Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Family Illness

For whatever reason, the passing of my grandmother has brought on some sort of illness in my family. I have some sinus infection going on, Makenna has a cold, my brother Josh was sick, his girls were sick, my brother Jared got sick and now his kids are sick, and even my mom was not feeling well.

It didn’t stop us from getting together, especially since my brother Jake was in town. We weren’t going to pass up an opportunity to visit with him. The timing was pretty good as we gave him a surprise birthday party (his birthday is in the beginning of April). We showered him with our illness, kids and some gifts.

Jake’s visit was short, (Friday to Sunday) but you can see that the kids loved being with him. We wish that he lived closer but maybe one day when he’s done with school and obligations, he’ll move back to the area.

On Sunday, I took the opportunity to talk to Makenna and her cousin Eli some more about great grandma and how she was a spirit with God before she came here to earth and how she received a body (the whole hand in the glove story…some will know what I’m talking about). Then I said how she’s now left her body to be back with Heavenly Father. I had them draw a picture of Jesus and Makenna also drew a picture of great grandma next to Jesus. I hope this helps her to processes it some more. I know she seems back to “normal”…translation…talking back, giving me a hard time, and being cute as ever. But there are times she still says how grandma is coming back again or thinks that we’ll be going to visit her.

I realized with grandma’s passing, that she was my last grandparent alive. It was kind of weird to think of it that way. I also realized that she was in her 60’s when I was born, which is something I had never thought of…ever…I don’t know why. She always seemed to be full of energy and never slowed down. Not that I think that if you’re in your 60’s you all of a sudden seem slow but this woman really just kept going and going until her body wouldn’t let her go any more. I think it was in her late 80’s that she finally slowed down.

Even though her short-term memory was pretty poor, she was still as funny as ever and caring about the great grand-kids and their well-being. On Sunday’s she’d constantly worry about Abbie (my Brother Jared’s little girl) and that she wasn’t getting any food. Even though she’s just over one and couldn’t always eat what food we had for the older kids and ourselves.

The day after she passed away, Chris and myself, and his parents went to Smucker’s Stars on Ice that was held locally at the Arena. I do like watching ice-skating and it was really neat to see some big named stars (even the Men’s Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek ). There was also Kurt Browning, Todd Eldredge, Sasha Cohen, Michael Weiss, and others. I loved it! Chris was not too thrilled but I think he secretly liked it.

Unfortunately, my camera’s battery was not charged and I was only able to get one decent picture and a video that’s choppy before it died. So I am only posting the picture of Kurt Browning as it was the only picture that came out decent.

Theresa Grosek 1/13/1910 - 3/23/2011

Well, we knew this day would eventually come. I just wrote back in February’s posts about how we thought she was going to die and that she probably caught a “second-wind” as it’s termed. Well, her second wind lasted longer than I expected so when I received the call on Wednesday morning, (the 23rd,) that she had passed on, I was shocked.

The good news was that my brother Jared and his family had been with her the night before and she was happy and talkative and glad to see the great-grandkids. Then from what we’re told, she was talking all night to the nursing staff and in the morning they gave her a bath, and then went to get her breakfast. When they returned, she had passed on. I was happy to hear that she went happily and peacefully.

I know that she is so very happy to be with her mom, dad, brothers and sisters who had all passed on before her. She would frequently talk about how she misses them and that she was looking forward to seeing them again.

The bad news was that I happened to be home with Makenna that day…due to snow (yes more snow!) and she saw me break down and cry. She was a little bit shocked and unsure what to do and she came up to me and was trying to give me hugs. I explained to her that great-grandma had died and tried to explain the best I could what that meant.

We were able to go see her body in the nursing home so I went and picked up Chris who watched Makenna in another area of the nursing home while I said goodbye to grandma. When we picked him up, Makenna immediately told him that great grandma had died. He said, “yes she did….do you know what that means?” She replied, “She’s with Heavenly Father.”

When we got to the nursing home, my brothers Jared and Josh were there along with my grandmother’s two sons. After talking about plans of what to do and gathering some of her belongings, I took Chris back to work and Makenna and I went home.

Makenna would ask me throughout the day if I was still sad. I told her that I was sad but that I was okay and that it was okay to miss grandma. She then started saying things like, “you’re dying (meaning grandma,) and we’ll miss you, and we want you to come back. “ She also said, “Mommy misses great grandma,” and there was talk about Jesus in there. She kept telling me over and over how she’ll come back. When she went to bed at night, she said how she missed great grandma.

I took her to school the next day and I had Chris’s parents pick her up for me as I had things to do. When I came to get her they told me that she wasn’t happy and that she had a hard day at school. They handed me a note from school which said, “Makenna did not eat anything (turkey, plain pasta – which she usually eats, applesauce). Several children asked her to play and she said she wanted to be alone…Great Grandma died.”

I felt horrible. This just re-affirmed that I had to take her to school the next day, Friday, which was the day of the funeral. I partially wanted her to come to say goodbye, but I also wanted her to keep her routine and get back to normal as much as possible.

The services were very nice as her nephew, Jack Bendick , performed the service and some of my friends from church and otherwise, came to pay their respects. Even my brother Jake came in from Washington to say goodbye. I wished we could’ve had it on a Saturday as more people could’ve come but at the same time it was good as I knew Makenna was at school being taken care of.

At a lunch after the services, Jake, Jared, and myself were talking about our memories of grandma and it all boiled down to her selflessness towards us grandkids. Even when it was not necessary or could’ve gotten her into trouble with her husband, she still gave to us kids constantly. Whether it be money, food that we liked, games, clothes, helping us win in card games…and so much more…she gave it to us.

We knew that we were loved by such a wonderful woman who had endured so much in this life, both physically and emotionally. I’m so happy that I know she is happy with her family and free from a body racked with debilitating arthritis. That she will no longer be sad when we have to leave her to go to our homes as she can now constantly see us.

This is a video that was made back for her 100th birthday:


We love and miss you grandma….but we know we’ll see you again.

Spring Here We Come

Last Friday, March 18th, we enjoyed going to the park as a family, dogs and all, to enjoy the decent weather that is finally beginning to peek through.

The dogs loved being able to run and Makenna enjoyed getting her tricycle back out and enjoying the fact that she’s better at peddling and steering it. A note to all of those that we “run into” literally…we’re sorry. We’re still trying to teach Makenna to look at the road as she drives. Not at her steering wheel.

When we got to the playground area of the park, the dogs took a rest with Chris and I went around following Makenna. She convinced me that I was still a child and that we could go down slides together. Surprisingly, I agreed and more surprisingly I fit down the slides. Although, my equilibrium is definitely not what it used to be. I went down one of the twisty-slides and had to wait for a moment to have the world stop spinning when I got to the bottom. But I forged on and continued to go on more slides.

I also had to let Makenna know that this year she is too big for the baby swings. I think she was okay with that as she can get on a big swing herself now. Now it’s just teaching her the “swing” techniques.

The dogs, surprisingly, did not want to interact with other people or dogs. They cowered as other people came up to them and when one lady stopped with her three dogs to give my dogs chicken they just assumed to keep going. Of course, they had just had rabies shots and another shot of some sort, from the vets office and the female dog was not doing well with car travel. She got sick on the way to the vets and on the way to the park.

Makenna enjoyed her bike some more yesterday (Sunday) and Chris remembered that he had gotten her a bike helmet and surprisingly she had no issues about wearing it.

Then this morning, Monday, woke up to snow and sleet! Spring is such a tease.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Recycling Jesus

The things that my child comes up with just continue to amaze me and make me laugh. This past week at pre-school, they were learning about recycling. The teacher had asked if we could bring in any recyclable bottles or cans and I came in bearing a very large bag of them along with another small bag. We tend to wait for special opportunities to off-load these on people instead of taking the initiative to get our money back and this was a perfect opportunity to do just that.

When I showed up with Makenna on Wednesday morning (3/16,) the teacher pulled me aside to tell me about the conversation that took place the day before. The teacher was talking to the kids about the importance of recycling and how these bottles and cans will be broken down and recycled into various things that we will use again, Makenna chimed in and said, “Oh, that’s like Jesus when he comes again, He’s recycled.” I had an astonished look on my face and I said to the teacher, “She said that?” Then I laughed as the teacher said that she also had a good laugh at that besides not knowing how to respond. Also, not to mention that her pre-school is in a Jewish run center and they celebrate Jewish holidays and follow Jewish customs regarding kosher foods and kitchens. That must’ve really thrown a wrench into her response. Although, I don’t think the teacher is Jewish.

She also continued to say that as they were sorting the various cans, plastic bottles, and glass bottles, that when some glass bottles came out from our bag, Makenna again had some “words of wisdom” as she told everyone how her daddy liked those bottles (beer bottles). With an emphasis on it as if to say, those are his precious bottles. It came across to me like daddy drinks a lot. That really had me puzzled as Chris honestly does not drink very often and when he does, it’s rarely in front of her. I guess the times he has must have really stuck with her.

The fun doesn’t stop there though…this morning Makenna woke up and came down to inform me that she has a headache and that it’s giving her “mumps and weasels.” I believe this ailment is from her Winnie the Pooh book when Winnie the Pooh goes to have a check-up and gets shots so he doesn’t get “bumps and weasels” and his friends promptly reply that it’s mumps and measles not bumps and weasels. So to be correct on both sides, Makenna has decided that she now has mumps and weasels. As the morning went on, she also had another ailment, “tushy.” When I explained that “tushy” is just another word for butt she told me that I was wrong and it had to do with her head. Then I thought; well now it all makes sense!

All of a sudden she started shaking her butt and saying, “stop it tushy, stop it.” Translation…she was yelling at her butt to stop shaking all over. When I asked her prior to leaving for school if she felt better and if she still had mumps, weasels, and tushy she told me that her tushy was better.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Things That Start With "S"

Namely the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Snow!
Since Saturday was relatively nice weather wise, we decided to go to the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade downtown. I’m not much for parades in a reality as you stand around and watch people walk by. This is equivalent to watching any sports car race like NASCAR….what’s the point?

But I figured it would be something nice to do and different and I can at least cross that off my list of things Makenna did as a child, like going to the circus and Zoo. Downtown was quite crowded to say the least and I found it hard to leave…not because it was physically impossible, which was part of the problem, but also because I was looking for a cousin who I knew was in the parade. I never did see her but I didn’t want to leave because I enjoyed listening to the bagpipers.

There were various groups that played them and I’m not sure why but to hear them play and play in tune I rather liked it. Maybe it’s from our days in Scotland (a mere 3 days,) but even Chris was saying how he’d like to learn how to play the bagpipes. I think listening to one may not be the same, especially if it’s from a person just learning how to play (I would liken it to torture,) but to listen to a group of them was quite entertaining.

Here’s some more pictures from the parade:

She’s too cute with words in her pigtails in this picture. She doesn’t let me do pigtails or pony tails too often so I have to take advantage when the mood strikes her

 Feeding daddy some of her cookies

Having a little parade of her own

Then the Snow! I have to admit I was completely unprepared for this “blizzard of 2011.” On Sunday morning I took the minivan to church, telling Chris it was fine because there wasn’t supposed to be any snow (that I knew of)…to my shock and horror, on the way to church, I heard the forecast. Then after church I was even more shocked to see that it had started.
When I took the dogs out after 10pm on Sunday night, they just peed at the bottom of the steps (what we could find of the steps) and I told Chris at that time that we were in for trouble.

This is what we woke up to on Monday morning…an imprint of our door made of snow..almost up to the door handle.

Needless to say, the dogs did not want to go out whatsoever and against all my sensibilities, I had to allow them to go in the house.  The cat on the other hand, HAD to go out (we don’t have a litter box,) and she was not too happy

As we finally cleared a path, we did get the dogs out, but put on their little jackets

Then the snow removal process really began.  You can see by this next picture that the snow was as high as our landscaped wall which borders our steps

In this next one you can again see the landscaped wall in the background and how the snow is against it, but also look how high the snow comes up on the plow…just about to the top!

This is the door to our garage

Makenna took this crooked picture of me on our deck to show how it comes up to MY knees!

Then Makenna got bundled up and this is her standing in front of a snow mound – up to her tummy!

And the process to remove the snow from the back deck – in layers
 It took Chris all day practically to remove the snow from our driveway and then rake it off our roof onto the just shoveled back deck (that I had shoveled) to then remove that snow. The plows didn’t even plow our roads until sometime after 10:30a.m. and Chris told me we had snowmobilers going up and down the road.

While Shoveling the back deck I was making a list of “Things not right about Snow” in my head. Such as,

- It’s not right if you have to shovel it in layers.

- It’s not right if you have to shovel it to another spot just to move it closer to its end destination as you just have to shovel that spot again and it now has more snow.

- It’s not right that as you shovel, the wind is blowing it back onto the spot you just removed it from and into your face.

- It’s not right for the weather to be nice and sunny and balmy later in the day after you’ve removed all the snow and exhausted yourself, just to have it melt.

- It’s not right to not be “packable” snow so that you can’t really make a snowman or snow fort or snowballs.

- It’s not right for the forecast to tell you that later in the week there’s a certain percentage that you will be getting more.

I could go on but those are the ones that really stuck in my head. Just know that there are other “S” words that crossed my mind that go with Snow!  Like this "SUCKS" and "Sarasota, FL."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Snowman and Other Pressures

Well another fun-filled week of yet again...snow. At least this time it was the nice packable, snowman-makeable snow. When I woke up last Friday and realized that I was not taking Makenna to school, I resolved to finally get out and make a snowman.

But first...some cleaning...with some help. Even though it slows me down in my process, I'm grateful she's showing interest in cleaning (as brief as it may be,) as I know the day will come without fail that she will no longer have an interest in any tasks I ask of her, especially when it comes to cleanliness.

Then on to making our snowman. I figured it would be easier to do it on the porch as there was plenty of snow up there that I had to clear anyways. You can see that I didn't go with the traditional "ball" of snow for the bottom, middle and top. It wasn't for lack of trying though. I'm just out of practice.

So it ends up looking more like Jabba the Snowman than just a jolly snowman. We used the "lion" hat we got in England for Makenna, Rocks for eyes and mouth, carrot nose (at least that's keeping with tradition,) and a scarf made by niece Brittanie.

We then decided on a fashion show and changed up hats. Now sporting the old-man farmer look is jabba the snowman:

When we put on Makenna's usual snow hat and gave it more of a modern look (if you can call it that):

I was actually quite proud that we did it until Chris came home and mocked the whole thing. Not to mention that we made it so that when you look out the sliding glass doors onto the porch you see it. Later that night I realized this was not such a good idea as you see something staring back at you in the dark.
The next day (Saturday,) was a birthday party for cousin Eli (who turned 3) and his sister cousin Abigail (who is going to turn 1).

I had to get this picture as it was so adorable....like the wisdom of the wise being passed down and intently listened to by the young (grandma Grosek 101 to Natalie who will soon be 2).

Pinata antics
The candy drops and mayhem ensues

I love how they're holding hands in this picture. Makenna truly loves her cousins, especially her cousin Eli...because he's the only one who does as she says.

Chris helping Abbie to exercise her walking feet:

Makenna actually took this picture and I had to laugh as it's Eli covered in chocolate:
As a last note, I realize I must be putting too much pressure on Makenna to be prepared for Kindergarten. She talks about it every week (if not every day,) about how she's going to be going to Kindergarten. I told her that we have to practice her zipping her coat (not really the zipping part as she can do that, the part where she has to put the zipper into the base to get it started,) and to tie shoes, due snaps and buttons and wipe her butt when she poops. I told her that no one at school is going to wipe her poopie butt so she's got to get better at it.

Well, this past week she's just about mastered the zipper part and happily states, "Yeah, now I can go to Kindergarten." As for the last graphic bit (pooping and wiping)...well this is where I realize the pressure is weighing on her mind. She came into the bathroom this week while I was going the bathroom and she said, "Mom, if you need help wiping, I need the practice so I can go to Kindergarten." I laughed and let her know I was good but thanks for the offer.

I guess it is true, the pressure on kids today is a lot more than when we were kids~