Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sixty Years

This has been a tough year. About this time last year, Mom was finally starting to get better after having been in and out of the hospital. During the time she was ill, I had noticed that the right side of Dad's face was a little droopy and his eye wouldn't close all the way when he blinked. Mom took him to the doctor and they diagnosed him with Bells palsy. Unfortunately, that initial diagnosis was incorrect and it wasn't until the ophthalmologist referred him to ENT that they discovered he had a cancerous tumor in his parotid gland. Due to Dad's poor health he was never a candidate for surgery or chemo. So, they tried radiation therapy. Sadly, the cancer returned and Dad's care was turned over to Hospice.
Most of the time, Dad is relatively comfortable and is still able to take care of his basic physical needs. The Hospice services give Mom added support and a nurse makes weekly visits to monitor Dad's health. We do not know how much longer we will have him with us; but, we cherish each week that he remains. I hate to see him in such pain; and, watching the cancerous tumor ravage his body makes us all feel very helpless. He isn't able to read because the tumor makes it impossible to wear his glasses. That also makes it impossible for him to carve. Television makes him fall asleep, so he spends his time shelling pecans. Leslie sent out a request to the members of the ward and they have kept Dad well stocked with pecans.  We visit him on a regular basis, help Mom as much as we can, and enjoy the time we have with him.
Luckily, we were able to celebrate one of the most important milestones in their lives.
Yesterday evening, we were able to recognize and honor Mom and Dad's 60th wedding anniversary.  My brothers and their wives all attended, as did the Texas grand and great grand-children. Having visits from family cheers Dad and lifts his spirits more than anything else. When family stops by, we see the old familiar wise-cracking man that raised us to be good, honest, hard working adults. We all hope that our lives serve as examples of the valuable life lessons that he has taught us.
I was hesitant to take many pictures of Dad because I didn't know how the relatives living so far away would react to seeing his tumor. But, I couldn't NOT take any. Below are some simple photographs randomly snapped throughout the evening. I was thrilled to see that everyone's face was filled with happiness and gratitude for this gift of spending this precious evening with them.
Ron and I got together with our kids to clean up Mom and Dad's workshop so that we could have dinner at home. That way Dad could go inside when he was tired. He managed to spend the entire evening with us. We only caught him napping in his recliner once.
It was great to have the grand and great grand kids there. They don't even seem to notice Dad's tumor. Usually, kids are so blunt! I guess my grands have just gotten used to seeing him the way he is.
Everyone loved seeing Mom's quilts hanging on the walls. She has made so many that she has lost track of them! I hope someday I can catch up with her!
We used the catering service of Rudy's BBQ. Their food was delicious; but, of course Mom had to make extra because she was afraid we wouldn't have enough food.
There was plenty of room in the shop and it was easy for family to take the opportunity to visit with one another.  We were so thankful for Bob's wife, Kathy. She brought anniversary decorations to make it even more special.
During the meal, Dad suggest we go next door and ask their neighbor, Julia to join us. Her husband was recently admitted to the VA nursing center for long term care. She was so appreciative of being included. Her children all live out of town and she is probably pretty lonely.
The grandkids loved having some cousins and new friends to meet and hang out with.
Leslie was especially emotional. She had lost one of her patients today. A little baby about the age of 8 months that she had been working on swallowing with. It was a pretty emotional day for her.
My brother, Bob, had also recently suffered a stroke. He was wearing a patch over one eye because his vision is still not clear. What a roller coaster of emotions we all felt!
The cute little red-heads are the twin daughters of Ryan's girlfriend, Jaimie. They are simply adorable!
We got to meet her and the girls for the first time this evening. It was a pleasant surprise! I had a feeling he would bring them because the only person that Ryan had talked to about them was my Dad. It's wonderful how close he has grown to his grandfather.
We are so lucky the weather was pleasant. That was the one worry Mom seemed to have, so I'm glad it turned out to be so nice. My sister-in-law, Kathy Jane said it feels like summer in Kentucky!
I'm so thankful for these three sweethearts! Between the three of them, they cleaned, decorated, set up food, served, and cleared away everything. They are wonderful!
Kathy Lee brought a beautiful cake to celebrate. I'm so glad she did! As soon as Dad finished his meal, he started asking for dessert!
Dad was so silly when he saw the recliner sitting in the corner. He asked where it had come from. We had moved it from their porch and I guess he didn't recognize it.
Thankfully, it made it so much more comfortable for him to spend the evening with us.
The evening was filled with random pictures, laughter, hugs, and smiles.  Enjoy the event vicariously through the remaining pictures.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Babysitting the Granddaughters Summer 2014

As I read through Facebook and see the many posts shared by friends that include pictures and comments about their summer adventures; I'll admit that I'm a tad bit jealous. Trips to far away places in Europe, the Caribbean, exciting US cities and National parks look like dream vacations. But, looking back at the pictures I've taken of time spent with our two granddaughters touch my heart more than any pictures I might have taken while on some exciting vacation. So, I end this summer of building memories with some of my favorite pictures. It won't be long before these two girls are grown and won't be spending as much time with their Mimi and Poppy as they do now. So, I'll cherish the common and mundane events of our time together for years to come. Our list of accomplishments include: games of Trouble, Old Maid, and Go Fish; building puzzles; watching movies; listening to stories; making Fairy Gardens; doing crafts; investigating science; visiting teaching; helping with the removal of sheet rock; baking (and eating) cookies; the list goes on and on. Here are some pictures of the memories we made.
Painting and planning a Fairy Garden.

Sophie's garden.

Maggie's garden...

Playing with magic sand and eating humus! YUM!!

Making sand castles

Making rubber band bracelets

Making t-shirts.

Finished t-shirts.

Painting by number.

Mentos geysers.

Dollar Tree moon fairies.

Sticker scene: camping.

Sticker scene: castle.

Parading with Boomer!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Walburg: German Beer Garden

Catch-up post: Trip to Walburg.

While the red-headed son-in-law was home, he wanted to go to Walburg for some "good German food." Rebecca (#1 daughter) called Leslie (#2 daughter) to see if she & the Mexican son-in-law wanted to meet for dinner. We got a call, and decided to tag along. Leslie and G have been to Walburg several times because G loves to dance. They have live music and he dances with the granddaughters and has a blast.
We all ordered some type of German food: curry wurst, schnitzel, purple cabbage, German potato salad, and pom-fritz. I won't go into detail, but will simply state that the food was terrible. I hoped the apple strudel I ordered for dessert would be redeeming; it wasn't.
So, we sat and chatted; waiting for the band to start playing. I was expecting traditional German beer garden music, because all of the band member were showing up in their cute little German shorts. However, we were once again very disappointed. Imagine polka music, played with a country music slant, sung by an off-key Texan. Not pleasant! It didn't stop G from dancing.
Luckily, we were able to salvage the evening by going to Maggie-Moo's for ice cream.
Leslie, Rebecca, Ed, Seth, and G

Leslie, Rebecca, & Ed

Becca and the crazy red-head...

Seth's " do I have to smile" face...

Sophie Lyn

Maggie Lyn

That's a big pretzel!

It doesn't taste as good as the ones in the mall.

Do I have to eat it?

Yea! Let's go get ice cream!

Ice cream? Did someone say ice cream?

Do we have to wait for the band to play? Boo!