Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Moving forward....Finally!!

After a tough couple of weeks - health issues with kids and grandbaby - I'm back in the swing of things!
I have GOT to get this house decorated for the holidays. I'm never this late into December with an un-decorated house.  I like to start with a blank slate.....

Hubby brought all of my goodies up from the basement last weekend.  I spent Saturday cleaning and putting the everyday things away. 

Sunday I began the big job of decorating!!  Today is Tuesday...and I'm still at it :)  I will decorate the tree tonight.  As I was going through boxes and bins I set aside many items to give to our son and his wife.  My daughter also received a box of items for her apartment at school.  This gives me room to buy a few more things - but don't tell my husband! 

Stay tuned for pictures! 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What a Week !!

Plans were for the Rinkenberg family to stagger our arrival in PA over a two day period.  Nana and Pap-pap are Jack's parents and that's where we spend Thanksgiving every year.  Our son, Evan and his family (wife Kristen and baby Ryan Savannah) were arriving on Tuesday.  Evan had taken 10 days leave so he could hunt while in PA.  Our home-from-college daughter, Caitlyn, was going to head up on Wednesday am.  I was leaving work Wednesday and heading up around 2pm and Jack was working the noon - 8pm shift and heading up after.  Jack's sister and her husband and 2 of their three daughters were heading down from NY on Wednesday evening. Their third daughter lives in North Carolina (not far from Evan!) and had to work.  (Hi Kiersten!!)

I'm working away at my desk on Monday when I get a phone call from Evan.  "We're at the hospital with the baby - she rolled off the couch and she won't move her arm" he stated tearfully.  "I'm sure she'll be fine honey" I said. "Babies are like rubber - she probably just pulled something - keep me posted".  10 minutes later the phone rings and it's our family physician.  Caitlyn had had a sonogram on her Thyroid the Friday before and he was calling to tell me that she has "a mass on her Thyroid that MUST be biopsied RIGHT AWAY".  Scared the bejeezus out of me!!  I called Jack and tearfully recounted both stories to him.  I scared the bejeezus out of him!! 

Jack called his parents to tell them that our plans are up in the air and what's going on with the kids and grandbaby.  He told them we'd keep them posted and that Thanksgiving in PA with Nana and Pap was looking a bit dismal.

Two hours later Evan calls to tell us that the baby's are is BROKEN!!  The bone between the elbow and the shoulder - she hit the carpeted floor just right when she rolled off the couch - a one in a million! Why can't we be so lucky with the lottery tickets we buy every week? 

Meanwhile the family physician is busy trying to scheduled Caitlyn with a surgeon for Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday.  The calls continue back and forth - Evan and I and the Doctor and I.  Upon arriving home at 7:30pm I get a hysterical call from Evan that the baby has have surgery so that they can set the bone and cast the arm....this will happen Wednesday at 2:30pm two hours away from where they live. They were going to have to leave Tuesday afternoon.  I offered to head their way (a 6 hour drive frrom our home in VA).  Evan said to wait until they talked with the surgeon the next morning and he'd let me know what was going on for sure.

I don't think any of us slept well on Monday night!  Evan and Kristen were supposed to be at Evan's Marine Corps Ball.  Kristen was packing the baby up and packing their things as they were dropping the baby at Cousin Phil and Alyssa's house for the night and staying at the hotel where their ball was to be held as it was an hour away.  Evan was on baby watch when he set Ryan down on the couch and turned to do something and off she rolled!  Bye-Bye Marine Corps Ball and hello Emergency Room.

All I could think about Tuesday morning was how am I going to be in North Carolina with Evan and family and in VA with Caity getting a biopsy at the same time.  Well, Jack would have to take Caity.  She wouldn't be happy but that's the way it was going to have to be.   So Evan calls mid morning to say he'd chatted with the surgeon and it didn't look like they'd have to actually do surgery - but just put the baby to sleep to set the arm and cast it.  Great news.  Our family physician called to say he couldn't get Caity in this week for a biopsy. I explained to him that she has an endocronoligist in South Carolina where she goes to college and thought she'd probably be able to get Caity in for a biopsy down there on Monday or Tuesday.  So we called Dr. Dale and sure enough....biopsy scheduled for Tuesday 11/30/10.  Caitlyn informed me that she will take a friend and does not need for me to drive 6 hours to be with her.  She will get the results on 12/6 and we'll see what next steps are.

I called Evan again on Tuesday afternoon to make sure he didn't need me. Kristens mom was headed down he said. Their house isn't big enough for all of us but ofcourse he told me to come if I wanted to. I told him that they didn't need both of us under foot and to thank Kristen's mom for coming!  The best news was the doctor telling them that they could travel with the baby 24 hours after she was casted!  So Evan informed me that they'd head to Philadelphia to Kristens family on Thursday night (arriving early on Friday morning) and then they'd head to PA to Nana and Pap-Pap's on Sunday mid-day.  Hooray!!  Plans might just work out after all.

I hung up the phone and Caity says to me "since I'm not going to the Dr. this week and you are not going south, want to go to Nana and Pap-Pap's now?".  Hmmmmm-I don't see why not.  We packed and were on the road within the hour.  I called to let them know we were on the way and would arrive around 11pm.  We brought the dog so Jack could just leave from work when he got off at 8pm the next night. 

We had a lovely Thanksgiving day, minus Evan and family.  Jack's sister and her family headed home to NY on Thanksgiving eve.  Caitlyn headed back to VA Friday morning.  Jack will head back on Monday afternoon as he isn't due back at work until 3pm on Tuesday.  Me?  I'm staying here all week. I cannot wait for Evan, Kristen and Ryan to arrive tomorrow.  I'm going to pick that baby up and not put her down for 6 glorious days!!  Evan will be hunting with his Pap-Pap, his uncle and his cousins (as previously planned) while we girls (Kristen, Ryan, Nana and I) shop and relax for the week.  Things couldn't have turned out better.

Not sure when I'll get that Christmas decorating done now - but that's the least of my worries this week!

Happy Thanksgiving friends!  Thanks for checking in. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Decorating - Take Two

I know...I know....I promised to chat about my new granddaughter, Ryan Savannah.  I will!!  Let me finish the Christmas Decorating chat first. 

Our family has many "traditions" that the kids found hard to "outgrow" - like waiting at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning until we (mom and dad) walked the dog and made a pot of coffee.  Imagine our surprise when they wanted to keep this tradition going well into High School !!  So we let them - a 6' young man and a "grown up" young lady sitting on the top step, giddy with anticipation, while mom made the coffee and dad took the dog for a quick walk!  Loved it.

Then there was the year (maybe 5 years ago) that I decided to decorate the entry foyer in HOT pink and BRIGHT green instead of the usual Christmas red and green.  It all started with the small HOT pink foil tree I spotted and had to bring home!!  Then I found Martha Stewart ornaments at K-Mart in the same color HOT pink along with BRIGHT green and the idea was born. 

CUTE isn't it?  The kids had a STROKE - "Christmas is RED and GREEN Mom". They didn't like my "there is GREEN and PINK is in the same color family as RED".  So the HOT pink tree has a place in Caitlyn's bedroom during the holidays and the BRIGHT green balls are now on the tree.  I tried!

This Christmas will be extra special with our 6 month old granddaughter, Ryan Savannah, in the house.  We are super excited.  Our son - the Marine - was married last year 3 days before Christmas. He shipped off to Afghanistan (his third tour of duty) on January 5th.  Our beautiful and corageous daughter-in-law, Kristen finished her sophmore year of college before giving birth to this precious gift on May 26, 2010.  We were there as were her parents.  Friends of Evan and Kristens were in and out during her long labor.  Finally Ryan made her debut - all healthy and beautiful!  She was home with Mommy the following day (at Kristens parents house - fortunately we live minutes apart!)  I quickly mailed pictures to Evan - knowing that it would be days, maybe weeks before he would get them.  His unit lead the invasion into Marjah, Afghanistan. They had no infrastructure and IED's were a huge problem as they were buried everywhere.  Deliveries to the guys was sketchy at best. 

Evan was injured during a fire fight with the Taliban and ended up coming home June 12 - two months early!  I'm happy to report that after four surgeries he's doing better and regaining the use of the hand that was shot through !  We were very blessed to have the whole family living with us for nearly 3 months during Evan's surgeries and recovery.  They moved back to Camp Lejeune, NC in September and he went back to work in October.  Having them 6 hours away is not easy - we miss them and Miss Ryan terribly.  So having them all here for Christmas will be extra special.  I can just picture my little Muffin (I call her Mimi's Muffin) looking at all of the lights and shiny ornaments. It will be magical for sure.  We will try not to spoil her too much!

Could she be any cuter?  Okay...maybe I'm just a bit prejudiced :)

Stay tuned for more Holiday and family chat - thanks for tuning in!!  I promise to incorporate more decorating IDEAS into this blog instead of just rambling on - really !!

Time to THINK about decorating for Christmas - could it be?

So my FAVORITE time of year is here - started in early October when I decorated for fall/Halloween. Last week I added a few Thanksgiving decorations (pilgrims, indians and turkeys) to the decor and took down the true "Halloween" stuff.  Now it's time to think about packing all of that in and dragging the boxes, tubs and bins and wreaths up from the basement.  My husband dreads this chore.  Darn those kids for growing up and not being here to help the past couple of years :)  That was always their job....up and down the steps for box after box after bin after tub of Christmas stuff.  Once the stuff is upstairs they are off duty and it's my turn to spend hours - make that days - unpacking and placing.  Some things I put in the same spot year after year, like my snowmen collection on top of the desk hutch in the study.  Other things find a new place each year.  I love unpacking and coming across that new item I bought last year and forgot I had or that special item that warms my heart.

As I'm unpacking I'm talking to my treasures; " are going to look so cute on the mantel" or "just look at you" and "I know just where you are going this year". I love each and every decoration. Some remind me of Christmas's long ago when the kids were little. Others evoke a special memory of my husband and I or my sister and I.  And we haven't even talked about the tree and those ornaments !! I set aside the many boxes of tree ornaments and decorate the tree last.  We bought a 9' Douglas Fir two years ago and decorated it last year for the first time - what a beauty she is!  20 strings of lights and over 500 ornaments and she could have graced the pages of "Home Beautiful" easily.  Can't wait to get my hands on her this year!

I start with the whole decorating event a few days ahead of bringing up the boxes and bins by cleaning and dusting and putting away all of the 'every day' pictures and knick knacks so that when the boxes and bins come out of hiding I can immediately begin placing things here and there.  I unpack each box, bin or tub and set the contents somewhere, even if it's not where the item will eventually end up.  This takes hours.  Once the emptied containers are all taken back down the stairs (where ARE those kids?!) then it's time to start arranging and re-arranging and decorating the tree!! 

I literally get tears in my eyes as I open and re-discover so many precious memories from 24+ years of marriage and two children who are now ages 19 (in college) and 23 (a U.S. Marine).  I still have the many, many  macaroni and glitter glue ornaments they made in Kindergarten and the 3rd grade picture ornaments, not to mention the Nativity ornament made out of popsicle sticks and toothpicks. I think Baby Jesus is a clothes pin.  These are my most prized ornaments, each one special beyond description.  They are as beautiful, maybe more so, as the gorgeous store-bought ornaments that we've purchased over the years.  Then there are the ornaments that celebrate sports and accomplishments - irish dance, football, basketball, track, ballet, lacrosse, fishing, hunting and golf.  Evan's 'cowboy' stage and 'fireman' stage are celebrated with ornaments.  Caitlyn's 'ballerina' stage and 'dress-up' stage and 'horse' stage are celebrated with ornaments.  Our tree is truly a tapestry of our lives.  It takes me F-O-R-E-V-E-R to get it decorated as I  must walk down memory lane with almost every ornament as I am placing it on the tree. Lot's of 'chatting' going on during the tree decorating -ha ha!

So once the tree is decorated and those boxes are placed downstairs, the wreaths and lighta placed in all 8 windows on the front of the house and the banisters are wrapped in greenery, lights and ribbon - it's finally time to sit back and enjoy it all.  My husband laughs and says it takes me the better part of  week to get it right.  He comes home from work each day expecting things to be moved around and I generally don't disappoint.  "How many new nails holes this year?" he'll ask. 

I love coming down the stairs each morning to lit tree.  We plug ours into a timer so that it comes on for a couple of hours in the am and again for several hours in the pm.  I also have several smaller trees and other "light up" decorations that get turned on each evening and the lights in each window burn all night.

This Christmas will be even more special with a new Grandchild to spoil!  More on Ryan Savannah next time!

Chat soon!!  Rie

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Let's Get This Party Started - I have a B-L-O-G !!

I have long been a fan of home decorating - mostly my own home but friends have had me in from time to time to refresh their interiors too!  With the Holiday season HERE - it's the perfect time to start blogging and sharing some fun, fabulous and in-expensive decorating ideas with you. 

First, let me upload a couple of "Fall" photos - showing some of my Fall/Halloween decorating.

It's all about those gorgeous fall colors - oranges, yellows and browns.  Some of these items I picked up at craft shows, others I picked up at after-Holiday sales, and some I bought at Walmart!  I like the plate rack - as I can do seasonal plates (or framed pictures!) in that same spot.  The wall above my fireplace is the first thing you see when you walk into the room and I LOVE to decorate that spot for each Holiday.  The rest of the year a HUGE (and adorable) red metal fish hangs there as the family room has that beach-y decor going on.

The third photo shows off my Hall Stand. My parents brought this monstrosity back from Scotland in the early 70's and I inherited it. I love it. It is one of my most prized possesions.  This piece of furniture sits in our foyer and it's another of my favorite decorating spots!  You see it when you walk into the front door so it's an opportunity to really jazz up the foyer!  Depending on the season/holiday I drape the top with leaves, greenery, strands of beads or shells.  The shelf below the mirror lends itself nicely to all sorts of holiday knick-knacks, as does the top below it.  It's fun to come up with interesting and unusual ideas to show off the seasons.

The bottom photo is of my "window and sill" that hangs on another wall in the entry hall - giving me another special and eye-catching space to decorate!!

Look around your home.  What are some of the places and spaces you see when you walk into your foyer or the main rooms in your home?  How can you accent these places and spaces to bring out the HOLIDAY or the SEASON in your home?  Take note of wall space, shelf space, matel space and other places where you can hang or set items, pictures, knick-knacks.  Nine months out of the year the walls in my first floor rooms do not change - there are pictures of my two children, fish, beach scenes, etc.  But come October 1 the scenery changes in a big way!  First for Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas.  The Fall/Halloween items are augmented with Thanksgiving statues of pilgrims and turkeys (and a few of the Halloween things come down then).  Generally the week after Thanksgiving I begin dragging out the many, many (too many my husband says) Christmas decorations.  The house is transformed and I love it!

So stay tuned for the upcoming Christmas transformation - it's huge!

If you have decorating, color or home questions or need ideas please let me know!!  Email me at I will answer all inquiries.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving - take a moment out of the hectic day to remember those less fortunate and all who bravely serve our Country in the military!