Monthly Archives: December 2011

Christmas Recap

Friday morning Jim and I did our last little bit of Christmas shopping.  We got The Help DVD for my Mom and finally got a text from my nephew about a book he’d like.  We also found out that he had never seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation so we picked up a copy of that too since he HAD to watch it.

Christmas Eve we always go out to my Mom’s house.  In normal years it consists of opening gifts, going to church and then home for a prime rib dinner.  This is not a normal year but we managed to do pretty well.  I took all the food out and was determined to take things that Mom would like to eat.  We took shrimp cocktail (to toast my aunt, shrimp was her favorite), spinach artichoke dip, chicken liver pate (Jim makes it and Mom really likes it… blech), four types of cookies including Mom’s absolute favorites that she refuses to share with anyone, beef stick and cheeses to nosh on during the day.  For dinner we took brisket, potato casserole and corn soufflé. 

We got there about 11am and after everything was unloaded (the Jeep was packed between the gifts and the food and the TV we were taking out since Mom’s crapped out) we decided to open gifts.  Everyone loved their gifts.  Mom got Robert the Toy Story Rocket Ship and Donald gave him the five companion action figures so he was thrilled.  We noshed all day long (Mom ate a lot!)  We watched Christmas Vacation and Mom even got in a nap. 

Mom played Star Wars a bit with Robert and we even had a good old fashioned dominoes game after dinner.  All in all it was a good day.  I think it wore Mom out a bit but she did pretty well overall.  We also left her refrigerator fully stocked for she and Donald.

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Christmas Eve it took FOREVER to get Robert to go to sleep.  He was up past midnight.  I kept telling him Santa couldn’t come if he was awake.  I actually wound up falling asleep but luckily woke up at 4am so I could make sure that Santa had made it.

When he woke up Christmas morning we told him Santa had come.  Of course, the first thing he did was grab his “blaster” to go check it out.  He was delighted with his presents… a whole lot of Star Wars, Legos, Toy Story 3 and Cars 2… with Rock Em Sock Em Robots thrown in because Mommy thought it would be fun.  The rest of the day was spent playing with toys, playing the Wii and generally relaxing.  In the midst of playing I did get a big hug and “thank you for my presents Mama!”  I love this kiddo.

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It was a good Christmas Day but it was also a bit empty.  The usual the past few years has been that everyone comes over to our house in the afternoon.  With Mom too sick to come this year and my aunt gone we skipped that part.  I still stand by our decision to not leave the house on Christmas Day.  It’s something my Mom started when I was 7ish… she said it was ridiculous to get a bunch of presents Christmas morning and then be shuttled off to other places and not have a chance to play.  We would go anywhere and everywhere the days/weekends before and after but Christmas Day we were always home.

I miss my aunt so much right now it phsycally hurts.  She would have loved to watch Robert this year.  I still think, “I need to call her and tell her what Robert said…” but I can’t.  And I’m clinging to the fact that I can still call my Mom and tell her.

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It Really Was Divine

One of the December Daily photo prompts was something divine.  I’m terribly behind on the whole project but I did have one for that prompt.  It’s this…
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Mom was worried about how Robert was going to react to her new hair cut.  His reaction, he didn’t.  All he saw was Grandma, his favorite person.  This is within five minutes of us getting there.  He is showing her all of his Star Wars Legos.  I love that he never noticed she’s bald.  I also love that she could care less about Star Wars Legos but she listened so intently as he rambled on about each one and what they were and what they did.

Sunday I put a few “test presents” under the tree.  Robert really wanted to open them but has done pretty good about it.  Monday night he went over and stood by the tree and said, “I wonder which one I’m going to open first?”  I told him we’d find out in six days and he gave me a look that indicated Mama is a real Grinch.

Mom had her final chemo on Monday.  That is my Christmas present.  I baked cookies and reindeer bark for the staff at the doctor’s office.  I hear it got rave reviews.  Mom said that it was so nice of me to think of doing that and I told her I learned from her.  When my Dad was in the hospital she always had bags of gourmet candies in her bag to give to nurses, doctors and the cleaning staff.  Her go to was generally chocolate pastel cherries in a bag tied with a gold cord bow.  She doesn’t remember… I do.  Always treat the people with the needles nice Smile

I had two people left on my list to get something for and both were super hard to buy for so we headed to Stuff on Tuesday night to knock them out.  I got the perfect gift for both people and was so relieved to be done!  I love that every time I’ve been in there I’ve heard one or both of the owners personally thank customers for coming in… and they gift wrap!  Whoo hoo!

On the way to Stuff in the car Robert there was some interesting conversation:
Robert:  Mama, you’re my best friend!
Me:  You’re my best friend too!
Jim:  Who is my best friend?
Robert:  It’s not me!!!
Luckily Jim’s ego is in tact and we both cracked up.

When we were driving through the Plaza I said to Robert, “Look at the lights”  His response, “They did a good job!”  Um, he’s four!

Got everything done I had on my list at the office by quitting time Wednesday.  I’m officially on 12 days of much needed vacation.  Of course, I’m still answering emails and there’s already a crisis with a report that I’ve never done in the past but has to be done by Tuesday.  The person who usually does it is in Mexico so I have a feeling I’ll be running to the office Tuesday morning to take care of things.  Everyone who works on the grant it’s for is on vacation… oh what fun.

Jim was off Wednesday and stayed home to take care of some cleaning so we could have a few days of just us while Robert is in school.  Today we did some shopping (one of use had not started yet… it’s always so much fun shopping with someone when they’re shopping for you… ugh!)  I made a reservation for us at Julian in Brookside because Jim really likes to go there and it’s a more adult restaurant so it’s easier to go without Robert.

Tomorrow we’re doing some errands and getting groceries for Christmas Eve dinner at Mom’s house.  I told her we’d just bring everything so it would be easier.  She is starting to get some taste back and really looking forward to Jim’s chicken liver pâté.  I think we’re going to do brisket, potato casserole and corn soufflé.  All things my nephew really likes.  Oh yeah… a plate of cookies for dessert and some other snacky stuff for the afternoon.   She’s getting stronger.  She still wears out pretty easy and her immune system is shot so we have to be careful about germ exposure but her attitude is really good.

Mom wanted a mail box for Christmas so we installed that last week. We put four new tired on my nephew’s Explorer last week so that’s pretty much his Christmas so Robert’s going to be the only one with anything to open.  I don’t like that.  I’m going to pick up a couple of small things for him to give Grandma and Donald tomorrow.  I want him to realize it’s just as important to give as it is to receive.  We’ll probably get The Help DVD for Mom and I don’t know what for Donald.  I texted him that I need some ideas from him by 10am tomorrow.

We had dinner with my uncle and the girlfriend tonight.  He has changed so much this year.  It really feels like I don’t know him anymore.  I miss my aunt so much and it feels like I’ve lost them both.  I have been trying to keep an open mind so that Robert doesn’t lose the relationship but quite frankly my uncle seems to be attached at the hip to this woman and doesn’t interact with Robert like he used to. 

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From the Oh Crap Annals

The past two weeks have just plain sucked.  A week ago we had to put Mom in the hospital with pneumonia.  They sent her to the ER from her radiation appointment when she was too weak to do the treatment.  I was relieved to find out it was just pneumonia.  That can be cured with anti-biotic.  She only weighed 106 pounds when we checked her in.  She’s 5’7” tall.  She wound up being in the hospital for five days in Blue Springs… about 20 minutes from my office in the wrong direction.  It was a long five days for me to say the least.  She had days where she just wasn’t tracking well and I was worried we were losing ground.  We thought she was going to come home on Saturday but then she started having cardiac issues and her stay got extended.  Luckily they think they can control that with medication and she finally got home on Sunday.

It’s our busiest time of the year at work.  With five Christmas Stores for clients starting this week and trying to get all the year end reporting done before my vacation starts next Thursday coupled with more media interviews to set up and events that start before work and go past quitting time.  On top of everything else our  Executive Director resigned today. I am very saddened by the news.  He is a good man.  Board members will be on site tomorrow morning in order to communicate with us what the current plan going forward is.  There is always great fear when there is a change in leadership.  Especially in a position like mine.  A lot of times the new Executive Director will have Development people they would like to work with and it’s not uncommon for a complete turnover of the Development Staff within six months of the hiring of a new Executive Director… yee ha.  Nobody likes change.  Nobody likes uncertainty.  There are also some potential PR nightmares… so happy I am in charge of PR too… NOT!  So the next few weeks should be interesting to say the least.

Four more work days until vacation… four more work days until vacation… four more work days until vacation…

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May The Force Be With Us

Santa Yoda

Robert is in love with Star Wars right now so I got him the Star Wars Lego Advent calendar.  Of course, he wanted to open all 24 of the boxes at once.  I finally convinced him that we only open one a day.  We were trying to do the boxes in order but that has already flown out the window so we’ve settled for one box a day of his choosing.  The first one he opened was Santa Yoda.  Santa Yoda has sort of become my holiday mascot.  “Slow down you will!  Feel the force!”

Sunday we went to  a Christmas and Dessert Auction for one of our offices.  They had a cake in the shape of the Death Star and Robert fell in love with it.  So we took a chance and bid on it.  And we won!  He was thrilled.  It was not the most delicious cake I’ve ever had but it thrilled my little guy so it was worth it.  I tried to get him to yell, “Yuuup!” in the auction and he wouldn’t so I had to settle for me raising his arm for him.

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After enduring the first five weeks of her six week treatment course with minimal discomfort and complication week six is here and the wheels have fallen off the bus.  Yesterday was supposed to be Mom’s last chemo appointment but when she got there she was too weak and her numbers so low she was not able to do it.  She also opted to skip her radiation treatment and come home.  She lost 10 pounds last week and didn’t have ten pounds to lose.  Nothing tastes good and it’s hard to swallow.  Her hair is thinning quickly and she’s a bit miffed that apparently the brown hair is falling out quicker than the gray.

My poor nephew was beside himself yesterday.  It’s not easy for him to see my Mom sick… especially this sick.  He couldn’t get her to eat and that was frustrating him to no end.  This morning he texted to tell me she had decided to skip radiation again.  So, tonight after work instead of going home I headed to Mom’s for the night.  I stopped at the grocery store and got a wide selection of soft foods and a huge jug of protein powder.  I explained to her that I can’t make it easier to eat but at least this way we can put extra calories in what she does eat so that it will count double.

I’ve been able to do a few light chores for her and look at the air compressor for my nephew and ascertain the tire chuck has gone missing so I ordered another one.  He’s having tire troubles.  Truth is he needs new tires.  That’ll run about $500.  I don’t have an extra $500 so I got some stuff out of Mom’s basement I’ve been saving… keeping my fingers crossed that I can work some ebay magic for a little Christmas miracle for the kid.  He’s trying hard to get a job and I’m fearful at this point he might have a blow out on the way to put in applications.  Last thing we need is for him to get hurt.  He’s under so much stress right now.  He’s only 20 and he so tender hearted.  Seeing my Mom like this is tough on him but he’s really stepping up.  I know she is a difficult patient and can be downright mean and not even realize it.

I told my nephew I’d come out Saturday night and he could go hang out with friends and have some time away.  And gave him money for gas and a little pocket money.  He’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a home health nurse and the fact he is here means I can still work for now.  If Mom is doing better I’ll be back home tomorrow night.  Worst case I’ll start splitting my time between here and home one night here and one night home.  Luckily Jim is in town the rest of the year.  And if we can get this last chemo done next Monday and wrap up the radiation Thursday then Mom should start to get some of her strength back.

Luckily Robert’s Christmas is all purchased, wrapped and stashed in the basement.  99% of the rest of my shopping is done also.  I’m hoping that Friday night/Saturday we can get the tree and stockings up and maybe even get some holiday baking done.  Just having to play it by ear. 

I had hoped to get out of town for a quick weekend before Christmas but it’s not going to happen.  With work commitments it’s just not possible this year.  Jim and I are both on vacation from the 22nd through the first of the year.  The 22nd and 23rd Robert will be in preschool so I’m hoping we can plan some fun together time and do lunch, etc. 

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