Monday, August 30, 2010

Just in case having your mom pass away, starting home-school for the year, and buying a new house don't make life crazy enough......

....this afternoon happened. Settle in for a long read. You'll laugh. I guarantee it.

The kids and I had to run out this morning before lunch for just a couple of errands---the library, the post office, and my favorite health food store. In the health food store, Cosette eyed a roll of that 6-foot long Bubble Gum. And she had allowance money in her pocket. She asked me so nicely if she could buy it. Now, our kids eat a very limited amount of candy and sugar and gum. Especially gum with sugar in it. But, she did have her own money. And sometimes, you just have to 'let kids be kids'. I mean, no kid should grow up without having at least one chance to enjoy the sugary goodness of 6 whole feet of bubble gum all to yourself. (whatever!) So, long story short, I let her buy it, very much against my own good judgment. *Note to mothers out there: If you're about to let your child do something 'against your own good judgment', just don't let them do it!

Anway, I let her and Eli both have a small piece on the way home, and then when we got home, I was busy getting lunch ready and completely forgot about the bubble gum. Cosette left it on the floor of Noah's room during nap-time. Yep. Did I just hear you all go "Uh-oh?"

When I went to check on Noah, who should have been sleeping, I found him surrounded by little tiny bits of bubble gum in his crib. Like, maybe four inches worth of gum. The rest of the roll was....gone. I searched the room over for this gum. Under the bed, under the sheets, in the drawers.....everywhere. It was just not there. I winced and said "Noah, did you eat all of this gum?" He grinned, nodded 'yes', and pointed happily into his open mouth. I groaned.

I called my husband, who laughed and said "I'd eat it too, if I were two!" Okay, no help there!

I called my sister, the CNA. She winced too. "Um, call your pediatrician!"

I called my pediatrician, who also winced, said "Ewww!!!.....Um, call poison control!"

I was growing exasperated. For someone who hates talking on the phone, this was an awful lot of phone calls.

I called poison control, who assured me that the gum was non-toxic, and shouldn't cause any more problems than a tummy-ache and maybe some constipation.

I breathed a relieved sigh, hung up the phone, and decided that all naps were hopeless for the day. It was now officially one of those afternoons when as a mama, you have to throw up your hands in defeat and put in a movie.

Now, how's the best way to get some fiber into a two year old?? :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This and That

The next few weeks are going to be very busy for us. Joel has a full schedule at work, the kids and I will be starting school, we'll be closing on our new house and getting it painted, and trying to get this house organized and packed up. And we'll be doing it all without the help of my mom, which makes my heart ache very badly.

But anyway, before I forget, I wanted to share some photos that have been on my camera for the past couple of weeks:

Our Sunshine kitty--'healthy and friendly', according
to our vet.

Our most recent 'sisters' picture

I LOVE this one :)

The two youngest cousins at a recent outdoor picnic

My girl wants to be a ballerina so badly!

And finally, the last picture I managed to snap of my mom holding Cosette. Doesn't she look healthy and beautiful? You can see, then,why we had NO IDEA that in a mere 12 hours, our world would be changed forever.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baby Talk

Leanna said her first word. And, no kidding, it sounded exactly like this: "Agoo". What? You don't know what that means?? It means:

" Why hello Mommy! You are the most incredible, awesome, amazing mommy that ever lived, and I love this yummy milk that you are giving me. I would just like to sit here all day and cuddle up with you. Thank you for being SO fabulous, Mommy! You're my favorite person in the world"

There now. If a baby ever says that to you, you'll know exactly what they mean. :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Some good news

My apologies for not keeping up better on here this past little bit. But I'm sure you all understand with everything we've been going through. Time does heal, though--time, and especially friends, family, and the Body of Christ. We are pulling through this, slowly but surely. I know you are all anxious to see some pictures of Sunshine. She's headed to the vets tomorrow for check up and shots. The kids love her. I love that she has provided wonderful distraction and someone for them to pour their love out on during this difficult time for our family. I will try to post pictures soon.

I did want to stop in for just a minute to let you all know our exciting news. We just signed a contract on a new house yesterday!!! :) :) :) Yes, it is the same one we looked at eight months ago. It was still sitting there for sale. We went to look at it again, and loved it just as much. The price had come waaaay down from their original listing, and we had reached some financial goals in the meantime that we were wanting to reach before we considered the house again. So all in all, it seemed like the right time and the right house after all! I am ecstatic! So happy! So glad that we waited until the timing was right. My mom would have loved the house. She would have loved that there was a 'school room'. She would have loved the nice big flat back yard with plenty of room for a garden and the kids swing set. She would have loved that it is only two houses up from where our Pastor's family lives, and the house in between that belongs to some other friends from church. She would have helped me make curtains for it. I will miss not being able to have her around to celebrate with us. But I take comfort in the fact that I know she would have loved it :) I will keep you all updated over the next few weeks as we work on closing details, etc.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It has been the summer of memories---2010. Only I didn't know that they would always stand out in my mind as such vivid, important memories....

  • Late Saturday night, early Sunday morning, May 29th. Joel, me, my sister and my mom all sat back on my bed, timing contractions. It was about 3:00 a.m. It was the first time my mom had been present during any of my labors. Another contraction hit, and I jumped up off the bed to lean my hands on it for support. Mom laughed "You stand up during your contractions? That's weird---but I guess the gravity helps" :) Fast forward just a few hours, and there she stood, holding her fourth grandchild, proudly announcing that she had already figured out that her name would be 'Leanna Rose'.

  • Every Tuesday morning---mom would come get my older three and take them to story time at the library. Then, if my sister was also available, the two of them would take them swimming at the pool. I almost told mom 'No, that's too much, dont' do that'......and I'm thanking God every day that I didn't! Those memories will mean SO much to my children.

  • Every Thursday evening----I would feel guilty once again for leaving Joel with the kids from 7-10 so I could go down to my mom's house for our Thursday Sisters Bible Study. Yet each Thursday, I felt a small prompting in my spirit, telling me 'You should go'. And so I did. And I got a whole summer's worth of teaching and guidance from my mom that I wouldn't have otherwise had. On our very last Thursday evening together, mom said "You know, with my heart condition, I don't know if I'll have two days or two years or 20 years left. But however long I have, I'm okay with that. I'm not worried about it." We almost got mad at her at the time for saying something like that, but now we realize it was a gift to us straight from God.....

  • Two days later, Saturday evening, August 7th. We were dropping Noah off at my parents house for his first ever 'Noah only sleepover'. He proudly marched up on the front porch and gave me a kiss goodbye. My mom squeezed him. "Are you staying at Grandma's house all by yourself?" I waved goodbye to mom and said "Have fun!"

  • A mere 11 hours later---my sister's worried voice greeted Joel on the phone: "You have to come get Noah. I just called the ambulance---Mom had a stroke!"

  • 9:30 that same morning---I gazed at my mom's face as she lay in the hospital bed. Her right side was affected by the stroke and she was having trouble talking. But she managed to indicate to me that she wanted a hug and kiss. I bent down and gave her a careful hug and kissed her cheek. A flood of memories washed over me, as I remembered how she used to kiss my own cheeks like that when I was a little girl. She looked up at me and smiled and said "I love you". As they wheeled her down the hall and toward the waiting helicopter, I choked out : "I love you too, Mom...."

It has been the summer of memories. And the world did not stop on August 9 when my mom went home to be with Jesus. It should have. Death was never 'meant' to be--it was not meant to feel 'natural'. This whole world that we live in is so messed up. There is a hole in my heart that will only ever be filled when I meet my mom again in heaven someday. I told someone the other day "Heaven seems SO much closer now! Instead of being some distant, far-off place that I believe in, it's like I can almost touch it now...."

And so life continues on. But it will never be the same for us. We will find a 'new normal'. Life without mom. It will take time. Lots of time. But we will find comfort in each other, and in knowing where my mom is now. She isn't 'gone' forever---she's just gone on 'ahead'. And when I think of it that way, it doesn't hurt quite so badly.

A few days before mom died, someone I had never meant but who knew my parents came up to me and said "Wow, you look like your mom!" I shrugged it off and didn't think much of it--it wasn't the first time I'd heard that. But during the viewing, countless people came up to me and said "Wow, you must be her oldest daughter---you look just like her." And now, now, I take it as a compliment. My mom was a prayer warrior and a loving mother and grandmother----if I can reflect her in more than just her looks, I will be happy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


In the midst of our sorrow and grief, God has sent us some sunshine.

Last week was the hardest week of my entire life. Nobody wants to bury a parent, but to bury my mom, who was only 47 years old, took more than a little courage. It took everything I (and my brother and sister and dad) had in us, and we are now physically and emotionally drained.

But in the midst of all of this, a good thing has happened. We have been adopted.

By a kitten :)

Yes, the kitten adopted us, and not the other way around. It just kind of 'showed up' one morning, and nobody has claimed it. It doesn't belong to any of our neighbors. And it will not go home. I think somebody must have dropped it off (possibly a Hand straight from heaven....) So, we officially today made our home the kitten's home.

Cosette proudly marched into the grocery store and picked up a litter box. The kitten is downstairs now in the laundry room and rec room (on threat that I do not want it upstairs in my house or near my baby). It is a pretty little calico kitten. It is very friendly and sweet. And, I am happy to say that it is my husband who first fed it (what a softie! ;)

It was about time for my kids to have a pet, anyway. Cosette had been praying for one lately. (Wow, that girl and her prayers! A baby sister, a pet---what's next?) And, we decided that a calico kitten is much easier right now than Eli's wish for a bull dog :)

Her name? Well, she first made her appearance just a few days before my mom went home to Jesus. When I told my mom in the hospital room last Sunday that we were thinking of keeping this calico kitten, she got a big grin on her face and gave me a 'thumbs up' sign. My mom's favorite song was 'Pocket full of sunshine", so , we have decided to name our kitten.....Sunshine.

She is our sunshine kitten----a gift sent to my children during one of the saddest weeks of their little lives. And I must admit, she makes me smile too :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

My mom

In memory of my wonderful mother. She was a firstborn--a natural leader, an organizer. Therefore, we found it entirely appropriate that the day she went to meet Jesus was 8-9-10. How can you get any more organized than that? Mom, we will always remember the things you taught us, your love for the Lord, and your love for us. We will see you again someday, Mom. Come, Lord Jesus!

The viewings are today. Pray for us!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

sorrowful, but not as those who have no hope....

This hurts so badly to type, but I realized it had to be done because all of my blogging friends would not have heard my sad news. My beautiful, loving, wonderful mother passed away yesterday afternoon at 1:21 in the afternoon. She was surrounded by her family. She suffered an acute stroke early Sunday morning and was rushed to a nearby large hospital by helicopter. When we saw her right before the helicopter ride, she was trying to speak and getting some words/sentences right. She put her hand on my hair and said "You look pretty", and said "I love you" as they wheeled her down the hallway and out the door. We all assumed she would be fine. But upon arriving at the larger hospital, the neurosurgeon tried several different procedures to remove the clot from her brain. Due to her three previous open heart surgeries, the blood vessels on the surface of her brain were a tangled mess, and they were unable to get the clot. Plus, the different procedures had caused bleeding on her brain. She went steadily downward from there, and they told us yesterday morning that she would never recover. She slipped home to be with Jesus very peacefully as we all stood loving her and telling her to go ahead 'home', and make sure she gave Grandma a big hug for us when she got there. We know the two of them are together again in heaven. My mom was only 47 years old.

This hurts so badly. So, so, so, so badly. She was my mom. She was just perfectly fine when I saw her Saturday evening! She was laughing and talking and having a good time. None of us had any idea whatsoever. Nobody but Jesus.

My mom found out about her heart problems when she was pregnant with me. The Lord could have taken her home so much sooner than He did. But I remember that she always prayed that she would live to see her kids grow up. Well, my younger sister just recently turned 21, so I'd say that's 'grown up', wouldn't you? God is good beyond what we can even try to understand.

I am still having trouble wrapping my brain around this. Please pray for my whole family. My Dad is only 48 years old, and now without his wife. My brother and sister have so many major 'life milestones' still ahead of them that my mom will not be there for. And me----well, greedy me just wants her back here with me----so I can give her a huge hug and tell her how much I love her. But that will have to wait till I join her someday in heaven. My heart is very heavy, and although I rejoice for my mom, I am sad for me beyond words.

Please, please pray for us----I will miss my mom like crazy!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

What better reason to celebrate than your Grandmother's 70th birthday? I hope that if I ever turn 70, I'm able to have a room full of people who love me and want to wish me a happy birthday! I have always been privileged to live no further than 20 minutes or so away from my grandparents, and they were a huge part of my life growing up. I remember one time baking peanut butter cookies with Grandma when I was little and being amazed that she didn't have to measure every single ingredient into the mix :)

Anyway, I digress (which is a common flaw of mine....) We all arrived at the restaurant around 5:00 or so, and started to mingle in the room, waiting for my pap to bring Grandma a little while later (it was a SURPRISE! :)

While we waited, we....

talked and drank ice water---supposing, you see, that the ice water would cancel out all of the negative calories of the tea and soda we would consume later ;)

made 'big brother' type of silly faces.

tried (unsuccessfully) to get a picture of all of my grandma's 'young' grandchildren/ great grandchildren who were there. No easy task I tell you, trying to get kids to all look in the same direction!

Oh, and we also played funny games with the air conditioning.

But after just a little while, in she came! If she wasn't really surprised, she did a good job of faking it :) The funny thing is, my pap looks more surprised in this photo than my grandma :) By the way, isn't she amazing? You would have never guessed she was turning 70, would you??

Love this photo of them together.

My little man with his olive-colored skin tone. The Italian in him makes him so photogenic! And don't worry, that huge soda in front of him was NOT his :)

This is my uncle's son 'holding Leanna'. Isn't he cute? He's just adorable! Noah is only about 2 1/2 months older than him.

And finally, this rather random snap-shot happens to be my brother. Isn't he handsome? The good looks run in our family ;) By the way, he DOES smile, I just caught him un-prepared. :)

And that ends the birthday celebrations of a lady we all love. Happy Birthday, Grandma!!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

I have not been faithful to my blog this week. I'm sorry. I've just had too much running through my head and happening in my life to find time to type out a readable post that makes sense!

We've been looking at houses again. Only this time, seven months later, we're in a different (better) financial position, which I won't go into detail about, that leaves us more options to consider. The house we loved so much seven months ago is still sitting there. Still for sale. We had prayed and hoped that it would be! So tempting! But then, then.....we found this other house for sale----beautiful! I fell in love with it! Even more than the first house, if you can believe that. This second house was a recently remodeled Victorian style home with five bedrooms, three FULL bathrooms, a huge dining room, a 'sun' room, a little sitting room, plenty of options for a school room----it was gorgeous, literally! But, it was in a 'less than ideal' location (part of the reason why we could afford such a place!!) It was also 'out of the way' as far as Joel's work and our family and church-life are concerned. We haven't ruled it out yet. However, we're having trouble deciding between the gorgeous, perfect, ideal house in the less-than-ideal location, and the not quite so ideal house (yet still very nice and liveable!) in a much more ideal location. Or, we could just stay where we are and put a big addition on our current house, which is also being discussed. Or, we could just stay where we are for the time being and do nothing until we find that ideal house that's also in the ideal location. Decisions, decisions...........I can't wait to see what we decide :) We are lucky to be in a position where we don't have to move right away---although our little rancher is quickly feeling smaller and smaller as our children get bigger and bigger :)

Also, in my very full life of changing diapers and potty training and looking for 'for sale' signs as I drive along the road, I've been trying to 'put away' some garden foods this year. Applesauce, green beans.....tomorrow is peaches and strawberries. 15 pounds of strawberries, to be precise :) Yum---they smell SO good!

Sorting through school books for the coming fall-----I've got all my curriculum for Cosette's second grade year and Eli's kindergarten year, I just have to organize it all and make sure I understand the lesson plans----and purchase all my necessary supplies-----like paper and notebooks and folders and glue sticks, and pencils and....well, you know, typical school supplies. I keep picturing our family in one of those new houses with a nice school room that doesn't have to double as our kitchen table :)

And that, folks, is why I should not be up at 11:30 p.m. typing this! So, headed to bed to get some rest before those strawberries start calling my name bright and early.........

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The 'no-hawk'

There were 11 adults either on the front porch or sitting in the living room of my parents house. And still, my four year old managed to do this to his hair.

We're calling it the 'no-hawk' :)


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