9.29.2011

Freebies 101

     Well, it's that time again...time to share my latest "freebies" I have received.  It's fun to get little surprise samples in the mail...and a lot of them are great for travel...like the shampoos, etc..
   As far as snacks, I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a snack sized sample of something...and my kids (Jacob) eats it before I can snap a picture for my "Freebie" collection.  Check out some of my previous freebie posts to get an idea of what you, too, could "score". 
     Part of the fun is forgetting what you requested until it suddenly arrives in your mailbox!!  Anyone else get any good freebies lately???













9.28.2011

SO WHAT! Wednesday



Photobucket



It's SO WHAT! Wednesday and I'm linking up with Shannon at Life After I "Dew"
to tell you what I say "So What" to!  Here we go.... 
So WHAT if:
  • I'm enjoying visiting my mom much more than I enjoyed living with my mom
  • Sometimes Most of the time I think our dog is the smartest one in the family
  • I'm addicted to almost every show on Bravo
  •  I don't always get up at 5:45 am with my high school daughter...not a morning person
  • I want to decorate for fall, but my hot pink annual flowers clash with my deep oranges, reds and browns (I guess it's time to say bye bye annuals, but they still look good)
  • I was right, Facebook and Pinterest take away from blogging time...
  • I'm not that excited that my kids have a day off school tomorrow!
  • I can't wait to see my daughter and her girlfriends all dressed up for the homecoming dance!!
  • I'm sad that I put "Follow Me/Stalk Me" on my blog...and nobody does...LOL !!
Sooooo....What are YOU saying
SO WHAT to this week????
 Link up...it's fun, you'll feel better, and I'd love to know!!




9.26.2011

Monday "Memories" With My Mom

     Although there is no question a lot of the stress has been taken off of me by relocating my mom into the assisted living facility, there are still a number of things that I am doing behind the scenes -- things I need to follow up on with phone calls, bill paying, doctors, Area Agency on Aging, American House, The Med Team, etc...
     For instance, on Wednesday I received another call from the Med Team on my cell phone.  I have to admit, seeing "Med Team" on my cell phone raises my anxiety level.  Often, they say "it's not an emergency, but....".  Today they said, we wanted to let you know that when we went in your mom's room this morning at 8 am to give her medication to her, she was in the bathroom with the door locked, we knocked, and she said she was laying on the bathroom floor.  We opened the door and she said she got tired, so she laid down on the floor.  She did not appear to be hurt or to have fallen."  Okay, breathe in, breathe out.  She had since been dressed and had breakfast in the dining room.  Of course, a number of thoughts run through your head...did she spend the whole night on the bathroom floor?, is the embarrassment of incontinence causing her to try to spend the night in the bathroom?, did she actually fall?, was she so disoriented that she didn't even realize where she was?.... etc....  It's difficult to just try to let some of these things "go" after being her primary caregiver for all these months, but I kind of have to.
     Meanwhile, later the same day and on a brighter note, I was contacted by her new skilled nurse, Kim, who will be working with my mom for the next couple of months.  I am very encouraged by her phone call, as I have learned that she will be spending time with my mom to get her set up with everything she needs as well as help her develop a schedule and routine in her new living situation.  She will also communicate in more detail with the Med Team on staff at American House to let them know more precisely how to properly care for my mom.  This is such a relief and sooooo necessary.  I am grateful for all of these services that I have been so desperate to have for so long.  As an added bonus, these services are all paid in full by Medicare or Medicaid.  She will also work closely with the physical therapist and occupational therapist to help my mom adjust.  (Que the Choir of Angels singing the Hallelujah chorus...)
     I have also learned that my mom's prescriptions will now go from hundreds of dollars a month, to $2 to $6 max per prescription.  All great news!  I can't emphasize enough what a relief having this extra help is!!
     Also last week I had another meeting with my mom's new case manager from the Area Agency on Aging.  The purpose was primarily to talk about how my mom is adjusting and what, if any, additional services might be necessary.  We determined that she could use more weekly laundry assistance, nighttime checks (particularly in light of the recent morning incident), and some assistance getting involved in social activities.  Although American House does offer some great activities, my mom does not have the ability to follow the schedule and get there at the proper time.  So, things are moving along and I can't say enough about how much the Area Agency on Aging advocates for you.
     Yesterday, me and Megan made a visit and had a little impromptu party at Grandma's place.  Some chips and homemade salsa from my friend, Alyce, we watched some of the Lion's game (victory in OT), Megan did some homework, and I colored my mom's hair.  My dad, brother and niece also paid my mom a visit.  We are enjoying having a nice place to visit with my mom.
 


Quiet Time at Grandma's...no dog running over your project and eating the pencils!

Look - no more gray!!

                              
                                             

9.21.2011

Our Bread Runneth Over

     On Sunday, "the husband" declared he was making spaghetti and meatballs and suggested it would be a good day to invite my dad over for dinner.  I was like, sure...I mean, of course it's nice to have a husband who actually enjoys cooking -- which he does, don't let him fool you.  (Cleaning up after...not so much.)
     I did have to laugh, though, when I glanced in the oven and saw the (frozen) bread dough that he had let rise a day earlier!!??  And rise it did!!  That is the picture before it was even baked...still tasted good, though.  In the end, we were all grateful for a home cooked spaghetti and meatballs dinner by dad!
     Iron Chef would have given low scores for "plating"...high scores for "taste"!  Gordon Ramsey, however, would not be happy!!

9.19.2011

Monday "Memories" With My Mom


     Well, my mom has been living at American House for about 20 days now.  This past week I think I visited only twice.  I need to "let go" a little bit and let the care she has coming to her "kick in".
     This week the Med Team (that's the name of the company) people took over giving my mom her medications.  This was always a BIG job for me.  Sorting, refilling, reordering, remembering to give them, being patient while she takes them, etc...  Now I just have to oversee the refills, but I've been waiting for years for help with her meds, and it's finally here.  The Med Team has also called and requested my mom be in physical therapy (which they have on site at American House) and they are putting in a request for her to have a skilled nurse.  Both of which I ok'd (of course!).  On the days when her walking is poor, they have been using a wheelchair to get her to and from the dining room.
     My mom does seem to like all of the help she is receiving.  At this point in her life, it's kind of ironic.  She has needed so much help for so many years.  I heard she was shocked last week when her weekly housekeeping was scheduled and they cleaned her bathroom, vacuumed, dusted, etc...  My mom has never had a cleaning person, and she seems grateful and surprised to finally have the help.
     Yesterday when I visited she was doing well using her walker, and my favorite nurse's aide was helping her.  I also was glad to see my mom sitting on the couch in the lobby today when Jacob and I came for a visit.  She was glad to see us, and later we visited with her when she went down to the dining room for lunch. 
     Tomorrow I have a meeting with my mom's new Area Agency on Aging case manager to again evaluate my mom and her needs.  I am glad she is finally "in the system" (as everyone tells me is good), and on a path of getting the continuing care she so badly needs.
 
Thanks for the recent cards, Stacey, Barb and Joan (the other is from me...lol).  Getting mail is like a status thing.  The mailboxes are by the dining room and everyone checks for mail all the time.  

It's also very exciting when visitors come to the dining room and ask the ladies if they can take their picture.  My mom (in the coral color) seems to be making some new friends.

This is Jacob and his adopted grandma, "Grandma Frog".  She happens to be my good friend, Alyce's, mother-in-law and she has become a good friend to my mom and introduced her to many many people at the American House.  She is very popular and pretty darn funny!!

9.17.2011

Friday Night Lights

     We went to the first home high school football game of the season on Friday night.  Although I have gone to the games in prior years, this was the first time I have a daughter who is actually in high school now.  Megan had been at school all day and then stayed after putting the final touches on the marching band's pregame and halftime shows.
     The band did great -- a fun show to watch!!  You can see how much they've accomplished in a month.  It's a lot more exciting to watch when everyone is dressed up in their uniforms and on their home field getting the crowd going during the game. 
     And, as luck would have it, the team won 42-0!!!  I enjoyed chatting with my kids and other parents in the crowd...and sometimes I even watched the game!!
     Great high school memories being made.  Afterwards, Megan and a group of friends went out to celebrate after the game.  How fun!!  Those were the days....

This is a big Block "N" for Northern...you will have to take my word for it ;)






Besties!
Alexis and Megan

9.14.2011

SO WHAT! Wednesday



It's SO WHAT! Wednesday and I'm linking up with Shannon at Life After I "Dew"
to tell you what I say "So What" to!  Here we go.... 
So WHAT if:
  • My non-blogging friends probably have no idea why I "So What" on Wednesdays...
  • My daughter wants us to go shopping for a homecoming dress (wasn't she just 3 years old last year??)
  • I've been playing gas tank roulette lately...I don't go to the gas station until my warning says I have about 30 or so miles left...sometimes less.  (When I'm doing errands I just wanna keep going!)
  • My husband says it's bad to play gas tank roulette...LOL
  • I missed my daughter's first soccer game this fall...and, of course, she scored a goal
  • I have just started putting my house back together from the chaos of the kids being home for the summer and my mom living in my dining room for six months
  • I finally "caved" and got a FB account....darn it!  I was trying to be a "hold out" but wanted to do Pinterest!
  • I got totally creeped out when my husband's picture and my boyfriend from 7th grade appeared next to each other as "people I may know" on FB!!
  • I haven't "so whated" in over a month -- but it feels good to be back! ;)
Sooooo....What are YOU saying
SO WHAT to this week????
 Link up...it's fun, you'll feel better, and I'd love to know!!

9.13.2011

Band Camp (Freshman Year), Part Two

     Recently (kind of), Megan attended her first Band Camp as a high school freshman.  I was excited for her and looked forward to the last day of camp when the band would be performing the "show" they had been rehearsing all week for the upcoming football season.
     Although she ended up having tons of fun at camp, she quickly learned that there was also a lot of work involved, too.  Below is her typical schedule while at camp:
8:05-Breakfast
9-12-Out on the Field
12:35- Lunch
1:30- 2:30- Break/ Recreation/ Pool
2:30-4 Sectionals
4-5 Full Band
5-5:50- Break/Recreation
5:55- Dinner
6-9 On the Field
9- 10:45- Activity
Monday- Get to Know Each Other Games
Tuesday- Talent Show
Wednesday- Dance
Thursday- Movie Night
Friday- Senior Bon Fire
     The show was great -- it's amazing how much they can learn in such a short period of time.  Lots of music, too.  We teased M that we were so proud that she didn't fall or anything (she even had to march backwards and sideways and stuff...lol).  We are looking forward to a fun season and a great show!!
     I am so late getting this post done...her first home football game pregame and halftime shows are this Friday -- Go Knights!
Marching to the Field

Marching Around...

The show begins!

Dismissal

9.12.2011

Monday "Memories" With My Mom


Senior living community in Pontiac MI

     Take a deep breath in, and let it out...  I've had to do a lot of that in the past two weeks in particular!  What a couple of weeks it's been.  I knew we were getting closer on getting the Medicaid and financial assistance needed to place my mom into this (picture above) American House senior living facility.  As they say, timing is everything, and the timing was either perfect or terrible on this, depending on how you look at it.  As I indicated here, things were starting to come together with my mom and her living situation needs.  Finally, on Wednesday, August 24th (of course, the week that my husband had taken his vacation time) we received the "go ahead" to move my mom into the senior living facility I was hoping to locate her in.  I went over that evening and signed her lease (as DPOA) and then had my brother bring her over for their first look at the American House.  I had avoided bringing her until I knew her moving in was a reality because it would just make her anxious and confused.  Luckily, neither my brother or my mom had a bad thing to say about it.  This was (finally) the exciting news I had been waiting for.  Then came the logistics...
     We coordinated a moving schedule with my brother and my husband.  We rented a moving truck and on Sunday, August 28th "the boys" moved my mom's furniture to her new senior apartment, and I followed along with some odds and ends.  Then on Monday, August 29th me and Megan brought over some of her personal items and set up her bathrooms, etc... (yes, she has 2 bathrooms!).  On Tuesday I decided to bring my mom back over for another look at the American House...she had been asking a lot of questions about the "carpet" and "cupboards" (of all things!?) and was excited to see her furniture.  When we got there, she kept commenting how she was "so glad we didn't bring that gold and black furniture".  (In the 70s, our family had velvet black and gold furniture...which apparently was stylish at the time...  That furniture has been long gone.) 
     Next, I decided to have her practice walking down the hall with her new wheel walker (with seat).  This ended up being a disaster -- both emotionally and physically.  My mom was sloooowly "stutter walking" her way down the hall and the walker would quickly get away from her and she would almost fall.  She was not able to coordinate the use of the hand brakes on the walker.  If you don't know what stutter walking is...well, neither did I until I saw it for myself.  She leans too far forward, gets up on her toes a bit, and then her foot shakes but doesn't actually take a step...  You could tell it took every ounce of concentration for her to be able to walk.  After lots of trial...my mom became short of breath and I ended up having her sit on the walker seat and pushing her back to the apartment.  I think that is about when I nearly had a nervous breakdown (whatever that is!?), afterall, I was planning to move her in the next day.
     Let me back up and share one more thing, since me and my daughter were gone the night before, my mom apparently had put herself to bed.  In the morning we discovered that she had slept the entire night with her feet still on the floor and her head on the pillow (with her shoes still on with her pajamas).  Ugh! 
     So, again, my plan was to move my mom in the next day and stay with her to get her acclimated.  Although I will be the first to admit that after our trial "walk" down the hall, panic began to set in and all I could do is pray she would be able to walk better the next day.  I also had her go to bed extra early just to be safe.  Thankfully, she did do better the next day!
     After we woke up the first morning, my mom and I had a scheduled a meeting with the Area Agency on Aging nursing evaluator and social worker.  These were the same people I had previously met with in July.  They confirmed that my mom was approved for Medicaid and were there to help determine what services she would need while living there.  They were very nice and the meeting went well.  It was clear they were interested in helping my mom.  Here is an idea of what we came up with for help she is to receive:
  • AM Care (which includes waking her by a set time, helping her dress as needed and addressing any laundry needs, making up the bed, sponge bath, giving her medication, and escorting her to breakfast)
  • Escorting her to lunch and back
  • A midday check
  • Escort her to dinner and back, giving medication
  • PM Care including help dressing for bed and putting her to bed to ensure she goes to bed and positions herself properly
  • Showering a minimum of 2x weekly
From the facility itself, she also receives laundry services and light housekeeping in addition to activities and meals.
     By then, it was Labor Day weekend  and things were a little unsettled because of staff and workers having vacation plans.  My goal was to be the "fly on the wall" there to help my mom feel comfortable while overseeing if/when her services were being provided as requested and, if not, getting in touch with the appropriate person to see that my mom was taken care of.  After just two nights, I felt comfortable enough to go home for the night.  Afterall, once she was in bed, theoretically, things would be okay since I knew she would receive help again in the morning.  Plus, it was 3 days until school started for my kids and they needed -- there was lots to do!      
      Since then, I have been over there a minimum of twice a day.  I have seen signs of her becoming more relaxed with her living arrangements and surroundings.  I was also there giving her medications twice daily until the medical staff was able to obtain all of her prescriptions.  As of this past Saturday, they have taken over monitoring her medication as well.  This, of course, is a big time saver for me, as I had been doing that and all of the other assistance listed above.  
     Fast forward to now, and I feel confident I have placed her in a good environment with the appropriate services she needs.  I am grateful to everyone who has helped by providing their emotional support along the way, particularly the American House staff and my friend, Alyce. 
Although I am still very involved in my mom's care, I now have room to breathe and perhaps go back to being more of a daughter and less of a nurse!
     Sorry for the long post if anyone is still reading, but a lot has happened and I wanted to get my thoughts down as well as share with you!  I will continue to post about my mom on Mondays to update how things are going!! *
Living Room
Kitchen
Bathroom 1
View from the Balcony

*I would also like to thank, on my mom's behalf, her good friend Sue for the pretty vase of Gerber daisies she brought over on her recent visit to my mom.
My mom said she wanted me to bring thank you notes over for her to write to you.  Unfortunately, the last several times I had my mom try to write a note, she is simply incapable of producing anything coherent or legible.  Regardless, please know that we are grateful for your thoughtfulness. 
Nancy and Donna, the same goes for you...I can't thank you enough for your support of me and my mom.  We love the smiley flower arrangement!

Thanks, Sue!

Thanks Nancy and Donna!

Happy 14th Birthday, Megan!!

  Today is my oldest daughter, Megan's, 14th (gulp!) birthday!!!  Yep, it was 14 years ago today that your daddy cried tears of joy when he first saw your cute little face!!


     There are sooo many things I love about you...  I love that you are thoughtful and caring, that you love to do things for other people and surprise them, that you are smart and responsible, that you have the ability to laugh at yourself and make people smile, that you love participating in community service, that no matter how much you bicker with your brother and sister you love doing special things for them, that you love your Lucky dog and would do anything for him, that you are my only child who consistently keeps her room clean, that you give school advice to your younger brother and sister, and that you know I love you no matter what...and constantly remind me of that by saying, "I know you love me!"
(usually when I'm about ready to strangle you, lol!) 
     You are so right, I love you with all my heart!  Happy 14th my Megan!!
Lots of Love,
Mom

9.11.2011

9.09.2011

Is This "Normal"?

     On a daily basis, this is what I find in our family room...four laptops, sometimes opened to various sites, games and, more importantly, homework.  Some flipped on their sides so they don't overheat.  The phone rings, someone's at the door, they let the dog out...and leave this.  My middle schoolers are in the "laptop program" at school and so was their sister when she was in 6th grade.  Thus, the four laptops (including the husband).  There must be a better way, but everyone wants to be "together" while they do their stuff!?  Four laptops for a family of five?  Truth is, we have one more that's on the "fritz"...of course, it's mine!
     Sure, I could make them use them in their bedrooms, but then they would have to bring them back downstairs every night and pack them up for school -- and I would never see them (my kids, not the laptops).  Can't leave them in their rooms overnight, 'cause they might feel the urge to "surf" the internet when they are supposed to be sleeping...
I never saw this on Little House on the Prairie!  Ugh...What's a mother to do? 

9.08.2011

It's Happening...Again!

     Wanted to do a quick post to update you one of the (many) reasons why my blog hasn't been getting as much attention lately...in one word -- FORMS!!!!  It's happening again, as you can see in my previous post here.  Two new schools, beginning of the school year, registration, orientation, new teachers, behavior contracts (yes, the kids and parents sign these).  I could go on and on...
     In addition, with my mom's recent move, I have tons of medical forms, utility forms, move in forms, lease, pharmacy, contact information, medical background, payment information, etc........
       I hate dislike it so much I am using this post as an excuse to take a break!!  The good news is, I'm making progress.  Is anyone else inundated with forms?????