Monday, October 26, 2009

Some of my favorite paper creations made by ME.....

This was for the Clinton County Fair
the theme was Voyage to Greatness
So I made the display for Griffin's club-
Orange Future Leaders
The close up is the boat with a picture
of each of the members and the
top row pic is the President of the Club
The poster was made using my
Cricut Expression Die-Cut machine


This was made by me for my grandma's
90th birthday.  It is a card keeper.  The idea is
for her to know when all the birthdays and
anniversaries are in the family because
she likes to remember us with cards. So
I also made cards to put in for each month.

This is Jame's family from Sept. when his sister
came home from California.

This was a challenge item from a group
I belong to. The theme was to make a layout
using something that was not traditionally
a scrapbook item.  I used the license
plate from James' car from when we met
in 1992.  Then I told the story about the
cars he drove when we met.
I won 1st prize.

This was a layout I made as a member of
the Scrapbooking and Crafting Friends Network
Design Team.
The theme was birds and flowers.

This is just a page from my book about me.
It is a picture of my cousin and I when we were about 6
and 12 months old.  We were the only
grandchildren at that time.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Remembering My Loved Ones That Have Passed Away...

One year ago today (Oct. 25) I got word from Ohio that my Aunt Jeri had passed away.  She was surrounded by her two children, Tim and Mark and their wives and children, her husband (my dad's brother) andl dear family friends George and Connie.  She was just 65.  She has been dancing with the Angels and the Lord for a year now.

Her death was not sudden, it was not a surprise.  She had early onset Alzheimers and had been diagnosed before she was even 60.  She went downhill quite quickly and it was hard for everyone. At the end she was falling and getting pneumonia and really getting bad.

Me- I am a long distance niece.  I had a nice visit with her in 2004 when I was in Florida with my son at my grandma's house. My aunt and uncle were there at the same time.  I could still have conversations with her and she would even joke about her illness.  She knew what was happening to her and yet  she was still this woman I had loved and looked up to my entire life- even 500 miles away after age 5 for me.

I didn't see her again until 2007 when I went to visit her at the nursing home.  At that time she was completely "gone".  No talking, couldn't feed herself and had no recognition of me, my son, my grandma, her kids or her loving husband that visited her at least once a day.  But I was still glad that I "said good bye" and hugged her that day.  She looked at me and in my heart I saw a smile and love in her eyes.

I have not experienced a lot of death and illness in my family, especially as an adult.  But, as I sit and write this I realize that October is the month that I said good bye to all of them.  My grandma, my mom's mom, passed away at the end of October when I was in 6th grade in 1978, the age of my son right now.  It is really all a blurr to me anymore.  I had just moved to a new house and school and we had to leave to go to Ohio.  I guess my little 6th grade mind just didn't comprehend it all...  Oh, don't get me wrong, I loved her very much and she loved me.  I was only 1 of her 2 grandkids (the other is my brother whom she never "saw" because of diabetic blindness; he is 10 years younger than me)  I just don't remember much about the funeral except it was Halloween and it was cold.

Then when I was in college, just 10 years later in October of  1988, my grandfather, my dad's dad, passed away.  I took that much "harder" I guess you could say.  My parents would not take me out of school to go to Ohio from Iowa to the funeral, despite my pleadings, and I don't think I will ever get over that.  I really had to deal with my grief on my own without any family support at all.  I miss him very much still.

And then last year, 2008, Aunt Jeri went to be with the Lord.  I took my children out of school for 4 days and we went to Ohio for the visitation and funeral.  Of course the events were sad, as I saw the photos of her life on the posters from her grandkids and the slideshow on the tv I was glad to be part of the family and be able to celebrate the life she did have.  Watching the youngest grandchild at age 5, cut through the line to show her little friend her Granny.  Madison grabbed the little boy by the hand and went to the front of the line and smiled and pointed and said "This is my Granny, isn't she beautiful.  I was there when she died."  Wow, what words and what comprehension that little girl really had.  She knew her Granny loved Jesus. She knew that her Granny was with him at that moment.

The part that really got to me was when one of my then 7 year old twins, stood up during our family service at the visitation and said, "I only met her once when I was 6 months old, but I know she loved me and I loved her.  I will miss her."   And the next day after the funeral service, we could not find Gretchen.  Then my uncle went back into the room where aunt Jeri lay and there was Gretchen saying good bye to this beautiful woman.  Even in death she drew love from a child who never got a chance to know how wonderful she was.

Tomorrow my cousins and their family and my uncle will travel to be together to honor her memory and her life once again.  They will have dinner together at the same place as last year.  She is gone and not forgotten and always and forever loved and in my heart.

Please pray for the children and grandchildren and husband and their loss and for their coping with "a year of firsts" (birthdays, holidays, etc) since Aunt Jeri died.

I miss all of these people and I just wanted to share with you my thoughts. Thank you for reading this and I have included a few pictures.

               My mom, Aunt Jeri, Grandma Maggie, Aunt Linda at cousin Mark's wedding in 1998
above that is our family at Mark and Jessica's wedding.  The last family picture we had (minus my brother)
and the small pic is from her career as a school nurse and counselor.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cold or Flu? Or Needing Time with Mom? Whatever the Case, She's My Baby!

For our family, cold and flu season has arrived.  For the last 5 days I have spent nearly 24 hours a day with the youngest of my twin girls, Gillian.  It actually started last Thursday when she had a tummy ache and then she was better the next day and the next.

Sunday morning came and she had a sore throat.  As the day went she had a cough, a very dry one, that just got worse and worse.  Her and I stayed home all day and watched t.v. in my bed.  Her fever ran at school on Monday.  We wanted her to stay away from her sister, who had no symptoms at all so we moved her to the family room and pulled out the hide-a-bed.  She wanted me to stay with her so I stayed up next to her in the lazy boy.

We also had to keep her away from her brother, because he has Muscular Dystrophy and things like fever and bad coughs, can lead to pneumonia for him very swiftly.

Then came Monday..... repeat, no fever.......but this time we were in the family room all day, and I took a nap in my room for a little bit after the other 2 went to school.

Tuesday...repeat....Weds...repeat... Thursday... repeat....

Welcome to Friday morning and day 5 of "bonding with a sick child".  I am about to get the others up for school to catch the 7:20 bus.  Gillian is stirring, the dog is sleeping, curled up by her legs.  She will be home one more day.... she still has that cough and is just very weak.... she might have gone back today on her own thinking until her sister told her that she was going to miss the flu shots at school..... boy that sent her back to bed in a hurry!  But, I had already decided she was staying home, she just didn't know it at the time.

During our time together this week we have watched her favorite shows, made scrapbook layouts and watched some of my old Disney favorite movies like "That Darn Cat."  One day she even made and gave me a card telling me how much she loved me and that she couldn't do anything without me.  And if that isn't enough, she told me I was the best mom in the world!

I don't know how the rest of the day will go.  I do know that I will be taking a nap because I have been up all night again.  She sleeps and she wakes up and sits up in bed and looks around to make sure I am still there.

Of course I hope that she will feel better soon and get back to school and our routine.  But for now, I will enjoy and cherish the time we are spending together.  I especially love the part where she "needs" me.  As we approach the age of 9, she is showing signs of independence and her admitting that she needs me, will more than likely fade a bit.

For all practical purposes, she is "my baby".  The youngest twin and #3 of 3 kids.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandma Maggie

Her cake table.  Her favorite color is Purple
(so is mine and so is my daughter Gillian's)

Today my grandma Maggie turned 90 years old.  90 years!  with this came the decision that she would need to give up her car since the lease is up this week.  This had to be a tough decision for her.  For as long as I can remember she was a very mobile person.  Always going somewhere and doing something; if not for herself, she would take others.  Now she will be taking the RTA bus when she wants to go somewhere.  She did say that she will save quite a bit of money now without the lease and insurance.  Not having a car won't be slowing her down!
Turning 90 does come with some aches and pains and ailments.  She does get down in the weather a little more.  But, she is tough and she bounces back, just not as fast as she use to.  Tonight on the phone she talked to me about her plans to get back to bingo and other things with the "seniors".  I know she will be doing that soon.

Tonight she celebrated with 2 of her 3 sons (my uncles) and they each have October birthdays as well.  They always go to dinner together on her day because she is in the "middle"

The rest of the family celebrated her birthday in early August when we had a surprise party for her.  She told me tonight that she didn't feel good on the day of the party.  She felt bad that all the people came to see her and she wasn't up to a lot of visiting and talking.  I told her that we loved being with her and it was ok.  But, she said it was a bit overwhelming and she would have liked to prepare for it.

I hate that I grew up 500 miles away from her. I only saw her once or twice a year but loved every moment of each visit either to Ohio to see her or Iowa when she came to see me.  Ineed to get to Ohio again soon.  I need to make sure that "life" doesn't get in the way.

Happy birlthday grandma!  I love you.

Grandma walking in the door and getting surprised

Grandma with her "boys" Dennis, Bob (my dad) and Jim

Grandma with her grandkids minus my brother Tom.
Me, Grandma, Brittney, Tim and Mark

Grandma with 3 of her 8 brothers and sisters
Grace, Jim and Peggy

Grandma with my family
Gretchen, Grandma, Gillian
me, Griffin, James

Grandma with 3 of her 16 great grandkids (includes 2 sets of twins)
Gillian, Grandma, Gretchen and Holly

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Welcome back to my blog!

Hello and happy fall to you all! I have been a bad blogger so to speak so I am making a "Fall Resolution" and will try to update on a much more regular basis.

Since it would take forever to catch up since end of June, let's just start fresh!

We had a very interesting weekend. My 11 1/2 year old son, Griffin went north on Friday to Fergus Falls, MN to Inspiration Point church camp for Middle School Mania this weekend with our church's middle school kids. It is a 10 hour trip one way and I am anxiously awaiting word to go pick him up at church. Can't wait to hear about his adventures.

Back here in Iowa, my friend Sarah and I had a garage sale at the city wide sale in DeWitt on Saturday. We had the coldest day since March and yes, snow showers! The garage sale was a bust but Sarah did get a clean garage.

My husband James is enjoying his last 24 hours of a 4 day weekend since he works for the government, he is off for Columbus Day and took Friday off (he has every other Friday off). this weekend he decided to rent a bouncy house from the rec center at the Arsenal and we had friends over for a bonfire and the kids all had a great time bouncing.

This week will hopefully bring me to a mostly "normal" week and I look forward to getting back to my scrapbook room and back to creating. I am behind on my challenges and my swaps. Plus, I am one of the early birds that got a Cricut Gypsy and I have not had nearly enough time to play with it so I will be doing that as well.

Watch for posts of my creations and stay tuned for more of my scraps of time...