Blog Archive

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Some days are just meant to be spent remembering...

It's been such a long time since I've updated our family blog....(sorry Nana) ;) but I'm feeling sentimental and thought I'd sit down and write out some thoughts about my sweet Mom. I'm no writer, but I do know what my heart has been feeling the last few days could fill pages of it will feel good to get out some of what's on my heart.

Brent and I watched the movie "Still Alice" last night. It's all about a woman with early onset of Alzheimer's disease. What a hard movie to watch, especially when it hits close to home. Granted, Mom has been diagnosed with something a little different (frontal lobe dementia) but so much of the disease mom is battling is similar to the character in this movie. I had my coffee in hand, sitting next to Brent and about 3 minutes into the movie I had to set my coffee down and I just snuggled into Brent's chest as I cried...for the rest of the night, and this morning, and now again tonight. ;) I miss my mom. Sometimes the reality of today fades the vivid memories of how she used to be, but that movie brought so many of those back. So many conversations I had with mom in the earlier stages of her sickness, as we cried, laughed, talked about babies, the future, life, joys, struggles, and all those things mom's and daughters talk about when they get together. 

I have many wishes, those of which I try not to focus on too often...I wish I could pick up the phone and laugh with her about what one of our kids did or said.  I wish she would call me by my name.  I wish I could have a genuine conversation with her and gleam wisdom from her about all things in life. I wish she could pick on Brent as they laugh together. I wish my children would know who she was before she got sick.  I wish she could call my kids by name and have them over for overnights. I pray my children see me in the word and praying daily as I saw my mom.  I wish we could pray together when my heart is overwhelmed...all of these things I long for....however, tonight even though I'm crying I have such a heart of thankfulness for what we have shared. 

We shared years of laughter, singing, game playing, and late night talks. We shared planning Brent and I's wedding together (one of my favorites), we shared her being with us in the delivery room when we had Mason (even if she did keep calling me my brothers name while I was pushing...that was when I knew something was not quite right with her mental condition) haha. (it's okay to laugh ;)) We shared the excitement of her getting a job in Arizona so they could live closer to us when we started our family. We shared conversation after conversation about anything and everything while laying by a pool.  We shared our fears of her memory fading when she was officially diagnosed...these conversations and memories are fresh in my heart right now and I want them to stay that way. 

One of the biggest things I often think about when I ponder on mom's decline and her current state is being intentional about living in the moment.  That isn't always easy.  Soak in those trips to Starbucks with your momma, or your pedicure together...because those precious conversations are priceless. I wish I had carried around a little recorder with me like Kevin on Home Alone. :) I'd be playing that thing back often when I have days like these where my heart just wants to remember...and although my memories are rolling down my cheeks, they won't leave me, they're tucked in my heart forever. I'm so blessed to have had the mom that I did...and still do, the blessings just come wrapped a little differently these days. ;) I sure don't know what the future holds, but I do know it is bright...because I know who holds the future. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

::Allergies, Smallergies::

Our sweet little Grant has had such terrible skin ever since he was born, and our pediatrician for a couple of months has been suggesting we take him to see an allergist in hopes to nail down a way to help him become more comfortable. So, we did...and here's what we found out. He's allergic to everything good. ;) haha! Teasing, but kind of not. He's allergic to wheat, soy, peanuts, milk, eggs, oats, and corn. hmmm...that's a LOT of things. So, avoidance was what the allergist suggested so I haven't eaten ANY of these things since that day. We're going on almost 6 weeks now. Yes, I'm hungry but you'd do it for your child, too! I have no doubt. :) At first, his skin cleared up instantly. We were so excited!! He seems to be having breakouts again now, though, so we're wondering if it's something besides just these food allergies that is causing his skin to become so irritated. Luckily right now these allergies are causing his skin to be raw and even bleeding much of the time, but it's not anything life threatening. So that's good...and there's a chance he could out-grow many of these allergies before he's three, so that's what we're praying. ;) We have another appointment coming up to see if the allergist has any other suggestions and just as a we shall see. Little man keeps us on our toes, but we just want him to be comfortable. Even amidst his worst breakouts, he's got the sweetest disposition and happy spirit. SO thankful for him. ;) We love you, little Grant Michael.

Right after his testing...awh :(
::happy boy::
 ::love those baby blues::

Granny and Grandpa

Both of my sweet Grandparents went to be with Jesus in the last few months. In June, Granny began declining quickly and went to be with Jesus. It was only a few months later that Grandpa joined her. I was so thankful that I got to be able to go back to Granny's funeral. I was always very close to granny and grandpa. We grew up close to them and were always having overnights at their house, swimming at their house all summer, going to movies & shopping with them, going out for ice cream with them. My Granny had quite the feisty personality. She was never scared to say what she really felt, to a fault sometimes. ;) She would do anything for her kids and grandkids. Especially her favorites. ;) lol! Grandpa was the biggest Cubs fun who could fall asleep in any loud, obnoxious setting. He was so go with the flow and laid back. He always was so kind and did whatever Granny asked of him. Even if he knew her demands were a little much he giggled as he complied. ;) He LOVED telling us grandkids his stories from WW2 and his days as a pilot, and we loved listening. 

The hardest part of Granny's passing was seeing Grandpa's broken heart. Sure, it was sad to see Granny go, but we could cling to the peace of knowing she's in a far better place next to Jesus!! Grandpa wasn't talking anymore at the time, but when he'd see family he'd just bawl and bawl. It was the hardest thing to watch. When we got to the funeral home for Granny's service, we had to take Grandpa in to see her in her casket before the visitation began. I won't ever forget seeing him reach into her casket to hold her cold hand, as he sobbed and sobbed. It's making me cry re-living it right now. 60 years of marriage, life, and love together...I can't even imagine that ending when losing your spouse. It was heartbreaking. I prayed for his sake, it wouldn't be long before he could see her again in heaven...because deep down we all knew that's what he really wanted. He got to be with her only a few months later. A blessing from Jesus. We miss them, here, however. I am so thankful for them and the irreplaceable role they had in my life. I am so lucky to have had them both for such a huge part of my life, and I feel blessed to have had them for as long as I did. They even got to meet and spend time with Mason and Cash and we love that, and are so so thankful for that. We miss you, Granny and Grandpa. Our lives are forever better because of the both of you. We love you!!

Piano Makeover...

Well my sweet Mom handed down the piano I grew up playing and we decided to give it a little face-lift. :) It was quite the project in the heat of the summer...but I got this paint you just slab onto any surface and it adheres with no sanding. was the first time I've ever really painted anything...but it was a fun undertaking. I'm SO excited to polish up my piano playing skills, have I sat down and played it yet? not really...but I want to! One day... ;) we have a lot of kids and life is so busy...but one's ready & waiting. Brent has learned all of the chords....and maybe I'll start teaching the kids, too. haha! I love having it, though. Here's how it turned out.

first coat before the wax...

after the second coat and wax (it's dark outside and this is in the garage ;))
It's inside! Marli tinkering around on it. 

 ...and one more with Mason's eyes shut. haha...

::Cousin Love::

This summer we had the chance to have some special time with our nieces and nephews.  Even including a few overnights. I am so thankful to live close to our siblings, and am so thankful that our kids are growing up together. Having had this with a few of my cousins as makes my heart so happy our kids are getting that. The cousins I grew up with are like siblings to me, today! Here are some pictures from our time with sweet cousins!
The kids sure loved having Mia chase them all over, the boys were amazed at her crawling as they're so used to seeing Grant lay around...haha!
 Grant's all smiles eating lunch next to Mia...
 Beautiful Mia...
 Marli and Liana sure have fun being girls ;)
 Oliver...he's so itty bitty here...awwh!! 
 I took this picture in the dark and clearly didn't capture everyone! This was from when Cael and Ry came to stay all night...the kids are all getting so big. They loved all falling asleep together in the playroom.  Love!
 Oliver and Grant in their striped jailbird jammies. :) love this!
We love our time with our cousins!! :) 

Friday, September 27, 2013

::Back to School Time::

BOO! hehe. Just teasing. I know school is very important and I do love seeing our kids be challenged and learn. Don't get me wrong. I just hate alarm setting, and rigid schedules. Such is life with children in I might as well start to see the bright side. So we really enjoyed getting school supplies and getting all ready to go this year. Mason is now in the FIRST grade and little Cash is in pre-school. Mason's teacher is Mrs. Grochocki (which is a sweet friend of ours from church) and Cash's teachers are dear friends of ours as well (Miss Heidi and Miss Nikki). The year is off to a great start...fall break is in just a couple of weeks and we're excited for that! haha!!!

Mason has been really challenged in the Traditional Academy @ Scott Libby this year and is really enjoyed it and is learning so much!!
Mason's Open house night...
 two thumbs up!
 Cash is at Greatleaps Preschool and is learning so much and being a great student. 
 ::open house::
::sweet daddy's boy::
It's been a great start to the year...and both boys are really loving their schools...that helps mommy's heart manage these milestones with a little more grace. Don't get me wrong still bawled like a baby when both boys went, but some say that may always happen. Every year. Sorry boys...I'll hide it from you. ;)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nine years with this handsome man named, Brent...

Brent and I celebrated our ninth anniversary this past August. It seems so crazy to think about that...we've been together 13 years counting the years we dated first. ;) Looking back it sure doesn't feel like it's been that long!! When we think about all that has happened in that time, that makes it seem a little more realistic, that it has been quite a while! I have loved every minute of my life with this man. 

:::Four years of college dating, courting, dances, studying, late night diner dates:::
:::Nine years of marriage, procreating, Mason, Cash, Marli, & Grant::: 
:::Wrapping up the baby-making (haha!) and enjoying watching our children grow:::

My heart could burst just thinking about how happy Brent makes me. I crack up do our kids because of Brent's fun-loving personality. I learn daily, how to manage money better, live within a budget better, and be a better steward of what God's blessed us with. (those were a few things I missed learning about as a young adult in my pre-Brent era) & I see an incredible example of a man of God who leads our home spiritually. I am so thankful for that.  I feel loved daily...strong hugs, sweet words & gestures...I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be married to this man. God sure blessed me when he brought him in to my life...and I sure adore & love his family, too. Happy nine years, Brently. :) I love you!

::Camping with the Nunez Family::

Our sweet friends Ryan and Adrienne invited us to join them camping in Oak Creek Canyon and we had the best time!!! It was so nice to have a break from the heat & to be in cooler weather. It was also adorable to see the kids just eat nature up. They were loving exploring, adventuring off together, swimming in the river, hiking, etc. It's so special to have friends where everyone loves to be together...adults & kids. We love the Nunez family! Here are some photos from this little trip!
hehe...Marli thinking about getting in the water. 
 ::river play::
 Big boy Mase :)
 Cash was sure in his element on this trip! 


Summa Summa Time! :)

As hot as this place does get....WE SURE LOOOOOOVE summer. No school, limited schedule, no homework...each day is a blank canvas as to what we'd like to do. Bliss...Here are a few pictures from our summer of 2013. :) 

 some fun days @ the Science Center!

 ...and swimming of course! Many days spent swimming!

 ::summer haircuts:: 
(this is one of my favorite pictures ever)

 ::lunch dates with Daddy::

We love the SUMMER!! :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

::An Update on Mom::

Well, I've been promising some updates on this blog for many of those who've so kindly asked about mom's progress in her disease. So I'll try and fill everyone all in best in can...through words. Several years ago mom got diagnosed with what is called, "frontal lobe dementia". It's been very sad to see her decline so quickly in this disease. My last memory of my mom showing any sort of emotion about her  condition was when I was pregnant with Marli and I had taken mom with me to my ultrasound appointment. I had asked her several questions about if she realized how things were going, and she just began to cry. She explained to me that she often felt trapped in her own body when she wanted to say certain things but the words just wouldn't come out. She expressed frustration and a genuine sadness that she knew there wasn't anything she could do about it and she also vocalized concern that it's just going to get worse and how that made her sad. It has sure progressed rapidly.  :( I won't ever forget that moment with my mom in the car in our driveway before leaving to go to this appointment and how we just cried. How thankful I am for these specific memories of her emotions and so glad she was able to spend that day with me. I have not seen her show any emotion about her mental state since that day...even when I ask her about how things are going every single time I see her. I ask her specific questions about her mind, words, etc. and I get no response regarding how she feels about it all.

Mom and I have spent much time together since this time, and we still see each other weekly, but things are very, very different. Mom doesn't have the capability to do anything for herself anymore. She can't get dressed, follow simple instructions, use the bathroom, or buckle her seatbelt just to name a few. She doesn't know hardly any of our names anymore. In fact, I was very surprised to hear her say "Jessica" while speaking on the phone with my brother Jason a couple of weeks ago. That's the first time in years I can remember her even saying my name. She doesn't know any of our kids names, and often times even doesn't know who dad is. She still seems happy and content...just extremely quiet. Having a conversation is very difficult. She will answer you but typically with a "oh yes..." followed by a giggle. 

Mom stayed with us for a few days a couple of weeks ago, and it was interesting...when the kids would ask me for things by addressing me as "mommy" My mom would always respond as if they were talking to her. :) They'd often try to get her attention by addressing her as "Mimi" and she never responded to that. I found that interesting but it makes sense, she's been a mom much longer than a "mimi". It was astounding to me, how difficult of a time she had doing anything at all, and how she couldn't follow the most simple instruction. I, however, was honored to be able to take care of her even just for a few days. After all, she raised me and gave me all of herself for so many years. We laughed (even though I'm not sure she ever really knew what we were laughing at) We read magazines while the kids slept (although after putting the kids in bed one day, I came down to read magazines with her and couldn't find the ones I set on the couch next to her...she had hid them under the couch) haha...maybe that was her way of saying she didn't care to read them. ;) We enjoyed time together...but it did make me miss how things used to be. The worse she gets, the farther away the memories of her healthy are in my mind. I'm scared I'm eventually going to forget how she really used to be...and I don't want to forget. I want to be able to remember those characteristics of hers that I've always loved and admired...that just is feeling more and more distant. 

She recently had a shunt put in her brain to help drain fluid off of her brain. This has helped with her incontinence a tiny bit, but wasn't expected to help with her dementia. She's recovering well from that. I am blessed beyond words for the years I've had with my sweet mom, and I'm especially thankful for the years I had her as a dear friend. She taught me so much. I do have moments where I wish I could pick the phone up and ask her what in the world she would do when her kids were acting crazy, or have her come with me to the kids appointments and help me wrangle all of them up, or call about a certain recipe, or relationship....those things I miss....but I'm eternally grateful for all of the memories I do have. I sure love you, Mom. It's my privilege to help take care of you now...I wish things were different, but I'm grateful you don't really know any different and that you are still happy. ;) 

Here's a picture from Mother's Day when I convinced mom to let me do her hi-lights and make-up. 
She's beautiful. 

::Wrap up to Kindergarten::

Well Mr. Mason had an incredible year at Greathearts, as a Kindergartener. He learned so much...and it's crazy to see his writing come together so well and his reading, too! As hard as it was to send him to school those first few's sure rewarding to see him grow so much at school and to learn so much. It's so much fun. Here's our highlight work of the year...
hahaha! Man, that's awesome. 
Congrats on your first year of school, Mason. We're so proud of you, buddy!!!

Mason's 6th Birthday...

SIX??!! really? This young man is starting to look and act so grown up!!! Time must slow down! We crammed one more fun thing into the same night as Grant's dedication and had Mason's party, as well!! Always time for a good party. :) We celebrated our eldest's birthday with our sweet family and had a great night!!! Here are some pictures from Mason's birthday. SIXTH birthday...ahhhh! big boy!!! We love you, Mason Isaac!!!
serious chat over dinner...heheh!
 say cheese, birthday boy!
Big time Mario fan!
 awwh...sweet hugs!

 more gifts...
Happy Birthday, Mason Isaac! Your mommy and daddy love you to the moon and the sun, AND back...many many times over! 

Grant's Baby Dedication

Well Mother's Day weekend was quite the celebration! We also had the chance to had baby Grant dedicated at church this weekend. What a special time this always is. An honor to promise to raise our son in the way God intends for us to. Also such a humbling reminder that God's given us this gift in our son, and how blessed we are to be his parents. Pastor Greg was able to dedicate each one of our four children, and we are so thankful for that. Such a dear friend of ours he is....we're very thankful for him and the influence he has in not only our lives, but our children's as well. Here are some pictures from Grant's dedication evening. We love you, Grant Michael!!!
precious boy...
 Love our Pastor Greg!
 one more, just for fun. :) such a great night.
Dearest Grant Michael,
How blessed we are that you have been given to us by our Heavenly Father. It's our prayer that we do all we can to raise you in the home God intends for you to have...and for you to one day, learn to love Jesus as your own personal Savior and friend. We love you so much and are so proud of you, already. Love, Mommy and Daddy