Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas By The Numbers

Sorry folks... I know it's been 8 days since we last visited. I've been running my own little sweatshop in the Whine Cellar finishing my gifts.

There are 5 days before the fam celebrates Christmas. Well, technically there are six/seven depending on which activity we're talking about but as far as I'm concerned, there are five "work days" before Christmas.

I have nine pillows sewn and stuffed ready for me to sew the last few stitches.

I have two pillows that need a little somethin' somethin' before they're ready to sew and stuff.

I have five things to frame.

I have three batches of sausage balls to make.

I have one package to mail (BooBoo and Sara, just know... it's gonna be late but I'll make it up to you!)

I decided at practically the last minute that it would be awesome to have embroidered name tags on our stockings this year. When the first one took me an entire day to sew, I got a little nervous but ... as my friend Gina always reminds me, I'm a Taurus which means I'm stubborn. There are 8 done so far, 5 more to go to have tags with the names of those who will be with us for Christmas. I want to do a few more for those who will be with us in our hearts but not geographically. After Christmas I want to do those.


I made the front look good and my mom made the back look good. Left-handed people (like me) need a hand every now and then.

I had two nephews and two nieces here today. Cory and Matthew came down with their dad, my brother Michael and spent the night last night. Sarabeth and Jamie were here after school.

Grandbaby #1 is at 20 weeks and 2 days gestation - Cosette Camille







Grandbaby #2 is at 8 weeks, 6 days gestation - Baby Peanut Espericueta Sauls

Our next updates on the babies are scheduled for January 12 for Peanut and January 15th for Cosette. They were originally scheduled for the same day - 100 miles apart - but we were able to change Cosette's appointment so that I can be there for both.

That reminds me of a little story... when I was pregnant with my second child I was excited at the prospect of having two little ones at two different stages of life. Then Cody was born... we came home from the hospital and their dad had to run out to pick up a few necessities and both boys were crying... at the same time. The reality began to dawn that for the rest of my life I would have two kids who needed me - sometimes at the SAME TIME!

When we realized the appointments were for the same day I had a flashback to that moment. I mean, we're basically having twin cousins! The good news is that they each come with their own set of parents and another two sets of grandparents and it's not all on me. Thank the good Lord. The grandest thing about them is that, as my dad always says, I can give them BACK.

I started sewing a little after 8 this morning and stopped at a little after 5. My dad brought me down breakfast - eggs, grits, bacon, biscuit... and my mom brought me down dinner - beef stew. My hands have been busy but it's felt good to feel productive.

And it just keeps getting better.

Happy Friday Eve, Merry Christmas, love and hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This Week

Although I've been a lousy conversationalist these past few months, I try to make sure to visit here at least once a week. So... hey! What's up? 


Yesterday my nieces spent the afternoon with me watching movies and making these really cool/fun/easy to assemble ornaments that Mawmaw bought them. There is a fine new dusting of glitter in the Whine Cellar. We're fancy.

Today Grandbaby Mama #1 came and hung out and helped me with a cross stitch project. Girlfriend is soooo slow but it was good to have another hand on the plow. 

I'm close to being finished sewing - there are four projects that each have about an hour or two worth of stitching to go. I'm cross stitching names for all of the stockings and got 2 1/2 names - out of thirteen - done today. I wish I had two more months left to sew instead of two weeks. We celebrate on December 24th. 

Tomorrow me, my mom and Grandbaby Mama #1 are making a Walmart run for pillow stuffing and frames for my finished projects. That's the next level of construction and then my little efforts will be ready to be wrapped and placed under the tree. One of the four we have here. 

Grandbaby Mama #2 has Princess Kate level morning sickness. She has been really, really sick and has already had an Urgent Care visit and an ER visit to replenish fluids. The baby is fine. She is notsomuch. They put her on a new nausea med and I think that's helping some. She's 7 weeks, 5 days pregnant. 

Grandbaby Mama #1 is 19 weeks, 1 day pregnant and she is doing really well except for some sciatica and some wardrobe problems. She felt a burst of cold air on her lower belly the other day and realized her shirts are having to cover a little bit more real estate these days. 

I've had a discouraging pain level since Thanksgiving. I was hurting for the first few days after Thanksgiving and attributed it to "sitting up" for a few hours then. I didn't cook, clean or participate in any way on Thanksgiving except for sitting in a normal dining room chair while we ate and sitting up on the couch afterwards. 

Do you watch The Little Couple? He's having problems due to herniated discs in his back, which is also part of my problem. The way his doctor explained things made the most sense of every explanation I've gotten in the past (almost) four years since my pain started. I can't quote him exactly but basically you have discs that get out of kilter and start pressing against your spinal cord. Over time, with repeated contact between disc and spinal cord, the damage increases. This is why certain positions create more pressure/discomfort than others. This is why sitting at the table  for one measly lunch puts me in excruciating pain for several days afterwards. This is why having two little ole bulging discs four years ago has made me almost home bound now. It's cumulative damage. 

So back up two paragraphs - I am having longer and longer episodes of pain in my back. The cumulative pain is not just in my spine - but also in my spirit. There are so few things I can do without repercussions. I thank God that He had already prepared a way for me for this time in my life. So much makes sense now, why relationships didn't work out, why I wasn't meant to be with this guy or that guy, why I went from social butterfly to homebody. This would be so, so much worse if I wasn't content to be at home or felt like I was a dead weight in a relationship. 

Anyways. There are still good days to be had and I take none of them for granted. I'm just painfully aware of the progression of this issue and beg God daily that my disability claim will be approved because I just can't imagine trying to consistently work. 

Hope you're all well and enjoying all the fun things that come with this season of the year... and I hope those of you who are dealing with grief and hurt and illness and a less than Norman Rockwell Christmas will find joy and comfort and peace. 

Pictures next time, I promise. 

Love and hugs, y'all! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

This Week So Far

 Just a few photos from this week thus far...

Monday I picked up Tasha and we made a run to Ingles to get a few things and then came home and decked the halls. Sorta. I've still got a lot of ornaments to hang but I ran out of steam.
 Tuesday my nieces came over and we made name tags for the TWO countdown chains I have for grandbabies.

Glitter was involved.

 
 Heavily involved.












Cosette - Grandbaby #1, is due 5/5/15
We're still leaning toward Camille as her middle name because Cosette Camille translates to "perfect little thing".

Grandbaby #2 is due 7/24/15
If she is a she her name will be Penelope Zoey Espericueta-Sauls

If he is a he his name will be Elijah Joel Espericueta-Sauls. Joel - like noel, not like Billy Joel. It's his maternal grandfather's name. The last name will be both Marquee and Cody's last names. They have been married since 2010 but Marquee kept her name.

Cosette's layette is feminine safari stuff - like pink giraffes and elephants and stuff. Super cute.
Elijah/Penelope's layette is Disney stuff. His first visit to Disney will be next October and we're hoping the whole family will be able to go along. I haven't been since I was 12! Cody and Marquee go at least once a year.
 Also this week... big fluffy Little Trouble Kitty takes over my lap and pushes the laptop to the side. He Who Must Be Cuddled gets rather jealous when I spend my time cross-stitching instead of paying attention to him. He's a big ole love sponge.

  My crazy girls! When they're here on Wednesday it's for a very short time because then Pop takes them to the library and to church for dinner and stuff.... but there's always time to squeeze in a bowl of extreme moosetracks ice cream. Today they watched about ten minutes of Space Jam (remember that one?). I wasn't sure they would have heard of it but they were full on going synchronized ice cream eating while singing along to the movie.

Including raising hands in the air and all that stuff. They are too, TOO cute together! I mean, yeah, there's a little "scoot over sister" and "let me hold the remote" and all that going on occasionally but they are just everything that I thought sisters should be. In a way I am sad that I missed out on having a sister... or being mom to girls... but honestly, I just feel like I'm living a bonus life right now having these two sisters who out of this whole big house full of potential red-head spoilers could be anywhere and yet they prefer to curl up in my Whine Cellar on my cozy bed with my remote control! I am blessed beyond measure.

The thought of having all this sweetness in my life and adding to it two new little babies just makes my heart overflow! 

I have this elephant in the room in the form of my disability case, the anxiety of waiting for a decision and feeling so very, very afraid that I'll be declined. ... trying to figure out how I ever would/could possibly be in a position of earning money again. It's heavy on my heart and it really causes me a lot of tears and anxiety. What will I do if I'm declined? How would I work? I'm still in pain from the sitting I did at Thanksgiving. I'm taking my dad to the eye doctor on Friday so I have to be careful about I do tomorrow. Jamie and Sarabeth have a play at church Sunday that I just about have to go to or be kicked out of the family which means I'm got to figure out a way to sit because this week even my reclined position isn't working well. I've got hip pain that words cannot describe. I don't want to miss a thing. God saw fit to put me here in this place where I get just as much sweet, little girl time as I can stand and I want to be there for them. It's hard to explain pain to young, healthy people. I'm already having anxiety about going on Sunday. I even asked if I could go to watch their final rehearsal... I'd be able to hit my reclined position. But I don't know if that's allowed. If it is... bonus for them... I can give them notes and get good pictures and maybe, if I'm not dealing with pain on Sunday I will have already seen the show. 

I don't know. I just mention it because I want to be transparent. Inevitably blog readers are interested in what you're going through because they know some one or ARE some one who is battling the same things. It's hard for me to appear in public, even in a church where the people I love in the world are loved because I have to either medicate the pain or mask the pain and both keep me distracted and distant and emotional and embarrassed. 

Anyways... just felt like sharing these few things! Hope your week is going well!
Love and hugs, y'all~!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Grandbaby #2 Is On The Way!

I am so tired but so excited!

Some of the food
First... Thanksgiving was a great (but long) day with lots of food and family. We hosted (my parents hosted I should say because all I did was show up to eat) and I made a real effort to sit at the table and entertain guests all day. tasha was able to be with us, which was awesome. (They're back on again so things are good with Cosette's parents for now!) We had the best time with my Cousin Christie's little boys who were in Heaven with our craft supplies. No toys but I've got glitter for DAYS! They were adorable and we had a blast with them. Christie was the one who rescued Little Kitty from the pound. They intended for him to be an outdoor mouser for them but he was SO CLINGY and affectionate that he drove Christie's husband Nathan NUTS! He was destined to be the cat of a very sedentary person - a match made in Heaven for me! Anyways... back to Thanksgiving... Jim and Angie had to do a family thing with her family and came later in the evening. I was absolutely wiped out by the end of the day but my last visitors were my two favorite redheads so all was well. We watched Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and enjoyed lots and lots of dessert!

Cody and Austin. I don't know why. 

Cole and Trent display their masterpieces. 

Cody, Aunt Ginger, Tasha

Putting some rolls in the oven while Cody and Marquee supervise. 

Austin dressed up for the occasion. Not. 

These two were worn out, especially Sarabeth who (much like me) can only take so much human interaction before needing to introvert for awhile. We developed the air hug for such occasions. Jamie could entertain for days and never miss a beat.
Harassing sister who is trying to introvert. 


Yesterday I got up, went upstairs to scrounge for leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast and came back down to get busy sewing since I had taken a day off for Thanksgiving and still have approximately three projects to complete before Christmas and two that are just about finished but need a few little tweaks. (sorry for the run-on sentence). I was doing my morning routine - making sure the cats have food and water, getting my drink and getting settled into my sewing nest - when I realized that my left leg wasn't doing it's job. It's numb but not completely numb. It feels like it won't hold my weight. It's that shaky feeling you have when you're really sick. This is what happens when I sit upright in a regular chair/regular sitting position. It's not just the pain that makes me uncomfortable and keeps me from living a normal "seated" life.  It's the problems that I have in the days afterwards from the compression of nerves and the inflammation that gets everything all in a tizzy. As the day went on yesterday it got progressively worse. I couldn't wait for bedtime.

I was settled into my nest and highly medicated at nine-something, about to fall asleep when Austin came through the living room saying, "I just got a call from Cody to come upstairs and let them in..." At dark-thirty? When they live 100 miles away? On a day after we last saw them? I knew something was up! Cody, Marquee, their friend David and my granddoggie Sammy came in. Marquee gave me and my mom each a wrapped gift and told us to go ahead and open them. Mine was the book, "I'll Love You Forever" which my kids call "The Crying Book" because I could never read it without crying. Being rotten boys who tease their mom incessantly they would hand me the book to read so they could laugh when I got teary. I mean, I'm the mom who cried every single first day of school and my kids always got a giggle from it. Boys are like that. Mom's package held a book of Grandparents Memories to fill in for baby.
Their last kid free Thanksgiving!

That's right. BABY! As in, Grandbaby #2! Due to arrive about 2-3 months after Grandbaby #1! They came all the way up to tell us in person. I'm not sure what my reaction was because I was pretty well sedated from my night meds. My dad did some kind of double fist pump jig that you really had to see to understand. The funniest part was that their friend David had NO IDEA why they were coming to see us at night on the day after Thanksgiving. They told him they had some kindling to bring up here and a cat climbing stand and he was just happily along for the ride. His reaction was also quite hilarious! Oh, to be so young!

Of course, my next question was, "can I blog about it?" because it's way early - about six weeks. They did a mental roll call of everyone who needed the info before I broadcast it to the internet and I was given the ok. I posted to facebook last night but didn't give the details of how they told us because I was really REALLY sleepy. I didn't trust my storytelling ability although I'm not sure it's any better now.

My mom took a few pictures last night but I don't think she's posted them yet. I'll snag them and include them on my next blog entry.

So two. I'm getting TWO grandbabies next year! I posted Ryan to see if he and Sara were going to go for the triple crown and got "Not. Right. Now." as a reply. Teehee. They've got until March to change their mind. The grandma clause - for me to change my allegiance from Florida to Florida State if I got a grandbaby - include a provision that if I got three grandbabies in a year I would get a tattoo of Osceola, the Florida State mascot, stabbing a spear through a Florida Gator. SO it's better if we stick with two babies for now!

Time to get started sewing and get ready to watch football all day. Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Wish List

Today we had 8 hours of rain while I spent 8 hours watching Downton Abbey and cross stitchin'. I'm doing another one of those patterns isa very small weave that requires lots and lots of stitches to fill in. This one has about 5000 stitches. Ain't none of the Fat Man's Elves got nothing on me... 'cept maybe their clothes are cuter but ... what evs...

I promised my Grandbaby's Mama that I would put a Christmas Wish List up on my blog soon... and that was about a month ago so... no time like the present to talk about presents! It's not a secret that I'm sewing all my Christmas gifts this year because I don't have money but I've got fabric, free patterns, thread and a lot of time. Although some of you will be getting something from me in say... March... but the thought is there.

Seriously, it has been a wonderful thing for me this fall to sit and sew for many, many hours a day, every single day. The feeling of productivity is a tonic to my soul. Spending many, many hours working on each project gives me time to really think about that person and create designs that fit their life and personality. I pray over each one and I reflect about who they are in my life. The gift to me has been the time to treasure that person in my heart as I'm working... and the second gift to me is if they like it/love it/realize how much of my self I poured into it. And the third gift will be for them to take it into their home and have it for however long it's practical.

You see... I'm sort of becoming an invisible person. I'm not part of a couple. I'm not raising kids. I don't work. It hurts to go and do anything. But each of these things that I've made... they'll take them to their home and when they see it, they will think about me. And years from now it may be that "something my old Aunt Heather made me when I was in middle school" and hopefully, it will continue to serve as a reminder that I loved these folks enough to pour the most private part of my heart and the dwindling creative talents - I don't have a lot of mad skillz left due to my back/chronic pain/whatever - but this year, I could do this and it has been so much fun for me.

So that's what you're gettin' if you're gettin' from me - homemade stuff made with lots of love. Honestly, it's not that unusual for me to create rather than purchase. One year it was the no sew fleece blankets. It's been homemade scrapbooks... fancy Shutterfly photos books... poster size black and whites of photos (like I did last year). I'm not really consulting Christmas lists but with zero income, I couldn't buy for anyone anyways. SO... being totally contrary... the girl who doesn't shop from wish lists... issues one of her own.

My disclaimer: please don't feel obligated to buy any of these things. I'm so blessed and truly, honestly, have what I need. If I don't have it, I must not need it. These are just things that would be nice to have if you were thinking of putting in a good word to the Jolly One on my behalf.

1. Long sleeve tshirts /sweatshirts. I wear a 2x or xxl but I will be happy with bigger sizes as they can be used with leggings/yoga pants, etc. I love the Walmart Just My Size stuff and it's super cheap.

 
And I don't care what color but most of my bottoms are black so maybe colors other than black. My basic uniform around here is black yoga pants with some colored long sleeve shirt or sweatshirt. 

2. Needlework stuff. If you have old needlework projects sitting around that you aren't going to finish... send them to me. I'll either assemble as they are or I'll divide the goods and come up with my own creation. I'll even make something to send back to you~! I use DMC embroidery floss and am always happy to expand my color palette. That's 30 cents and you can stick it in a Christmas card and I'll be over the moon! 

3. Candles - I love getting the Yankee Candle Catalog because it has all these scratch and sniff places. I dream of picking out a couple hundred dollars worth and then I throw the catalog away. It doesn't have to be Yankee Candle brand though. Walmart. Glades. Whatever. Just nothing vanilla. I prefer pine scented or cinnamon scented and... sometimes florals but... whatever. The basic thing is that I live with Austin and three cats and there are always various smells I'd like to mask. 

4. Ancestry.com - had to let my renewal go this month as it was already a crazy expensive month for me with meds and a doctor visit that included labs. Since I've been working on the Christmas projects I haven't had time to put into my genealogy work and I know that one day I'll want to get back to it. 

5. Rite-Aid gift cards. All my drugs come from there. Drugs are necessary and expensive. I'd like to be able to afford them without having to sell a kidney. (who in their right mind would want MY kidney?)

6. Good lotion. I'm not picky about the scent (not vanilla) but my skin is so dry I look like a reptile. 

7. Dry shampoo. I know... it's weird but the thing is... when I take a shower during the winter it's cold down here in the basement so I turn on the space heater but then it get too hot and my hair frizzes. I prefer to sponge off daily and only do the whole glam routine for the hair every 4th or 5th day. A little dry shampoo gets a little more mileage out of it. 

8. Old random teacups with saucers. Back when wandering through stores wasn't painful I would browse antique shops for cups and saucers. I have a few in my china hutch and scattered in other places. 

9. Cards/notes/letters. I'm the worst pen-pal in the world but it just makes my heart so full that tears squeeze out of my eyes when I get mail. It means the world and I wish I was more consistent about doing it myself. Message me if you don't have my address. 

And I guess that's it. There are big ticket items that would make me squeal like a mini-fridge for the Whine Cellar. Or a microwave for down here. Just stuff that makes for fewer trips upstairs. 

Whatever the case... in 2015 I'm getting a little Cosette and I can't think of anything else I could possibly need than a baby girl to love! 

What's on your Christmas List? 

Love and hugs, y'all! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Letters To My Granddaughter - #1

Dear Cosette,

It's still so surreal to me that you are a girl! You'll see... there aren't a lot of girls in our family so you will be treasured and spoiled rotten.

Today your Grandma Leslie went out and bought you a few new outfits. Yesterday Grandma Barbara bought you a beautiful silver dress. I'm your poor Granny but I'm planning to sew you lovely things and I hope you'll enjoy them.

I'm not sure what you will call Grandma Leslie or Grandma Barbara as I'm still not really sure what you will call me. Your Cousin Jamie says I should be Meema - not Meemaw but Meema. I think I'm leaning toward Meemaw but we still have a few months to decide.

More importantly is picking YOUR name. We know that we love the name Cosette and when you're about 14 I'll let you see the musical that inspired that name! Your daddy can't wait to sing Castle On A Cloud to you - he says it will be your lullaby. I would love your middle name to be Camille but we'll leave that up to your mommy and daddy.

The most important thing for you to know is that you are a much loved little girl. I got over a hundred well wishes on Facebook when I announced that you are a little girl! Your family structure may be different but know that there are lots of people who love you and can't wait to watch you grow.

In Psalms God tells us that His eyes see you even now, better than what we can see through ultrasound like we did yesterday. I love that He already knows who you will be and what your life will be like. I'm trusting Him to bring you into a world where you know how much you are loved.

We'll talk more soon. I just wanted you to know that whatever we all end up being called - there is a whole team of Grandmas who already love you and are buying you lots of pretty things!

Love,

Grandma / Granny / Meema / Meemaw / ????

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's A GIRL!

I have four brothers and three sons. For the brief time that I had stepchildren, they were boys too. So when the ultrasound technician announced... "It's a girl"... it didn't seem real. It still doesn't.

Photographic evidence... and still, can't wrap my head around it. Right now the kids are still loving the name Cosette (from Les Mis). Originally they were thinking about Raquel for the middle name but I've suggested Camille - take a second and try that on - Cosette Camille Sauls - pretty sweet, right? I think they're liking it but there's some grandparent opposition.

As far as the scene from the other night... Cosette's parents aren't exactly buddy-buddy but they're being civil to each other. At the doctor's office today the plan was that only mommy and daddy would go back for the ultrasound and the grandmas would stay in the lobby. I'm ok with that. I see the whole pregnancy/childbirth thing as being a very private, intimate thing and I have no intention of interjecting myself where not welcome. I was perfectly fine to wait in the lobby. Austin's still feeling very uncomfortable around her parents and his deal was that if her mom was coming to the ultrasound, he wasn't. And if her mom couldn't go back, I couldn't go back. Not a problem. I tucked my latest embroidery project in my purse and planned to stitch away in the lobby. Her mom decided to wait in the car so at the last minute the kids decided I could go back. I'm glad I did because I got such photographic gems as these:



Yeah, I know. I'm not quitting my day job to become a photographer.

I am really proud of Cosette's parents and how maturely they handled what could have been a very ugly and awkward situation today. Tasha did a great job at fielding the comments of the Blog Readers/Mother Hens after my last post and kept an open and honest line of communication going with me. Austin did a great job at putting the drama behind him and being a supporting boyfriend/dad today. None of this is easy but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I've been way more in the middle than suits me but I love my granddaughter (first time I've ever used that word before) more than I hate dealing with the drama. I even went to the other grandmother in the parking lot today and attempted polite conversation. Ten seconds later she was nasty to Tasha about how I could take her to all her doctor visits, etc. And of course, I would. She said she wished she had the free time to go to all the doctor visits. And I told her I wished I could work. I mean, what else can you say? I didn't choose this.

Speaking of doctor visits - I went to see the pain doctor yesterday. Usually I see the Physician's Assistant (Dr. Matt who is a cutie-patootie) but this was my annual visit to the guy whose name is on the door. He's a bit wacky but we always engage in intelligent conversation about the health insurance industry and the (un)Affordable Care Act, you know, since I don't have health insurance. He wants to do a work up on the evil gut pain but understands why it's not financially feasible. He agrees with my theory that it's likely the cyst that they saw in one of the first diagnostics (an MRI, I think) on my back. He increased my pain medicine and is trying me on a new sleeping med (since I never could come completely off the ambien) and a better muscle relaxer. And... they'll see me in three months. I don't expect anything other than standard quo because to do anything different would cost something different and that ain't happening.

Other than doctor visits... what have we been doing?
Little Kitty perched on me. I think he spends about 12 hours a day as my Siamese Twin and 12 hours a day telling people what is out of place.
 Edison enjoying a cozy spot on a cold Winter Fall night. Despite the cold I'm still eating my Luigi's Mango Italian Ice every night. Old habits.
When he cuddles in the recliner with me he requires my left arm/hand to hold onto. He even takes my hand between his paws like we're holding hands. He is completely human like.
Another poor photo but all three cats are napping in the sunshine.













And... in addition to the Luigi's my latest food addiction is butterfingers.

Notice that this is a share pack? Spoiler alert: I didn't share.
















And one last picture since it's time for me to get back to my 5th grade math on Khan Academy (two more tests to pass and I'm on to 6th grade!)... Cosette's first dress bought by her mommy this afternoon:
That's all! Happy Thursday Eve, y'all! Love and hugs!