Life {Lately}

     I feel like all I do lately is shuffle kids around, ask/beg kids to pick up after themselves, run back and forth to my moms, and buy things related to school.  Our house looks more like a place we "stop in" when we have a chance to shower, eat, and change clothes than a home.  Rarely are we all home at the same time...  At this point, I am starting to wave the white flag!!
     Since I am not trying for Mother of the Year I am just going to be brave and say it --
I need some "me" time and some structure to return to my day!! 
     Summer -- I will miss you!!!  Kids -- it's time to go back to school!!!!
p.s. Guaranteed, after all I just said, I will be sad when they all actually all walk out the door and it's just me and the dog!!!!  Go figure!!??

Band Practice
(Megan in Orange)

"Smart Start" Registration Day At Middle School (Kristin in middle)
Can't Believe I Spent Well Over $100 on Folders, Binders and Pencils!?
Off to Soccer Practice

Jake Just Finished a Week of "Two a Day" Practices...

Mom - The Unexpected Fourth Child

We've Already Had Two Friday Night High School Football Games -- Yes We Lost :(



Freebies 101

     I received quite a variety of stuff in my mailbox these last few weeks by working those "freebies" on www.hip2save.com.  I found out about that website from my cousin awhile back and have enjoyed dabbling in signing up for the various freebies that become available by following the website.  Those iced coffees are pretty good -- and so are the hot tea flavors!!
     I already have another post started with another round of Freebies because they just keep coming in!!  Have any of you signed up for any freebies lately or just found a great deal?? Doesn't everyone like to receive "fun mail"?  I'd love to know!!


Teenager Tuesday

Grab My Button!

     Once again, I am linking up with Tanya for Teenager Tuesday....here are her questions this week:

1.) What is a worry you have for your teenager?  Is there one thing you stay awake worrying about ?  Ha!  There are a million things.  Lately, it is driving and her friends starting to get their licenses and just praying for everyone's safety.

2.) What is a trait your teen has had since toddlerhood?  Hmmmm...  Is begging for things a trait!!??  Because, unfortunately, that has stuck with her. Ha! 

3.) What is your teens favorite meal?  She likes pasta -- and fettucine alfredo (and breadsticks)!

4.) Does your teen need to be pushed to do homework or are they a self starter?  Thankfully, in 6th grade she became a self starter.  My tweens...not so much.

5.) What kind of music does your teen listen to?  Her iPod is jammed full of all kinds of things.  As I've said, she is really into One Direction right now.  I know she does not like Justin Bieber.  She has most of "Today's Hits" on her iPod and even some oldies, like Journey, etc...

I know this is short and sweet, but I am busy shuffling kids all over the place.
Link up if you have a teen -- or even a "tween"!!



Monday Memories With My Mom - Evening Edition

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     So, I'm going to try to make this quick (probably won't work).  I decided to post earlier about my mom celebrating her first anniversary in her senior living facility.  I did it separately because I wanted to keep at least one post "positive".  However, if I'm being "real", there are other things going on not so positive.
     First, last Wednesday while I was out school supply shopping  with the kids I got a call from the Med Team that my mom had fallen in the hallway.  She was not hurt and said she just stumbled.  Someone was there to help her up right away.  I immediately wondered which shoes she was wearing.  (Remember the shoe thing from last week?  They told me she had her tennis shoes on.)   I called and talked to her about it and she just said she stumbled.  She is easily distracted and who knows what might have happened, but it does concern me.  Sometimes I just have to let it go and be glad she is ok.
     Then, I must admit, I was more than a bit "distraught" when I took my kids to visit yesterday to celebrate with my mom.  We arrived at her apartment around 3 pm and let ourselves in as usual.  Lights were on, tv was on, blinds were open, and there was my mom in bed with her pajamas on (I think she was reading a magazine).  The good news -- she was in her bed and not on the couch.  The bad news, the sun was shining through the window and it was the middle of the day.  I questioned my mom as to what she was doing and she said, "going to bed".  I asked her if she felt okay, and she said, "yeah".  Ugh!  After all of this -- I am still not "used to" this disease!!  I am afraid of what I might learn if I visited every day.  Part of me wanted to just forget my whole plan and let her do her thing, but then I decided to tell her to get up and dressed.
      Her apartment has been looking worse and worse.  It is still amazing the amount of stuff she is able to accumulate without leaving the building.  She has soooo many magazines and at first I thought my sister-in-law was bringing them, but then I realized my mom is taking them out of the public laundry room (and probably anywhere else she can get her hands on them).  I had the kids return a stack of them.  My mom has been doing this for years.  If it's "free" -- she will take it -- in quantity!! 
     While my mom was getting ready, I was again trying to quickly tidy up.  I don't know why (well, I think I do know why), but I forget to look in her dishwasher for "things".  You can see from the picture below that I found a little bit of everything in there!!  Why?  Why?  Why?
     While my mom was putting her shoes on (she was back to her tennis shoes), I asked if she was ready and she said "yes".  I looked and only one of her shoes were tied.  This, in combination with her falls and the fact that I want her to wear the other shoes she calls "winter shoes", was enough for me to take away her tennis shoes for now.  I am willing to bet she is having a hard time with them lately, and I just don't want to take the chance with falling, etc.  The other shoes have velcro.  Then, getting the other shoes out started the whole roundabout conversation about how they are winter shoes.  I had found them again packed away in her linen closet.  Usually, I can figure out a way to reason with her, or at least make her comfortable with a decision.  Well, she is not backing down on the "winter shoes" thing.  So, then I told her it was winter....  I had everyone compliment her shoes that I could find.  I still don't think she's buying it and it didn't help that I had flip flops on.....
     After our visit with my mom, I decided to call her shortly after 6 pm (on a whim).  I needed to know that she was at dinner like she should be.  She was not at dinner as she did answer the phone.  I then called the Med Team and asked why my mom was not in the dining room for dinner.  (She is supposed to be escorted to meals.)  They did not have much of a reason except they said they were short staffed and would go and get her.  Ugh!!!
     I KNOW how hard it is to be a caregiver, so I am trying to be understanding.  What I don't understand why these kind of important jobs are some of the lowest paying jobs around.  They also appear to have a high turnover rate because of it.  However, for the next few weeks I am going to be vigilent about following up making sure my mom is getting to the dining room.  I have set the alarm on my cell phone for her meal times and will be calling to see if she is in her room.  Guess what?  I did it at lunch today and she was not in the dining room, she was in her room.  The Med Team said something about my mom was "looking for something" and didn't want to go to lunch.  While there may be some truth to that, I am not totally buying it....
     I have also typed up a detailed "Care Plan" as a follow up to my recent meeting with the Area Agency on Aging case manager.  I have posted it in my mom's apartment and left copies with the Med Team.  It details all of the services that are supposed to be provided to my mom and which Medicaid is paying for.
      Now that I have a year's experience, it is time to start cracking the whip if I need to.  Looks like I might need to!!??  So, there you have it, the other less positive side of this one year celebration!

Getting My Mom Out of Bed at 3pm Sunday Afternoon

Dish Towels, Tons of Placemats, Coupons, Empty Styrofoam Containers....


Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
    This week marks a significant anniversary -- it was a year ago this week that we moved my mom into the American House senior living facility where she currently lives.  It was a big deal for us and I blogged about it last year here and here.

We Made Her a Little Sign
    Since Sunday was a nice day and this week is busy busy with kid stuff, we decided to take grandma out for dessert Sunday afternoon (we had missed lunch time and my mom gets more confused/"sundowning" at dinner time).
     I usually don't give my mom too many choices, as it overwhelms her and is hard for her to make decisions.  However, I said where would you like to go for dessert or ice cream??  Before I could give my list of choices, she said, "Alinosi's"....  That was funny because it is an old ice cream shop that I am not sure if I have ever been to.  If I was there, it was when I was a kid, and I don't even know where it is.  (Remember, for my mom the long term memory works must better than the short term...)  I just Googled it for spelling purposes and it appears to be in Detroit.
     So, then I said how about Dairy Queen, McDonalds, Big Boy, or a place that has Sander's hot fudge?  She said, "Oh, Sander's hot fudge".  (I knew she would...lol).  Jacob and Kristin were with me.  Luckily we remembered a restaurant in Clarkston that served Sander's.  (The milk chocolate fudge really is the best -- like worth ordering online -- not kidding!!) 
     We told my mom we were celebrating her one year anniversary of living at the American House!!!  Truth be told, she didn't care what we were celebrating!.  When I saw the size of the Sander's Cream Puff Hot Fudge Sundae, I was sure she would not be able to finish it!!!  I was wrong!!  I started panicking because I didn't know what this big dessert would do to my mom's system physically or mentally!!  So, we each grabbed a spoonful before she finished the whole thing.  In the end, my mom would have and did finish it and couldn't stop talking about it.
     Mission accomplished -- got my mom out, got her a treat, and celebrated her one year anniversary.   Although there were times I definitely doubted we would make it to this one year anniversary, giving her the gift of as much independence as possible while keeping her safe is the best thing that has happened for both of us in awhile!! 
Congratulations on One Year!!

Our Little Outing

My Mom and Kristin


(and yes, she got the plate totally clean after this picture!!)


"The Candidate" Has Left the Neighborhood!!

     Okay, I realize this falls under the category of "I need to get a job"...or "a life" -- ha!!  I also noticed that there is not exactly an outpouring of "bloggy love" from my earlier, perhaps meaningless, rambling post about the Romney campaign being in my neck of the woods.  That's okay, I will assume you are (a) not a fan of my blog; (b) not a fan of Romney; or (c) have "no comment"!!
Long's Orchard, Michigan

     So, now I am just following up for posterity's sake to document the campaign on my little blog.
     Yes, I did have my 12 year old children/paparazzi snap these shots as we passed by to drop them at band and football practice.  It appeared we had just missed everything (which was good for traffic).  Okay, and I might have circled back when I realized that Jacob a certain son of mine thought it was much funnier to take pictures of the sky and trees...so I immediately hired his twin sister as my paparazzi the second time driving by.  A certain son was worried this was all going to make him late for football practice (it didn't)!

This Really Makes It Look Like I Live in the Country...

Other Paparazzi?

Someone Forgot Their Bike?

That Wooden Bridge Is To Find Your Kid in the Corn Maze!

Betcha When I Drive By In A Couple Hours The Whole Thing Will Be Taken Down -- They Are Working Fast!


Aftermath of a Potential President

My Little Paparazzi Girl!!
(need a car wash)


A Victory Rally... in my Neighborhood!!

     There's a bit of excitement in the air in my neck of the woods this morning.  I found out a few days ago that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be holding a "Victory Rally" (free) here in my "neighborhood". 
     Admittedly, I do not keep totally up to speed on politics, nor do I care to go into my views here on this little blog.  However, I will say I felt some excitement knowing Romney's campaign felt compelled to come to an apple orchard in our neighborhood to see "us".  It is just four miles (10 minutes, tops) from my house and located right next to my daughter's high school.  And no, I don't live in the "country", but there are little slices of "country" that still remain near where I live (and that's how we like it)!  We have been getting apples, pumpkins, cider and donuts at this orchard since Megan was just a few weeks old.  It is a well kept family owned orchard and we love it!!

Long's Orchard, Michigan

     They also run a drive thru corn stand which I have frequented (it sells out most days).  Plus they have great fresh asparagus and other veggies throughout the season (but I digress)!!! 
     I am sooooo tempted to attend, but fear the traffic and potential "crazies" (lol).  I remember my mom taking me and my brother to see Gerald Ford during his campaign at a local mall back in the day.  The fact that it is a memory for me makes me wonder if I should be taking my kids this morning as a learning experience for them, too.  A couple of years ago, we did take our kids to see Bill Clinton, however, it was after his presidency (I like him better now) and through a last minute private invitation.

Photo: In my view, it’s not just bad economics; it is immoral for us to pass on the burden of debt to future generations. http://mi.tt/NYd3x5
Photo Credit Mitt Romney Facebook Page

     It is not unusual for candidates to be in our area.  In fact, Joe Biden visited a country club about eight miles from my house just two days ago.  I imagine the candidates have been in your neighborhood, too.  As you may or may not know, Romney has a Michigan-family connection (his father, George, was our governor when I was born  a few years ago).  In fact, I even worked with Mitt Romney's nephew (about 20 years ago)!  Who knew!?  Man, I am o-l-d!!
     While I am bragging talking politics, one of my good friends and former bosses worked in the George H.W. Bush administration and remains a personal friend of the Bush family.  Another boss actually worked in the Carter administration in Washington, DC.and another good friend of mine worked as an administrative assistant to Ronald Reagan.  She had an awesome collection of White House "stuff" that I used to ooohhhh and ahhh over at her house.  I guess what I am saying is I have had "brushes" with Washington, DC and presidents and candidates through my previous employment.  I'm such a vague name dropper, once or twice removed!?  I don't want to name names, for fear of Googling, etc.....  However, I do find this stuff somewhat exciting, brushes with public figures and all.
    UPDATE:  I actually again considered  attending this morning, but my daughter's friend lives even closer and was stuck in traffic 45 minutes to pick up from a sleepover by my house this morning.  Guess I am not that dedicated! afterall?
     Regardless of your politics, have any of you ever taken to the campaign trail or have you had any presidential sightings or stories??

Photo: In my view, it’s not just bad economics; it is immoral for us to pass on the burden of debt to future generations. http://mi.tt/NYd3x5
Photo Credit Mitt Romney Facebook Page



Teenager Tuesday

      Ahhhhh, the teen world!!   As I've said, although I am semi-new to the teen world (my oldest will be 15 in 3 weeks), I can tell you it brings a whole new set of challenges and adventures to being a mom, not the least of which is high school, driving and the "social scene", curfews, etc....   I distinctly remember when my kids were younger and the moms with older kids would tell me "wait until they're teenagers".  I also remember thinking, "really? you have no idea -- plus I have twins and sleep deprivation and virtually no help"!!
     Well........although having little ones certainly does have its challenges, on the plus side (which may not seem like a plus at the time) those kids remain under your watch or in your constant care or other careful supervision.  In other words, you know exactly what they are doing at all times.   
     Teens equal a time for trust.  I do trust my teen (most of the time), but I don't trust peer pressure and the teen brain which says, "I know it all" and "I am invincible" and "my parents don't understand, they're idiots".  Ha!! 
     Poor Tanya is trying so hard to get some more teen moms to link up with her, so if you're reading this and have a teen or even a "tween" please consider linking up!!!!  (In the meantime, I still stand by my prior thought -- most of us teen moms are too emotionally and physically exhausted from all this teen stuff to link up!!)

So, here are this weeks questions. 
1.) What is your teens best trait? The one that stands out the most.  My teen has a great smile and a contagious laugh.  That and her naturally curly hair!!
2.) Is your relationship with your teen anything like the one you had with your parents? 
I would say that one part that is similar is that we try to incorporate a sense of humor in most everything.  I also do not think I would want the same relationship as I had.  My parents were very young and I am not sure that is always a good thing.
3.) Who does your teen look up too? 
Aside from all the boys in One Direction, I think she looks up to a couple of friends who were high school seniors and graduated last year and her band teacher.  As far as celebrities or public figures, probably quite a few people.
4.) What is your teens favorite subject in school?
She says band, but when I made her pick one of the core subjects she says Science.  I am a little surprised by this as she had a terrible Biology teacher last year.  I have since learned that he has a terrible reputation when it comes to grading and how he deals with the kids.  However, she survived and I'm sure learned something from that experience.  Plus, fthe good news is she still likes Science!!
5.) What is your teens favorite TV program. Is there anything they beg to watch but you will not let them? 
She likes "Pretty Little Liars".  I am not thrilled with the content, but I do think she is old enough to make her own judgments about the girls and their behavior on that show!!??  It's a pretty intense "soap opera" type show and very popular.  I think there is a fine line to walk with this kind of thing.  I do not want my kid to be so naive or unaware as to make them vulnerable to certain situations, yet I don't want them to have the mind or experiences of a 30 year old either.  She also begs to watch all kinds of "my shows".  I admit that the Bravo "Real Housewives" shows are so trashy and embarassing that I don't want her to know about this guilty pleasure of mine!


What's the Deal at Old Navy?

     I stumbled on this pretty darn good Clearance sale at Old Navy today.  After I saw it, I remembered someone posting it on www.hip2save.com a few days ago.  Although I did not make a special trip for it, I did end up purchasing a few items.  Afterall, I have two girls and we are always looking for inexpensive gifts and fun accessories.
     Everything on these racks was $1.99, plus I got another 10 percent off because I have one of those Old Navy coupons that gives you 10 percent.  Oh, and I might have got a few other things that got me over $25 which then got me a coupon for $10 off my next purchase in September.  So, not too bad!! 
     The cashier told me they would be pulling the items on Wednesday at my store and that they have this clearance twice a year.  I do not frequent Old Navy, but probably would if there was one closer!
     Ya might wanna check it out -- I might go back since I was in a rush and now I wish I would have tried on some of those sunglasses (since I'm always breaking or losing them!!).

Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     Well, after spending quite a bit of time with my mom over the last couple of weeks, I managed to go a week without making a visit.  Although I am still concerned over her recent medical problem, I have been waiting for her doctor to get back from vacation, which is supposed to be today.  I will talk to him about how to proceed or even if anything needs to be done in his opinion.  I do not want to put my mom through any unnecessary testing or doctor appointments.  Frankly, I also do not want to visit him so he can do nothing and tell me to go to a different doctor.
Jacob and Grandma
     Jacob and I stopped by to see Grandma today.  The good news is, she does not seem to be going through her undergarments as quickly as the last few weeks and she is still acting herself.
Six Packages (one is in use) Should Last for a Month
 Pinned Image
     Shortly after we arrived at my mom's she said, "I heard your dad moved again".  We confirmed this even though it happened several months ago.  My parents are divorced and my mom has been repeating this for awhile.  Then, she usually makes some inappropriate remark about how she is glad she isn't with him anymore (which probably is not true).  The above ecard I found on Pinterest could very well describe my mom!!  (Those who know her, am I right??)
     While visiting, I remembered that my mom's foot doctor ordered some special orthopedic shoes for her which I believe she received in April or May.  She had decided then that those were "winter" shoes and promptly put them in her linen closet (which I believe I mentioned in an older blog post).  Well, after seeing her in these yellow "imitation crocs" for most of the summer, I decided it was time to reintroduce these better quality shoes and I know she could use the extra support they provide.  Right away she again said, "those are winter shoes".  I told her they are fall and winter shoes and that they are very good quality and it was time to wear them.  I asked that she put them on and then Jacob and I told her we would pack the others away in the shoebox and put them in the linen closet.  It will be interesting to see if she searches them out.  If she is wearing her yellow Crocs again next time, I will have to take them to my house (or hide them better), just to get her to wear these better quality shoes.  I know she will like them if she gives them a chance.  They just velcro on.
    Oh, and we have a family wedding coming up in January and she said several times while trying on the shoes, "ok, but I'm not wearing these to the wedding".  I assured her that she would not be wearing those to the wedding.  She also asked if I am picking her up for the wedding.  I told her that yes, in 5 months, I will pick her up for the wedding!!?? 
     So you can see that things are going fairly smoothly here.  In a couple of weeks my kids will be back in school and I should, at least in theory, have more time to devote to taking care of my mom's needs!!  Thanks for "listening"!!

**ps Thanks Li'l Nancy for the card!!
Although They May Not Be in the Fall Edition of VOGUE, They Aren't Bad!!!??

Cute, Bright, Springy/Summery, But Not Much Support
(Once Your Parent Has Fallen, You Look at their Shoes Mores Carefully)