Saturday, December 31, 2011

Extraordinary Gifts

I had such fun shopping for and giving some grandchildren gifts . . . Jessica’s cowgirl hat . . .

Morgan’s Harry Potter necklace . . . Allie’s dollhouse furniture . . . all ordinary gifts but fun nonetheless.

However, Bob and I were given some extraordinary gifts this year—gifts of the heart—given in love and with joy.

Bob’s son, Kevin, gave us a fabulous gift. He is perspicacious regarding what would be helpful for his dad—for us. He is observant, creative, considerate, perceptive, hard working, and generous. For Father’s Day 2011, Kevin floored part of our attic.

I have no photos of the process because Kevin and his children worked while we were gone for the week and surprised us with this practical and wonderful labor of love.

For Christmas, he gifted us again. While we were gone enjoying Christmas with our extended Gisel family, Kevin with the help of all of his children designed and installed a lift for the heavy beekeeping equipment that we use to extract honey.

He placed it above the garage door with a crank shaft so that it is easily lowered and raised as needed.

And that is not all! Our garage pull down ladder required two people and a stepladder that needed to be moved twice to pull the ladder down and pull it up again. Kevin invented and installed a system so that one person can easily get the ladder down singlehandedly with no stepladder.

See that hole in the very top step? It is an ingenious idea! You just put the pole in the hole and gently move the ladder down. Kevin made a pole and a handy place to hang it right by the pull down.

I was skeptical and wondered if it really could be that easy but I have done it now several times by myself.

It was an extraordinary gift! We are incredibly blessed! Thank you! Thank you!

Brian and Sharice, my nephew and niece by marriage, gave us a wonderful gift of time and talent and camaraderie and generosity—twice! The two of them honored us with their presence! They bring fun and laughter!

The first weekend they came, Sharice helped me decorate our master bedroom. She used a picture that I had tried to sell numerous times on Craig’s list. I like the picture but thought it was too large for our house. First we shopped together for a whole day! She listened to my likes and dislikes and came up with a plan that I love.

She also helped me buy frames for the grandchildren’s pictures, taught me about monkey hooks, mounted the photos, and hung them.

She and Brian hung a clock going down my stairway.

We even enjoyed little Coco, their sweet Chiweenie. He can make ambivalent, tolerant dog people into receptive though cautiously reserved admirers.

A few weeks later, Brian and Sharice came again.

On Saturday, we spent a little time in Chicago enjoying Christmas.

Sunday, they attended church with us and relaxed and seemed to enjoy just being together.

Then on Monday, we tackled the guest bedroom. Once again, Sharice looked at what I already had and used that for her inspiration and then we shopped—quickly this time—just two stores. We went to Kohl’s armed with my 20% off coupon and then to TJMaxx, heading straight for the clearance items.

Within a few hours, the guest room looked like House Beautiful. (I have ordered a blue drape to hang down the left side of the window that will finish the room.)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for your wonderful, extraordinary, immense gifts from the heart. Our hearts were touched and we are still smiling!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Slightly Altered

Sometimes it is just too hard to resist . . .

I could not resist putting these young and old shepherds in a Bethlehem field.

I could not resist putting beautiful Mary and contemplative Joseph in a stable.

I could not resist putting all of the characters in one cast picture.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Votes Taken . . . Motion Carried

I took up a campaign with hubby some time ago to take all of the grandkids into Chicago at the same time for a Christmas experience. I researched, put together my support team, budgeted, and strategized.

We introduced the kids to a Billy Goat Tavern and some stories about the original place.

Experienced a bit of Daley Plaza

and Christkindlmarket.

Took the Brown Line “L” to Southport

Enjoyed “The Christmas Schooner” at the Mercury Theater

Bought pizza from the Ogilvie food court and Garretts popcorn for the train ride home . . .

No one got hurt.
No one cried.
No one got lost.
At least grand, liked the food
At least grand, liked the play
At least grand, liked riding on the “L”

It is not official yet but I think there will be a 2012 Campaign.