Thursday, November 27, 2008


And for dessert, we have Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie, Whip Cream, or Tums.

  • The family traveled to Atlanta from the north, the south, and the east (but not the west if I have my direction right, which is questionable if you could see how I drive). One by one, the carloads and airplane loads arrived at the Larkins' Resort.
  • I looked like a plump little pack donkey with my rolling suitcase in one hand, a laptop bag slung over my shoulder, Keaton's backpack full of math books, and a heavy box full of Guitar Hero Band gear. Let the thankfulness begin, she said with a gobble (actually it was a wobble but there was no alcohol involved, nor kool-aid).
  • We convinced grandma to play dice games, and she beat our butts.
  • We watched Fred Claus and Juno in the home theater, tomorrow's featured show is Hancock.
  • Grandma Mary got stuck in the elevator once, Larry to the rescue.
  • Football drones on in the background.
  • The gals made a desperate shopper run to the Michaels Pre-Black Friday sale. Happiness!
  • Rosalie (the cutest 2-year old niece in the universe) and Lexie (the cutest Yorkshire Terrier in the universe) chase each other and giggle (well I haven't actually heard Lexie giggle for real but I'm sure they do it in dog-talk), all the while someone somewhere is winding up the singing snow globe every few minutes.
  • We are down to leftovers of turkey and all the trimmings, compliments of Head Chef Joyce and Helper Chef Lark and Turkey Carver Larry.
  • Keaton is with us, alive and well.
I feel like Lucille Ball or Ethel Merman or Marge Simpson. The point is, I'm straight up crazy thankful to be here. Can anyone say My-Lanta ... life is good! Phew baby, we opened up a big 'ole can of thankfulness today and ate the whole thing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blog-Tag: A Game for a Virtual Meet-n-Greet

As a blogger, people may know you, but how good does anyone really know you? Turns out, I've been invited to play a game of Blog-Tag! My good blog-buddy Becky Oehlers tagged me, so click on over to her blog-palace and be inspired by her papercrafts, or her professional singing, or her golden sense of humor. She's a boatload of fun! For those of you who just landed here from there, welcome to my "what's in my head" blog where I ramble and rant and rave about my life. But wait, I don't stop rambling there ... oooooh noooo. My other blog "Creativity is Good" is where I ramble and rant and rave about my papercraft obsession. Pick your poison!

Okay, then ... seven random or weird facts about myself:
  • My dad karate-chopped me in the hallway in the middle of the night while I was on a trip to the bathroom --- he thought I was a burglar. I do not think that gave him a license to karate chop, however, the sound effect was pretty awesome.
  • My husband lost his checkbook on the day of our wedding. I don't care what you say, he was not scared of me! We met at work, he fired a guy and I worked in personnel {The cute night shift foreman meets cute little number in the office}. We met and married within 4 months.
  • Fav Quote: From birth to age 18, a girl needs good parents. From 18-35 she needs good looks. From 35-55 she needs a good personality, and from 55 on she needs cash.
  • My rented min-van was stolen while vacationing in San Diego, along with my mother's wheelchair, my scrapbook, and my sisters' wine from the Sonoma Valley. Cops said it was over the border within 10 minutes. Bet they enjoyed that ride!
  • I went to college in Ann Arbor, Michigan and studied music. Then went to work in a law firm for the next 25 years.
  • I'm pretty much a perfectionist - but a recovering perfectionist so that has to count for something. I clean and straighten and organize and detail everything that moves. I'm one of those "if you can't do it right, don't do it" people. Go ahead, roll your eyes. I'm cleaning the fuzz out of the laptop keys as you read this ...
  • It's all about my hair. I cannot function without lipstick and hand creme. And a purse that is a small piece of luggage.
Okay, Becky actually gave me a blog-tag choice but I like the questions on the second round too, so I'll play along!

Things I love: Jesus, my family, San Francisco, scarves, scrapbook stores, hanging with the hood (neighbors), purses, cold weather, TV show-Sisters & Brothers.

Things I don't love: Dark country roads, sushi, mornings, clutter, cop and reality tv shows, negative-talk.

Songs on my IPod: Sing-songy songs, mostly from TV commercials: Regina Spektor, Lenka, Kate Nash, Priscilla Ahn, Katie Herzig, Jack Johnson, Ingrid Michaelson, Sondre Lerche and various christian artists.

Favorite Food or Drink: Salmon, Salad, soup in bread bowls, Paradise Cafe Gingerbread Cookies. Must have Diet Coke ... must have Diet Coke.

Now the FUNNEST part ... tag, you're it!

Sarah & Joe

Did I forget to mention that Sarah is part of our family? Oh, silly me. You know, Sarah told me she is not disheartened with the election results. She rather likes Alaska. And don't tell anyone I told you, but she just might become Senator Sarah and end up in Washington anyway! Wouldn't that be the berries? {Lloyd & Pam -- Aunt Kay says you rock in your Halloween get-up!}

Speaking of nieces, Traci is going to d-r-a-g us girls to the salon for a mani or pedi as soon as we meet up in Atlanta. Of course, I will go kicking and screaming ... for the good of the order. Such a sacrifice I must make, she says with a faint hand over her brow and a long sigh. And if anyone -- I say anyone -- laughs at my white legs I will resign from being your favorite Aunt. My toes are SO excited!

This evening, Keaton & I attended "The Christmas County Spelling Bee" presented by Meadowbrook Academy -- can anyone say adorable? K-5th graders singing Mighty God, Prince of Peace, all the while blinking at the lights and remembering their smooth moves! Mr. Squires' attendance was required as a teacher, but Mr. Squires' mom's attendance was pure fun. It was good for Keaton to go somewhere else besides the doctor.

Tis the season to consider dragging the Christmas Tree out of the attic, and getting tangled up in the lights, and asking Kevin to please hang the high ornaments and the tree topper, and plopping on the couch and oooh & awww. What AM I going to do without Keaton to do this for me this year? He has been the official tree putter-upper for years! Okay, I can psych up for this and rise to the task! Unless, of course, the grandkids want to have a tree putter-upper pizza party at gram's house?!? Yeah, that's the ticket.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Honk If You Have All Your Original Body Parts

Gives new meaning to "zip it" doesn't it? Keaton's sense of humor was not injured in the accident. Wanna know how I know (besides going to Wal-Mart and buying this zipper)? Here are some Keaton-isms:
  • The rock is at fault.
  • The rock was not a team player.
  • Who needs a spleen anyway?
  • Spleens are for wusses (that's funny).
  • My spleen was removed to unleash my full potential as a math teacher, rock climber, and soccer player. I'm bewildered why others haven't considered this.
  • Battle scars rate high with chicks (I threw this at him).
Keaton is progressing well. He should be, I'm cooking and cleaning and doing his laundry! As I was changing over a load of laundry, I looked at him and said "You're gonna miss me." To be honest, I've always been the kind of mom that enjoys seeing our children function as adults ... it's a WOW moment to moms. But I'm grateful to have this time to live with Keaton inside his world. I mean, how else can I come up with meaningful ideas for Christmas presents?

Andrea & Brandt, I am putting you on notice. Beware! Mom might live with you inside your world at some point. But if you work it right, just think of the scam you could pull off for a big Christmas haul?

SO ... while I was at Wal-Mart, I found a couple of books that I'm looking forward to reading. The Wednesday Letters and Home to Holly Springs. Thanks Santa Kevin, you rock! Not that I'm going to have time to read them, of course. Time is greatly over-rated.

SO ... I could get used to this. Working in my PJs with remote access is the bomb. I gotta put that on my to-do list when I return home to my honey. I miss making him cornbread. I miss my own pillow and having more than 5 pair of underwear. I miss my craft room. But it will be a challenge to trade in my flip-flops for snow shoes.

Rhegan, this message is for you. Grandma Kay, who rocks, lahahahahaves the pictures you sent Uncle Keaton and it made me miss you like crazy. When Grandma Kay, who rocks, gets back home to Indiana, I am going to ask Pawpaw Kevin to bring me straight to your house and I'm going to kiss you 10 times on your nose. Get ready girlfriend! Hey -- who is your mom anyway? I really like her a lot. Kiss your brothers for me. Okay, go ahead and kiss your dad for me too. But hold your ear when you do it just for fun.

Sleep is not over-rated. It's somewhere up there with lipstick. I love you, my family. Goodnight.

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.

My Spleenless Son

A Little Earlier
Keaton came home from the hospital armed with pain med. He looked good - aside from the staples in his stomach, the stitches in his neck, and the drain hole in his side. He went to church on Sunday ... and visited his classroom on Monday! Gimme a big SHUT UP! And he eats real food - heck with the popsicle and life saver diet. So ... now he is completely zonked and better understands the meaning of "slow recovery".

A Little Later
The surgeon removed his staples today and replaced with steri-strips so "a hot shower" is in his future. Amen to that. We have new meds for stomach and shoulder pain, and a repeat CT scan in a week to determine if his pancreas needs drained. I pray not.

A Little Love
A word about Meadowbrook --- well, probably more than a word from yours truly Chatty Kathy. This is Keaton's church and the school where he teaches. They love Keaton so much and will stop at nothing to support our family. I cannot list all of the countless ways in which they have helped our family throughout this time. Tonight, I attended mid-week service. If I wasn't there, there would have only been 999 people -- I'm sure I made it an even 1000. For real. The couple seated next to me raised their hand indicating it was their first visit. I introduced myself during the "greet your neighbor" time. And then I enjoyed the rest of the service. After church, I turned to the lady and said:

  • "Is this really your first time here?" She indicated yes.
  • "Well, you beat me by only a few visits!" She wanted to know if I was new too.
  • "Sorta. We moved our son here in August, he teaches at the school, and I'm here because he had a very serious accident."
Now -- here's the part I want to share because it's the best example I can give of how we feel. I took the lady's hand and said:

  • "I'm probably not the best person to welcome you to this church, but let me just say that we left our son 1000 miles from home here at this church and it was comforting to know he was a part of Meadowbrook. This is a wonderful spirit-filled church, please come back."
She had tears in her eyes. And so did I. And all the people said amen.

Words that describe the past 2 weeks: Emotional, Busy, Anticipation, Pain, Joy, Gratitude, Love.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

God has BIG plans for this man's life ...

It happened exactly three days after Barack Obama was elected to be the next President of the United States. It happened exactly eight days after Keaton's 24th birthday. It happened while we were home in Indiana and Keaton was home in Florida. It happened so quick and a full week has come and gone already.

Keaton fell 25-30 feet while rock climbing with friends at Brick City. He ruptured his spleen, had internal bleeding, and possibly a collapsed lung. He called us after an ambulance ride, and after the trauma team assessed his injuries, and after a full body CT scan, and a surgeon had been called. And lots of pain medication. It went like this:

Kay: Hello?
Keaton: Hi mom.
Kay: Keaton, is that you? (his voice was so weak, throaty, and hoarse)
Keaton: Yes.
Kay: Are you okay?
Keaton: Yes, I'm okay.
Kay: Where are you calling from?
Keaton: The hospital.
Kay: How did you get there?
Keaton: An ambulance.

Kevin & I were 1000 miles away, and all we wanted to do was get there. Three hours later, I was on a plane, and praying non-stop. Keaton was in so much pain when I arrived. The next morning, the surgeon determined his spleen had to be removed and an hour later he was in surgery. So ... the long road to recovery begins. He now has a 12 inch vertical cut from his breast-bone to below his belly button, and 17 staples.

In the hours following surgery, a cardiologist was called in because of some complications ... all is good now. His left shoulder continues to be a concern, even after CT scan and xrays have shown nothing. His right hand swelled and gave us pause, but has since gone back to normal. There appear to be no broken bones and no concussion -- what a walking miracle he is!

Pastor Tim and Principal Tina have been so supportive, as have all the staff at Meadowbrook Church and Academy. All of Keaton's students made him banners and get-well cards. The church has set me up with a laptop, and I will work from here until after Thanksgiving. We are hoping Keaton will be released in the next few days. Kevin is joining us tomorrow and he can't wait to see Keaton, and I can't wait to see Kevin.

God has a plan for this man's life indeed. This man who is our son. This man who we love more than any words could say. This man, who is a brother, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin, a friend, a teacher, and a man of God.

Keaton, I am so blessed to be your mom. And don't rock climb anytime soon.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Twas the Night Before Elections and all through the House

First things first ... Guess who went to the McCain rally today? Guess who bought me this beeeutiful campaign button? My hero ... Kevin! I love it! And I love you! Tomorrow, I am excited about going to stand for probably many long hours at the polls. I plan to shake the hands of all my local politicians, and grin and smile, and dish with my neighbors, and enjoy the unusually warm temps. Gonna be a good time!

Second things second ... let's not get into the long emotional political season we have just witnessed, complete with unrelenting TV ads and biased media coverage, not to mention the stolen yard signs and 'friendly' neighborhood chats. No - let's not go there. Let's go here ... what we did, you and me and thee, was show the world a democracy at its finest hour. Win, lose, or draw - if you did not engage in this political season, then you were living under a rock. Ouch.

Third things third ... a bit of self-talk:
  • I've been forgetting to mention that I somehow got addicted to Facebook lately. For 2 weeks anyway. And it's been fun to chat with some old friends from 20 years ago! Well - they might be older. But I am not addicted anymore. Nope.
  • This time change suits me for two reasons: (1) Daylight comes earlier = I wake up better. (2) Darkness comes earlier and I'm a night owl so I get more done! Capish?
  • My house is showing signs of busyness. Is it time for the cleaning lady to come? Is it time to get rid of the cat?
  • The "oh, just go ahead and call the painter and start looking at colors for the dining room" bug bit me again today.
  • Brandt made his Thanksgiving travel plans today. I want to jump up and do the Toyota kick and a Happy Dance for Thanksgiving!
  • I'm looking forward to a sleep over with Rhegan. We might come up with our own Saturday Night Live sketch, or something.
  • I'm also looking forward to Andrea's B-day because we are going shopping and plan to eat Mexican until we can't walk. When I asked her if that was okay, I think she said "You had me at hello!"
  • I might like to write in Martha Stewart for President. At least that way we might get decorating and hosting ideas after following her life for the next 4 years. Maybe she would pass a Big Bow Law that does not require extra postage on all the beautiful hand made cards in the crafting world.
  • Enough said.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Parker Thurman is how old?

Parker Thurman Stewart went from this ...
... to this in one short year! I blinked my eyes and he was walking!

Here's the birthday boy with his peeps. That would be mom (Andrea), dad (Shawn), Clayton and Rhegan. Parker later told me that he was looking at them and thinking, why did they keep their clothes on? I think it had something to do with the chocolate cupcake that came his way after the Happy Birthday song!

Happy Birthday Buddy Boy! We love you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Politics and Religion - Both are Waiting on Grace

Well, it certainly can be argued that this has not been "poltiics as usual". We are already seeing record numbers at the polls for early voting, and this promises to be a historical election indeed. As we enter the home stretch, my thoughts humble me:
  • Politics is the most wishy-washy topic. It's very hard not to be swayed by this side or that, they both have their good qualities.
  • I am proud to be an American. I do not choose to live in any other country, and I am grateful to a loving God for putting me in this country. A very short few generations ago, my ancestors did not enjoy the quality of life that my family has, so the miracle of God abounds in my life.
  • The emotional side of politics continues to amaze me. But I can't help but pray that it equals the emotion of your religion, so that the nation turns to a waiting Heavenly Father.
  • Whoever will serve as our next President and Vice-President, regardless of whether it was your choice or not, make no mistake that God allowed it to happen. And be thankful for His ultimate plan and purpose.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.