Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Planning A Trip

It is a cure for the Winter Blues, sadness, and a wonderful escape from the everyday. I usually start planning our summer trips in January because it is the worst month for Winter Blues. This is a time I can dream of somewhere warmer and that gives me something to look forward to when the snow and ice are falling outside. We typically get a tax refund and this funds our trips for the summer so planning early is needed. Oh, who am I kidding, I am a planner so planning is what I do.

Last Memorial Day we went to Indiana Dunes. It’s a short drive up north to a lovely lake side cottage that had views out of every window of Lake Michigan, which looks more like an ocean than a lake.  We instantly fell in love! I love the ocean but being in Indiana a drive to a beach is a long and expensive one. We had taken trips to other lakes, Kentucky Lake being one of them, but they were just that, a lake. Lake Michigan is huge with waves and beaches. The Dunes, huge sand hills, are something to see. Indiana Dunes is a mix of everything we both love! We stayed in Porter, Indiana which is right on Lake Michigan feet from Indiana Dunes State Park. The best part of the trip was sitting in the bed on the enclosed porch watching a thunder storm over the lake—ahh breathe taking! It was a short trip, just a holiday weekend, but we enjoyed every minute of it! When we arrived it was cool out, as in we needed the baseboard heaters on and when we left we had the air conditioner on. In between we had the windows open to enjoy the sound of the waves hitting the shore.    Only in Indiana do you have to pack long sleeves and your swim suite!

Our very first trip out on our own was to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. A college professor of mine offered to let us stay in her little cabin in the mountains. It was a little over 24hrs away which we drove in a broke down van with three dogs. I do not know how we made it there and back alive and in once piece. We stopped at dark gas stations in the middle of nowhere late at night. We almost lost the credit card, which is what we were using for gas, several times. We did lose the gas cap and our muffler pipe separated from the muffler violating the noise ordinance, which we had to have fixed before we headed home because it was loud and freaking out the dogs. The dogs also ran away and we had to chase after them up and down a mountain. But other than the few things that we laugh about now, we had a wonderful trip. The scenery was unbelievable. Every window had a view that looked like a post card. This little cabin was two stories with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, two balconies, heated floors, a two person tub, steam shower and a hot tub on a wraparound porch.  The entire town was on a nature preserve so the animals outnumber the people. Just driving down the road was a challenge, and not just because you were on the side of the mountain with no guard rails. There were mountain goats, elk, turkeys, bear and they had the attitude of you’re in my space. Once while in the bathroom I seen, out the huge bathroom window, an Elk so close I thought it was in the bathroom with me. Trust me; they are a lot bigger than you think! We went to an animal sanctuary while we were there and decided to never go outside at night again! We also drove to New Mexico and seen my first tumble weed—those things are just like in the movies. Since our first trip there we have always wanted to go back--we love Colorado!

Another favorite trip of mine was to the Smokey Mountains. We stayed in Cosby, TN in a little place called Garden of Eden. The sweetest old lady owns 4 cabins on wooded property, soon thick you cannot see the other cabins that are a ways away. Other than the woods there isn’t much else, which is why we always think of this place for a fall getaway.

Of course our trip to Florida is also high on my list. We stayed at Madera Beach in the cutest bungalows. There were 4 or so cottages that shared tiki huts with places to cook and eat outside. There was also a pool and hot tub. It was a short walk to the beach. Normally we would have stayed at a place right on the beach but with 4 of us, two being kids, we had to look at something more affordable with something for the kids to do when we weren’t at the beach.

We love to travel but since buying a house that has needed so many updates, we have limited our trips to shorter and local. I typically limit our budget to $1000—that is for housing, food and entertainment. Housing is where most of our budget is used because we like to stay in cabins, cottages and bungalows in out of the way places that are away from tourist areas.  

We are explorers!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A letter to my grandma~

I love you and I will miss you more than words can say. I miss the grandma you used to be, the grandma you are now, now that you are in heaven.  

I didn’t visit often, when you were sick. I hated seeing you that way. I never knew what to say or what not to say. But you knew that I loved you.

Before you got sick we weren’t as close as we used to be. I hope you understand this now—now that you are in heaven and reflecting back on things. I hope you see why I couldn’t do or be what you wanted me to. I think you will. I hope you always knew I loved you.

I will always look back and smile. You made my childhood and world worth being in. Your love carried me through so many bad times. Your love kept me on the right path.  Your love is so strong I can still feel it. Please know I will always think of you, I will always do my best to make you proud. I wish you were here to see my children. I would have loved to see that glow in your eyes when you met them! I will do my best to teach our children all the things you, grandpa and Aunt Penny taught me. You raised some tuff girls-just know that we will be ok, you should rest now. We love you grandma. You were an awesome mother and grandma.

It will get better with time….

But all I can think about is all the things that will never be. My grandma will never see any of my children. She will not see Keaton grow up. She will not see Jayde graduate.

I look back on my childhood, on the things I loved, and wished the same for Keaton and my future children. How Grandma’s house was always the house to gather. Even without a holiday or formal dinner. My mom would take us over for a visit and before long my Aunt was there with her kids. On warm days/nights we would gather on the front porch and watch the world go by. Grandma ran a daycare and all us girls got our start there before we were old enough to go to school. I was at my grandmas before school, after school and sometime during school—when I convinced her I was too sick to go. I lived with her on and off throughout my childhood as did my sisters. Our grandma was more than a grandma. That house was the heart of our family. I have so many memories of my grandparents. They surrounded me and my sisters with love and did the best they could with us. One of my earliest memories is of my grandma singing. She loved to sing and had a voice that could stop a war in its tracks. She would listen to the newest song she was trying to learn and iron. We would sit on the swing on warm evenings and she would sing. As I got older I saw how much she loved. She had the biggest heart and could take anyone in and make them feel like they belonged. She loved unconditionally and with her full heart. It was all the little things I hold dear to my heart now. All the little things: memories of her cooking, cleaning, singing, watching TV, swinging, and driving. It’s the little everyday things that mean the most, those are the things the matter, those are the things we remember.

My house will now be the house Keaton and my children remember. My house will be the house we gather for holidays and just because. It is up to us now, to teach Keaton and future children all the things the ones we have lost taught us.

Along with the feeling of grief is a new feeling. It feels empty. I feel lost. She was the safety net and now that she is gone I’m not sure where to turn. I am exhausted.

Grandma is now with Grandpa and her youngest daughter, my Aunt Penny. Those three together again, happy and healthy bring a smile to my face.

Things change, life changes. We can never have what once was. Things don’t stay the same. People grow older, people die. I hate this. I wish I could hold on to everything from my past that made me happy. My grandma and grandpa would still be alive and healthy living in the house I grew up in. My Aunt would still be alive, healthy and happy. We would still gather at grandmas, we would still sit on the porch on a nice day. I miss those times, those days; I miss those faces and voices.

I hope my future children and Keaton can look back on their childhood and have half the good memories I have. I hope we can provide them with all the warmth and love our grandparents did us. I can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed and like I am sitting myself up for failure on this one, those are large shoes to fill.

I will miss you grandma—but everyone who knew you will miss you. You are a wonderful person and your family loved you so much. Give grandpa a big hug and let him kiss you and tell his stories one more time—how I miss his gruff deep voice. Tell Aunt Penny life isn’t the same without her and give her a hug and kiss from us. We will see you all again real soon—please keep an eye on us; we can us all the help we can get!  

I love you.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Anna England

On Sunday January 8th my grandmother passed away. She had been sick around a year, fading but not fading fast. She held on. I hated to see her sick and weak. I hated to see her not like her independent, mouthy, feisty but very loving self. I never went to see her by myself. I always made my sister come with me. She was good at filling the silence when I didn’t know what to say. I sit her now, finding it hard to put my thoughts to words. Probably because I am still numb, there aren’t many thoughts in my head right now. I am blank and numb. I hate this. I hate this feeling, I hate this process. I hate the viewing and funeral. I also hate to see my sisters upset. When they cry, I cry. I want to make their tears go away, I want to never see them cry but this is something I cannot fix. So, I sit there, holding their hands or sometimes them to make the pain more bearable. My oldest of my little sisters is married. So now I hold my youngest and make sure the husband is doing his job with the other one. Meanwhile, Duste’s job is to take care of me. But I do not make this easy because I am too busy taking care of everyone else, plus she is a crier, which makes the rest of us worse. It is a mess. We are a mess. I hate this.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Yay! I had my last MRI for 2011 and it came back clear!! My doctor is very impressed with the results! We scheduled two more MRI’s for 2012 then we will go down to once a year for the next 3….

I have to say, the MRI wasn’t as bad this time. I listened to my Adel 21 CD and managed to hold real still (hard to do, trust me). They did the correct amount for the dye and I didn’t get sick! It was quick and easy—the techs were joking around calling me an MRI pro!
After the dr visit we had dinner and hit a few stores. I found a baby item I had been searching for and over all we had a good day!
I thought about what if—what if we got a bad result 3 days before Christmas. That would have been bad, real bad.

Negative thoughts often enter my mind, although I try to stop them, but when I can’t I just replace those thoughts with good ones.
I am sure I am in the clear now. I am sure this tumor is gone once and for all!

I continue with the personal training. It is a fight, a fight to get back what little muscle strength I can. 
I will continue the fight and the positive self talk and I look forward to what 2012 has in store me and my family! Good luck everyone and Happy New Year!!