa and Drahma before going to school. 
    Over the years we've tried to remain a part of all of our grandchildren's lifes though not always with success.  Our visits to Washington have helped to remain close to our oldest Grands. 

We've missed too many music concerts and sporting events due to geography and schedules.  Sadly Mike even missed Jourdan and Naidia's graduation because of his health. 

We just have to be accepting of things over which we have no control.  It's not always easy...  So you just move forward.

Today our Jam-Texas Grands look like this...  all grown up.
Adam and Alexis have blessed us with our very first GREAT-granddaughter Ava and are due with a second child the end of September.  Add TWO GREATS to our GRAND count

Our oldest grandchildren Andrea and Adam with Alexis
Our oldest granddaughter Andrea, beautiful, single, independent and loving Auntie to Ava. 
Our first Great-Grandchild, Ava Grace born February 13, 2011.
Our younger Texans are now Teen and Tween in Tennessee...

Our youngest grandchild is now a big kindergartener!

(Drum roll please... )  And our family circle will expand to welcome Grandchild #12.