Monday, December 29, 2008

Ten Days in Texas - Part Three

Christmas Day!
This picture of Nathan looking out the window was taken Christmas morning at David & Jacque's house. It is my most favorite picture of him. I call it 'angelic' because it seems to capture some of the anticipation of Christmas morning.

Next is a video I captured of Nathan on Christmas morning that is just plain cute of course. Santa brought Nathan 2 train whistles and you will hear Greg blowing the larger train whistle in the background while Nathan blows on the smaller whistle...only Nathan doesn't know how to blow air in his whistle so he is really just squealing in conjunction with Greg's fine whistle blowing techniques.

Greg says that Christmas Dinner at his Nana's house is the best meal of the year but I would venture to say that Christmas DAY at Nana's house is the best DAY of the year. I don't know what it is about Grandad's and Nana's house but on Christmas Day it becomes the most perfect place to be at the most perfect time.

Without question, the food is fantastic and we all can't wait to 'fix our plates'!

Of course opening gifts is fun and exciting...

By the way, I'm sorry that I forgot who got these for Nathan but he loves this little playbench and these monster trucks, he's been playing with them since we got back, I'm sorry that I forgot to say Thank You!

And most of the time the weather is nice enough to go outside after lunch and play. Check out Riley in the picture below...he looks like he's in the Matrix! Also, if you click on the picture of Donnie, you'll see he's actually airborne as he throws the ball.

But I think what makes the day so special is just being together. It sounds so simple but I really think that sums up what makes this day the Best Day of the Year and something I always look forward to!

Brandi affectionally dubbed Evangeline 'Ms. High Kick' when I took this picture of her.

Oh one last thing, can you all do me a favor? If you see me about to take a picture and my posture looks like this (see below) can you please just say something before the picture is taken? UGH!

Hope you all had as Merry a Christmas as we did! :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ten Days in Texas - Part Two

Christmas Eve Day...

Whenever we see Greg's parents, friends always ask 'How is Jacque?' It's an awkward question to answer because she's the same. She still has short term memory loss as a result of her stroke in 2003. When we see Greg's parents, Greg likes to tease Jacque about baking for him but the reality is Jacque hasn't cooked anything in the last 6 years. She no longer drives or shops or cleans or performs any, of the many activities that we quickly take for granted.

I easily forget how much responsibility David has taken on, until I'm briefly living in their house as in this past visit. Not only does David meet Jacque's every physical need; helps her shower, dress, put make up on, paint her nails, cooks for her, takes her to doctor and hair apppointments, etc. but he also meets her every emotional need, in that David is remarkably patient with Jacque when he answers her repeated questions, for the 6th, 11th, 20th time, because she simply doesn't remember having the same conversation just minutes ago. In addition to taking care of Jacque, David has also picked up all the domestic duties including grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, house cleaning, yardwork, home & car maintenance, gift shopping, paying bills, he literally does himself. Maybe I notice this about David's life because I am a woman and I'm sensitive to things like that. Amazingly, I've never heard him complain once about how his and Jacque's lives have changed. My father in law is simply an amazing person with an enormous heart and the depth of his love for Jacque reminds me very much of Noah and Allie in "The Notebook". If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it but grab the tissue box!

One thing that hasn't changed about Jacque though is her willingness to take pictures. When I asked if I could take pictures of her and with Nathan, she was more than happy to. Like most women, Jacque was a little vain and in the past she always wore contacts but since the stroke and now impaired vision, she wears glasses all the time. Also as a result of the stroke, temporary paralysis on the left side caused Jacque to become a right handed person, when she was originally left handed. Her left hand and arm just never returned to normal strength or flexibility so she rarely uses them and most of the time you'll see her left hand sitting in her lap just like this.

I wanted to get pictures of Jacque with Nathan which was proving difficult after a few days simply because Jacque moves at much slower pace than Nathan's on-the-go-top-speed. I finally set them both on the couch and put a photo album of Daddy in Nathan's lap and was able to get these shots of them which I thought turned out pretty good...

Christmas Eve Night...

I don't even know how far back the tradition goes for Jacque's side of the family to meet for an Italian dinner at Uncle Gerald's & Aunt Marilyn's house. The Itailian sausage this year was to die for-I should have taken a picture of it! What I did get a picture of was something very rare, a group shot of most of Greg's cousins from Jacque's side with spouses and kids. We were actually missing 2 cousins (Austin & Alyssa) and 3 kids (Kenzie, Riley, Camie) but to get this many in one shot at the same time is still an amazing feat!

This year, we had so many toddlers running around that at times I felt like I was in the land of Oz with a bunch of midgets scurrying about! I snapped a picture of Ryan walking in with the boys booster seats at dinner time and it was just another reminder of how multiplicative the Todd's lives are! We were also able to meet the newest member of the clan, Evangeline, 18 mos old and an itsy bitsy tiny little cutie but Jennifer is holding out to win the final 'Pregnant at Christmas' award at 8 months and counting! As usual it was a great evening with yummy food but somehow we all forgot to eat dessert- go figure!

Standby for one more post to come about Christmas Day...