Life or Something Like It

Blogmas is DONE

Blogmas is DONE

Blogmas is DONE

I did it!  I did it!  I did it!  Blogmas is DONE.  Geez.  I am so glad this is over.  Some people go through the end of the month but not me.  I set out a goal to make it to Christmas and I made it.  See.  I can accomplish something!

We had a great Christmas.  It was Charleigh’s first and she just makes everything better.  To think that next year, I will have 2 grandchildren is just too much for my brain to handle.  Charleigh will be almost 2 and Apollo will be 7 months.  My Christmas tree will never be the same!

I am totally all for that!

Food and Fun

My kids seemed to enjoy what they got and they all pitched in to help clean up the mess.  It’s been a while since we have had a stressfree Christmas, so this was nice.  It would have been all better had all my kids been able to be home, but I will take what I can get.  I had 6 here and 1.5 grandchildren.  That makes for a happy Lolli!  We ate good food, made giant messes, assembled many things.

Change of Plans

We had a bit of an alteration of plans.  Normally, we go to my mother-in-laws on Christmas Eve and frost cookies.  Then, on Christmas Day, we go over for lunch.  Due to Co-vid, we were not able to go right now.  So, we had to improvise.

I still made cookies on Christmas Eve.  We did chili that night and I prepped some stuff for brunch on Christmas Day.  Then, my bigs started filtering in and we ate brunch on and off.  It was warm outside, so cornhole was played and Hunter played in the sand and everywhere else.  That night, we did a pork shoulder and went to see the lights at the park.

New Year

I am looking forward to a new year.  On January 6, 2022 we will celebrate Ethiopian Christmas.  January also brings one surgery, lots of basketball, and the beginning of birthday season.  I have lots of thoughts and hopes for the new year, but as always, we will take it as it comes.

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Christmas Baking with my Oak

Christmas Baking with my Oak

Here we are, getting ready for Christmas THIS WEEK!  Let’s not procrastinate.  So, here is my Christmas Baking with my Oak.  Every year, my Oak comes and bakes with me.  We have done this, faithfully, since I moved out when I was 20.  I am sure we have missed a year or so, but I honestly only remember 1 time that we missed.  So, we have been baking for 29 years.

Christmas Baking with my Oak

List of Goodness

We are baking Bobbie Hill’s Nuts & Bolts (yes please and thank you).  This takes the longest as they cook on low for about 2 hrs.  They are SO good and bring me so much joy (and swelling).  Mom always makes (and screws up at least 1 batch) of chocolate and peanut butter fudge.  Crack. I will be making Crack.  It is SO good.  I think we will do some White Trash, Bon Bons, maybe some Oreo balls.  I was going to do Haystacks but forgot to get the noodles.  I have a recipe for a quick chocolate/butterscotch fudge that I may do.  There are other things that we will make, but that is what is coming to my mind.

Delivering the Goodies

We were not able to give the teachers anything because Hunter had a doctor’s appointment that day.  I am going get some cute little containers, wrap up the goodies and deliver them to his teachers.  He will be excited to see them.

My kids eat a lot but we also give away a lot.  This year, I would like to give some to my new neighbors.  I have yet to meet 2 neighbors and I really need to do that.  I’m such a procrastinator.  Actually, not a procrastintor.  Moreso I just don’t want too. I’m really not that friendly and I have massive trust issues.  We have not had a good history with neighbors.  However, the family that we have met are super kind!

Preferences

I actually prefer that NONE of my family be here when we bake.  Selfishly, I just want some alone time with my mom.  However, my kids are out of school and Bart will be home for part of the day.  My bigs got wind that Jojo is coming and now they are making plans to “pop” by.

Seriously people.  I don’t want you here 🙂  Jojo LOVES it when they all show up.  She loves sneaking sweets to the kids when I turn my back.  All I hear are giggles and people scurrying around.  It makes my heart so happy.

These are memories that will forever be embedded in their minds.  I pray that the Lord allows me to bake with my kids (which will happen on Wednesday) and grandkids one day.  I want to pass this tradition on.

I am so excited!

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Christmas Happenings Ashley Style

Christmas Happenings Ashley Style

It is Christmas 2021 and here we are in the midst of Christmas Happenings Ashley Style.  Christmas is the time where we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  What a beautiful time to stop and reflect on what our Savior has done for us.

My Family

My family is so amazing, so complicated, and so beautiful.  Today, we got together, as we do the Saturday before every Christmas.  I so enjoy this time because we all come together and my sister was able to travel and be here.

There were several we were missing but the ones that were not there, were not forgotten.  They were missed terribly.  My parents have created a beautiful legacy that will live far beyond what I can even imagine.

Christmas Miracles

This Christmas was filled with peace, laughter, love, and miracles.  First and foremost, my daughter is expecting our first grandson in May.  Then, my uncle survived a procedure to put a stent in.  It has been a long journey and he has been in the hospital for 100+ days.  My brother in law does not have cancer in his bones!  The BEST thing is that…

Drum Roll

HUNTER IS IN REMISSION!!!!!!!!!

That is a post to come because my emotions simply too much for me to handle.  I am in awe of this journey we have been on and the fact that the Lord heard our prayers and did what He does best.  He did so IN HIS TIME not ours.

Pictures

This picture is the captures completely my parents love story.  It has been almost 60 years.  There have been lots of ups and downs along the way.  Mental, emotional, physical things have happened. There were a lot of years we didn’t think they would even stay married.

Yet God.

He saved my father.  Restored their love story.  My mother’s faith…guys…I can’t even.  That is, again, for another day because I’m not emotionally prepared to put those words to paper yet.  This.  This marriage is a beautiful miracle.

My Sisters

The love I have for these women is so pure and unconditional.  There have been fights, tears, hurts, miscommunications BUT there has ALWAYS been love, support, grace, mercy, forgiveness, stability.  At the end of the day, we have never left each other’s sides.  Let’s not forget our brother, who does NOT like to have his picture taken.  He is loved.

Grands and Greats

This is a fraction of the complete picture.  Due to kids who have to work or live far away, this is the bunch that was able to make it.  Not pictured:  Leigha and Nick; Morgan (and baby Iva); Amber, Sean, and Dalton; Paige; Aaron and Aiden; Joe; Alex, Kristin, Holt, and Ivy; Kelly and Graham; Maritess and Miqueas; Isaac and David; Jonathan and Sweet Sarah; Grayce.

Let’s see…gotta write this out.

Kids and Spouses:

Shane & Gayla

Joe & Kim

David & Tera

Bart & Brandi

Grandkids and Spouses

Heather & Chad

Leigha & Nick

Stephanie

Corey & Morgan

Paige

Aaron

Amber & Sean

Alex & Kristin

Kelly & Graham

Maritess

Jonathan & Sweet Sarah

Jonas

Isaac

Victoria & Ben

Alyssa & Arkie

Grayce

Noah

Daniel

Jude

TwoFer (Grandson and Great Grandson)

Hunter

Great Grandchildren

Iva Grace (Corey & Morgan)

Kaleigh & Jack (Paige)

Aiden (Aaron)

Dalton (Amber & Sean)

Holt & Ivy (Alex & Kristin)

Miqueas (Maritess)

Charleigh (Victoria & Ben)

Apollo (Alyssa & Arkie)

Now, that’s a legacy….the story continues.

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I have NO idea why my picture is so tiny.  I can’t figure out how to make it bigger BUT it does have all of my kids and grandkids in it 🙂  (Minus my daughter….wish she was here to have fun with us).

It was such a wild and busy day.  Jude had basketball for half of the day.  I handled that and Bart did all the running with the other 2 boys.  There was Co-vid testing to be done, playdates, work, cleaning house, and some outside work.

Yet, today was the day that we were going to decorate the tree and eat!  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love that we all just come together to eat.  Feeding people is one of my favorite things.  Another favorite is having people over who may not have a place to go.  Loving on others, making new friends, Charleigh’s first Thanksgiving, warms my heart.

Now, onto Christmas.

Benjamin (the one with the glasses) has a serious love for Christmas.  The boy has plans for my house and next year, he will probably be in charge of decorating.  I’m feeling like my house will end up like the one in National Lampoon’s, but hey…it makes him happy, it makes me happy.

Once I got home from basketball, I started cooking.  The kids decided that they wanted finger foods.  Actually, Alyssa decided and because she is pregnant with Apollo, that is what we are having.

Bart did his sausage balls, we had chips and I made cheese dip, a crudite’ plate, cheese ball, a pot of potato soup, cinnamon roll sopapilla, apple pie type sopapilla, weiner winks, and crack dip.  They messed and gobbed throughout the evening.

Normally

Now, normally, we would be playing a Christmas movie but someone I know (Benjamin) wanted to watch football.  #notChristmasyatall  It’s all good.  I realized though that I am going to need a ladder in order to get pictures because my kids are huge.  The room is a bit smaller than my other living room (at our former house) so it was a bit more cramped.

However, it was full of joy, laughter, calmness, fun, and then there was Charleigh.  That baby.  That.  Baby.  She is freakingn glorious and BRILLIANT.  She can crawl, wave bye bye, and is just the funniest thing ever.  She is almost 9 mths old.  I cannot believe that she just entered this world 9 months ago.

Her first Christmas.

She is enthralled with the tree.  Grabbing at it, looking at the lights, letting it tickle her hands…I could eat her.  The kids didn’t leave until late and I love that.  I love that my kids love to be home.  I love that they feel safe, comfortable, loved, and at ease here.  Warms my heart.

The only thing that could have made it better was if ALL my kids could be here.  We sure did miss our daughter.  Her stocking will be hung by the fireplace with love.  One day, we will all be reunited and it will be a healing and glorious time.

Next year, we will have Apollo and Charleigh.  My cup overfloweth!

Merry Christmas!

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Let’s Talk About Them Slippers

Let's Talk About Them SlippersLet’s Talk About Them Slippers

Let’s Talk About Them Slippers.  I have never been a slipper kind of gal.  All slippers irritate me.  I have to bunch my toes up when I walk in them, or they will fly off my feet.  I don’t like big slippers, I don’t want little slippers.  I don’t like animal slippers, I don’t like fancy slippers.  I do not like slippers.  I do not like socks, but that is for another post.

In 2014, my daughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas…I had no clue, and I tried just to give her a vague answer because I really didn’t need anything, but she wanted to give me something.  That is her Spiritual gift…She *LOVES* giving gifts that bring joy to people.  Loves it.  I didn’t want her wasting her money on me….but she insisted.

So I said, get me some slippers.

I knew that I probably would never wear them, but it was an idea, I could put wear them around the house on Christmas Day and then retire them to the closet until the next Christmas.  Problem solved.

Little did I know…..I would form a bond with these slippers, and they have forged their way into my heart, and they are very very special to me.

When I opened my gift…I did the act of surprise face, and then I promptly put them on and oohed and ahhed over them.  She was pleased.  That is all that mattered in my book.  I did, notice, however, these were not like the slippers I thought they would be.  They were more like fuzzy sock type of slippers and though I do not like socks…I do when it is super cold….so I did put them on, and they did the job.

The Years of Hospitals

In May of 2015 is where my slippers became a part of my journey.  That is the month that my Lady had her first, of many, strokes.  I stayed with her during the day and most nights.  She was in and out recovering from her stroke and her MANY UTIs….So.  Very. Many.

The next year, daddy had a stroke.  I was blessed (is that the right word) that I knew who to talk to, what to say, what questions to ask, and what doctors/tests to request because I had already walked through that with Lady.  I spent several days with him during the day and evening.  Flash forward a year, and daddy had quadruple bypass surgery.  Then Hunter got sick and was in and out of hospitals, then a few months and my Lady went to a nursing home….then back to the hospital….then back to the nursing home.  My slippers and I saw my Lady for the last time on September 30, 2017, as she took her last breath on October 1, 2017.

Many Hospitals

My slippers have walked many many hospital halls and nursing home halls, seen many ERs, lots of wall decorations, supported me in many conversations with doctors, specialists, and nurses wheeled lots of wheelchairs, walked from floor to floor and hall to hall, absorbed tears while I hid in the bathroom, and so much more.  Alyssa has bought me other slippers for Christmas, and I do wear those, around the house because I like them.  These slippers: black, gross, dirty, and washed too many times, well, they are special to me.  I keep them packed in my “to go” bag at all times.

Thank you, Alyssa…for giving me something I never really wanted.  They have a lot of memories.

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Busy Weekend

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We had a Busy Weekend this weekend.  There was a youth lock-in on Friday night.  The big kids got back on Saturday.  Saturday was filled with referee-ing between the 3 tired kids (from the lock-in), 1 behaviorally challenged child, 1 sick child, 1 wild child, and my husband.  Praise be to God, that everyone went to bed early.

Sunday, no one wanted to get up (shocker), so it was like pulling teeth to get the kiddoes ready for church.  We rushed home, gathered all of our gifts and goodies, and piled into the car to head to my mom’s house for our first Christmas of the season.

Heading to Jojo’s

We got to mom’s house, early.  The kids played and I helped mom finish up for our dinner.  I enjoyed spending time with her…one on one….with few people under our feet.  We don’t get that, ever.  We talked, cooked, cleaned a bit, and talked more.  I think I closed each of her many cabinet doors 5005 times because she Never. Closes. A. Cabinet.  Door!!!!!!!!! EVER!  LOL, It was pretty funny.

Eventually, about 40 people started matriculating in the house, and soon, the whole kitchen was filled with people picking and gobbing the food that was prepared and brought.  Chaos ensued.  200 conversations going on at the same time….loud laughter, hugs, kisses, excitement.

Cooking and chatting.  See that blue fabric covered basket on the counter?  Would you put a wicker/cloth basket in the oven to “heat up” the rolls in it or would you take the rolls out…I would do the latter….mom would do the first part.  Note to mom:  it will catch on fire.

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