The End of Another Year

As we age, the years tend to fly faster and faster. This year has been like that in some ways but has dragged on in other ways. It’s hard to think that these last few months have flown by already and we are nearly at the end of 2016!

Last year at this time, we buried my wonderful mother. It seems like yesterday that I was chatting with her but at the same time it seems like it was years ago. How is that possible that life continues like this? God helps us through these times of sorrow and our family and friends get us through as we come together and create a community of love and hope to make it through the tough times and come out on the other side refreshed and smiling once again. 

Earlier this year, I had surgery that turned ugly. I ended up having a life threatening infection following the removal of my spleen and partial pancreas removal. What a whirlwind! There were days I thought and wondered if I would ever make it through that and see my children grow up. Here I am thanks to the incredible love, again, of my family and friends. Without them, I am not sure I would have had the strength to go on. 

I sent my second daughter off to university which was hard, but not as hard as sending my first one off emotionally. I knew she would be home often enough but it is still another thing to have to get used to. Another change for our entire family just to make things interesting! She loves her school and has made so many friends already. Now she is home for a month a I’m so excited to have her home. 

My oldest has moved out of the house for good which is another change but I’m so proud of the young woman she has become. My oldest has grown up so much over the last year. She got a job and bought her first car. She has made herself a place in yhis world and is making her own roots. She will always be my baby girl though. 

Hubs and I have only 2 at home now. Very strange how that family dynamic changes so much. Usually this is alright with a few exceptions. Our exception is when my youngest has homework time.  My youngest has ADHD which makes the end of the day… well… interesting when I’m working. Luckily we have the best 4th grade teacher this year. She is a tough cookie but very fair and loving with our little guy. She expects his best and he fights tooth and nail! This little man will get through the fourth grade and it will be thanks to his marvelous teacher. 

This year has been one heck of a year and one that I would like to mostly put in the past. There have been bright parts to it as well, and those moments have gotten me through the tough times. 

Looking forward to the new year, I am looking forward to a year of great relationships with family and friends. I look forward to a healthier me in 2017 with hubs and I working on healthy choices for healthier bodies in the new year. I believe that 2017 will be a much better year than the last 2 years have been. So I say, so long 2016 and bring on 2017!

Christmas Crafting

What is more fun than decorating for the holidays? Creating new items to make your spaces look even more beautiful. I am a Pinterest junkie. There, I’ve said it. They say admitting it is the first step to recovery but I don’t want to recover! I LOVE Pinterest! When I can’t think of a project to do or how I want to proceed with a new project, I check out all the fun and exciting things on Pinterest and get inspired. 

I have created gobs of projects from home decor and home renovation to new recipes based on my Pinterest addiction. Yes  it most definitely is an addiction. Lately though, it’s like about the holidays. 

I love decorating for the holidays but I love creating new decorations even more! Last year we made giant lollipops for the yard from pool noodles and colorful duct tape. So cute! This year my hot glue gun and I are all about wreaths. I’ve made several and I love them. 

Such a neat idea, right? Believe me they have to be simple for me to try them. It’s a Styrofoam wreath form covered with about 100 different sized shatterproof ornaments. I especially even have the burned fingers and a blister to prove I made these. 

I absolutely adore these wreaths. I’ve made 4 so far and have at least 1 more to go. I also love hanging home creations on canvas up for something a little different for this time of year. I created a “oh holy  night” picture that didn’t turn out exactly the way I wanted it to, but I sort of rushed it. I could redo it but I think I’m just being tough on myself. The artist is always the one to see the biggest flaws in their wi r just after all. For the most part though, I like it. It’s canvas that’s painted then I used Gabriel glue to do the rest. Overall, I’m satisfied with the results and would love to do this again with another song. Maybe for Valentines day…

I’ve also been busy repainting my dresser and now painting a brick wall in my kitchen. I have way too much brick in this house and want to update my house to bring it into the 21st century. There is never a time when a project isn’t being done around here. Maybe someday though… Then what will I do with my time? Just  bake? Nah, there will always be something that needs to be painted. Of that, I’m sure. Till my next project is completed I bid you peace. 

Ciao!

Deirdre

Can I Please Have Another One?

“She’s so perfect. I’d go through it all again right now to have another one just like her,” I said to my then husband while still laying on the surgical table right after seeing my first born daughter. I had a very hard time having that child, but seeing her, here, in the flesh, made everything right. She was perfect. Blond hair and blue eyes. Eight pounds and 12 ounces of absolute love all wrapped up in a tiny bundle for me to love for the rest of my life. How could life be better? I wanted a second baby and I wanted one soon. 

Life with our newborn was blissful. She was the perfect baby. She wasn’t fussy and rarely cried. She was such a happy girl. I loved being a mom more than anything in the world. She was my world. I wanted more and I wanted more now. Unfortunately,  my now ex-husband was very happy with one. would he come.around? Ever?

One year after having our first daughter, I finally got the begrudging okay to start trying for number 2. It took several months to get pregnant. At one point I knew I was pregnant but the pregnancy didn’t take. All the symptoms were there. But if I had been, I wouldn’t have the daughter I have now. And I wouldn’t want anyone besides her. She’s special. 

I got away with having baby number two despite his misgivings about another baby but she has been such a joy I can’t imagine life with our her. She wasn’t the easy baby her sister was. In fact, she wanted what she wanted and would make it known until you figured it out! 

As she grew into herself over the years, she has been nothing but joy. she is such a diligent worker. she’s always ready to conquer the impossible with grace and hard work. My life has been so blessed by this child and she continues to bless those having the pleasure of knowing her. 

Recently, she started her pre-med/sociology studies at St. Louis University. She loves it there and works very hard. She is very involved with a service program called Camp Kesem which provides a week of camp to children whose parents are suffering from cancer. She has been on the fundraising trail so that these kids are really able to attend such are really great experience are able to just be kids for a week, leaving the problems and worries of cancer and home for a week. She’s still trying to raise money. The cost of camp is free to these kids so all the money must be raised by others. if you would like to help her and these wonderful kids, just click the link, https://donate.kesem.org/fundraise?fcid=791355

I’ve never been prouder than  I am of my children. I often thank God for allowing me to have such amazing kids, but it could have ended with just one. Thankfully, I persisted and got number two. They will all do great things, but I got away with having number 2, my mini-me.
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This has been a Finish the sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “I got away with…”

So Many Projects, So Little Time…

I’ve been so busy getting things done around the house lately and working. It just seems like there is never enough time to do everything I’d like to do. Lately, Hubs and I have been working on our bedroom. One of these days it will be the Oasis I dream of, but for now, it is, like me, a work in progress. 

We recently painted our room a beautiful, restful shade of gray which has given it new life. Our room had previously been blue which was a great color, but it was time for a new updated coat of paint. Along with the coat of paint, Hubs found a door at our local Habitat for Humanity resale store for $9.00. We painted it white and hung it leading into our master bathroom. The old door was a bifold door that was in serious need of replacement. Going to our local home improvement store, we found door handles that matched each other and replaced each for under $40 total. So far our room was looking great but it needed some finishing touches. 

I had the idea to take our old slatted headboard and revamp it into a covered headboard. I already had material on hand and a dear friend had the wood needed to attach the material. All we needed was some foam, batting and our trusty staple gun to complete it and the drill to attach it to the existing headboard. Voila! 

Next, to go with our new decor, I decided to do an art piece. I brought home a bunch of paint chips and cut them into pieces. I had a scrap of 25 inch square material and attached it to a 24 inch canvas with my hot glue gun making sure it was stretched completely. Then, starting from the corner, I glued my paint chip pieces in place to form a flower shape with the center formed at the corner of the material. It looks awesome and matches the new color scheme of the room well. 

We aren’t done yet. I’m painting my old dresser to match in white and gray. our nightstands are white already. I also purchased an inexpensive but beautiful duvet cover from Amazon to go in my retreat before all this great retreat reimagining took place. 

The soft gray and bright white play off each other well for a beautiful contrast. Gray is a color that can be cool or warm in time and I chose a warm gray that is inviting and has an inviting feel to it. We used Sherwin Williams HGTV color called Materialistic Gray. It’s beautiful. Grays have undertones of many colors like purple, blue, brown, yellow and green. I find its important to know which undertone you have chosen , but if you hold different gray swatches next to each other you can see the differences easily. 

Next up is the floating shelf for our wall. I can’t edit to stain it a rich expresso color. It will add not only a focal point but also a contrast from the whites and grays in yhe room and a did a functional space to place artwork.  

All in all, I’m so pleased with how everything looks. We have so many home improvement projects that we are working on. There is never a dull moment or time to just relax for long before I get another bee in my bonnet to work on something else. I’m so lucky to have Hubs to help me, even when he would much rather do anything but home improvement projects. One day we will sit and relax in our beautiful home. Unfortunately, that time isn’t for a long time just yet. Thanks Hubs for putting up with me!

The Sunshine and Dad

I have spent the last week and a half with my beloved dad. It’s the time of year when mom and dad become snow birds and migrate to sunny Florida. This year it is just dad though since we lost mom last November. Today would have been her birthday. She would have been a very young 87. 

Traveling with just dad has been a wonderful experience and a treasured one at that. sitting amiably in the car chatting or sitting quietly, he is a man of few words, we just get along well. We took our time and enjoyed our trip driving south through several states enjoying the changing scenery that makes up our beautiful land. We even stopped and shared a pecan waffle at the Wafflehouse in honor of mom, because no trip would be complete without a pecan waffle and a cup of tea in her humble opinion. 

Since arriving in the beautiful southwest part of the sunshine state, I’ve shopped and dad has taken care of things he needed to. I’ve helped him with all his technical issues and we have gotten him settled. We have eaten so well that when I get home, I probably shouldn’t eat for a month!  Life here is on a different pace. It’s as if everyone is on a permanent vacation where he lives. I suppose they are. It’s a slower, more relaxed pace where people have time for one another.

I’ve gone to the beach, of course, but I prefer the pool. Going to the pool each afternoon I find the same group of characters. I call it social hour. Everyone catches up with the latest goings-on in the community. It’s truly an amazing place to be and they have made me feel so welcome. Just today, I had a glass of wine by the pool with these fabulous people. Such fun. And boy was it good!

The shopping is always good here but I was hoping to find a few more things at my usual stores which I didn’t. Had I gone to my other usual stores I may have but I don’t want to spend all my money. I look for bargains only. That I found. There are loads of high end stores but I don’t want to spend everything when I don’t have to. 

There is nothing better than the sound of the waves hitting the shore, in my opinion. Stress melts away instantly while just sitting there listening to the lapping waves and the sounds of the sea birds. I went only one day this time to the beach, but my stress from the long drive instantly disappeared as I sat there enjoying the sights and sounds for an hour. It was a cloudy day so I had the beach pretty much to myself. What a joy and spectacle to behold. 

Soon it will be back to the Midwest for me. Not that it’s a bad thing to go home but I miss this place when I leave it. This is my favorite place on earth. The sun shines so brightly here and the temperature is always warm and delightful. Knowing that I’m going home is like a double edged sword. I miss my husband and kids, I miss my own bed, but I don’t miss the weather. I especially don’t look forward to the winter. But life is what it is and maybe someday I’ll get a chance to love a life down here. It is my dream. Someday. 

A Journey Back

It is that time of year again.  It’s time when the leaves are nearly off the trees aad the weather starts to get that chill in the air again. It is also time for the annual trek to the sunshine state with my parents, but this year I make this just with dad. So many times I’ve written about my mom’s death lately, but  this trip was always about time spent with both of my beloved parents. 

This year is so different, but so very much similar at the same time. Dad is my co-pilot while I do the driving. He’s amazing! he may be 86 but you would never know it. We spend some of the time chatting and yet, unlike when mom was with us, there is a lot more silence. He is a man who thinks and thinks a lot. A man of few words. Mom and I would solve all the problems of the world by the end of day one of our journey. Not so much with dad. He probably already solved them all but he’s not sharing the answers. Darn it anyway!

There is a bunch more room in the car because as dad says, mom packed everything but the kitchen sink and started a week ahead. Little does he know but that’s called being a mom. Must be prepared. I will say, however, he remembered to get bananas for our trip snack. It’s sort of a tradition. I do miss mom’s sandwiches though. 

We took the little car this trip which is strange to me, but it is brand new and really high tech. I sort of feel like I’m in a tiny space ship with all the buttons and gadgets. VErykah cool indeed to one who loves that stuff, like myself. 

I am so very blessed to have this time to spend with my dad. He is such an amazing and intelligent man. He exudes love and generosity. He takes care of his own and spent his entire life caring for others. There is no one quite like this patient, quiet man. Our trip may not be the same without mom, but it is such a special time for just the two of us. I’ve always been daddy’s little girl and I’m so glad I am because God gave me the very best father a girl could ask for. 

Decluttering Your Life

Lately I’ve been working on trying to clean out my house a little bit at a time, one room at a time, one space at a time. it amazes me how much junk we all accumulate over time. I am no exception. my problem however, is that even when I am not particularly attached to certain things, I still somehow feel like there should be a place for those things that I may need. I am ever the work in progress and so is my family.  I can honestly tell you some members need more motivation than others and some need more help to rid themselves of the clutter.

My problem has been the lack of motivation to begin the process. I then have to think whether or not I have used the items within the last year. if the answer is yes, and I still use it, it’s a keeper, if not, I have to ask why not and then either put it in the give it away or throw it away bag, whichever is appropriate. I’ve found it is really cathartic to get rid of things and simplify life. 

We all seem to hold on to clothes as well as other memorabilia but as we age, we suddenly realize that it is unnecessary to save every picture and project little Johnny made growing up. there just isn’t room in the house, no matter how great is was. If you’ve been blessed with more than one child like me, you will certainly run out of space! Sure I have saved a few things, but not enough to fill tubs full of artwork and favorite memories. 

When cleaning out kitchen cupboards,I find it extremely helpful to and skills myself how much do I really use the item. I got rid of so much unnecessary stuff. Hopefully all those items received new homes, as they were in good condition and were given away.  One person’s trash is another’s treasure!

We still have too much stuff but I continue to work on my simplification of my life. one day, when there are no more kids at home and less pets to care for, I may just have that home I’ve always dreamed of, but for now it’s a home of love that is well lived in. I can live with that and always have my eye on the prize. 

Missing Mom

When you are feeling just a little under the weather or downright sick, we all want our moms at those times. I’m just like everyone else in that respect and in the last few days it has been extra difficult. You see, a year ago my mom has her stroke and was in the hospital. I am reminded each day where I was and how she was doing this time last year. To top that off, I’ve been feeling under the weather enough to warrant mom care. But if you follow my blog, you know that won’t be happening anymore.

I am still grieving over the loss of my mom as we near the one year anniversary of her death. I still have another month to go but this is the really hard month, as I sort of relive all those memories of last year. I spent all my days in the hospital with her. I spent my time talking to her, praying with her and for her and finally realizing that her life here was at it’s end. 

Simply stated, last year sucked and I don’t want to relive it, but I am reliving it in a way, but nearly as an outsider looking in. I have a different perspective this time as I know the outcome. I still cry unbidden. I still speak to her as though she can hear me. I still wait to hear her voice sometimes, but it never comes. 

I still see her in my dreams sometimes. I thank God for those dreams. I recently had the best dream of my life. I was in my mom’s kitchen and she was making dinner. I could smell the potatoes cooking. Such a realistic dream. Mom where she always was, doing what she did so well. I could smell her even though I could not touch her. I was home. It’s a home I will never quite have again even though I gratefully have my dad and he lives in the house. I no longer have mom. Mom made it home.

I know many people understand the loss of one’s mom. This is my journey and I share it with you because that is who I am. We get only one mom in life. I did anyway. One fabulous and incredibly wonderful mom. I miss her each and every day. I will go on missing her as I don’t think we ever truly get over the death of our mother. They make us who we are and shape us into the people we become as adults.

Coffee Time Already?

It’s a glorious fall morning on this particular Saturday. I may be a lover of the warm weather, but there is nothing like bundling up with my fleece jammies on and fuzzy socks and enjoying a hot cup of caramel brulee coffee under a blanket. It’s soul soothing in a way.

This time a year ago, I was spending my time in the hospital with my beloved mom. Yesterday was the 1st anniversary of her hemorrhagic stroke, a day that would change my life forever. When I was called by my daughter, I was told that grandma was in the ER and my husband and I went straight there. We never imagined what we would find. As I headed to the room to see her, still not sure what had happened, I was told I could not go in. I was still calm despite my fears.

My dad and brother were already there, of course. I’m the last one to be called since I have a family of my own and my brother is single. The boys, as I call them, are very close and very similar to beach other. I’m the girl, and mom and I were always close, very close. She was my best friend. 

We were shuffled off into a little room so that the doctor could talk to us about the stroke. The fact that mom was coherent when she came in and the cardiac workup was negative but that she started to lose her cognition and deteriorate rapidly finally led them to know it was a brain bleed, and unfortunately it was a big one. She was put on a ventilator and received what we referred to as a brain drain to keep the pressure down in her brain.

She amazingly started to recover slowly. I was so happy even though I knew, being a 20 veteran nurse, that she would never truly be exactly who she was before, but she was doing so well. She was sitting up and eating and talking after a long week. But then everything changed. 

Little did I know in October 21,2015 that on November 25,2015 at 12:38AM my beloved and blessed mom would leave this world. She fought and fought hard, but she had too many complications that mounted up against her. 

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. I don’t cry as often, but I do still cry. I can’t tell you how much I miss her. I miss her laugh, our long talks, her hugs, her advice wanted and unsolicited, her smell, her little cough, her hands. I miss everything about her. 

The pain is still there, but not so raw. I don’t think you ever get over the death of your mother. Not truly. Sure we move on and learn to live life again, but life will never quite be the same without her here. The good thing is, I know I have a angel watching over me because I know my mom has to be in heaven. She was the most beautiful and holy person I knew. I thank God for being blessed with such an awesome mom for all the years I had her here. If you still have your mom here, go give her a hug today. You never know when it will be the last hug you will get.

Fall Has Arrived

It’s that time of year when school is back in full swing and the weather begins to turn cooler. It’s fall! This is one of my favorite times of year, before it gets too cold. 

I am a lover of warm weather and sunshine, but when the autumn chill hits the air, I love to snuggle under my blanket, grab my cup of coffee, and write. Watching the world around me change each day gives me new life and brings about new things to write about.

Have you ever looked at the leaves on an overcast day? The leaves changing color becoming so vibrant in the coolness of dusk or more vibrant still when it rains softly.  What a beauty to behold!

Fall also brings about Halloween which in our house means festivities and decorations. I used to go all out and then life got in the way. Well my friends, Pinterest and I have become good friends and I have plans for this year! We even hope to have one of our parties since my biggest Halloween fan, my 15 year old, will have practice for a show on Halloween itself. Let the good times roll.

Another thing I’ve always loved about fall is the food. Comfort food. Chili and cornbread. I make the best cornbread. It’s sweet and tastes like heaven. Caramel apples, fruit cobblers, bread puddings. And there’s football and my favorite sport, hockey! God bless my St. Louis Blues! 

So as we begin this fall, take a moment to think about what you are grateful for. I have so much. No, ibdont have everything, but I have the most important things life has to offer. I have my health, my family and my friends. Let’s make this fall a fall to remember.