Friday, July 17, 2009

Good Bye Grandma

If you have been following my blog you probably read my previous post about my grandmother.

I flew to Chicago to see her last Friday.  When I got there she was back in the hospital, after being home for two days.  She was on oxygen and only semi-conscious.  

She woke up when I got there and knew I was there.  She even yelled at me for coming!  Very typical for her.  Never wanted anyone to be inconvenienced!  

It was hard to see her there.  Barely able to move or even to talk.  It just wasn't her.  

The next morning I arrived at the hospital to find my grandma in even worse shape than she was the day before.  She was unconscious and her breathing was labored and loud.  The morphine was keeping her comfortable.  And keeping her from waking up.

Throughout the day her breathing had become less noticeable and about 3:45 p.m. it was clear that she was slipping away.  By 4:20 p.m. she was gone.  

I have never watched anyone die before, let alone someone so very close to me.  It was comforting that she wasn't in any obvious pain and was surrounded by her children, husband and two of her grandchildren.  

By the time she took her last breath it was clear that her soul had left her body.  

I believe that there is something after death.  The body is a shell for the soul to live inside.  I also strongly believe there is an after life.  I think my grandma was showing us her presence as soon as she passed.

After leaving the hospital my immediate family met up at my cousin's house in Highland Park, Il.  We were sitting around in his front yard talking about all our memories of Grandma when all of a sudden two deer appeared out of no where across the street.  The crossed the street and began grazing right there in the front yard about 20 feet away from where we were all sitting!  They were so calm and not at all fearful of all the people so close by.  My grandparents always called each other "Dear".  

This may very well have no significance whatsoever.  But I like to think that it was Grandma's way of showing us she is at peace....wherever she is.

The next day my grandfather mentioned he hadn't listened to the radio in weeks.  So he turned on the radio just as my grandma's favorite song was beginning.  Strange coincidence?  Maybe.  But I don't think so.

I came home from Chicago on Wednesday.  After getting home I locked my car and didn't drive it for the rest of the day.  The next morning when I got to my car to leave I saw that all four windows were down.  Not all the way, a little less than half, but all at exactly the same level.  

I immediately called Tim to see if he had done that to my windows.  He didn't.  My car was locked.  My windows are electric.  You have to put the key in the ignition to put the windows down.  There is no explanation.

Before I left Chicago I took a house coat that belonged to my grandmother.  I remember her wearing it all the time.  I sealed it in a ziplock bag so that it won't lose her special smell.  

I miss her so much and always will.  My life will always be blessed with her memory!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Time Is Running Out

My grandparents are two of the GREATEST people on the planet.  They live in Chicago so unfortunately I don't get to see them as much as I'd like.

When I was in 1st grade my parents went through a bitter divorce and my mom ended up moving us from our home in Chicago to Arizona.  

Things between my parents were pretty awful and we went through a lot of very hard times.  

Throughout my childhood, the one thing that was always pleasant and consistent was my grandparents.  My mom had no money whatsoever.   My grandparents made sure we had everything we needed.  They supplied all the clothes and shoes that my sister and brother and I needed.  They sent us to summer camp, paid for all three of us to have braces and even bought us all the latest toys (anyone remember Pound Puppies?).
Aside from that, my grandparents were fun, loving and just wonderful people to be around.  

They made sure they were a constant part of our lives, whether it was weekly phone calls, or regular trips to AZ, or flying us out to IL to see them.   My grandparents made every effort to be a positive part of our lives when there weren't many others.

As an adult, my grandparents continued to be involved in everything.  And now they are incredible great grandparents.

Through the years I always imagined that they would live forever.  I knew logically this is not possible, but still believed it.  Well now reality has hit.

In April my grandma was diagnosed with lung cancer.  As soon as I found out I knew in my heart that this was the beginning of the end.  I flew out there a few weeks later to see them.  I really wanted to see her before she began treatment.  It was a great trip and I was sure to take LOTS of pictures.

Well, here we are two months later and Grandma is not doing well.  She went through radiation which has pretty much damaged her lungs beyond repair.  She has been sick and miserable for two months now.  In and out of the hospital, unable to eat or breathe well.  

The latest hospitalization is due to pneumonia.  Despite all the radiation she had, her tumor has grown and now she has another one.  Not a good outlook.

It is not easy for her to talk, her voice is raspy and she's on oxygen.  I was able to talk to her on July 4th, which happens to be her birthday.  She sounded awful.  Yet the first thing she asked was "How is Evan's leg?".  I don't even know how she knew about what happened with Evan's foot that day, but that's Grandma!

This Friday I will be taking a trip to Chicago to see my grandparents.  I have never gone there and not wanted to as much as I do now.  I have never had a trip planned to see them and not been filled with excitement.  I am dreading this trip.  But I know I have to go.  I know that time is running out.

Grandma & Papa
April, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Our 4th of July began with a trip to the emergency room.  Last night, Evan ran to the door like he always does when Daddy comes home.  However, there was a toy on the floor (nothing new) that he either stepped on or tripped over and he hurt his foot.  He started to scream and cry and seemed to be in a lot of pain.  He cried for much longer than he usually does when he falls or hurts himself. 

For the rest of the night Evan refused to stand on his foot or walk on it.  This morning he continued to do the same.  Since I don't own an xray machine (who does?) I decided to take him in....just to be sure.

Luckily the xray showed no broken bones so we were sent home and told to watch it.  He's still got a slight limp, but at least I don't have to worry that there may be more going on.  

I have to say that being at the ER was way different with him.  Usually it's Janelle I am taking!  It was a lot less nerve wracking with him for some reason.  Oh, I know.  Because he doesn't have diabetes!

After our excitement this morning it was back home for a few hours and then off to my sister's house for a bbq.  By the way, my sister makes some darn good ribs!  The kids love to play with their cousins.  There are currently five cousins and one more to be making her appearance soon!

Today could not pass by without thinking about my dad and my grandma who happen to have their birthdays on the 4th of July! Happy Birthday Dad and Grandma!  I love you and miss you both!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bloggy Frustration

First of all, I'd like to thank my friend Wendy for not only inspiring me to get a blog going, but for also helping me figure out how to do it (as if I need a new obsession in life) =). 

I have to say, getting this thing up and running has not been easy!  Push this button and this is supposed to happen....but it doesn't.  Need to change something....spend 10 minutes trying to find where to go to change it. 

I tried to change one layout to another and somehow ended up with two on at the same time!  Didn't even know that was possible.  After many attempts to fix that problem I ended up deciding that my only option left was to start a whole new Monkey Kid Blog and just copy and paste everything into a new one and delete the old one.  

So an hour and a half and two ignored children it is.

Thanks again to Wendy for letting me steal all your stuff!  She has a pretty cool blog!  You should check it out!  

Dear Tooth Fairy,...

As a mom I find that baby teeth falling out is just as exciting as baby teeth coming in.

Yesterday Janelle lost her 4th tooth.  We had an appointment set for Evan's DDD coordinator to come by for his annual evaluation and naturally the details of this letter went down while she was here. 

 In anticipation of the Tooth Fairy, Janelle wrote a letter to her and left it, with the tooth, under her pillow.  

This is her letter as written by Janelle:

"Dear Tooth-ferey.  herse the story.  Evan's persen came and I was eating a cookie and I bit it on my tooth and it was heneing (hanging) from it tip then my mom got a touol (towel) and poold (pulled)it and it came out.
P.S. wats your name?"

I love it!  This letter will be put away (with all the others) until she is grown.  I can't wait to pull them out long after she has forgotten them to show her.

"The First 100 Years Are the Hardest"

This is a quote from my grandma, passed down from her mother.  They are smart women who know what raising kids is really about!

Having two children of my own has definitely not been easy!  They each have their own set of challenges.  I know that all children have their own challenges or their own "thing", however I can't help but feel like I have been given a little more than most people.  Not that I would change anything, but some days these challenges are exhausting.

On February 28, 2005 Janelle was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  This means that her pancreas no longer makes insulin.  A couple weeks prior to her diagnosis we began to notice symptoms.  Excessive thirst and urination, being tired and irritable, weight loss.  Very classic symptoms.  The pediatrician confirmed my suspicion and sent us straight to Phoenix Children's Hospital where we spent the next three days.  Tim and I were given a crash course in diabetes management and sent home to begin our "new life".  That is one experience that has changed me forever.

Four years later diabetes is still a challenge.  Of course we are used to it now and it's part of daily life.  But it's a daily challenge none the less.  

Evan came into this world a screamer and a clinger and has never changed!  Evan's challenges are sometimes as difficult (or more) than dealing with diabetes.  He has a speech delay, which we are working on overcoming.  In addition, he has been diagnosed with Autism, OCD and anxiety.  By different doctors.  Following his Autism diagnosis by a developmental pediatrician, I had him evaluated by a pediatric neurologist, pediatric psychologist and a pediatric psychiatrist.  Trying to get to the bottom of Evan's "issues".  It was a long road and without a final "diagnosis".  Does he have some signs and symptoms of Autism?  Yes.  But any kid could, I guess.  Does he have some signs of OCD?  Absolutely.  But that's in his genes for sure.  Evan is Evan.  Not easy to live with, but he's ours, he was given to us for a reason and we love him none the less!  My hope for Evan is that one day he will get past his speech delays and that we will be able to provide him whatever support he needs to be as happy as he can be!


Hello!  My name is Leigh, I am wife to Tim and mom to two beautiful children.  Besides being wife and mom, I am also a 1st grade teacher.  Life is crazy and always busy.  Time is always short and I am always trying to play catch up.

As I mentioned before, we have two children.  Janelle Madison, our oldest was born in March, 2002.  She is a joy.  She is smart and funny and has a great personality.  She can light up any room as soon as she enters it.  She is our little Peanut and we are so proud of her.

Evan Michael was born in October, 2005.  We always say that if he was our first he would be an only child =).  He is not an easy kid by any means.  But we love him to death anyway.  Evan will win you over with his big eyes and huge smile.  His smile lights up his face and you can't help but smile back.  He is sweet when he wants to be and a big Mama's Boy!