Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another crazy family story! (With this family, we'll never run out.)

I will never forget the Christmas holidays of 1990. It wasn't so much the holidays themselves, or even the fact that my second-born child was due any second. The happenings on the day Shelby was born are simply unforgettable.

It all started the night before. Kathy and her kids, 16 year-old Chris and 14 year
old Lesley, were over for the holidays. We all had a pleasant visit, fairly unremarkable except for the fact that I was so pregnant that I couldn't get comfortable. As they prepared to leave at about 10 PM, Chris invited Jimmy to spend the night, since Lesley also had a friend coming over. My son thought it over and decided he would rather stay home with all of his Christmas goodies, so they left and we all went to bed shortly after. Later, Jimmy had good reason to thank the Lord that he had made that decision....

At 2 AM the phone rang, and I rolled over and picked up. It is almost never a good thing to get a call at that hour, and that night was no exception.


"Hello Ma'am. This is the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department. We are trying to reach a Kathy R. Do you have any idea how we can get in touch with her?"

No, this was not sounding good. Not at all.

"Well, she left here about two hours ago with her kids. As far as I know she was going straight home."

"We have been calling her house because we have her children Chris and Lesley in custody. If we can't find a responsible family member to come get them I am going to have to take them to Juvenile Hall."

What the heck???? "I can come get them, but I have no idea why Kathy isn't answering the phone."

"Normally we would have just taken them to jail, but I could tell these kids aren't your typical delinquents when when we pulled her friend over, and Lesley jumped out of the station wagon waving her hands in the air crying, "Don't shoot me! Don't shoot me!"

Aha, it was becoming clear now. They had taken Kathy's car on a joy ride! The only one of the three that was even old enough to drive was Chris, and not only did he not have his license yet, he hadn't even taken driver's ed.

"Are you sure you can come get them? They gave me some long rambling story about how their aunt is 9 months pregnant and her husband can't walk."

"I AM 9 months pregnant and my husband CAN'T walk, but he drives with hand controls. We will come get them!"

Andy and I dressed in record time, we loaded his wheelchair into the truck, and we were off. But the first stop was Kathy's house to see if we could roust her out of bed. She answered the door in a state of complete sleep disorientation.

"Wha... what are you doing here at this hour?" she sputtered.

I replied, "The sheriff has been trying to call you. Do you know where your kids are? Do you know where your car is?"

Kathy went over to the sleeping bags on the floor and pulled the covers back. Nothing but pillows. She checked her phone. The kids had turned the ringer off. "That's it. THAT'S IT!!! Those kids are dead meat!!" She threw a robe on over her pajamas. "Just WAIT 'til I get my hands on those little @$$#*&%$!!!"

We delivered Kathy to her children, her car, and the sheriff, and stuck around just long enough to make sure that we weren't going to have to post bail for Kathy assaulting her children. The last thing I heard was Kathy yelling, "I'm going to rip your arms off and kill you both with the bloody stumps!" and the sheriff's reply, "Sounds like it may be justifiable homicide, kids."

Then Andy and I returned to our nice, warm bed and went back to sleep.

Except, about every half hour to 45 minutes I woke up slightly, thinking... ow, I hurt. Ow... I hurt.....

By 7:30, it was obvious I was in full blown labor.

10 hours and a big bag of Skittles later, Miss Shelby Dylane came into the world.

And, the rest is history. :)

A very lucky Jimmy

Chris and Lesley in the waiting room while I was in labor, the little turds.

Shelby is born!!!

Introducing Baby Girl Shelby Dylane: 6:36 PM, 8 lbs, 7oz, 20" long. :)

P.S. A very happy, and hopefully much less eventful, 20th birthday to my daughter!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Very Best Christmas

Shelby and I had a few last minute things to pick up from the store, and while we were driving we noticed several near-miss accidents. Everybody was in a horrible rush. One lady laid angrily on her horn behind me, wanting me to turn in front of another car, I guess. When she zipped around me, I resisted the impulse to flip the bird, and instead waved and said, “Merry Christmas” to her.

I commented that so many people get stressed out trying to recreate the best Christmas they ever had, but this is an impossibility because you can’t buy the Very Best Christmas. Then, reminiscing:

The Very Best Christmas, I received a dog tag engraved “Mom”.

The Very Best Christmas, I opened a package with a macaroni necklace.

The Very Best Christmas was any when my Grandma was still alive. Or, my Dad. Or, Andy.

This year will also be the Very Best Christmas.

I have my health.
I have my Mom.
I have my friends.
I have my children.
I have my grandchildren.
I have my Arthur.

And of course we always celebrate the FIRST Very Best Christmas; when a special Baby was born to teach us how to love and care for one another.

If we can just remember that lesson, every year will always be the Very Best Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

... only one Dad

"There are billions of people in the world, but only one Dad."

Thank you, miserable razor company, for reminding us of this inescapable fact over and over again at Christmas time. :(

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Final thoughts about ornaments

These are just a few of many decorations that were given to me as gifts. The Starbucks one from Shelby needs no explanation to those who know me! :) The bell is one of the remaining few Twelve Days of Christmas" ornaments that my brother Doug gave me the year Shelby was born. The nurse jingle bell is a little sweetie from my mom, but the sweetest memory among these is the Energizer Bunny. That was a special gift from Andy. He knew I wanted it, and he went to several stores before he found one.

Here are some more ornaments that remind me of Grandma. She was always quite clever at arts and crafts, so she helped me make ornaments out of wooden sewing spools and pieces of broken up costume jewelry. They will probably be with us for many generations because they are indestructable.

The white deer was a trinket she bought me at the old JL Hudsons in downtown Detroit. It originally held bright colored lollipops tied with curly ribbons. And the trumpet is actually a baby rattle of mine!

As time passes and things seem to blur and fade, I'm so happy to have all of these multi-colored memories that I can hold in my hand.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Decorating Continues

I have stated several times in the past that when Art and I married and blended our past lives together, that there is something very intimate about mixing two sets of Christmas ornaments together.

If that's true, this must be an Ornament Orgy.

So many ornaments, so many stories!

These are a few of my kids' favorite decorations. John loves that old styrofoam snowman that I colored with a magic marker! He doesn't even know why except that we've had it as long as he can remember.

These are some of Art's favorites. Several of them were hand made by Sue.

These were from my jobs over the years. I especially love the hand made ones from school kids.

It wouldn't be Christmas without Sue's Elvis. :)

Wonderful old memories, but we have some of our own memories, too...!

Mr. and Mrs. were a gift from my mom the Christmas before Art and I were married.

I have a few more to share, but that will be for another day. Have a Merry Thursday, everybody!

Monday, December 6, 2010


This is a P.S. to my previous entry...

We took out all of our ornaments today to prepare to trim the real tree in the next couple of days. Look what I still have! This is the only one of Grandma's birds still in existence and, as you can see, he is in desperate need of some TLC, if not CPR!

Now that I think of it, I'll bet I can fix him right up. A couple of new googly eyes, and some jaunty new tail and wing feathers might be all it takes. Sounds like a fun little holiday project! :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A new tree for Grandma's table

This is not the first time I have posted this photo of a three-year-old me with my Grandma, but this photo holds such special memories. The little pink tree was absolute childhood magic with it's glitter and feather birds swaying in the twilight shadows, beneath tiny clear twinkle lights. Grandma and her wonderful tree were treasures that seemingly would be part of my life forever.

Then one year, to my sorrow, Grandma's little tree was gone. Evidently it had become quite shabby, although I never noticed. I begged her to get another pink tree, but she was unable to find one. Styles change, and aluminum trees were the newest "in" thing. That didn't suit either one of us, so the glittery birds took up residence among the other ornaments in the full sized tree.

(They looked just like these, but they had feathers on them.)

Years passed and one by one the bird ornaments broke or fell apart. I grew up, married. Jimmy came into the world, then Grandma died and took some more of the magic with her. When Grandpa moved in with my parents, I was given several pieces of their furniture that I still treasure today. Several pieces... including the little drop-leaf table that the little tree used to sit on every year.

During a recent shopping trip I was stunned to see nothing less than a little pink Christmas tree nestled among the taller green trees in the store. It was a bit different than the original, but it was little and pink! I didn't have enough cash with me then, but Art brought it home today and we set it up on Grandma's table.

The memories make it beautiful. I wonder... I wonder if glittery feather birds could bring back some of the magic...