Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Fun Meme Borrowed From Barb

Thank you all for the wonderful comments on my cakes and the quilt pattern. It's funny but when I read and look at pictures of quilts so many of you make, I think I could NEVER do that. I didn't remember that I had done enough pillow covers in the cathedral window pattern to have made a king-sized quilt, most likely, if they had been sewn together. I am so glad I have pictures of the cakes, because I do not even remember the process of making most of them - is that pathetic or what??

Barb told us to take this meme and run with it. This is one I can do without thinking or downloading a bunch of pictures. I need that right now! And thanks to Diane for the wonderful button!

In your entire life, have you ever...

...gone on a blind date? No...I had enough trouble with those who could see!

...skipped school? Never - I loved school!

...watched someone die? No, thankfully, not yet.

...been to Canada? Yes - I used to live across the border from Fort Francis, Ontario in International Falls, Minnesota. We could walk over there, but didn't do it often.

...been to Mexico? Yes. Briefly in Tijuana - never want to go back there!! I would like to try Cabo or Puerto Vallarta sometime.

...been to Florida? Yes. During the beginnings of Hurricane Agnes - my sister, and friend, and I went there for a church convention - started out in a horrible hotel, moved to a better one, just about blew away every time we crossed the street between huge hotels - bounced our way all the way to Tampa in a small plane. Then briefly in Fort Lauderdale a couple of years ago as DC and I prepared to board ship for our Caribbean cruise.

...been on a plane? Yes. Don't like overseas flights, though - too long legs, not enough leg room!

...been lost? Unfortunately, yes. My sense of direction is deplorable. Ask Kristen about our trip to Denver to see the show "Annie" - being lost in downtown Denver at 10:00 at night with an 8-year-old in the car is not a fun thing!

...been on the opposite side of the country? Yes. But would love to go back again. I want to visit all those blog friends in Maine!

...gone to Washington, DC? Yes, twice in the fall - I just love it there, as a tourist at least. My DC was in meetings while I got to walk and ride the subway all over the city. Beautiful, historical place.

...swam in the ocean? I am a non-swimmer because of a trauma at age 10. I don't even go into the water - went to Hawaii twice and put on my suit once for a brief shot of me up to my knees in the water.

...had your booze taken away by the cops? Have never been in possession of any booze.

...lettered in a high school sport? Joke joke. I did get a letter from Pep Club and Choir!

...cried yourself to sleep? Many times.

...played cops and robbers? No.

...played dolls? My sis and I lived our lives as little girls in preparation for motherhood!

...recently colored with crayons? Not really - I never was any good at coloring with crayons.

...sung Karaoke? No, thank you very much!

...paid for a meal with coins only? Probably.

...done something you told yourself you wouldn't? Every day? When I break my diet??

...cheated on an exam? No, never. And I never lie either.

...made prank phone calls? Oh, my goodness - we were really terrible when we were kids doing this - calling a bar and saying we were Mr. Byrd, looking for wife, Ima. Could you please page her - she's supposed to be home with the kids. Ima Bird, Ima Bird! We laughed till we were sick - or until our folks caught us.

...laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose? Not that I recall.

...caught a snowflake on your tongue? Many times - I grew up in Minnesota!

...danced in the rain? No.

...written a letter to Santa Claus? Nope - Never believed in the guy, didn't figure it made any sense!

...been kissed under the mistletoe? Not that I recall. Mistletoe kind of lost its allure for me when saw it growing as a parasite on the trees in Oklahoma.

...watched the sunrise with someone you care about? Yes, most recently on the coast of Georgia - just beautiful. Got up really early to do it.

...been arrested? Never did anything to merit being arrested! Unless you count being chased around town by our version of Barney Fife when we t.p.'d all the football players' houses because we didn't have dates to Homecoming!

...blown bubbles? Often.

..gone ice-skating? If you want to call it that - we spent our evenings at the neighborhood rink in International Falls because it was the sociable thing to do. I spent most of my time in the warming house, but did take a few runs around the rink. Hated it.

...been skinny dipping outdoors? Are you kidding me??? Nor indoors!!

...had a nickname? I've been called Swan Dawnson, Swansie, Dawnson. None lately, though.

...been to Africa? Not in reality, but we used to pretend we were flying to Africa to hold revival meetings in the chief's hut when we were kids and had a merry-go-round in our back yard. We had two missionary aunts, uncles, and 4 cousins in Africa. I have since acquired a Kenyan daughter-in-law, so dream of someday making it over there to meet her family.

...eaten cookies for dinner? Most likely!

...been on TV? Yep - I was on a teen panel in high school - it was on during church, so I had to bring a set to church, go downstairs during Dad's sermon to watch it. Oh, for a VCR in those days! I was on the news once when I was standing in line at the park on the 4th of July waiting for my hamburger being cooked by the Lions Club - we were asked what we loved about America, if I recall.

...stolen any traffic signs? No. Never stole anything.

...been in a car accident? Minor fender benders - I've blogged about the latest.

What is your....

...mother's name? Margaret

...favorite drink? Diet Dr. Pepper

...favorite alcohol? Never tasted the stuff

...birthplace? Minneapolis, Minnesota

...favorite vacation spot? Kona, Hawaii - surprise, surprise!

...favorite salad dressing? Bleu cheese (on the side, of course).

...favorite pie? Apple - homemade with Granny Smiths

...favorite number? -40 (which I am working on my weight to be from what it is now!)

...favorite movie? I don't watch many movies, but I loved Driving Miss Daisy and Sleepless in Seattle.

...favorite holiday? Christmas.

...favorite food? Mexican

...favorite day of the week? Right now, the week-end ones. In another month, I'm hoping they all kind of run together in my retirement!

...favorite brand of body wash? Just give me good old Zest.

...favorite toothpaste? Crest - Regular (can you believe how many choices there are???)

...favorite smell? Baking bread, or chocolate chip cookies.

Do you have any...

...tattoos? Hate 'em!

...body piercings? Have tried the ears twice, just keep getting infections - gave up on that.

Do you drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? My minivan has 4 doors - thank goodness! Getting 4 kiddoes in and out makes this a necessity.

What do you do to relax? Read. Read. Read. Blog Blog Blog

How do you see yourself in 10 years? 70 years young - in better shape than I am now - watching my teen-age grandkids develop - taking some nice trips. Living in this same house.

Feel free to join the fun - it's great to learn more about you. Let me know if you do it!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Friday Show and Tell - and Twin Update

First of all, I want to thank so many of you for your prayers this week. God is indeed working in our family's situation. Be assured that you are making a difference in our lives by your faithfulness in praying about something that you don't know anything about. There is much more to face, but we know we do not face it alone.

Tonight I'm doing Part II of a series I like to call "I Used To . . . " When I was a young stay-at-home mom, I kept very busy creating. DC would always ask me why I didn't relax in the evening. I'd say, "This is how I relax." If I wasn't sewing, I was crocheting, or knitting, or cross-stitching, or crewel embroidering, or making pillows with a quilt top in the cathedral window pattern. Does that ring a bell with any of you quilters? I don't think I have any pictures of any of the dozens of pillows I made, but I did find this picture of the pattern on the Internet.

For quite a few years, I made the kids' birthday cakes - at first out of Wilton cake kits, then later cut shaped cakes. This was my first, for Kristen's 4th birthday - just before Christmas.


(I decided to put Feisty's 4th birthday picture from my last post in here to compare with her mommy's 4th birthday picture - no, I didn't make it!)

I used the same pan for Santa for her 5th birthday. The kids and Daddy used to go pick out the Christmas tree up in the mountains while I spent the day making the cake.


For her 6th birthday, we went to Holly Hobbie.


Raggedy Ann for Birthday #7.


Kevin didn't seem to have as many special cakes - I'm not sure why! But here's his 4th birthday.


Kevin's 5th birthday.


DC's cake for his 39th - he looks about 25! He must have wanted a boat in those days.


This one was for my mom.


Then I branched out into baby showers.



After these, all of the cakes in the album were ordered from Baskin Robbins! I guess my cake decorating days were over. But it was fun while it lasted. And it makes a great Show and Tell!

I don't have any new pictures of the twins this week, but I can report that they're changing every day. They've really discovered each other this week and are interacting - touching each other, exploring. They are both laughing and giggling - so much fun to hear. They are developing in different ways - Kate is trying to stand up in your lap, and using her hands more. Emma is starting to roll over. Someone who saw them for the first time this week said it is so fun to see such tiny little babies doing big baby things.

For more Friday Show and Tell stories, stop by Kelli's blog, There Is No Place Like Home.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Life and Times of Grandma Dawn

I want to thank all of you, my dear friends, for the kind comments and encouragement as I shared my angst over all of the upcoming changes in my life. I forgot two huge ones! My dear doctor, who delivered Kristen, and who has kept me on a good health track for all these years had to retire sooner than expected because of a health crisis of his own. I thought I had at least another year to deal with the trauma of breaking in a new doctor. But, alas, this was the year. DC has a GP he really likes, who also happens to be a fine Christian. So I gave him an audition last Friday, and he passed the test with flying colors.

If you're like me, insurance is a very frustrating thing. I've been working with an independent agent to find a policy I can afford until I turn the magic age for Medicare. What a trauma! But this young man won't give up until he finds just what works for me.

Now - on to the Life and Times of Grandma Dawn, Part II. The twinnies get so much attention, of course. I have met so many wonderful people when I take them places in their twin strollers. When we go to the grocery store, the girls at the customer service desk practically go on the P.A. system to announce, "The twins are here!" But I have to be sure that the big sisters don't get entirely left out, so I always brag on them - they really are good helpers and so loving to their babies.

Let's take a look at a few of our latest adventures. Don't you wish you could get this comfy while you watch a bit of t.v.? Note the black pillow - it's Care Bear's "security blankie-type thing." She cannot make it through a day without it.

It is so great to have a big sister who's learning to read and loves to share the fun with the other girls! Care Bear is in kindergarten, but has been reading for quite awhile already.

Let's do a little cookie baking, Grandma! It's a lot of work, but they love it so much that it's worth the mess and time.

They'll never take first prize in the Pillsbury Bake-Off, but they're proud!

Time out for a little slide down the steps on the snow sled. At least until Grandma gets new carpet and furniture, the family room is a great playground. Hopefully they'll grow up before that happens?!

Wednesday is Library Story Time -always fun. Care Bear was always more interested in the accompanying art project than the stories. This day was "goofy story" day and the puppet was "The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly - I don't know why she swallowed the fly." It was really cute.

School Fun and Fitness Day. Care Bear was flying like the wind around the track during the relay race. Anakin was embarrassed to have us watching, so Feisty and I stuck with Care Bear's group. She thought she was going to get to play, too, so it was a disappointment when she realized it was just watching. The twins were there, too, of course.

The Hurdles - when the race was finished, Care Bear and her friend just kept hurdling for the fun of it. So much energy!

Popsicle break - how nice that they shared with little sisters!

Feisty is having a little fitness fun of her own. (Check out the little flip-flops - she prefers them on the wrong feet!)

Feisty is Four!! And Care Bear is the Party Planner Extraordinaire. She spent the day making invitations, making signs, decorating her shirt with glitter! Note the nice cut job she did on her bangs - will she never learn??

The guest of honor enjoying being the center of attention - and it's nice to have a big sister to read your cards to you!

The perfect birthday cake!

The Party Planner turns into the Hostess with the Mostest, as she cuts and serves the cake.

Feisty is following in her sister's footsteps and beginning to draw and display her art work to the world.

Kindergarten Showcase. Care Bear finally conquered her stage fright and performed for all she was worth. She's in the front row with the black dress and pink ribbon and bow at the waist (which she insisted on wearing, along with black tights - and sandals - though it weas a perfectly lovely spring night and it was a very warm winter dress!) There was one song she thought was absolutely too stupid to sing - and she didn't (she was right - it was stupid!) The little boy right behind her is the music teacher's son. He kissed her on the head. patted her head - so cute. I asked her if he was her boyfriend she said, "No, he's my best friend." I hope it stays that way for a long time!!

Oh, all right, just two pictures of the little girlies - one with Great Grandma and Grandpa, and one with Great Auntie.

Good night! Sweet dreams. Please pray for Kristen at 9:30 Wednesday Mountain Standard Time - a huge need! Thank you!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Change - the One Constant

To make or become different.
alter, modify, mutate, turn, vary
Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition

Change. It is constant. It is stressful. It is necessary. It is uncomfortable. It can be wonderful. Change is cyclical - one change causes another, which requires another.

I have been experiencing a lot of change lately. Some of it is very positive. We will have the 30th anniversary in our house July 1 (one thing that hasn't changed!) There is a lot that needs to be done to this house. DC is continuing to work awhile longer while drawing Social Security so that we can make some of these improvements.

The first thing on the list was to replace all of our basic appliances - all of them were at least 15 years old. They have served us well. Their time has come - BUT - do you realize how much reading material comes with each new acquisition?

We also recently joined the 21st century and bought cell phones - more directions!!


Do you have any clue how bad I am at reading directions?? Do you have any idea how much I dislike figuring out new technology? Above is a picture of the manuals I have been given over the last month. DC is not happy that I have not read them from cover to cover.

So - the new stove doesn't have a big drawer at the bottom in which to place the pots and pans - where they have lived for 30 years. It has a warming oven instead. The new oven is so much larger that the drawer is so much smaller. This means I had to find a new place for the cookware - I had to empty the cereal out of its home for the last 3 decades, and restructure the cupboards above the stove and microwave - this required reconfiguring that cupboard. This is ONLY THE BEGINNING.

For most of the past 30 years I have been the president of our local mission program in our church. For 17 of those years I was also on the district mission council. This year when election time came, I told the pastor I was ready for a change - this is a change I brought upon myself. It was time.

Our family is going through a major change right now. You have been praying for us without knowing details. For that I am so grateful. It is a painful kind of change.

Today DC and I went through all of the paper work I have to turn in before retirement - I have to decide how much tax I want taken out of my retirement check (can I spell "NONE?").

My task for the next month is writing down everything I do in my job on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. How do I document all the changes that have been made in the last few months in a way someone can easily read and understand? How does one write down in a way someone else can carry on when what I do is so instinctive? I will bring up a document that needs to be sent out, to discover that it is dated exactly one year earlier - how do I pass that on???

Very soon I will walk out of the office I have "lived" in for 15 years. I will dismantle the shelves of "pretties" that have decorated my space. I will have to find a place for them to live in my house. I can hardly wait for all the work of the next month to be done so I can walk into my "changed" life.

I have planned changes beginning July 1. I will go to the gym at least 3 mornings at 8:00 - I am determined to feel better - to get my body back into better shape - I need to feel better about myself again. I need to be able to wear the clothes I have hanging in my closet and not have to buy bigger ones. Positive changes!

This one thing I know. This is the one thing for which I am so very thankful:

Hebrews 13:8
: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (NIV)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Show and Tell - and Twin Update

It has been a sad day in many ways. Steven Curtis Chapman's family tragedy was shocking. I pray that their teen-age son will be able to forgive himself someday. My husband works with a man who ran over his 10-year-old daughter several years ago. It took him years to gain some semblance of normalcy again.

Then a horrendous tornado hit a small down just east of us - I was having lunch with a friend from that town just as the tornado was hitting - we were oblivious as we ate and talked and caught up on the last few months. Our youth director's home was badly damaged and both cars as well. She was at the church watching the news with the staff when she saw her house on the screen - or what is left of their house. They haven't been able to go back there yet. Sadness.

My week has been very difficult. But we know God is working, and you are praying. For this I am very thankful.

But - on to lighter things! Today I want to share the first in a series of "things I used to do." They are many. When I realize how creative I used to be, I feel somewhat guilty and sad. But I'm glad I took so many pictures.

When I was in my early twenties, before I was married, I had a good friend a bit older who was married with two kids. Her little girl was so tiny and adorable. I did a lot of sewing, so I began making dresses for her out of all of my scraps - I used the same pattern over and over, creating a new look with each one. It was so much fun, and I know Sharon loved getting free dresses for Tonya.

I made myself a red gingham dress, with 3 different sizes of gingham. I used the left-overs to create one for Tonya as well.


When I had a daughter of my own, for some reason I decided to do it all over again. I didn't have my dress any more, and by then, I think I was wearing my dresses a bit longer. I also found a little outfit for Kev (or maybe I made it, I can't remember) that would fit right in.
As I look at this picture, though, I realize I don't look so happy. I remember now that it was taken at my grandparents' 50th anniversary celebration. I was there without DC, who couldn't get away. I was the only one of my siblings who was there without my helpful spouse. The airline had left my luggage back in Denver, and had to deliver it to my grandparents' house from Minneapolis late that night, long after the kids should have been in bed - with no clean jammies, no diapers (I had carried on the minimum - I think I had bought a rare package of disposables for the trip and had two or three in my carry-on), no toothbrushes, etc. etc. I was tired, I remember. Lugging purse, diaper bag, carry-on, a baby, and hanging on to a toddler - we didn't have nice double strollers back then - was exhausting, let alone losing the checked baggage! I remember it so clearly.
Fast forward about 30 years - I still have Kristen's dress (mine is long gone, and long grown out of). I pulled it out and gave it to Kristen for Care Bear to wear. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of her wearing it. Or maybe I just can't find it! But we did get one of Feisty wearing it. This was taken right after Care Bear did her famous haircut on her sister.
The little girlies are growing and developing so quickly all of a sudden. Kristen has wondered if they'd ever really become buddies - they seemed to ignore each other when we laid them down together for a bit of play time. Suddenly they are looking at each other, reaching for each other. They are also smiling, laughing, gurgling, cooing. It is such fun. The big girls continue to be such good helpers. They LOVE their little sisters.
Anakin has finally gotten over his fear of holding them. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to get a picture of that yet. I'll have to rectify that situation soon.
For more Friday Show and Tell stories, stop by Kelli's blog, There Is No Place Like Home.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Keep praying!

The first round was yesterday, and God answered prayer. The war is just beginning, I fear. I know fear isn't something we're supposed to do. But it's hard not to. Please keep praying. Thank you!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Updated update

Your prayers are being answered as we speak. Thank you!


Today is critical. This morning is crucial. I have been on the phone for hours trying to get something resolved with this "situation." I wish I could share details, but I cannot. Just know that I appreciate your prayers, and am confident that they will continue.