Archive for family

Happy Birthday, Earl!

Yesterday was my brother Earl’s birthday, so my sister and I met up with him at Pachinko Parlor, just north of downtown. It’s a new little restaurant, kind of an asian fusion with sushi, Thai food, and other goodies. I really liked it. It’s particularly great to see funky concepts come into OKC. Pachinko Parlor is located in a part of town that’s recently been revitalized with new shops, cupcakeries, and restaurants. It’s so exciting to see – OKC just keeps getting better. I should’ve gotten an exterior shot of the place – there’s an enormous tree out front that’s pretty impressive.
Pachinko Parlor

Anyway, it was a nice sibling lunch – just me, Amy and Earl. I cannot remember the last time we’ve done something like that.
Amy & Earl
Afterwards, of course we had to go next door to Sara Sara Cupcakes.
Sara Sara

Sara Sara

I mean, what’s a birthday without cake?

Sara Sara

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Happy Birthday, E!

Happy birthday to my big brother, Earl! I hope you have a marvelous, fabulous day. We love you so much!

All of us sibs in Laguna Beach in June 07. 

That’s me & Earl when I was little in the top photo. He’s always been such a fun big brother, and so good to include me. When he was in college, I was in junior high, and he was awesome to let me tag along with him and his buddies. He’s always been someone I could talk to and I love him immensely.

Happy birthday! Let’s go eat cupcakes this week!

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Happy Easter!

Well, when it rains it pours.

Actually, that really isn’t exactly true. We’ve had the craziest week ever. Let me tell you, absolutely crazy.

Monday was our playgroup, hosted here at our house. Tuesday …. well, I can’t even remember Tuesday. It must have not been eventful. Wednesday was my dear sweet mom’s birthday, as well as BSF, and then I played mom to my 3 nephews + Jude. (the long & short of it: I picked them up from school and we got milkshakes from Johnnie’s, we glittered easter eggs, wrestled up in the bonus room –well, they wrestled, not me — then we went to swimming lessons, and then we ate pizza). Oh, this was also the day that my laptop decided to die. Again. ::sigh:: So if you have emailed me lately (Janet, I’m talkin’ to you, my friend – I’m not ignoring you!!! I promise! We have been oohing and aahing over your photos!!!), yes, I have received your email, and I have lots to respond to, but it’s just so exhausting to type on my iPhone when I have a lot to say.

THEN! Thursday! Oh wow, Thursday was CRAZY. I don’t know if you followed much of the news here in Oklahoma, but wildfires started popping up out around my parents’ house and within a matter of hours, about 100 homes went up in flames. My parents live out in eastern Oklahoma City, almost out in the country, if you will. They’ve lived in their house since I was born, and it’s the place where we all go back to. It’s, well, home. We love it there. Anyway, I talked to Dad as he watched the flames shooting up back behind the neighbor’s house, and he was nervous, and then the police came and told them to get out. So they did. They just got in their car, and drove to IHOP and ate pancakes. Because sometimes you just need a little pancake comfort, you know?

Simon and my brother in law decided they needed to go out and see about this and they did not know that the police had evacuated them. But by the time they got out there, there was a whole lotta fire going on, and they started loading up the computer and their GINORMOUS filing cabinet into the car. Pure adrenaline, they both said.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Amy had Jude and the boys and I was at the genius bar at Apple (grrrr — darn laptop). Simon and Eric sprayed down the house, ran the sprinklers, helped the neighbor across the way get some of the fires beat down, and shot some pictures on their iPhones in the process. If I was on my laptop or had htese photos, I would post them here. But I don’t. Grrr. 😦

The guys were totally awesome. We are still in awe of them going out in an act of love. I picked up Jude, and came home and watched the coverage on the news in tears. I just thought, “I really don’t want to watch Mom & Dad’s house go up in flames on TV.” Simon, meanwhile, was sad, too — he just couldn’t stand the thought of losing it. Yes, our families were safe, and yes, it’s just stuff — but really, it’s the memories & the family love that’s embodied there, you know? I guess that’s what makes a house a home.

He finally got home around 10:45. The fires were under control, and my little Smokey the Bear smelled verrrrrrry strong. HE was exhausted, but he was so brave! And they passed out bottled water to the firemen – how great is that? So now all’s well that ends well, and this Easter we had a lot to be thankful for.

As for Easter, we hosted it at our house this year and it was so great. On Saturday, we enjoyed working in the yard and planting some flowers (ok, really, it was Simon – I supervised). And then we got up and went to church and had such an amazing service (I LOVE our church!) and before we knew it, we were back here at the house, enjoying a delicious lunch.

Despite the rain today, it really was a beautiful day. I’m thankful for our family and friends who celebrated with us today, this most special, holy day to us, honoring Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. He is risen; he is risen, indeed!

So, after a crazy week, we are tired, but content. House or no house, in sickness or health, for better or worse, for richer or poorer – we have each other. And that is all that matters.

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MIA

Is it really only Wednesday? It feels like this week has been two weeks long already. My computer is still dead, so I’m relying only on my husband’s laptop and my iPhone for now. Hopefully we’ll be back up and running soon. I’m really hoping that it’s not going to mean that I lose a lot of my precious photos, but thank goodness for Flickr since I have so many saved there.

But the big thing this week was my mom. Mom was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and went in on Tuesday morning for a kidney biopsy. It was super scary for everyone as there were complications that could arise, but we all felt at peace with her doctors and with the plan at hand. To be honest, I was really scared. Mom is never sick. She’s always the one who has it pulled together. If any one of us were sick, she’d be the first one there to take care of us. And sometimes, you just want your mom, you know? So it’s hard for her to be the one who really needs some help right now.  I’ve been on edge for days, snapping unnecessarily at Simon or Jude and then bursting into tears. Dramatic? Yeah. But I’m being honest with myself about how I feel: I was scared.

Me, Chrysi, & Mom in 2002

Me, Chrysi, & Mom in 2002

Things went well, though. She spent the night at the hospital and was really good about being on a brief 24-hour bedrest. I’m so proud of her. She’s so strong — one tough cookie, my mom! And the weird thing is, despite the fact that we have different autoimmune diseases, she and I are both taking similar medication. So I hope that to some extent I can be encouraging?

Mom, I love you. I know these past few weeks have been so very tough. I know what it’s like to be frustrated with not feeling good and waiting for a diagnosis. And I know it’s not fun to be in the hospital and be poked and prodded. You were so brave and so very strong, and we are all proud of you. We would do anything to help you!

Tonight I went for a bike ride to clear my head. BSF was really good this week and it was talking about complaining and how God feels about complaints. The Israelites were complaining so much about their situation in the desert, even though God had brought them through so many big events. They were lacking perspective. God’s anger boiled over at them when they started complaining (again) and he burned up the outskirts of the camp in a holy fire. Moses was sick of hearing them complain and so was God. I definitely lack perspective sometimes and my family has to remind me of that. I thought about all the things that I’m grateful for, like my sweet family and our beautiful little house.

As I rode on the bike, I passed by our little swan lake that’s hidden away in the middle of the neighborhood, like a surprise gem when you come around the corner. There are two swans that swim there and I could hear them, honking to each other in the darkness. I could barely make them out, two little white blobs in the watery distance. They are so beautiful but their voices are surprisingly harsh, like the swan equivalent of speaking German. Still there they are together, mated for life.

I hope everyone is having a great week. Hopefully I’ll be back up and running like normal soon. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can get my computer back soon!

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I love my cousins & they love me too

I really think I have the best nieces and nephews ever, all six of them. I’m reminded of this every time we all get together and hang out. They’re all just such good kids, and they get along so well. Each and every one truly loves each other, and it delights me to see how much they dote on Jude.  Plus he totally eats it up; he can’t get enough of them. The girls love on him, the guys tote him around. It’s just the best. I really enjoyed taking pictures of Jude with Luke and Blythe this weekend at lunch. They were just too funny, kissing on Jude, hugging him, patting his head. Then there was a rousing game of peekaboo, always a crowd pleaser. Hope your weekend was great! I took off a little early last week for our Girls+Jude Mid-Week trip to Dallas where we shopped, ate, and slept to our hearts content. There was also copious consumption of gelato. Hey, mommas need their dairy, right? Christa and Julie were troopers to put up with me and Jude, who really was a good little traveler, albeit a crabapple from time to time. I would probably have fussed too if i had had to go shopping nonstop. Wait, no, I wouldn’t.

Anyway, I picked up some knobs at Anthropologie for the Ikea cabinet in our bedroom, as well as for the upstairs bath. So excited – such an inexpensive way to turn something around. And there was another trip to Ikea, and I got a few more of those cheapo floating shelves. I think they’ll look cool upstairs in the bonus room.

On Saturday, we enjoyed a birthday party for a couple of my cousin George’s kids at Pump It Up. We grabbed lunch w/ my sibs over at Cafe Plaid in Norman and then headed on home for a deelightful afternoon nap. Sunday was church, lunch, and another nap!

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Cupcakes are the New Burritos

Let the Christmas season officially begin! I hope your Thanksgiving was SO much fun! Ours definitely was. First of all, I would like to say to everyone who commented on my last post, thank you. Thanks for your well-wishes and your thoughts. I really am thankful for that. 

Anyway, we had a long weekend full of food and family. And we are full, that is for sure. My sister and I helped my mom to coordinate Thanksgiving. As I mentioned before, we always have a lot of extended family and friends at our house for Thanksgiving, and so it’s always so much fun. My parents love to entertain at their house, and we are happy to help.  We had lunch at my parents’ house at 2:00 and then headed to Simon’s parents’ house around 5:30. We managed to polish off my homemade mac ‘n cheese, which was absolutely delish, if I do say so myself.

Friday, we slept in and hung around our house. Because Simon worked retail for 8 years at the Gap, it’s like he feels this seismic, otherworldly pull to the mall on Black Friday. I am no longer lured; unless there is just  the most fantastic deal to be had, I’m not messin’ with it. However, it was like we were pulled into the great vortex of consumerism and we were nearly sucked in until we drove past the mall parking lot and saw that it was stuffed to the brim. Um, no, thank you.

We had lunch on Friday at the Iguana downtown, and then followed it up with a cupcake next door at Sara Sara Cupcakes. Is it just me, or are cupcakes so the new burritos? We laughed on and on about the evolution of food trends. Once upon a time, frozen yogurt and baked potatoes were the hot trend. These days, it’s burritos and cupcakes. This place was pretty cute. They took an abandoned rickety house from the 20s or so, and completely remodeled it. It’s like my dream come true: white walls, white floors, white furniture and a great big white lantern. I hope they succeed; it’s a cool interior and the cupcakes were pretty good too.

My sister made my mom’s special recipe, Bean Supreme, for the whole family on Friday night, so we made our way on out to Mom & Dad’s. I had taken all of my glittered pumpkins over for centerpieces on T-giving, so, in our great family tradition, we chunked them out over the back fence that afternoon. Sounds totally hick, doesn’t it? 🙂  My parents live almost out in the country, and they have a great big retaining wall in the backyard that overlooks all these trees and fields. As a kid, we always threw the nasty rotten easter eggs out over the back fence, or in the summer, we threw the watermelon rinds out there. Nothing that wasn’t perishable — no trash or anything like that. So this time, we threw the pumpkins. My nephews thought this was pretty cool. The idea was to figure out how we could launch them, fashioning wanna-be slingshots out of trashbags. Jude was particularly pumped up by this masculine display of testosterone, and shouted and growled a lot.

The Great Pumpkin Toss

The Great Pumpkin Toss

 

Laughing at his cousins

Laughing at his cousins

Who knows, maybe there will be a pumpkin patch out in the brush next year thanks to us. Saturday was rounded out by shopping for holiday decorations. It really made me happy that Simon wanted to help decorate and get our house fixed up. We are living next to the OSU Griswolds, and they have OSU decorations gracing their yard. Bah. I did notice, though, that on Saturday night they had turned off all their OSU decor in light of OU’s fabulous win against them. Guess they didn’t want to get egged.

Also a big thanks to Simon’s folks for keeping Jude the Dude so we could go on a real live date. Our first in quite awhile. We went to the movies to see Quantum of Solace. Love that Daniel Craig. Love him!

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Needing a Knee

A little over three years ago, in April of 2005, to be exact, my mom busted her knee and had to have it worked on. This was rather unfortunate timing because she had it fixed the day before she and my dad (along with my brother and brother-in-law) all flew to the Mayo Clinic in what would turn out to be Dad’s diagnosis of prostate cancer (thankfully, now rectified). I was in LA on a work trip, and everything just flew into a tizzy at this last unexpected wrench that was thrown into the plan. Anyway, she had the surgery, and the next morning, she was pushed through the airport in a wheelchair and got on that plane to go and support Dad. They joked about it at the time because Dad was the one who was sick and here Mom goes, stealing his thunder and all, getting special treatment in the wheelchair.

Mom is just determined that way. Let nothing stand in her path; she will accomplish what she has set her mind to. She will do anything for our beloved Dad, or any one of us kids (or grandkids, too). She is more servant-minded and conscientious of others than anyone else I have ever met.

So now it’s time for us to do something for her. She’s been having knee problems again (this time on the “good” knee, as she calls it). The “bad” knee has healed up perfectly and so now it’s time to get to work on the other one. This morning she went in for an MRI and it was determined that there is definitely some torn cartilage. Tomorrow, she is scheduled for surgery. It isn’t the timing she would’ve wanted, so close to Thanksgiving and family coming into town, but that’s ok. It needs to be done, and she’s in enough pain that she knows it needs to be fixed.

So, I don’t know how much I’ll be posting this week. We’ve got a list of to-dos to accomplish here at their house to get ready for company, but keep us all in your prayers. As of now, here’s the schedule for the week:

Monday
Doctors appointments, getting set for the week, make plan of action for T-giving prep
Do laundry: baby bedding, guest bath towels 

Tuesday
Take The Man to Mother’s Day Out
Mom’s Surgery

Wednesday
BSF (tentative – we’ll see if I can help out)

Thursday
Clean 2 guest bathrooms
Clean out guest closet 

Friday
Laundry: guest bed linens 

Saturday 
Uncle Kermit & Aunt Cheryl arrive (or wait, it might be Sunday)

I also need to firm up the T-giving menu, as well as purchase the paper goods. But I will say that I am super-proud of myself because I knocked out a BUNCH of Christmas shopping this weekend. I have never been this on-top-of things before, ever!  I would say that I am halfway through, which is awesome.

Also, a big congratulations to Kattie on her wedding this weekend! I can’t wait to see pictures. I’ll also be posting photos of her great programs later on this week.

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