Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Mystery Of The Missing Ham

Before the Christmas season ends, I must share the story of the missing ham!

A few days before Christmas my sister and her family came to visit. It's always a cause for celebration when the relatives arrive!

And then we all went to their cabin in the woods, which is always a BLAST!  Movie nights, the Cousin Spa, snow ball fights, and Twister!

Walks to the country store for hot chocolate and ice cream,

Marshmallow roasting, and just plain family fun!

I didn't blog about it because, even tho I was extra organized this Christmas, I had failed to complete one  great big, very important project.  One that took up every last second and wasn't completed until Christmas Eve--Rose's Christmas stocking!

Anyhoo, we bid farewell to my sister and all the cabin fun, and arrived home just before the Christmas festivities went into full gear. 

I was going over the plans for Christmas dinner with my mom, and she said she would bring the ham.  But I reminded her that she already had!  The ham was out in my garage fridge.

"Oh," said my mom, sounding confused, "I guess I put it in there when we stopped by the other day!"

She even went on to ask my dad and he paused, then said he guessed they had put it there! 

And then I began to question that I really had seen a ham out in my fridge, so I asked Hubby, and he said that yes, there was a ham out in our extra fridge.

Ham.  Check.

Christmas day arrives.  Early morning I go to get the ham.

No ham.  Hubby double checks.  No ham.  My parents arrive.  No ham.  Because the ham was already at our house.  Except that it wasn't.  I look in every last fridge and freezer crevice!  No ham!

Had the Grinch arrived in the night to steal our ham?

As we went through all the possibilities, it occurred to me that when I had seen the ham, I had also seen groceries my sister had purchased to take to their cabin. 

Did my own sister steal accidentally take our ham?!?!

We decided to substitute roast.  A small roast.  A small, inexpensive, low-quality, still frozen roast. 

And then we proceeded to roast call my sister.  Did she have an extra ham?  OUR ham?

Yes, my sister had a ham!  ONE ham.  We all laughed about it!  My sister immediately began to panic!  Caught in the act???  Of stealing our Christmas ham??

She began to think through her Costco shopping adventure.  Yes, she did look at the hams.  Yes, she did consider buying a ham, even tho she knew they already had a turkey for their Christmas dinner.  But wouldn't it be nice to have both?  But did they need both?  But there would be lots of people at the cabin. 

Her memory continued back to that day.  Did she grab the ham?  Or didn't she? 

The evidence pointed to the fact that she DIDN'T.  After all, WE DID HAVE A MISSING HAM. 


My sister was totally flustered and we put her on speaker phone, and laughed and teased her about stealing our Christmas ham.  She profusely apologized, blushed along 300 miles of phone wire, then good-naturedly joined in the laughter, tagging herself the Grinch.

As we put the frozen roast in the crock pot, we joked about it being a ham.

And just as we were serving Christmas dinner, we took this picture and texted it to my sister, telling her it looked like ham to us! 

Even tho it was awfully small.  And dry.  And hard to chew. 

More laughter.  But, we still enjoyed a very delicious Christmas dinner. 

But later, just as we were sitting down to dessert, my sister sent a text. 

A text with a picture.  A picture of her Costco receipt, with the purchase price circled FOR A HAM!


And so, instead of eating Oreo Cookie Dessert, we sat down to a piece of HUMBLE PIE!

We laughed and laughed.

And later, when my parents got back to their house, they looked in their freezer, and found OUR HAM!

The mystery of the missing ham solved! 

We will laugh about it for years to come!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Carpe Diem

My birthday is bittersweet.

For those who are new, Joe was born on my 21st birthday--the best birthday gift ever!  And for 21 years we celebrated the day together.

But after we lost Joe, my birthday became a day of heart wrenching memories and emptiness.  The flashback of previous parties brought back all the laughter of Joe--and all the bitterness of loss.  I usually opted to skip my birthday--or at least celebrate on a different day.

But this year was different.  Maybe because more years have passed.  Maybe because I've worked through more grief this year.  Maybe because I really do know that Joe would want me to still celebrate--for both of us. 

And it's still sad.  It always will be.  But so is every day.

But it's also happy.  I had all the other kids home.  That's the best gift of all.

We went out to eat.

It was a big crew of special people.

Including my parents.

And then we went to an arcade.

Because Joe would have loved that.

And everyone had a blast.

And then I cried all the way home.  And I let myself cry.  Because I've learned to allow that of myself.

And then we filled the evening watching movies, reading books, making cookies, doing puzzles, and enjoying each precious moment with one another. 

Because Joe would have loved that.

Carpe Diem.  Seize the day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Missing Child on Christmas Eve

Two stories will forever be etched in our Christmas memories.  One: a missing child in the middle of the night.  Two: the mystery of the missing ham.

The days before Christmas left Vu a nighttime mess.  Which meant he was also a daytime mess.  He became more and more wound up, wondering if Santa would come (doesn't he always?).  He wasn't sleeping well AT ALL.  He was a little bit crazy!

Christmas does this to Vu every year.  Christmas Eve was the culmination of excitement!  He went to sleep at 10 . . . and woke up at 11:30.  PM. 

He didn't go back to sleep.  Which made Santa's arrival tricky. 

He did wake me up several times during the night, and I finally went to sleep with him in his bed around one.

At 2:30 I woke up and noticed he wasn't there.  I was thinking the little Booger was down scouting out the Christmas gifts!  I went downstairs.  No Vu.  I went to the basement.  No Vu.  I checked every single bedroom, bathroom, couch, closet, and hiding place.  No Vu.

At this point, I was getting a little freaked!  I was silently talking to myself, trying to keep calm, reassuring my own brain, which was definitely starting to freak out with all the possibilities!  Surely he was here in the house . .  calm down . . .  I will find him . . . someday I will laugh about this.

But it was no laughing matter!  He was NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!!!  At 3 AM on a cold and blustery night!!! 

Could he be sleepwalking??  Kidnapped??

In the course of my house search, I also noticed that James had left.  But James had said he might go sleep at his own home, so I figured that was where he was.

I KNEW he wouldn't take Vu home with him--why would he? 

But after searching the house even more thoroughly, heart racing, I finally called James on his cell phone.

Cool-As-A-Cucumber-James: "Hi Mom!"
Panic-Crazed-Self: "Oh, do you know where Vu is?  I can't find him anywhere!"
Cool James:  "Oh, he's here with me."
Long pause.
Panicked Me:  "Where are you???"
James: "Oh, well, Vu kept going up and down the stairs, and he woke me up, and I thought he was going to wake everyone else up, so I decided to take him out to breakfast."

Me:  Speechless. 

It isn't everyday my child disappears in the middle of the night (on Christmas Eve) to go to a 3 am breakfast at an all-night diner. 

What a great big brother to take the little wild-man out to breakfast!  I'm sure James didn't think about leaving a note because he knew we were all sleeping!  Vu will always remember their Christmas Eve adventure.

Just a little bit of Christmas craziness!

I am glad to report that since that night, Vu has slept like a baby! 

Stay tuned for the story of the missing ham!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Surprise

Santa Claus was really good.


Guess what he brought?

It was an extra special surprise, coordinated by one of his elves.

We were all at a Christmas Eve party.

Having a lot of fun, but missing Will and Cort, who live on the East Coast.

I have been telling myself for weeks that I have to get used to not having the crew together on Christmas. 

But then, guess who came in???


When they first walked in I starred, dumbfounded.  Then I smiled, and casually said, "Hi!"

Then realized it really was my son and his wife, and that they live 3,000 miles away, and had not been home for what seems like a lifetime, and they were not going to be able to come home for Christmas.

And then I shouted with surprise!

And then I cried!  Of course!

Not many pictures--I was still in shock!

Church was extra special.

The Christmas Elf delivered big time--OSU Beaver theme this year.

Even an extra pair for Mei Mei.

Christmas morning was extra exciting!

Christmas dinner brought more tears of joy--just amazed to see the smiling faces of Will and Cort around the table--unfortunately James had to leave for work right before we ate.

A very special Christmas, with a very special crew of kids.  We are truly blessed! 

I am so thankful to Hubby for arranging the Christmas surprise!

And no Christmas would be complete without an Awkward Family Foto.