An Undefeated Season!

     Well, as I write this the first "real" snow is threatening to hit us here in the Midwest.  However, just about three weeks ago we wrapped up all of our outdoor fall sports.  Megan and Kristin played soccer and Jacob played baseball.  Unfortunately, we tried some different leagues and teams this year and Kristin and Jacob were not lucky enough to have the best chemistry on their teams.
     Meanwhile, this fall season Megan was on an excellent soccer team.  I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about Megan's coach, as we knew him as a parent of one of Kristin's former teammates and he was a bit "intense" shall we say.  We were relieved to see he did an excellent job of coaching these girls, and their hard work paid off.  The team went undefeated this season and ended up in First Place!! 
     Megan played defense all season and did a great job.  I was proud to see her make some awesome plays against the other undefeated team towards the end of the season.  I believe her coach referred to her as defensive "ice" (whatever that means...lol).
     A couple weeks ago the team got together to celebrate their season and played a few games of Whirlyball and received their trophies!  It was a fun season to watch and we look forward to her upcoming indoor soccer playing in January and hopefully trying out for her high school team in the spring. 

Megan, Middle Row, second right

Cool Down After a Game
No Shoes or Socks for Cool Down

Whirlyball (or Blurryball)

1st Place Trophy



Over here, our Thanksgiving holiday is officially over.  The kids went back to school today, my mother-in-law returned to Maine this morning, and it's time to look forward to Christmas!!
Lucky the dog....well he is thankful to have the whole couch to himself again...
more blog posts coming soon!


Monday "Memories" With My Mom

     A week or so ago the American House where my mom is living had a holiday tree lighting party where there were also going to be craft items made by some of the residents and sold for charity.  My kids happened to be off of school that day, so we popped in on my mom just as the party was about to get underway.  We escorted her down to the main lobby area but could not stay for the party. 
      I decided to give my mom $10 in the unlikely event she saw something she wanted to purchase.  It is interesting that for the past year or so, particularly since my mom has moved, she has not asked me for a single dollar.  She also very rarely asks for any grocery items.  This is very telling to me. 
     On the positive side, her needs are likely being met with regard to food and personal needs.  Her meals are provided and I have a pretty good handle on the items she needs.  However, my mom not asking for money is as unusual as a child who does not ask for candy.  There is a small store with snacks in the American House where I thought she might want to make purchases.  My mom has not been able to "manage" money in years.  I was curious to see what would become of the $10.  That evening, she called me.  I thought she was going to tell me about the party.  She had no recall of the party or the fact that me and the kids had been there a few hours earlier.  I continue to be shocked by how this disease can take away your short term memory so quickly...and yet I shouldn't be because I have seen it first hand...over and over.
    The next visit I made, I was curious to see if she had made any new purchases with that $10 or if I could even find the $10.  After a short search, I found she had tucked away the $10 in a drawer.  This, at least, means she know that money should be protected. 
     On another recent evening, my mom left a message that she needed two new light bulbs.  I was a bit surprised by this, but called her back to find out exactly where she needed them.  She indicated her living room lamp was not working.  I asked her if the "switch" on the wall was in the "on" position when she tried tried to turn on the lamp.  She knew nothing about the switch that needed to be on for the lamp to work (even though we have gone over this before).  She then fished the bulb out of the wastebasket while I waiting on the phone, screwed in the light bulb, and step by step I directed her to go over to the wall and flip on the switch, and then turn on the lamp.  It did work, after all!  Well, she thought I was an absolute GENIUS and could not believe it (this happens quite often with many things...I guess it's not bad for one person in the world to think you are a genius...lol).
     Last Tuesday, after my mother-in-law had arrived from Maine for the Thanksgiving holiday, I took her for a visit with my mom and to see her new place.  We met up with my mom in the hallway on her way back from lunch.  She was thrilled to see us, and thankfully knew exactly who Jackie (my mother-in-law) was.  We visited for a short while.  She indicated again, many times, how much she liked her new place.
     Then, on Thanksgiving day, I went to pick up my mom to have dinner with us.  As you may recall from my previous post, my mom has had her clothes laid out for about 3 weeks for Thanksgiving.  She had also been frequently asking me "when I was going to pick her up"...thinking each day was Thanksgiving.  However, the week of Thanksgiving her asking seemed to stop.  When I telephoned her from the car on my way to pick her up I asked her what she was wearing.  Well, it was not the Thanksgiving outfit she had planned.  I  then told her "today" was Thanksgiving and asked her if she wanted to change her clothes since I would be there shortly to get here.  She was changed and ready when I got there.
     There was lots of confusion throughout our Thanksgiving dinner and gathering.  She thought my sister-in-laws kids were her grandchildren, she repeatedly asked who brought or made the different dishes for dinner, etc...  One particular thing that made my mom unhappy at dinner was that I would not give her a glass of wine.  She glared at me many times and told me "it would not hurt".  Then, she thought my glass of wine was actually hers and that I had taken it from her.  None of this was true, of course.  Luckily, it did not get to be an actual "scene", but I was worried.  Meanwhile, is it tempting to just give her a glass of wine...of course.  Would anything "happen"?  Probably not.  Does she take 15 medications most of which should not be taken with alcohol?  Yes.  Can alcohol cause confusion?  Yes.  Is the confusion worse when you have dementia....oh, yes! 
     I had 15 guests over and my mom did fairly well.  This was her first time back at our house since she lived with me.  She ate extreeemely slow and I'm not sure she ever finished her dinner.  She is very easily distracted.  Also, she did not want to miss dessert so we had to really prod her along so that I could get her back home.  I put together some desserts for her to take with her and had her back to her place by 7:30 pm.  I sat with her awhile back at her place to make sure she was aware it was night time and then left after the Med Team brought her night time pills.
     All in all, still so thankful that my mom is in a good place.  Oh, and she has already started asking about Christmas Eve....Lord help me through the next month!



Counting My Blessings...

H A P P Y  T H A N K S G I V I N G ! ! !

We had a nice day with family this Thanksgiving.  My mother-in-law is here from Maine, a sister-in-law from Chicago and my other sister-in-law and her husband, plus four nieces and nephews from Grand Rapids.  Somehow, dinner came together (as it always does) and everyone enjoyed a nice visit with lots of food, wine and beer.
The tween/teen table seemed to be having a roaring time.  Lots of laughing!!  My brother-in-law and two nephews joined us after going to the Detroit Lions football game.
Hope you enjoyed your day as much as we did ours!!
Right now, I am waiting to see if I have the energy for any early morning Black Friday shopping!!??  It's not looking good, but I hate to miss a deal!!

 The tween/teen table was difficult to get a picture of since everyone was laughing so much!
The grownups

Kept my girls busy making these this morning...


All Work and No Play...

     Well, there has not been as much fun around here as usual.  We have wrapped up our fall sports, parent teacher conferences and the first marking period are over.  With a couple of weekends in a row that were fairly free, we were able to regroup around here and do some fall cleaning before the holidays are here.  As I have said before, with my mom living here for six months, a lot of things got put to the side, like spring cleaning...or sometimes...just cleaning!
     So, we have been doing a lot of sorting -- keep, donate or toss.  It is amazing how many CDs, DVDs, and books one family can accumulate.  Oh, and some videos, too.  So many things have become almost obsolete with the internet being so readily available now to younger kids. 
     We reorganized our tv entertainment unit and the kids were helpful in that.  In fact, the kids helped out with a lot of stuff that I needed them to sort through,  I needed the kids to see which clothes fit, and if they still had use for certain books, movies or music.
     "Nowadays" with the internet and things like Pinterest, you can find almost any recipe you want on the internet...so do I really need all of these recipe books??
     We have also rearranged some furniture, (found some new pets -- dust bunnies), put up some new blinds, and just generally trying to get things back under control.  Converted our dining room back to... a dining room.  You may remember, my mom had been using it as a bedroom and I was hesitant to put my dining room furniture back until I was sure things were going to work out for my mom at her new place.
     Oh, and so much paperwork to go through....always.  Keeping track of the kids school papers, my mom bills for both her old condo and her new place, and just those forms seem never ending.
     Feels good to make some progress and have some help from the whole family!  My kids are finally old enough to be able to truly be helpful with getting organized and cleaning up around the house -- hooray for that!! 

There's plenty more of these!
What's Left of Our Children's Books (except I saved Golden Books and Dr. Seuss)
This Floor Is So Hard to Keep Clean
From Ewww to New!
On the Porch for a Purple Heart Pickup


Fall Mantel...Finally

     Gosh, I feel like I'm probably the only one who still has their "Fall" decorations out, but I'm determined not to "rush" the seasons this year.  There will be 15 of us for Thanksgiving dinner here, and so I'm holding on to the Fall look until probably December 1st.  Here's a quick glimpse of my fall mantel.  I have tweaked it several times since this picture was taken.  In fact, I keep on adding and eliminating and moving things around.  Now I have to stop fussing with the mantel and concentrate on house cleaning preparing for turkey dinner!
     What about you?  Are you already decorated for the holidays or still holding on to Fall like me??


Those Lanterns...and Spray!

     Remember these lanterns I stumbled on at Lowe's at the end of the summer.  Well, it's been on my list of things to do for awhile...I wanted to paint them a dark brown color and finally got around to it. 
     While I was getting the paint for the lanterns, I realized I should grab some black paint since my brassy fireplace tools have been bugging me for years.  Monday it was raining and windy, so when the sun was shining yesterday I decided to take advantage of it.  After taping up my lanterns and laying out my stuff, I started spraying away.  Although I have spray painted a few items in the past, for some reason I was really enjoying this.  Talk about instant gratification -- I'm all about it!!  I enjoyed it so much, I started walking around the house and grabbing things and spraying them.  I did an old step stool that was white...made it black, I did a brass lamp that I had, and I think I'm going to go for round 2 in the next few days...LOL!!
     I had to stop myself from spray painting my whole kitchen...it was so fun!  Don't forget the $$$$ I saved by doing this.  Similar lanterns at Pottery Barn start at around $40 and a new fireplace set would probably cost me around $40.  I got 4 lanterns for $6 and a can of spray paint is around $5...yay!  Stay tuned for some more reveals...   In the meantime, spray paint therapy -- I recommend it!!

that was a good deal

taped up lanterns



those brassy fireplace tools

ahhh, much better


Monday "Memories" With My Mom

     Well, I think I took a couple of weeks off from my mom posts.  Partially because no news is good news.  For the most part, I am still pleased with how well my mom is adapting to her new place and routine.  That said, make no mistake, there is still plenty of confusion and other health issues to go along with it.
     My mom's sense of time is virtually gone.  On a good day, she may know the season, but not the day, week, month, or hour.  Often if I talk to her around 3pm she will say she just got back from breakfast and chair exercises.  Well, breakfast ends at 9am and chair exercises are at 10am.  However, she may have recently returned from lunch.  In the past she had a "day clock" that her friend Sue loaned to us.  Although she benefited from it for a short while, the truth is it is no longer of use since she did not "remember" to use it.  We have hung calendars in her place and we try to cross of the days each time we are there.  However, as you will see from the picture below, this is what happens when you do not have sense of time, yet are trying to keep track on your own.  She crossed off pretty much the rest of the year, 2011.
     I can usually tell who has called her, as she scribbles notes near the phone trying to keep track of phone numbers and addresses.  She collects cups, place mats, and anything else she is allowed to take from the dining room..........
     For the past several weeks, she has been anxiously thinking that Thanksgiving is in the next day or so.  Initially, she thought my family was going to Cleveland for Thanksgiving.  We have not been there for a holiday since the mid 1990s.  Finally, we got her to understand she is coming to my house for Thanksgiving and so now she always asks me when we are picking her up.  We have left notes in her apartment..."Thanksgiving is 10 Days Away" etc..., but it does not seem to help much.  She has set out her outfit to wear on Thanksgiving weeks ago.  It is a coordinated sweat suit.  I guess it's all good since we are normally pretty casual around here.
     On a lighter note, I brought a sombrero and poncho over to her in case she felt like "dressing up" for Halloween.  The aide told me that when she picked my mom up for breakfast that morning, she already had her sombrero and poncho on.  Wish I had a picture of that!  Also, my brother's birthday is on Halloween and she reminded me several times to send him a card for his birthday, which I did.  For the most part, I have given up on doing cards on her behalf.  I tried to do it for about a year because I know it is important to my mom, but it became too much trying to get her to sign them and sending them out.  If she knew she made a mistake she would want to get white out and it was just too much.  However, I know she appreciates the cards she has received from friends and relatives since it is really the only mail she gets as I have her bills and other mail being sent directly to me.
     My mom has also been attending church in the small chapel they have at American House.  She seems to enjoy it and I am glad for that.
     Then on Sunday morning, I got another reality check.  The aide from the Med Team called me at 8am to let me know my mom kind of froze up when she was giving morning pills to my mom.  She then took her blood pressure which was something like 200/94 and her pulse oxygen level was at 90.  My mom has a form of epilepsy that causes occasional mini seizures.  It is likely a result of the cranial infarct she had after her stroke in the mid 80s.  She is on two medications to try to limit their occurrences, but they do occasionally happen.  She does not remember when they happen and is usually okay shortly afterward.  She continued on to breakfast like normal, but I felt bad for the aide who was not aware of her seizures.  I talked to my mom on the phone and she was fine and my brother was going over there and said she was fine.  It is scary though. 
     So, as I have indicated before, a lot will be based on the number of calls I receive from the Med Team.  I think I went about 5 weeks without a call...not bad.  I know that this last bit of independence that my mom has is the best thing for her right now...oh, and regaining some of my independence isn't so bad either!

My attempt at giving her some sense of time...

We tried to mark her calendar off with permanent marker, but then she marked off the whole month (and then some)...

 In fact, she had crossed off most of the days of the rest of the year.
 Megan had labeled each door in her apartment when she moved in.
 This is the only place I've let her clutter get a little out of control, her master bath counter...
notice how she keeps all of those pill cups and disposable cups from her medication.  I threw them out...
You don't see my mom in the kitchen much these days...notice we removed the knobs off her stove.

I guess I cracked my mom up when I told her her smile was too fake...


Freebies 101

     Well, it's that time again!  Time to share my latest little collection of Freebies.  Who doesn't like getting free things in the mail...and they are not even bills??  You can check out my last collection of Freebies here or go to my "Deals" label to find more.  The key website I check for these Freebies is http://www.hip2save.com/.  That's it.  It is usually just a matter of filling out your name and address.  I have also noticed that my "haul" has been kicked up a notch by the fact that I finally have a Facebook account.  (I was a Facebook holdout but caved so I could use Pinterest and do some of this freebie stuff.)
     I am pretty pleased with my collection this time around.  I can't wait to try the John Frieda Sheer Blonde products and was freakishly excited to score a "Neti Pot".  Have you seen those things?  I know Dr. Oz and others swear by them, but I could never bring myself to pay for something so...gross!  However, next time someone has a stuffy nose around here (which could be any time), I will be getting that Neti Pot ready to work its magic.  Has anyone else used one?  Does it work as well as they claim? 
     Also, I'm a little excited about my 4 free K-cup coffee samples from Barista Prima Coffeehouse!  Oh, and wait 'til the husband finds out I have a little project for him...Socket Sealers to install around all of our electrical sockets, courtesy of the Duck Tape people!  Yay!!
     Have any of you ventured out into the freebie requesting world?  What have you received lately?  You should try it...it's fun and introduces you to new stuff you may not have tried otherwise!!



    Yesterday I decided to move Lucky's crate.  We have had his dog crate in our kitchen since we brought him to our forever home a little over a year ago.  We really do not have room in our kitchen for this big crate and have been awkwardly trying to walk around it for over a year.  We have also come to realize that we will need to continue to use his crate for a long while as Lucky is a big and curious dog and still has some puppy in him when it comes to finding socks and shoes and whatever else he can get his paws on.  We also need to quickly be able to crate him when we are leaving the house so going up or downstairs probably would not work.
     So, I moved his crate to a corner of our family room...which incidentally is only about 4 feet and just around the corner from its prior kitchen location.

     Well, Lucky apparently is going to protest this move.  So far he has not automatically and willingly gone into his crate as he did before.  To make matters worse, he barked incessantly all night long.  I finally let him outside at 2:30 am thinking maybe he really does have to go "potty".  He mostly sniffed around and took a brief potty break.  Then, when I let him in he tore up the stairs and directly in our bed!!!  I am quite sure that was the plan all along.  I had to go up and retrieve him to which he decided to let out a.....growl!!!??  I let him know I was not having that, and my husband stepped in and put him back in his crate...so that he could continue barking and whining the rest of the night away...  Ugh!!  Lucky has been a dream dog in most respects so it caught me off guard that he was acting out so dramatically.
     Meanwhile, my husband slept like a baby through it all.  I didn't!!  I am also waiting for an "apology" from my beloved dog.  He did lick my hand this morning, but I was too tired and crabby to care.  He has been doing this all day....

     Obviously, I now realize that this 4 foot move of his crate is more traumatic for him than I bargained for.  However, I am sticking to this new location...and praying for a better night tonight.  That spoiled stinker!!  His fur even looks extra messy -- I guess even dogs have bad hair days -- when they don't sleep!!!