Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter 2012

I spent Easter with my daughter and her family.  We had a nice ham dinner (I'm not a fan of ham, but it was actually really good) and then we all went outside for an Easter egg hunt.  It was a pretty warm day out, and so beautiful.  One of the adults hid the eggs and we let the little ones search for them first, and when they were done the adults found the rest of them.  My youngest granddaughter was funny because she kept going up to her uncle and saying she wanted more eggs, and she would reach into his sack and take his.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see my other kids or my grandson for Easter, but I will get to see them all very soon. Yay!  We did do face time on my phone so I could see and talk to my son, grandson and daughter-in-law.  My grandson is two years old and he gave me some kisses and a big hug by wrapping his arms around the ipad (lol).  He also counted for me, sang the alphabet song, and danced to a couple of songs.  He takes after me...loves to dance!  It's so cute how he says, "I love you, Nana"...always adds Nana at the end.

Here are my granddaughters in their Easter dresses.

So cute...she's sharing her sucker with her sister.

The little one has so much hair and it's always covering her face.  She had a barret in but took it out.
There's her face!
Counting their eggs...
Oh where, oh where did the little eggs go...
Somebody is tired.  I think she had a little too much candy.

The girls were actually pretty darn good at finding the eggs.
Here's my daughter with her daughters!
And here I am with my granddaughters.
I hope everyone had a happy Easter!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Friend Came To Visit Me in Phoenix

One of my friends made her first trip ever to Phoenix, and I did my best to show her a good time.  We spent five days together...hiking, shopping, working out at the gym, yoga class, strolling through an art walk, checking out a local brewery, eating at different restaurants, getting a pedicure, and lots of girl talk.  In other words, we wore ourselves out, but had fun in the process. 

I took her to my favorite zumba class last Saturday and then we went for a two hour hike on a south mountain trail in Awahtukee.  Both were firsts for her.  She had never hiked up a mountain before or taken a zumba class, but she did great and loved the zumba dancing.  I've just recently started hiking with a group I joined and I love it so much. I'm hiking different mountain trails every week, so I took her to one of the trails I have done before.


On Tuesday another friend of mine joined us and we hiked up the Cholla trail on Camelback mountain.  Her fear of heights got to her, and we headed back down before reaching the summit.  It was ok though because we treated ourselves to pedicures and did a little shopping afterwards.
Later that night we capped off the evening at one of the nations best pizza reataurants...Pizzaria Bianca.  She liked it so much she bought a pizza to go, and the next day she carried it on the plane with her to bring home.

I had a wonderful time with my dear friend, and I was so happy she came to see me.  She had a great time too and we are both looking forward to a return visit.

Another Trip to California

I made another trip to California to visit my son and his family.  I took this picture of the salf flats as we were landing.  From up in the sky they look so colorful and like a beautiful work of art.

The main reason for going to California was to babysit my grandson while my son went to work, since my daughter-in-law was heading out to Colorado to ice climb.  Yeah, sounds scary doesn't it?  We all got to spend some time together before she left.  I'm happy to say, she made it home safe and sound.

My friend from high school stopped by with her husband and son and we went to the Fish Restaurant by the wharf in Sausalito.  Here's me with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson.
   Here's the rest of the gang while we were waiting for our food.

My grandson is such a happy little boy.  He's very inquisitive, knows his alphabet and numbers, loves puzzles, books, and Super Y (which I knew nothing about before, but sure do now!).  He sleeps in a twin sized bed now and still loves to be read to every night.   

 I love this little guy so much.  He was so cute at the airport when he broke away from my son's arms and ran to me as soon as he saw me coming through the gate.  He was calling out to me...nana...nana!  It melted my heart.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Special Times With Mom

We went to Chicago to visit my mom, and of course, my daughter, last week.  My daughter had to fly out a couple of days after I arrived.  She won an award at work for a free trip to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.  The rest of my time was spent driving to the suburbs to see mom, and the only other thing we did the whole week was see the movie, War Horse.  What an awesome movie! We will do more things in Chicago next time around, but this time our focus was mom since it is her birthday week.  In fact, today is her birthday.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

A Loving Tribute To My Mom

In my mom's hands, I see all of the hard work that ...she has done for me. I see the caring they've provided for my benefit down through the years. In my mom's eyes, I sense a gentle understanding of my ways, and also a longing to sometimes help me see some better ways of living. In my mom's arms, I've found comfort from the world so many times, from fears, hurts, and everything that troubles me. I know that if anything happens to bother me now, those arms are always open just for me. In my mom's face, I see the hopes for me that are plainly written there; often, a sense of pride is revealed, too. But in my mom's heart is the greatest gift of all, for that is where so much love is kept for me. ~ Barbara J. Hall

I love my mom so very much.  Here's some pictures of our visit...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Yellow Sky Painting With Trees and Snow

I painted another picture!  I used acrylics on a 16 x 20 inch canvas, and it took about 5 hours to paint.  I really want to start painting more often, but sometimes I don't get around to doing what I want, even with the best intentions.  We'll see how it goes.  My mom enjoyed painting too, so I guess it runs in the family.  I used a painter's sponge on the background, and I love the way it turned out.  

Here's some pictures of my painting from start to finish.   

Friday, December 30, 2011

Keep What Is Valuable To You Because You May Never See It Again

Journaling is so important to me, as I do it all the time.  My own private journals.  I kept a journal when I was living with my mom, right after her diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease, when the Dr. said she can no longer live alone.  Another sister wrote in the journal sometimes, too.  But I did most of the writing.  I wrote about the good and the bad days, I quoted things mom said, I wrote of what she said during our prayers, and I wrote about my feelings and the struggles we both went through.  When I moved I placed the journal in another sister's hands, the one I turned over POA to.  I thought I did the right thing, to let the others continue to write in it.  But things changed.  The POA got stolen from the sister I gave it to, by another sister who wanted to control everything, and mom got taken away from her home.  Now I find out after months of asking about the journal, that the journal got 'lost in the shuffle'.  What is that supposed to mean?  It either means she didn't care enough to put it in a safe place and it got thrown out, or she gave it to the controlling sister because she was demanding everything be given to her.  In either case, it's gone.  A piece of my life with mom is gone.  It's more than paper with words.  I regret trying to do what I thought was right in thinking of my sisters.  I should have thought of myself and kept the journal.  I can rewrite some of what I remember but it won't be accurate.  I don't have dates, quotes, details.  My journaling now is very accurate and it will continue, without anyone taking it away from me.  I learned a very important lesson...don't give someone something that is very important to you if there is even a remote possibility you will never see it again, because what you value, someone else couldn't care less about.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Some Things Never Change

Sometimes, you just need to walk...and not look back.
Change means that what was before wasn't perfect. It means what's old got boring.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Choose To Live Your Life With Happiness and Don't Regret Your Decisions

There's so many things about life that I don't understand, and I will never have the answers to everything I want to know.  None of us will.  That is part of the challenges we face in life, trying to figure out the answers to all those questions we have.  At least if we can accept that we don't need to have all the answers, we can live our lives with a higher level of happiness. 

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection.” Anonymous, The Bhagavad Gita

We've all heard that expression...Life is short.  Sadly for some, life is shorter than it is for others.  So why not live the best life we can while we are still here?  Why not choose to be happy?  I know it's hard sometimes, but try to make choices that bring you happiness.  We all want to live the best life we can, to be happy and do what is right for us, and for those we love.  Do you ever hear anyone say otherwise?   Nobody wants to cause misery to another person.   At least, no decent person does.  And nobody wants to live an unhappy life.  Go for what you want that makes you happy!

“There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it.”
Judith McNaught, Remember When

I know people make decisions that adversely affect their lives, both consciously and unconsiously.  We all make mistakes because we are not perfect.  We can look back on our lives and see where we went wrong, and where we may have been able to change the course of our lives, had we made different decisions.  But that is life...we choose, we grow, we fail, we achieve, we loose, we regret, we learn.  We are constantly faced with decisions, and we don't know the outcome of those decisions until after the fact, sometimes minutes, sometimes days, weeks, months, or even years later.  We live and learn, and we will never stop learning and growing as long as we are living. 

“That’s the thing about a human life-there’s no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if any variables had been changed.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

The important thing is to accept that we are going to make mistakes.  We are not always going to make the best decisions on everything we ever encounter in our lives.  Sometimes we have to look back to realize if our choices were wrong or right.  Sometimes our decisions are not as simple as right or wrong, they are simply a choice.  It's no different for anyone, no matter who you are.

“As long as the world is turning and spinning, we're gonna be dizzy and we're gonna make mistakes.”
Mel Brooks

In light of that, articles like this can help us to at least think a little harder about what it is that is most important in life, before it is too late.  http://www.inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html
I think I've made a conscious effort to do that, but I guess I won't really know until it is the end of the road for me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Starting a New Tradition For the Holidays, and Trip to Jerome, Haynes, and Sedona, AZ

This year was a new beginning to a Thanksgiving tradition, since our former holiday traditions have become a thing of the past. With my grandparents and my dad long gone, my mom in a nursing home, and the distance of my sisters, holidays are not the same as they once were.  That's the thing about life, things change, traditions change, and we start new ones. It's not supposed to be a sad thing, but a happy, new beginning. The past holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas will forever be etched in my memory, but now, going forward, I am starting a new tradition. We have decided that every other year we will get together at my house for either Christmas or Thanksgiving. Since this was the year for Thanksgiving, we celebrated Christmas too. My kids will be with their significant other's families for Christmas this year. Next year our family will be together for Christmas instead of Thanksgiving. I think we got it all worked out where everyone knows the schedule and can plan accordingly. 

There's so much going on right now and my mind is usually in a state of worry about my mom's health.  So it was so nice having all of my kids come here for the holiday and we could spend some good quality time together.  It offered me a nice distraction, and we had a really fun time. They always make me laugh!  I love being with all of them.  I didn't get to be with my mom, but I plan to see her just as soon as I can get back to Chicago.

My son and his family flew in from San Francisco and my youngest daughter and her boyfriend flew in from Chicago.  My oldest daughter lives here in Phoenix, near me. My house isn't that big so we had to divide the family between my house and my daughter's house for sleeping arrangements. It's ok though, because we spent most of our waking hours together.  I had all of my kids and grandkids here, and I went to bed at night, peacefully, knowing they were all safe and sound. All moms know that feeling!  Even though my kids are grown, we moms still worry about them.

I usually have my Christmas tree up early so it wasn't that big of a deal putting it up when I did.  It did feel kind of strange getting all of my Christmas shopping done so early.  I was listening to Christmas music and wrapping presents when other people were just starting their Christmas lists. I don't know what it's going to feel like when Christmas is actually here, because right now I feel like it's over, except when I go to the stores and am reminded that Christmas is still coming.  It's everywhere.  I love this time of year.

When my youngest daughter and her boyfriend arrived last Wednesday, we headed out for a mountain hike shortly after returning from the airport.  By the time we got to the mountain, we stopped for a jump shot picture, which is something my daughter and I always do.  She can jump higher than I can, but I say it's because she's so much younger, AND, she is more athletic than me with all those years of dance, cheerleading, and other sports.   Anyway, it's a fun thing for us to do.
Here's my daughter and her boyfriend...

After our pictures, we set out on the mountain trail.  The rocks were really loose and I warned everyone to be careful.  So what do I do?  I guess I wasn't careful enough, because I ended up slipping on the rocks and I fell and landed on a hard rock that jabbed me in the upper part of my leg.  Thankfully, I didn't get hurt badly and was able to walk ok.  Shortly after that we turned around and headed back to the house.  Soon after, a bruise appeared, and my leg was sore.  But about 5 days later, after all the kids left, that's when it started to bother me.  I got some Arnicare from the drugstore and I applied heat to the bruise (which was the worst bruise I have ever seen).  Both of those things helped because it felt so much better and looked so much better within just two days.  Anyway, enough of that.

Later that day I picked up my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson from the airport.  I just saw them earlier in the month, but of course it was so sweet to see them again.  I fixed lasagne and baked spaghetti and french bread for supper that night, and all the kids and their spouses and my grandkids were at my house.  The grandkids played really well together.  They are 3, almost 2, and just turned 2 years old.
This was taken at my daughter's house...
We had Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter's house the next morning.  She has a bigger dining room table than me so we agreed to have it there this year, and we both shared the preparation of the food.  I baked the turkey at my house, so I got the most important job!  I think it turned out really good.
Here's a picture of my kids on Thanksgiving.

The day after Thanksgiving we packed the family in two cars and drove to Jerome, Arizona, which is an historical ghost town.  It is considered the most vertical city in America.  The views from the vistas were beautiful.  You could see Sedona and the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff from the town.
This is Jerome...

We left Jerome and drove a short distance to the town of Haynes, Arizona, which is an old mining town, and a completely deserted ghost town.  A mine was constructed to mine for copper but gold was found instead.  It was interesting walking through the town and going inside the old buildings, and seeing all the old cars and trucks and equipment.

After walking around Haynes, we drove about 20 miles to Sedona. I've been there before but my younger two have not been there.  It is such a beautiful place and it would be such a neat place to live.  Not only the beauty, but the energy some people feel from the vortexes is what draws spectators to the area. This first picture is the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which was built in 1956...the same year that I was born.
 A couple of pictures of me and my kids. 
 Here's a picture of our whole gang.
 The beautiful Sedona sunset. 
When we got home after our trip we went to my daughter's house and ate some left-over food.
The next day we prepared a big breakfast at my house.  My daughter and her husband made pumpkin, walnut pancakes and my daughter-in-law made an egg and hashbrown casserole.  I made some bacon and cinnamon rolls and we had some fresh fruit and juice.  After breakfast we turned on some Christmas music and opened our presents.  I just loved the kids' expressions and obvious signs of happiness and excitement when they opened their gifts.  That is what makes Christmas so special.  Seeing that. 
Here's my grandkids again.  My daughter curled the girls' hair for a photo shoot later on...
 I love this picture of them...
Here's the rest of the family...
 After our Christmas, the kids took naps and then we went to Scorpion Gulch at South Mountain for a photo shoot.  My daughter is an aspiring photographer and she wanted to take pictures of the family.  We really appreciated it, and she got some awesome shots.  Here's some of them...
I took this one.
 Later that night we hung out at the house and ordered pizza.  My son and my daughter's boyfriend put some cool apps on my iphone and showed me some of the features of my new phone that I didn't  know about.  My daughter's boyfriend made a Lady Gaga CD for me (I love her songs) and next time I go to Chicago he is going to download her songs to my ipod.  We talked about a family vacation next year, and decided a Disney cruise next fall/winter would be a great thing for the young ones and the adults.  We've got some planning to do!  That will be a blast, and more than anything, it will be a great memory for all of us.