Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Photo booth fun!

While I was hanging out with my most awesome nephews over the holidays,  we decided to play around with the Photo Booth program on my computer and had a great time making faces and giggling like crazy! John Michael and I have a tradition of making silly faces together...apparently I missed the memo that this would be a walrus-esque themed photo shoot. My bad. Carter was pretty cute about the whole thing...I think he was slightly nervous that he was actually turning into an alien, or bug, or twisty nose (or chipmunk, check out those cheeks!)...but he warmed up to the fun after a bit. Ah, love these boys!

Faces with Sissa

Um, Sissa, what are you turing me into? 

hehehe :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Eruption at Volcanoes National Park

Did that get your attention (were you thinking - lava, fire, Melissa had to run for her life, what!?) :) ? No, it wasn't a volcanic eruption, but rather an eruption of memories during the hike my friend Erin and I did at Volcanoes National Park.

First off, I was so thrilled to go to this park. I've been fascinated with volcanoes since I was about 10 years old when I watched a documentary on the eruption of Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii. I've read books on the Mount St. Helen's eruption and Krakatoa. I think I seriously could consider being a volcanologist as a second career choice - that's how interesting I find volcanoes.

Anyhow, Erin and I started our trek by doing a 4 mile hike across one of the inactive craters. I enjoy hiking and was so thankful for the new pain medication that was tempering my joint pain sufficiently to where I could do this hike (it was a very low key hike, no crazy steep grades or climbing or anything like that - three doses of the pain meds throughout the day kept me fairly comfy).

When we stopped to eat lunch, I pulled out the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had made, bit into it, and my eyes flooded with tears. All at once, I remembered my grandparents and how they taught me about hiking. (Most of you will remember that I lost my Grandpa and Grandma last year suddenly, within a week of each other, and I was with my Grandma when she died. And that I had a great relationship with them. I'm still working through the emotions of how much I miss writing to them, getting their letters, and catching up over coffee when I visit Arizona).

My Grandma knew a TON about Arizona plants and wildlife and because she also took several classes in archaeology and participated in digs, she knew a lot about history, geology, etc. So hikes were actually teaching sessions for us grandkids. We learned the names of plants, types of rocks, what plants you could eat, hiking etiquette, the dos and don'ts of going to the bathroom on the trails, drink lots of water and eat oranges, etc. And we always had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and drank water out of repurposed syrup bottles (gotta love the Depression generation, they reuse EVERYTHING!). So when I bit into that sandwich, an image of a syrup water bottle popped up...and then every single memory I have of them on all the hikes we took as kids and into my adulthood literally flooded my mind and I couldn't see the crater in front of me anymore, only them. And I sat there, sniffling into my sandwich and trying not to burst out sobbing as I was again struck by how much I miss them. 

For the remainder of the hike, I found myself praying and thanking God for the relationship I had with my grandparents, for what they taught me, and actually glad that I missed them - because that means I loved them, and they loved me, and we had a relationship - and I am so very thankful to be able say that.

Volcanoes National Park was my favorite part about my vacation. God used it to heal me a bit more over the loss of my grandparents - what an unexpected blessing!

So thank you Lord, for the opportunity to remember my grandparents in such a good way on my trip and to allow my heart to heal a bit more.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rudolph is a girl

Well, according to my two year old nephew, Rudolph is a girl.


When I visited back in November, Carter decided that I had to read him "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" about 50 times a day. Not kidding. I can't tell you how many times we sang the song. So for Christmas, I decided to send him a stuffed animal Rudolph.

My sister keeps telling me that he takes it EVERYWHERE. He calls it "my baby, my favorite baby". But he also calls it "her" - "Her name Woo-dolf".

Here's proof - cell phone video, so forgive the quality. I do want to point out one thing...after Monica asks him if it's his favorite toy and he says "yes", the next thing he says is "Nana gave me Woo-dolf". Nana. NANA. Kid cannot remember that I am SISSA. Apparently, when Monica corrects him, he agrees with her that Sissa got it for him. Then he says Nana again. Oh well. I find it pretty funny :) And seriously, how cute is he?

Friday, November 25, 2011

House Projects and Parents' visit

My Mom and Dad came to visit me for 5 days in October and it was awesome! Not only did we have fun chatting, watching movies, and seeing a bit more of the area, but they gave me some elbow grease and we got a TON done around the house...including the first project I ever started at the house!

But first, their trip couldn't be ALL work, so we went to Brazos Bend State Park and I introduced them to some alligators. It was a gorgeous day and we had a blast having a picnic lunch and playing Uno.

Me and the 'rents

THEN it was time to put them to work. Seriously, though, such a blessing to have them help out on some projects I've been putting finishing the chair rail I started in the entry way over a year ago. They bought me a miter saw (drool!) for Christmas and I was having some serious issues getting the stand to balance properly (wobbly stand = poor cuts).

Dad working out the kinks in the stand while Mom worked her magic in the front yard weeding and tidying it up.

Perfect fit! I didn't even need to caulk it. My mom laughed at my Dad and I 'cause we were all sorts of high fiving each other over our awesome cutting job. :). Oh and I did paint it of course.

Mom making a REAL curtain out of the piece of fabric I just had draped over a curtain rod...

I'm doing these wall/bracket shelves for my massive amount of books. I couldn't do the drilling 'cause of my swollen hands/fingers, so Dad came to the rescue (he let me argue with the stud's a little unnerving revealing the building flaws/inconsistencies when you use one of those things...).

Today, I finally got around to starting the staining process for the wood we bought for the shelves while they were visiting - I wanted something chunky since 1) it would span about 4 feet and 2) I have a lot of books and 3) I wasn't going with fancy wood, just pine. I hand-sanded and then stained, I did not condition the wood because I wanted the stain to look less perfect (trying to match the vintage furniture I have in my room - bring on the blotchy streaks!)

First four shelves up! Two 12-foot boards will be on the top two brackets (uh, one set of brackets is missing 'cause I need to buy more). So two shelves will go right over the door. The stain came out decently, not a perfect match to the furniture though. I had a water base stained mixed called "American Walnut" but it didn't come out as orange/vintage-y as the sample. Still, it will work for now, I may restain with a more orange tinted stain later. I hope to finish staining the rest of the shelves this weekend and FINALLY unpack the 5 plastic bins of books that have been sitting around since I moved in.

Thanks for all the help Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nephew time!

I took another trip to see my sister and her family in Boise. We had a great time (as usual)! Carter is starting to talk a lot, but I still had a bit of trouble figuring out what he was trying to say. For instance "coo-pitt" means "too big"...took me about 50 times watching him trying to cram a Hot Wheels car into a little house with him yelling "Coo-pitt! Coo-pitt!!" before I was like, "Ohhh!" Lightbulb :). (He also insisted on calling me "Nana" (um, yeah, not a Grandma, kid!) - which my sister found hilarious and I did not. After about a day, he finally got around to calling me Sissa. Whew.

After I arrived back in Houston, I got a phone call from him and he said "Sissa, I yuv yew TOO much". Awwww :)

Carter also likes trucks and tractors. However, any type of construction-related vehicle is a tractor to him, much to the frustration of John Michael, who knows ALL the proper names.

Sample of a conversation while we were running errands:

C: "Tractor!"
JM: "No, that's a digger Carter"
C: "Tractor!"
C: "Tractorrrrrrrr!!!"
C: "Tractor"
JM: "Carter, we are not going to have this conversation right now".

Monica and I were cracking up at John Michael's last statement (she says that to him quite a bit - he might have a bit of an argumentative streak in him ;-) )

Sporting Sissa's glasses :) I can't believe this kid is almost 5!

It has become a John Michael-Sissa tradition to make faces while in the car. John Michael decides which face we are going to make and Sissa takes the picture

Not sure what I am going to do if Monica and John ever get rid of this chair! It's fun to use it for our Photo-with-Sissa op each time I visit.

It was indescribably sweet to sit down on the couch and in less than 10 seconds, have both boys snuggled up against my sides (or arguing over who got to sit in my lap), John Michael insisting on holding my hand as we grocery shopped (and also insisting on "walking on" Sissa's feet - you know, where you stand the kiddo on your feet and they walk "big" steps?), and Carter randomly dropping whatever he was playing with to throw himself around my knees and give me a hug (or if I was sitting, hug-tackle me). I love those boys. SO SO SO much. I won't get to see them until March, when we will be celebrating my Grandma's 90th birthday, so I am glad I had a longer trip this time. Good times.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I got a text from my sister today. She had taken the boys to the library and apparently John Michael ate too many beans this morning, because he was tootin' all over the place. When Monica told him that he needed to learn to control his gas when they are in public, he looked up at her and responded:

"Mom, this is the way God made me and I can't do anything about it!"

Pretty sure Monica broke the "quiet" rule in the library after that :)