Friday, December 28, 2007

Mama's Passing

Mama died today at 1:30 pm. I had sat with her all morning and had left to take the boys to lunch. We had just gotten our bill when the nursing home called and told me that it was time and to come back. I was so fortunate to get there before she died. The Hospice nurse, Patti, Mama's CNA, Bridgette, and several of the staff nurses where in the room with me. We all told Mama that it was OK to go and not to worry about us. Bridgette sang, "Jesus Loves Me" (which we all joined in on the chorus), and I held her hand. I had time to tell her that I loved her and not to be afraid to go on. I told her to tell Daddy and Clyde hello for me and to tell them that I loved them. About 10 seconds after that, she breathe her last breath. Mama's last words to me were "I love you" - that was on Tuesday. I have had the honor to be with my Daddy, my brother, and my mother at their passing. I called Larry and he will be flying in tomorrow. Her funeral will be Monday, December 31st, at 11:00 AM.

I will go to the funeral home in the morning at 10:00 to take her clothes. My brother and I had already planned her funeral last year. The hardest time I had was when the funeral home arrived and took her away. I cry not for her but for my loss of both of my parents. However, I lost Mama a long time ago to Alzheimer's. Through all of this, I have learned so many lessons about life and family. In life and in death, God is good.

This picture was made in the early 1950's (before I came along). What a beautiful couple my parents were. They are now reunited!

Last Night

Last night the nursing home called me to come see Mama. They had also called the Hospice nurse. The doctor just happened to be making calls and he was also there. The doctor has started morphine to make her last days painless. The Hospice nurse made my brother talk to her and say his good-byes on the phone. It was amusing to see this nurse tell my brother what to do and him in North Dakota. I stayed until midnight and came home. The CNA's and nurses were very attentive and I left her in good hands. I plan on returning today and spending a good bit of time with her.

She is totally unresponsive but I talk to her anyway telling her it's OK to go on home and that I love her. The boys tell her about what they are doing. It's a sweet time together. Please pray for a sweet release from her life.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gift from Nancy

My friend Nancy sent me a wonderful box filled with Christmas goodies. Everything was just perfect!


I visited Mama in the nursing home this morning. She is non responsive and I couldn't get her to wake up. She was so peaceful sleeping that I just let her sleep. I signed all the paperwork with Hospice yesterday, December 26th. I know she will be well taken care of in her final days. This is picture taken in November when my brother Larry was visiting from North Dakota.

Our Christmas Tree

Our tree this year. This picture was taken with the overhead lights off so you can see the lights. The picture below is a fabric tree my mom made back in the 70's.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Teacher presents

I made these cute picture frames for the boys' teachers this year - very inexpensive and cheap! My type of presents!! I plan to do them each year for their teachers. Thanks to my friend Carrie who gave me the idea!

Deniska & Nikolai

Deniska and Nikolai share time together! They are getting closer each day.

Lillian's Birthday

Happy Early Birthday Lillian!!

We celebrated my sister-in-law's (Lillian) birthday with a surprise birthday party when they were visiting from North Dakota this year. These are pictures of this event. Her grandchildren provided the entertainment!

Nikolai enjoys Birthday Ice Cream...

Deniska gets in on some ice cream action!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

First day of school

Ah - the first day of school as my two little angels get ready to head out the door. Well, actually, I was ready to head out the door since I leave much earlier than they do. They were so excited to go to their new school. They both like their new teachers and I am happy for them. It's the first time Deniska is excited about going to school. This new school is so sweet and loving to all the students - so many hugs given by all the teachers.

My own first few weeks of school have been wonderful! A new principal who is perfect (knock on wood) and a smooth transition for us all. I am having trouble in getting the boys to my school after school is over. The shuttle bus that was promised is nonexistant. For now, I am leaving school every day an hour early to pick them up. I don't mind leaving early but it is cutting my accommplishing things down. Seems I am very productive from 2:30 - 4:00 PM. I hope this gets resolved and soon.

Today we got bunk beds for the boys. They were so excited to get the beds and then afraid to sleep in the top bunk. I guess we will have to separate the beds until they get used to the idea.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Flowers from Linda!

How excited I was to unwrap my present from Linda (who lives in Virginia). She sent me a lovely assortment of things with flowers!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Chuck E. Cheese's

One of the things we do on vacation is to visit Chuck E. Cheese. The boys have a blast and secretly I love to play those games too! LOL! On our vacation we were fortunate enough to get to go to CEC with my sister-in-law Deanna and her sons - Christian and Anthony. One of my favorite photos is a picture I took of Anthony. You can see the joy and determination in his face. He, of course, is super cool and the co-Ruler of Chuck E. Cheese along with his brother Christian!

Grandma Joyce also joined us at Chuck E Cheese's and dutifully guarded our food and purses and most importantly the tickets that the boys had won! Deniska loves to give (and receive) hugs from his Grandma Joyce. The boys wanted to take her home with us. She said she couldn't come. We hope she can visit with us soon. She looks good in this picture doesn't she?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kitchen Towels

Several years ago my mother-in-law, Joyce, gave me a set of kitchen towels that had the months embroidered on them. I love those little towels. I look forward to getting out the new month on the first day of the month. It's funny how such a simple gift can bring such joy throughout the year. I've used them for several years now and they still look new! That's a good thing!

Boys will be boys

Tonight we had out first emergency with one of the boys. Well, really it wasn't the first emergency; it was just one that needed stitches. Dennis had taken the boys swimming and Nikolai stood up on the float (how many times have I told him NOT to stand up on the float???) and fell. He cut his chin open and really deep. Dennis took him to Clemson Health Center (which stays open until 8 PM - this happened at 7 PM). Poor Nikolai had to have 2 stitches in his chin. Nikolai assured me that he did not cry even though it hurt. I told him it would have been alright for him to cry and he say he was no "cry baby!" I, on the other hand, stayed home with Deniska who insisted that we have prayer for Nikolai. He prayed the sweetest prayer. Surely a child's prayer goes straight to the ears of all Heavenly beings. To make matters worse, we had a handyman here installing 3 new ceiling fans (ours had all died). I am sure his chin will hurt tomorrow. I feel really sorry for the little fella!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Our new babies!!!!!

Welcome Isadore and Molly to our home! Both were adopted from the local Humane Society. We picked them up this morning and they are both sleeping now - after I banished the boys from the house! I hope they like it here!

My new rug

Isn't this a beauty?! I found this wonderful rug at the local thrift shop for $75. It's a 9x6 rug and I just fell in love with it on sight. And, since it was in my budget - it loved me too! We lugged it home (it's very heavy), unrolled it, and it was home. Now, I want to redecorate my entire house around this rug - mostly the roses and I adore the colors. I love the cottage look and have been working toward achieving that in my home. It's a slow go for me since I am decorating challenged and I can't decide which cottage look I want. Do I go for the bare, clean, seascape colors? OR do I go for the warm, slightly overstuffed feeling? I vote for the 2nd, Dennis wants the first. We need professional help! :)


Now, I know vacation is looked forward to by most people. Obviously, those folks never traveled 10 (count them 10) hours in a double cabbed truck with 2 six year boys and a husband that rarely talks! LOL! I'm a pretty calm person but after the millionth "Are we almost there?" I was a little battle worn. We drove to Norfolk/Portsmouth/Virginia Beach area to visit Dennis' family. We had a nice time with the family. I thought the boys would LOVE Virginia Beach - the scenery, the sand, the water! But NO, it was too "dirty" - "Where did all this dirt come from?" "Why did God make sand?" "What's wrong with the water?" "Why does it taste that way?" "Can I go in the deep water without my swimmies?" And, that was the just in the first few minutes! THe trip home was no better. Nikolai threw his headsets at Mama when he didn't get his way which, in turn, set off Papa. An hour later we were back on the road in silence again - nevermind the sobbing from the back seat - no, wait a minute - that was me sobbing! LOL!!
Now we are back home. I have successfully washed 10 loads of clothes (did I mention that Nikolai left a pack of gum in his pockets. No more gum in this house!) I put up the luggage and managed to get the house back on track. I still need to clean and put up other things. I'm glad we don't do many vacations a year!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Last Friday (June 22, 2007) at 5:00 PM, our air conditioner went on to be with the big AC in the sky. *weep* It was hard letting it go, especially when a new one will cost $3,800. The new one promises to be better and use LESS electricity. In a few years, "it will pay for itself!" At least, that's what Mr. O'Kelley (our local "air man" told me).

However, we are doing fine. We spend the day at the house with the fans, and at night, we go next door to sleep. It's not been too bad. The boys don't seem to be affected by the heat at all. They just sweat and keep going. I am getting used to the heat. Poor Dennis is the one suffering. He is in a nice air-conditioned office all day and then comes home to a hot house.

We will be gone on vacation next week so only the kitties will be hot. Our new unit will be put in July 9th. It will be nice to have a cool house once more.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Honey!

Happy Brithday to Dennis - the tall, handsome one on the left hand side! He is 48 today! Last night we celebrated with a meal out to Red Lobster and a shopping trip to the mall. He bought 5 new shirts. This morning, we sang Happy Birthday to him and gave him a bottle of Polo. Then he took the boys to Lowe's for a workshop, had the oil changed in the truck, had the truck washed, and ran errands. Not a very exciting birthday, huh? He's a wonderful husband and daddy. I hope he has many, many more happy, healthy birthdays!!

As a birthday gift from Nikolai and Deniska, he was treated to a day at the spa!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Why me?

I am sure that is what Nikolai thinks when he is being punished for inappropriate behavior (like mocking his VBS teacher!) His daddy has confined him to his bedroom until Dad gets home this afternoon. This picture was taken at lunch after he finished crying for awhile. Look at those big eyes! This is the hardest part of adoption - discipline coupled with love and understanding. Here's a child taken away from everything he knows - his home, his culture, his language and thrust into all new experiences. He is learning the language, is not yet sure if these strangers are going to keep him or not, and is not sure if he wants to stay or not! :)

He's been here for 3 months and 3 weeks. Although his English is coming along well, he still struggles with some of the idioms, slang, and verbiage of our culture. I don't think the orphanages he had been in held him to such a high standard of behavior. He'll be fine - just needs a little attitude adjustment from time to time!

Yesterday I took both boys to my friend Gail's home and her parents' home. Deniska and Nikolai both got to feed the 4 week old orphaned baby goats. The little goats were so cute and the boys enjoyed seeing the goats, rabbits, calf, donkeys, dogs, and other critters there on the farm. This is my friend Gail with Deniska in this picture.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How I Became A Pirate!

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long is a favorite book around here. The boys wanted to dress like pirates and spent the day trying to discover hidden treasure, making Mama walk the plank, and capturing new and forbidden lands. It was lots of fun! I knew those black pantyhose would come in handy one day! LOL!!

Is it already the end of June??

It's already June 21st and I don't know where the days have gone! The boys are in Vacation Bible School this week at New Hope Baptist Church, the church down the road. It's the church I grew up in and was a member until I got married 11 years ago. I miss going to the church and seeing my life-long friends. Seems I have lost touch with them. Nikolai and Deniska are having a wonderful time in Bible school although they can't understand why people don't cross themselves or genuflect. So, goes the explanation of Catholics and Protestants. :)

On June 1st, we went swimming at my friend Tracy's house. I took this picture of Nikolai as he was making a face at his Mama. At first he was really scared of the water and wouldn't leave my side. But, he over came that fear as he realized everyone was having fun. He had a wonderful time in the pool and finally worked up enough courage to jump off the diving board. After that, we could not keep him off the board. I also took a picture of both boys. They are really attaching to each other quickly.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday ramblings

Today has been a busy day and I am checking is as the boys are having "quiet" time. They have to be quiet for an hour. If they need a nap, they usually go to sleep but sometimes they just rest. I have to do this not only for them but for me too. I need that quiet time as well. :)

I went to the nursing home this morning for a Care Plan meeting for Mama. The nursing staff feels that she is in the last stages of Alzheimer's but would not commit to a time frame. I understand that completely. She will go when it's time, not before. They are taking her off her last Alzheimer's medicine. I feel sad about that but no need to pay for it if it's not doing her any good. She did not really know us this morning. She loved the roses I took to her. She told my brother over the phone that they came out of my garden since she didn't have an rose bushes in her yard. (She has had rose bushes since the beginning of time!) I am not sure who she thought I was today - maybe someone she grew up with? Other than that, she seems to be doing well. She goes in and out of kidney failure but the nurse seemed to think that also had to do with dehydration.

I left the nursing home and went to the grocery store. Our local Bi-Lo is having a promotion of spend $35 and receive a token. When you have 10 tokens, you can trade it in for a $25 Exxon gas card. I already have one $25 card and am working on the 2nd one. I asked the cashier to ring my order up in $35 increments. I don't think she liked that but it is not against the rules. Anyway, I ended up with 2 tokens from today. Most of the items were close-out or coupon sale items (except for the bread, fruit, and milk). I need to figure up my savings on these sales.

One of the items they had on sale was stew beef. I got 2 packs and have one pack in the slow cooker now to make vegetable soup. I thought today would be a good day for that. My children are so excited over having "soupa" tonight!

In a little while, I am going to shampoo our living room carpet. I noticed a lot of little stains from tea and juice. This will be a good project for the boys to help me with. Well, it's almost time for them to be up so I need to get on the move.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Deniska got into the Oreo cookies and I thought I would take a picture of him! He is such a silly goose!

We had a wonderful day at church yesterday. I always love Pentecost with the priests dressed in red. Yesterday was Father Smith's last Sunday. He has been assigned to Beaufort, SC. He has grown up before our eyes and he will be sorely missed.

Father Newman will return next Sunday from his Sabbatical. I can hardly wait as he returns to the pulpit. He is just awesome!

The boys are doing a little better in church. We still have lots of squirming around. I can understand that since the service is almost 1 1/2 hours long. It's hard for little ones to sit still for that long.

Today was Memorial Day. We stayed at home since Dennis was on call. So far, he has not had to leave. I hope he doesn't. I made chicken pot pie for lunch and we had sandwiches and left overs for supper. Nikolai ate 3 jelly sandwiches! Deniska finished up everything else. Both boys have healthy appetites but are not overweight.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

My day today

This is a picture of my 2 boys - Deniska and Nikolai. They are 6 years old and keep me on my toes. Today, Deniska fell on the gravel and had a skinned knee and hand. Poor little thing.

Nikolai continues to gain English everyday. He is just a little sponge soaking up the language and having a home. For the first time, he asked if he could have some ice cream. Perhaps he is feeling like this is home and he can ask for food! :-)

Dennis took the boys to Lowe's today for their children's workshop. They made toy wooden race cars. Lowe's provided all the material and each boy came home with a race car, work apron, and goggles. Oh, I almost forgot, a Nascar race patch. They were very proud of their handiwork.

While they were gone, I repaired the wagon. I don't know why I always get stuck with doing repairs around here?!!!

I visited Mama in the nursing home tonight. I don't know which is hardest - the times that she doesn't know who I am or the times that she is clear minded. Tonight she knew who I was and wanted to know about the boys. I told her about the work I had been doing in her yard, which pleased her. She didn't want me to go and kept kissing me. I left in tears. I miss her so much.

Well, I guess that is all I will write for tonight!

St. Therese

St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore, and tell Him I will love Him each day, more and more.