Monday, December 31, 2007


..............was Tom's temperature this morning when we left for his mom's funeral. As I type this, he is wrapped in a blanket and is watching a Planet of the Apes marathon on TV.

Happy. New. Year. 2008 has GOT to be better than 2007 has been. Ugh!

The funeral went well. Fr. Gary did a super job at her funeral mass - the soloist was amazing - and it was nice to see so many of Kay's friends. Marc wasn't able to make it due to the weather/road conditions. He called and spoke with Tom tonight though - he felt really bad about missing the service. Brendan had a tough time getting through it. It broke my heart to see him so upset. Katie was awful during the funeral - she did NOT want to sit down. You'd think the child had never attended church before, she was that bad.

We are in the process of cleaning out her house. 34 years in the same many memories for Tom and many things to move, pack, purge, etc. It has not been easy. We are making progress though. I think we are supposed to hear back from the realtor tomorrow regarding the sale price, etc. This whole situation is just really difficult for all of us.

As usual, I am trying to find the bright side to all of this. So, here it goes:
1. The kids had a nice Christmas in spite of all of the stress this year.
2. Katie got her Rose Petal Cottage and her "dress-up baby" as requested.
3. Brendan got a Nintendo DS and two games (Pokemon and a zoo game) as requested.
4. I got Tom a series of 5 golf lessons for the spring. From the kids, I got him a really cool gift card to Subway (his fave healthy-lunch spot) - the card was personalized with the kids' picture on it.
5. We had a nice prime rib dinner for Christmas. Tom zipped in to eat, then ran back to the hospital to be with his mother. But, at least we were able to enjoy a few minutes of the holiday together.
6. Even with everything that happened this past year, I still feel incredibly blessed.

I am amazed at the number of people who have contacted us with offers of meals, babysitting, moving furniture, etc. I am so touched at the generosity shown to us. We have some really, really wonderful friends.

I just wanted to check in really quickly to update and wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR! Blessings to you all!!!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rough Day

Kay and my grandmother both passed away early this morning - within just a few hours of one another.

Kay's funeral is Monday at 10:30 am at ST. Mary's Cathedral here in Cheyenne.

Thanks for the prayers and support. We so much appreciate it.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas . . . and reunions, of sorts

First of all, Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with family, joy, peace, and love.

Tom just got a phone call from the hospital and his mother is fading quickly. It will be any moment. Brendan said that he is glad she got one last Christmas on earth because that is what he prayed and asked God for. But it also looks like she will get to share this Christmas with her sweetheart who is waiting for her in heaven. It will be a loving reunion, I am sure. I know Marvin will give her three things right away: a hug, a kiss, and a hard time ;o) . He loved teasing her and I know how much she has missed him. I am praying that Jesus takes her hand and leads her home to her husband.

To top it all off, my mother called and my grandmother is also expected to pass away at any moment. She's been struggling with Alzheimers Disease for ten years now and we've been expecting her to decline soon - but just not this week. I just can't believe this is all happening to our little family on Christmas Day.

We are trying to make the day special for the two little ones, but they obviously notice that their Daddy isn't home (and they KNOW where he is). We'll have to try hard to make New Year's Eve special, I guess. They are, however, upstairs laughing and playing with their gifts. They both received exactly what they wanted from Santa (Brendan wanted a Nintendo DS with games, etc. - and Katie wanted Rose Petal Cottage and a dress-up baby).

Blessings to you all!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Life is full of surprises

Tom's mother had a slight improvement the other day. The doctors are amazed and say they aren't quite sure how this happened. She is still in critical condition, but she is conscious now and able to talk a little. She is so very tired though. So, the latest from the doctors is this:

She will stay in the hospital for now. IF (big IF) she ever gets well enough to leave the hospital, she will have to go to the hospice center for the remainder of her life. Hospice is only for people with less than six months to live, so it is obvious what her prognosis is. The hospice center will provide comfort measures for her, but no life-saving heroics like they do in a hospital. It is a beautiful facility and very close to our home. Tom and Steph are handling everything quite well right now. It is still hard, but they are prepared for whatever happens. We all hate seeing her suffer so much. She isn't in pain, but she is unable to breathe well, she can't cough, she is so congested, and her heart isn't functioning properly.

The most difficult conversation Tom and I ever had was on Thursday afternoon when we had to sit Brendan down and explain to him that his Grandma was not going to be with us much longer. He didn't understand at first. It was so hard to tell him. It broke our hearts. Normally parenting comes easy for me, but that moment was anything but easy. It is funny that we (a collective "we" - as in "parents") are so focused on teaching our children about life that we fail to teach them about death. It is a taboo subject. We don't want to scare them. We don't want them to worry or to think about death and dying. And then a situation like this one comes up and we are forced to do it. It isn't a casual conversation at that point. It is a planned - even contrived - speech we give them and expect them to be able to take it all in and understand it immediately. The pathetic part about this for Tom and me is that we just went through this 3 years ago when his Dad died. We knew his mother was in poor health and we'd have to have this discussion with Brendan again soon, but we have neglected it. We knew how upset he was over losing his Grandpa and we didn't want him to worry about his Grandma - so we pretended everything was fine and it wasn't. I feel as if I've failed him in a major way.

Of course, Katie has no idea what is going on at this point. We did take her to see her Gra-Gra yesterday. She knows Grandma is sick, but has no concept of death. We let the kids take their Christmas gifts to Grandma and we took up a small Christmas tree for her. I made a couple of clear glass ornaments with the kids' pictures inside of them (print the picture on a transparency, cut it in a circle the same size as the ornament but leave a tab at the top of the photo, roll up the picture and slip in through the hole with the tab-side up, release the transparency and the tab fits into the ornament's opening and holds it in place). She loved it. We let her open her gifts and we even snuck some divinity (her favorite) in, too.

I'll update again if anything changes. I'll also post some pictures of the kids soon. I have yet to mail my Christmas cards. They will be coming out after the New Year, I'm sure. Too much going on for me to get them ready, re-write my Christmas letter (I had 2 computer crashes and lost my original one), and go to the PO for stamps. Please know that we are thinking of you all!


Friday, December 21, 2007

Prayers appreciated..............

Tom's mother is in extremely critical condition and isn't expected to make it through the day. Please pray for Tom and Stephanie today. It is going to be a really rough day for them - and a difficult Christmas. I'll update when I know more.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Stuff has hit the fan........

The past few weeks have been...........interesting. The "cold" Katie caught after her afternoon in the dr. office turned into RSV within a few days. She has been very sick. I am so thankful that Sean is here - he has been such a help with her while I ran errands. I haven't been able to do much of anything except take care of her needs. She just began feeling a little better this weekend, and Brendan brought home a headcold and he/she/I are all suffering with it. Aaaaaaaaaaaacccccccckkkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then, Tom's mother was re-admitted to the hospital with fluid in her lungs. She caught it before it turned into pneumonia again, but it's a serious condition nonetheless. This latest episode has forced all of us to realize how fragile her condition is. Uncle Don has been staying up here since the last hospitalization (a month ago) and he is looking so tired. We need to make some changes and set up a schedule for her care. As it looks right now, Tom and Steph will alternate weekends, Uncle Don will take Monday-Tuesday, and I will take Wednesday-Friday. This may change though - things around here seem to do that constantly. Also, I may have to take her dog back in for a while. Her doctor wants her to go back to rehab for her hip because she has regressed so much. She's been in bed for the last month and is now needing her walker again. The dr. feels rehab would help her, but she is resistant to going back there. If she agrees to go, I will be getting the dog-in-law for a while again. This is her 7th episode of fluid/pneumonia in her lungs this year. Tom is going to be speaking to her physician today or tomorrow and will try to get some sort of prognosis, but we know this is going to be a continuing trend and will only get worse rather than better.

I have had my Christmas Cards completed since November, but haven't had a chance to get my Christmas letter copied yet so they are still sitting on my work table in my scrapbook room. They are going to be late probably.

Also, we've had both of our computers crash and I have lost EVERYTHING off of them (pictures from vacation that I hadn't backed up yet, PTO files, contact list for my email, all of my work documents, etc.). Tom got one of them running again last night - he had to blow everything off of it, then re-install all of the programs so at least I can use it now. He is going to try and save some files off of the other one before he re-installs everything on it, but I am not feeling very hopeful about it.

So, to wrap it all up - Christmas cards may be late, we all have colds, computers are giving us fits, Tom's mother is really suffering, and I need a vacation to a tropical beach somewhere - complete with an umbrella-toting drink in my hand.

On the bright side of things: we've completed our Christmas shopping for the kids - took Katie to see Santa for the first time on Saturday - mailed out letters to Santa in the old-fashioned North Pole-bound mailbox at the downtown post office - actually got to visit the new library this weekend - and I think I can get my baking done this week. Remember, now matter how bleak things seem, there is ALWAYS a bright side.

I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas. We are thinking of you and wishing you God's richest blessings.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Recent Pictures

I'll write a catch-up later. Just wanted to post some recent pictures of the kiddos.
Katie's fancy artwork - on her bed! She scribbled all over the sides and everything. Needless to say, I was less than impressed with this one. She was sure tickled with it though.
One of Brendan's Birthday cupcake cakes. I made a Brontosaurus.........
...and a T-Rex. There are little candy rocks in the clumps of "grass". Brendan was very excited with them both.
Brendan and his 9 best friends at his Birthday party. This was taken at the end of the party (at the IKON Center in Cheyenne) - and shortly before Tom and I went home and collapsed from exhaustion. Boy, was that a rough night. They played lazer tag and air hockey. We had forgotten how rowdy 8 year-old boys can be.

Katie helped me make our Thanksgiving pies this year. She brought a pie tin from her play kitchen and wanted some pie in it, too. So, we made a little pumpkin pie for her - and she LOVED IT!!! She was so proud of herself and so excited to see her pie come out of the oven.

Admiring her handiwork.

Snow fun in the backyard. Katie's first experience with "snowball fighting". Brendan made sure he got his licks in first - but she quickly got the hang of it.

Brendan's First Communion - with Father Tom

Not to be outdone, Katie insisted she have her picture taken with Fr. Tom, too. Yes, that IS cake on her face. She didn't give me a chance to clean her face before we took the picture.