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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

SO WHAT! Wednesday!

This week I'm saying SO WHAT if...
I've already decorated for Christmas.  The season is short and we like to enjoy it!  There is nothing wrong with being festive a bit early!
I have to take a "Migraine Day".  Until I can get these headaches under control, there will be days like that and it's ok.  My kids are not missing out :) and it renews me to make the good days better!
I say "no" to play dates and appointments when I just can't mentally handle them.  This is a tough season in our lives and sometimes it's ok to put ourselves first and do what we need to do to feel mentally stable.
I have to buy all new wrapping paper because mine got moldy in the basement.  It would be frugal but I can make it fun and get just what I want instead of what's left over after the holidays!

Have a great week!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Family Connection

My father, the editor of his local newspaper, writes a weekly column.  He's shared many stories, including an amazing tribute to my mother the Sunday after she passed away.  His writing has a way of speaking to your heart.  This is today's article and it touches my heart again...

Harry Deitz: Pennies from heaven bring rich message

Sunday November 15, 2015 12:01 AM
By Harry Deitz  

For years, my wife had a secret that she shared with only me. She worried that if others knew about it, they might consider her a bit crazy. She wasn't. In fact, she may have been blessed.
In unusual places and at unexpected times, she would find pennies. She would walk to her car and and one lying on the ground. Pennies would show up on tables in our house or in drawers or pockets of coats. She would walk into a room and find a penny where there was nothing a few minutes earlier.
There will be skeptics who consider those discoveries coincidence, but we came to believe they were special signs. Perhaps, they were pennies from heaven.
Initially, finding the pennies frightened her. More than once she asked me if someone was playing a trick on her. I assured her no one was playing games.
Eventually she shared the secret with her close friend and partner in the preschool they founded and operated. At some point, our children were let in on the secret. No one else knew.
Through the years, as she and I discussed her unexpected treasures, we decided they were affectionate signs from her father. Believing there was a connection to her father removed some of the fear because the two of them were very close. He, like my wife, was a kind and giving person. When she was younger, he always made sure she had spending money.
The appearance of pennies started soon after he died in 1990.
During the past few years we talked less about the pennies, but she continued to find them until illness limited her memory and ability to get around about two years ago.
A day or so after my wife passed away in September, our son walked to his car and found a penny on the ground. He found another after that. They too were very close, and I know my wife always used to make sure our son had money in his pocket. defines pennies from heaven as unexpected benefits, especially financial ones. Most of us know the phrase from the 1936 "Pennies from Heaven" film, starring Bing Crosby, who sang the song of that same title:
"Every time it rains it rains pennies from heaven.
"Don't you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven."
Perhaps those pennies that fall, or just appear, are meant to lift our spirits or make us stop and pay attention to the little things in life. If so, it worked for my wife, and for me, because every penny she found made us stop and think about what it might mean.
I have no doubt that there was something special about the penny phenomenon that was part of my wife's life for 25 years.
I believe in heaven and that those who have died are watching over us. Perhaps there are guardian angels, although I'm not necessarily convinced that the spirits of those who have passed on surround us at every moment. That's part of the mystery of life and death that I expect to understand someday.
It wasn't just pennies that gave us that hope. After my wife's father died, her friend gave her a rhododendron to plant in our garden in his memory. At the strangest and unexpected times, that rhododendron would blossom. We called the plant "George," her father's name.
Four years ago, when we moved, the last thing we did at the old house was to dig up George and take it to our new home.
We can choose to ignore those signs, or we use them for comfort and to build our belief in life beyond this world.
Maybe we're not meant to understand things such as this. Maybe we're supposed to have faith that there is a connection to others who have gone before us. Perhaps they simply are there to lift our spirits or give us encouragement.
Real or not, those pennies and that plant created a special enduring connection between my wife and someone who was special in her life.
That connection was priceless.

And for what it's worth...I found a penny today :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

SO WHAT Wednesday!

This week I'm saying SO WHAT if...

  • I'm addicted to binge watching girly shows on Netflix while the husband is at work!  I've powered through Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie, and now Royal Pains.  It keeps me sane while doing things around the house!
  • I've decided to break out everything Christmas!  It's a rainy day and the kids are home from school for Veterans' Day.  We travel for Thanksgiving and it's just too much work for too short a time if I wait until we get back.  So...falalalala!
  • I have been finishing every meal...even breakfast...with a piece of Halloween candy!  It needs to leave our house!
  • I am so excited to escape for a night this weekend and worship at the Women of Faith conference!  This is the 4th year I've been going with my friend and her sister and daughter.  We have a lot of laughs and come home feeling refreshed in our life and our faith.  It was at this conference last year that I finally decided my place was to be at home and stop was a major life-altering decision and I couldn't be happier!
  • I must confess...I planned Sassy's 7th birthday party for this Saturday...sent the invites and everything...and then realized I wasn't even going to be home!!!!  After I panicked and freaked out...I resent the invite and changed the date.  Oh, the curse of Mommy Brain!
  • My day is completely thrown off if I forget to run the dishwasher the night before!
  • Bubba refuses to say "I love you" so I can be heard several times a day saying to him "Love.." and he responds "Mama!"  Melt. My. Heart.

Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday!!!!

Thankful For Our Freedom!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What We Were...

Note:  I've been writing this post for almost 2 months.  It's not fancy or even well-written...but it was HARD!  Probably the hardest post I've ever written.

I framed this picture today of our time with my dad and nephew at the beach in September.  The day after this picture Papa returned home to care for Mimi (my mother) for another two days and suddenly have to say good bye to her on Friday, September 18th.  

I look at this picture and see happy, relaxed faces.  We knew Mimi was sick and we knew our days with her were limited but we also had just escaped reality for a few days.  We lounged by the beach, arriving at our spot as early as 8:30 am!, lunched on the porch watching the waves, and turned in early at night in anticipation of the next day.  The sun was shining every day and the temperatures couldn't have been more perfect!  We had waited all summer to celebrate me not working but taking a vacation when we knew the crowds would be less and the weather amazing.  We created memories and just enjoyed spending time together.  

Papa and Cousin D left on Wednesday and my in-laws arrived for the second part of the week.  We continued the theme of the week.  On our last full day, Friday, we took beach pictures of the kids in the morning and then headed to beach to soak in the final day.  I begged to stay on the beach for as long as we could...something my mother always did.  She was her happiest by the ocean and always had to wave goodbye to it during our final moments of vacation.  The promise of returning the next year was always there.

Friday evening we headed to the boardwalk.  While some of the group went into a candy store, I sat and looked at the ocean with Sassy and Bubba.  We FaceTimed Papa to check in.  It was about 6:30.  He was in Mimi's room with her and said "she's taken a turn."  The hospice nurse had visited that morning and said her body was starting to shut down.  We figured at that point we had weeks, time to sit and be with her.  Little did we know how quickly time could change things...

By 9:00 that evening, she was gone.  It was minutes and came so quickly.  We all knew she would leave us too soon but never did we expect it to come so quickly and swiftly.  My brother calling with the news is a moment I will never forget...I'll always remember where I was, how I reacted, and how all I could think was how could get home to my family as quickly as I could.

We came together as family, spent days supporting each other and celebrating our mother, wife, sister, daughter-in-law.  It was a time she would have loved seeing...and I am at peace knowing she watched from above and smiled as we all got along :).

My mom was my best friend...once I grew up :).  Sadly, I don't think I realized that until I had moved 6 hours from home.  But each visit was just that much better and the memories more special because I was making them with my best friend.  I always wondered what I would do if I lost my mom before my dad...I never just called to chat with him and wasn't quite sure how our "friendship" would work.  But I figured I had years to figure that out...then Mom wasn't acting quite right.  So Dad convinced her to go to the doctor...and the diagnosis was devastating and the blows kept coming.  The mom I knew slowly slipped away.  But the amazing thing was the relationship that grew between my Dad and me as we worked to care for my mom.  I think this was her secret goal :).  She took care of us all right until the end.  She made sure we were there to support each other and continue as a family after she left us.  

No part of this is easy.  I struggle every day just to do what needs to be done.  Everything brings her to mind.  I worry about how my dad and siblings are making it through...something Mom would love to see!  It's hard to imagine each milestone in our lives that will continue without her...the holidays, the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, the plain ordinary normal days.  She is watching them all and waiting to celebrate together with us one day when we are all back together...

Fall Scarf Exchange 2015

So when Liz and Courtney and Whitney announced a fall scarf exchange, I couldn't sign up quick enough! The concept was simple.  Buy a scarf and send it to whomever you were matched with.  Every person would send one scarf and every person would receive one scarf.

I was paired with Desiree over at Macke Monologues...who interestingly was my partner for the Fall Blog Exchange we participated in a few weeks ago!  It was such fun getting to know her and her sweet little family!  I find it so much fun to chat with all these moms all over the country.  I love that Desiree is enjoying the ocean on the west coast while I'm watching the waves here on the east coast!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my scarf!  Red is my favorite color and this scarf is light and flowy...perfect for someone who always seems to be!

This scarf is from The Gap and I love the quality.  I have to admit that most of my scarves are clearance finds and bargains so I've never really looked at Gap and I am thrilled with this addition!

So that being said, I have to admit I dropped the ball and have no pictures of me wearing the scarf...although I'm sure you will see in frequent rotation through the chillier months we are approaching!  I spent the past week in and out of the hospital with my son, who has severe, persistent asthma and developed pneumonia.  It was a long and exhausting week where I survived in the most comfortable clothes possible, since I was living in the same clothes for days :).  But more on that all in another post!

And, while Desiree was busy spoiling me, I had the chance to send a treat to Mande Klein over at Klein Dot Co.  We enjoyed getting to know each other...and were surprised to discover we were elementary school teachers and our husbands both have PhDs!  So fun!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Oh Friday!

I'm linking up today with AndreaErika and Narci for Friday Favorites!

It's been a long, rough week!
Bruiser woke up Sunday with a major asthma attack...3 ER visits and 3 days later, he was admitted to the hospital overnight.  His official diagnosis was sever, persistent asthma exasperated by right middle lobe pneumonia.  Yeah.  He is on a slew of meds, still sounds terrible and feels yucky, and is spending yet another home on the couch.  Definitely not one of my favorites!!!

But this basket of medicine...and the availability we have to access and work to make our boy better?  Definitely a favorite!

And this little one tagging along to all the appointments and entertaining us all?  Another favorite!

Twining with my ten-year-old?  
Doing it while she still thinks it's cool and making it a favorite!

Another favorite is pulling out toys that the little one has never seen and watching his excitement!
A not favorite is the screaming that this brought with it at 6am!!!!

I added our Thankful Tree to our fall decorations yesterday.  
Adding our favorite moments and things to it is a big favorite of mine!

And this turkey platter brings back a favorite memory...
I was jokingly gifted a colorful (not so attractive!) version of this when I was first married by my mom.  She claimed that her mother loved it and I couldn't get rid of it.  Well, that platter got passed around the family and provided a great deal of entertainment!  I added this version to our family a few years ago and love it!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween in the 'Hood Through the Years

Tater was a ladybug.

Tater was Cinderella and Bruiser was in Mommy's tummy!

Bruiser is a dinosaur and Tater is a monkey.

Tater is a mermaid and Bruiser is a fish.  
Sassy was 2 days old and a lobster helping to answer the door!

Tater was a butterfly, Bruiser was a lion, and Sassy was a flower.

Tater was a cowgirl, Bruiser was fireman, and Sassy was Cinderella.

Tater was a cat, Bruiser was Batman, and Sassy was a pink poodle.

All three were ghosts but Sassy refused to be in the picture.
I made their costumes and finished minutes before we walked out the door because I was so sick growing Bubba!

Tater was an angel, Bruiser was Indiana Jones, Sassy was witch, and Bubba was puppy.

Tater was a monarch, Bruiser was a Skylander (Stink Bomb), Sassy was Rapunzel, and Bubba was Mickey Mouse.

Tater was Maleficent, Bruiser was a vampire, Sassy was Elsa, and Bubba was an owl.

Halloween 2015

Halloween on a Saturday??  Perfection!

We were lucky to have Papa with us for the weekend to celebrate Sassy's birthday and the spookiest of holidays.  We missed Mimi big time but were happy we were together missing her.

Saturday we went to a local church for a Trunk or Treat.  The kids loved wearing their costumes and it was a cute, low-key experience.

a vampire, Elsa, and Malificent

and a little owl joined in!

That night we joined the neighborhood crew to stroll the neighborhood and a few streets beyond.  Bruiser was thrilled to have his friend join us, as was Tater.  Bubba and Sassy's friend, E, were both dressed as owls!

The group picture is a must each year...I'll have to post a comparison to show how they've grown!
Bubba made it halfway around our block before he settled in the wagon and searched his bucket for candy he could open!