Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A special Pyrex casserole dish / with lid

My dad LOVED yard sales.  He loved them because he loved to talk to people.  It's not that he really needed to buy anything, but then again, the thrill of finding a bargain did make him happy.  And, he never paid sticker price for anything.  He could always talk them down to half of what they were asking.  He would always say "Don't forget my senior citizen discount"?   Many times, people would just give him things, when he would say he's on a fixed income.  But he would end up leaving them some sort of donation. 
The reason this Pyrex casserole dish is so special to me is, my dad bought it at a yard sale for my mom the summer before he passed away.  Since my mom doesn't cook much anymore, I ended up using it more.  I actually use it on an average of 5 days out of 7.  It is mainly used to transport food to my mom that I cook.  Each time I use it, I think of my dad.  Each time I load it in my van with food to take to my mom, I think of my dad.  I can just see his smile and him saying to me "thank you baby doll for taking care of your mom".  Who would have thought that this simple Pyrex casserole dish would serve this purpose when he bought it, and he probably paid a quarter for it?  When It's empty and time to wash it, I wash it with care.  I would hate to break it.  I dry it off and put it safely back in the cabinet in it's special spot.  It's the perfect size and so handy.  I know that many times I would tell my dad to stop bringing stuff home to add to the stuff they don't need, but then I realized that it was his hobby.  He found such joy in the quarter or fifty cent items (treasures) he would pick up.  I will never forget the time he brought home a broken vacuum cleaner that someone just gave him.  He was so excited and said it was like "brand new".  Come to find out, all it needed was a new bag.  It worked great after that.  He use to love it when my sister would come to town and the 3 of us would go yard sailing.  He would have a baggie of change he would give us to buy what we needed.  He didn't want us spending our own money.  It made him so happy to see us excited to find a bargain.  So, this little Pyrex casserole dish might look like an ordinary dish, but to me it is special.  It hold more than holds memories...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fun Packed Fun Filled Memorial Weekend

I had plans to watch Noah, Carter, Gray and Ivy on Saturday at my house while Steph went to Chicago for a bridesmaid dress fitting and Jeff had a project for work that day.  I also had plans to watch Abby & Jack for a few hours in the afternoon.  All week long I tried to think of how I would entertain the six grand kids and make it a memorable time.  I knew it was going to be HOT outside and water is always a big hit with kids.  So, I set out to the store on Friday during my lunch hour and found the perfect pool that is easy to set up and serves the purpose.  I got 6 noodles, 1 for each grandchild to play with also.  So, Friday night, Mike and I worked in the back yard, to get it grand kid ready.  Saturday morning, bright and early, Mike cranked up the air compressor and inflated the pool and we filled it up so the water would start warming up.  By 8:30 a.m., the 4 grand kids arrived and it was really too cold to swim, so they hung out being entertained by cartoons and after breakfast snacks.  We kept going outside to test the water and by 11:00, we determined that it was warm enough to jump in.  I hooked up our crazy sprinkler to add to the water excitement.  Gray was the first to test the pool, which shocked me, cause he usually doesn't like to get wet.  He was in and playing in no time and then Ivy, Noah & Carter followed shortly.  The noodles were a big hit (in a lot of ways)....and I had to stress that we do not hit in the head or face with them.....
Gray had a ball playing with our dogs, Halle & Lilly.  He was holding Halle and said to me "This is the best day of my Life".  It was a great day for Gray because he usually has an allergic reaction to the dogs, but this day, he was fine.  What a thrill for him to be able to love on them without sneezing and having a stuffy nose. 
Mike went to get pizza to bring back for lunch and by that time, Abby & Jack had arrived.  We all ate lunch and went back out to enjoy the pool.  Ivy wanted me to bring out the Dora kitchen so she could play, by filling up the sink with pool water and making grass soup.  They also enjoyed playing basketball by the pool.  I sat, when I got to sit and really enjoyed the cousins having so much fun in that little pool.  They kept saying it was the most fun at my house EVER!  It was one of the best $39.99 investments....Abby & Ivy ended up wanting to play in the house and dried off and got on their wedding dresses they always play dress up in.  Ivy wore the flower girl dress her mommy wore when she was her age.  They played in my jewelry box and had girl time.  When it was time to go home, they didn't want to leave and that makes me feel good.  Carter wanted to come back over to get in the pool.  Abby ended up staying another few hours so she could have more time to play with her cousins.  We took her home after she swam again. 
Then, Sunday morning, we picked my mom up and met Steph and her family for breakfast at Tate's, our favorite place, then went to the Riverwalk and the kids collected unique rocks to place on my dad's grave, where we would later go visit. 
We put flags on the grave.  It was so touching when Jeff, my other son (in-law), sat on the grass under the shade tree that shaded my dad's grave and he asked each child what they wanted to say to Poppal.  They each had the sweetest message to my dad.  It was a very touching time and day before Memorial Day.  We all had tears to wipe.  It is so moving to me to watch the great-grand kids paying their respect to their great grandfather and remembering the love he had for them.  He left such a lasting impact on their little lives.  Carter read the Army plaque that was on the back of his stone and his eyes got so big when he read that he was a Sargent in the Army.  My dad would have been so proud to have his family visit his stone and pay their respects.  We all parted ways after that.
We took mom home and Mike and I headed to the store to get our Memorial Day cookout food for just us 3.
Abby ended up spending the night with us on Sunday night, which was a treat for us.  We lost power on our block during the night and she woke up upset because her night light wasn't on.  Between that and being kicked periodically during the night, it was very eventful.  I ended up putting a pillow between us, so the pillow got kicked instead of me.  The next morning, Mike suggested going to breakfast at Steak & Shake.  So the 3 of us went and had the best breakfast.  I am a new fan of their breakfast items now.  We let Abby order what she wanted and she chose, an M&M milkshake, hot dog and Fry's.  And she enjoyed it!  I enjoyed the one on one time with her.  We then went across the street to Menard's to flower shop.  She helped me pick out annuals to plant in my pots.  When we got home we planted and sweated so bad, we got our swimsuits on and jumped in the pool afterwards.  Abby thought it was so funny that I would go swim with her.  She decided after a while she wanted to go inside and color and hang out until her daddy picked her up after work.  After she left, I gathered up the food to go cookout at my moms.  By that time it was cooler to crank up the grill.  I made shish-ka-bobs, corn on the cob and my delicious potato salad.  It was just Mike, Mom and I.  Everyone else had their own plans and that was ok.  We were invited to a cookout, but chose to just relax at my moms and be with her.  I really enjoyed my long weekend with everyone and so glad the pool was a big hit...

Role reversal

I never imagined that some day I would be the caregiver to my mom.  I never thought that she would be dependent on me.  I never thought that I would be her decision maker.  I have a HUGE responsibility and it scares me to death.  The past year and 3 months have been the most difficult time in my 55 years.  My dad was the decision maker for he and my mom.  He paid the bills, fixed the house problems and did a lot of the running to the store.  When my mom had to retire because of medical issues, he was her caregiver.  He took an early retirement so he could be more available for her.  There were a lot of lonely days for my dad because of moms hearing loss and problems, she was in and out of the bed and with my dad being a people person, he missed not being able to communicate.  It killed me, watching my mom go thru the dizzy spells and operation on her ear and losing her hearing.  She use to be an energetic mom who lived at the fitness center and always had a tan, when she wasn't working, trying to make a living for us.  We never wanted for anything.  We didn't ask for much.  She was the best cook around.  She taught us to keep a tidy house, cook and dress in style.  I remember times when she would sacrifice to give to others.  She was active in church in the ladies ministries and even sang in a ladies trio that travelled around.    She was the designated Christmas tree decorator in the church.  She hand crocheted bells for the tree.  Her and my dad were team leaders in peanut brittle making for fund raising at the church.  They must have sold 1,000 or more bags at their work.    My mom was and still is a classy lady.  She was my babysitter.  She never complained about babysitting after working long hours at her job.  She was always eager to see the grandkids and always had special treats for them. 
She still lives in the house that I grew up in.  I go over every morning on my way to work and make our breakfast and usually making another trip in the evening to take her dinner.  She made the comment that she needs to sell the house and move in assisted living.  I told her whatever she decides, we will support her decision.  We are in a limbo state of not knowing what the right answer is.  I admit, it gets very tiring running 2 households, but as long as Mike and I are able, we will be there for her.  She gave a lot to me, so the least I can do is give back to her. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Carter is on a WINNING team! Da Bulls...

I was like a crazy lady standing and throwing arms up in the air when they came back from losing to winning....
My grandson, Carter, started playing on the Valparaiso American Little League Team "Bulls".  They had their 5th game last night and it was a nail biter.  We were losing 4 to 1 until the magic happened after Mia, the only girl on his team, caught a fly ball and then the mood changed and it gave the Bulls the energy they needed to come from behind and win the game.  Balls were flying and little people were running and the next thing we knew, we were ahead in the game.  The other team was last to bat and they still had a chance to score and win, but even though one walk was given, the next 3 up struck out....What a sweet win!  The Bulls are now at 5 wins and 0 losses.  He is on a great team.  I really admire his coaches because I never hear a voice raised and all I hear is encouragement.  And it's OK to strike out, cause if you swing and give it all you got, at least you tried.  I'm a very proud Mimi when I sit in my black bleacher chair....I know that Carter is loving what he's doing and he is a born baseball player.  GO BULLS!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Mother's Day started for me on Thursday night, May 10 with LTYM show my daughter, Steph directed and produced.  What a fun night it was, listening to the AMAZING ladies share their unique stories to a Sold Out Opera House.  I have never been so proud of my daughter.  Her stage presence is just jaw dropping amazing to me.  She commands an audience. 
The Mother's Day celebration continued the next night at grandson, Carter's baseball game with a Birthday Celebration for son-in-law Jeff afterwards at Valpo Velvet ice cream parlor.  I was given my gift that evening because we would not be together on Mother's Day.  Steph knows me like a book and knew I really wanted to go see the movie "Joyful Noise", so she gave me the DVD.  I love receiving movies as gifts.  She is so good for that! 
Saturday morning the celebration continued with Breakfast at our favorite hometown place, Tate's place.  My mom, hubby, Steph and I enjoyed a nice morning eating, before us 3 gals went to a nice spa to enjoy pedicures and manicures.  It was so special having both my mom and daughter sitting side by side enjoying such a fun time together.  I want to make it a yearly tradition...breakfast and ta taing...
Sunday, Mother's Day, I woke up to 2 beautiful cards from my 3 dogs.  Mike always has a way of being so thoughtful and since the dogs are our babies, he wanted me to know how much they appreciate the love and care I give them. 
I picked my mom up for church.  It was a great program which included a special service dedicated to us moms.  I got to see so many old friends.  After church, I decided to grill out at my moms, since we knew all the restaurants in town would be so crowded.  I had a taste for a good ole' burger.  I know with it being Mother's Day, the last thing I should have done is cook or work, but it's my nature to do it anyway.  It was a very simple lunch and with the help of my hubby, we pulled it together.  It was only the 3 of us.  Steph was out of town for the day (yay for her) and my son and his family were eating at his in-laws.  After a nice lunch, we just rested and enjoyed the quiet and peacefulness of the afternoon.  My brother, Randy called from Boise Idaho to wish my mom Happy Mother's Day and I got to talk to him and catch up on his life. 
We headed home in the early evening and as we pulled in our drive, my son drove up with his family.  They brought me a beautiful hanging basket of flowers.  It was my very first flower of the season, so I very happy.  They stayed and we had a great visit, watching the grand kids play. 
It was a GREAT Mother's Day, since it really started on that Thursday eve.  I am truly blessed with a family who loves me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Battlefield of the Mind

I admit I am not an avid reader.  I received this book from my co-worker (my bosses wife) who is also my prayer partner.  She knows the struggles I have had in the past with some family issues.  I started reading and it has been my therapy.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has gone thru or is going thru a head war.  For years I have been trying to figure out how I can fix certain issues, but I learned that if I just give them to God and step back, he will fix them in his time.  The more I tried to fix them, the more it would backfire on me.  I literally had to throw my hands up in the air and give it to God.  He has larger shoulders than I do to carry it.  This book has ministered to me in a great way.  So, if you are struggling with a battlefield that's going on in your mind, read this book and expect a healing of the mind, like I am experiencing. 
I can feel my mind renewing after every chapter I read...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday Jack Jack

Special Birthday Wishes to my Sweet, comical grandson, Jackson Kent.  He celebrated with his sister, mom & dad on his Birthday.  We will celebrate with the whole family on Saturday with a backyard cookout at his house.  Jack Jack has brought so much Joy to our family.  When he and his sister spent the night last Saturday night, he woke up with a frown on his face and said "mimi, I dreamed that a dinosaur was chasing me"  I told him it was only a dream and I would ask Jesus to take that memory away from him.  He smiled real big and said "ok, thank you Mimi".  Jack LOVES to eat when he comes to my house.  His favorite snack is fishy crackers and to get in the wooden cookie jar (that belonged to my mother-in-law).  I keep it fully stocked with their favorite fruit snacks.  When he saw that I got Thomas the train fruit snacks, he was so excited.  I love that he comes to my house and loves to explore and makes himself at home.  I got to thinking the other day that he just might be the last of my grandchildren.  I can't believe he's already 3!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK JACK!!!!!!!