Sunday, July 31, 2011


T and I have just come back from a very blessed but very bittersweet weekend.  My entire extended family came together to celebrate a family reunion with my Grandpa, the last one we will celebrate with his physical presence there.  I'm not going to lie, it was hard.  My heart hurts so much today after we left, but I felt so happy to see that he was able to leave the nursing home and join us at my uncle's house for several hours.  He looked exhausted but smiled every now and then as a great-grand child would run by or as people visited with him. 
My uncle had printed out pictures for all of us - a young George and Peggy when they first got married, enjoying a ball game.  They both looked so happy and in love, and I will treasure this picture forever.  My Grandpa had a copy of this picture in front of him when I was visiting with him, and I asked him when the picture was taken.  A smile crossed his face as he told me when they took that.  Looking at my Grandma, he said "she was a dandy, wasn't she?"  He began to tear up, as he shared with me and my aunt that he misses her so much and wants to be with her.  I took his hand and said, "you will be soon, Grandpa.  She's watching over you."  My aunt asked him if he'll watch over us when he's gone, and he nodded, tears in his eyes.  It's so hard to see him like this.  I don't want to lose him, but I want him to be back with my Grandma.  I want him to be at peace again. 
I hate that feeling when I hug him good bye, and I wonder if this will be the last hug.  It makes me not want to let go, not want to let go of his hand, and it makes saying "I love you" not feel like enough.  I felt this way with all of my grandparents, and the feeling is even more strong this time around because he's been such a big part of my life for so long. 
We went to see him last weekend in order to allow my cousins and family who lived farther away to spend more time with him this weekend.  It was hard not going back to the nursing home before we left today, so on our way out of town, I had T stop by the cemetery where my Grandma is.  They share a plot, and his name is already on the headstone next to hers.  As I stood there, looking at her name and the date we lost her, I prayed that she was watching over him and that she would take care of him once he leaves us.  I miss her so much, and I know that I will miss him as much.  I just can't imagine how he feels, spending so many years without my Grandma. 
I pray that this last weekend was not the last time I got to spend time with him, but from what I have been told, it's quite possible.  They have determined they will no longer drain the fluid in his body, and since I saw him just last weekend, his condition has quickly deteriorated.  I just pray that he doesn't have to suffer much longer and that he feels the love of all of us around him.  Because if one thing is clear after this weekend - he is loved.  Very much so.  I feel so blessed to have him as my Grandpa. 
Again, I'd like to thank all of you for your sweet messages and prayers.  I apologize my blogs haven't been their normal tone.  I'm going to try my hardest this week to put out something a little more upbeat...maybe a Spin Cycle?  But truly, thank you all.  It means so much to me and my family.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


This post won't be one of my longer posts, but I did want to express my gratitude and tell you just how humbled I am by your kind words and prayers here on my blog and on Twitter.  We were able to go see my Grandpa in the nursing home this last weekend, for only about an hour, and we will be seeing him at the official reunion this weekend.  I am hopeful he can visit with the family in the comfort of my uncle's house and not the nursing home. 
Please still keep praying, as he is not doing much better.  I received an email yesterday indicating that doctors have said hospice services need to be contacted and that he has six months tops in terms of his kidney function.  After seeing him this weekend, though, I honestly feel that number is being generous.  He was in good spirits when we saw him, but his memory is not there, and he is quite weak and ill.  In his room he had several pictures of my Grandma, one of them being her senior picture from high school.  Several times in the conversation, he asked if we knew who the lady was in that picture and talked about how beautiful she is and how wonderful of a wife she was.  She truly was.  And I know he misses her, and I have no doubt when it is his time to leave us, he will be reunited with her. 
I had a hard time leaving him on Sunday, and when I hugged him, I didn't want to let go.  But I am coming to terms with the fact that we all need to.  I hope that this weekend gives him joy and happiness where he can spend time surrounded by his entire family and those who love him.  But I also hope that he does find the peace he needs. 
Thank you all so much for everything - I truly feel blessed to have such an outpouring of support with people I have never met in person.  You have touched my heart, and I know your prayers and thoughts help.  Thank you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The hardest part

I am afraid to say I haven't had it in me to write a blog post this week.  My heart has been heavy, weighed down with the difficulties of what comes with age, the tough part of growing up and losing those we love.  I've said good bye to so many people who were close to me throughout my life, and as I told my nephew once when he was struggling with it himself, I wish I could say it gets easier with age.  He was 11 at the time and sad that his great-grandpa was of ill health.   I sat there with him on the couch, just so he knew I was there, and I told him what I thought about death in terms of what a teenager could understand.  It sucks.  It just does.   And it sucks no matter how old you are.  It just sucks.  And what sucks even more?  Watching someone you love suffer before they do pass to the other side.
I have one grandparent left, my mom's dad.  Grandpa George.  He means the world to me.  He's one of the smartest men I know (aside from my father, of course), and he just cares so much for his family.  After my Grandma died in 2000, I became closer to him, driving from Bloomington to see him for a Friday night dinner, sending him cards just so he knew I missed him, and even calling every now and then.  The phone conversation would last exactly 30 minutes, and I remember after those first few months he was so excited about how he was learning to cook soup and take care of himself.  He was becoming more independent.  He was lonely, though, and that was why it meant so much to me to spend time with him when I could. 
He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2006 after a heart attack he suffered the weekend after my law school graduation.  He had triple bypass surgery and a valve replacement, and he just hasn't been the same since.  As he has gotten older, his health has faltered off and on and has quickly deteriorated over the past year.  This last spring, my mom and her siblings had to make the tough decision to put him in assisted living.  See, because of his heart failure, his kidneys were shutting down, too, and he was forgetting things like what day it was, whether he ate, whether he took his pills.  It just got scary.  So he was put in a home sometime in April.  And I don't think he's understood or remembered why he was put in assisted living.  I was told yesterday that he doesn't even remember that I was married in September or that he was at the wedding.  He didn't remember it at all. 
This past weekend, he was put in the hospital because fluid was building up throughout his entire body.  His kidneys and his heart can't keep up, so they've drained five liters of fluid out, and he's going to a rehab facility for the time being.  The problem is...this fluid is going to return.  His kidneys are functioning at 20 percent, and they will not get better.  We have no long term plans at this point, just short term ones.The plan?  Get him well enough so that he can spend the weekend of July 30th with his family.  My entire family is coming together for a reunion next weekend.  We hope that he'll be well enough to join us for part of it, but if he is not, it has been decided we will see him in shifts at the nursing home.  But I truly hope he does get the chance to spend a day with his entire family, surrounded by those he loves.

It hit me yesterday after I spoke to my mother that this may very well be the last time I speak to my Grandpa (in this life, at least).   The thought of this crushed me last night, and I finally let the weight of all of this hit me and cried...I mean, really let myself cry, about it.  I thought about what I would want to say to him.  I love you?  That's a given.  But it just doesn't feel like enough.

Many years ago, we started a tradition....well, he started it.  He would hug me good bye, kiss me on the cheek and say "I'm so glad you got to see me today!"  It always made me laugh, and it became a thing...we'd try to beat each other to it.  I still say that to him when I say good bye.  "Grandpa, I'm so glad you got to see me today."  But really, I think when I hug him good bye next weekend, to me, it's quite the opposite.  "Grandpa, I'm so glad I got to see you today." 

It's hard.  I don't want to lose him, but I don't want him to live the life he's living now.  Because it's not much of a life.  I want him to be with my Grandma in heaven.  But as I told T last night, I would love to just spend one more day....with both him and my Grandma.  I miss her so much.  And it's breaking my heart because I know I'll miss him just the same. 
So I hope you'll excuse me for the next few days if I don't blog as often as I normally do.  I'll try to write as I can, but my heart...and my mind, for that matter, just isn't in it.  But I do ask that you keep this special man in your prayers and thoughts.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Motivation Monday!

Motivation Monday

I haven't posted yet today!  Yikes!  Motivation Monday is almost over, but never fear - I have one very dedicated reader/friend who keeps me motivated.  Check out her blog and her awesome video from this weekend!
Chloe @ My New Life as a Housewife
Now, I don't play favorites, and I would love more motivational posts!  How do you do it?  Just write a post about what you need motivation for this week, comment on this post with your link, and I'll add you!  You can write about anything you like, and motivation doesn't just happen on Monday - I'll add your link up all week! 
I could use motivation this week for several things - with work, we're having auditors come to do our 2010 financial audit, and this being my first audit, I'm learning as I go along.  So staying motivated at work and to learn along the way is something I could use this week.  Amongst the audit craziness, I'm facing some deadlines this week and even a presentation so it's "Nain needs to keep going, little engine that could style" week.  "I think I can, I think I can..."  
That's my motivation for this week - what's yours? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rainbows and ponies, oh my!

This is among many of the reasons why I love Sprite's Keeper.  Last week, with the serious topic of forgiveness for the Spin Cycle, I may or may not have jokingly suggested she pick a lighter topic, say, ponies and rainbows?  She called my bluff and say "OK, go for it..."  And since I was the smart ass who suggested it, who am I to not step up to a challenge.
When I think of rainbows and ponies, aside from thinking about the movie Anchorman, I think of Julie Andrews singing "Favorite Things."  Personally, the song makes me want to poke sharp objects in my ears, and I swear to God, I have no idea why some people think that song is acceptable as a Christmas carol....but...I digress.  I think of things that make me happy.  And no, those things do not include ponies and rainbows.  (Though a certain little pony from Parks and Recreation Lil' Sebastian does make me smile).  Horses scare me, and rainbows mean it just rained.  So yeah...there's that.
God, I'm such a downer.   You'd think nothing makes me happy, but no, I tell you, occasionally things do make this cynical girl smile!  And here they no particular order...
My nieces and nephews.  All of them.  They are just fabulous kids and awesome people to be around.  Just giving them a hug makes it hard not to smile. 
Bubble wrap.  I like popping it.  'Nuff said.
A really good dessert, especially of the chocolate variety.  I am a sweet tooth/chocolate addict. 
John Stewart.  I heart him.
The show Hoarding:  Buried Alive.  I seriously love me some train wrecks. 
Driving T crazy by doing silly things like putting my feet on the dash, getting finger prints on his phone or watch, pronouncing coupons "cewpons" and not "coopons" like he says it should be pronounced.
Wearing my PJs and just staying in for the evening.  Especially if it's a cold night in winter, curling up in a blanket on the couch and watching TV. 
Hugs, especially those from T.  (Unless he's just come in from the gym and is all disgusting and sweaty.  In that case, please, stay away.) 
Letters and cards in the mail!
NKOTBSB.  When they were on Dancing with the Stars, I was like a giddy school girl.  I still need to buy that CD, come to think of it....
Christmas trees
And most importantly.....T. Especially when he's "bearing down" to make me laugh.  I heart him so much.
So these are a few of my "rainbows and ponies."  Check out what other Spinners have to say at Sprite's Keeper!

Monday, July 11, 2011

What's my motivation?

Motivation Monday

There is probably something innately wrong with the fact it's Motivation Monday, is now 5:00 p.m., and I have zero motivation to even think about writing my motivational post.  Good thing I have my fellow bloggers out there to keep me on track! 

So you know the drill - write a post about what's motivating you this week and link it up to this one by commenting on this post, leaving a a link back to your post.  Easy peasy!

Now if only it were that easy to come up with something enthralling and motivating to write about...but I'll try.  This week I'm motivated to rest.  Last week was one of those crazy ones where we didn't eat dinner until 8:00 p.m. pretty much every night, which meant we got very little time to unwind and just be before we headed to bed only to start the whole routine over again.  However, this week we're lucky in that no evenings are taken up with "things to do, places to be."  Dare I say, we may actually eat dinner at (gasp) dinner time?  I mean, while I'm sure it is very European of us to not eat dinner until dusk, it isn't exactly the way I luck to run my ship.  And we'll actually get to relax this weekend, too...for the first time in a long time, we'll have weekend days to ourselves with no specific plans!  Shocking, isn't it?  It'll be bliss, let me tell you.

Is it sad that I have to make it a goal of mine to relax some? 

So what's motivating YOU this week?  Join up with my fellow blog friends and have a little motivation Monday fun!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Happy birthday, T!

Tomorrow is a very special's T's birthday!  His 29th birthday to be exact.  Yes, he'll always be one year younger than me (a fact he reminds me of every now and then).   Since I don't normally blog on Saturdays, I want to dedicate today's post to the man in my life, my best friend, my T.

Before I met you, I had no idea what it really meant to love another person unconditionally and with all of your heart.  I didn't believe in the concept of soul mate, my other half, my partner for life.

You are the person who hugs me after a rough day, the person who can make me laugh with just one look, the person who gets my jokes, who knows what I truly mean when I say something but am holding back.  You're the person who wipes away my tears, who shakes his head with disbelief every time I come up with another bruise from randomly walking into something.  You are the only other person who really has heard my southern accent and thinks it's adorable.  You're the person who gets excited to watch Hoarders with me on Sunday and Ghost Adventures with me on Friday.  You always say you love my cooking even when I mess something up beyond repair.  You are always there to help me fix even my messiest of problems.

You are the person who loves with his whole heart and does so without any reservation.  You're also Roo's best friend, you know?

You're the person in my life who claims with pride that he's from "the D" and tries to act street tough even though you are so far from that.  You're the person who chuckles when you hear the word "duty" or "balls" or "fart."  You're the person who makes Beavis and Butthead impersonations when you think no one is listening.  (I always am, you know...)

You're the person who shared one of the most amazing experiences of both of our lives in going to Ireland.  You're as crazy as I am, wanting to camp out in a pub for five hours before the big Arthur's Day toast.  And you're the person who had no problem with the fact that his 5'1" wife could keep up with him drink for drink through the day.  (Admit it, most men would feel threatened by that, right?) 

You are everything to me and more.  I feel blessed with each day that I get to wake up next to you.  And I thank God every day that He brought you into my life. 

Happy birthday, sweetie! 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

All about forgiveness

This week's Spin Cycle is a tough one.  Forgiveness.   When I say it's a tough subject, I usually mean it's one I stare at after she assigns her "spins" for the week and go "ugh, do I have to??? (In my whiny brat voice).  So, yeah....Forgiveness.  Here goes nothing....
Being raised in the Catholic church, forgiveness is one of those things that has always been ingrained in me as from birth.  Every year, you had to go to confession and ask for forgiveness for your sins.  You were to forgive those who trespassed against you.  If God could forgive that person for their wrongdoing, then who were you not to forgive them?    As a child, the concept seemed easy enough.  No one ever really did anything to me too horrible that I couldn't forgive them for it.  And my "sins" consisted of talking back to my parents, being mean to my brother and sister and occasional lying.  Child's play. 
However, as I got older, the whole concept got a little murkier.  Suddenly it just wasn't that easy.  The scars of my own wrongdoings and the things others did to hurt me didn't go away with a simple "I'm sorry."  I began to struggle with the difference between forgiving and forgetting and had one hell of a time distinguishing between the two. 
Some time ago, I participated in a Spin involving poetry, and I opened my heart to all of you about my past, the things that I struggled with as I became an adult.  Mistakes made, scars caused.  Saying I'm sorry became something that I said or something I heard from someone, just going through the motions, but did not mean or something I said, trying my best to truly meaning it but never forgetting the harm that was done.  Rather, I would take an apology but carried the memory, weighing me down like a lead balloon.  And the more balloons I tacked on, the harder it got to even try to forgive. 
I am the first to say that I have made many a bad choice as a young adult.   When you reach college age and on, you almost get this invincibility about yourself.  Nothing you do can really harm you.  You do without thinking, jump without looking, act without thinking of the consequence.  You make decisions that could truly hurt yourself, hurt those who love you or worse, could even take you away from those who love you.  And, for some, those acts of carelessness hardly register on a scale of guilt.  But for me...not so much.  As years went by, I found myself weighed down so much by guilt that I was unable to even contemplate forgiving myself.
By the time I reached my late twenties and met T, I was so far past that point of self forgiveness that I gave up any hope of ridding myself of the guilt of the past.  It wasn't until I met T and fell in love that I started to see that it was even possible.   I had to learn to love myself enough to see that I was worthy of forgiveness, even if it was my own.   It didn't happen overnight, and it wasn't something T did.  It was more he gave me the strength so that I could do it for myself.  And eventually I did.  I let it go and gave it to God and forgave myself. 
Do I still struggle with it?  Yes.  Does that guilt creep up every now and then and try to squirm its way back into my life.  Of course.  (For those of you who know me all to well know that worrying is a pastime of mine, and worrying about guilt? It's an excelled skill of mine, what can I say?)  But now I know that whenever that guilt pokes its head around the corner, I can brush it aside and clear my heart of that burden.  And sure, I'll make many more mistakes along the way, but the good thing is now I know that I can forgive myself.  And that is half the battle. 
So yeah, Sprite's Keeper, thank you for the difficult topic :-)  But no, it does feel good to be able to write about it, and I hope that my lessons I have learned will only help me someday as I become a mother and teach my children all about forgiveness and how they should love themselves enough to know what it truly means to forgive. 
So next week's Spin...can that be something light-hearted and cheery?  Like puppies and unicorns, perhaps?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Long weekend craziness

I apologize for my absence yesterday everyone!   I found myself buried by tons and tons of paperwork at the office yesterday and was unable to type up a post.  Lazy, yes, but I got a lot of work done, so....there you go.    But I'm here today!  Better late than never, right? 

It was a productive weekend but a crazy one at that.  T's parents came into town to visit and help us out around the house.  We went to dinner with them when they got here on Friday and then went to Home Depot to pick up various items needed for weekend projects.  Side note:  I'm not a fan of the Depot.  It's huge, you can't find anything in it, and's not Target.  So, I'm not a fan, but I went.  Because I'm a trooper like that.  Saturday was spent doing projects around the house, and then in the afternoon, my family came over for a cookout/birthday party for T's upcoming birthday.  It was a lot of fun...loud, lots of stuff going on, but crazy in a fun way.  The next two days were a whirlwind of home projects.  I can't believe how much stuff T's dad completed in a few days:  installed two screen doors, two light fixtures, added electrical outlets in our basement, repaired some drywall in our bathroom and fixed two toilet paper holders (crappy install job done by the builder on those).  Oh, and added some mulch to our front garden and put in stakes to straighten the trees that were planted when we moved in and were blown slightly crooked by some strong storms.  But we got a ton accomplished, and we are both truly thankful for the hard work T's parents did for

While it is fun to visit with family and have company, however, it is nice to have our house to just the two of us now.  I'm thankful for this short week and for an upcoming, relaxing and enjoyable birthday celebration with my one and only. 

So that was my 4th of July weekend - how was yours?