Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My First Cattle Drive!

I was so excited when my friend Carla asked me if I wanted to go with her and her husband Don as they
moved their cattle from High Valley to the pasture near their home in Montour. Today was the first of the three day cattle drive. If you look at the picture above you will see me in the back on the brown horse named Big John but most of all you will see how beautiful the country was that we passed through.
Those of you that know me are asking yourself right now..where did she learn to ride a horse? I didn't! Oh... I have ridden a few times in my life and I have always loved it...but today was a little tricky. Originally, the plan was for me to ride the most gentle horse but because of a little confusion with saddles...I ended up on Big John. As we were driving up to High Valley, another friend of ours, Lisa, who has been on many more horses and cattle drives than me said..." I do not want to ride Big John". I thought..."I am so glad we get to ride Slick (the gentle horse)." When my turn to ride came up, I was told that I would have to ride Big John because of the saddle issue. I asked Kendra (who had been riding him) if she thought I could handle him...she said "yea, just hang on tight the whole time!" I climbed on board and almost immediately discovered that she had given me some great advice. Big John and I had some exciting moments and we rode for a long time down into the valley. Most of the time he was perfect...and I really grew to love that horse...but boy did he scare me a few times...I just kept thinking"hold on tight...don't let go whatever you do!!" He is such a smart horse. One time, the cattle started to separate and Darrell (another guy that was riding next to Big John and I) had to go get them back into the herd. I kept riding straight and tried to keep the cows moving when I discovered that 2 or 3 of them had stopped. I started telling them to keep moving..I don't think they understood my southern accent...and they would not move. Just when I wondered what to do to get them going...Big John started talking to them in horse language...loud and clear enough for me to worry that he was mad at me....but then I realized that the cows looked up at Big John and started moving! Horses are amazing creatures!
I am really sore, but loved the experience! I just wish Barry could have been with us, but he had to work.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Leaving North Carolina....

For the past month, we have been going through mom's things. It has been such a special time. Ann and I had some priceless moments together. What was amazing to both of us was how we felt like mom was helping us out in many of the decisions. I told Ann that I felt like mom would be proud of the way we handled things...and she would. But oh....the stuff!!! The jewelry was the most challenging...it took us three days to get through that. We found love letters between mom and dad and I am planning to make a family history book with those. We found quilt squares that mom made...another project for me. Finally, everything was divided for the most part... and Barry and I decided it was time to get back home to Idaho. The problem was how to get all the STUFF back home with us. So, we bought a trailor.

Barry's sister Frankie came by yesterday. She brought us a cured ham and lots of good grits. And of course she had lots of goodies for the boys, their wives and the grandkids! She also helped us get some things done around the house. I just love Frankie!

My brother Larry was a lifesaver yesterday. Barry was able to get Vernon Dickerson to help him put the trailor hitch on our car but the wiring for the lights turned out to be tricky. We were about to think we would have to wait for another lighting system to be ordered...and Larry came in. He and Barry went out and together were able to figure it out. Barry said without Larry he would never have been able to get it done. Then, they spent the rest of the hot, humid day getting the trailor loaded with the help of Ann and I. We were so exhausted by the end of the day...but we had one thing to look forward to. Larry Peoples, Vernon and Rita Dickerson, Al and Marla Peoples were at Ball's Airfield grilling hotdogs and hamburgers for a sendoff party for us. Larry Romero, Ann, Barry, and I went out and sat down in the shade of the Outer Marker and ate that wonderful food. Joyce Ann Peoples, Travis, and Joni and her new friend Jonathan were there too. It was so relaxing after such a stressful day. Before we left, we got the idea to have everyone sign the back of the trailor.

Leaving mom's house was so hard this morning. Ann, Larryp, Larryr, Joni, and my chocolate mama (Annie loves it when I call her that) were all there. My cousin Wendy came by too for awhile. It is always hard to leave our family, but we've ridden such an emotional rollercoaster for the past 4 months..,and grew so close on that ride...that this time the sadness is so deep it hurts more than usual. After the hugs and goodbyes, I got in the car and felt overcome with the desire to go back into the house. I wanted to go into mom's room so bad I ached. I told Barry I had to go back in...he asked why and I said...I don't know...I need some of her clothes to hug or something...he said for me to go ahead...and finally I told him that I guess I just felt like I needed to go tell her goodbye...but she is not there...so just drive... he said are you sure...yes, just drive...I honestly thought I was not going to be able to stop crying! We stopped to eat in Rolesville which is about 20 miles from mom's. I realized that I had forgotten one of my most prized posessions. A huge picture that Larry had given me of mom and dad. I was so sad again. About that time, the phone rang and it was Ann. She and Larry had discovered that I had forgotten the picture. She was on her way to Wake Forest which was in the same direction as where we were eating. She brought it to me! We hugged again and cried again. I just love her so much and truly feel like we have bonded so much that we will always be close friends.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is She Really Gone?

The past couple of weeks have been like a fog...I miss mom so much! Looking back on the way she passed it was obvious that she orchestrated the entire thing. Early that Friday morning, I woke up and went into mom's room. She had changed her breathing pattern. Instead of holding her breaths, they became more consistant. Larry was here and sat with mom and I for awhile, then Ann came over. She was on her way to see Kira and her sweet little Asher. She stayed for an hour or so...then left. Before she left, I could tell Ann was concerned. I told her that I would leave the room so that they could have a moment together. Then, she left and Steve and Linda came in. Steve, Linda, Larry and I sat with mom and the steady breathing continued. Larry went outside to work on something and I went to get my computer so I could blog a little while Steve, Linda and I sat with mom. At about 10:15, the nurse came in to do her normal bi-weekly check on mom. It seem like as soon as the nurse walked into the room, mom's breathing changed. It began to be weaker and weaker and weaker. The nurse checked her and could not get an oxygen reading and pulse was weak. I could see the concern on her face...she said...can I get anyone or call anyone? We asked her to go get Larry and Barry and she did. She sat in a chair at the end of the bed and said...now is the time to say goodbye to you mom...we each held her and told her how much we love her and that we would see her again and that she was the best mom ever!!! As I look back on that day...there are a few things I know for sure...

1. Mom was in charge...

2. She knew which of her 5 children needed to be there when she died...and she waited for that moment.

3. She waited for the nurse to get there so that we would not freak out!

4. She wanted Ann to be with Kira and Asher...mom would say that is where she needed to be!

5. She would have wanted Shirley to be with her family in Sanford and she would say that is where she needed to be!

6. She knew that I wanted to be with her to the very end and she made sure I was prompted to stay in the room with her.

7. Aunt Shirley and Uncle Wilbur popped in to visit mom very shortly after she passed away...Uncle Wilbur said that something told him that they should drop by after their doctor appointment...mom wanted her little sister to come check on her children!

8. Mom loved having her kids hanging around together for the weeks prior to her death...so I am convinced that she put off her death so that she could see the Romero Reunion taking place under her roof!

9. A week after mom died, Aunt Shirley and Uncle Wilbur's grandson Kyle was killed in an accident in his pickup truck. It has been so tragic for the family. My heart aches for Sherry, Brent, Jessica, Johnathan and Megan. But one thing I know for sure!!!!....Just like Shirley and Wilbur popped in to visit us the day mom died, mom was there to greet Kyle the moment he left that truck and together they are getting reaquainted with so many people that have passed away. They are happier than we can even comprehend while we live on this earth!!! I remember hearing someone say that if we could get a glimpse of Heaven...we would not want to be here for even one more moment! Families are Forever!!!!I know that beyond any shadow of a doubt!!!! Mom and Kyle are in a better place...we will miss them terribly...but their mission here are earth is over and we will see them again!!!

I have so many other things to say...but I will wait...I love you...thanks for all your love and support!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Resting Peacefully...

I cannot believe that it is Friday! The last time I wrote about mom, I had no idea she would be here for so long. I really thought we would be having a funeral by the weekend. She is breathing and we are still with her. My theory is that she is hanging around because she is enjoying seeing all her "kids" hanging out together. It has been an amazing week being able to spend so much time bonding and I know it is making mom so happy! Today, mom is breathing very calmly and she seems very comfortable...for that I am so thankful! I have found myself not wanting to leave her today...

At 10:30 this morning, I was sitting with mom writing this blog and before I could finish...mom passed away...very slowly and peacefully. The day has been crazy...I am tired....later I will share the experience. I love you all!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then somesome at my side says: "There, she is gone!" "Gone where?" Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminisherd size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says:"There, she is gone!" There are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:"Here she comes!" And that is dying! -Henry Van Dyke

I have been avoiding writing on my blog for the past week or so because I have been trying to figure out what was going on with mom. My heart has been so sad and I was afraid that if I wrote my feelings down...her family would feel my sadness and wonder why we have not called to tell them that she is dying. The truth is...until the past few days we were not sure...just suspicious that perhaps the signs we were told to watch for were beginning to show their ugly little faces. A few days ago...our sweet Hospice Nurse sat down with Ann and I and used the term "terminal restlessness" and a feeling of peace came over me...finally a term to let us know that what mom was feeling was so normal that there was an actual name for it. Why that brought me peace I cannot explain..but it did. Maybe if I describe what I was seeing.....

My day with mom would start at about 7:30...I would hop out of bed and go to her room to see how her night went...asking Susie if she slept...did she cry much...seem like she was in pain???Usually...Susie would say she did not sleep at all...cried alot...seemed to be hurting alot...my heart would race....what can we do??? Susie leaves at 8:00. I spend an hour alone with mom(I cherish that time) and at 9:00 Annie comes in and I fix mom's breakfast. Mom would be content during breakfast...then the restlessness began. Usually she would have a BM and that used to help...but lately that didn't seem to make a difference. We would put her into bed and she would begin the ritual. Sleep for 10-20 seconds, moan,roll over, moan, rollover, sleep for 10-20 seconds, moan, roll over....this would go on all day long for several days. Annie and I would sit on each side of the bed and just talk to mom...rub her back...try so hard to bring her some comfort. We found that if her little cat nap lasted a minute...chances were she might be in for a longer nap and we would creep out of the room. Sometimes we might be able to get a few errands done around the house and we would manage to grab a bite to eat...but we knew that the naps were not going to be very long. Up until about 10 days ago...we actually were able to get her to the table for 3 meals a day using the lift and wheelchair...then it dwindled down to 2...then 1...then she could not get up at all. So we learned to raise her feet on the hospital bed...then her head and it made a great "chair" that put her into a good position to eat. Most days, Annie and I would look at the clock at 3 or 4 o'clock and not be able to believe that is was so late...the days just flew by. About 4 or 5 o'clock, Ann would come over and I was always so glad to see her. Joni would show up after work...6:00 or so...a ray of sunshine! About 8:00 Susie would come take over for the night. Most nights, I would fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Barry said he could see that I was sleeping so good that some nights he would go to the camper...just so he would not disturb me. I love that man and his willingness to take this journey with me! He has been so amazing throughout this process. I am not sure what I would have done without Ann and Joni to look forward to as well as having Larry taking over on the weekends. About 3 days ago, mom began to lose interest in food. She still tossed and turned and moaned...but just would not eat. I wrecked the kitchen one day trying to find something she would eat. Ann went and got some baby food...still no interest. Hospice nurse said this is part of the dying process. Terminal Restlessness...it is part of the part of the process...but so hard to watch!

Today, we are all here. Larry, Ann, Shirley and Steve...all my siblings. We are watching every breath. Sometimes we panick...2 breaths per minute...then it changes for awhile. Sometimes we cry...sometimes we laugh...sometimes we feel strong and ready...sometimes we are weak and not so ready...but we have each other. We are there for each other and the petty things just do not matter anymore! I love my family. Last night we prayed together in a circle...all 6 of us...just like when dad died...remember that chain I mentioned when I wrote about my brother Larry??? That chain is still strong...mom made sure of that...and mom and dad would be so proud! Mom and dad... together again soon! I remember telling mom a few years ago that when she dies...dad was going to take her into his arms and give her the biggest hug and tell her how proud he is of her...and then they will dance...she laughed and said..."I'm not ready to go yet"!

Thank you to my siblings, Barry, Joni, Larry P, Kira, Rusty,Linda, our boys and their families, the Pattersons, the Peoples, the May family, and the list goes on and on! I love you all soooooo much!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cale's Visit...

Cale came out to see us on Wednesday and left on Sunday. It was so good to see him although the visit went by so fast. I regret not taking the time to do more with him. Mom was out of sorts most of the time. On Friday, I did leave mom alone with Annie long enough to go down to the pond while Cale was fishing. I wanted to get a picture of him and Annie wanted me to take him a bucket to put the fish in so she could take them home for dinner! He caught a few bass...but not big enough to keep. This pond is on the property of James and Peggy May. James was one of mom's brothers. He died several years ago and we sure miss him...but are always happy to "Aunt Peggy" . James was one of those people who always made me feel so important...I love that man! He and Peggy loved to see the boys fish in that pond...and mom always kept the fishing poles and tackle ready!
Having Cale here was helpful. He has been a nursing home administator for the past few years so he had some fresh insight for us. He was able to observe her and call some of his medical staff and describe her behavior and come up with some more ideas to make her comfortable. She slept a couple of days after we started a new med..One thing I know for sure...there are no clear cut answers...how I wish there were!
We went to Raleigh to visit Kira and Rusty while Cale was here. Kira and the boys have always been such good friends! I miss the days when they would put on plays for us or entertain us with some kind of dance. They had some great times together!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Meet My Brother Larry!!!

What can I say about Larry...except that he is an amazing guy! When Daddy died, Larry was in junior high school. I remember the priest taking us into a room and having us stand as a family in a circle holding hands. The priest then said that we were like a chain and that we needed to always be there for each other so that the chain would never be broken. He then turned to Larry and said..."You are the oldest...it is up to you to take care of your mom and brothers and sisters". (I am sure these quotes are not exact...but it has been a few years!) As I look back on that situation, I think about what a burden that was to put on such a little boy, but Larry seems to have taken that challenge to heart. He cared so much about each one of us and I always knew that I could call on him no matter what I was struggling with. I think what touches my heart the most is how much he loves our mom. When she was strong, he loved to take her traveling. One time he took mom and Aunt Doris to New York to do some Christmas shopping and Aunt Doris told me that he was so patient and kind to them. He would take bags to the room for them when their arms got too full and he never seemed to get tired or frustrated with them...but that is just Larry! Mom went all over the world with Larry and she talked about their trips every chance she got!

When I got married, Larry did not stop caring about me and he showed it by the love he showed Barry and our boys. We were so broke when we got married and he managed to find little ways to help us out. He bought the boys an Atari game system one Christmas which was something we never would have been able to afford. Flying was always a big part of Larry's life and the boys really learned to love flying from him. He had a small plane and they always looked forward to trips with Larry every chance they got!

Larry lives in Sanford which is a couple of hours from here. He comes home every weekend to be with mom and give me a break. I look forward to the break...but also enjoy the time we spend together. Seeing Larry and mom together is so sweet...they have a special bond...I know he is having a hard time seeing her like she is...we all are...But one thing I know for sure...that chain that the priest was talking about...it is an eternal chain...and our family will be together forever....it's Heavenly Father's plan!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Where did the week go???

This week has gone by so fast that I am not sure where to begin! We did go the the beach last weekend and it was lots of fun. We were able to go back to the Kroboth Beachhouse and as usual...it was so fun and relaxing. This time Rita and Vernon Dickerson met us there. It was fun to be with them. The weather was nice so the beach was really crowded. The hot tub was amazing! This is a picture of Ann and Larry having a romantic moment in the hot tub...I tried to get them to snuggle for the picture...no such luck (maybe they were afraid they might end up on a blog or something?)!!! I am in love with that beach house! Thank you Rusty and Kira!

Kira and Rusty's little baby is due any day now. Every time Ann's phone ring...we all jump! I cannot wait to meet little Asher! Kira and Rusty will be amazing parents!

Mom has had lots of ups and downs this week...but all in all...I would say she has had a good week. We started her on a new medication that was recommended by a nurse that Josh knows. For the first time...in weeks...she is sleeping more hours at night then she is staying awake. As a result...she seems happier (for the most part) during the day. I think the real change I have noticed this week is that she is keeping her eyes opened more and looking at us when we talk. Every once in a while, she will even look at her beautiful azaleas blooming in the yard!! When I think about it...I guess if I were up for days on in...I might not want to keep my eyes opened either! She is still irritable...don't get me wrong..in fact as I write this..I can hear her in there with Susie...whining and fussing...but we do get some fun moments with her...and for that we grateful! I just wish I could get into that brain...and understand this mysterious world that she is living in!

Larry is coming tomorrow. He is usually here on the weekends. Ann and I are going to Raleigh to take Shirley to lunch for her birthday. It will be fun to see her.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Decreased Socialization

Preparing...from Hospice...

I found this little statement from Hospice and it helped me understand that mom is just trying to prepare.... "The person may only want to be with a very few or even just one person. This is a sign of preparation for release and affirms from whom the support is most needed in order to make the appropriate transition. If you are not part of this inner circle at the end, it does not mean you are not loved or are unimportant. It means you have already fulfilled your task with your loved one, and it is the time for you to say Good-bye. If you are part of the final inner circle of support, the person needs your affirmation, support, and permission."

This little statement helped me realize that my role needs to be to support those found in the inner circle instead of trying to weasel my way into the inner circle. It is nice to have a clearer understanding of what mom needs from me!

I think from my other posts, you have a good idea about how nights have been. Now, we are finding that she is doing that same whining and whimpering all day long too. It is so hard to see her like that. We never see a smile and very rarely see her eyes because she closes them most of the time. Our mom who used to love her garden, flowers, and birds...no longer feels the joy from them or much of anything else. These pictures are of her yard...she planted everything in this yard after she bought the propery from her parent's estate. I try everyday to show her something from her yard...but she just does not seem to care. It is sad...!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Meet my little sister...Shirley!!!

This is my little sister Shirley! She has three sons Tyler, Sam and Cole and a sweet daughter, Rachel. Shirley is an artist...one of the best I have ever seen. She has such amazing talent. She graduated from ECU with a degree in commercial art but has put that on hold to raise her faimily. My memories of Shirley as a little girl was that she was always so cute and she grew up to be a beautiful lady! She has naturally "nongray" hair...what's up with that???! I know I sound obsessed with the gray hair thing...but wouldn't it be nice to look like her without "Sally's Hair Dye #4N!!! Shirley was born in Bogota, Columbia when dad was in the army. She was born quite premature and had to be in an incubator for quite a while. I remember grandma saying that when they got back to the US..she was so little she would have fit in a shoe box.

One of my fondest memories of Shirley's family was when they came to visit us in Colorado. We took them camping and had a great time! Tyler and Zack were into Robin Hood and we made them costumes to wear while we were camping. They were so cute!

Shirley is also quite an antique hunter and when we lived here, she and I would shop all the local bargain places and found some amazing deals on antiques!

Love ya Shirley!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Today...I cried a little...

I am feeling so sad today...I thought if I just sat here and wrote down some of my thoughts...I might be able to make some sense of it all. Why won't mom call me by name? I know alot of people will say..."if you had been here as much as Ann and Larry, she would know you too" I know in my heart that is true, but I know that she and I have had a great relationship. I tried to come here every 6-8 weeks for the past 6 years and we had some wonderful visits. Before that, I feel like I had some great times with her because when we would see each other it would be for a week or more at the time. Whether she was in our home or we were visiting here...we had some great times together. We shopped all over Dallas, she swam in our pool in Florida, camped with us in the Colorado Rockies, drove to Kentucky to see us, stayed with us in a condo on McCall Lake in Idaho...just to name a few. When she was just calling for Miss Annie...I was ok. But now, she has begun to call for Ann and Larry too....and it is really hurting me...I want to hear her call Gail, Gail... so bad! I know that sounds so self centered and I am sorry...but to be here with her 24-7 and not have her know who I am...it is hard. So...pray for me to keep my prioities straight! I don't have time to worry about trivial things...and you know what!?? this is a trivial thing...writing this has helped...and I am going to try to get over it!!!

When I am feeling overwhelmed, I think about the two year missions our boys served. They put their own feelings and needs aside for two years and just served the needs of those around them. I am sure it was so hard at times...and at times, they wanted to give up...but they kept working....taking one day at the time... I am getting a little taste of that...and I am not going to give up either! As muc as I miss my family out west...I would not want to be anywhere else....so please forgive me for the pity party!!

I stayed up with mom on Thursday night and she did not sleep all night again. I love that time with her. I lay in the bed next to her and she just will not go to sleep...she just calls out all night long...much the same as I shared a few blogs ago. I sing songs to her...which is fun...but the other night she got real loud and said" Give me a big hug!" It was so loud that I thought she was going to fuss me out...until I heard the word hug! I jumped out of bed...and we just hugged! It was worth a sleepless night just for that!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mom slept through the night...

Last night mom slept throught the night. It was my night to be with her so I feel completely blessed. They say the Lord will not give you more than you can handle...I believe it!!! The only problem was, I had to keep going in her room to check on her because I was so afraid she was not breathing! At one point, I was afraid she was in a coma because I could see her breathing, but I could not get her to respond to me. I know now that she was just catching up on some needed sleep.

Tonight, Susie is here. She comes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to stay nights with mom. I can hear mom in there with her and I know neither of them will get much sleep tonight. Mom is very restless. Susie is sitting in a chair in the hall trying to give mom a chance to settle down but it does not seem to be working. Mom keeps whimpering and calling out. She will do that all night long most likely. It make me so sad to sit here and listen to it. I glad for Susie...there is no way I could do this every night. Above is a picture of Susie when she came to visit mom at the hospital.

My cousins Faye and Marilyn came by today. It was so good to see them. Faye brought some chicken salad, piminto cheese, chicken and dumplings, and sausage and cheese biscuits. Yum!

A couple of nights ago, Marla and Peanut brought lasagna, salad, bread and a blueberry dessert. We ate on that for quite awhile. We loved it all...for several days!!

Last week, Joyce Ann Peoples, Vicky, and Susan brought over a fried chicken dinner complete with corn pudding and corn bread! Susan also brought some of her famous cheese straws and we enjoyed them all week.

Today, I called my aunt Peggy and asked her if she could come sit with mom so that I could sneak away and go to Curves to workout. She was so sweet and came right away. It was amazing how that 45 minute break made me feel so much better! She said that I could call her anytime...and the wonderful thing is that I know she means it from the bottom of her heart!!!

Thank you all for all you do and for all your prayers!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Coming Soon...

I feel bad because I am too tired to write about my other two siblings, Larry and Shirley. I love them dearly and I plan to do that soon...but for now...I've gotta go to bed! Love yall!

Meet My Younger Brother Steve!

This is my younger brother Steve. He and his wife Linda came by to see mom a couple of weeks ago. I felt bad because mom was having an exceptionally bad day and they only had an hour or so to visit. They drove down from their home in Maryland. Steve had a major leg surgery a few months back and has not been able to get around. He still has what looks like an erector set built up around his leg. I have never seen anything like it. I was so happy to see him. The last time I think I saw him was at Kira's wedding. Barry, Zack and I were able to visit Steve and Linda a few years ago and it was such a fun time. Steve was six years old when our dad died. It breaks my heart to think of the pain that little boy must have been feeling and I think we were all dealing with the loss in our own way and really not aware of how it was affecting anyone else in the family. He is such a loving and compassionate guy who loves his sweet family so much! When he walked into mom's room and said,"Mom, it is Stevie"...I nearly lost it. That is what mom called her youngest baby boy... I love you Steve!!!

Finally a good night's sleep for mom...

Today is Friday and mom got a good night's sleep last night. The sad thing is, it is the first good night's sleep she had since last Saturday! That is five days of very little sleep and absolutely no REM sleep! I am only up with her every other night so I can catch up on my sleep, but I cannot imagine what she is going through! Everyone asks if she has her days and nights mixed up, but that is not the case because she is really not sleeping soundly during the day either. She slept for about 3 hours yesterday and we were so excited to see her some rest.

We are trying a new medication today to take the place of the Ativan and the sleeping pill. I guess the nurse talked with the hospice pharmacist and this is the med she recommended. We shall see....

Barry and I cleaned up our bikes today and went for a ride up the road. It about killed me..I am so out of shape!

Annie cooked some collard greens today...she had picked them last night...they are so good! Southern Food....ya gotta love it!

Above is a picture of mom getting her hair shampooed by Tiffany. I found the shampoo contraption on the internet and it works great! Tiffany is the CNA that comes in every day to bathe mom. She bathes mom in bed...then Annie lotions her down, put Oil of Olay on her face and vitamin E on all her Cumiden bruises. It is a daily spa treatment!

The other picture above shows Ann the day she wore two watches all day long and didn't even know it until she came her that night! We got a good laugh out of it...kind of an indicator of how preoccupied she has been lately huh! She works every morning at her church preschool and comes here every evening by 4:00 at the latest to help me get mom to bed. Thanks Ann!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sleeping Pill plus Adivan...but still no rest for mom...

At 7:00 this morning, mom finally fell asleep. I gave her the highest dose of Ativan (for anxiety)every 4 hours last night and a prescription sleeping pill...and she still stayed up all night! I have been laying in bed thinking about this whole situation and decided to get up write down my thoughts...so even if this post seems scattered and useless to you....just remember as you read it...this one is for me! (and I am writing this after 0 hours of sleep!) We started Ativan several weeks ago. The prescription says"use as needed". I have talked with the nurses about how to use it and they have said that when I see she is getting anxious just give her a pill. At first we were only giving it to her at night but as she began to cry more, we began giving it during the day. I talked with mom's nurse Tammy yesterday and I told her that it is hard to get her to take it sometimes (pills are getting hard for mom to swallow). Tammy gave me the best advice yet...she said to crush it and put just a small drop of maple syrup on the powder..put on some gloves and dip my finger in the syrup and let her lick it off my finger. She said that when I notice mom getting anxious just mix some up and give it to her. It works faster if you can get it in that way and she enjoys the experience instead of getting anxious about swallowing another pill. According to a book called,"The Alzheimers Action Plan" Ativan is a number one choice sedative for older people because it has a short half life, meaning that it doesn't linger in the body after the person stops taking it. Some of these anxiety pills need to be taken around the clock to stay effective but this one is sort of "on call" when you need it. I heard someone say that their dad took it around the clock and it lost it's effectiveness...that could be a nighmare! My struggle right now is that I am not sure it is working. Even though I have given it to her every four hours for several nights...she is still restless. According to the same book I mentioned above, "People with Alzheimer's can go on wakefullness and sleeping binges, such as staying awake non stop for two or three days and then sleeping twenty-four hours." That is the pattern we are seeing. Having written this...I have decided to journal when I give her the pills and how her mood has changed...maybe it is working and I am just so caught up in it that I do not see it.... I am going to talk to the nurses again...but in the meantime...mom is calling...Love yall!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Visit from Our Hospice Nurses....

On Friday March 12, we got a call from our Hospice. They had a meeting with the doctors about mom. Based on what they were told by the nurses who visit 3 days a week, they think that it is time to quit all the invasive medications and blood tests that we have been having mom go through. She has been so agitated and sad lately and the nurses picked up on in in the last couple of weeks. It was hard to make a decision like that. After talking to them for a long time, we decided that they are right. Basically, mom is not going to get better. Her mind is really struggling and our goal needs to be to just make her peaceful and happy. That is hard to do when you are shoving pills down her three times a day, taking her blood sugar twice a day, giving her insulin at least once a day, and inviting nurses in to draw blood at least once a week. So as of Saturday, we have cut her pills down to just a few important ones and we no longer check her blood sugar or do insulin. I have to say, she seems much calmer!

  • Today we had a hoist delivered to help lift mom. It is so nice to be able to get mom where she needs to be without having to scare her. As part of the progression of her disease, she quit walking about 2 weeks ago and this past week, she became scared to stand. Her mind just cannot relay a message to her legs. You can imagine how scary that would be! I was showing Ann and Joni how the hoist works and Joni said," Gail you are so excited...you are like a kid in a candy store!!" She is right! It has been so scary to try to get mom around and have her legs just go limp on me! I was so afraid of hurting her. Thanks to the hoist, we can fearlessly go from the bed to the wheelchair to the potty! Oh Happy Day!!!!
  • We had lots of visitors this weekend! Kira, Rusty, Aunt Shirley, Alma and Dawn came on Saturday. It was a beautiful day so most of us stayed outside and we let a few visitors go back to see mom at a time. She does better visiting with only a couple of people at a time. We got her up later in the afternoon and these are pictures of that visit.
  • Shirley came on Sunday and helped Larry while Barry and I went to church. We go to the Wake Forest Ward and really enjoy that time. I loved being there although I miss our ward! It is hard to be a temporary visitor and not be able to get to know some of the people you meet...but they are some sweet people! We do know a few people in the ward that we knew when we lived here before and it is so fun to get reacquainted with them! I love the sunday school teacher!! She reminds me of Whoppi Goldberg! She kept us all laughing so hard and still taught an excellent lesson!

Friday, March 12, 2010

48 hours with little sleep....

This is mom's bedroom. We have a hopital bed in it with a twin bed next to it.

Mom has been going through some rough nights. Her mind must be just racing! She can't be settled down. We are giving her Adivan which is supposed to help, but it just does not seem to work. We are trying to adjust dosage and frequency with the help of hospice...but nothing seems to work. We will keep trying. She went 48 hours with nearly no sleep...slept one night...then another 48 with no sleep. Thursday night I was in her room laying on the bed beside her and I held her hand nearly all night..but she still could not go to sleep. At about 1:30...I took out some paper and began to write down the things she was saying. I don't think you can read these and not agree that mom is seeing glimpses of a world that we will all be a part of some day. She wants to go to her eternal home. The other day I asked her if dad (Paul) was at home and she said "yes", then I said,"What about your mom and dad." She said,"They are there too".
Here are the things I wrote down....
1:30 am "Mess up here- its already messed up. Dont say it, Miss Annie I wanna go home- Keep calling me- uh uh" (falls asleep)
1:35 am "Miss Annie- come in here- this is up here, up here, up here" (sleep) "Let me go home, this is my house, please let us go home'
1:40 am "Miss Annie- me go over yonder. I want to go home. Miss Annie, Miss Annie to come over here. Miss Annie, Miss Annie.
ME:Mom, I with you. I love you.
"All of this up in here"
"I dont want to roll over that way."
ME- "you can stay where you are"
"Happy Happy the day before. Can we go back?"
me- "back where?"
"Up there" (sleep)
1:45 Nothing going on in here
ME: How about going to sleep
I have one every time we go to work on the other thing.
ME: What thing?
The other thing. Let me roll over.
"Turn it over here...Turn it over here." (falls asleep)
"Me and Ann are cold in there. Let me go over here. I can't do that. Miss Annie, Miss Annie, Miss Annie"
"Now are we over here. (Points to mirror) Over there. Me, me, me over there. I'm going over here. Miss Annie...teacher."
I roll her over again and she sleeps...snoring a bit...yahoo!!!
She sleeps until morning. I always hate to wake her up for breakfast but if I don't, she is weak and gets off schedule for her pills. I have to get her up by 8:30 and feed her by 9:00 to make sure she does not get too weak.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The beach trip seems so far away!

We had a great trip to the beach. Rusty's Beachhouse is such a wonderful refuge! Ann and I managed to get in some shopping of course and the 4 of us did some sightseeing. We went to Harkers Island and had a great time walking along the beach at Fort Macon . My favorite part was pulling up my pant legs and wading in the ocean. It was sooo cold but felt so good. Water seems to draw me like a magnet! We hunted for shells and found lots of what Ally and I call "Mermaid Glass". Love ya Ann and Larry!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Eye infection vs Antibiotic and Antibiotic is winning!!!

This is one of the only pictures of all of us together!

What a difference! Mom took 3 antibiotics yesterday and today her eye looks and feels so much better. I had the picture of her with the infection on my last blog but Barry thought I should take it off so I did. Anyway, we are on the mend finally with that and she seems to be feeling better. It is so sad to see how confusing the world is for her. She did get out of bed today for all three meals but she is having trouble with walking today. She really has to think about putting one foot in front of the other. It is a shouffle kind of a walk. Eating has become very confusing too. We have to make sure she has food in front of her when she sits at the table and she does fine.

Ann and Larry P. and Barry and I are going to the beach tomorrow! (Thanks for the use of the beach house Rusty and Kira!!!) We are excited to get away but I also feel nervous about leaving. It is only 3 hours away so it will be ok. We need to get away.

Today I had my hair cut and colored. I really had the "skunk" style going. A gray streak down the part line. Ann came over and stayed with Annie and mom. I love the way the girl did my hair and it feels so good to feel a little less frumpy!!! I honestly only wear makeup on Sundays for church and have just been quickly running the brush through my hair in the morning. Poor Barry must think he married a slob! Ill try to be better about that.

I love blogging! It has been so good for me to get my feelings out and this is such a fun way to do it. Please know that I am doing fine and though this is hard, I love being here. My sister and I are really enjoying our time with mom. Ann comes nearly everyday and I know it is because she, like myself, is just wanting to cherish every moment that we have with our special mom.
Barry helps me get mom up in the morning and that has been a special time too. My brother, Larry comes every weekend and it has been fun to spend time with him. My sister Shirley came last saturday and sunday and mom enjoyed seeing her and her sweet daughter Rachel. I have a brother Steve who has not been able to come down but he calls and checks on mom. We are really trying to pull together. What if we had not decided to come when we did! It makes me sad to think of all these special times with mom and my siblings that I would have missed!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An Eternal Perspective...

Annie, Ann and I have shed some tears today. Mom is suffering so much from her eye infection and is really out of it. She keeps asking for Annie although Annie is standing right next to her. She keeps asking the same questions over and over. All she wants to do is sleep. The hospice nurse came in today and I sat at the table with her and just started crying. I had held it in all morning and it just came out. I told her that mom slept great all night and but I kept getting up to check on her...and all I could think of was...suppose she is not breathing! The nurse told me that that could very well happen and that I needed to prepare myself for that. She started telling me some signs to look for. I am really not ready. I heard Annie at the door so I went to greet her and she saw me crying and I quickly had to say"Mom is ok...I am just having a weak moment". Then Annie started crying. Ann came by later and she said she has not been able to stop crying...seeing mom so listless and confused is so hard. Are we doing enough? We wish we could fix it for her. I think the hardest thing is when mom gets angry with me. I know it is just because she is uncomfortable and that I shouldn't take it personally, but it hurts. Joni is here almost every night and last night mom did not know who she was. That was painful to see.
Tonight I found this picture of mom and dad. They look so happy! Mom lost some of that spark in her eyes when dad died so very many years ago. I need to keep reminding myself about that incredible reunion they will have someday. For now...we will just keep loving mom and giving all we have to keep her happy! (PS...Marilyn, I have had you and your mom in my thoughts so much today! Love ya!)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Poor Mom! Eye infection and Constipation!

Mom has had a rough few days. It is really strange, but when she was in the hospital, we noticed that she would look at us closing one of her eyes. We thought maybe it was the result of a stroke but that was ruled out. Now, 4 weeks later, she has begun to have a major infection in that eye. We kept being told by the nurses that maybe she scratched it and to lay washcloths with warm or cold water over it. It kept getting worse. Finally a nurse came in last night and when she called the doctor, she thought it might be shingles. It sure does not look like shingles to me and I told her that. They said shingles can look different on different parts of the body. I finally sent a picture out to the nurse and asked her to send it to the doctor so she could see how bad it is. Her whole face is swollen with it. It is so hard because we can't take mom into the office as weak as she is so we are having to rely on the nurses to relay the messages to the doctor. I hope the picture helps them realize how bad it looks. The doctor did put her on an antibiotic for shingles so I hope that helps. I feel so sorry for mom. I know it has to hurt so bad!

Another issue mom is having is that she has lost the ability to know what to do if you feel like you need to have a bowel movement. She has the cramping and pain but cannot push. When I tell her to push, sometimes she will push her hands into her lap...but just does not know what I mean by "push". It is so hard to see her so uncomfortable. Last night, she started crying and said "It is still in there". She is so relieved every day when she finally has a BM. From what I have read, there is a fine line that you have to balance here. If you give them too much of a laxative, they may lose control and need to be in a Depends. But,on the other hand, you don't want the opposite problem because they need to stay regular. I hope that we can balance things out and figure out this delima too. Sorry if you the this is TMI but it is a big part of our life right now! I never realized that this could be an issue with an alzheimer patient. She will say, "Aren't you going to do something?" or "Just let me go to bed." Today she yelled,"Get me up from here, now!!" It is so frustrating for her!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I learned how to us an insulin pump last night. It was scary to stick a needle into mom, but her blood sugar has been so high that we had no choice. I got instructions from the hospice nurse, gave mom a shot after the nurse left...The next morning, I checked her blood sugar and it was high again. I was nervous about giving the shot so I decided to review what the nurse told my sister and I by looking at the booklet that came with the insulin. I was horrified that the nurse had failed to give us some very important information! She did not tell us that the insulin did not have to be refrigerated after the first use, to be sure to prime the pen and get rid of all the bubbles, to hold the needle and the button down and count to 5 slowly when doing the injection, and to be sure to look into the little window for a diamond or an arrow to know that all the insulin was in for that dosage. (We are using an insulin delivery device.) Maybe she was in a hurry but she gave us the instructions on a friday and had I not read the instructions I would have been doing it wrong all weekend at the least! The biggest danger was that the dosage is not regulated if you don't prime the pen and if you don't hold the needle in for the right amount of time. This is the 3rd disappointmant we had with this nurse so I complained and now we have another nurse. I am still working on trying to get the insulin regulated....it has not been an easy task. I have been studying about diabetic diets and can honestly say the mom does not eat anything that is not diabetic approved. I have used whole wheat, lots of veggies, limited fruit, lean meat. I have "The Idiots Guide to Terrific Diabetic Meals" (Gee thanks, Larry) which I love to get recipes out of. All I can do is keep trying!! If you have any hints, please email them to me at gailwester@yahoo.com because I am not sure how to respond to comments yet! I do love reading your comments though...thanks for all of them!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meet my sister Ann...

It just occurred to me that I talk about my sister Ann as if everyone knows her. I decided that it is time to introduce her! Ann is 13 months older than I am and we have always been close. Of course when we were younger, we had our little spats. Like the time she cut the Levi tag off the back of my jeans when I let her borrow them..how could she!?? Or, the time I gave her some curtains..she bought rods and hung them...then I asked for them back when I needed them again...hey...seemed logical to my twenty something year old mind!!! Ann is a retired elementary school teacher and she loves kids! Her husband, Larry, is a retired fireman. They have two daughters, Kira and Joni. Ann and Larry have never lived anywhere but her in our hometown of Louisburg! It is so nice to have Ann nearby and as you can imagine, hardly a day goes by that she is not out here to see mom. I am loving the time I get to spend with her!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oh What a Night....

This is a picture of "Miss Annie" with mom. Miss Annie is part of the family! She has been staying with mom for almost a year now. Mom loves her so much that we decided that we would keep her coming during the weekdays even though I am here. It is great to have her around and I think that keeping her has made mom's adjustment to me go smoother. I wish you could all meet Miss Annie. She is almost as old as mom, but healthy as can be. She has a Christ-like love for everyone she meets and never forgets a name or face. Everyone needs a Miss Annie to bring sunshine into their day!!!

I was trying to control what I write out of respect for my mom, but I decided that I know that whoever reads this will understand that what I say is not a reflection of her but rather of this horrible disease. As I watch mom, it is hard to grasp what it must be like to be living in her world. Her anxiety level is understandable very high. Who are these people? What are they saying to me? What is this fork for? Do I chew or swallow these pills? Where am I? I want to go home! Am I alone? What is that noise? Who are these people who call me mom? The list could go on and on.... So now I want to describe what a night for her is like........At about 7:00 she begins to want to go to bed. We try to procastinate. Last night we had her mixing up some sugar free pudding and she enjoyed licking the wisk. We were able to stretch bedtime out to about 8:00. Every two or three hours, she wakes up and says,"Where am I" or "Whose there?" or "Larry, Ann, Miss Annie". You go in and try to comfort her until she goes back to sleep. Most nights that I am with her, I usually just climb into the twin bed that is next to her hospital bed. The other night I finally got her calmed down and she went back to sleep and I heard her sing,"Row, row, row your boat..." in her sleep. I began to laugh. What sweet memories! We talked to the Hospice nurse and she is giving mom an anxiety pill to help her calm down more at night. The nurse said that one of the most important things we can do for mom is to help her get a full and relaxed night sleep. She seems to want to sleep all day long and I really hope that if we can help her relax at night, she will be abe to stay up during the day more.
I am so grateful for this time I have to spend with mom and I know that these memories I am "blogging" will be meaningful to me someday. Sometimes when I am watching her sleep I find myself singing a Garth Brooks song...."If tomorrow never comes...will she know how much I love her...have I tried in everyway...to show her everyday.... " . Mom knows that my sister Ann and her sweet family, and my brother Larry have always been there for her...now I just have to get her to remember me and know that I will always be here for her and that I will not leave ever again!!!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Alzheimers....I just don't understand....

My mom has been through so much in her 84 years...why does she have to go through this? I wish I could understand. My sister and I have talked about how we feel like we are losing our mom slowly...one memory at a time. She is not herself at all and about 95% of herself is gone. I give her a hug and know that although she feels like my mom, and smells like my mom, and laughs like my mom, and talks like my mom...only a small part of my mom is really there. I grasp onto any hope I can find that things will get better for her but deep inside I know that is not very likely. I have researched to try to find ways to bring joy into her life...some work... some don't. I did find a poem that I think describes it well....

Do not ask me to remember
Don't try to make me understand
Let me rest and know you're with me
kiss my cheek and hold my hand
I'm confused beyond your concept
I am sad and sick and lost
All I know is that I need you
To be with me at all cost
Do not lose your patience with me
Do now scold or curse or cry
I can't help the way I'm acting
Can't be different though I try
Just remember that I need you
That the best of me is gone
Please don't fail to stand beside me
Love me 'till my life is done.

"Real Love"

This is a picture of Barry enjoying TV at mom's house. Mom cannot take any noise in the house so the television is rarely going. As you can imagine, that has been hard...especially during the Olympics! My brother provided us with headphones and that is working good. I laughed the other night because my niece...Joni..passed by our room and saw Barry in there laying across the bed with the earphones on watching the Olympics and she came into the dining room and said to me...."Gail...you know that is real love!" Thanks Joni...for reminding me!!!!


I was so excited to learn that my friends and family could post a comment to my blog! Hailey explained that feature to me the other night. Tonight I finally got a moment to look at your comments. Thank you so much for your love and support! I love ya'll!!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lots of great memories around this table!

We spend alot of time around this table. I think that is the way of the South! Anyone who has ever visited Cille has spent lots of time in this spot and most likely they have experienced her bringing out lots of food and trying to be sure that everyone at the table tries everything on the table! ...... Mom is really struggling with her memory. Someone asked her the other day if she knew my name and she patted me on the leg and said,"she knows her own name". Having your own mom forget who you are is painful...but I do think that she knows that she loves me and that I love her...and that is more important than her being able to call me by name!

A North Carolina Snow Fall at MOMS

This is a picture of mom's home after we had a snow a few days ago. It was a beautiful snowfall that melted fairly fast. I love that picture of Barry trying to shovel with a little blue plastic shovel. He did it though! If you look in the background of the picture of Barry, you will see my sister's RV. They moved it out here so that Barry could have a place to work. He sleeps out there some nights because mom has a hard time sleeping at night. I do ok if I don't get much sleep at night because I can nap during the day. Barry has to work. Barry has been the chief cook around here. It is so nice not having to worry about that part of the day and as most of you know...he is a great cook! Thanks Barry!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Barry's Aunt Elistine

Barry and I paid a visit to his aunt in The Manor in Louisburg. She is such a sweet lady. I won't tell you how old she is, but when she told me, I was amazed at how well she is doing. What really blew my mind was that she does not color her hair! That is the natural color! I wish I could say that about myself! She is so much fun and is just loving life even though her knees hurt so bad that she was laying in bed with layers of covers on them to get the pain down. She said that they bring snacks by every morning and night and told us to open that top drawer and pick something out. We opened it and it was full of all kinds of chips and other snacks. We have not had the chance to visit anyone else in Barry's family with all that has been going on with mom. I hope to do that when we get mom into a "routine"...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lucille May Romero...what a woman!!!

This picture was taken this past summer when we were all home for Kira's wedding. I had not seen it until today. Mom looks so good. This was taken in front of her home where Barry and I are living now.

Yesterday we were told that mom would be able to come home today and we were getting all geared up for that. Today the doctor informed us that her Hemoglobin count was low and that her INR level was high... so she needed to stay there one more day. Tomorrow will be the day. The hospital social worker called a meeting of my sister, Ann and brother Larry and I a couple of days ago. It was a tough meeting because they suggested to us that we call in Hospice. That makes things seem so final but they explained to us that it is the best way to get the services that mom will need. After they explained what Hospice can do, it made me feel so much better bringing her home. I just hope I can bring her lots of joy and happiness while at the same time, keeping her as safe and comfortable as possible. I know that with help of Annie, her best friend and my brothers and sisters, it will be fine! I love that sweet momma!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kira and Joni with "Cille".

When I was expecting our son Josh, mom was excited to have her first grandson, but she said she did not feel old enough to be a grandma. She decided that her grandchildren would call her Cille. Eleven grandchildren later, she is still "Cille" and they all love her dearly. Here are two of her grandaughters, Joni and Kira . (Daughters of my sister Ann and her husband Larry Peoples) They both have such a sweet bond with mom! Joni offered to spend the night with mom in the ICU on Friday night and I am sure that was a meaningful experience for both of them. Kira and her husband,Rusty, are expecting their first child in April. They came by to see mom on Saturday night and I could tell it was hard for Kira to leave. She stayed past visiting hours but she needed to be there. I just love those girls!!!

Barry was so sweet. Saturday night he made a crock pot of beef stew and had everyone over after their visit to the hospital. I stayed with mom while he fed everyone. I had a bowl when I got home and it hit the spot!

Finally here... with the best mom on earth!!!

We arrived in Louisburg on Sunday, January 31 at about 8:30 pm. We were so happy to get here! My sister Ann, her husband Larry and my brother Larry were here with mom when we got here. We had called them several times along the road and knew that mom was not feeling well but we were not prepared for how sick she really was. It is amazing how fast things can change at her age...I cannot tell you how scared I was that night! We called the ambulance the next morning and she is now in ICU at the local hospital. She has been in there for a week now. It turns out that she has pneumonia and as a result of that, her heart rate was over 200 and her blood sugar was over 400 by the time she went to the hospital. The pneumonia is getting better but she is still having trouble with the heart rate. They keep it under control most of the time... but a few times since she went in, it has raced out of control. They are trying to get it under control with medications since surgery for her is out of the question. I love that sweet lady! She is amazing! I love spending time with her! I read a book called "No Love is Ever Wasted" that my sister gave me. It has really helped me have some sweet moments with mom even when she was so sick that I was not sure she knew who I was. It was written by a couple that have worked with memory loss patients for years and as a result, their insight is priceless! Today mom was doing so much better. She is eating great and seems to be getting her strength back. I cannot wait for her to get strong enough to get back home!!!

I am also reading a book my brother gave me called " My Stroke of Insight" by Jill Bolte. It is about a Harvard trained brain scientist who had a stroke. True Story. If you are looking for a good book club book...it would be great. It was a NY Times bestseller.
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"Driving Miss Gail"

This picture of Barry reminds me of the movie, "Driving Miss Daisy" for some reason. We had two full days of driving to do when we left Colorado. I took this picture of the back of the car because we could not believe how loaded down it was. We lightened the load a bit by dropping off stuff in Provo and Colorado. We had the car packed so tight when we left Idaho that we honestly could not have fit a shoe box into the back! We saw some beautiful country as we drove. A snow storm hit the east coast a day before we arrived The good thing was that the snow plows were also ahead of us so we didn't have any problems.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Next stop...Colorado!

We left Provo and headed to Colorado to visit Cale, Hailey, Kira and Cole. It was such a quick visit...I tried to convince myself that we should stay an extra night...but we really needed to get on the road. They bought their home as a diamond in the rough. They have really transformed that place. I know they are getting tired of the on going projects, but it will be worth it! Kira and Cole are so cute. They are such good buddies...Kira just adores her little brother!

Let's stop in Provo!

On the way to North Carolina we decided to make a stop in Provo to see the newlyweds! They are doing great. We stopped by Zack and Amy's first. They had wanted us to be there for dinner, but we were too late so they fed Nick and Dana and their friend Jordan. They did save Barry and I a piece of Amy's Apple Pie and it was one of the best I have ever had...I gotta get that recipe! We went over the Nick and Dana's to spend the night. Dana had fried Plaintain Bananas...a recipe she had learned to make on her mission in Spain. They ate them alot on their honeymoon in Panama. I vaguely remember eating them as a little girl but that was the first time I have seen them cooked they way she did it. She sliced them, mashed them, then fried them. I hope I can make some for mom at some point. They were yummy! So I am happy to report that all is well with the newlyweds!!!

Going Away Party!

The night before we left, Carla had a little going away party for us. Good food, good friends!
We are going to miss our friends in Idaho! Max gave us a laugh for the road. He gave us two envelopes inside a single envelope. One envelope was labeled,"How much we are happy to see you go."..that envelope was empty. The other envelope said,"A nest egg to get you back." Inside that one was a one dollar bill. We laughed! Thanks for all the fun memories!