Thursday, December 30, 2010

How to help

Earlier today I wrote about my sister Kristin and how her U-Haul trailer with all of their possessions was stolen on their way to California. Our friend Michelle set up a website where you can donate money if you would like to help out. Here is the link:

Thank you everyone for your kindness and generosity! It is greatly appreciated!

Tragedy for the Hawkins family

As I mentioned in my previous post, my sister Kristin and her family left for California this past Tuesday. Tragedy struck on Tuesday night around midnight when someone stole the trailer that they were using to transport their possessions. They lost everything! They had everything that meant most to them packed in that trailer. It makes me so sad for Kristin's kids because they not only lost most of their toys, but they also lost their new Christmas presents. I can't imagine what a devastating blow that must be to a child!

Kristin and her family also lost just about all of their clothing. Scott is supposed to be starting his new job on January 10, but he only has a few pairs of old jeans and some old shirts to wear to work. Kristin loves cooking and all of her specialized equipment that she uses to bake and cook is gone, too.

Most of their possessions can be replaced, but it's going to be such a financial hardship on them. There were several priceless and irreplaceable things that they lost as well. The saddest thing that they lost was the piano that my dad bought for my mom 30 years ago. Kristin loves playing the piano, so my mom decided to give it to Kristin since she enjoys playing the piano so much. It makes me sick to think about all of the things that my sister's family lost! This couldn't have happened to better people.

I'm wondering if anyone would be kind enough to help me replace some of her family's belongings, especially things for her kids since they lost all of their clothes, toys and Christmas presents. It would be great if people could find it in their hearts to spread some belated Christmas cheer to Kristin's family. Let me know if you're interested in donating some money or things to the cause!

(Of course I see the silver lining that everyone is safe, that their van is okay, etc., but they need prayers and help at this time. Thanks!)

Parting is such sorrow

I've recently lost several people who are very important to me. I'm not sure what the expression "parting is such sweet sorrow" is supposed to mean because there hasn't been anything sweet about parting with people that I love and adore.

My sister Kristin and her family left on Tuesday for Ridgecrest, California, where Kristin's husband Scott found a job that he's very excited about. When Kristin moved here this past summer I was sure that Scott would find a job in St. Louis, or at the very least somewhere in the Midwest so that we could be relatively close to each other. This isn't how things have turned out at all! On one hand I'm so excited that Scott has found a job since he's been looking for over a year, however, on the other hand I'm so sad for myself because I'll have to say goodbye to Kristin and her family. Kristin is one of the best people I know! It She's kind and thoughtful, talented in so many ways and just plain wonderful all around. I'm also going to miss her kids. She has four boys ages six and under and they are so much fun. I've loved getting to know them better. They crack me up and I love seeing their creativity. They've taught us all things about super heroes, video games, Star Wars, playing the Wii, etc.

I also had to say goodbye to my dear friend Nathan earlier this month. I met Nate 2 1/2 years ago when he moved to St. Louis to go to orthodontic school at St. Louis University. We've been friends from the start and have shared so many fun times with each other. I don't know if/when I'll be able to see him again since he's taken a job in Tucson, Arizona. I wish all of the best for him and his new life in Tucson!

I'm thankful that the Lord sees fit to bless us all with wonderful friends and family members that enrich us and fill our lives with joy!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Movie #25

I saw my 25th movie of the year this past Tuesday. My sisters Sharon, Chandra and I decided to see Gulliver's Travels. This movie was so silly and funny and it gave us all a good laugh. Jack Black was his typical funny and crazy self, and he reminded me of the character that he played in School of Rock (one of my favorite movies).

I made my goal of seeing 25 movies in 2010 and I will be making a blog post soon about going to the movies and reaching my goal. Hooray for movies!

Elizabeth's 10th birthday

My niece turned 10 on December 27, and since she was visiting for Christmas I got to help her celebrate. It's hard to believe Elizabeth is 10 years old already; she's definitely turning into a young lady!

Here are a few pictures of Elizabeth with her cake. It was a four layer cake with two white layers and two chocolate layers. My sister Kristin really went to town decorating it to make it fancy and fun.

Here are a few pictures of Elizabeth opening her presents. It was great to have so many of her cousins to celebrate with:

One of the best Christmases ever!

My favorite Christmas ever was probably my Dad's last Christmas in 1998 right before he died of pancreatic cancer. Christmas this year was my second favorite. Most of my family lives in other places, so we're never all together for the holidays. That being said, we'll take any company we can get!

This year lots of my family was around for Christmas. My sister Kristin and her family (who have been living with us for the past several months) were around to celebrate Christmas with us, as well as my sister Sharon and her family (who live in Mississippi). We had a house full with seven adults and nine children, and things got even more crazy when my sister Laura, her husband Brett and their baby came over on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Family is definitely what makes holidays fun and enjoyable, so I was happy that so many of us could celebrate Christmas together.

Christmas Eve: We don't have a fireplace in my house, so we've never had a great spot to hang our stockings. This year was no different and since there were so many stockings that needed to be hung, we decided to tie a rope on the curtain rods in my kitchen and family room so that we could hang our stockings on it. Here is a picture of that:

Now that all of the kids in my family are grown and living on their own, my mom just puts up a small, 4-foot fiber optic tree each year. However, since my sister Kristin's family was living here, we decided to buy a real tree to make the Christmas season more exciting for her kids. My mom had gotten rid of most of the ornaments that we used to use to decorate every year, so we had to improvise by making a lot of homemade ornaments. The tree turned out nicely even though it was an "impromptu" Christmas tree. Here is a picture of our Christmas tree after Santa stopped by:

Christmas Day: Christmas morning began early, but it wasn't your typical Christmas morning where the kids rush down the stairs and start opening presents. I really wanted to be a part of everything, but since it was Saturday, that meant the first order of business was to get me dressed, wash and fix my hair (which is a long process) and get me up into my wheelchair. My mom started getting me ready at 6 AM and I was finally up in my wheelchair and ready to go by 8:30. The kids patiently waited for me to be ready before they came downstairs. (It was a tall order to keep seven very young and excited children waiting!)

We started by having a quick breakfast of scones; chocolate peppermint and white chocolate cranberry. Here is a picture of the scones:

We spent the next several hours opening presents and exploring our loot. It was so fun to watch the kids open their presents and witness their excitement over the things they got. The kids excitement was so enchanting! Here are some of my favorite pictures from Christmas morning:

We spent Christmas afternoon hanging out, trying out the kids' new toys and playing games. Here are more of my favorite pictures:

It's hard to believe that Christmas is over! It seems as if the Christmas season gets shorter and shorter each year. Christmas was only four days ago, but it seems like a lot longer, in my opinion. How is it that time can pass so quickly?! I definitely made a lot of great memories to put in my "mental vault"and I'm grateful for such a kind, loving family.

White Christmas

One of my favorite things about winter is snow. I love it so much and how it transforms the world into an even more beautiful place. It doesn't seem like we get near as much snow as we used to, and we've had way too many green Christmases in the past 10–15 years. In my opinion every Christmas should be white, but it just doesn't happen that way very often anymore. That being said, I was very excited when snow was in the forecast for Christmas Eve.

It was snowing when I woke up on Christmas Eve and it snowed off and on all day. It was so wonderful to be able to look out and see the snow falling. We didn't get a lot of snow, probably only four or five inches, but it was enough to cover the grass and coat the trees. I was so thankful for the snow and that it happened on Christmas Eve because it made it seem a lot more like Christmas!

My nieces and nephews loved the snow and had a lot of fun playing in it, especially my nieces that live in Mississippi where they only get a dusting of snow once in a blue moon. It was also my brother-in-law Brett's first white Christmas ever since he grew up in California and hasn't lived in St. Louis very long. I think he had just as much fun, if not more playing in the snow than the kids did!

Here are a few pictures of our white Christmas. This is what I woke up to when my mom lifted up the shade on Christmas Eve:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Kindred spirits

This is a picture of me and my friend Kate:We met for the first time earlier this summer and saw each other on two separate occasions, just for a few minutes each time. Kate is originally from St. Louis, however, she lives in Draper, Utah, where she teaches school.

Kate later "friended" me on Facebook, and then we started following each other's blogs and have gotten to know each other better by reading past posts we've each made on our blogs. We've also become e-mail "penpals" and have been e-mailing each other a few times a week for the past several months. We've got a lot in common and we both enjoy each other's friendship.

Kate came home for Christmas last weekend and she came over to visit me at my house yesterday. It was great to be able to see her and spend some actual face-to-face time together for a change!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Brownie biscotti and hot chocolate

On Sunday afternoon my sister Kristin made a new treat for me to try. It's one of her favorites that she likes to have every year during the Christmas season. She made brownie biscotti. I've never had biscotti before, but it's basically a long, crunchy cookie. Although this cookie was crunchy, it was really good and it was fun to dip in hot chocolate. (The hot chocolate soaked into the biscotti, softened it and melted the white chocolate chips that were in it.) Here's a picture of it:
After dinner we pulled recliners from the family room into my room so that we could have a movie night with Kristin's boys. (I was already back in my bed, plus, I have a bigger TV in my room than in the family room.) We watched The's Muppet's Christmas Carol. I hadn't ever seen it before, but it's one of Kristin's family's favorites. It was very cute and we all enjoyed it.

I'm thankful for the opportunity I have to make memories with Kristin and her family, especially now that Scott got a job and Kristin's family will be moving to California a few days after Christmas.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Movie #24

I saw my 24th movie of the year today. My sisters Kristin and Chandra and our friend Vanessa went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. When the first Harry Potter book was made into a movie in 2001, I was so excited! I couldn't wait to see the movie, but after I did, I felt slightly let down. I really enjoyed the movie, but I got increasingly more and more disappointed with the following movies, and they just didn't fill me with enchantment and excitement like the first movie did. I really didn't care about seeing the Harry Potter movies after the first one, but I stuck with the movies and fortunately they eventually started getting better. (I think it was just too hard to fit a book so long and complex into a two-hour movie and have it still make sense.)

I thought Harry Potter #5 was pretty good and Harry Potter #6 was really good. (Entertaining as well as staying fairly true to the books.) I'm pleased to report that Harry Potter #7 was also very good/exciting. I can't wait to see part two next summer. It's hard to wait since I'm looking forward to seeing how this series wraps up, but I am glad that they decided to split this final book into two movies so that they don't have to cut out and/or change the book as much.)

Only one more left!

Can't get candy like this in the stores

One of the things I look forward to every Christmas is getting the box of candy that my grandparents send us every year. It's peanut brittle and toffee that my grandparents make themselves. The peanut brittle is my grandpa's specialty, and grandma makes the toffee. Peanut brittle often gets a bad rap, in my opinion, since it's usually not made correctly, so it turns out extremely hard. (No one wants to break their teeth on "brittle" brittle!) My grandpa's peanut brittle is so light and so good! The key to its perfection is to use the right amount of baking soda so that it bubbles up. Then when the candy hardens it's nice and light because of all of the little bubbles.

Grandma's toffee is one of my favorite treats at Christmas and always has been. The buttery toffee tastes so good with the chocolate on top. As I said, I always look forward to getting the box of candy that my grandparents send in the mail each Christmas, but unfortunately it never lasts long! (We got it on Friday, and the toffee is already gone, and there's not much peanut brittle left. Too bad!)

The candy that my grandparents make is far superior to any peanut brittle or toffee that they sell in stores. I know that I couldn't find any better candy in the stores, so I'm glad that my grandparents still make it and send it to us every year. Here's a picture of the delicious candy (but the picture really doesn't do it justice!):

Friday, December 17, 2010

California is much too far!

Much of my life for the past five months has been consumed with my sister Kristin and her family. They've been living with us since the end of July while Kristin's husband Scott looked for a job. In November Scott started having interviews for a job in California. When I first heard the word "California" my heart sunk as I thought about my sister and her family moving thousands of miles away.

When Kristin and her family moved here it was such a blessing because I didn't know her kids at all since I hadn't seen Kristin and her family in four years. I really thought that Scott would end up finding a job that was relatively close to us. I hoped it would be in St. Louis, but at the very least somewhere in the Midwest, no more than seven hours away so that we could see each other several times a year. No such luck!

Scott did get the job in California, which is an answer to prayer, but it's very bittersweet! My sister and her family will be moving to California a few days after Christmas. My heart is breaking at the thought of losing Kristin who is one of my best friends, and also Kristin's four little boys who I adore so much. I'm completely in love with them! They delight me and fill me with so much joy. I didn't really have much experience with little boys until Kristin moved here since my two oldest sisters each have four girls. I was completely partial to girls when Kristin moved here, but now I love little boys just as much as little girls, thanks to Kristin's boys!

It makes me so sad to realize that the kids won't really have any memories of living here since they are all so young. Kaleb probably will since he is 6 1/2, but the other boys are so young! Especially Aaron who isn't even a year old yet. He's grown up so much in the past five months and it's been really special to witness his growth and progress.

I'm thankful for modern communication so that Kristin and I can stay in contact with each other, but it's definitely not the same! Why did it have to be California?!

So strange I had to look it up

I keep seeing TV commercials for something called Smoke Assist, and the TV commercial seem so silly and weird that I had to look it up to see what it was all about. Apparently you get something that looks like a cigarette, but instead of smoking nicotine you only smoke water vapor. On one hand it would be a lot better to just be smoking water vapor rather than nicotine, but if it were me, I would feel really silly smoking a "fake" cigarette at the office or in a no-smoking establishment. I can only imagine the looks that others would give you. Still, though, I would much rather have people smoking water vapor than nicotine, so if this helped someone kick the nicotine habit, I would be all for it, even if it looked strange.

I don't understand the addiction to nicotine since I've never been a smoker, but I know that it truly is an addiction that is hard to quit once you are hooked.

Here is the link for the website (and it plays the hokey TV commercial for you):

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A few things I love

Facebook! This sounds weird, and a few years ago I would've never thought I would ever join Facebook, let alone admit I love it, but I do love it. Here's why: the great thing about Facebook is that I'm able to keep in touch in a small way with people I normally wouldn't keep in touch with like casual acquaintances, old friends and people who I'd intend to keep in touch with, but ultimately wouldn't since life is hectic and things always seem to get in the way. It's nice to be able to keep an eye on people from a distance so that I still know what's going on with them, even though I'm not actively calling them up or seeing them on a regular basis.

Blogging! Writing a blog is also something I never thought I'd do, but just like being on Facebook, I find that I'm eating my words! I absolutely love blogging. I never really enjoyed writing growing up, but now I find that I really love writing about myself and my activities, of all topics! I love it when people tell me that they enjoy my blog and when they give me feedback about different things I've shared.

Christmas commercials! I love when seasonal TV commercials come on the air, usually around Halloween. Things just get better when Thanksgiving ends and then the airwaves are bombarded with Christmas commercials! However, the joy I experience from seasonal and/or Christmas commercials turns to sadness the day after Christmas when all of the Christmas commercials are suddenly pulled from the airwaves! I'm weird, I know!

Finally finished!

I've been seriously slacking on my blogging lately but it's had to take a bit of the back seat for the past few months while I've been working on my family slideshow for 2010. I've actually been working on several slideshows the past few months. A slideshow doesn't take all that long to compile, but it's the countless hours of watching it over and over again as I tweak it to perfection. It probably shouldn't take me so long, but I want it to be absolutely perfect in every way. Even after watching it dozens of times, sometimes something will pop out at me even though I've seen it so much. I truly spend hours carefully scrutinizing every aspect so that I make sure everything is 99.9% perfect in the end. (I would say 100% perfect, but I don't think this is attainable since I'm sure there's something that could be better. I can settle for 99.9%!)

I started doing slideshows for the first time last year. I recently went back and watched last year's slideshow and I could tell a definite improvement in my work because I was noticing things right and left that wouldn't be acceptable anymore! It just made me smile because last year I thought my slideshow was pretty much perfect, but now that I watch it with another year of experience under my belt, and I see how far I've come!

The slideshow is 31 minutes long. I tried really hard to keep it short, but that's a tall order when I have so many good photographs to choose from. I don't know the exact number of pictures I had to work with this year, but I would say I probably had at least 3000 pictures to sift through. It's really hard to narrow the pictures down, too, since so many of them are good and have a story behind them. This year's slideshow has 854 pictures in it, 13 video clips and nine songs. I can't wait for my family to watch it, and I'm just glad that so many of us will be celebrating Christmas here at my mom's house so that we can all watch it together.

Hooray for documenting my life – it's seriously like a full-time job. I get on my computer almost every day of the week depending on what's going on, and I stay on it all day. I almost always get back on my computer after I'm back in bed for the night. I'd say I'm on my computer a good eight to 10 hours a day. Although I'm disabled, I definitely have a busy and productive life and I feel so blessed that I can spend my days doing something I love.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Channie turns 22

My younger sister Chandra turned 22 today. My mom, my sisters Kristin and Laura and I celebrated by taking Chandra out to lunch this morning. We went to Red Lobster. I can't remember the last time I've been there (it's been at least seven years since I haven't been there since my accident). We got there right as the restaurant was opening, so it wasn't busy at all, which is just the way I like it! We had a fun time together and it was nice to have four of the seven sisters in my family together. (Plus Mom!)

Chandra is going out with her friends tonight, so we had her family birthday dinner last night. We had chicken enchiladas and my sister Kristin made her a three layer chocolate truffle cake with a bittersweet chocolate filling between the three layers and a chocolate ganache on the top and sides. Here are a few pictures from last night:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jared turns three

My nephew Jared turned three on December 9, but we waited to celebrate his birthday until yesterday since his dad was out of town interviewing for a job. It's a good thing he's not any older, because waiting an extra day to celebrate your birthday is tough when you are young! Jared loves music and he wanted a piano for his birthday, so that's where he got! (Last year he got a guitar for his birthday, and little does he know, he's getting a drum set for Christmas.) Anyway, it was so cute to see him sitting on his tiny stool playing his little piano! His brothers also love his piano, especially Aaron who is almost 11 months old. It's precious to watch him sit on the stool and play on the piano!

For dinner we had pizza from Pizza Hut and an awesome chocolate cake made by my sister Kristin, of course! It was such a fun day and I'm so grateful that Kristin's family was around so that I could be a part of Jared's birthday.

Here are some pictures from the celebration:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...