Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stepping back and a Give-away

I will be hosting a give-away (this one is pretty neat) so be sure to come check on May 1 to see how to enter.

After that, I think I'm probably going to take a step back and re-evaluate things going on. I don't imagine that it will take me to long to decide the direction I want to take and I really hope you stick around while I make this decision. I know a lot of us, me included, started blogging as a way to either vent about situations we could not control, or to have a creative outlet, or a little of both.

Then, I discovered "following" and "followers" and I was hooked. I've made so many great friends here and I have a ton of support that I never thought I'd ever have. You all have touched my life and given me a new outlook in many areas many times over. You've become my extended family in a way and I value your thoughts, friendship, and opinions.

Problem is, I began to value the opinions of others instead of staying true to what I wanted (and sometimes needed) to post. I began to watch what I said, or how I said it, so I wouldn't upset people or give the wrong impression. As a professional communicator, I would get upset with myself if someone didn't understand what I meant or took it the wrong way. I wondered how I could have said it differently so that it would have been clearer.

Then, I decided screw this, and went back to writing what I felt I needed to write. I may have cost myself a follower or two but that is the risk I was willing to take. There are bloggers out there that I follow - and who still show as following me - that must be also taking a break because I never see updates from them. I miss seeing posts from them and hearing from them. But, they must have decided that IRL has to take precedence over blogosphere.

I don't want to leave my blogging friends because I do value your friendship and opinions. Sometimes, you give me a new perspective on something that I couldn't see. Having an outsider, or a second set of eyes, offer a different point of view is often very refreshing. We don't always have to agree on things but having the freedom to express an opinion and know that both parties are adult enough to understand that a difference of opinion does not mean that you no longer need, or want, that person in your life.

My life is also much busier now. Hard to believe since I'm driving half the distance but there are so many other things that I need to also do. Ron is not well and I know that people are tired of hearing about his health issues. So, I will be probably changing that up a bit so it's not "all" about him and his issues. We shall see. LOL - my life may be too boring to write about if I don't write about Ron. Not that I intended to splash his troubles all over the blog world or anything, but that's sort of how it ended up. There are many things I can't talk to my family about so I came here. There are things that I couldn't bring myself to discuss with Ron because of how it affects him, so I came here. There are fears, dreams, and thoughts that I could not bear to verbalize to anyone, so I brought them here.

So, I'll do the give-away here (and will be posted on my other blogs as well) and then probably take a week or so to try and figure things out. Like I said, I hope that you all will stick around to see the outcome.

Have a great week!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Flashback Friday

Note: The funniest thing happened on the way to my blog… I discovered a post that I started nearly two years ago (yes, you read that correctly – years!). I don’t know why I started and then didn’t finish the post. Lord knows, I never (ahem) start something and then not finish it. Since today is the 31st birthday of the subject of this flashback, I thought it totally appropriate to finish this post and get it out there. I do think I’ll switch it up a bit though.

I originally started this flashback to talk about my Tiger Cruise with Amy when she was on the USS Boxer. I think that I will change this up and flash back through the last 31 years to her delivery. There are lots of pictures of her through the years, but she actually has most of them and I can’t very well take her scrapbooks apart to get those pictures. So, we’ll just have to go with what I’ve got.

I was nearly two weeks overdue with Amy when I finally went into labor. Unfortunately, my personal physician was not on call when I did go into labor. He had me scheduled for an induction at 7:00 AM on Monday, April 27, 1981, but I went into labor Friday night – April 24, 1981. I didn’t make my first trip to the hospital until Saturday afternoon. I figured I’d been in active labor long enough that they’d keep me, especially since I was scheduled for induction Monday morning. Wrong… They kept me in observation for four hours and then sent me home. That was the normal procedure at this hospital and it didn’t matter that my doctor had scheduled me for Monday morning, that I was nearly two weeks overdue, or that I was in active labor with contractions every three minutes. So, home I go.

I did everything I could think of to speed up this process. I walked. And walked. And walked some more. I went back to the hospital Sunday morning. They didn’t care that I was miserable and hadn’t slept or that contractions were now two minutes apart. Standard practice was to be observed for four hours and if not enough change, discharged. Seriously? I was 4 cm and they sent me home. I was ticked. The doctor-on-call said if I hadn’t had the baby by Monday morning then my doctor could speed things along, but since I wasn’t his patient he wasn’t going to do anything – not even contact my doctor.

I came home and tried to get some rest. My mom was watching Shaun for me so I could. She could tell I was doing the same thing she did (but she did it seven times!) and knew that once things started moving, they’d move quickly. I called the doctor’s office again at 8:00 PM Sunday night. I told them I wasn’t coming back unless they said they would keep me. They couldn’t promise that but said it would be best if I came back. The admissions personnel were quite rude and made a couple of snide comments about this not being my first trip down there that weekend.

Once again, I was placed in the observation room and not admitted. They didn’t even take any information from me. At one point (about 10:30 or so), I said I had to go to the bathroom (push). The nurse told me I couldn’t push – that it was too soon for that since I’d just been checked 30 minutes earlier and there hadn’t been any change (in fact, they were thinking about just sending me home again). So, I said to her, “OK, then I have your permission to go to the bathroom?” She was extremely ticked and told me that she’d have to check me one more time to verify and then I could go to the bathroom.

I thought the woman was going to have heart failure. I was 10 cm and ready to start pushing. They sent my (then) husband down to admissions to do the paperwork and to get ready to go into the delivery room. They hadn’t even started an IV yet so I had nurses on both sides of me trying to get everything taken care of before I had the baby right then and there. Amy made her appearance at 12:42 AM on April 27, 1981. The little brat… she was exactly two weeks overdue and delivered on the day the doctor scheduled it - just a few hours earlier than scheduled.

So, happy birthday to my (baby) girl! This post is scheduled to arrive exactly 31 years after her arrival. She has grown into a wonderful woman, a daughter anyone would be proud of, and a great mother and wife. I am so very proud of her and all that she has accomplished!

Monday, April 23, 2012

I've been pretending

I am not a happy person. Yes, I’ve tried. I’ve put on a smile and pretended to the world – and to myself – that all was well in my world. Changing jobs didn’t affect the problems that I face every day. They’ve made it financially easier to face, but the problems are still there. Ron continues a slow but steady decline in his health. We both like to pretend that we don’t notice it, but we do. He’s reached a point in his life that he’s not comfortable in any position – sitting or lying in bed. He’s spent many nights in the recliner portion of the sofa but all that’s doing is breaking down the sofa. He can barely get himself out of it. Taking the dog out to potty is more than he wants to take on during the day. I’m torn because that is the only exercise that he is getting – the trip to the slider several times a day to let her out and back in. If he didn’t have her, I’m not sure he’d get out of his chair for anything except to go to the bathroom.

Last night, he tried sleeping in the bed again. It was more of a nightmare for both of us. It takes him several minutes (with me helping) to get him situated in the bed, music on, breathing machine on, and just the right amount of covering on his extremities. Then, I can go to bed but I have to sleep with my head at the foot of the bed because if I snore (heaven forbid!) then it’s hard for him to sleep. (I spent 17 years listening to him but he doesn’t know how I managed to get any rest at all.) I’ve woken up with a sore throat from sleeping right underneath the ceiling fan so that has got to stop. Ron’s got a huge bruise on his left kidney (from spontaneous bleeding/bruising – waiting on test results to see what “new” is wrong) and lying down makes it very painful. He thought it had healed up enough for him to sleep but he was up several times and then finally just got up at 5:30 this morning. Today, I feel like I’ve not had any sleep at all. Even when he was sleeping, I was semi-aware of the fact that he might need something so I didn’t sleep deeply. I told Ron that I couldn’t continue this cycle. We have a spare bed and I think I’m going to start sleeping in it. It’s not a very comfortable bed, but it will be sleep. He can prop himself up on as many pillows as he needs if I’m not in the same bed.

I’m currently looking for a new power lift chair. His last one was beyond repair (financially for me because I’d have had to pay someone to do it) and we’ve tried to get by without one these last several months. It’s to the point where he has got to have a lift chair. The knee replacement is giving him a lot of trouble and we’re not sure why but he can barely use that leg again. Neither of us really knows what to do next.

I’m a selfish person. Deeply. This isn’t a ploy for sympathy or for anyone to tell me how noble I am. I’m really selfish. I am tired of taking care of him. There. I’ve said it. I’ve put it in writing for the world to see. I’m tired of never being able to plan anything because I don’t know if I can accommodate Ron. I’m tired of not getting any sleep. I’m tired of having to do everything for the both of us. I’m tired of him forgetting the little things (short-term memory is extremely short-term – and he forgets so much). I’m tired of being tired and tired of being ashamed of my feelings. I’m his wife. I signed on “for better or worse; in sickness and in health” and I shouldn’t be acting so selfishly. In the past, I’ve made it sound how wonderful our weekends away have been – and they were, don’t get me wrong. But, they were a TREMENDOUS amount of work on my part. Loading all of the stuff, making sure that we had everything that he could possibly need – so much so that I forgot my own things one time. Totally forgot my stuff. Our “cheap” weekends away are over because the $30 per night motel we stayed in is no longer accessible for Ron; he can’t get up off the toilet and the motel is so old, they are not up to ADA standards.

I’m so busy making sure that everything is OK for him that my own requirements are being put on the back burner. Some of them just never get addressed. That bothers me and then I feel ashamed for letting it bother me.

Sometimes, I think he would be better off in assisted living but then I think that it would be “me” better off – I’d have a lighter load in some respects but I’d have to visit him every night and I think that would get old. I really admire the folks who go every day, all day, to sit with their loved ones in nursing home environments. My FIL would go every day to the nursing home where Ron’s mom was. (When he didn’t show up one day, she knew something had happened to him. Even though she had dementia, she knew something was wrong; he had passed away during the night.) I know my kids sometimes think that we should make the step but I’m just not sure it’s the right thing to do. If’ I’m so quick to put him in assisted living, then how could I expect anyone to help me when (if) I get to a position where I need some help? I’m planning on going to see my WA grandkids during July 4th week and I’m already worried about who will be able to step in and make sure Ron is OK. Amy won’t because it’s harvest and they’ll be going to the farm. Everyone else lives too far away. So, do I cancel the trip (again!) because I have no one to step in, or do I just leave him and pray for the best? What a dilemma.

Enough of my whining for now. I’ve done really well with avoiding the issues but today I’m just not in the mood to bury it all. I am ordering a topper for the twin bed. That will make the mattress more comfortable for sleeping. I feel bad for Ron. He's pretty depressed over things these days and has had his anti-depressant adjusted. He also showed me tonight one of his fingers that doesn't look too healthy. Since he wears gloves so much, I hadn't noticed it. I asked him why he didn't show the doctor last Friday and he said he didn't think of it.

All things to think about for another day.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mystery Revealed!

The story behind the mystery...

When I was a kid, our yearly "family vacation" consisted of driving to either Tennessee or Pennsylvania to see my dad's father/stepmother (Tennessee) and his mom/stepfather (Pennsylvania). Along the way, we'd stop at various places and enjoy some of the local sites. We always drove straight through so we left before daylight and my dad drove until long after sunset. With seven kids, there was no overnight motel visits. The most we ever did was stop for a few hours at a rest stop along the way so my dad could rest. Of course, it was safer then to stop and sleep at a rest stop with the windows down. Not sure I'd do it now, but my dad and mom did it with a car load of kids and stuff. We had some great times on those family trips! I remember sleeping most of the way (LOL - we had places we claimed as our own and spent the whole time riding in that spot. I usually made a pallet on the floor of the van and napped off and on or read if I wasn't asleep.)

At one of our stops, and I don't even know which year, my dad picked up this set of horse shoes with the ring on it. He showed us all how to take the ring off and we were fascinated. I don't remember how many of us accomplished the feat, but I know that I was pretty proud when I did it. Cracker Barrel sells them now and I have astonished many children by showing them how it is done.

When I saw these at my mom's house, I knew that I really wanted them. Playing with a set at Cracker Barrel is just not the same as having the set my dad bought. Lucky for me, I was the first one who asked for them. They came home with me.

Here is a shot of the ring on the horse shoes and with the ring off:

Here is with the ring in the process of being put back on:

And, totally back on:

I've taught my kids how to do it, but the only one (I think) who remembers is Keith. I videoed him today showing me how he remembers. It was quite funny. I tried to teach Isaiah how to do it, but he's not ready yet. I was holding my camera on an angle, so it's crooked but still funny.

And now, you know the secret of the horse shoes. I do like the idea of them being for good luck. I got some really good response back. Later... Isaiah had a birthday Friday so I have to post some birthday pictures. Hard to believe my little man is 9 years old.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I will catch up...

I promise...

For now, I will leave you with one picture and you tell me what you think it is. I will reveal the details this weekend, as well as the story behind the picture.

Monday, April 9, 2012

New grandson...

I'm behind (again, but what's new?) but wanted to share that I have a new grandson. Tristan Scott Williams was born at 12:06 PST today. I think he's about 21" and 8 pounds but not sure. Jenny had some issues again but the staff was on top of everything.

He looks like his other two brothers (more like Zachary than Alexander) but not so much like Kaitlyn. Can't wait to see him in person! I have permission from work to take July 1-3 off and then we have the 4th off, too.

Exciting stuff going on! I'll have to post an update, but not tonight. I'm headed to bed but I'll leave you with one more bit of great news.... Amy got offered a job at the same place where I'm now working! Woot!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Amazing Donna

Yesterday was the annual Kyrie Krop to raise funds for pediatric brain cancer research. You can read a recap here of last year's event where "Amazing Donna" received an award for the role she plays for the Kyrie Foundation. Donna makes blankets for local children (and others) who are suffering from different forms of childhood cancers. Donna has even sent blankets to Australia. After she receives the information regarding the child, and permission from the parents, she goes to work creating magic. Magic in the form of fleece, embroidery, and a lot of love.

Magic for parents who have something tangible to hold and to cherish during trying times, times of joy, and times of sorrow. Not all of the children who receive blankets survive. Their parents have another memory in the form of a blanket to show that their child was loved and mattered.

Yesterday, Donna told several stories of children from the past year. One, a boy - a young man, really - was into camo and "manly" things. She wasn't sure what he'd do with a fleece blanket but she sent him one anyway. It had hunting themed items embroidered on it. He proudly threw it around his shoulders and wore it all around. When he opened the package, he said "I don't even know these people and they're sending me a package." Another child received a hat and a blanket. Later, she told Donna that nurses from other floors came to her room specifically to see her blanket. That made her feel so special! Donna also makes blankets for the siblings of affected children. One mother shared how the little brother didn't understand why his sister was gone so much and why she got so much attention. Donna made him his own blanket and he loved it.

In a private conversation with me, Donna shared how some of the children's parents spend so much money on their care that they often cannot afford to celebrate milestones in their children's lives... birthdays. Donna puts together portable birthday parties for these children and delivers them to the schools or hospitals or where ever the recipient might be. I was really touched by this because Donna does all of this without any financial reimbursement from the parents. She buys the fleece, she sews the blankets, and then she either delivers or mails them - covering all of the expenses on her own. On top of the blankets, she also takes care of the expenses involved in the portable birthday parties. I said that I wanted to be a part of these celebrations and if she'd let me know, I would be thrilled to provide a Thirty-One cinch sack. She just happened to know of a child with a celebration coming up. My first recipient is a young girl who has had at least one cranial surgery. She's "all girl" and will love receiving a pink ruffled cinch sack in her birthday box. I can't wait to get it in the mail so I can send it to Donna, who will personalize it and deliver it to Hanah.

I'm stoked. I know it's not much but it will make me feel so good to be a part of such a worthy endeavor. I know that God will use my humble offering to bless others and I will also be blessed. Instead of sending just one cinch sack to her, I'm going to send two extras - one for a boy and one for another girl. That way, if something comes up that comes as a surprise, Donna can personalize the bag (she adds Kyrie's angel to everything) and deliver to the child as a surprise.

God is so good. Be so thankful for the little ones in your lives - and the ones who have grown who were once little. So much can happen in such a short period of time. One of the children who recently received a blanket is a baby girl who contracted melanoma in her mother's womb. (Her mother had been on the police force of a local community but had moved to Arizona.) Sadly, the mother has passed away and the baby is not expected to live much past her second birthday. Her father was deeply touched by the blanket gift and wrote Donna a note that said, in part, "It's a good thing you're doing. Keep it up." Donna said it was a typical "man" note - short, sweet, and to the point - but she could tell that he was very appreciative.