Last update for now....

I took the above shot with my iPhone on Saturday night, the last night I spent at the hospital 
before coming home Sunday afternoon.  

Mom is improving slowly, yet surely.  Her pain is still sometimes difficult to handle, but the docs are pleased with her recovery thus far.  She's been out of bed a couple times, and ate some toast and soup yesterday.  Though she was only supposed to be in ICU for two days, they've kept her there for almost 6, mostly due to no beds available in the progressive unit.  Today they will most likely move her to a regular semi-private room where she'll stay several more days.

It was an intense, but precious few days for me sitting by her bed.  Watching her in pain was NOT fun, but my doula experience certainly came in handy!  Makes me wonder if all that time I was preparing for this moment in time....

I'm just overwhelmed by the thoughtful, caring comments and emails I'm still receiving.  Please know your words are a balm to my heart.  I hope I can thank you by getting some cottage inspiration going again soon. :)

 (my family circa 2003)

And finally, I should mention my family will be taking off for Disney World on Friday, returning Sunday the 6th. It's the first time since the above picture was taken that all the kids (and spouses and boyfriends!) will be with us again.  I doubt I'll have anything to post about during that time, but maybe Cindy will give me a tour of her castle and an interview for the blog? 

 If not, I'm totally getting the name of her hairdresser.  

 (me and Cindy-rella 2009)

I will definitely have Make it 4 Monday up this week and next, though.  Sorry for missing it this week....
I was, um, zonked.  Ya know, coughing zzzzz's.  Thanks for hanging in there with me. 
I'll see ya on the other side of the World, with some new projects in the works. 



Update #2

After a pretty rough day dealing with pain, mom is finally resting comfortably. Sorry so brief...posting from my new iPhone and getting used to texting with it. I'm sitting here next to her watching her peaceful face and listening to the pride & prejudice soundtrack amidst the bleeps & whirs of icu in the wee hours of the morning. Sanctuary.


Quick update

Mom's surgery went well. She is struggling with some intense pain, but hanging in there. She will prolly stay in icu til sometime Sunday.


Tomorrow is a big day.

I'll be heading to Indy tonight to be with my family as my mama faces surgery early tomorrow morning.  They will remove most of her sternum and the tumor behind it.  It is a radical procedure, but is the only hope we have to prolong her life.  Had she not been healthy enough otherwise to be able to sustain this kind of procedure, the doctors said they had nothing else to offer her except to keep her comfortable.  So we forge ahead...she will have a 4-6 month recovery period before they begin chemo treatments, thank goodness.

 It 's a long surgery, and she will be in ICU on a ventilator for a couple days following. They need to keep her completely still for awhile obviously.  No deep breaths, etc.
My plan is to stay with her until she's off the ventilator and in a regular room.
 I will hopefully be back for Make it 4 Monday on Sunday evening.

Thank you all so very, very much for your words of kindness, support, and care for me, my mama, and our family.  I've really felt lifted.  If you would, please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow.  I will post an update on the ::cottage instincts:: facebook page as soon as she's out of operating room. 

Aren't they cute?

Oh yeah, and 3 for Thursday will be back next week.  I've got some great gals to show off!


How to throw an awesome dinner party.

PSSSST...I'm no longer blogging here!
You can now find me at


My kids are freaking awesome.  Most of the time.  This is one of those times.  
My daughter Maddie with the help of all the sibs and my dear friend Clara put together a 'Jane Austen' inspired evening for Chris and I.  

Here's what went down:

"Cocktails of light wines and waters"

Delish h'orderves

Everyone mixed and mingled and enjoyed the ambience.....me with daughter Maddie and my friend Cheryl.

Chris and daughter Kristen

Daughters Grace and Maddie, dear friend and hostess Clara, and 'butler' Aaron (Cheryl's son)

Maddie set up a corner with our wedding memorabilia, complete with  a photo collage by Clara, 
and balloons to fill my wedding gown in the appropriate places *wink*

Dinner followed.  My girls had met with Clara to choose dinnerware, menu, etc. earlier in the week.  Remember, Clara is a PRO at dinner parties.  Everything was perfectly in it's place.  
I'm told it took 2 hours to perfect this table setting, and I don't doubt it.

Everything perfectly lined up.....

Maddie designed the placecards and menu card.

Preparing for the feast!

All the kids pitched in to make the meal....first was a FANTABULOUS cream of garlic soup garnished with rosemary sprigs (no picture, wah!) made by my wonderful daughter in law Andrea
 It *will* be going in the Online Harvey Girls are Cookin' recipe site.

Next came the main course of Kristen's tossed salad and Clara's Crepes Manicotti with Italian Sauce:

Lastly came the fruit course: Oranges in lime syryp.  Oh. My. Goodness.  
Words fail me.

After stuffing ourselves, the women retired to the den to enjoy "coffee and liqueurs", Ghiardelli chocolates,
 and laughter....the silver service belonged to Clara's mother.  Gorgeous!

I might have had a bit too much Amaretto in my coffee.  Not sure.

Here's my posse: Clara, me, Sheila, and Cheryl.  Dang, we look fine. We're a bunch of hotties.

And with my gorgeous girls: Andrea, Kristen, me, Gracie, Maddie.  
And when did they outgrow Barbies again?

In the meantime, Aaron served the men their after dinner brandy and cigars:

My son C.Ray enjoying his stogie.

You basically couldn't see or breath in the dining room (drawing room?)
 I'm told my hubs blew some mean smoke rings.  But I can't be sure. 
 I think this is something that's supposed to impress people.  

Eventually we moved into the kitchen to prepare for the Raspberry Cordial Cheescake 
made by my son-in-law Josh.  
Too bad 'puter screens aren't scratch and sniff.

But first, Chris and I exchanged our new rings we got for each other...Looks painful, eh?

And played a *leeetle*  kissy-face.  

Then each of my kids toasted us, and I was blown away. 

Just when I thought I was a complete failure as a parent, my kids swoop in and bless me with the most honest, heartfelt thanks (and tears) I have ever heard. *sniff sniff*
 I will cherish those moments forever......

We opened cards and gifts (the kids pitched in and got us a new set of Nautica luggage with engraved '25th anniversary' tags!) as we enjoyed our divine cheesecake, 
then several of us sat down for some good old fashioned poker with Clara's vintage chips.  
Others of the party went to enjoy the football game.

Son in law Josh....cheesecake-maker extraordinaire. BTW, Josh's younger bro (and my student) stayed with my two boys at home that night to entertain them with pizza and video games :)

Learning Texas Hold 'em.  Still don't get it.

We were a bunch of drinkin', smokin', gamblin', (and a wee bit o'cussin') middle age goofballs.  
Way fun.  Way.

Now then, before I let you go, let me show you some behind the scenes shots of how Clara, Maddie and the crew carried this off. 
 Here's Clara's pantry room (I've shown you before here) which worked 
as a holding area for all the courses.

Here's the manicotti....Clara made 60 individual homemade crepes the day before, 
then my girls came to help stuff and roll them up the day of the party:

Carafes of wine ready to be served with dinner.

Plates stacked and ready for Aaron to pile on the goods.

Clara prepares the 'cocktails and waters':

Butler Aaron, who did a magnificent job serving everyone thru-out the evening 
spent a day at Clara's learning the art of butler-ing.  What a trooper! Thank you Master Aaron :)

Everyone worked so hard to make it a perfect evening (except for the Colts, but we won't talk about that).

Thanks Clara and Herb for opening your home and helping my kids throw us an amazing 25th party.  
We love you.

And of course, thanks C.Ray & Andrea, Maddie & Josh, Kristen, and Gracie for throwing yourselves into this undertaking and blessing us with your gifts, talents, your words of love, and your lives.  
We are blessed.

(All pictures 'cept for the last one in this post were taken by Maddie, Andrea, C.Ray and Kristen)


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