Monday, March 9, 2015

Uh oh

You know that moment, when you open the water bill and suddenly realize that the large amount of water that has been standing in the backyard is not due to the recent and continuous rain, snow, and ice, but rather a 28,000 gallon water leak.

How could we NOT know???  It's not as if we loved watching the dogs play in the mud pit out our back door, but it is a low area.  Thankfully Honey is more than capable of fixing it, but finding the time was the issue.  After almost a week of keeping the water shut off, using water from buckets and pitchers, Honey was able to dig two lovely mud pits before he found the cracked pipes (yes, there were two leaks), a friend came over to help yesterday, and I'm thrilled to report that all we have left to do is pay the hefty water bill.    Anyone want to come over for a mud wrestling tournament?

On a lighter note,  Do not call Siri an "idgit" if she doesn't understand a spoken southern dialect,  especially in front of your children, because it will  translate it to a very bad word.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Honey with Only's Puppy
Last weekend, Valentines weekend, Only came down since Mr. Only had a weekend staff training retreat (I know, who in the world schedules something for Valentines weekend???).  I can't say I complained much.  Loved having her and their new puppy down!   Took time to go see Gma in the nursing home, then home to play Phase 10.

Mrs. Only getting her crafty on
Saturday, Only and I headed to Cross My Art Studio to get out crafty on.  For not knowing what we were doing, we had a fabulous time!  It was wonderful to have time to relax, paint, create, and just talk, and to take home our beautiful pieces of art!

Adding  beautiful Script

Adding some details
My  Completed project
Mrs. Only with her completed piece 

Pinterest about sums it up.  Sometimes it's the first place I look for an idea and there are so many wonderful projects I want to complete for our home.  One of those is a project called Two Little Lovers Sitting in a Tree.  The premise is to take "your song" and transform it into a personal and unique piece of art work.  Since I was having a foggy brain day and couldn't remember that ours was "Say Once More" by Amy Grant, I used "Just Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Vasser.  Honey ended up writing our wedding date under the hearts and it now has this cozy place in our kitchen. We both really like it and Mrs. Only ended up doing one for them as well! 

Honey was so sweet and surprised me with some beautiful colorful roses and tickets to see Christian singer, Michael W. Smith on Sunday.  I was so terribly excited till I woke up at 4 a.m. Sunday morning sick to my stomach with some horrible bug going around.  Needless to say, Youngest went in my place and I know that it was meant to be as he not only enjoyed it, but was moved greatly by many of his songs, especially This is Her Time.
my  new Handmade infinity scarf
Friend's daughter is raising funds to go on a mission trip to Belize,  by making some beautiful crocheted infinity scarves.   Isn't this one gorgeous???  I left the house this morning (it was a balmy 45*) without a coat, by the time we got out of church, the temps had dropped and two hours later, the most beautiful huge snowflakes were not just drifting down, they were intensely swirling, like some Disney movie snowstorm.  I was so thankful to have this scarf!  I'd love to just walk around the house with it on today - not sure I could be that inconspicuous.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Between the Pages

It's midnight and the house is quiet.  Outside, amidst the roaring of the cold winter wind, snow flakes swirl and twirl, like laughter, racing toward the ground.  I sit, still in my Sunday clothes, surrounded by memories, when I should be sleeping beside Honey, a dog warming our feet. 

When Only married 8 months ago, we transitioned Youngest to Only's old room with the loft bed.  Dreams of what the now empty spare room could be, swirled and built, till I shut the door.  Trying to quiet the beckoning it held on me, I avoided it.  Not because I was sad of the new changes, but because I didn't have a plan. 

Through the pages of Little House on the Prairie, Blaze and Billy, Little Critter, Sweet Potato Pie, Robert Frost, Lentil, Love You Forever, Napping House, Chicka-Chicka-Boom Boom, and more, I watched my kids learn to enjoy books, but also learn to read. It wasn't until about seven years ago, when I first packed these books up, but they protested over and over... "don't put THAT book away, it's my favorite!"  

Now I sit, dogs slumbering at the door, with my back against a Pack-n-Play crib, smiling.  I sort and pack sweet memories, until they make an appearance once again, to become favorites all over again with our kids reading to their kids, making the stories come to life, and we find our friends between the pages once again.  


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sing me to sleep

A little more than a year ago, we brought Momma here to live with us.  Though it was only five months, it seemed like much longer.  We learned so  much about not only ourselves, but Momma and Alzheimers.  To spare ya'll, I'll not go into it.  It wasn't all bad and it wasn't all great.  Please don't think I'm just an awesome daughter. Ha!  I'm far from getting the "Daughter of the Year" award. I've seen the ugly in myself and didn't like it one bit.  We're a family attempting to do the best we can, figuring it out along the way. We have much to learn.  

As Mom continues to decline, her anxiousness increases
and slowly she struggles to remember if I'm her daughter or sister.  She wants to know where her Mom and Daddy are, and can't remember what she is constantly worrying about, though we know.  She can no longer remember how to spell or write her name, what her friends' names are, or much else.  Reading is no longer. She believes she is still in her beloved state of KS, and that we drive hours each day to be with her. She claims she arranged Honey and my's marriage, and she loves to help out by wiping tables, picking up any trash and dusting the rails. We learn and grow as the disease progresses.  

Thankfully, the nursing care facility, we have her in is very close by and we visit her almost nightly.  It's not the largest in the area, nor is it the most state-of-the-art, but they have two special Alzheimer's Lock-down units. It is small and homelike.   If you've never been to a nursing home/ Health and Rehab facility as many are now called, they can be a bustle of activity and noises of regular residents wandering the hall, call alerts going off, the telephone ringing, someone's tv blaring, people coming and going... Something is ALWAYS going on, but if you were to walk through the Alzheimer's units, it's quiet and calm -   Something we really appreciate each time we are there.  It's not a perfect place, but it's the perfect place for Momma and we have learned to love it. God has His Hand there.  

Those who give:  We love to go in, greet the director and she knows us by name.  The nurses and aids recognize us and chat with us.  Letting us know how they interacted with Momma during the day when we can't be there.  We've learned to know them and appreciate what they do.  The nurse who is struggling with a rare form of breast cancer, or the single mom who is working and going to school for her degree, college students juggling work and classes, the director who is a huge Hog/Razorback fan, the CNA (certified nurses assistant)  who has such compassion and is so in-tune to the residents he cares, to the CNA that brings fingernail polish from home and treats the residents to weekly manicures.  They know their residents by name, give them love and hugs, know who likes to dance and sing, read books, play a game, play "kick ball" in the hall, do crafts, bake cookies, or even catch their favorite show Wheel of Fortune.  They give them hugs, kiss their cheecks, brush their hair, give them showers and tuck them into bed at night.  I can't tell you how many times we've visited and found them sharing their late dinner with a resident because they thought it looked yummy or wanted to try it.  That says love.  I cannot do the things they do.  I'm not even sure how they do it, but they do it with love.  

Residents:  We love to hug and greet the other residents, kid around with them and learn their stories, some of which are pretty fascinating.  One gentleman fought in the war and was a sniper for the US,  another a bank president, a mom, a business woman who fought to build up and save our little downtown and put it on the map.  We learn who likes chocolate ice cream or strawberry, some love to read and we gather their books and trade them for different ones at a local used book store.  Behind some of those grumpy faces, there are smiles and wonderful people locked away in their fading minds. when we take the dogs, they love it and thank us for bringing "their" dog to see them.  Sometimes, we let the dogs off their leashes and let them roam from resident to resident, gathering pats on the head, which are rewarded with many wags of the tail or a paw on their leg.  

Music     One thing that makes a difference to Momma lately is when I'm able to put her to bed at night (7 pm), music makes her less anxious about me leaving.  I'll pull up Pandora on my phone and play old church hymns.  It's pretty amazing to see this woman who cannot remember very much, suddenly start singing along, tapping her foot, and even smiling.  Tonight, after I placed a CD player in her room, and hit play, the CNA was getting her ready for bed and I  could see her lips moving. Softly singing along with old-time gospel hymns from Alan Jackson  and the Don Marsh Chorus.  She peacefully fell asleep, with her toe moving slowly to the beat, she sang:  
What a Friend we have in Jesus,all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear.... 

So, while Momma can really no long tell us who Jesus is, He is there and He knows her.  And I'm okay with that...

If you would like to read an all out, honest account of a wife struggling with her husband's Early Onset Alzheimers Disease, I'd recommend Missing Jim by Karen.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Falling in Love...

Only and
 Her Guy 

Engagement Pictures
           Fall 2014

My favorite

I know I'm about half a year behind of blogging and posting these, but on Only's 21st birthday, I thought it was a perfect time. Happy Birthday Sweetie!  We sure love you!

Come Saturday Morning...

I think all kids come pre-programmed to wake up early on Saturdays.  Seems that during the week we had to drag them out of bed, literally. Made for very grumpy kids and parents.  But come Saturday morning... Yes, you know what is coming.  The feet would patter quietly down the hall, whisper and giggle at our door,  until somehow they inched their way to our bedside.  Oh keep them shut, don't blink, don't move... Oh, I can feel them staring at me, breathing, bumping the bed...  "Mommy..."  they whisper.  I lay still, fake a snore... Maybe they'll go to the other side and wake their daddy up. 

Bandit and Penny
I just wonder what would happen if parents woke up early on a Saturday, before their kids, sneak into their rooms, and jump on their beds begging them to get up so we could watch some home improvement show or go to the store for groceries, lumber, fabric, or car parts.

We are working towards the Empty Nest.  Youngest is 16 and clearly loves his sleep and it has been many years since we've had someone romping on the bed begging for us to wake up... Until last weekend... *sigh*

5:30 a.m.  Yes, 5:30 a.m., these two goofballs bounded up on our bed with tennis balls and chew tire.  Honey attempted to hide the ball under the covers, but Penny the hound, dove under the covers and frantically began searching. Covers were flying, dogs were growling and barking.  We ended up laughing our heads off.    I've got to teach these dogs that Saturdays are days to sleep in!