Thursday, October 19, 2017

OT, Music Class, and Park! M's last day of Summer Vacation!

The final day of summer vacation arrived and we packed it with activity!!!  First up we had T's final summer OT session.  We love her OT Miss A so much!  She recognizes how deeply T needs heavy, heavy, heavy work and T thrives when she gets it. 

T: I made this for Miss A!

T: I love doing the bucket pull!

After OT we headed to music class.  We just tried it out.  M didn't like it and T loved it.  I didn't take any pictures during the class, but I got some fountain pictures after the class.  The picture below is, no joke, the very best one.

M: Mom, I didn't like that class and I don't want you to take my picture. 

We decided we all needed some good time with our best friends!  If I remember right we ate an early lunch and then went up and visited them.  We went on a good walk/bike ride and then the kids played back at Charissa's house while little A napped. It as the PERFECT way to spend our last day of summer vacation.  

T: I think A is loving this!
One more because... how sweet is A? 

The big boys loved making there own roller coaster with the Cozy Coupe.  Charissa's driveway is steep enough and L pushed hard enough that they would fly down the driveway across the street and sail up the driveway on the other side or smash into the curb.  Both were seen as enjoyable options.

M: I am so ready for this L!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Meet the teachers night!

We drove right from the children's center to school for supply drop off.  Both kids are in the same school this year so we only had one place to go for drop off!  

M: I am a little nervous about 2nd grade!

M: My new desk!

T:  I am so excited to have the same teacher M had for Kindergarten!

T: I found my camper friend name tag!

After coming home and eating dinner the kids went to the workshop in the basement and started a couple of projects!
T: I started my doll bed.  This is VERY hard work you know!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sc@tter and Ch@tter

After the funeral trip we only had two days left before school was back in session for M.  We packed those days with activity.  

We went to the Children's Center for a great open playtime.  We learned about this awesome place years ago, but didn't really check it out until this summer.  We fell in love with the family activity center and their weekly activities for kiddos with every type of needs. They have a GREAT indoor playground and a classroom with the most fun toys around.  It was such a gift to each of us to be at such a warm and welcoming place.  

M: Can you find me? 

T: I love the monkey bars and ball pit!

M: I got tired of playing quickly and did a project. 

T: Can you find me? 

M: Miss Jennifer let me play with this super cool toy!

M: I worked FOREVER (20-30 min) and I caught it!!!

M: This is my little buddy C.  I always look forward to seeing him!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Football, Family, Fun, Food, "Fotoshoot" and a Funeral


Just a few days after the kids came home from their time in Missouri, we got a call that Brandon's Grandma Pat had passed away.  Pat was Tom's mom and Brandon's last living grandparent. We knew that she wasn't doing very well, but calls like this are sort of sad shock. The timing was tricky for Brandon's parents as they were traveling in Canada.  

We soon learned that the funeral would be Monday afternoon.  We decided to attend the funeral and not to rush home as much as we have in the past.  When Brandon and I got married we had six living grandparents.  When M came home we had six living grandparents.  Up until a fews days before T came home we have had six living grandparents. In the last 4.5 years we have lost five of our wonderful grandparents.  It seems that most of the losses happened in the middle of life's craziness and we have found ourselves driving home and back very very fast.  Brandon has never used his slotted time off as he could.  We realized that the timing of Grandma Pat's (or GG as the kids called her) funeral (before school started) allowed us to go and not have to come back the same day.  

We headed to St. Louis on Sunday after church and came back home on Tuesday evening.  Yes, it was still a short trip, but it was so nice not to have to drive back home on the day of the funeral.  Because of our extended time in St. Louis and because so much of Brandon's family on both sides lives there, we were able to see a lot of family and spend good time with many of them. 

Before I continue the post about our time in St. Louis I want to share a few sweet Grandma Pat/GG moments!

I met Pat when she was almost 80 years old.  She was on the boat at the lake near Brandon's home and telling stories of all the adventures she had on the boat.  She was kind and affectionate and loved to call people "honey."  
I was excited when I learned that Grandma Pat could come up to Fargo to attend our wedding.  She was a hoot and a delight to our day.  While I opted for a lip gloss, she went for her usual bright lipstick.  If Brandon had lip marks on his face that day, they were from her... not his bride!  I am so thankful she could share in our joy that day.  She loves to dance so she might have been a bit bummed that we didn't have a dance. 
The lipstick kiss!
GG (short of Great Grandma) loved her greats!  She was so eager to meet M when he came home.  She loved doing pat-a-cake with him.  Her version is a bit different than the one I grew up with and ends with "toss 'em in a pan."  She does big actions for this and she and M both got a good chuckle out of it every single time!

Such a sweet moment!
GG was known for being a bit chatty!  She loved to tell family stories and just talk about any news she had.  Getting her to pose for a photos was sometimes tricky.  The photo below was definitely the best one. 
The older bunch of greats!  She also had 4 great grand daughters who joined the mix later. 
I will never forget this day with GG and my sweet T.  T and GG sang Jesus Loves Me and we recorded it.  T had a lot of the words wrong, but GG followed her lead.  So precious!

Checking each other out!
We love you Grandma Pat/GG!  

We were so blessed to know this energetic, funny, eccentric, caring woman.  She loved her family well.  She was so very proud of her grandchildren and always spoke with such encouragement to Brandon.  She is now in heaven dancing at the feet of Jesus.  Her presence on earth is missed.  Her legacy lives on in her children, grand children, and great grand children.  We know where she is and we know we will see her again one day!

-----

On Sunday the 27th we attended our home church for the first time in a month.  After the service we finished packing and began our trek to St. Louis.  Our journey started out uneventful, but became much more eventful when I remembered that M's meds were still sitting on our counter at home.  Oh dear!  How were we going to get his meds on a Sunday afternoon?  We called our pharmacy immediately and they said they could transfer to a pharmacy in St. Louis, but that we need to act fast as they would be closing in less than an hour.  We didn't know what pharmacies would be open near where we were staying, but tried a hospital because in our area that is the only 24 hour pharmacy.  The hospital was only open 24 hours of impatient meds so wouldn't be able to help us.  Brandon's uncle (a pharmacist) works at the hospital we called and we are pretty sure they figured out who we were based on the last name and the fact that we said we were going to a funeral.  Anyway, the person at the hospital was super kind and found a 24 hour Walgreens not too far from the place we were staying.  We called there and realized that we were in need of a refill on one of the meds so we needed to email the prescriber or hope that based on the fact that we have had it continually for a long time and that we had recently gotten a refill that if they gave us a few days of meds it would be OK.  Amazingly our prescriber must have checked messages and renewed the Rx on a Sunday!  We were told that both Rx's could be filled.  The one I was worried about said it had more refills available so she must have come to our rescue. Brandon's parents arrived to the area before us and they were able to pick up the Rx.  Problem solved thanks to a smart phone and lots of incredible people.  I am pretty sure I will be triple checking on meds from now on!

As we were nearing St. Louis we could see the arch and were very impressed.  When it came time to actually drive past it actually seemed smaller!


We have arrived!

When we got to Brandon's Aunt Mel's house she and her husband Tim and son T1 were on the phone with a college, so T2 played some ball with us in the yard.  BOTH kids enjoyed it!

M: It sure is fun to be at T's house!

T: I am ready T!

M: I can't believe we get to stay here!

Poor T had a hard time getting work done!

We ended up having quite a late night which meant that Monday morning was very chaotic.  Both kids needed baths and we all needed to get dressed for the day.  M was without his amino acids and probiotics which clearly do help him, because regulation was very hard to come by while we were there.  

Once we got to the funeral home the kids got pretty crazy.  They enjoyed being together and were thrilled to get every single promotional item the nursing home had to offer.  The poor workers there must have been going crazy.  I am so thankful there was a lounge that we could hang out in so we didn't disrupt the visitation.  

It was so great to see the kids so eager to play with each other.  They had just been together less than 10 days before so they picked up right where they left off!

M: These guys are super funny!

I know that M's shirt looks too small.  It was.  He was supposed to be wearing a suit coat to cover the shorter sleeves... oh well.

M: If you have bandaids and plates you can make a frisbee. 

T: A and I made a fort under some chairs. 

Later Brandon's cousin Billy came with his girls.  T enjoyed playing with them as well.

T: M likes to craft, just like me. 

The funeral was a lovely memorial to Pat.  Brandon and his dad both spoke and did a great job.  The boys sat up close with us, but the girls sat in the back with Judy's sisters Valerie and Melody.  I am so very very thankful they were there to help!  

Sweet girls listening to the funeral message. 

After the funeral, the adults went to the burial service and the cemetery, but Brandon's aunts took our kids back to the church where the lunch was going to be served. The cemetery was not very close to the church/funeral home so we were gone quite a while.  Somehow they decided to do a photo shoot.  Amazingly, probably since no parents were present, the kids did very well and lots of great and funny photos were taken.

So much sweetness!

Heart Melting!  Love those two!

Strike a silly pose!

One more silly pose!
Seriously, we should put this one on canvas! 

After the photoshoot the went inside and played in the nursery/classrooms.  They tried their best to leave things better than they found them, but sadly accidentally locked themselves out of the nursery.  We notified the pastor and he didn't think it was a problem.  We sure hope they found a key to get back in!

Crafts, books and Legos!  Perfect!

Thanks for reading Aunt Mel!
We were able to bring flowers from the casket for the girls.  They really enjoyed them, but they didn't last too long!
T: We stopped to smell the roses!
After the meal I was looking across the table and just started laughing.  Brandon, his Uncle Rick and Tom look SO MUCH alike!  Interestingly they have many of the same mannerisms as well.  It was quite fascinating to sit across from them.
Strong genes!

After our time at the church we went to Tom's sister Nancy's house and talked there for a while.  Morale was getting pretty low among the younger generation so we decided to head back to Mel and Tim's house.

Once we got back to Mel's house the kids were VERY tired.  M took a very long nap.  T pretended to nap on Valerie, at least long enough to take a sweet photo.

T: I really did nap, but only for a minute.  

The reason we were fine with M taking a long nap was we knew we had something very exciting coming up.  T2 plays JV football and their games happen to be on Monday nights.  We were THRILLED to be able to attend a game.  The weather was warm and it was a perfect night for a game.  The facility was so beautiful and there were a lot of fans.  Sort of different than JV football games here.

We were ready to cheer!

Football games can be long.  First M took a few photos!

M: I got this great closeup of T!

M: I got this one of the whole group!

There is our favorite player, number 1!!
Some varsity players were on the field.  T1 is talking with T2!
Next it was T's turn to take a couple of photos!

T: I got this closeup of M!
T: Isn't Mommy pretty?!
At half time Mel and Tom took the kids down to get snacks and to say hi to T1 and Tim who assists in coaching the team.  The kids were thrilled to be down there on the sidelines.

T: Hi Uncle Tim, want some popcorn? 

M: Those big football players were playing catch with me!

T 2 was warming up during halftime. 

T came back to the bleachers before Mel and decided to take over her seat.  T looks quite comfortable there.

T: This is much more comfortable than the hard bleachers. 

M was very thrilled to get to stand on the track for the entire second half of the game.  I know he felt very very important doing this!

M: I was just talking with Uncle Tim and T!

After the game T went back out onto the track and into T1's arms to say hello to T2.

T: They were both handsome, but T2 was sweaty!
I love the way both kids are looking at T2!

T: Here T, I made this for you!

T: T put it right on his head!

T:  Then he tried to give me a sweaty hug but I ran away. 

M: I was proud of T!

M: I let him give me a sweaty hug!

Our kids didn't go to sleep until after 11:00 Monday night.  They had so much fun with T and T after the game.  They loved their time in St. Louis.  I am so thankful for the wonderful hospitality of Mel and Tim and the great kindness and love shown by T and T.  They are so good with the kids.  If they lived closer I would try to get them to baby-sit all the time.  I am not sure how they would since they are busy boys, but I know they would be extremely qualified to do it.  I am pretty sure our kids would drive down there again in a heartbeat if they knew they could see T and T. 

On Tuesday we got up and packed and finally got out the door around 10:00 I think.  I can't exactly remember.  Our time in the car was very uneventful, but our Wendy's lunch stop is one I will never forget.  T and I went into the bathroom and T was in there for a long time.  I was pretty sure I could hear someone in the stall next to us at first, but then I heard nothing and assumed they were taking a while too.  

When we walked out of the stall we saw a woman lying on the floor motionless.  I was not expecting to see this and, like a game of hide and seek when someone jumps out at you, I screamed.  The woman then opened her eyes (she wasn't dead Whew!) and told me not to yell.  She wasn't in very good shape.  She said she wanted napkins to cool her head.  I went to get those and told Brandon.  I was back seconds later and told her I needed to get help.  I went and told the employees and they called for an ambulance.  When I returned to the bathroom again an EMT and CNA who were eating together at Wendy's were in there with her and I realized she was in good hands.  We took our food to go and by the time we left the ambulance crew had arrived and things were totally under control.  I was quite shaken up and T was yelling at me over and over again about how I should not have yelled.  Oh dear.  I think there are just some unconscious things that we all do when we are startled.  Several weeks later, she still won't let me forget that one! 

The rest of the trip was uneventful.  We got home ate dinner and went to bed.  We were all very very tired, but so thankful to have celebrated GG's life and created memories with our family.