Saturday, January 31, 2009

Random update

Last week I received an email from Dawn's son Andy. You might remember this post regarding Dawn and her final days of Cancer. Sadly, she lived only 8 days after her 1/16/09 message. She believed she'd live a month. The memorial will be in Seattle, WA so I won't be going. Andy mentioned in his announcement of his mothers passing that it had been 8 years from the beginning diagnosis to her passing. Thankfully he and his brother were able to spend quality time with their mother in the years knowing about her disease of breast cancer.

On a lighter note, I'm starting a new adventure. I've signed up to work with and for one of my oldest friends, Aaron. He and I have been friends for 25 years. I met him the summer before my high school freshman year. My friend Jenny introduced us while she and I were laying out in Santa Cruz (beach) that summer. He spotted Jenny in the midst of hundreds of bodies. He is the class of 1984 Jenny is the class of 1985 and I'm the class of 1986. As it turns out he's been one of my favorite friends of all time. We lost touch for long periods of time starting in the mid 90's because he moved out of state, but as a larger surprise he came to my 40th surprise party thanks to my childhood friend Jeannie who found him on Classmates, so we've continued to stay in touch. He's been back in our old stomping grounds with his wife and 2 children for about a decade.

He works for a company I plan to go part-time with to earn extra money. I'm excited and apprehensive all at the same time. I'll have to take training classes and tests for licenses. The licenses are for life insurance, mortgages, IRA's, etc. I'll be doing all of this at night after my day job. Todd is more than on board. In his words to Aaron, "I want her to do it." It's a step to learning something new while still having my day job to fall back on.

Today I taught Paula how to do laundry. She learned how to sort the clothes into appropriate color piles. She got to fill and pour the detergent and softener. I am the only one allowed to do bleach in the whites. She transferred the laundry as well. She LOVED IT. She said "some jobs are fun.". lol I got the idea from another board in the comments section where a mom said that for her 4 children, she taught them all at age 5 how to do their own laundry. Heck, why not?!

I also bagged up 3 bundles of clothes from Shawna's closet. I pulled out some Gymboree dresses that I'll sell on eBay. Her closet is so much more manageable now. The girls only wore 10% of what she had. Most of it hand-me-downs from Paula.

I'll leave you with a couple photos. Below is one of our sites (we had two that weekend) at Lake Chabot in Hayward, CA. It's very woodsy and pretty. It's also very close to home so we plan on going back often.

Shawna's kindergarten class had a sight words sing-song where each child was assigned one or two letters. When a word was chosen with that letter the kids formed the word and did a little song for it. Shawna was fine when she was in the back of the kids, but in front for her song she pretty much just mouthed the words. Stage fright you might say. Also, you might notice that her right arm has her sleeve way past the hand. She pulled and sucked on that damn sleeve the entire time. It drove Todd and I crazy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Shawna!

Shawna is 6 years old today. She had a fun time at her Pump It Up party this weekend.

Todd took a bunch of pictures of the group but it was like herding butterflies. Shawna rarely would smile, or a child was turned away. It's so funny. Here are a few of them.

And Finally!!!!!!
(this is the best one)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Shawna's big weekend

I only have a minute to update.
Monday Shawna turns 6 so this weekend is her big birthday weekend. Tomorrow we're having a Pump It Up party with a dozen 5 and 6 year olds. We're having a Hannah Montana Party. (of course)

My parents are coming down today for the weekend festivities. Sunday morning we're going to a pancake breakfast and then open house for the school. There is more going on too but I don't have time to update.
Below is a picture I took with my crappy phone camera. Shawna choose this outfit herself.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sad message

When I was in my early 20's I babysat for 2 boys in Los Altos, Patrick age 9 & Andy 13 at the time. Their mother Dawn and stepfather Jim were very kind. They'd both been married previously and met after their divorce. They were such a perfect couple. Dawn had mentioned to me how her first husband (the boys father) was very immature.

In my late 20's they asked me to house sit for free for 2 years. Jim was being transferred to Singapore to start up a manufacturing plant. They were taking Patrick with them, but leaving their dachshund, Toby, and 18 year old son Andy who was starting UC Santa Cruz that August. Of course I agreed! Toby was such a sweetheart. I just adored him. Andy was pleasant but came home way too much from college and I really didn't want to live with an 18 year old. His friends and girlfriends would frequent with him, smoking pot, getting high on mushrooms, and after a year I'd had it.

In addition, 6 months into the house sitting Todd moved in with me. We got engaged in June of 1998. 6 months later Jim's job was complete and they came home so Todd and I moved into an apartment together. I had house sat for 1 full year.

Todd and I were able to save so much money. My 401K soared, we bought a boat, purchased an engagement ring. Jim and Dawn were so happy for us. Both of them had visited home on different occasions during that year and of course stayed in their house with me. They really liked Todd. Sadly, they couldn't make it to our wedding but they did keep touch.

Several years ago Dawn was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. She got fought it and beat it. The stress on Jim caring for Dawn activated a dormant skin cancer cell he'd had in his back from years earlier. Unfortunately Jim did not survive that battle with melanoma. Todd and I went to his service and got to see Patrick and Andy, who were much more grown up now. I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that this perfect couple was now apart. I was also baffled by how Dawn survived and Jim didn't.

Before his death, Jim had designed a double urn for he and Dawn. It was a beautiful urn and at the memorial the man who created told his story of how Jim had approached him. Until that day I'd never heard of a double urn but knew it was the perfect place for he and Dawn to rest in peace together when the time came.

After the death of Jim, Dawn choose to move to Seattle to be near some family members. She's been gone for a few years now. Sadly, just today she sent out an email that she is dying. Her breast cancer has metastasized into pancreas and liver. Below is her message. I'm just so sad for her and her two sons. So sad.

Dear friends and family,
According to my doctor, who I visited yesterday,my breast cancer has moved into my pancreas and my liver. At this point, Dr Gadi recommended and we have implemented, Hospice care. He believes that if all goes well, I should have a month or so left here on our beautiful earth. We don't have a gauge on what will happen exactly in the coming month or so, but I wanted to take a moment to tell you all how much you mean to me.

Each one of you in your own way has made such a big difference in my life, and it would be impossible to convey, in email or otherwise, how important your love, affection and support has been to me and my family. Some of you have been with me since childhood and we have many, many good memories. Others of you have come into my life more recently and have been just as amazing in sharing your wisdom, knowledge and friendship.

I've learned as much as the next person during life. Sometimes more in one area, sometimes less. One lesson that truly stands out is not to judge others and to really work at seeing the jewel we all have tucked within us. Abstaining from judgment, compassion and forgiveness . If any of us can master those three we have truly begun to bring mastery into our soul life.

I know that most of you live far away from Seattle, but I wanted to let you know that you are more than welcome to visit me. This of course will be more difficult as things progress.

Thank you, all, for every kindness.

Love, Dawn

PS: I may not be very quick to answer any incoming emails as I tend be exhausted very often. However, I will do my best.

The below photo is Jim and Dawn in 2002 at Pt. Reyes. She's wearing a wig here so I know this was during her chemo period. Also, after Jim died instead of flowers, I had a star named after him. Dawn was so thrilled. She said it was the perfect memorial gift for him. She liked looking up at "his" star.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ties her own shoes

Shawna, my kindergartner, surprised me this morning by tying shoelaces all on her own! I asked her how she learned. She said her buddy taught her. Each class at their school has a buddy. The 7th graders are the kindy's buddies. The kinder's are required to learn to tie shoes, which I'm SO grateful for. In the land of Velcro many kids do not know how to tie shoes. Even though this year the school finally allowed 3rd graders and under to wear Velcro, it's still a requirement to learn. I'm so proud of my girl. :0) She even showed me she can do a double knot! Woohoo! One less thing for mommy to do.

I've had a busy week with meetings for school. Tonight Shawna's class will perform a Sight Word sing-song for the families. Shawna is letter "N" so anytime a sight word with an "N" gets chosen she and the other children who have the matching letters with sing the song that goes with that sight word. They did it when Paula was in this grade and it's really cute.

Today Paula gets her oral expander to fix her cross bite. She's very excited. I know the excitement will wear off when she realizes how bulky it is in her mouth, along with the aches she's going to feel. Hopefully it's not too much of a struggle to get her to keep it in. It's removable. A non-removable was not an option since only 1 side of her upper jaw needs to be re-shaped.

I bought a digital scale last night to monitor my weight loss better. I was pleased with the weight I was this morning. I'm serious this time around and it shows.

I want to post a picture from Thanksgiving time frame. Paula, Shawna, their
great-grandmother, Rosie and I. My Grandma is 92 and turns 93 in February. I love her SO much.
See my double chin??? That is what I'm working to get rid of!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Funny Kids

Today I had to pay my 5 year old 1 cent for a kiss on the cheek. My 5 year old is my snugly, cuddly child who on most days tries to get back into my womb. But for some reason at school drop off she has no desire to be kissed or hugs.

In contrast, my 7 year old on a regular basis is not a snugly, cuddly child. She doesn't do kisses on the lips, unlike my 5 year old. If she does their tight lipped kisses. She turns her head most times so you get a cheek. But at school drop off she gives me kisses, waves and blows kisses to me while walking to the quad area. If I say bye to Shawna whiles she's walking into the school, she continues to look ahead and just pops her hand up over her shoulder just to pacify me.

Such funny kids.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My newest obsession

Gosh, I'm so bad at this blog thing lately. I'm totally into Facebook which is taking up any spare time I might have to write in this thing. I'm looking up anyone I ever knew since I was born. It takes up a lot of time. Mix that up with the fact I've forgotten names of people I knew, so I sit there thinking hard trying to remember names.

I've been asked to be friends with people from high school that I DO NOT remember. And I'd like to say that generally, I have a good memory. My childhood friends are honestly shocked most of the time about how much I remember from 'back then'. But dang it if names somehow get away from me. And matching the name to the face...forget it unless I look them up in our yearbooks.

Like, did you know that I went to Jr. High with Aaron Eckhart? You know, the ACTOR. I did! For 2 years he and I were in the same school. I was actually surprised when a classmate of mine mentioned she'd invited him to our 20 year reunion. She went to elementary school with him but I didn't. I did not realize I'd attended school with a FAMOUS person so I ran to the Jr. High yearbook and there he was, vaguely familiar at that age. I tried really hard to think of interactions I might have had with him but nothing stood out to where I could call him up and say "Hey Aaron, remember me?".

Also on Facebook I've been asked to be friends with people I don't add as friends. I 'ignore' their request. I was engaged in my 20's to a guy who was pretty much a compulsive liar. It was a quick romance but I have no desire for him to keep tabs on me.

I've also been able to snoop on people's page who I don't want to be friends with, but I want to see what they're doing. There is a chic from years ago who I got into an argument with over some stupid game she pulled at a club we were at while our boyfriends were in another part of the club. I've found her page so I've been nosy. She doesn't have it blocked. I hung out w/her husband for several years before she and him dated. Her husband was best friends with my boyfriend at the time. I think I've located my ex but I'm only curious about him because he was such a loser and I'm curious to see what a mess he's made of his life.

Also, I've found spouses or siblings to old friends, so I'm working that route as well. I'm hooking up with family members. I'm really obsessed and as you know, whenever you're obsessed with something it pretty much takes up a lot of your time.

So, the latest and greatest:

1. My 10 year anniversary was on Friday 1/9/09. We didn't celebrate it, but Todd did send flowers to my work and gave me card. I got him nothing.

2. Paula made her 1st Reconciliation (catholic thing) on Friday night where the kids do their first confession with a priest. It was so sweet watching the children sing their songs. The ceremony was really nice and I just LOVE our Irish priest. He's soo funny with the kids.

3. I had my IUD replaced last Wednesday. My IUD is the Mirena where you don't have a period with it. I've been w/out a period for 4.5 years and I was not about to get one even though Todd is fixed. The procedure was uncomfortable, especially when she measured my uterus. Damn!!!! In fact, I almost passed out on my doctor after the procedure, so I had to lay there until my blood pressure came back up. I had cramping afterwards for a couple days but it seems to be over with now.

4. I started Weight Watchers again. When they weighed me on Wed for my IUD appt, my eyes bulged out. I am only a couple pounds less than the weight I started WW several years ago where I lost 22 pounds. So basically, I need to lose 20 pounds to get back to my goal weight. Ugh!!! Granted, people thought I was too skinny then, but I loved it! So I'm back on that wagon. Wish me luck! I should post a picture of what I looked like at my smallest.

5. Work is doing well. My new manager gave those of us on her team mood rings and a fun glowing squishy thing to relieve stress.

6. Money is still an issue. Shawna wants a Pump It Up party for her 6th birthday. I'm caving on the party even though we'll have to borrow from credit cards. Todd's been told to give names for layoff's and they haven't increased his overtime beyond 10 hours allowed. Normally he worked a crap load more which gave us tons of extra money. I need to play the lottery in order to win the lottery.

7. We're looking at refinancing into a lower fixed rate. I'm not optimistic. Todd is pushing this. I think it's a waste of time.

That's it for now! I tried to upload some pics but it's not working. I'll have to try again later.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm around!

I know I've been lagging. I'm rarely on the computer at home and 2 days into work I've been too busy but I'll fill my readers (the few of you I have) in on what's been going on lately.

We did not go to the snow. I decided if Todd couldn't go with us since he had to work thru Wednesday I didn't want to deal with it myself. I had planned to go the sled place we've been to before, but the more I thought about it I knew Shawna would complain and want to be carried up the hill and that was NOT going to happen with me. The girls and I actually had a nice time at home. They did arts and crafts, watched TV, played with their new Christmas gifts, and we went to the movies one day to see The Tale of Desperaux. I really thought it was cute and well done. We only pee'd 4 times (rolling eyes). The girls and I were surprised with free t-shirts for the kids of the mousie little guy when we paid for our tickets.

New Years Eve was quiet. I spent most of Wednesday (NYE) packing away Christmas. We didn't ring in the new year awake sorry to say. We're old folks now and were content to go to bed apparently. To sleep!

We did go camping on the 1st. Our friends Dina & Susanne had planned to camp nearby w/some lesbian friends they met in October. They called us on the 1st to say how nice it was and how our trailer would fit into a few of the sites. Our trailer is very long and requires a longer pad. Todd and I decided in that moment to pack the trailer meet them that afternoon. Susanne had doozy of a hangover from the night before so she didn't really emerge until the next day. That night it poured rain. It also rained most of the next day. Thankfully I packed the girls rain gear so they could stomp in puddles and get totally soaked. They also got muddy. Mostly Shawna since she found the muddiest puddles to stomp in, which is typical Shawna btw. And genius Todd stuffed her rain pants into her rain boots, rather than pulling them down the outside of the boots, so the rain and mud pretty much ended up in her boots. Can you imagine how thrilled that made me?? I managed to wash them up in the shower, then turned on the trailer heater where I placed the boots upside down over the bathroom vent so they'd dry. I only brought 2 pairs of shoes for the girl so with the rain and mud I needed those rain boots!

We went on a walk, where Rosie proceeded to get soaked on her underside. That's the problem with dogs who are vertically challenged. Dina and Susanne's dogs picked up a couple ticks. Thankfully Rosie didn't. Paula made me turn around early with her since she was getting nervous walking to the unknown which was foggy in the distance. She had also got her pants wet when climbing over a low gate. She didn't like the feeling and I didn't like the complaining so we turned back. I do have to say it was pretty cold out. We had had temps into the 40's.

The final evening Todd hung out in our trailer w/our girls while I got drunk w/the other gals inside their RV. 2 sets of lesbians makes for some fun conversation!!! Actually, they all say they're bi-sexual even though they all prefer women. Gwen was with a man for 10 years before Julie came along. Like I said, fascinating conversation. Both Gwen and Julie have Harley's so I said I wanted to ride one some time. I've always wanted to ride on a Harley. We have neighbors who have them and we've had friends too, but I've only ever ridden on regular motorcycles. They said they'd come up for a visit and take me for a ride. Sweet!

Saturday Paula needed to get spacers in 2 teeth at the ortho. We had planned to camp thru Sunday but everyone else was leaving and with the wetness AND having to go back to work Monday (lots of laundry to do) we left early Saturday morning. After the appointment was over Paula and I visited the library. We got a bunch of books for her, myself and Shawna. I did in fact do tons of laundry all weekend. I still can't understand how a camping trip makes so much more laundry than usual.

I did a huge shopping trip for groceries on Sunday, then hung out at Dina and Susanne's for awhile. Todd was also helping fix their trailer. Throughout the weekend he took Paula and Shawna to fly the heli's and planes where they could also ride their bikes or scooters.

It was really a mellow vacation all around for the most part. As for a Todd update, there is nothing too exciting to talk about. Todd and I have been getting along well. We even had sex the other night, for those of you who care. Sorry for those of you who don't!. I will continue to be skeptical that this will last. At some point he'll screw up majorly again, but for now I'm hopeful things will stay status quo.

The news of the week is Paula has another ortho appointment tomorrow, I'm getting my IUD replaced on Thursday (Todd is fixed but I love not having AF!!! The Mirena is awesome!!) and on Friday night Paula has her 1st Reconiliation which for non-catholic folk is where they do their first confession with a priest and there is a ceremony of sorts too. You can imagine the sweet confessions the kids come up with. No mortal sins with 2nd graders. LOL

That pretty much brings us to current! I will leave you with a group picture and a photo I really love. Before Christmas we went to an adult only Xmas party hosted by Paula and Shawna's ex-softball coach Sam and his wife Danielle. It was a fun night. We used our new tenant to babysit the girls which also went well. Johna and Steve have a daughter in Paula's class and were also on our team. They're also camping buddies now.

Left to right: Todd, Sam, Me, Johna, Steve and Danielle.

I love this picture of my husbands neice Dayna with Paula. Paula's face is just so sweet in this shot.

Sunday, January 4, 2009