Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Too long gone...

I can't believe I haven't posted anything since September 2013. Wow! Well, there's a lot to catch up on an I'm sorry to say it's not all good. Right now, anything before November 24th-26th just doesn't really register. My dad died November 26th, leading into the holiday season craziness, so things have been a bit of a blur.

Some of the things we did from the end of September into November were:
  • Family movie night at school (the movie JD wanted to see, Space Buddies)
  • Trick or treating with our neighbors and JD's godfather and his girlfriend and her son.
  • Camping at Gettysburg Campground the first weekend in November for their final Halloween weekend (great site decorations, a haunted house, and so much candy from more trick or treating!)
  • Finished up JD's soccer season the second weekend in November and had a team party...he was so excited for his trophy!
On November 23rd, I got a phone call from my mom and brother that dad had fallen and was in the hospital and when the asked if I was going to come up, just from the way they sounded I knew I had to go. I cancelled appointments, made arrangements for JD getting to school and called work (thank goodness I work for a company that it very understanding and supportive). Drove to NJ on Sunday and we went to see dad. He knew I was there and was able to communicate, but it was hard to hear him because he couldn't get enough breath to be loud enough. He asked where Reece was and I told him he was with JD at hoe, since JD still had school. Then he asked who was helping Reece and I told him Carolyn (his mom), dad smiled. His pneumonia was back, he had fallen and he also had an infection that brought his white count down to 1. That never happens according to the doctors. We spent most of that day and the next 2 days at the hospital. By Tuesday he was in and out of conciseness and we could get him to open his eye and squeeze our hands. Tuesday morning I went to the doctor, worried I might have strep again and got a call from Dave that the hospital called; dad had taken a turn for the worse and we needed to get there. I called Reece and told him and an hour later he had the car packed and told me he was taking JD out of school so they could get to NJ. We got to the hospital and they told us his kidney function had dropped and the antibiotics were not doing much and asked us if we wanted to just do comfort care. We said yes...terrible decision to have to make. We asked them to wait to turn of his meds and take off the pressurized oxygen mask until after we called Fr. Mattina, a family friend, to see if he was in NJ (he's an Air Force Chaplain). He was and was in the area and told us he'd be there by 3:00. After Father arrived, he did the anointing of the sick and gave dad last rites and it was nice to have someone who knew him to do that. Father stayed with us for a while and when he left I was going to go with my brother's girlfriend Amy to get Reece at the house. We were just about to go out the door and I looked at dad's monitor, his heart rate was already dropping and I told Amy I wasn't going anywhere. She offered to go get Reece. So it was just me, mom and Dave when they came to remove the mask. We held his hands, mom rubbed his cheek and we talked to him...it was like he was asleep...and then he was gone. I'm glad I was there, but it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. Then we had to go back to the house and I had to explain this all to JD...another hard thing to do and he was very accepting in his own way..and Reece was upset he didn't get to say goodbye. Some of Dave's friends had already arrived at the house and we had food and drank and talked about dad.

The next, like, 10 days were filled with friends, family and all the things you need to take care of for funeral services. Things like getting dad's clothes together (as the mortitian, Rich McDonough, said "bring his clothes like he's going to church"); picking hymns and reading and decided who would do them; choosing the casket; choosing pall barers; meeting with Father Kindon at the church; choosing flowers; and what goes on prayer cards, both picture and verse. The prayer card picture was pretty easy. We chose a photo of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, one of dad's favorite places.

We had a viewing for dad on Monday night (Dec 2) and Tuesday morning, before the funeral mass. Between both visitation times, there were close to two hundred people who came to pay their respects to dad. Amazing! It shows you what kind of guy he was. Customers from where he used to work; the owners of the company he worked for (one even drove from FL!); freinds of Dave and mine from highschool and thier parents; neighbors, old and new; the staff from one of dad and mom's favorite plaes to eat; I even had friends come from Michigan and Maryland to be there. My boss and the owner of my company drove up for the funeral and cemetery service on Tuesday. Wow! The mass was beautiful and Fr. Kindon spoke beautifully about dad. Everything he said was just so perfect. The cemetery is a good distance from the church, but the ride is beautiful. It's in Newtown, PA, not far from historic Washington Crossing, PA and it has only been open for a few years. They placed the pavillions for the services far from the road, in case of protesters, such as the Westboro Baptist group. From where they are, you'd never know if there were protestor at the front gate while the service was going on...well done on that design! They had an honor guard and a 21 gun salute and someone playing Taps. It was just beautiful and respectful and perfect. At some point I plan to write something about dad...there's only so much you can say in an obituary. Will post it here when I do.

Reece and JD went home Tuesday night after the funeral so that JD could get back to school. I stayed until the next day...didn't want mom to have to be alone in the house Tuesday night. From the time I got back until this past weekend, it's been go, go, go! I scheduled to volunteer at JD's school that Friday, which I did do. It was nice to be with the kids. Then Saturday Reece and I went to Hershey to see Straight No Chaser for Reece's birthday. The following weekend we had the family party at Reece's union hall and made a Costco run for our open house the following weekend. And through all this I (with a bit of help) decorated the house, got gifts, planned Christmas dinner, got a haircut (finally!), sent out thank yous for flowers and donations/flowers from the dad's services, and got our Christmas cards out. We spent Christmas day with Reece's family and went to NJ to vist my mom and brother and his girlfriend the weekend after. We also got to meet Dave's new black lab puppy, Nova. She's a cuite and really a good dog. Came home Sunday and then a few das later went out for New Year's Eve with some friends. Definitely time to say out with the old, in with the new year!

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and has a very Happy and Healthy New Year! Here's to a great 2014!

Friday, September 13, 2013

JD Gem (From Sept 9th)

I left work early so I could meet the bus since daddy had a doctor appointment that day. JD was so excited to see me and when we got in the house, he's jumping around and says "Mommy, chasing girls is good exercise!" Hhhhmmmm, I wonder what goes on a recess. ROFL

Friday, September 6, 2013

Bath time...question time

So, this past week, during two of the little man's baths, I got some interesting questions. The first was about goosebumps. He said "I have goosebumps....mommy, what are goosebumps?" and then a whole conversation ensued about them. This question was cake compared to the one that came two night later.

His second question, asked very seriously, was "mommy, when am I going to die?" OH. BOY. I told him I didn't know and that no one knows when they'll die. Then he mentioned that he couldn't see things he did in the past, which I didn't quite get. So next he asks "Where do you go when you die?" Luckily, I had just asked a friend who lost her dad what she told her son and I went with it, since I was raised in a Catholic family and she was too. I told him that when you die, because your body stops working, your soul, the part that makes you the person you are, goes to heaven. Next questions was, "Do they have phones in heaven?" "No, I don't believe so" was my answer. So he goes, "I think there should be phones in heaven so that they can call and tell you if you can see things in you past when you're in heaven."  I told him that sounded like a good idea, but I'm still not sure where this "seeing what you did in your past" thing came from.

I asked him if something happened at school, like a classmate having a death in the family and he said no. Then I asked if it was because I had been talking about my company's president's wife, who had just passed away and he said I guess.

The things that kids think sometimes amazes me.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Week of School and Soccer Update...

I am very happy to report that the first week of 1st grade has been really good. Just this morning, JD said "Mommy, I really like Ms. Mason!" He's still excited that he has a "grandma" day on Thursday, since they have the day off, but he really seems to like going to school this year. He tells me when he gets to see kids who were in his class last year at recess and lunch and again he really loves Ms. Evans' art class. One thing he is very excited about are First Grade Fuzzies. What is a First Grade Fuzzie, you ask? Well, this is how it's described on the class website:

"Each student is given a cup that will hold their fuzzies in.
All students will begin 1st grade with 5 Fuzzies!
One BIG fuzzie equals 5 little fuzzies.
So to get a big one is kind of a HUGE deal to a little one.
Students work to earn fuzzies throughout the week.
Fuzzies can be lost when a poor choice is made.
Fuzzies are traded in at the Fuzzie Store on Friday mornings. Students can buy a Coupon Reward of their choice. Coupon prices will vary and students can save fuzzies in order to buy a more expensive Coupon Reward.
Students are responsible for the Coupon and must turn it in before morning announcements in order to claim the reward."
He was able to buy a coupon last Friday which allowed him to bring in a furry friend (stuffed animal) for the day. He used it this morning to bring his Torrey Smith bear to school. He is however thinking of bigger things, because he was wondering this morning how many fuzzies it would take to get lunch with the principal.
So far homework has been a combination of papers for parents to fill out and 10 minutes of reading each night. 10 minutes of reading is cake! We read every night, so I'm liking that kind of homework. We'll see what the coming weeks hold. His teacher said they like more hands on homework rather than just stuff done on paper.
As for soccer, he can't wait to get to practices and all he wanted to do this weekend, when we were visiting my parents, was play soccer. His first game is this coming Saturday and I'm hoping the enthusiasm continues. I think the coaches for his team really have something to do with his attitude this year. The head coach, Scott, really has a love for the game and wants to pass that on to the kids and most importantly, make it fun for them. They haven't come up with a team name yet, but should have one by Friday night's practice. This year the uniform colors are white with blue trim and JD's choice for a name is "Blue and White Ninjas". We'll see how the vote goes. LOL  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Homework Station

Oh homework, how I hate you. My son does to (at least that's what he says), but it's inevitable and we need to find a way to conquer it.  We had issues with homework last year in kindergarten...2 pages came home on Monday and had to be returned on Thursday. It would take an hour to do it, mostly because of the whining and carrying on. My suggestion was to turn it in unfinished and talk to the teacher about it, but he insisted on finishing even when throwing a fit. UGH! We found a solution in taking him to the library on Monday nights and doing it there...in 15 MINUTES! DONE!
We now have nightly homework in first grade and we just don't have the time to go to the library everyday and I needed a space for the little man to sit and do it with out distraction. Looking through a link someone posted on my FB page, I found something similar to the picture below. It's the same concept (presentation board from the office supply store, that's been cut and decorated), but theirs had little bins and magnets and clips on it. Since the little man likes Minecraft, I got a poster, glued it to the board and cut the board across at the top of the poster. We then used angry bird duct tape to finish the edges the poster didn't cover and trimmed it in green. I didn't add the bins since we have a box all set up with his supplies (you can see it in the picture). It's perfect, folds flat, and can be taken down easily if we need to use the whole table.
He used it last night to finish up his bridging the gap to 1st grade book that needs to be turned in tomorrow. He didn't even notice that his grandparents arrived, because it makes his space that closed off from the rest of the area (the dining room is open to the living room and front door area).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Tooth Fairy Has Visited...

In my post at the end of July, I mentioned JD had his first loose tooth. I though it might come out before grandmom and grandaddy came home from their trip, on August 4th. WRONG! It took almost all of August for that sucker to come out.

I picked him up from daycare last Thursday and it was really wiggley...he said it bothered him becsaue it was moving around so much. He made it through the Ravens game with daddy that night (they went to the preseaon game thanks to a friend of ours who gave us her tickets) and grandmom's on Friday. He got up Saturday morning and wiggled it a few times and it came right out. He handled it really well and was super excited about the tooth fairy! (Luckily the "tooth fairy" remembered to get some cash back at the grocery store Friday night, just in case this happened. LOL)

First Day of School 2013-14

Here's our little man, all ready to head out on his first day of 1st grade!