Sunday, December 30, 2007

Two Weeks: A Love Story

Two weeks ago, fourteen days ago, I had two grandparents. Today, I have none.
Two Sundays ago, on December 16th, my grandma, Muriel, turned 89 years old. Her husband of nearly 67 years, George, celebrated with her along with their three daughters and two sons-in-law at her nursing home. A few hours after everyone went home, Grandma got out of bed, fell and broke her hip. She was brought to the hospital that night, endured six days of complete agony, and then succumbed on Saturday, December 22nd. Grandpa was by her side through the whole thing. He watched as she suffered and suffered right alongside her. I should also add that he suffered with her over the last ten years or so, as Grandma struggled with increased memory loss and confusion. He cared for her until the very end. He was very sad when she died, but also very relieved.
This past Friday, December 28th, Grandpa turned 88. He went out to lunch to celebrate with two of his daughters, one son-in-law, and one of his seventeen great grandchildren: Miss Amelie Muriel. Yesterday, December 29th, we had a lovely memorial service for Grandma that really honored the two of them very nicely. Most participants, save for the priest and the organist, were family members. Every child, grandchild, and great-grandchild was present. Also in attendance were several good friends of the family. Grandpa looked great. He was so pleased with the day, that EVERYONE was there, how nicely his beloved was honored. He went home, chauffeured by his eldest daughter. The two of them had a nice evening, complete with ordering in a pizza and some conversation. Eventually, he went to bed.
And that's where the story ends for Grandpa George. He never woke up.
We are all in shock. Reality hasn't set in for most of us. That the two of them would die just eight days apart was the farthest thing from our minds. They are such an example of love and devotion. For that they will always be admired.

Ethel Muriel Lof December 16, 1918-December 22, 2007
Henning George Lof December 28, 1919-December 30, 2007
October 2006

Their legacy: 17 great grand children
Great Grandma Muriel and Amelie Muriel August 2006

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Ballerina Bakers

mmmmmmm...magic cookie bars....

and a gratuitous Linus smiling picture

Friday, December 21, 2007

You know you're sleep deprived when...

you put half and half in your peach mango juice rather than your coffee! Yuck!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Concert Video Update

The video is now available two posts down. I had to used YouTube. Perhaps it was too big for blogger? Not sure of the limits there. Anywho--enjoy when you get a chance!

Sharing Christmas: A Salada Holiday

(For those of you that don't know, our last name is pronounced "Soliday." So my post title is a little rhyme=).)
Welcome to the Saladas on Overbrook Lane!

Our stockings are hung up the fireplace or mantle in this home. Notice the nebulizer box on the end of our Christmas display shelf. I guess that's a part of our Christmas this year, since Linus has RSV.

I'll say up front that I am no Martha Stewart. With three children under four, our theme is child-friendly while trying to cater to the tastes of Mom and Dad.

My husband prefers white lights over colored. I like them as well, but I prefer to have some color.

To please us both, I've added the greenery and ribbons to the front of the house.

Upon entering you will find an all wood, indestructible nativity (or activity, as Amelie calls it) scene. She got it as a Christmas gift from my parents last year and has been enjoying it this year a great deal.

On the kitchen table you will find an advent countdown candle. We (try to) light it every night at dinner and watch the number burn down. When we first lit it, we talked about how many people think that there are other reasons for Christmas besides Jesus and that that wasn't true. We read the Christmas story from the Bible and have re-told it many times since.

The past two years, my sister, Karen, has had us over to her house to make homemade, from scratch, gingerbread houses. She mixes up the dough, presses it into the mold and bakes and bakes and bakes for days to prepare. (The mold only makes one house at a time.) Then, she assembles them with Megan's (her youngest) help. Then we arrive to decorate and eat candy! Amelie is sitting behind hers, but Violet and Linus are sitting behind each others. (Didn't Linus to a phenomenal job?)

Our tree is artificial and little and kind of sorry, but I love it--especially all decorated! I love the red beaded garland.

This is our Noah's Ark Christmas tree. My Dad bought it for us a couple of years ago at a massive Plow and Hearth sale down in VA somewhere. The girls have a blast playing with all of the animals.

What does Noah's Ark have to do with Christmas, you wonder? Well, the story is a reminder of our need for Christ in this sin sick world. And Christmas, after all, is when we celebrate His coming. I couldn't think of a better connection!

And here's a close up of Noah. (I was just practicing with my zoom.)

So there you have it! I hope you've enjoyed the peek into our home at Christmastime. May you know the love of our Savior Jesus Christ as we celebrate His birth!

If you're interested in seeing more homes in their Christmas grandeur, head on over to Megan's to see the list of Sharing Christmas participants!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

That's My Girl

After a day chock full of fun that included, but wasn't limited to cleaning up bedding that Violet vomited on and then slept in all night and taking Linus to the doctor for the third time in 5 days to find out that he has RSV (we were sent home with a nebulizer to be used every 3-4 hours and two oral meds.), we were treated to Amelie's first ever Christmas program. Upon her telling me that she wasn't going to do it, that she'd sit with me instead, I assured her that while she didn't need to sing (although it'd be great if she did), she DID need to stand with her class when it was their turn. Well, why don't you watch the video to see how she did.

(Above is the picture of Amelie walking down the aisle at the beginning of the program. She's supposed to be walking next to the little boy, but he practically had to drag her down the whole way. That should give you an indication of what you'll see on the video!)

That's my girl! She didn't open her mouth once! She obeyed her mama and stood with her class. I can't even tell you what a big deal this was to my attention-hating little girl! We are SO PROUD of her!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sharing Christmas

Megan over at A Day With The Demos has thrown out a fun idea. She suggests that on December 20th, we post about our homes all decorated for Christmas, complete with photos, in order to have a tour of sorts. I'm planning to do it and I'd love it if any of y'all participated--to feel a little closer=). If you want to participate, head over to Megan's blog and leave a comment. It should be fun!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Have You Ever...

...seen a three-month old wearing glasses? Check back soon for photos! Well, in a week or two probably. It seems that no opticians actually carry such a tiny size. They have to be special ordered.
The reality is that Linus has two different-sized pupils (If you click on the above photo, you might be able to tell.), which is why we went to see the pediatric opthamologist yesterday. (Violet also went for a tear duct follow-up, but was too congested to be evaluated. We'll go back when she's well sometime after the first of the new year.)
As it turns out, his pupils are about 1mm different from one another, but since their is no variation in the difference (they're always the same amount of different, if that makes sense), they are fine. The doctor did a full exam, complete with dilation, and found that Linus is more farsighted than is normal for his age. (He's +3.5 in the right eye and +4 in the left.) So much so, that he expects it will progress to the point of his left eye turning inward within the next year or so. We could wait to put him in glasses when it starts to turn in, but that would probably happen when he's 15 or 18 months old. Our thinking is that putting him in glasses now
1. may prevent the eye from turning in.
2. will help us to train him to keep the glasses on as he develops physically, rather than start them in a year when he's VERY able to remove them.
So, we'll see if it's a good decision. It will certainly be an adventure! I started wearing glasses at age three, so my mom warned me that the glasses will probably need to be repaired or replaced often, and to just expect it.
I am so thankful to have discovered this issue so early. How many three month-olds have their vision checked? We didn't go because we thought there was a problem. We just wanted his pupils to be checked out. I believe that God was merciful to us in giving Linus two different-sized pupils, so his farsightedness would be discovered now in order to be treated so early. Soli Deo Goria!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Christmas Meme

Alright, so I wasn't tagged by either of the ladies on whose blogs I read this, but I decided to tag myself and get this going amongst my blog friends. Some fun stuff here--

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
My eco-conscious self insists on gift bags although I will do paper when I run out or when the gift bags I have won't work with the shape and size of a particular gift.

2. Real tree or artificial?
Since my father was a firefighter and saw numerous house fires due to real trees, I grew up with an artificial tree exclusively. We have one and use it since we're often not home for a week at Christmastime. We'll be home this year and considered buying one, but then we dropped so much money into the whole plumbing issue, and decided we'd save money and just use what we've got. In all honesty, a real tree intimidates me!!

3. When do you put up the tree?
As soon after Thanksgiving as possible.

4. When do you take the tree down?
After Epiphany (January 6th--the 12th day of Christmas) but before my birthday on January 15th.

5. Do you like eggnog?
It's o.k. My husband loves it. A sip or two from his each year is enough for me.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
This one's easy--the yellow and white bike with training wheels, a flowered basket, and a banana seat that I picked out of the Sears Wishbook. I got it and LOVED it. I loved it even more when I found out 10 or 12 years later that it was actually my sister's old rusty turquoise and white bike and that my whole family worked together to transform it into what I wanted. I am the youngest of four (my siblings are 12, 11 and 8 years older than me) and my parents didn't have much money. So, when I would go to bed, they'd put the bike on the kitchen table and transform it into the picture from the Wishbook. I had no idea and I loved it.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Amelie got a wooden one from my parents last year that the children can play with. Amelie has already had a good time with it so far.

8. Hardest person to b
uy for?
Most people, in my opinion, since we live in a society where most of us need and want nothing. And when we do, we go out and buy it.

9. Easiest person to buy for?

This year, that would be Violet. She's getting her very own baby doll!

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I'm afraid the giver may read this...don't worry it's no one that checks in here on a regular basis.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail. I love to send them and to receive them--especially with update letters and pictures!!

12. Favorite Christmas movie?
A Christmas Story--"You'll shoot your eye out!"
and A Charlie Brown Christmas

13. When do you start shopping for Christm
In the late fall.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas presen
Probably, but I can't think of anything specific. I've definitely been guilty of regifting.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Magic Cookie Bars and Chex Mix.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Either, but my husband's always been partial to clear. So that's what we use.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home
Usually travel, but this year we're staying home!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
A snowflake star

21. Open gifts Christmas Eve or morning?
When I grew up, we opened one on Christmas eve and the rest in the morning. We haven't been home enough to establish any kind of tradition.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
When people (the media) talk about "the real meaning of Christmas" and it lacks Christ. Grrr. Also, when people have those giant blow up decorations and they don't keep them on during the day. It's very distressing to small children!

23. What I love most about Christmas?
What's not to love?

If you're up for it, I'd like to hear from Heather, Melanie (on either or both blogs), Chrissie, Lisa, and Megan.
Merry Christmas!

Family Portrait

I'm not sure if this is legal (my husband will tell me later), but I thought I'd show y'all what we did last Friday night at Sears. I'm frustrated by how they treat their employees (and consequently their customers--our appointment was at 6pm and I believe these were taken at around 8pm--only two photographers helping at least 6 six groups and most of them were bigger than ours!!) but I love the quality and the price of their portraits.