My Talented Family

Three of my family members gave me handmade gifts this year, and they are some of my favorite presents ever!

For my birthday my sister made this very cute zippered pouch:

And then for Christmas my brother made me a letter C to add to my collection.  He designed, cut, welded and painted it himself. 

And my mom made a whole bunch of adorable pillows.  The flower pillow is my absolute favorite!

All these mean so much more to me since I know they spent so much time on them.  Thank you all!

My Birthday

My birthday was last weekend.  I am now 28!  I got to do fun stuff all weekend.  Saturday morning while out doing some normal grocery/pet food shopping, Pat stopped at a game store and I got to pick out a new game for my party that evening. 

Pat made beef stew with home-baked bread (from the freezer) for dinner, and his parents and Brent & Megan came over.  Dinner was delicious, and Megan made some awesome giant red velvet cupcakes for dessert.  Pat's parents gave me $50 to add to my $100 RC Willey gift card so that I can buy the Kinect that I want (just as soon as they get one in).

After dinner Pat's parents left to let us kids play, so we broke out my new game: Pirate's Cove.  It is made by the same people as Ticket to Ride, which is a game we really love, and the game store owner said that they guarantee you will like it or you can get your money back.  It was quite complicated to start from scratch and figure out what we were doing. 

By the time we got everything set up, my brother and Liz & Aaron had showed up, so we decided to take a break and play Rock Band instead so we could switch out and everyone could play.  Liz & Aaron had to leave early because of work, so after they left we started playing Pirate's Cove.  We finally got the (basic) hang of it, and had a good time while we were at it. 

By the time the game was over it was pretty late, so Brent & Megan headed home too.  Since it was so late, I decided to make a run to Wal-Mart while it was mostly empty.  I had been looking for some light green shatterproof ornaments and hadn't been able to find them anywhere else.  They did have some, so maybe I will finally get around to putting up a Christmas tree...

Sunday morning (after sleeping in a while) we went up the the hospital to visit Grandma Belle and meet Pat's parents.  After the hospital we went to TGI Fridays for lunch, and then went shopping.  They wanted to get us stuff for Christmas, and stuff from Grandma Belle for my birthday.  It was lots of fun having a girl to shop with while the boys sat and waited and carried out bags.  Plus spending someone else's money is always more fun!

We ended our afternoon with one more trip to the hospital to show Grandma what she bought for me.  Then we had to get home and let the pups out before heading to my parents' house for dinner.

We had a usual Sunday dinner at my parents': roast beef, veggies, rolls, and LOTS of mashed potatoes with gravy (the best part).  After dinner we played chickenfoot, which we apparently hadn't taught my family before.

Then we took a little break to eat dessert and open presents!  My sister made me crepes for dessert, by my request.  They were delicious. 

Then it was present time.  I had already seen a few presents because my mom made me try on some shirts so she knew they fit.  I also picked out a hat while I was shopping with her at Gardner Village.  But, she also gave me a Fiesta brand tablecloth that perfectly matches my kitchen (bright stripes), and some ceramic pie weights for baking pie crust shells.  I am excited to try them out.

My sister gave me an adorable little zippered pouch that she made herself!  I was so proud.  Plus some cute little birds that she painted yellow and green instead of the boring black they were to begin with.

The only downside to the entire weekend is that I started to get a cold Saturday night.  My throat started hurting, and then Sunday it got worse and my nose got stuffy.  Monday (when I am writing this) my throat was better, but I left work after half a day because I was so miserable.  I've been sneezing and sniffling all day.  I've been taking medicine, but I don't think it is helping very much.  It stinks not being able to give Grandma a kiss or play with my nephew. Hopefully it will be a fast one and will be gone before this weekend.

Sickness aside, I really enjoyed my birthday weekend this year!


In a Bountiful Basket I got a few weeks ago they gave us about half a dozen persimmons.  I had never eaten one before, and had to look up what they even were.  When they came, they were quite hard, but I put them in my kitchen window for a while and they softened up.  When I finally ate one, I was in heaven.  It was delicious!

The next time I ordered a Basket, they had an option to purchase an entire case of persimmons, so I did!  I found all sort of great recipes to try with them.  Cookies, bread, cake, pie, smoothies, you name it.  I did eat one of them hard, and decided that they are much better when soft.

The first recipe I tried was a persimmon pie for early Thanksgiving (the Saturday before because my grandma was leaving on a cruise).  It turned out pretty good.  The flavor was nice, but they were still a bit too crunchy for my taste.

Second was a persimmon birthday cake for my sister-in-law's birthday.  It was very dense, but still tasty, with cream cheese frosting.  It uses a puree of the fruit, not chunks.  My niece came over and helped me decorate.

I still have most of the case that I need to get canned or frozen, but they are all still good and hard and seem to be lasting.  Hopefully I will have a little free time soon.

Grandma Belle

Joey & Carl (Pat's parents) with Grandma Belle (Joey's mom):

Sorry for being gone so long.  It has gotten a little crazy around our house lately.

On Thanksgiving morning Pat's grandma had a seizure that was pretty serious, so we've been spending some quality time at the hospital.  Luckily she was staying at Stef's (Pat's sister) house so that there was someone there to call the ambulance, or we would have lost her.  She normally lives by herself.

They had to put her on a ventilator in order for her to breathe.  She was in a deep coma for a day or so, then was awake enough that she was able to wink at us and squeeze our hands.  It was pretty scary to see her like that.

Pat's parents drove all the way up from Yuma, AZ in one day to be with her.  Once everyone was here, the decision was made to take out her breathing tube so that she could actually talk to us and tell us what she wanted.  Once the tube was out, she started breathing just fine on her own and didn't need it anymore.

The doctors did lots of test and scans, and determined that she has a cancerous brain tumor.  She elected to have brain surgery to try and remove the tumor.  It took them several days to get the equipment to the hospital for the surgery.  In the meantime, they discharged her from the hospital and sent her back to Stef's house for a few days.

She won't be able to live on her own ever again, and she is not very happy about it.  There is a nice new assisted living facility near Stef's house, so she got a room all set up there and had a chance to get used to it for a few days before going back to the hospital for the surgery.

When they did the surgery, they determined that the cancer had spread enough that they would not be able to remove it, but it did seem to relieve the pressure on her brain a bit.  They said no chemo for her, but that radiation is an option if she wants to look into it.  She hasn't decided anything yet.  She is just trying to get strong enough to leave the hospital again.

Her memory seems to be the thing most affected by the tumor, but in mostly minor ways (like not remembering a certain word).  We thought we were going to lose her right after Thanksgiving, so we are very grateful that we get some more time with her, however long that might be. 

We love you Grandma!