About a month ago, in front of our refrigerator, our tile was starting to push up from the ground. There was moisture around the area, and my dad assumed that there was water under there. Water from where? We weren't sure exactly, but we guessed the fridge.

We came to the conclusion that we needed a new fridge. So, me, my mom, and my dad went out and looked at fridges for about a week and decided on one that we all liked. It was black and shiny and had those fancy in-door ice and water dispensers.

After buying a new fridge, we realized we would have to get new floor, because the place where the water ruined the tile looked terrible. My parents went out again, this time to look for new flooring for the kitchen and the dining room. They picked out hardwood.

My dad began pulling up the other flooring to find layer and layers (four more layers to be exact) beneath our original. It was pretty funny looking at all of them. You could tell which ones were from the 70's and 80's. ;P

In our kitchen we've had the same wallpaper hanging in there for 15 years--ever since we moved in. I begged and begged my mom to take it down. If we're getting a new fridge and flooring, the wallpaper will look even more outdated and we've just got to rip it all down. I won. (:

We picked out some green paint, (our wallpaper was green and white) and began pulling it all down while my dad was pulling the floor up. One of the layers of flooring before us was put down with glue so when my dad pulled it up, we'd get the glue on our shoes and then we'd track the wallpaper all over the house! Our house really was a mess!
Picture
You can see the old wallpaper, and all the stuff on the ground we had already pulled down!
Picture
This is where our old fridge used to be and where our new one soon would be.
Our kitchen table was absolutely covered with kitchen appliances, tools, and everything else that we couldn't have in the kitchen. We had to pull out our card table and eat at that instead. My mom couldn't cook, we just had take out for a couple of days. It was pretty fun actually.

Things really started to come along as my dad got the floor down and me and my mom started to paint.
Picture
This was taken on my phone, so it's a bit blurry, but this is the general color. (and you can see all our crap on the counter!)
My mom wasn't too sure about the color but I absolutely love it. After that it was just putting on finishing touches and cleaning up! I think we're still vacuuming things up from it!

I wish I would've taken some good before pictures so you could compare, buuuut I didn't, so I apologize. But doesn't it look great now! I think our black fridge ties all our other appliances in well, since they're black too.
Picture
Picture
I think sometime in the near future we're going to get new counter tops, which would be cool. :)

I really can't wait til I can have my own house and decorate it the way I want. I love decorating and painting and all that kind of stuff. I love the kitchen, and I can't wait to do that kind of stuff to my house. Do you all like decorating/painting or stuff like that?
 
 
Wow, I feel like it's been forever since I last updated! Either way, I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and are enjoying your break!

It was really nice staying home for Christmas, especially since it's not something my family does a lot. Christmas Eve we went to my church's candlelight service and it was really nice. We weren't sure if we were going to have it because the snow was just coming down in blankets! Then, we came back to our house and just ate a bunch of junk food, little smokies, toasted ravioli, nachos, little pizzas, etc.

Christmas morning, I awoke around 9:30 to my mother and older sister barging into my room and jumping on my bed, screaming "Merry Christmas!" at the top of their lungs. They continued to suffocate me until I threatened to start throwing stuff at them. They left and I got up and learned they had done the same to my brother, but he did throw stuff at them. Haha.

We all pitched in to help make breakfast; I made the pancakes, my father the bacon, mom the hash-browns, and my sister biscuits and gravy. (My brother was still asleep so there was no helping from him!) After that, I gave Tabor his toys I bought him from his stocking and he didn't know which one to play with first; it was hilarious.

Eventually Steven got up, and we opened up our presents as a family. I got a couple books (The Hunger Games series, Sarah's Key), Cry Baby (which I had been pining for forever. Johnny Depp = <3), the Harry Potter DVD's, and then some pajama pants and fuzzy socks. My father bought my mom an off-brand mp3 player and she opened it and didn't know what it was. xD So, we're all gonna have to help her put her music on it and whatnot.

My other brother, Ryan, is working in Greece (I'm not sure if I've mentioned that before),  so we skyped him a little bit later on and talked to him. He's coming home in February, and though I tell everyone I'm not excited he's coming home (brother/sister rivalry and whatnot), I really am.

So we kinda did our own thing after that until about 5:00. My grandpa and my aunt came over and we had Christmas Dinner, and it was delicious. We used my mom's fine china, which we never use, so it was all fancy and fun.
Christmas Dinner
Everything on the table but the ham!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, hopefully with your family. <3
 
 
My family and I traveled to my aunt's, who lives about an hour and a half away, yesterday for my mom's side of the family Christmas. Because she has such a large family and there's tons of cousins and aunts and uncles and whatnot, we don't just buy gifts for everyone. We all just buy a $5 gift and we put the gifts in a pile and play a game called Rob Your Neighbor. (I'm not really sure if that's the "official" name of the game, but it's just what we call it. :P)

It's pretty simple. Everyone draws a number and that's the order that you go in. So, number one goes and picks a gift out of the middle and unwraps it. Then, number two can either still the gift or can pick one out of the pile, and it just goes around like that. It's actually really funny because people get so competitive over these cheap $5 gifts. xD Nothing spreads holiday cheer like stealing presents does!

I ended up with a $5 gift card to Dairy Queen (mmmmmmm, so good!) which I was perfectly content with. I stole it from my grandpa, haha. I'm still his favortie. ;)

Then we all ate entirely too much good food and kind of sat around and talked for a couple hours. I always feel so awkward when it comes to that part because no one is for real my age. I'm 16, and the closest two people to me are 21 and 23. So while my older cousins talk about college and everything, I'm kind sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, thinking about how I can't wait to get out of high school. Or, wishing someone would ask how I'm doing in school. I really like to see my family and stuff, I just always feel so awkward as I don't have anyone to talk to. Does this happen to anyone else?

Schoolwise, I'm almost done with this semester! I have all my finals this week; three tomorrow, two on Tuesday, and two on Wednesday. Thankfully, Tuesday and Wednesday are half days, though I sometimes wish they would just shove Tuesday and Wednesday together so I could get on with my break! I'm really not too worried about any of them except for my physics final. This year my school implemented this new dumb grading system where finals are only worth 5% of your grade. Uh, what? Does anyoneone else agree how dumb that in itself sounds? Finals are supposed to show what you know but nope, not anymore.

On the upside, I can get a 0% on five out of seven of my classes and still pass with an A. On the downside though, in Physics, I have to get 110% on my final to get an A, so I'm pretty worried. Our teacher told us that there would be extra credit on there, but that means I have to completely ace it, which is pretty unrealistic since I really struggled with that class. :/ I was aiming for straight A's this semester, but I guess I can handle one B...

Anywho, I hear most of you are out on break! Woot! For those of you who are, I hope you're all enjoying it and for those who aren't, good luck on finals and whatnot!
 
 
On Monday, we started putting up our Christmas tree! We didn't really finish it until last night, but me and my mom have been slowly working on it. It's an artificial one and comes with built in lights, so it took us like an hour to get all the sections working. By that time, we weren't in the best of moods and decided to call it a day.

Nonetheless, it got finished! We're working on putting other decorations up around the house, but just putting the tree up has definitely got me into the swing of Christmas. Here's a picture of our tree and some of my favorite ornaments :
Our tree!
Our tree! (and my dad's leg...)
ornament :)
There is this lady at my church that can make gorgeous ornaments; this is one that she made. Isn't it beautiful?
Ornament :)
The letter 'G' stands for our last name: Gray.
Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
Santa please stop here!
This was my favorite one when I was younger. You can press the back of it and it plays 'Santa Clause is Coming to Town'. It sounds like it's just dying now... ;)
Picture
My dad bought this one in Turkey.
I don't know what it is about Christmas, but it is hands down my favorite holiday. I'm almost always in the best mood during the Christmas season (despite a select few songs that make me want to pull my hair out).I love giving gifts to people, spending time with my family, and definitely not least of all, celebrating Christ's birth. :)

If you celebrate Christmas, have you all set up any decorations yet? What is your favorite holiday?
 
 
I want to thank everyone for the comments on the last blog about my grandpap. It really helped.

As for how he is doing, he didn't look as bad as I thought. He just looked very old. He was very weak, and we're pretty sure he did not remember us. He was also very quiet. I think we all handled it really well, we saw him on a good day. When the rest of my family went to see him on Thanksgiving, yesterday, he was in a terrible mood and screaming and yelling. So his moods fluctuate a lot. I'm just really glad I saw him on a good day.

He's not eating very much; he's eating about 48% of breakfast, 15% of lunch, and 12% of dinner, which is not a lot. He says he's full. He also thinks that he is coming home, which is not completely out of the question, but the chances are slim. He keeps calling home and asking for my grandma to come get him. :/

Yesterday, Thanksgiving was really good. We went to my aunt's so not to stress my grandma and all the food was delicious and I probably gained 2349087 pounds. ;P I'm so grateful for everything that God has given my family.

Today, me and my mom and dad did a little bit of shopping, but not much. We mainly met up with some other friends, and that was nice. Then, about fifteen minutes after we got to my grandma's, my grandma was having severe pains. She was throwing up and she had to lie down because she felt like she was going to pass out. She thought she needed to go to the hospital.

Soooo, we called an ambulance and then my aunt that lives right next door. The paramedics came and we figured that she had disturbed or done something to a rupture that she had years back that she had surgery on. We're not really sure from there. I have a mentally retarded aunt that is currently staying at my grandma's for the holiday,  and through this whole ordeal she was sleeping, and still is. Me and my mom stayed behind in case she woke up or if any of our other relatives called to ask for information.

We're just playing the waiting game right now. We don't know if she'll have surgery, or if they'll post-pone it for another date and just give her pain medications... we don't know. So I'm just trying to do what I can to pass the time.

Our original plan was to come home Saturday, tomorrow, but we don't know if we're still going to do that. My grandma may need us here, and if so, we'll stay an extra day.

All in all, this has been a really hard week for my family. :/
 
 
Almost every year for Christmas, we go to my grandparents in Pennsylvania for Christmas. It's a long drive, about 12 hours, but it's always good to see them as we normally only see them and the rest of my dad's family once a year.

My grandpap (or pap-pap, as we call him sometimes), has not been doing very well. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about three years ago, and at first it wasn't too bad. He would forget little things, like where he placed his keys, or if he had already taken his medicine for the day, but recently it has got to the point that my grandma can not take care of him anymore. About a month ago, he fell down the stairs in his house and hit his head and was unable to get back up. So my grandmother, old with age as she is, called my aunt who conveniently lives right next door. They managed to get my grandpap to the hospital and he was placed in ICU.

From there on, the details are a bit fuzzy except for the fact that his health is failing. The doctors say that it's common for Alzheimer patients to become mean, and my grandpap has now reached that point. My aunts and uncles have placed him in a nursing home, but it's only angered him more and they now say he has symptoms of depression as well.

The last time we came up here, last December, my grandpap didn't know who we were. All in all, it's been a rather difficult time for my family up here in Pennsylvania, and for mine back home. The doctors aren't sure how long my grandpap is going to last. My parents decided it would be better to come up for Thanksgiving this year instead of Christmas; it would relieve some stress on my grandma's part and to be honest, we're not sure he will make it to Christmas. It's one of those things that no one is saying aloud, but we're all thinking it.

So I'm in PA now at my grandparents. My grandma seems to be doing fine, though she misses him. She went to see him the other day and he told her that he loved her, which gives me hope, but also breaks my heart. One of these days, he won't recognize the woman he has been married to for more than 50 years.

My dad is attending a meeting tomorrow with his brothers and sisters at the nursing home to discuss what's going on, be updated on information, make sure everyone is okay with the plans, etc. My mother and I will go see him a little while later. I'm really nervous to be honest. I already know that he will not know who I am, and I feel terrible for my dad too as his own dad will probably not recognize him. My dad isn't really one to let his feelings show, but I know he has to be hurting at lieas But, I'm glad I will be able to see him, nonetheless.

I may or may not blog again until after Thanksgiving break, so I thought I would fill you all in with what's happening in my life right now. If not, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and gain lots of weight, because I know I will! :)