When the Babysitter Gets Married...

     Over the Memorial Day weekend, we were all invited to our next door neighbor's wedding.  They have three daughters.  Sarah and her sister, Lauren, were my "mother's helpers" when my kids were under three.  When they were in high school, they would occasionally come over after school to help and "give me a break".  I remember them playing with the kids so that I could do fun things like dishes and laundry.  Once in a while, I would just hide in my bedroom and talk on the phone to my girlfriends!!  Their sister, Emma, is a high school senior graduating this Sunday.

     Fast forward to now...time to feel really old...Sarah got married this past weekend!  We were thrilled that they included us in their special day -- and especially honored when we realized we were the only neighbors invited.  The wedding was about two hours away on the campus of Central Michigan University.   We had a great time and since we knew very few of the guests, it turned out to be family time for us. 
     Sarah now lives in Atlanta, Georgia so we rarely get to see her anymore.  The wedding and reception were very very nice.  The kids had a great time, too!  My husband was even out on the dance floor doing some moves that I have NEVER seen him attempt in my life (robot...shopping cart = hilarious!) -- the kids got a big kick out of it, but the pictures all turned out blurry 'cause we were just too fast for them!! 
 Congrats to the newlyweds!!

At the last minute, I framed the wedding invitation to give with our gift of money...
Took time out for some photos after the ceremony...

They had a photo booth at the reception...the kids had a blast with it...!

Sarah and Justin


Memorial Day Parade 2012

     We all got up early this morning.  Megan had to be at the parade lineup at 9 am.  The Memorial Day parade started at 11am.  We are expecting record highs today in the 90s here in Michigan and it was a hot one...even this morning.  This is the very last official duty for Megan and marching band for this school year.  (Seems like it's never really over!)  You will see from the pictures that my brother also happened to be in the parade, as he is most years, on behalf of the fire department. 
     There was a ceremony after the parade honoring the military at which the band played the Star Spangled Banner. 
     I will keep this short and sweet.  We are now home enjoying a nice family barbecue and relaxing while appreciating the many freedoms we have thanks to those who have served our country!!
What did you do to celebrate this Memorial Day??

The three high school bands in our school district combined for this parade
(many students are out of town with their families...)

Notice the guy spraying down the antique car with water to keep it cool...
My Jacob and Kristin...aren't they cute!?
This man from the Lions Club seemed so sweet...

My brother, Mike, is sitting passenger side waving to the kids.  As he says, he likes to get in his community service time...ha!  We yelled and he saw us!!

Megan's in the groovy sunglasses to the right of our saluting drum major...


Remembering...Memorial Day!!

**Taking time out from my "Monday Memories With My Mom" posts...will be back next Monday!**

Enjoy the holiday!!


Whatever You Want to Call It!!

     Everybody's doin' it!!  I have seen way too many different names for all the blogs that are picture sharing from cell phones, but whatever you want to call it...I decided to play along.  Clearly, there is a WHOLE LOT of crazy going on in my cell phone.  Looking forward to deleting these pics!!
     In retrospect, one flashback Friday pick probably would have been waaay easier...maybe next week!
     TGIF and all that!!  Holiday weekend - yay!!**

**If you are linking up from Kelly's Korner -- thanks for stopping by!  I promise to have a more "normal" post coming soon!  Right now, we are off to a wedding!!  In the meantime, you could see what my 14 1/2 year old teenage daughter has been up to by checking the posts under Megan found here.
Busy day waiting to pick up big sis from soccer, so we decided
 to practice for band...in the car!!  Ha!  (Just realized it was also "clash day" and that's why their friend on the left is a bit "mismatched")
Apparently I love my sandals enough to take a pic...even without a good pedicure!  (sorry for the scary close up!)

Jacob has a fish tank in his room...he saved for it himself.  Most of the fish are hiding (in the pineapple under the sea)! 

 What's so great about this?  It's my husband's first time at the kids' dentist (yes, our kids are 14 and 11)...we went for an ortho consult and he found out they were out of coffee!  (Look, another dad was there...it was a Saturday!)

A rude person in our subdivision who pulls all the way up to the main road waiting for the bus in the rain...going the wrong way...and almost causes accidents and hits the kids.  I think if she could drive into the bus...she would!!  Somehow I thought taking this pic would be "evidence" when I call the cops!? (kidding)

If you go away for the evening and the homework is "collecting pond scum"...it could be on your kitchen table when you get home!?   Eeeek!

As I have said, my husband will buy anything at Costco...this cart on a recent trip cracked me up!!  (Don't get me wrong, I wanted that stuff, too ;)

I could drive around with my baby doggy all day!!  When I don't open the windows for him, he loves some front seat air conditioning.  (He starts in back but sneaks up with me...xox)


Freebies 101

     Welcome to another edition of Freebies 101...  I scored some pretty good freebies the last few weeks which you can check out below.  Virtually all of my tips on these freebies were from www.hip2save.com.  It's basically a matter of filling out your name and address and often "liking" different products on Facebook.  In this round, all of the samples were pretty generous and fun to try.
     *HOT TIP* If you go to this link now, YOU can score the latest cute Target giveaway bag!!  Be patient if it takes a few minutes to load -- everybody wants one!  C'mon, who doesn't like a cute little bag of girly items!!??

Image Credit Hip2Save

     You can see some of the other fun stuff I have received in the past under my Deals tab.  It's fun -- you should try it!!


Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     All is relatively quiet with my mom.  However, I was, again, reminded how frustrating things can be if I let them.  Usually, I try not to let them.  Every week my mom asks me for "things".  Anything from hangers, to toothpaste, to orange juice.  Whatever the item is, there are usually several phone calls asking for these things.  I need to learn not to treat these requests as life or death.  Often, when I do bring the requested item, my mom does not even recall asking for it.  Or, I find she really did not need it as she says...she just could not find what she already had.  An example is that recently I found myself looking all over for Noxema...in a pump.  At first, I could only find it in the regular container.  So, I got that for her.  Then, I found the pump, so I got that too.  These "wild goose chases" can be exhausting.  When she fixates on certain things...like "3 ply" toilet paper....or Noxema "in a pump" or orange juice "light pulp" it can be exhausting.  It is difficult to understand how somebody who does not know what day it is....knows she wants Noxema "in a pump" or not just toilet paper, "3 ply" toilet paper!!??  Although these things aren't necessarily hard to find, they are not always at the store that's convenient for me.  I want to make her anxiety go away by getting these things to her ASAP, but in the process I find myself running from store to store trying to fulfill my mom's requests.  Often times, however, I do know that she already has something and I let her know how to find it. 
     I also think that she is likely driving the housekeeping/laundry people a little nutty.  Her laundry is collected every Wednesday.  As my mom cannot keep this straight, she leaves her laundry by the door almost every day, accuses them of "forgetting" her laundry, not returning her laundry, and a variety of other things.  Trying to set her straight or reassure her can just result in "circle' talk".  It is best to change the subject altogether instead of trying to be a problem solver.  Even if there is some truth to these laundry mix ups, in the scheme of things it is not a "health" concern as I know they are doing her laundry. 
     My frustration increases when my mom's tv is super loud in the background and I am trying to carry on a conversation with her on the phone.  (I don't know why it is so loud, she is not hard of hearing, but I think The Don does wear a hearing aid...). 
     Aside from all of that, my mom was excited to recently receive her new pair of shoes from the foot doctor.  Apparently, Medicare provides one new pair of shoes per calendar year for diabetics.  When I asked to see them, she got them from the linen closet (?) where they were still in the box.  She said she is saving them for winter.  I do not know why.  They are a lighter color and could certainly be worn within her building year round.  The only other shoes she has that fit properly are her tennis shoes.  I suggested she leave the new ones out so that she could wear them occasionally.  They are very good quality orthopedic type shoes that go on easily with velcro.  Next time I visited, they were back in the box....in the linen closet.  Ugh! 

Mom held up her pant legs so we could see her new shoes
 (and then she put them back in the box!)

     As I write all of this and vent my frustrations, I have also become aware that a man named Bob DeMarco is sitting bedside with his own mother who has Alzheimer's Disease.  He runs the Alzheimer's Reading Room which has been an excellent source of information and comfort to me and millions of caregivers out there who have been affected by this disease.  His mom has gone into Hospice care this past week and her son believes the end is near.  He is sharing his story every bit of the way.  Although I do not "know" him, I respect so much what he has done for his mother and what he is doing for others by sharing his knowledge and story. 
     I have "met" a handful of people through Googling and blogs who are caregivers, like me.  Their lives have or eventually will take a turn much like the one Bob is experiencing right now. 
     So, in spite of my frustrations, I am grateful to still have my mom around making her requests for "things", showing us her new shoes and hanging out with The Don because I know that someday I will miss all of these things, and more!!


Freshman Year, Surviving and Thriving!!

     As we are winding down the school year, I thought I would take time to share what we have been up to lately.  Megan has almost completed her first year of high school and all of those initial anxious feelings (more from me than her) are long gone.  She loves it and in some ways it seems like she has been in high school forever already!
    Recently, we attended the last high school band concert of the year.  It was a pretty long one with goodbyes to seniors, the jazz band, symphony band, wind ensemble and concert band.  It also featured two senior soloists.  One who is going to Julliard who played a saxophone solo and the other, our next door neighbor, played the oboe.  Our neighbor is going to Central Michigan University to study music education.  These kids are talented!! 
     As for Megan, she has maintained her "first chair" position all year and their band sounded great.  She has also been taking weekly private lessons.

      Then we were informed of an Honor's Assembly for those maintaining high grade point averages...different criteria for each grade, I believe.  We are proud she was included in this assembly.

     Below is the freshman class waving to the parents in the balcony.  (Megan is in the front row by stage, fourth from the left in purple!) 

     Then, there was the last soccer game of the season.  Notice I spared you a season of pictures and updates!!  Their team was very good.  At the last game, Megan hyper extended her wrist while warming up as goalie.  It was a busy season, and I will not miss all the driving around.  I will miss watching them play, though.  We do have a soccer banquet coming up, so I may have more to share then.  Below Megan is in the foreground.  She has been playing soccer with the other two girls since first grade.

     Soccer pictures are hard to take.  The ball is constantly in motion (not like the early years of soccer).  Look at my awesome shot below -- no, that girl is not supposed to touch the ball with her hand...so we got a free penalty kick and SCORED!


Did You Say Dumb Blonde??

     The other day I had to go up north to our place in Lexington, MI (which is on Lake Huron).  We are letting some friends stay there and I wanted to make sure things were clean and situated for them since we just opened it up for the summer.  As luck would have it, Jacob ended up not feeling well that day and stayed home from school...so I brought him along with me.  I have not been up there since last October.
     So, we're driving along I-94 East...  Most of the time, Jacob was watching a movie with headphones...  His movie ended right around the time that I was approaching the Blue Water Bridge.  This is where we typically stay in the left lanes to head to Lexington (instead of Canada).  There was a lot of construction all around and some detour signs.  Well, I swear, within an instant there were two lanes...one for Canada and one for the detour.  I said to Jacob, "uh oh....I think we're going to Canada".....
     Wouldn't you know right ahead are toll booths for $3 to cross the bridge...my instincts made sure I was in the left lane hoping for a way to turn around -- I did not want to go to CANADA!!!!  I explained to the nice lady in the toll booth that I did not mean to be there.  Thankfully, she did not laugh and got another nice man who gave me this loser sign (preprinted for blondes like me, I guess).    

     He then directed me to what I would call "loser lane" where I was told to wait until someone would come and open the gates for me to turn around....  (Humiliated much??)

Jacob thought this was a great adventure from his day off school!?  Then, as luck would have it, a GUY, who WAS NOT blonde pulled behind me within ten minutes with the same sign in his window....  Shortly thereafter, the nice MDOT man (who I apologized to a million times) came and opened the gates and then gradually stopped lanes of semi-trucks and car traffic of people who were waiting to cross into the U.S...

The Bridge coming into the U.S. was pretty backed up...dumb blonde coming through!!  As part of my reward, I then got to wait in this

Of course, I was in the line where they ask a million questions.  The border patrol lady was nice, but did ask me almost as many questions as if I had actually made it to Canada!!  This innocent mistake cost me a good 45 minutes to an hour.  I am not a bad driver who has no sense of direction (for real), and remember I did not have to share my humiliation!!
     When I got home that night I checked the internet to see when this detour started etc...  According to the MDOT website, it had just started two days before.  I am willing to bet that my husband (who asked me if I have been into the blonde hair color again) would have also ended up in Canada had he experienced the same detour...just sayin'!!!