Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Heartbroken But Hopeful

Never in my wildest dreams, or nightmares, so to speak, could I ever have imagined having to say goodbye to both parents within 7 months of each other.  But I did.
With a heavy heart Sue and I, along with our families, said goodbye to Nana last Thursday, February 13, 2014.  Such a sad day.  But, we find some solace in our faith that Nana is now in the kingdom of heaven, dancing again, chatting up her best friend and sister, Helen, and embracing her dear husband, our dad, Skip.
So much heartache and loss.  Such a huge presence gone from our lives.  I feel, for lack of a better description, homeless.  Alone.  I ache for the warmth of my mom's hug.  I grieve for the years of love and experience lost by my children when their Nana passed.  Her passing seems so senseless.  She was only 74. 
For me, I haven't been able to really grieve.  I have moments of complete breakdown, but I somehow have kept it together.  Not by choice, really.  I want to cry.  I want to crawl into my bed and not get out.  I want to shut the world out.  I want my Mom back.  But, I move through it.  I tell myself continually that she is in a better place, happy, reunited with her sister and my Dad, still able to love us, still able to see her grandchildren grow.
I am concerned for my sister.  She saw Mom nearly every single day for the last 5 1/2 years.  She was Mom's caregiver, confidant and strength.  Their relationship was more than a Mother/Daughter bond.  Much more. Mom needed Sue. And, Sue needed Mom.  The love they shared was remarkable.  She is lost.  I pray that with some time, she will begin to heal.
I have zero doubt that one day, we will be reunited with Mom, and Dad.  For now, we will miss their physical presence every day.  We will rejoice in the memories of our lives with them.  We will smile when we think of the love we had and still have as a family.  We will praise God for our family, which was divinely constructed by his hand.  I will tell my children of the love their Nana and Papa had for them.  What joy they brought to their lives.  And remind them that Nana and Papa will remain in our hearts forever, that we will see them again, and that they are watching them grow from Heaven.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Goodbye For Now....

Our lives have changed.  They will never, ever be the same.  Our hearts are broken, but will mend, in time.  Sadness will return to smiles, someday.  On July 5, at 9:10 p.m. Papa Skip, drifted into the light of Heaven while Sue and I held tight to his hands and whispered I love you's into his ears.  He is not with us, but he is not gone.  He will never be gone from our hearts.  My sweet Dad.....I love you Daddy, and miss you every day.

Dad was prepared to go.  He was certain that Mom was well taken care of, and finally conceded the fight he had so valiantly been fighting for so long.  Does that make it easier for us?  In some ways, yes.  Only because we were somewhat prepared.  We had seen the long decline.  We had talked about it as a family.  But, the enormous hole his passing left in all our lives was unexpected and insurmountable.  We feel like a wheel on our car has suddenly gone missing, leaving us careening.

The service was perfect.  I am certain that Dad was happily observing from Heaven.  His eulogy was poignant and meaningful to everyone who knew him.  The Empress played her violin for her Papa Skip one last time.  The Patriot Guard headed the procession to the cemetary and we were met by the National Guard who saluted my Dad with 21 guns, played Taps, and presented my Mom with an American flag and bullet casings.  You see, my Dad was a Veteran.  He was a proud and true American who loved his country and proudly served it.  He had wanted a military service, and I believe he would have been very pleased.

After the service we all gathered in the neighbors' back yard to celebrate the honorary mayor of Parkview Court.  For Mom, Sue and I, in particular, the gathering was like family.  We grew up in that neighborhood, those folks love us, and loved my Dad.  I am quite sure that he was there, in that backyard, with us.

When we arrived home we found a 4th birthday card for Greer, from Papa Skip, in the mail.  I cried and cried, then smiled.  He sent that card three days before his death.  He loved his grandson.  Greer is too young to appreciate the magnitude of the card, but one day we will sit down and talk about it.  For now, it sits on the side table by my bed.  I see it every night and every morning.  I trace the writing with my finger.  His writing.

So, our lives trudge on.  Some days are more difficult.  I remember his bigger than life laugh.  His hugs.  I can hear him say, I love you.  I have listened to a voicemail he left on my phone, too many times to count.  I miss him.  I miss him.

I believe in God, so did Dad.  He wasn't outwardly religious, but on occasions it would come out.  He had a private relationship with Christ.  Today, he is with the Lord.  Standing tall in his light.  Today, my Dad can breathe.  I am sure he is enjoying the companionship of his best bud Sarge, playing slob ball, and drinking a cold beer.  He is delighting in our lives as he watches from his spot on high.

I love you Dad.  Sooooo much.  I miss you every minute, every day.  But, one day, I will see you again.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hippity-Hoppity April

Wow, this post is a long time coming.  Sorry Nana!!  I know you have been waiting patiently for me to get my act together.

We headed south for Easter.  Or, well, the day before Easter.  After my short discussion with E.Bunny this year we concluded that he would deliver the kids Easter goodies to the house in Kalispell, and there they would await our return.  So, the first item on our Dillon list was to dye eggs.  As many as possible.  Papa Skip is a notorious egg dyer.  Loves his Easter eggs!!  Not sure if it is the coloring he adores or the days of consuming them that follow.  Either way, dozens of eggs stood ready when we arrived at Nana and Papa's house.  Nana, had been slightly naughty and had several eggs already soaking in the dye.  Bad Nana.  We stripped the G Man down to his skivvies for the event for obvious reasons.  And off we went.  Dyeing one egg, then another, until no white eggs remained. 

Second item....bunny cookies.  Grayson and I had purchased four huge vanilla cookie bunnies to decorate, so the gang set off on their next project.  Boy, those cookies looked yummy and turned out amazing.  Even the G Man put his own little twist on his bunny.  Nana decorated a beautiful bunny with only one hand.  Way to go Nana!!  You are a super hero!

Third item....Easter dinner.  This is always the most important item on our Easter agenda.  This year I threw together a simply delicious ham in red currant sauce, scalloped potatoes, and parmesan asparagus.  We all ate until near popping,  Yummo!!

Fourth item....Easter brunch with Sue-Sue and her new man Scooby in Butte.  Since Sue was working and unable to come down for Easter dinner the night before, we made plans to stop in Butte to brunch with her.  Man was it tasty.  Best of all was meeting the new man in her life.  We all loved him!  So happy for them both.

My dear friend Lanell completed her radiation treatment in early April.  In celebration, the Morsteins, Windhams, and Hazletts stuffed ourselves with sushi from Wasabi.  And, since it was a precursor to our VEGAS trip the end of May, us girlies got pedicures while guzzling down some Italian Prosecco.  Delightful and a definite reason to celebrate.  Congrats Lanell!!  We are all so very proud of you.  Cancer survivor extraordinaire!

Sheri and the Windhams at Wasabi.
Next on our April calendar was my birthday.  Was a super day.  Had Nana and then Papa call with their endearing renditions of the old classic, Happy Birthday.  This small token of their love has become my very favorite part of my birthday celebrations.  I eagerly await their call each year.  Todd surprised me at work with two dozen red roses and an iced tea lemonade.  The significance of this gesture is that this man does not believe in sending they die and it is like throwing away your money.  So, it is a very rare occasion indeed when I am presented with flowers.  We had a family dinner at the Tamarack at Lakeside.  The sentiments of friends and family made my growing older so much more pleasant.  Thanks!

Last, and certainly not least, our little Empress competed in her second fiddle contest and placed first in her division.  She did superb, but there were several moments when I doubted she would end up on top as the other girl played extremely good as well.  In the end, she was triumphant and walked away with a 1st place medal and a check for $50.  Good job G.  We are soooo proud of you!!

And, that about ties up the very busy month of April.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Marched Into March...Then Collapsed!

In my previous post I ranted, and raved, a bit about our busy February.  A February, that by and large, revolved around our precious Empress.  Of course there is no need to tell you that my girl loves the month of February.  So to recap:

On February 16, Grayson and her best friend Sophia, ruled the day.  Mom and the girls went down to Norm's News, the Empress' favorite place to chow, for lunch.  The girls chattered like little birds and munched on corney dogs, fries, and cherry colas.  After lunch, and many goofy antics, the girls picked out their prized candy.  Yep, Candy!!  Norms is not only an old time soda fountain and grill, but is also a candy store.  Thus the reason the Empress loves the joint.

After lunch, the girls and Daddy, went to "The Fun Zone" for an afternoon of games.  They had a blast!!  Originally I had told Sophia's mom we would have her until around 4.  Boy was Grayson miffed when Dad dropped Soph off at 2:30 ish.  Girls burned through their Zone allowance way to quickly it turns out.  After a short break, we loaded the kiddos and headed to Whitefish for birthday dinner with the Hazletts at Wasabi.  Can I tell you how very pleased we are to have children who love Sushi!!  Yummo!

On Sunday, the 17th, I surprised G by telling her to get ready, we are going to get her ears pierced.  At first the reaction took me completely off guard.  She said, no thanks!  What, this is the girl that has begged and pleaded for 4 years to have her ears pierced.  We had always told her she could get them when she turns 12.  She wore us down.  We decided that perhaps she was old enough for the responsibility of taking care of her ears.  After I talked with her for a couple of minutes I realized that the years of telling her it would hurt had scared her.  I explained that it was all a mommy ploy to buy us some time, and that it would hurt for a split second...sorta like a shot.  So, we ran down to Claires and the deed was done.  She said it didn't hurt a bit!

On Monday, the 18th, her actual birthday, we made cupcakes for her class.  Since it was a holiday, and her birthday, the 18th was a day spent opening presents and doing crafts sent to her by her Aunt Sue-Sue.  Fun day...and day three of her birthday celebration!

Tuesday the 19th, day four of her birthday celebration, she took her cupcakes for class and was the star of the day.  The kids all made her pictures and she got a special little gift from her teacher and buddy reader.  I am sure that she was sad to see her nearly week long celebration come to an end, but frankly I was happy to see it go.  Whew, I was exhausted and Greer, though seemingly oblivious, had been somewhat neglected. 

Our boy.....Super Greer.  His crazy hair was so outrageous by the end of the month that we had two choices, dread locks, or a haircut.  Luckily for little dude, I managed to give him a nice little haircut, and not the oopsie buzz cut he got last time. 

And finally, it is always nice to end with a picture of the kids actually getting along.  And, apparently Greer has a new picture taking face.  Too funny!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Welcome to America and Happy New Year

Weird title.  I agree.  Couldn't think of anything better though. 

We are nearly smack dab in the middle of the Empress' month.  Last week was her 2nd grade play.  She was so excited.  She had a solo singing part.  The Empress loves to sing and happily sits in the car singing along with the radio, belting out Adele songs from her bedroom, or singing Karaoke in the living room, when she thinks no one is watching.  So, the 2nd grade play popped up.  She auditioned and got a tiny solo.  She talked about it non-stop for a month.  When the time arrived, she marched into the gym with the rest of the 2nd graders.  Smile from ear to ear.  On her, and on me!  Then her moment arrived and she sang the most glorious little piece of the whole play.  Wow.  My girl can sing.  She was loud and proud.  The play, or more aptly described, musical, was about the folks coming over on the Mayflower to the new world.  In my humble, non-biased, mom opinion, she was the star.

Quality of the photos is poor, sorry.  Darn iPhone.

Sunday (10th) was Chinese New Year.  Yahoo.  Year of the Snake.  We put up our meager decorations and I cooked a lovely little dinner of Beef and Broccoli, egg rolls and spring rolls.  The children were given their red money envelopes, chocolate coins, and zodiac animals.  Cute little snakes.  And after dinner we all ate our fortune cookies.  Yum.  We didn't do fireworks this year.  Bummer.  On Monday, the Empress, dressed in a beautiful blue Chinese silk dress, took books, Pandas, zodiac animals, red envelopes, chocolate coins, and fortune cookies to school to share with her class.  We have been so blessed with teachers.  Ms. Hash devoted the whole day to Chinese New Year and they did calligraphy, watched videos, and read books.  Grayson shared her Chinese story and answered questions for the class. girl was the center of attention...and she loved it!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Month of Grayson

The new year has been by and large, uneventful.  Then in rolls February.  Next week we have the Empress' first school musical.  She has a singing part and is more than excited for the performance.  She is a good little singer and of course loves, loves, loves being the center of attention.

The Empress' "Gotcha" Day is February 7.  This is her special family day.  We will read her the story of our journey to becoming a family and present her with a small Chinese gift.  This year is her 7th "Gotcha" day.  Hard to believe as it seems we have been together forever.  This day holds memories of the very best day of my life! 

The 10th is Chinese New Year.  We have celebrated this Chinese holiday since bringing G home and it has become quite the production.  Of course we have decorations.  The Empress dresses in a silk dress and shares a bit of her culture with her class.  She brings books about the celebrations and hands out red envelopes containing gold chocolate coins, and fortune cookies.  At home I make traditional Chinese dumplings and we enjoy a feast.  Both kids get red envelopes with real money and small animals in the shape of the Chinese Zodiac.  This year is the Snake.  Some years we light fire works, however, this year we have none to light.

The 14th is Valentines Day.  No explanation necessary.  We generally celebrate as everyone does, with valentines and a lovely dinner.  Sorry to say it has become more of the kids holiday than the parents.  

The Empress' 8th birthday is on the 18th.  She is growing up toooo quickly.  This year we have decided to let her get her ears pierced.  She has relentlessly begged us for pierced ears for the last 4 years.  This year we are going to cave.  I had originally told her that she would have to wait until she was 12, but have decided that she has shown me the maturity necessary to care for her ears.  I have also promised to "redo" her bedroom for her as a gift.  We have talked about the color scheme, bedding and decorations and have agreed on what we want it to look like. Now we need the time to accomplish the task.  Instead of a big party, the Empress has decided to invite her best friend, Sophia, to a girls lunch with Mom, followed by an afternoon at the Fun Zone with Dad, and a family dinner at Wasabi that evening.

So, Mom, Dad, and Greer will sit back and watch our lovely Empress enjoy "Her" February!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Rip Van Winkle Fall/Holiday Post

I am going to claim Rip Van Winkle syndrome.  If there is no such thing, then I am making one up.  Apparently, I fell asleep at the blogging wheel and just recently awakened.  Things have happened.  Moments to remember.  Call me the ginormous slacker that I am.  So, an update...

Turning the pages back to Halloween.  It was a nice little holiday.  The Empress went as Super Girl.  Sorta fitting, don't cha think?  Dude, well, dude was an astronaut.  The most adorable little astronaut, EVER!!  Dude and his buddies visited us at work.  Always sweet.  Grayson had dress-up at school.  Then, we jumped in the car and headed to Halloween mecca, Buffalo Stage.  As it was early, there weren't many folks home from work yet.  Perfect.  So, we hit a couple of blocks before dark and then loaded back in the car and headed for the Hazletts.  Then, home for mummy dogs and passing out treats.  Short and sweet.

Picking up speed.....Thanksgiving.  We dashed to Dillon for Thanksgiving.  It was several days of overeating and visiting.  Nice.  Dad made his delish oyster stew.  A delight I dream about.  It is always soooo yummy!  Grayson had a play date with her cousin Claire.  We don't get to see Claire much and it is a real treat when we do because she is Grayson's closest in age cousin.  She is 8.  Grayson and I were able to help Papa and Nana decorate for Christmas.  Their house looked lovely and festive when we were finished and we couldn't wait to haul out all of our Christmas decorations when we got home. We are all so thankful for family.  Like always, the trip was way too short and before we knew it we were saying goodbye.

December seemed to fly by. I was set to go to trial out of town the second week of December.  There were many, many hours of preparation.  At the eleventh hour, literally a day before trial, the Judge's assistant called to say that there was a current trial that was not going to be concluded in time for us to start, so the trial was vacated.  Feelings of relief and disappointment at the same time.  So, we plunged into Christmas prep.  Lots of shopping.  Wrapping and wrapping.  Decorating.  Parties.  Our Elf on the Shelf "Gus" arrived and the kids enjoyed daily discussions with him as well as the morning elf recon.  Who would find him first and what crazy place would our little guy be perched?  Of course the daily reports of behavior to Santa didn't even slow down our resident menace Greer.  Grayson went caroling with the local violinists.  They hit a couple of the assisted living places in the area.  G was fabulous.  Before we knew it Christmas Eve had arrived.  We rushed around making cookies, candy and preparing reindeer food.  We opened our PJ's, read Twas' the Night Before Christmas, wrote Santa a little note and left egg nog and gingerbread cookies for the big man in red.  Amazingly, I awoke at 7:30 to find both children still asleep.  Panic.  We had friends coming for breakfast at 9.  Eeek!!  So, we roused the kiddos and dashed to the tree.  We all got wonderful gifts....even Greer, who I was quite sure would be left with nothing but a pot of coal!  Our friends arrived and we spent the morning talking and eating.  It was lovely!!  After everything died down and everyone had a nap, we began to pack up the truck for an early morning escape to Dillon.  On the 26th we made our way down to Dillon.  It was a long drive and none of us were talking when we arrived.  Wondering if we call a moratorium on long trips until little dude is in high school?  But, we made it and were greeted by family.  We spent the 26th with Todd's family, opening presents and eating.  Do you see a theme yet...eating??  Grayson, Aunt Jodi and Cousin Kait went over to the cabin and made cookies.  I think I was in bed by eight.  On the 27th it was over to Nana and Papa's for third Christmas and more presents.  Sue and I made an AWESOME Prime Rib, that actually got Dad's seal of approval.  I believe he said it was the best he has ever had!!  So nice to hear and I think I would agree with his assessment.  It was melt in your mouth yum!!  The kids enjoyed Sue-Sue and their cotton candy machine, alot!!  Greer got to go on a snowy adventure with Aunt Jodi.  Again, such a nice time.  I even got another oyster stew from Dad.  Yum.  Again with the eating!!  Before we knew it we were home and the decorations were being put away.  Until next time....

Happy New Year 2013!!!