Category Archives: My kids are growing up!

Life goes on……

“The thing Margo told me about, is that here now?”

“What thing?”

“The thing, you like it”

“Oh you mean the weekend?”

“Yes when does that start? We never had weekends when I grew up in Ohio so this is new”

“Yes it starts TODAY!!!”  :)

So went the conversation between Curt and I this afternoon.

It reminded me of the good and bad of life these days.  The good being the weekend, the bad the reminder of Curt’s progression with Alzheimer’s.

I feel like this school year has been a roller coaster ride filled with ups and downs, good and bad.  The bad is the daily reminder of the progression of Alzheimer’s in Curt.  He is having trouble finding certain rooms in the house now.  He will say he is ready for bed and be so tired, but then ask, “where should I go?”  He gets confused on where the bathroom is frequently.  The anger of last spring is starting to rear it’s ugly head a bit also.  In the last month or so, he would suddenly become so angry at me for random things.  He was getting mad when I told him to take his shoes off so we could get his pajamas on for bed, he saw no reason to take his shoes off and thought I was being pushy telling him to take off his shoes first. 

And the spatial concepts of life are totally gone, he is even having trouble being able to place himself in a chair with out assistance. Just today while out at a yard sale, Curt was saying he was losing his water. (He had been walking around yard sales with a water bottle).  I looked over and he had been holding his water bottle at this angle not upright. He had NO idea that this was not the best way to hold a water bottle.   It happens frequently….. darn spatial concepts!

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  Alzheimer’s is so much more then losing memories I am painfully finding out!

But there is some good in amidst the misery.

Tyler has been writing these beats on the computer with garage band, he and Curt are enjoying sharing some music time together just like they did in days gone by.

Madi turned 16….finally!! She got her driver’s permit and we enjoyed a nice morning together while a friend stayed with Curt on her birthday.

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Tyler had a great baseball season….he won All League honors and ended the season with a .520 batting average, hitting 8 doubles, 5 triples and 3 home runs.  It made for a fun season watching him play his senior year of high school baseball! It was such a joy especially after his broken ankle frustrations of basketball season.

ty at bat senior yeat

I survived the spring sports season, there were moments when I questioned my sanity and ability to persevere.  But I made it!! :)

Tyler and his sweet girlfriend enjoyed a nice night at Prom, and they looked so nice.  Just another moment for this sentimental mom to cherish of a special time for my soon to be grad.

prom

I started this post sometime in mid may and got caught up in the whirlwind of life and never finished it until today June 1st!  Tyler’s baseball team made it into the post season so that kept  baseball season going until late May, there were awards ceremonies, baseball banquets, laundry, (ok, the laundry never really gets done anymore, we just wash what we need for the week ahead,  we all wear non matching socks these days.  And we totally rock the look!), lacrosse practices for a team Madi is playing for this summer, a special 4 day visit from Curt’s parents.  May just got so busy……and then there are those emotional mom moments when I ponder the fact that Tyler’ is graduating!!

Curt REALLY enjoyed his visit with his parents, they live deep in the depths of southern Texas and don’t get this way too often so it was indeed a wonderful time!

M and D M visit

So alas I am finishing this post……I survived SPRING!!!  Actually I am pretty happy to have gotten through all that craziness still intact, sure a few tears were shed in the process, but I pressed on! :)  And I must give a big shout out to all the friends who continually walk this journey with us.  Truly I would be lost with out all the help!  Forgive me for not always thanking you personally or not at all, I feel certain that I forget to thank people at times….really I want to, intend to, but it all gets lost in that constant brain fog!  But you are cherished and appreciated…….and really needed!

Friends just finished up Tyler’s senior collage for me…..just another example of the help we have gotten.  And let me assure you, not in a million years could this craft/scrapbooking disabled mom ever have made anything look this good.  Thanks to my sweet crafty and talented friends Cindi and Sherry!

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Tyler graduates in 12 days, a big milestone.  I am thankful for each of the milestones Curt can enjoy with us.  And thankful that summer vacation starts for this weary mom on June 14th!

Thanks for your prayers friends!

So long 2011

Well I can’t really say 2011  has been good to us…..but I can thank God for many of the blessings we have seen along the journey of living with Alzheimer’s.  There are many good things that have happened this year, and I am choosing to reflect upon them on this New Years Eve!  It is a choice to see the good in the storm of life, and I daily battle with that, but let me tell ya……choosing the positive over the negative sure makes things go a little easier!  Just sayin! :)

Family has been a huge blessing to us this year, and I am thankful for Curt’s family and my fam.  Their love and support is priceless!  This is a Christmas pic of my mom and I, she has always been a great support for me!

Our family ski trip last Jan. to Mt. Snow, Vt was an extra special blessing and was basically paid for by someone who has chosen to remain anonymous!  It was a great memory maker.  The kids and I were just reflecting fondly about the trip the other day!

FRIENDS are the greatest!!  It has been so sweet to see how many friends have called and wanted to get together with Curt and our family.  It has been so nice for Curt to reconnect with old friends and stay connected with current friends.  It has meant so much to Curt to get together for pizza, a ballgame or just anything with friends.  Let me tell ya, our friends have been good to us in 2011. THANK YOU!

My big 17 year old boy getting a baseball scholarship to Liberty Univ was another highlight of the year.  The recruiting process takes a great deal of time and effort, and it is nice to have that behind us.  With everything else to figure out, it’s great to have Tyler’s college plans taken care of.  And let me just tell you, I LOVE Liberty, the campus, the coaches,  the educational program and christian atmosphere, it just warms this mom’s heart! And I am thankful that Curt is still be able to fully understand the magnitude of Tyler’s accomplishment.  For the dad who spent ENDLESS hours pitching to his son and throwing with him, I am blessed to see the pride in his dad’s eyes as he knows his boy will be playing Division 1 College Baseball!

We spent much of the summer traveling in our van! From Columbus Ohio to Atlanta Ga, we conquered a big portion of the highways of the US.  And despite the busy schedule, we did have a lot of fun!!  Lots of great memories were made this summer!

Madi grew 3 inches this year and has transformed into quite a lovely young lady.  Her kindness and helpful spirit continue to bless me!  The first picture is of her with her science fair project in March, the 2nd is fall homecoming. Can you see the difference?! :)

Those are just a FEW of the blessings of the year 2011.  The years go by fast and I am learning to cherish the moments.  The days may be long, the frustrations constant, but the special moments that come along remind me to slow down, and cherish.  They can bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart in the middle of a long journey.

  I am going to end with how we ended our year with  a few pics from our Christmas Fun!

Happy New Year…….may we all find those special moments and blessings on the journey of 2012!

Summer Finally and We’re Off on our baseball adventures!

Summer Break, it’s finally here!  It is much needed and anticipated!

My last day of school was somewhat emotional……I cried a bit thinking of what a crazy, exhausting school year it’s been.  From finding out on Oct 1st of Curt’s diagnosis, to the decision for him to stop working, to being at school every day with out him.

Then as our entire school district was gathered for our end of the year meeting, I really teared up!  Curt was due to receive his 15 year award for being with the district for 15 years ( He previously taught in another district for 10 years).  As he went up to accept his award, the sweet colleagues, friends and employees of our school district gave Curt an endearing standing ovation, the superintendent gave him a hug and whispered in his ear that she continues to pray for him!  Well that was all I needed to open the flood gates of tears.  Actually it still brings me to tears as I type this.  It was a moment to cherish.  Such good people of our district!

Yet it was also one of those moments that didn’t seem real.  I stood so touched by the love and care of the friends of our school district, but also stood in disbelief that this is really happening to us.

Shortly after that, I found this neat framed print that seemed to capture the theme of our life these days. It simply reads “Remember the moments, not the days”  The days may seem long, but there are beautiful moments to remember.

But I barely set foot into summer, when we were out the door for our first of many baseball tournaments to Va Tech.  Curt and the kids picked me up at school after that emotional last day and I drove the fam to Va Tech.  After a long day I got a little goofy as we were driving through West Va.  I cranked up the country music and tried to take a little video while I drove.  Excuse the quality of the video, but the looks on the faces of Tyler and Madi are priceless.  They look so VERY mortified that we are their parents and we are acting this way!  Don’t ya just love being the parents of teens! :)  And do me a favor don’t tell the kids I posted this on my blog…..ha ha ha!

Curt and Madi outside the stadium at Va Tech

Our schedule is a bit crazy, we have  baseball tournaments scheduled at Univ of Md, Ohio State, Wake Forest, Univ of Cincinnati, and Atlanta, Ga for a week. And guess who hates driving….yep that would be me!  Curt usually drove us everywhere for years, while I read and napped in the car.  Well this summer I will be sharing the driving duties with Tyler…..no more napping for me.  Two thoughtful friends sent me Starbucks gifts cards……I already spent about 5 dollars off of one of them driving home from Va Tech!  So you can call me the “Car driving Caffeine Chick” this summer! :)

So our summer tour has begun, we are off to Univ of Md this weekend.  Look for pictures of our summer adventures.  Pray for lots of coffee, fun, and safety!  I promise I will post more on how Curt is doing next time.  Things have gotten a bit worse, and we are seeing more and more symptoms.  It is such an unpredictable and unforgiving disease!


He’s 15

SportTman is 15 years old and 6ft. 3in tall!  How did this happen?!!?!  My big teen young man!

Well the big 15 year old and I went on a 15 mile bike ride along the C & O Towpath into Washington DC last Monday.  We started in Great Falls, Md and ended in Georgetown just outside of Washington, DC.



We had a blast, the ride was filled with adventure, it was such a diverse trail, one minute we would be in the middle of no where, in a swampy area filled with blue herons, and ducks.  10 minutes later we are riding under a bridge carrying all the DC traffic on the beltway.

I quickly realized our adventure was so much more than an adventure……..I had my 15 year old teen all to my self for 2 hours.  No cell phone distractions, no friends around, just the two of us riding the trail together.


We bonded, we talked, we enjoyed some quiet moments, we enjoyed just being together.  And as I travel the sometimes rocky waters of being a mom to teenagers, I realize that it is these moments that are so vital to making the passage through those waters a lot easier!

The gift of time spent together, it is such a powerful part of  those teen years.  I had such a blast with my teen, and believe it or not, he would say the same thing!


 

Are they different? You bet!

I have been blessed to have both a boy and a girl.  The Inventor is currently 12, soon to be 13 and SportTman is 15.   As you can see from the picture above, they are both such lovely children!

I have noticed a “few” differences between them over the years, and just recently heard these things around my house.


The Inventor, ” Mom, have you seen my TEAL shirt?”

SportTman, “What is TEAL?”

The Inventor, “It’s a shade of green, with a bit of blue in it.”

SportTman, “Then just call it greenish, w/ some blue!!!!”



At bedtime

I sat and talked with The Inventor for over a half hour, I had gone in to say good night, and what followed was a usual lengthy bedtime discussion.

I then went down to say good night to SportTman, he simply said “Good night Mom” and he was off to sleep!!!


Mornings

Then Inventor sets her alarm and gets up each morning at 6:00, her clothes are laid out the night before, she lingers in the bathroom, and has her school stuff all laid out and ready to go each morning.

SportTman, gets up at 6:30, takes a quick shower, gathers his clothes from the floor, or clean laundry basket, looks helplessly around his floor for his school books.  And scurries out to the car, often still putting on his shoes!

I love them both, and love how God created each child so unique and special!

God truly did make

Girls and Boys

Men and Women

Husband and Wives

different.

All for His purposes!


Teenagers!

Now that I have a son in high school and a daughter in middle school, I have begun to notice a few signs that I am a true mom of teens.

I said to my classroom aide “BRB” (texting talk for be right back) when I had to leave class for a moment to go to the bathroom.

I took the kids to McDonalds for a fun breakfast last Sat. morning and I literally knew half of the teens who worked there!

I notice SportTman watching me more as I drive, and asking a lot of questions about my driving skills and road wisdom.

I am competent at the beginner level of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, and proud of it! :)

I am tripping over size 13 men’s sneakers and size 9 women’s sneakers.

These are just a FEW of the things I have noticed this past week.

Aeropostale

aeropostale

My kids are 12 & 14 and today we bought our first item at Aeropostale.  Actually it was the first time we even went in the store.

Aeropostale for those of you with out tweens/teens is one of the latest hip, trendy stores to come down the pike.  “All the kids” are wearing Aeropostale.  Except of course my kids…………. until now.   And actually they really didn’t care that they were not big Aeropostale ( or Hollister, or Abercrombie) consumers.

We went in the store while feeling frustrated at not being able to find a bathing suit long enough for SportTman’s ever growing long legs!  We were looking everywhere.  While in there we spotted this shirt on sale, 2 for $30.  SportTman was in desperate need of a nicer shirt, so I bought 2 for him.

So that is how we got our first Aeropostale shirt…..and for those of you who are still reading this…..you are wondering, so what?  What’s the big deal?aeropostale-2950Well to us it is a big deal.  Up until now we have resisted buying hip and trendy clothes for our kids.  We keep up with style trends to a certain point.  However we buy most clothes at Kohls and even WalMart.  And guess what folks, my kids actually have LOTS of friends even though they don’t wear name brand clothes.  ( at this point please detect my sarcasm)

We have stressed to our kids to be in this world but not to be ruled by this fading world.  It’s ok to be part of the world to a certain degree, but the problem for teens is when they embrace the things of this world with passion, excitement and obsession.  And they don’t embrace the things of God in the same way.  My kids are not ruled by fashion trends, they understand styles come and go, but it is who they are in Christ, that will never change!

Buying a simple shirt today, taught my teen/tween a  great deal on how they view this world!  It turned out to be a great lesson!

How did I get here!!??

Work for Me Wednesday

Tips for moms who are weary! :)

For more Works for Me Wednesday, Check out We Are That Family!

My 6’1″ son asked today if I could please get him new jeans since his are getting too short…..again!  My daughter asked for band-aids because she cut her leg shaving.  How did I get to this point………. my almost 12 year old is shaving her legs and my 14 year old is over 6 feet!  I remember people telling me “it goes so fast, enjoy ‘em!”  And “they” were right!
Well I have learned a few key things over the years and I thought I would share them with those who still have younger kids.  Just a little advice to keep you going when in those moments you think to yourself..Does this really matter?  Will this make a difference? Will this shape their character?  Will this draw my kids to God?  And for those tired, weary moments that everyone has…..hang in there what you are doing matters! :)

Here are a few things I have learned over the years……..

Read, read and  read to them while they are young!!!  I know I am a teacher telling you this, but I have seen what a difference it has made in my kids!  They are not huge readers at this age, but will pick up a book and enjoy it when they have time.  We used to pay them a dollar a book in the summer and other reading motivational incentives to get them to read.  I am convinced the background knowledge from books has made both of my kids good students.
Do not feel bad about disciplining your children.  I know it is hard at times.  But it is so important for children to understand there are consequences to their behavior.  This understanding is huge when they are teenagers.  My kids do not like being grounded now, nor did they like spankings, time outs or having privileges taken away when they were little.  But they accept them now, since they know their are consequences to their actions.
Be involved with their lives.  Teach their Sunday School class, help coach a soccer team, be a room mother, allow them to get used to having you around for their activities.  When they are teens and don’t always want you around, they will be much more comfortable with it since they are “used to having you around.”
Talk to their friends, find out what is going on in their lives, be personal with them.
Start early with feeding them food that is good for them, even if they keep spitting it out, keep trying.  Once they are teens (especially boys) all hope for good nutrition is gone.  So it helps if they come into those tween years with healthy habits!
Don’t rush the kids to embrace the latest trends, styles, or material objects.    Don’t rush them to see movies that are “just a bit beyond their age group.”  Don’t rush them into growing up.  Don’t give them a cell phone in 4th grade.  Let them wait for things. This is very helpful when they are teens when things really start to move fast and they want everything. If they are used to waiting is is SO much easier!  If they are used to being ahead of their peers, and getting everything they want, they will be very demanding of this as teens.  My kids still have not asked for a cell phone!  And we did not rush them into different stages of growing up and even though they have been public school kids all along, they still have a healthy sense of innocence to them.
Have FUN, be silly with them. Do activities with just them.  I have played 9 holes of golf with my son the last 3 summers, I am no golfer, and walking 9 holes of golf is not my idea of fun.   But the time together with him is priceless.  I met him at his level and interests and it always lends itself to fun and bonding.  He is 14 and he is still fine with hanging out and doing fun things with his mom.
Family game nights, silly times together, sleepovers in a tent in your house, wrestling with the kids, baking together, swinging on swings with them, playing laser tag with them, go hiking together.  Just a few ideas.

I know see how important the foundation we built for my kids when they were younger is so important now!

So there is my Part 1 on How did I get here and What Have I Learned. Stop by next week, same Bat time and same Bat place for Part 2.

Life and Times of Me

I got home from school on a beautiful Thurs. afternoon and knew even though my schedule looked VERY busy that I really need to get a nice bike ride workout in. So I attempted to squeeze it in during a 45 min. empty time slot I had.  Thinking that it looked nice out, but that I would be cold, I dressed in a sweatshirt and sweatpants.  Now try to get a mental picture of what I am going to present to you here……..
I’m heading out on my bike, about 5 min. into the ride I knew I overdressed.  I was sweating away, so I did as any trendy 40 something momma biker does, I rolled up my pants above my knees cuz I was hot!  I happened to glance down and notice that I was still wearing my brown dress socks from school, with my lovely black sweatpants. I must also note at this time, in my rush this morning I could not find my nice girly brown dress socks, so I wore my husbands!
Feeling like a real athletic dork, I pressed on not wanting to go home to change!
As I got farther out into the county relieved that no cars had passed me for the last 10 min.  I decided that…… (this is fair warning for those who did not grow up with brothers may find my actions offensive, you may want to stop reading this post.)
I decided that I needed to hawk a good loogie, ok for those who are not familiar with 14 year old boy language that I  often hear these days………. I needed to spit.  And for those of you who grew up with sisters only and may find that offensive,  see if this sounds better…I needed to discharge some saliva.  So just as I  discharged some saliva I heard a car go by.  I looked up to see my neighbors, and as any women who was just seen by her neighbors riding her bike with hot pink headphones in her ears, discharging saliva, her pants rolled up and gorgeous brown dress socks showing for all to see.  I did as any good women would do……I waved!
I arrived home 25 minutes later to find that my children and a large neighborhood gang of 6 kids had ordered pizza and had it delivered to SportTman’s fort in the woods.  Nice I don’t have to make dinner tonight!  :)
I realized in that moment on my bike that as long I’m serving Jesus, being a good wife and mom, being embarrassed really doesn’t matter much anymore I don’t have time for it!  Life is about priorities, and riding my bike was a priority.
But even more important,  is that I am striving to  live a life that honors God, even if I look like a dork doing it. Sure there are those times when I end up doing goofy things, forgetful things, embarrassing things, but in the big picture, it really doesn’t matter much in this life.
I strive to have my priorities, actions, and time reflect  Him on a daily basis….even if I am wearing hubs brown dress socks!

Now he knows!

images

Last Friday I had to work while the kids were home alone, just saying home alone, can bring to mind memories of Kevin McCallisters adventures.  But alas, my kids were not chasing robbers from our home and running amuck all over town.
As a matter of fact SportTman was assigned the task of doing his laundry while I was gone…..yes you read right, a 14 year old boy had to do laundry!
And as a proud mom, I would let you know, HE DID IT!!!  He did his laundry.
When I got home and was talking to him about it, he commented that he always wondered what those “soft papery, cotton like things were that he always finds attached to clothes and blankets were.”  He said, he never knew what they were!
Now he knows what fabric softener sheets are!   And he is a better “man,” now that he knows!!!

51y2lzpr2hl_sl500_aa280_pibundle-3topright00_aa280_sh20_

The Inventor

It all started years ago when my dear little girl at the time wondered why her big brother never decorated his forts in the woods.  My sweet girl is now11 and I refer to her in blog land as The Inventor.  She is ALWAYS inventing ways to do things in an easier manner, inventing new contraptions for her room and re-decorating her room.  I recently toured the latest room makeover, and knew I must take pictures to capture the moment!
Some of you may wonder how I can let her “ruin” her room and change things around so much.  Let me tell you there is so much more to it then that.  She has such a creative spirit and loves thinking of new decorations for her room.  Sure I give her some limits, like no painting the walls and please don’t dye your carpet….but aside from that, she has a great deal of free, creative reign.
Through her room changing, rearranging, and reinventing, I have seen her use critical thinking skills, problem solving skills ( ok,  I know that is the teacher in me talking), demonstrate her flair for creativity and gain confidence in her abilities and herself. So someday when you read of my daughter being famous for some helpful invention, I want you to think back to this blog post and think to yourself…..I knew her when she was just 11.  lol
ceiling
She bought these floral patio lights for a dollar at a yard sale and carefully hung them on her ceiling.  The green “thing” hanging off the lights is a plastic monkey hanging by his tail……just in case you were wondering. :)

room-with-out-herin-her-bed

This is where she sleeps in her own little “castle.”  She cut out a variety of shapes with construction paper, and stapled them to a nice, think yarn. and hung them by her bed.  They look just like those bead ones you buy.  She also invented a little hanger for some stuffed animal monkeys, it is the mauve (think early 90′s color) former drapery tie-backs that is now used for monkey holders. :)  Do you see why I love this girls creativity!  And please notice the nightstand to the left of her bed covered with a scarlet, glittery former shower curtain, and the lei she has on all the lampshades in her room.

Yes a girl like this has no concept of why a boy would never choose to decorate his fort!  That is inconceivable to her!

It is so neat as a mom to see how each child is  different and created  with special gifts and abilities……and they both came from the same womb!! It great to see the handiwork of God in each of my children!

For a moment

I think my daughter will turn out ok……

I came up from the basement yesterday to hear The Inventor running the vacuum cleaner in her room.  My first thought was, what did she spill now?  What kind of mess will I encounter when I arrive at her room, I thought to myself.  I slowly made my way up the stairs, peer into her room.

I ask her, “what are you doing honey?”

“Getting all the hair up mom”

“Hair…from what?” I say,  looking at the two little neighbor girls she had over, and also noticing my haircutting scissors on the floor.

The Inventor glances at me and said “the hair we cut off of those old stuffed animals, I was just cleaning it all up!”

I love my daughter! :)