My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloweekend!

It's been a fun weekend for watching the world through social media! Lots of costumes and festivities going on. I've just been Facebook, FaceTiming, Snapchatting, and Instagramming my heart out! Oh, and iClouding... because lots of great baby photos there in our family. I've also been making Bitmoji's... the sort of cartoon character version of myself... for use here in the blog. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite photos from the weekend with you guys.

I didn't do much Saturday except very intentional, necessary rest. Today I've been a bit more productive as I have called in prescription refills, folded some (not all) clean laundry, worked on Jamie's Beauty and the Beast costume, put a goodie box together for Cosette to get when she trick or treated here (which she did earlier). I've tidied a bit but nothing really noticeable. I worked on my Italian, of course - never miss a day - I watched a lot of football yesterday. I've watched a lot of documentaries today. Basically, it came, it went, it was a weekend.

Tomorrow or Tuesday we're going to have some Cosy time. I'm leaning more toward Tuesday because I want to give my back ONE MORE DAY of hard core rest and because I don't want her to be worn out from Trunk or Treating tonight and then hanging with us all day and then Trunk or Treating tomorrow night. So maybe Tuesday or maybe tomorrow, we'll see.

< ---- Cosette in her Princess Anna costume including her adorable little boots! I can't wait to dress her in leggings and boots this Winter! She was a bit out of sorts because they stopped by for just a few minutes for us to see her and were in a hurry to leave and get to church but Tasha was downstairs looking for stuff to borrow for her own costume... it was nuts there for a minute. And of course, Mawmaw and I were snapping photos the whole time!

Does this "Trunk or Treat" deal sound crazy to you? Essentially it's a group of people who gather in one location (like a church parking lot) and instead of trick or treating door to door, the kids trick or treat from one trunk of a car to the next trunk. Some people go all out with the trunk decorations, some are bland. It's great for collecting a lot of candy in a short distance and you know you aren't bothering anyone by knocking on their door. Also, up here, going door to door is not practical as houses are generally spaced way too far apart, there's not standard street lighting and roads and driveways can be really steep (like ours).

I took an empty box and spray painted it with chalk paint and then decorated it for a treat box for Cosy. We gave her peanut butter crackers, her favorite dried apples, a Sofia the First doll she picked out last week at Walmart and some new Frozen themed hair bows. Baby Girl opened the box and tore into it, tossing things aside as she went for the next item. She is going to be GREAT at Christmas this year! I think I've decided to put the baby's big items together ala Santa instead of them opening a box with a picture of something that must be assembled. Have to make sure that Ollie's will fit in Cody's car assembled but I think it will.

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Monday -

I fell asleep last night as I was typing this blog. I slept hard until 10pm and then woke up. Woke up again at midnight and then only dozed from midnight on until morning. I was semi-dozing  when Tasha sent me a "do you want a baby girl?" text this morning and I had to defer until tomorrow. I'm just wiped out.  From doing nothing. Well, I did a few things yesterday but still. This is my life. Some days I just can't function and today is one of those days.

I do so very much love that our co-parenting/grandparenting relationship has evolved to such an informal situation. There are still some things that Austin and Tasha have to negotiate and that happens two weeks from today in mediation. There's a lot that is hard to know... like when she'll be ready to spend the night. She's not now. She does great with us and is always happy to see us... and always happy to go home. It seems to be so much better since we do the pick up and drop off at Tasha's house, I feel like Cosy understands the process better now. She sees us and immediately hands us her pacifier. That is Cosy's way of saying, "You now have my most prized possession so now you must take me with you". When we drive into our driveway she says, "Oof" which is what she calls our dog Oscar. When we pull up into her mom's driveway she gets excited. I feel like Cosy is very secure and happy whether she's with us or her mom and that makes my heart almost burst from joy! I want her to know that she's loved.

Oliver is the same way. I feel like he is loved and treasured by so many people... he's got his parents, Marquee's parents who absolutely adore him, Marquee's Aunt is basically another grandma for him - she loves him so much, Marquee's grandma Josie loves him to pieces and of course, he's got me, Mawmaw and Pop up here and he feels quite at home and comfy here too. Since I FaceTime with him so often, whenever Cody gets his iPad out Oliver starts saying, "Nana!" because that's what Cody uses for FaceTime. Both babies are surrounded by people who love them deeply and that means the world to me.

I was just going to share some Halloween photos and I got into this very emotional subject of my grandbabies... but truly, they are just my heart and they make every bit of life better! Here are some pictures of Oliver that I snagged from his iCloud folder from this weekend:







 And some pictures of Cosy that I snagged from her mom's Facebook. Cosy's best friend, Kennedy dressed up as Elsa and Cosy was Princess Anna.

Now here are some pictures of me from Snapchat this weekend. I know I've said this a thousand times but I LOVE Snapchat filters because they hide a thousand flaws and add makeup and other disguises. I'm constantly taking selfies... so vain... but I want my grandkids to be able to look back and say, "wow Nana... you filtered yourself really well!".



Sick of photos yet? Here are just a few more.



Here is Jamie's Beauty and the Beast costume for when she's a villager. She is also a fork or spoon, I forget which. I've got to add ribbon around the wrists, right where the lace starts. It's to hide my stitches but also is a historically accurate. Buying ribbon tomorrow. I'm also going to tack down the shawl so she doesn't have to fiddle with it while performing and I'm stitching the under skirt to the shirt so that she doesn't have to worry about whether it's at the right length. The thing about costumes is... they only have to look good from thirty feet but they have to be held together in a different way than clothes you would wear in everyday life. I'm not the best and it's been awhile since I've built a costume for a show but some of it is just thinking through what the person is going to be doing when they wear it. The hardest part is keeping Little Kitty off of the costume while I'm working on it because he thinks he must always be in my lap. Jamie is very allergic to cats. 
Anyways... sorry it's not a Reasons to Love Monday but I guess you could say that I did list my reasons for loving this Halloween Monday! I don't feel great today but I do feel very blessed. 

Oh... and I forgot to mention... my mom had her cancer treatment on Friday and she did much, much better this time. They were able to give her something to battle the nausea and it made a huge difference. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes for her. 
Hope you have a great week! Love and hugs, y'all! 

Friday, October 28, 2016

My Friday

I realize that I am making lists this week rather than actually writing a blog entry. It's just the way my mind is working this week. One. Step. At. A. Time. I'm going to try to do better today.

This morning my mom and I went to get our hair cut. The place where we go - The Cutting Edge - is where my sister-in-law and nieces have gone for years. This was mine and my mom's third time. The lady who does our hair, Gail, is great at what she does but she is a talker. Like... everything takes longer because she is always engaged in so many conversations around the shop. Picture Truvy's from Steel Magnolias. It's that kind of shop. She does a great job and we genuinely like her but if sitting for awhile causes you pain, it's a ... well, it's a pain to go. As it just so happened this week we had a hard time finding a time she had open when we weren't otherwise obligated / when Pop was going to be home to watch Oscar (the dog who must have human contact at all times or he will die - only slightly joking) and it ended up that she came in at 8:30 this morning to do our hair. WHICH, as it turns out, is the perfect time because the shop is mostly empty and there is less traffic / conversation at that time. We were both shampoo'ed, cut, styled and waxed (eyebrows) in just a little over an hour which is a WIN in my book. My mom wanted me to have inches cut off my hair but I only got a trim. I like my hair long. And now I have those wild eyebrows under control. This picture is from yesterday, pre-brow-waxing. My mom got her brows done for the first time and it wasn't as bad as she thought. Gail actually is very gentle with it.

Since we were going to be out and about early and since Cosette is easier to watch (clingy) around strangers, I suggested that we pick Cosy up on our way to the shop. I had her mom just send her in her little pjs so all her mom had to do was change her diaper and unlock the door for us. And I would have even changed her diaper if she wanted me to. Cosy did great... I brought her breakfast and she hung out with me while Mawmaw was in the chair and hung out with Mawmaw while I was in the chair and it was great.

We came home and woke Cosy's daddy up and played around the house for a little bit. I told Cosy it was time for her to get dressed so she walked into my hallway and found the pretty red party dress we bought at Goodwill last week and brought that to me. That's what she wanted to wear today. She's every ounce my girl... never the wrong time for a fancy red dress. I dressed her in an "I love daddy" onesie and some little yoga pants instead. I'm going to get a picture of her in the dress and then send the dress to her mom's so she can wear it to church.

My biggest problem this week has been a searing, hot pain that is radiating down my spine from my neck to my tailbone. It hurts but more than anything it burns and I can't escape it. Nothing touches the burning sensation. It's exhausting. Every movement exacerbates it and I've done a lot of moving this week. It's the kind of discomfort that makes you just want to sleep to escape it.

Although I was having a great time with Cosy today and even though her dad is right with her every second -I could - if I would - and I would, if I could- just sit and let him be in charge - I can't just sit. I have to play too. Plus... she likes doing things with Nana. She likes my hairbrush and my makeup brushes and my big mirror and the little canister of bows that I have in my room. She wants me to play and I can't not play when she's here. Same with Oliver. They are such a gift that I can't just take time with them for granted. There will come a day when I can't hold them in my lap and put bows in their hair. Her hair. I don't put bows in Oliver's hair. And as long as I can still move, I'm going to just push past the pain.

It's easier, though, when we're out and about and Cosy likes going places too. So we played just a little while and then went to get her dad a Starbucks (which he's missing since he's not working) and got Cosy a little cup of milk from Starbucks. I carried a cup of milk around for her all morning and she kept shaking her head "no" when I offered it. She saw that Starbucks cup and was like a camel stopping by a watering hole in the desert. If it is in a Starbucks cup, she wants it.

Then we went to Sunflower, the local Chinese restaurant for their lunch buffet. It's... standard Chinese buffet fare. Not great. Just ok. She likes lo mein noodles and we let her sit in the booth with us instead of the high chair so she was on cloud 9. She would take her spoon and drape the noodle over the handle... and then slurp the noodle off the spoon. It was quite the advanced process she had going on. Then she tried to spoon feed me my fried rice - complete with "num num num" sound effects. She's a silly, silly girl!

I forgot to mention that she helped me feed the cats this morning. She's learned that we scoop the food out and pour it in their bowl. She's fascinated with the fact that they just lean their head down to the bowl and eat. I asked her how the cat eats and she put her chin on the table and said, "num num". She was talking a lot more today than usual which was adorable. She's got the first four letters of the ABC song down. She said, "bus". I bought her and Oliver both this Leapfrog ABC bus. It says the letter and the sound it makes and sings the alphabet song and "the wheels on the bus go round and round". Cosy MUST have this when she's in the car. If I don't hand it to her when she gets in the carseat she frantically digs through her diaper bag looking for it. She is actually starting to say some of the letters now and as I mentioned, she's picking up on the alphabet song. I think the recommended ages are a little older than the babies are but it's probably because of the size of the letter tiles - could be ingested, I guess. Since we carefully supervise, I don't worry about that. It's inexpensive - but don't buy it at ToysRus, they charge too much. Walmart, Target, Amazon - all have it for around $15.

Anyways... we went to lunch and then went by Walmart to pick up a few necessities and a few not-necessities. Baby girl is developing a pretty strong Sofia the First addiction to go with her Frozen addiction and we spent quite a while in the toy aisle with her grabbing everything Sofia/Anna that she could find. We also got her a trick-or-treat flashlight which was the best dollar I've spent in a while. She was fascinated with the flashlight! After that we took her home because I just needed my day to be over. I wish I could have had her around all day but I needed to be home and not have to drive anywhere else. I've been settled in my nest ever since and for the past couple of hours I've had Oscar with me as well since my mom is having her second cancer treatment today. Hopefully she won't be as sick as she was last time. I just got a text that they were stopping by Taco Bell on their way home - hopefully that's a good sign. Last time I don't think she could have rode all the way home with Taco Bell in the car. Anyways... so send prayers up that it's not as rough on her this time.

I'm planning an early bedtime and a quiet weekend to try to get whatever is happening in my spine calmed down. Hope your weekend is quiet and peaceful - or whatever you want it to be! Thanks for stopping by! Love and hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wednesday

Today started much like yesterday... same waking up pretty much every hour from midnight on until at some point I gave up and "got up" which basically, in my world, means putting away the blanket, preparing a warm beverage and starting my Italian lesson since I sleep in my recliner. I'm feeling really run down / having another auto-immune flair / have just been doing too much recently / am adjusting to a new normal. I don't know which it is but there is this hot, searing pain from my neck to my tailbone that will not go away with any medication or position. It's quite frustrating but honestly, I just do things to distract myself as much as I can from it. I just keep doing what I have to do and avoiding what I don't have to do. That's my game plan for now.

This morning besides the normal routine, I remembered that I bought some cinnamon raisin bread at the bakery when we stopped to take fall photos with Cosy yesterday. I also have this really nice French butter that tastes so much better than regular butter AND Cody had brought me some fig preserves from their failed attempt to go to Disney earlier this month. I made raisin toast with butter and fig jam. It made quite a nice breakfast which helped get me started when otherwise I was not feeling inspired.

Austin had a dentist appointment today, the third one to take care of this one front tooth that he had chipped. I took him to my parents' dentist instead of the one I had been seeing because (did we talk about this yet? I can't remember) I had twice made appointments with them recently and had just not been able to go through with it. The first time I called and told them I had a migraine - which I didn't have, I had major anxiety. They were so nice about it I made a second appointment and that time I legitimately had a migraine, complete with vomiting, etc which... if I'm being honest, probably was also anxiety related. The truth is... all that dental work I had done last Fall and Winter was pretty traumatic and not just because of how much it cost. I DID call them several times the second time when I truly did have the migraine but their answering machine didn't pick up before they opened and the one time I called after they opened it also didn't pick up and I should have called back but I didn't because honestly, I'm embarrassed to be such a dental-phobe. They must be so annoyed with me! So when Austin had the tooth trauma Pop took him to his dentist, then he had to go to a specialist for the root canal last week (cha-ching) and then he went back for the filling at Pop's dentist today. All of this because I'm too embarrassed to call back to my dentist (who had also been Austin's dentist). At any rate... I had a confession session at Pop's dentist today with the girls that work there and one had worked at my old dentist... who is, don't get me wrong, super nice as are all the folks in his office. She called to get my records from them and we made it more about this new dentist being cheaper (which is true - and it does matter) than about me being too traumatized to go back to their office. Am I nuts? Probably. I have an appointment with the new dentist after Thanksgiving. I didn't intentionally delay it that long, he is going to be out to have surgery and that was the next thing open.

At any rate... while Austin was at the dentist I stole a ball point pen (borrowed... I gave it back) from the front desk and filled out an application for him for the small, independently owned grocery store in town. Austin's handwriting is worse than a serial killer. It looks like a first grader did a bad job copying something the teacher wrote down for them to copy. I feel like it's not unethical for someone else to fill out his application for him since good penmanship would not be a requirement for the job. He attached a typed up resume as well so I was just basically copying down the same details. Most of the places he's applied have had online applications. This was honestly the only handwritten one he has had. Anyway... we stopped by and just by chance the owner was in... so Austin was able to meet the owner of the store who sounds like really could use someone with Austin's skills, as far as what he did at his last job. He asked Austin to stop back by in a few days and was going to call and talk to a guy who Austin had worked with previously get a reference for Austin in the meantime. This is, probably, most likely, the best case scenario for Austin as far as employment in our little town if he is going to continue what he was doing before and progress into being a meat-cutter (I don't know why they don't call it a butcher but they don't). It's a smaller store, independently owned and the owner knows my brother and sister-in-law. I think his daughter has been in Sarabeth's classes and on her basketball teams, etc. I'm praying this pans out for him.

On the flip side... my dad has been talking to the corporate human resource people for the job Austin quit and it sounds like Austin could be transferred to another store if that is what he wants to do. Not to speak for him (and he's going to hate me making so much of the blog about him) but quitting that job felt like getting out of a toxic relationship for him and going to another location would be like dating his ex-girlfriend's sister. Or something like that. Or not. My dad - having worked in human resources most of his career - quit shopping at that store and let the company know why and they have followed up with him, ultimately leading to him speaking to the head of human resources today. Not in a demanding way but in a ... "you've lost a customer and here's why...." kind of way. As I have said before, that particular manager is well known in our area for being horrible to work for. The store constantly has job openings posted and Austin has several friends who have quit there recently for much of the same reasons. I can summarize it best like this... the department managers tell their employees to do things a certain way and the store manager tells them something different so no matter what you do, every single day you work you're doing things wrong according to someone in management. In some cases, like with Austin, the store manager makes an "example" out of them. His behavior is over the top rude and unprofessional and... people just eventually quit. Nobody could hold up under that stress for long. SO that's the job update. Still a work in progress.

In other news... my niece Tiffany's son was diagnosed yesterday with a tectal glioma... it's a type of brain tumor. They can't remove it but they drained the fluid around it yesterday and he's already home. I'm not sure what the prognosis is. I googled it and just got really confused. Tiffany is my middle brother Michael's step-daughter. She is in between Ryan and Cody in age and lives in Ohio so it has been years and years since I've seen her. Her son Ethan is 8 years old.

I've been resting this afternoon and just doing my usual - watching YouTube videos, working on my Italian a bit more, playing the Disney Emoji game. We ordered pizza for dinner because Papa John's has a pan pizza right now that is particularly yummy. Going to try to get to sleep early tonight to make up for this being awake off and on from midnight on every night and... that's it for today. Hope you're all doing well. Love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Busy Tuesday Morning

This morning I woke up at midnight.
And again at 2.
And ... I don't know, a few more times.
At some point I gave up the fight and started my Italian lessons.
I took the flea comb and combed out all three cats as well as they would let me because they all have fleas and they are getting out of control. The amount of living fleas and flea dust I got out of those kitties was shocking/disgusting/heartbreaking.
I think it's partially because they spend a lot of time out on the screened porch. I don't know. The exterminator comes tomorrow.
A little before 9 I got a text from Tasha asking what I was doing today.
Austin came down around the same time and we decided it was a good day to spend a few hours with Princess Cosette.
My mom needed to pick up a prescription from the doctors office so we all loaded up in the car - me, Austin, my mom, Oscar the dog and headed to Cosy's house.
Cosy met us at the door reaching up for us to pick her up. I love when she's excited to go!
Since we were going to try to take some Fall photos I brought an outfit that I wanted Cosy to wear and dressed her in it.
We went to the doctors office and waited in the car while my mom got her prescription. Oscar barked and whined like he was being beaten but Cosy was happy hanging out in the backseat with her daddy.
We went to the pharmacy and I went in to drop off the prescription so Oscar wouldn't get upset that my mom had left him in the car again and... Cosy got upset that I left HER in the car. You can't win!
We drove my mom and Oscar back home and let Cosy stretch her legs for a few minutes while I changed from my hoodie into a cooler top.
Austin, Cosy and I went to Great Clips to get Austin's hair cut so he's looking his best for job interviews.
Austin and Cosy walked over to Walmart (right next door) and I drove. He walked so that he didn't have to put her in the car seat again. Plus... it was a lovely day.
Austin needed some smaller clothes because he has lost so much weight this year. Stress is really doing a number on him. He's down to a 29x30 size jeans and a size small shirt.
Austin is losing weight, my mom is losing weight and ... I've lost a few pounds but nothing wardrobe changing. Stress and sickness has hit this house so hard this year.
I bought a curtain sheer because I wanted to add little lacy details to Jamie's costume for Beauty and the Beast along with a lacy shawl. I have this huge book on historical costumes and found those details would be appropriate for the time period. The cheapest, easiest way to have the materials I need to add those details was to buy a curtain sheer.
Cosy - who rarely talks - saw a toy that she really wanted in the toy department and called out for it by name so I bought that. I was going to get her a play kitchen for Christmas and this toy is similar in size and scope so ... I'm finished with her Christmas list. One down, about twenty to go.
I bought another seasonal candle. Candles make me happy.
While we were at Walmart we saw a friend of Austin's and had a chat about employment opportunities there.
When we checked out at Walmart we saw my friend Pam and visited with her for a minute.
As we were walking out of Walmart Cosy spotted the game room at the front of the store and climbed out of my arms and headed for it. I spent my teenage years being absolutely bored in arcades so that instinct to go to the game room did not come from me. I gathered all my quarters and Austin played the crane games until he won a little bouncy ball for Cosy. When Austin reached into the reward chute to get the ball he found a little pig keychain. Cosy was much more interested in the pig than the ball.
I forgot to mention... while we were walking through Walmart I asked Cosy what she wanted to look at. She saw sunglasses and pointed so we went that way. She found a pair of Frozen sunglasses and decided she had to have them.
Snapchat Filter on
While we were shopping in sunglasses, Austin was looking at clothes, out of sight from us. I had offered Cosy a sip of my tea while we were all together and she shook her head "no". As soon as she noticed Austin wasn't around she bent over and snuck her a sip of tea. Usually her daddy will not let her have tea. Baby Girl is not quite a year and a half but she already knows this much: if daddy says no, he means no. If Nana is around, most things are a yes. I had forgotten to fix a cup with water for her since we left the house in hurry this morning so later on her dad told her it was ok for her to drink Nana's tea. She shook her head no. I find this obedience to her dad really adorable... I also find her understanding that Nana is the permissive one to be adorable.
At any rate... after Walmart we went to Rite Aid to pick up Mawmaw's prescriptions. I went ahead and carried Cosy in with me so she wouldn't get upset by being left in the car with dad. She likes to GO! I always pick up a dog toy in the dollar aisle for Oscar. He knows the difference in Rite Aid bags from any other bags we bring home and he knows if I have a Rite Aid bag, I should have a new toy for him. I told Cosy we needed to get a new toy for "Ooof" and she reached down from my arms and picked out the exact same toy he has at home and said, "Ooof". She's so good at following instructions!
From Rite Aid we went to the Country Bake Shoppe, not because we needed bakery goods but because they have a really cute fall set up out front. Of course, we also like to go in and say hello to the lady who manages the bakery, Nancy. She's always happy to see my kids... and now grandkids. I told her we were frustrated because she didn't want to take out her pacifier for the pictures and she said, "that's how she looks right now... you should leave the paci in for pictures" and you know what? That's what we did! Cody was a paci baby and most of the pictures I have of him around the same age as Cosy he had a pacifier in his mouth and it's a precious memory of him for me!
From the bakery we went to the Catholic Church in town where they have a huge selection of pumpkins for sale. We got a lot of cute pictures of Cosy in her little "country" overalls, most of them with her pacifier in her mouth.
THEN... we went to Chickfila and got her a kids' meal with a milk. We took her back to her mommy's house and Austin drove us home - we had planned for him to practice driving today but not with Cosy in the car.
All of this happened before 1pm.
Since then... I've been online watching Youtube videos, edited and shared photos from today, and just rested. I'm one tired but very happy Nana!
Hope your Tuesday was full of love and laughter too!
Love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Reasons To Love Monday

It's closing in on 4pm and I've just now starting thinking of reasons to love THIS Monday. The struggle is real some days, y'all. All too real.

Monday started rearing it's ugly head late yesterday afternoon when Little Kitty was sleeping in my lap and something upstairs startled him. His first move is always CLAWS OUT and then RUN. It's very hilariously cartoony except for times like yesterday when the first move means his claws slice into my skin, in this case my knee. We're talking DEEP plunging of razor sharp claw into my knee so much that it caused pain so extreme I threw up. And I'm a pro at dealing with pain. And I had some of my stronger pain meds in my system already because of my already elevated pain level from my adventures last week. It was horrific! Today it's all bruised and I'm just waiting for Cat Scratch Fever to set in because, you know, that's how it goes in my world. I say all of that to say Sunday night into Monday morning was just not fun so when I give you my RTL Monday, just know that I had to dig deep... all the way down to the bone with a sharp cat claw.

Numero Uno... (which means "number one" in Italian) The weather is gorgeous. Perfect. Delightful. Cooler. Fresh. Crisp but not cold. Cool enough to wear sweats the whole day long. Not so cold that you have to cover from head to toe. God created October in Georgia as a reward to those of us who suffered and sweated all through the Summer. And by Summer I mean March through October. My quick glance at my Weather Channel app reassures me that there are no more sweaty days ahead, at least not in the next two weeks. Color me happy!

Due... (which means two in Italian, in case that wasn't clear. It's pronounced doo-ay, two syllables, not "dooo" as in due date.) Italian lessons are progressing well. I slowed down the number of words I was learning each day to be able to spend more time on review and it's helped. I used to have to have my notebook opened to the chapter I was working on - so that I could take open book tests for my reviews and lately... the notebook stays closed and put away! Major progress! Could I converse with someone who is fluent in Italian? Mmmm... on a very basic level. I did watch a video last week that was partially in Italian and I understood every word which is a big improvement. However, the speakers in the video were native English speakers and Italian was a second language so to be fair, it was slow and easy to understand. But progress is being made and it's encouraging to know that this old dog can learn some new tricks. It also pushes me out of bed in the morning because it's the very first thing I do and I like to do it before the rest of the house is awake and my door to the rest of the house is open so that I can concentrate.

Tre... (do I have to explain that this means three in Italian or are you catching on?) We are having beef stew for dinner. It smells great. I think it's got a couple of hours to go still but it's going to be a nice feast when it's ready. It's been a weekly menu item here lately and it's just the best stew ever... tender and succulent and really, really good. I'm very much looking forward to a big bowl or two of it.

Quattro... I ordered a new sweatshirt that came today. The proceeds of the sale of these shirts is going to cancer research so it felt like a worthy investment PLUS... I needed another hoodie. I have two. I wear them almost daily during the winter since my living space is in the basement and stays pretty chilly. I love oversized hoodies so I bought this one really big and I can't wait to wear it with leggings and know that the price I paid for it went to a good cause, not just Old Navy stockholders. So, win-win!

Cinque... (pronounced cheeen-kway) There are only TWO MONTHS UNTIL CHRISTMAS! Our family celebrates and does our gift exchange on Christmas Eve morning so there are literally two months and I have bought exactly four gifts so far... one for each baby (including my nephew, Finn) and one for my niece Jamie. I have much, much shopping to do. I've been reluctant to spend money lately because I just bought a new laptop and spent a bunch of money on Austin's dental work and I feel like my bank account is depleting way more rapidly than I would like, definitely more rapidly than it's being replaced, and of course I still haven't finished my dental work (more on that some other day) but Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat and I'm going to have to put a penny in the Old Man's hat. Time to start shopping! I know what I want for the babies... oh, I've bought two gifts for each grandbaby so far, forgot about the things I got last week. Anyways... if you're on my list, give me a few hints so that I don't just buy what I think you should have and actually buy what you want. Or the other way, whichever.

Sei... (as in, "say, what?") Austin and I are planning to do a little fall photo shoot with Cosy this week when we have her. I've picked an adorable little outfit out for her to wear and Austin approves (my kids don't always approve my fashion choices) and I'm hoping there are still a lot of pumpkins out in front of St. Paul's Catholic Church. If not, we're going to have to find some Autumnal (still love that word) scenes around the county. I can't wait to get some adorable photos... hoping she's feeling cooperative that day! Austin has not yet found a new job but he's been diligently looking. He gets a filling on Wednesday and we have Cosy on Thursday and if he's still unemployed by Friday we'll get back out to follow up on some of the applications he's put in online.

Sette (two syllables, set-tay) Still loving/obsessed with the Disney Emoji game. Today I learned something new... on the "round results" screen, balloons fly up. You can pop the balloons for extra points! Also, I'm on level 27 which I think is pretty durn good! Cody and Marquee had made it to this level and then got their new iPhone 7's and had to start all over again which doesn't seem fair, does it?

AND... I'm going to consider seven reasons sufficient for this week for me! I'd love to hear your Reasons to Love Monday this week! You can leave a comment below or on Facebook, whichever you prefer. If you leave comments here, I promise I read them. There's no way to reply without making a new comment which... come to think of it, that's what I should do. So let me know a reason or two that you love Monday this week and I'll update again really soon! Love and hugs, y'all!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Week In Pictures

I wasn't sure I had anything to blog about today but then I realized I had several photos I haven't yet shared with you so... yay, photo blog!

I mentioned buying things for Jamie's Beauty and the Beast Costume. Here's Jamie in the basic costume. (left)  Not loving the makeshift apron tied around her waist but it's a work in progress. I have a few bits and bobs to add to it to make it more historically accurate. I want to add lace to the sleeves to give it this look:



And I have to add some sort of pinafore / apron / shawl bit to dress it up a bit more. Like this one here:
Goodwill shopping is tricky. The white top is an X-Small, the white lacy crinoline looking skirt underneath is a small and the dress over it is a large. I guessed at what would fit Jamie and I guessed correctly. #skills

While we were at Goodwill my mom found this dress for Cosy:



Hope it will fit. It's a 12 month size but it looked like it will fit her. Either way, it was $3 so it's no big loss if it doesn't fit.

Oliver during Facetime:


My new Otter Box phone case is so sturdy that it's hard to snap photos while I'm chatting so I'm getting fewer good photos of him while chatting. Here's another that I snagged of him from his iCloud folder yesterday: 


The new bathroom colors:
I ordered a shower curtain but I can't get the image to save so that I can share. It's basically fish scales, like a mermaid tale and it's in the same colors as my bathroom walls. It is coming LITERALLY on a slow boat from China so it won't be here until December-ish but it was only $15 so... win.

Beautiful photos I took one morning last week.












Cosette fascinated with Nana's makeup brushes. She gets the glam gene from me.


And... can you stand another Snapchat filter from me? Rocky Horror... this is similar to what I looked like when I was working on the stage show only my own lips are better. I'm just sayin'.

And... that was my week! Looking forward to starting another brand new one... and I hope you are too! Love and hugs, y'all!


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Basic Snapchat Instructions

Yesterday was Friday. My mom and I ran over and picked up Cosette around 9am because her mama needed a break and we always love a little extra Cosy time! I posted a half dozen videos of her singing and playing with her Anna and Elsa dolls on Snapchat and then saved them to Facebook (since they go away after 24 hours on Snapchat). Her sweet little singing voice just melts my heart!

We broke out the chalk markers and decorated the door to my porch. She did pretty good for awhile but then she wanted to see what green tastes like... oops! She's so funny... she knows she's not supposed to put anything in her mouth that isn't food and she pretty much understands what is and isn't food at this point. Still... the urge to taste things is so strong in a toddler that she will go to put it in her mouth and if her dad says, "Cosy..." she pulls it out of her mouth right away and gets this pitiful little guilty look.

We played with my makeup brushes... and had a carpet picnic... and then we all went to Goodwill to find Jamie a "villager" costume for Beauty and the Beast. Busy morning but lots of fun!

This morning I got up and finished taping off the rest of the bathroom that needed to be painted and got a good bit of it painted. My mom came in and finished it and it's all quite lovely. I'm doing a mermaid theme so I searched online for a shower curtain but I'm not finding anything that fits what I have in mind. It's either super juvenile, like The Little Mermaid from Disney or it's a topless very adult looking mermaid. I want something in between. And we still need to get the new light wired as I am having to use a lamp for lighting in the bathroom. But we're getting there. Just getting it painted feel like such a huge step.

I've done way too much this week and my body is reminding me that I've gone past my limitations. All of it fun, all of it worth the pain (except for the part where the freezer fell on my head... )... but I'm feeling it from my head to my toes tonight. I love the cold weather because it's so well suited to wrapping up in warm cozy things and just resting. I'm going to take advantage of that for the rest of the weekend!

I did want to mention that I am posting a lot of stuff on Snapchat. Some of it is just silly photos but some of it is narrative, sort of a video blog. I mentioned giving a little instruction on how to do Snapchat but I'm not sure I'm familiar enough to really do it justice. Here's what I can tell  you that will hopefully get you started: search for the app - it's free. Download it like you would any app that you add. Create an account for yourself. Choose "add friends" and you can search for my name - HGant5 (original, right?) and add me. From the main screen if you swipe to the left - to get to the screen on the right - under stories you will see "recent updates" and if I've done something in the last 24 hours, you will see it there. Just click on it and you can see my latest story.

The thing I'm enjoying most is using filters and it was the hardest for me to figure out. When you're in the main screen you will see whatever your camera is seeing. In the far upper right corner is a little rectangle with arrows around it and a smiley face in the middle. If you touch that, the perception of your camera will change from looking out to looking back at you. Once your face is visible, touch the screen in the middle of your face. A bunch of lines will come across your face and a series of circles will appear beside the big circle in the bottom center of the screen. You can swipe from left to right and move different filters into the main circle to change the filter on your face. There are some main ones that are always there (like the deer with Cosy at the the start of this blog entry) and special ones that are only there for a day or two. If you want to take a picture of yourself, briefly touch the big circle in the bottom center. If you want to take a video with the filter, hold your finger in the center. Videos are only up to ten seconds, which is why when you watch a story it switches so quickly.

Once you've taken a "snap" or a video you will have options in the upper right to add text, color and stickers to your picture or video. You can swipe to the right to add other filters that change the shading of the photo and add details like time and temperature. You can save it to your memories or add it to your story on the bottom left or... if you don't like it, just click the x in the upper left to delete it.

THERE are tons of other bells and whistles with the app that I am still figuring out but those are the basics of getting started, viewing stories and creating your own photos and videos with filters. I hope this helps! I'm such a newbie myself but I really do enjoy it and it's so easy to post there! If all else fails, just search for a youtube video on how to do it. That's my default learning process for everything these days. Let me know if you create an account so I can follow you!

Little Kitty is insisting on sitting where the laptop is so I'm going to close. Hope your weekend is going well! Love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

I Hate Mornings

Today I...

Cried my eyes out at 7am thinking about what I had to do today.
Then THIS Buttercup sucked it up and got on my way.
I did my Italian lesson.
Caught up on as much news as I could stand without getting stabby.
Put on makeup.
Organized my makeup table.
Got dressed.
Other things that I'm sure I'm forgetting.
Took Austin to get his root canal.
Went to Lowe's to buy paint and paint supplies.
Went to Walmart to buy ibuprofen for Austin's mouth.
Went to Chickfila to buy lunch for all of us.
Came home and did some sitting.
Taped up the bathroom for painting.
Changed into my painting clothes.
Painted my bathroom with my mom. You can see the main color in my bun in the picture to the left. I will have two little accent walls that are purple (not painted yet) and my theme is Mermaids.
Changed out of my painting clothes.
Sent a lot of Snapchats. If you want to really know what's going on in my life, Snapchat is the way and it's very easy. I think tomorrow I'll do a tutorial if anyone is interested. My Snapchat name is HGant5. Add me!
Now I'm sitting in my nest in my cosy pj's catching up on YouTube.

This concludes the re-telling of my Thursday thus far.
Pop is picking up Taco Bell for dinner.
We are all about the fast food today - we had pizza for lunch yesterday.
It will be a surprise to no one when my cholesterol is high when I go for labs in two weeks.
I have a few Throwback Thursday photos to share. I apologize if these are duplicates of ones I've already shared in the past week. I have a really short memory.

The first is me holding Jamie on what I think was her first Thanksgiving - 2005. I got to see my Jamie girl yesterday. She is DEEP in rehearsals for Beauty and The Beast. They are at the point of rehearsing four or more hours a night AFTER school so she is one busy little spoon! I told her about "show friendships" and how you bond so deeply with the people you do shows with because you have such intense, long periods of time together. I have many, many folks I'm still in touch with that I did shows with 13 or 14 years ago. She is loving every minute of it and I am so happy that she loves what I love (theater).

SPEAKING of my girls... Sarabeth made the basketball team for her Middle School! So very proud of her and I am going to definitely go see her play!

The next picture is me and Purple Michael. This would have been around 2006, I think.  I miss him so much! It has been years and years since I've seen him. He lives in Chicago and when he comes to Atlanta he has so much family to see and they all live south of Atlanta and I, of course, live north of Atlanta. He's in my heart forever, though, and I'm so grateful for the times we shared together!

AND last... I love this picture so much! It is (L-R) my sister-in-law Angie, my cousin Melissa and me holding Jamie. This was at a family reunion in 2005, I believe in the spring but I'm not certain. We look like we're waiting for a bus or something. (I should note... my SIL Angie lost a ton of weight after this and has maintained that loss forever. I almost forgot that she ever had a little fluff on her way back when!)

And that's all for today folks! Happy Friday Eve! Love and hugs, y'all!




Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Zulily Haul and Job Hunting

This morning I did not want to wake up. I woke up at 4am and felt horrible. I went back to sleep at some point but I'm not sure when. Austin had to wake me up at 8 to take him job hunting. Boo hiss on waking up... but kudos for being eager to hit the pavement. Most places want you to apply online so... it was a lot of driving around getting websites but he did go in and apply and take the proficiency test in Walmart - and passed it - so that felt like progress. I did a little shopping while he took his test and we got a few other errands taken care of while we were out. He's had friends over again today enjoying the Fall sunshine and taking advantage of being on the lake which we don't do often enough here.

I bought a few things for the babies from zulily that came in the mail today. Zulily is... ok for some things. Brands I already am familiar with that I can be more sure about the quality and sizing that are greatly reduced on Zulily are great. Unknown brands can be hit or miss both with sizing and quality. It takes so long for things to get to you that sometimes it's not practical. These things were a good price and I ordered them back early in September we could wait so ... Zulily was a good choice. I like to help a little with clothing for Oliver to help his parents out... and of course, we try to keep a few outfits for each season here for Cosette for when she's with us. I don't buy a TON of baby clothes but probably 4 or 5 outfits per season for each baby. More than that would just be a waste because their parents' style is different from mine. I mean, I am A GRANDMOTHER, after all! My first choice for baby clothes is Carter's because the quality for the price is unbeatable. These clothes are NOT from Carter's but the quality and pricing is comparable. Here's the entire haul...



These are the things I got for Cosy:

four long sleeved onesies and two pair of yoga pants. Our usual practice is to keep her in whatever her mom dresses her in while we go out for breakfast or whatever errands we run with her. Once we get home we may change her into her Princess Anna costume or into the play clothes we have for her. OR, if it's really warm out we may just let her play in a onesie or just a diaper. She's not a messy kid and we could easily leave her in what her mom sends her in all day most of the time, we mostly just try to account for her comfort.  My living room tends to be cooler than anywhere else. When we play on the porch it can be really warm. She is most likely to get things wet because she likes to pour water from one container to another and that's the number one reason we change her clothes. I do sometimes want to dress her in certain things for photos but for the most part, we just have clothes in case she needs something to wear. We usually end up sending her home in something we've bought for her and it comes back the next time we get her. I especially try to send stuff to her mom's that I know she likes and will get use out of at her mom's house (like her Frozen slippers). (note: The clothes are hanging off the edge of the hearth so the legs of the pants are longer than they look.)

I had already bought six little shirts for Oliver so I picked him up some little jogging pants from Zulily. They are on the left in the photo below:

They aren't anything fancy. I think I paid less than ten dollars for the set of three pairs of pants but they're fine for play clothes for him.

I also bought these two outfits to take photos of the babies in... nobody likes the outfits but me and that's ok. I wanted them in something similar but not identical that wasn't seasonal so we can take their photos in them whenever we all end up in the same place. I just want to get a nice photo of the babies together and/or me with the babies for framing and maybe for Christmas cards if we manage a photo in time. We'll see whatever plays out. Either way, they were a good deal.

What do you think?

Both babies wear a 12 months or 18 months depending on how it's made. Cosy is longer and Oliver is thicker. She needs the larger size for the length and he needs it because he's more solid. They're really close to being the same size, though.

I also got a pair of cozy slippers for myself that are so incredibly soft and fuzzy inside! They were another really good bargain on Zulily.

While I was in Walmart today I picked up two "educational" toys for the babies from Leapfrog. Back in the Spring I bought them both a little school bus that sings the alphabet song and "the wheels on the bus". You can put a letter tile in the bus and it tells you the letter and the sound it makes. Cosette is addicted to hers and HAS to have it when she's in the car. She looks around frantically for it if we don't hand it to her right away. We keep the diaper bag (backpack) on the seat beside her and she will dig through it looking for the bus. Walmart had something else from Leapfrog that is also a learning toy but it is a stuffed animal that I think will work great for a "travel buddy" and maybe be a little easier to carry around than the bus. You can program it to say and spell the baby's name! I bought one for each baby for Christmas. I plan to get a little kitchen for Cosy for Christmas and a little grill for Oliver since he loves hanging out with his grandpa when he grills. I've bought them each a book and THAT IS ALL I'm buying for them for Christmas. They get SO MUCH STUFF from everybody and I give them stuff all year. I'm making myself stay on a budget for Christmas this year!

Every year my mom and I do stockings for the whole family for Christmas and while I was in Walmart today I found the PERFECT stockings for everyone and I'm so excited! It's something different from what we've done before but I think they will work perfectly. This means I need to know who is going to be here this year so I can get your stocking put together!

I also bought some fancy washi tape at Walmart that will work well with the little "Christmas jars" I've been making. I'll post a picture of the finished project one day in the future. Soon. They're really turning out cute.

Tomorrow Austin has his root canal in the morning and after that I have nothing on the schedule for the next few days. If Austin's up to job hunting on Friday we may do some of that but I've been busier than usual this week and I'm just worn out. My back and head feel better than they did yesterday (from the freezer lid that crashed down on me) but they're still tender. I just need to rest in a bad way. Once we get home tomorrow I just want some time in the nest to rest.

Hope your Wednesday is going well... hang in there folks, there's light at the end of the tunnel! Let me know how your week is going in the comments here or on Facebook. Thanks for stopping by, love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

News Day Tuesday

Let me begin today's blog with a little story. In the shed right beside my porch there is a little freezer... one of those old fashioned chest type freezers with the lid that lifts up. It always reminds me of my Granddaddy Pennington's worm farm but that's not what this story is about. The freezer is wedged tightly in the corner of the shed... tight enough that if you lift the lid to a certain point it will stay held in place against the shelves... most of the time. Last night I was rearranging my inventory of Luigi's Mango Flavored Italian Ice and the unthinkable happened... the lid slipped out of place and whacked me on the head... just above the hairline. I immediately saw stars but the worst thing is my back... a sudden jolt is the absolute worst thing possible for my back. The force was so great that my HEEL hurts from being pushed into the ground, like someone was hammering me in. It hurt last night but today it. is. killlllling me! I have this dull headache and my head is so tender that I can't bear to brush my hair. My back is stuck in a certain position and if I try to force it into a different position the pain takes my breath away. It's frustrating and hilariously ironic, all at the same time. There's no limit to what my body has to endure, it seems. And honestly, Luigi's should have made me their spokesperson by now.... how I've SUFFERED! (must be read in the accent of a Jewish New York mother)

And yes, my granddaddy really did have a worm farm. He had big old refrigerators on their side full of soil and the worms would be all wiggly in there. People would come by and buy an old cottage cheese container full of worms for... I don't know how much, probably a quarter back then? I think we could put a dollar's worth of gas in the car then and actually get somewhere on it. You know what he fed them? Purina worm chow. It's a real thing. Google it if you don't believe me!

So the theme of today's blog is the same as pretty much every other blog... oh my aching back! And head. And neck. And heel... because the concrete slab put up a lot of resistance against my being driven into the ground. It's gotten worse as the day has progressed even though I've been trying to get up and walk around a bit and keep from getting stiff.

The subplot for today is Snapchat. For those who are uninitiated... Snapchat is an app that allows you to record photos or small snippets of video to be shared with your friends. The photos and videos stay there for 24 hours - or, you can save them for posterity as I have done by forwarding them and saving them here and on Facebook. My favorite part is that Snapchat has filters... ways to dress up your photos and videos so that, for instance, if you're looking like death with uncombed hair, you can transform yourself into a lovely hippie lady with a floral crown. Or Little Red Riding Scary Hood as pictured above. It even adds a touch of lipstick and mascara for you in some cases! I just started Snapchat on Saturday so I'm still figuring it out but if you want to add me I am hgant5. I have one story so far. My main thing was that I wanted to be able to use the filters with the babies but also some of the youtubers that I watch have snapchat as well and waiting for the next youtube video update is the same as waiting for the next blog entry... you just want to know the rest of the story already! Technology just keeps on changing and although I am waaaay behind, I try to keep up. If you try to navigate the Snapchat waters, I would recommend watching a tutorial on Youtube vs. trying to learn from Snapchat's instructions. Let me know if you're on Snapchat so I can add you! It's all about the non-intrusive means of communication for me, folks!

Austin had some friends over today and they spent the day out on the lake. The paddle boat hardly ever gets used so it was nice to hear splashes and laughter wafting up from the lake. There were a group of four of them and they picnic'ed and fished and rode around the lake and really had a good time. The sun was so bright and the sky so clear that I'm sure they're going to all be sunburned. Austin needed a carefree day like that. Tomorrow he'll be pounding the pavement and Thursday he has a root canal. #adultingishard Thanks to those of you who sent texts and messages and comments wishing Austin well in his new job search. I know I'm completely biased because he's my kid but he has had such a hard year and he deserves so much more out of life! Also... I'm about one frustration away from being in the news so we just need to ride the year out peacefully. Is that too much to ask???

Anyways... I thought I'd share a few photos taken from my vantage point of the bright sunshine and crisp clear lake and just a little fall color. It doesn't show up well on my phone. I didn't use any filters of adjust the colors on these photos but I did zoom in (obviously) on the one on the right.

In other news... Tasha and I have had this ongoing discussion about whether or not Cosette needs to go up to size four diapers. She's still a little bitty doll but she is getting a bit of thigh chub. Tasha has an unopened box of threes that she's going to return and I'm debating returning my unopened package of threes that I have. We don't go through a lot of diapers here and I'm afraid that if I open the package by the time we finish it the diapers will definitely be too small. Check out those chubby little thighs! (Note to ten year old Cosette - if you see this, don't be offended by Nana calling you chubby. Chubby babies are sweet and cuddly and precious and when we say you're chubby it means we love you!) (Had to throw that in because ten year old Jamie objected when she saw that I had blogged about her chubby little baby self - which was ADORABLE, both when she was chubby and when she objected to being called chubby!)


Let me see if I can find a chubby little Jamie picture to share... because it's a slow news day here anyways...


Hope that all the news you have to share is GOOD news and if not, just hang in there! It gets better!
Love and hugs, y'all!