Thursday, April 03, 2014

Our Colorado Trip

My friend moved last year and we miss them. My kiddos played with her kiddos all the time and they got along really well. We found a great deal on Frontier Airlines from a nearby town to Denver for under $100 each roundtrip (just love great sales!) So the boys and I took a trip while hubby was at work and visited them.

It was so nice being able to hang out and enjoy my friend T.
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And her family were so very hospitable and cooked breakfast and kept us entertained the whole time. I loved seeing movies in their basement theatre room (we don't have basements in the area where I live.) While her youngest kiddo was at daycare, they took us tubing down the slope one day in Winter Park.
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My third grader (who looked Amish with his blue shirt and black suspender looking snowpants.) Luckily, I am a hoarder (on really small level) and saved it from my daughter when we went snow skiing 19 years ago.
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We also went bowling and we had a great time! There was a expert bowler next to us and my kiddo watched him intently.
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There were SO many parks around the area where they lived! This one was really cool!
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We loved that it actually snowed one day while we were there! The kiddos made snow angels, made a snowman (and a 'snow fort' which ended up only being the first block toward it...the snow froze your hands and my kids weren't used to playing in snow.)
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We also went to the Denver Zoo. It was an absolutely great day to go and the weather was awesome!
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Christmas trees growing everywhere! I loved seeing them!!
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Oh, and geese...everywhere! It was so interesting seeing them (we don't ever see them land near us since we live so far south.)
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There were some theatres that had bars (alcohol) and restaurants (order food.) This chair was SOOO comfortable! My friend and I watched Divergent. She and I are movie buffs!
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And finally, a picture my friend took of her oldest son and my youngest son. I love this picture. We had a very nice experience hanging out with them and good friends are great blessings. Made me realize how much I appreciate my bffs. I will need to check out a way to visit my friend J in the near future as well.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Break at the Farm

We couldn't decide what to do for Spring Break when we were discussing it several months ago. I just knew we wanted to 'go somewhere' and do 'something fun.' When we were at SILs in January, hubby and BIL were discussing when to plant seed and sunflowers (to grow to attract dove to hunt.) The best time to do that was in March and we decided to spent our time away from school there with them.

Hubby is always in heaven when he is there. It's just not the environment, driving the tractor/disc or working while there, it's the interaction with his sister and BIL that makes it all worthwhile. The fact that they now have a pool makes it even better as he can work hours doing something he loves and then swim or sit in their hot tub. It's always a wonderful place to visit and I so much enjoy talking with SIL about everything under the sun. She's the sister I never had and our relationship over the last 30 years has continued to thrive. We enjoy the same kind of books and movies. While there, we all started watching the first few seasons of Doc Martin, a British comedy television series that has been on for years. We've only finished the first three or four seasons but I can't wait to watch more of them. Even my kiddos loved the series and have started saying "Yeah, innit."

This is my SIL. She looks like this most of the time. When she gets dressed up to go somewhere and puts on her make-up and 'fixes' her hair, she believes she looks so much better but this is how I see her...enjoying the morning walk with her dogs on her farm with us...and I was so glad to be able to snap a picture to capture the moment of her as she usually is...beautiful.

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My SIL is an animal lover. Years before she (and BIL) got their first dog, she wanted a female black lab named Molly. I love the way she defines a goal and waits for it to come to her. She also wanted a certain kind of place to live (farm) and had a vision of what it would look like. Now she has had both for years. Over the last number of years, her huge heart of helping dogs, in particular, has invited 9 dogs to live there, not including foster dogs. She farm has a fence that keeps them safe and they can run and roam as far as they'd like. She is very knowledgeable about what to feed them depending on their age; several are now getting old and have arthritis and she make sure she gives them whatever meds they need to make them feel better. If I were a dog on Earth, I'd want to live there. Her heart doesn't stop with her pets. She's always been there for any of us (and my extended family) and continues to provide for her mother (my MIL in the ALF.) Watching her throughout the years with her grandchildren was what I want to be able to do for mine. She has never once forgotten our birthday or anniversary or happy occasion and always sends us a card (or present.) Hubby says no one makes chocolate chip cookies like she can (they're REALLY good) and loves it when she makes them for him. She is the person to take care of my kiddos should something happen to us (and my bf friend Janet as plan b) but of course, nothing will happen until they're all grown up and old. Luckily, BIL likes us and is really good about us going there, messing the place up and 'eating them out of house and home.' He's a great guy and is quiet. SIL said that they used to say at his work that he didn't say much but when he did, everyone listened. That is true. He has excellent moral character and is a great thinker. They make a great team!

The farm doesn't get a lot of rain but when it does, in this time of year, wildflowers will sprout and grow. I forgot to charge my camera before I left to go there so I didn't take a lot of pictures but I took a few of the kiddos in the flowers. My kids are overdue for haircuts as their hair is not usually this long.

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And my favorite...
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We just spent 10 days there and it feels like just 4 or 5. The days passed quickly. The kids played, read lots of books (well, my kindergartener did) and played outside. I read at least 5 or 6 books and we didn't watch a lot of tv. Their internet barely works so I checked my email here and there but didn't spend the time I usually do surfing or watching tv. It was an awesome Spring Break with the people I love. My younger daughter was at home (she has job interview and couldn't come) but it was a nice relaxing vacation of sorts. I am totally blessed to have SIL in my life. I came back home and saw of FB lots of exciting trips that other families took out of town and their wonderful pictures but have to say, I couldn't have asked for a better Spring Break.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Ronald McDonald House

Last week, I stayed with my daughter and her family at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) because we were all out of town for my granddaughter's surgery. I hadn't had any firsthand knowledge of the RMHs other than they helped families who had kids in hospitals. We all drove over 5 hours to get to this particular hospital where Olivia's surgeon practices and were very lucky that there was a room available for us to stay at the facility in Dallas, TX. My daughter/family got there a day before I got there (there was an early morning MRI scheduled) and I drove up there so that I could go attend the many appointments with them the following day.

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The many appointments beforehand and the long hours spent in the hospital afterwards made the whole experience stressful. Having the blessing of such a place like RMH was amazing! They had volunteers who provided meals during the day (which helped because we had no energy or time to go out) and we caught one or two a day due to our schedule. They had many wonderful benefits for those staying there like washers and dryers (along with the detergent,) places to store your food (cabinets or use of refrigerator/freezer,) playrooms for kids and separate ones for teens, exercise room, library, places for guests to sit and talk, and you could even borrow/rent dvds to watch. They didn't have any televisions but that was no problem as we were so busy going back and forth to the hospital or reading about procedures and/or filling out paperwork.

This is me and Olivia before we left for the many appointments the day before her surgery.

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Since everyone there were there for the same reason (did not live close to the hospital and had a young loved one there,) we were exchanging stories and supporting each other. Just when you think you heard a really sad story, someone else's experience was even worse (luckily, our Olivia's condition was a necessary planned surgery and not one needed for a life/death situation or accident.)

I was completely overwhelmed by the generosity of the staff and RMH for us and others like us. I am much more aware of what RMH does and will be forever grateful for their commitment to helping kids/families. And just this week as I left a restaurant, I noticed this gum machine. Now that I am more aware of where the money goes, I will be a lifelong supporter.

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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Cream Cheese Brownies

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...and they're still warm. Heading to the kitchen right now!

Monday, February 24, 2014

...almost spring

...and with spring comes new beginnings. Long gone is the heater and we've been running the a/c for weeks.

We planted a garden last week. And when I say we, I mean my hubby and son. I was inside doing something else, perhaps folding clothes or watching tv or surfing While I love outdoor activities, I usually don't do a lot around the house/yard. That has always been hubby's hobby and I've taken a backseat. And, with my latest precancerous skin stuff removed off my arms, I'll take any excuse to stay out of the sun, lol! We love eating those little red potatoes. I grew up eating them as my dad would plant them each spring too. My son used his tiller to make a couple rows. By the time I went out to take a picture of him, he was practically finished. So I asked him to pose for a picture anyway.

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This month was also blessed with my granddaughter's first surgery. An incredibly stressful couple of weeks led up to this necessary procedure. Of course, she'll have to have many more surgeries throughout her life and this was just a first. I loved spending time with my daughter, her fiancé/boyfriend and their daughter. I have never spent that much time with them, just me and them, and was eager to help them as much as possible. Having support in times of stress can make life so much easier and I was grateful they allowed me to enter their world and stay with them. And my younger daughter graciously watched my younger kiddos while I drove 5 hours away for 5 days to stay with them. I couldn't have done any of this without her helping me care for them. While away, it felt like I know my granddaughter so much more now. Since I have young children, much of my time is spent with them and I'm the grandma who helps with rides, money or paperwork for insurances/applications. The other grandma is the one who usually babysits and spends time with I loved each minute I spent with 'lil Olivia. This is her new beginning as this surgery helped remodel her skull to give her brain more room to grow...

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Awesome Park Equipment

Last weekend, we went to my SILs for the weekend to dogsit and relax. While there, we went to a park where she lives. (This is the SIL who lives at the farm and you have to drive 15 minutes to get to any businesses in the town.) We drove to a Dairy Queen (fast food restaurant that has burgers and ice cream) to get the boys an ice cream cone and planned on driving around until we found a playground for them to play. I thought I had seen on before while driving through but wasn't sure.

We found one quickly! It was an old style playground with very tall slides, nice swings. the kind of monkey bars that I grew up climbing (built with metal bars in squares) and these two cool things! When I first saw this ferris wheel type toy, it seemed magical! There was boy rolling the wheel on the side to help his friends (or relatives?) go up and down. My youngest son and I practically sprinted over to them while my older son kinda followed back a long way (he was feeling shy.) I said some cool things about the thing and asked the boy if my kids could get on. He was nice and he (along with his friend) stopped it so that my boys could get on. My oldest seemed unsure but I insisted he have to get on because of the weight (needed another person.) It was awesome watching them! If I were a kid, I would have loved to have ridden that!

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And then the merry-go-round...they were taking turns pushing their brother around on it! Of course with all this fun play in the fresh air, they had nice long naps afterwards...while I read on my Kindle.

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And I recorded a few seconds of them going around on it! (My hubby was talking in the background...oops!)

I just love playing at playgrounds! I loved going to them growing up! When I was 10 and 11 my mom had two more kids (my brothers) and I grew up looking for great playgrounds to let them play (of course, to get them tired so they could sleep great naps, lol!) And, then when my kiddos were born, the habit continued. I'm so grateful my kids are young enough to want to go to them still (as I remember when my girls got 'too old' to want to go.) Hopefully, there'll be many more years of seeking great playgrounds!

Monday, January 06, 2014

It's been a year...grandbaby's one!

How stressful this past year has been! Looking back, it could have been so much worse! I was in a totally different place a year ago, grieving and trudging through each day, kinda feeling sorry for myself and hurting for my daughter. Now, I am more proactive, don't feel alone in the Apert Syndrome community and know there's a bright and wonderful future ahead! We are incredibly blessed by having so few issues with our granddaughter! Our older daughter and her boyfriend take the best care of Olivia and she's thriving! We are supposed to be having surgeries coming up but are still trying to work out insurance issues. Hopefully, they'll be fixed within a few months. A one year party was celebrated a couple of weeks ago and Olivia fell asleep half way through it. I was able to get a couple of decent pictures though.

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And this is a great picture of Olivia and my youngest daughter (who always hides from the camera!) It's awesome I got both of them smiling at once!

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