Today is a good place to be.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ocean in view! O! The joy!

Jeremy and I had the chance to get away for a bit last week thanks to both of our dear mothers supporting us in our desires!  10 years married seems like quite the milestone-- even more when you consider we have been together 3 more on top of that.  

We left on Monday after Sue and I had a fun time at Zumba.  Then we left her with a screaming Kathryn and a page of instructions.  I felt a little dismayed when I realized my life's work could be summarized on one page. 

We drove up to Astoria first and had lunch at our favorite place:  Wet Dog Cafe.  We walked clear down to see where the sea lions took over some docks.  Then we headed up the coast, stopped and got some snacks, red box and checked into our hotel.  We swam and hot-tubed.  We called our kids.  Life was great.  When we woke up the next morning at 8:15 we were both surprised we had slept in so very late for parents standards!

Tuesday we went to breakfast at Benson's by the Sea- they have amazing breakfast and the owner herself served us.  Then we walked over to the Free Marsh Museum where we saw all sorts of goodies and grossies.  We walked a bit on the beach and headed back to the hotel to pack up some snacks and water and went to explore Cape Disappointment.  To say we were not disappointed is the truth!  We sincerely couldn't have asked for better weather.  The hiking was wonderful and the wildlife viewing was supreme.  Back to the hotel for some swimming and hot-tubing and then we walked into town for a bite to eat.

Weds. we slept in again-- this time only until about 8, and we took our time getting ready.  We had breakfast again at Benson's.  This day we split an order of French toast-- pretty amazing stuff(We saw it on our way from the day before and knew we had to go back!!!).  Then we explore a bit more around long beach before heading back home.  We had a daughter waiting for us with hives, another one we needed to get to dance, both older kids needed homework help.  But hey-- that is just the way it is after 10 years marriage-- right?

I really think I could be an awesome photographer if I had a kick-butt camera.  Anyone feel like donating to my cause?

Long Beach, Washington
September 19-22, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Club Sandwich Generation(A post about Alzheimer's)

I have been hearing about the "Sandwich Generation" for a while now.  A generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.  I was reading some materials online and found the term:  Club Sandwich Generation:  those in their 50s or 60s, sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren. OR those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.  This feels more like me and my situation(I am only in my 30's- yo!).  Plus I like bacon, and isn't bacon usually on a club?

Today I met with a social worker at my parents home to discuss how she can lend her support to our family, give an objective point of view and provide valuable resources to us in this time of my parents needs. My family needs help to evaluate my Dad's needs and where he is at in his current and upcoming stage of Alzheimer's. My Mom needs help to understand how she can best support him. She also needs help on how to get the help she needs to keep herself healthy and strong.

I sat with my 2 1/2 year old on my lap and looked across the room at my Mom in her rocker with her cute dog on her lap, and my sweet Dad on the couch next to her silently listening.  He would catch me looking at him and wink.  It made me smile.  Made me think of some level he knew we were trying to help him.  We love him so much.  We respect him and care about him so deeply.  I think to some degree I always knew I would be happy to help with my "aging" parents.  I just never expected to be helping with them while my children are so very young still.  This wasn't supposed to happen for another 20 years. 

Of course, my dismay is nothing compared the dismay my parents must be feeling.  They had many dreams and goals for after retirement that will never be achieved.  Their hearts definitely ache more than mine.  My mom has lost a huge part of her life; she has lost her companion and the dearest friend she has ever known. 

Its been an interesting process this summer.  My Mom and I met with an estate attorney so we can make sure we have all things financial in order in the event Dad needs to go into a home sooner rather than later(as the doc seems to think he will).  This attorney gave Mom valuable information on how to set up her will and affairs.  She let us  know specifics of the Oregon laws to better protect herself and her assets so she won't be a burden on the community when Dad's monthly housing costs will be very expensive.  This attorney also gave us a referral to the social worker we met with today.

We still have so much to go through.  The road in front of us is still very rocky and hard to see.  But there are days when I feel better prepared and that can help me feel calmer.  I have to take on Alzheimer's on a day-by-day basis-- sometimes an hour-by-hour basis and remember the Man inside my Dad.  He is still there somewhere.  And he raised me to love my family and others, no matter their disabilities.

To my friends who are my parents age(And I have many of you):  Please get regular check ups.  Don't let Alzheimer's slip in before its too  late.  They have drugs that can slow and virtually stop the progression if they can catch it early enough!  They find Alzheimer's on a brain scan such as an MRI.  I have a number of resources of doctors, attorney, and now social workers that I would be happy to share.

To my friends who have parents going through this, or starting to go through this:  You are not alone.  You have the ability to be a very big support person to your parents right now.  Keep an eye on the symptoms of Alzheimer's.  (  And don't be afraid to voice your concerns to your parents.  Even if they get defensive, if you are doing it in love, how much can your parents really hold it against you?

To Friends of Friends who are going through this:  Just listen and love.  Even if you had a distant relative or even a grandparent, its not the same as a parent.  To loose a family member, but have to deal with them on a consistent basis in ways that are not charming or respectful, and sometimes abusive is extremely painful.  We need our friends just to love us.  You give us the strength and the fodder to keep smiling.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy 10th!

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Happy 10th Anniversary Sweetheart! 
It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been interesting. 
I am grateful for our committment to eachother.  You have been a sweet companion and a good friend.  I am glad we are hanging on to eachother, even when there have been times it would have been easier to let go. 
I love you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sept. 6th, 2011- 1st and 2nd Grade

Nathan did NOT want his picture taken.  He wasn't too excited about school, except he enjoyed his and my tradition of going and getting donuts and "Every Day A Donut Day!"  It was a gorgeous morning to start school. 

As is tradition, we walked down.  Nathan, still bent out of shape about the photo above, didn't want me to walk him to school.  He said:  I am in 1st grade now.  I don't need you to walk me to class, besides, I want to play outside on the playground.

Leila enjoyed her walk with her Daddy.  She was excited, but a little nervous.  In her hand is a picture she made for me that she kept with her all day for comfort.

At school, suddenly Nathan seemed glad we were with him.  But actually, both kids felt more comfortable than they have in previous years.

Nate got a little overwhelmed picking out his seat(He has a hard time making decisions).  But was happy once he settled in.

Leila sat right down with her friend Jordyn from Girl Scouts and was happy to start working.  Kathryn got a little sad to leave them.

Dad went off to work, and I CELEBRATED!

I have no idea how in the world I am going to entertain this little girl though.... but the "low-grade fighting" was a welcome subtraction from the house. At least until 3:00. ;O>

Sunday, September 4, 2011

8 is Great!

Sept. 4th marks the Day when Jeremy and I became parents!  What a wonderful and blessed day that was!

I always tell Leila that in the months before having her I would have very vivid dreams of her.  I especially liked the dream when they would bring her to me the first time and our eyes would meet.  I always tell her when that happened, it was my biggest dream come true.

Leila is very excited to be 8! She said on the way to church she was starting to feel like an eight-year-old. She is very kind and compassionate, always want to help out those who aren't feeling well. She is sassy and wants what she wants, but she knows what is right and always makes the right choices.

We had a very laid back picnic with our family and some friends at a local park. The kids had a blast and Leila enjoyed herself immensely. Thanks to everyone who supports and loves Leila. Thanks to everyone who supports and loves Jeremy and I and helps us to be better parents to this amazing little big girl!

We love you our BIG GIRL!  So glad to have you in our family!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Move Over Buzz...

....Here comes RED!