Never Too L8 For Some Retail Therapy!!

     Hey out there!!  This mom has been sooooooooo swamped lately...volleyball, soccer, football, marching band, dog groomer, taking my mom to the doctor!!!  I needed to do something that was just for me!!  So, until someone gives me a free week at the spa, I decided to do the next best thing...(it's the little things people!)
     I remembered seeing this awesome deal on that great website my cousin told me about.  I mean c'mon, Buy 2 Get 2 Yankee Candles!!??  Got me wondering if the Kohl's 2 miles from my house would take that coupon since going to the mall would be a bigger production than I had time for. 
      So, I called those Kohl's people (love Kohl's) and was told they do take those coupons.  Decided to head right over there at 9:30 pm tonight and scored four Yankee Candles for $21 something (w/tax)!!!  They were 25 percent off, so $19.99 each for the large tumblers and I happened to have $20 in Kohl's cash. 
      I got two Hot Cider, one Autumn Pumpkin and one Absolutely Autumn for those keeping score. 
     Ya might wanna check it out!!!
Yankee Candle simply home 19-oz. Hot Cider Jar CandleYankee Candle simply home 19-oz. Autumn Pumpkin Jar CandleYankee Candle simply home Absolutely Autumn Jar Candle


Monday Memories With My Mom -- with VIDEO*

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     Last Tuesday night, my mom called me.  I was actually working on the computer and had time to listen (usually she calls at dinner time or when we are on our way out) so I made a conscious decision to just keep letting her talk for as long as she wanted.  Here are the topics of our 30 minute "conversation":  She asked several times how old I would be at my next birthday.  When I told her (it's a big birthday, but I will keep some of you in suspense....since it's not until June) she said, oh Social Security.  Unfortunately, I will not be old enough to collect Social Security!!  Here are some of the other things that were discussed repeatedly:  She loves the American House where she lives, wants to make sure I do her taxes, she wants to vote Republican, she loves the watch I got her, she wants to know how old Lucky (our dog) is, asked if my dad moved again, and said she is thankful for all my help.
     For the most part, this was what was discussed during our 30 minute conversation.  These same eight or so topics, repeatedly.  In spite of that, my mom seemed pretty good, which is rare for an evening conversation.
     Coincidentally, I had scheduled her neurologist appointment for last Friday, a/k/a World Alzheimer's Action Day.  When I picked her up, she was just getting dressed after being helped with a shower.  (Her shower schedule is not carved in stone, so I just take my chances when I come to pick her up.).  Unfortunately, there was no time to do hair or makeup* before we had to leave for the doctor.  The car ride there was full of numerous questions about where we were going and why.  .  
     We stopped and got my mom a 12 pack of pop on our way to the appointment.  Then, we went to the doctor's appointment.  I don't know why, perhaps as more of a distraction to myself, I decided to capture part of our day on video.  Rest assured, these same things were discussed repetitively during the three hours I spent with my mom.  I hope you can understand me (and her).  Part of the time, I was trying to speak quietly since we were in the doctor's office.   

     I am not sure if you can understand, but she says several times, "I can tell you right now I only change when I have to".  This is in regards to our recent incidents where she was running out of her disposable undies way too quickly.  You may recall, I put a sign in her bathroom reminding her to only change when necessary.  Well, apparently, for better or worse, that sign is "stuck" in her mind.  Once settled in the doctor's office, I had another little chat with my mom...

     I don't know if you can hear, but my mom says "mm hmm, mm hmm" repeatedly also.  I have only noticed that in the last six months or so.  Did you notice here she recalls that we just went and got pop...and even the store we went to.  Ten minutes earlier on the previous video, she asked me to go and get her some pop. 
     Next, here's a glimpse of what happened once we left the doctor's office.

     I don't want this post to go too long.  However, I will tell you that it was a verrrrry long three hours for me.  I tried so hard to patiently answer questions and change topics and make the most of our time.  Truth is, once we got back to her apartment, I could not wait to leave.  I can also say for sure, my patience is sooo much better than it used to be, although it may not seem like it. 
     I did have to get to Kristin's first volleyball game and then Megan was marching in her high school football that night.  I have to tell you, even though I was dressed in some pink for the "pink out" football game honoring breast cancer awareness, that night I became  emotional during the game reflecting on my day with my mom and just wishing and hoping that someday there would be the same awareness for what those with dementia and Alzheimer's Disease and all they go through as well.


*In fairness to my mom, I will have to do another video where she has her hair done and at least some makeup on!!  (Sorry, mom!)



A Blog Without Pictures!?

     Yeah, I started this blog and downloading pictures on our oldest laptop with apparently not much memory (1GB?).
      Looks like you will just have to live another day (or week) without seeing pics of my kiddies!!  (Don't roll your eyes!)
     Honestly, I barely even know what this means.......and don't have time to deal right now!!!

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Hope you have a smooth(er) bloggy day!!


...that's how we do

     Last Friday night, I picked up Megan and a friend from a local hangout that a bunch of kids went to after the high school football game (we won!).  During the car ride home I was chatting with them about the game, the band, etc...  At one point they said something about a particular boy marching with the band at the game even though his dad died.  I was confused as to which boy they were talking about.  I was shocked when I realized they were talking about a boy (young man) that they have been in school with since elementary school.  They said his dad was killed in a motorcycle accident on Wednesday night.  I kept repeating the kid's last name as I could not believe it.
     Although I am not "friends" with the family, they are familiar faces around school and all of the activities that go along with it.  I had just seen his mom recently picking up our kids after band practice.  Although there are 170 kids in the marching band, they consider each other "family". 
     Friday night I could not stop thinking about this boy and how cute and funny he is, from the little contact I've had with him.  I also remembered him leaving a "Happy Birthday" message on Megan's Facebook page two days earlier.  Later that same night is when his father died.  That poor boy and his family -- their lives forever changed .
     Over the weekend, me and my husband told Megan that she should attend the funeral visitation to support her friend.  She was not as sure as we were.  We explained to her how important it was that this friend felt supported.  It did not matter that he was not her bestest friend.  Megan said, "if it was me I would not want everyone to see me cry".  We told her tears or no tears, it was important and that she should see if any of her friends wanted to attend with her, otherwise I would.
     Ultimately, I ended up driving five girls to the funeral home for visitation yesterday and was happy to do it.  Megan was thankful to me for taking her and so were her friends.  I think Megan was also surprised at the showing of support by teachers and other friends. 
     We are again reminded that each day is a gift.  We continue to pray for him and his family. 

“Each day is God's gift to you.
What you do with it is your gift to Him.”T.D. Jakes


Monday* Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     As most of you know, on Monday's* I post about my mom and my journey with her and Alzheimer's Disease.  This past week, however, I have been so swamped with my kid's fall schedule (which I eluded to at the end of this post), that I have not been over for a visit with my mom.  I have, however, talked to her on the phone several times and for the most part, no news is always good news!!
     Although I am not normally one to "support a cause" on my blog, it has been a process for me over the last few years to (1) accept that my mom has this disease; (2) come to understand this disease; and (3) be able to talk about it knowing that there is a stigma that seems to go along with it.  So, I decided this would be a good time to just share that September is World Alzheimer's Month and Friday, September 21st is Alzheimer's Action Day designed to support, raise awareness and dispel the stigma associated with this disease.
Cover Photo
     There are so many caregivers and their loved ones out there struggling.  It is impossible to fully understand why taking care of someone with this disease is particularly difficult unless you have spent at least one full day with an Alzheimer's patient -- or from the "front row" as Bob DeMarco, an Alzheimer's advocate, often says.  As always, I remain thankful that my mom is in a senior living home where she is getting good care.  Even still, I continue to feel the stresses, pressure and anxiety of taking care of her, her finances, doctor appointments, her current apartment and former condo. 
     Here are some compelling facts about this disease that you may or may not know.  The part that I underlined is one of the hardest for me to comprehend and is what often leaves a helpless feeling.

Quick facts
  • 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease.
  • One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer's disease.
  • Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
  • More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care valued at $210 billion for persons with Alzheimer's and other dementias.
  • Payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion in the United States in 2012

     This Friday at my daughter's high school football game we will again be having a "pink out" to bring funds and awareness to breast cancer.  I would consider it progress if someday soon we also start to see "purple outs"!!
     Thanks for tuning in!
*Ha!  I know it's Tuesday, but my kids didn't have school yesterday and I'm late!



Sunday Social

     Okay, I'm linking up with A Complete Waste of Makeup -- Sunday Social for the very first time.  Soooo, here goes:
This Weeks Questions:

1. 5 items you can't live without on a daily basis (water, food, shelter, and clothes don't count)  
My iPad (for obvious reasons), cell phone (kids, friends, texting, calling...)
Lipstick (Revlon 450 Gentleman Prefer Pink...makes me feel like I have makeup on even when I don't), Family Planner/Calendar (3 busy kids, husband who travels, a mom with lots of doctor appointments), Sunglasses ('cause I sometimes leave the house w/o any eye makeup on and nobody needs to know that!!)


2. All time favorite book? Why?
I want to say any book from the Little House series, but then I would seem like I haven't read since 4th grade.  Then, I would say any Sophie Kinsella book, but that looks like I'm copying my cousin!?  Sooo, I will say Hunger Games because I didn't expect to like it as much as I did.  I'm not really into science fiction, but it Hunger Games has just enough adventure to make it a great read.

3. Something you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2012...
Finish cleaning out my mom's condo so we can rent or sell it!?
(wish I could think of something more fun that that!!??)

4. If you could go back and relive any year of your life which year would it be?  
Hmmmm.....high school and college years were pretty great!!  1990 was super fun!  Got a great job with lots of fun perks, met my husband, social calendar was packed, lived spontaneously traveling and spending lots of money without a care in the world!!!
(no kids, pets or elderly parents to take care of --ha!)

5. What do you wish people knew about you without you having to tell them?
Ummm...I'm hilarious!!??  Well, at least me and my friends seem to think so!!

 Link up -- it was pretty fun!!!



Silent Sunday

Some of Us Are Busier Than Others....


How Can She Be....Fifteen??

     Hard for me to believe, but 15 years ago today my first little baby girl was born!!! 
    Megan is 15 today and the pictures tell at least part of the story.  One day you are a new parent with a sweet little baby to take care of...and then, with the blink of an eye, you have a teenaged daughter, in high school and driving!!
     In all honesty, this past year has been the biggest test of our mother-daughter relationship.  I read this article recently that included a survey where two third of parents with children over the age of 18 said that daughters were more difficult than sons (so far, I agree).  The article also pinpoints the age of 14 as one of the most difficult for girls. 
     So, I am optimistic that we are again on the upswing and that this15th birthday signifies more bright days ahead!!  Those baby pictures just make me long for those days when I could still hold you in my arms and keep you safe, but I know all I can do is give you the tools to continue to exercise good judgment and to be the best "you" you can be!!
     Through it all, Megan has remained a great student, friend, sister and daughter and we couldn't be more proud of the beautiful young lady she has become!!!!!!

Megan in her car seat arriving home from the hospital!!


Mom checking out her perfect bundle of joy!!

This Picture Just Makes Me Wish We Had Digital Cameras.....(picture of a picture)
Her First Homecoming Dress...


Last Year's Homecoming Dress

Happy Camper!


Our Maine Trip

Taking a Dip!

Her Happiest Times -- Football Game Nights with Friends!!



You Don't Have to Be Great to Start....

      This past week, I talked Kristin into stepping outside her comfort zone and trying out for the middle school volleyball team.  When I say outside her comfort zone, I mean because she has never played volleyball before.  Volleyball was not even on her radar.  However, I had an idea that it was a sport she might like if she tried it and thought maybe if she can serve up the ball with her arm as good as she can kick a soccer ball with her leg, she might be ok at it.  I also knew that 7th grade is the first year volleyball is played by the schools, and if you don't get in on the ground floor it is often almost impossible to take up a new sport when you get to the high school level in 9th grade.  
     It's funny because for Kristin it is not so much about trying out or the sport, but whether or not "her friends" are going to be there.  With only a couple of days before school started, Kristin placed a few calls to her "peeps" and found out at least two girls she knew would also be trying out.  So I got her convinced, ran to the pediatrician to get her physical form, and every day when I picked her up from school she seemed to be enjoying the game and the tryout process.  The reports I was getting from her were rather confident on her part, which made me a bit nervous because I realized I might have pumped her up for something that may not work out.

      Last Friday after tryouts she told me many of the girls were peeking at the coach's clipboard.  She said some people's numbers had a circle around them and some had an "x".  Thankfully, Kristin said she did not want to look, but a few people she knew did and were convinced the "x"s meant they were cut and the circles were players that would be kept.  I told her I was glad she didn't peek because she still had tryouts on Monday and all she could do was her best.  Peeking might affect the other player's performances and the "x"s and "o"s might not mean what they think. 
     I actually thought the tryout results were going to be given today, but apparently today was just an alternate day if the coach needed more time.  I was surprised when Kristin got in the car yesterday and she had an envelope with her name on it.  She told me it was the tryout results and they were not allowed to open it until they were in the car with their parents.
      Can I just say that poor teacher/coach.  Megan had her as a teacher and she is just so nice and sensitive to the girls feelings.  She had apparently told the girls all along that they were all talented and how hard the decision was going to be and that she remembers when she tried out in school and her daughter did and how hard it can be if you get cut, etc...  As I said, Kristin had been feeling confident through the tryout process, but since I had not watched any of the practices or talked to any other moms or the coach I was unsure how it was really going and could only go by what Kristin was reporting.  I kept reminding Kristin that I was proud of her for trying no matter what. 
     So, we pulled away in the parking lot (to watch a few minutes of Jacob's football practice) and Kristin opened the envelope....and yes, she made the team!!  She was very excited and grateful to me for pushing her to try.  She said she really loves it!!  I am very proud of her and look forward to adding a new sport to our family calendar!!**    
Cheers for Kristin!!!

**Speaking of family calendar -- what have I done!!?? Both girls are playing soccer, Megan also has marching band, Jacob is playing football and now volleyball. Our days have become jam packed with homework, practicing instruments, practices and games. This is perhaps the most we've ever tried to pack in the fall season...and as the driver of the mom taxi, my head is spinning. Stay tuned (for the nervous breakdown)!!

Glad to capture that smile with my cell phone!!

The Happy Letter



Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease 
    After taking Labor Day off last week, I'm back!  I think I needed a break from posting about my mom and all of our craziness as it seemed I had been spending a lot of time trying to keep her settled lately.
     I ended up setting my cell phone alarm twice a day at my mom's lunch and dinner times.  Each day for about ten days I have called at 1pm and 6pm to see if she answers.  If she did not answer the phone, then I assumed she was in the dining room.  The first few days, there were times she was in her room and either told me she "already ate" or had some other reason she was not in the dining room.  Remember, just because she says she "already ate" does not mean she did!  If she was still in her room, I would then call the Med Team (they are supposed to escort her to meals).  They would either tell me she did not want to go or they would go and get her.  I figured I would be the squeaky wheel and make sure they were at least trying to get her to meals.  They cannot "make" her go, but they are supposed to try.  It seemed as the days went on I was finding her in her room less and less.  Hopefully, that means that either the Med Team became more vigilant about getting her or she was more cooperative. 
     As a side note, one of the times I called "The Don" was in my mom's apartment.  It has been awhile since I have heard of him paying a visit.  They used to "hang out" at my mom's apartment and watch tv all the time.  It is that routine that I still think my mom misses and has thrown her off her "normal" routine.  (Remember, his family switch his meal times so he would not be able to see my mom...ugh!!  Still not happy about that!!)
    I am encouraged that on a recent visit Jacob and I made my mom seemed pretty good.  By pretty good, I mean she looked ok, was not in bed at 3pm (like last time) and was fairly aware.
Brought My Mom Some New Magazines...She Can't Seem to Get Enough of Them Either!!

     I have also noticed that the staff seems to be more vigilant about keeping on top of my mom's laundry and bedding since I typed up a detailed "care plan" of assistance for my mom.  I still plan to meet with the Med Team staff to go over this care plan and tweak whatever needs to be tweaked.  I need and my mom needs to keep my mom living at the American House as long as possible and that will only work if she gets the extra assistance she needs.
     Oh, and remember those shoes that my mom refuses to wear because....they are "winter shoes".  Well, she remains adamant about it.  She is now wearing slippers most of the time.  My brother also tried to get her to wear the new shoes.  She will put them on, but then on our next visit -- there they are -- back in the closet!!!  Ugh!!
     By the way, am I the last person to see the movie "The Notebook"??  We recently recorded it on our DVR and I finally watched it....had no idea it had an Alzheimer's/dementia element to it.  Love that movie -- major tear jerker for me!!!  Check it out if you haven't seen it!!!

As I've Mentioned, If You Send a Card to My Mom, It's the Gift That Keeps on Giving!! 
 This is what we found on display at our last visit!!

Sadly, this is my mom's yogurt collection.  Each day she brings them back from the dining room. 
 Unfortunately, I had to throw all of these away as they expired.  I hate wasting food...

Don't Let Him Fool You -- Jacob loves his Grandma!!

This Flashback is in honor of my daughter, Megan's, upcoming birthday. 
This is me, my mom and baby Megan the day she came home from the hospital (like me hair?)
15 years ago!!


....and they're off!!!

     Okay, not the most original post ever, but it is back to school day for us (finally!)!  I got a text from Megan that her bus driver couldn't get the bus door closed and they were pulled over somewhere waiting for another bus!!!  Ugh!  Poor thing...the band is performing in a "pep assembly" first thing this morning and being late is going to be a bit stressful!!! 
     Megan is a sophomore this year and Jacob and Kristin are in seventh grade...so both have a year behind them after starting high school and middle school last year!
     Other than that little "glitch" with Megan's bus, everyone was up bright and early and anxious to go to school!!! 
     Everyone is feeling happy and confident!!
Here's to another successful and fun school year!!

Poor Megan Goes to School When the Sun is Barely Up
(she left 15 minutes after this and it was a little brighter out)

Yeah, this was staged.

So cute how the first picture they automatically hugged each other....twin love!!!

and then, no joke, Jacob said, "ya want us to hold hands??"
(although I have pictures holding hands and not, the mama likes this one)




Enjoy Your Labor Day!!

Hope this find you spending your (unofficial) last day
 of summer enjoying whatever it is that makes you happy!!!*

* Back with Monday Memories With My Mom next week....


Silent Sunday

Grateful for a Pretty Drive....
(Lake on One Side, Golf Course on the Other)