Friday, December 30, 2005

It's A Boy!!!

I got my grandbaby at last! 7lbs 4oz, 20 inches long and lots of strawberry blonde hair. The mom and baby are doing well. He was born December 29th at 3:16 am.

I have given birth twice but seeing everything from the other end was a shock! How do men ever look at that end the same again. When you finally see the face however it is just so awesome. The baby came out not breathing and it took a lot of work to clear his lungs, luckily Jess had no idea there was something wrong. She had no clue as to why it took forever to see her baby. I however saw everything, the lifeless infant, the efforts it was taking to clear his lungs and the looks on the nurses face's. My oldest and I were literally holding our breath while the baby was being worked on. When we heard that first gurgle like cry, we both dropped our head's and sobbed. The baby's father was so great, even though he saw his lifeless son, he never left jessy's side or let on that their was a problem. He even handled Jessy turing into something out of the "Exorcist" with such a loving, calm demeanor.

My husband and I arrived at the hospital an hour after the kids and I stayed by Jess until 5:00am. It's so funny how that grandma adrenalin kicks in. LOL Eight hours of labor was not so bad for the first time. My hubby came by to meet the baby before going fishing at 5:00am in the morning. I slept for four hours, he got back and then off we went again to hold and smell that sweet, bathed baby. His name is Tuni Kugiocu (not sure of spelling, Kokachawoo is what it sounds like). I'm not so keen on the name so I'm calling him TK. We will be gramy and grampy until the baby picks his own name for us. I'm so excited I can't stay away from him!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My Grandchild's First Photo

I wanted to buy out Wal-Mart on "baby's first Christmas" stuff, but since baby is happy where it's at, I set up a special photo. My daughter thought I had drank too much eggnog in setting this up and failed to see the beauty of stretch marks. That's my hand on my daughter's hands holding our baby.

I have always loved having and taking pictures. Lynne, Chris, Carly and Steven have been my inspirations in using photography as yet another creative outlet. They are on my list of favorite blogs, except for Lynne. She is my neighbor who is a retired professional photographer. If I want a particular picture, Lynne or my hubby will actually take the shot because I'm a little too shaky. I guess that's cheating, but who cares.

I am going to keep a photo journal for my 1st grandchild, with maybe a poem or two, so he or she will know their gramy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

My 1st Attempt

This is my first attempt at poetry. I have been inspired by my blog friends V and Christina to try and be more creative. I wanted to give my husband a gift from my heart and this was certainly a way I could do it. I'm stepping out of my box but it has been so enlightening. Dave was so touched! I started going into "the ugly cry" as he read it. I realized writing my feelings in such away touched his heart and my soul. He still got the MP3 player, but my poem he put up on his wall at work...too cool! Now I get why my kids loved when I displayed their artwork in frames around the house :)

Thank you Christina and V, this beats tv anyday!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Disco

Well it's over! I did not get my grandbaby in my stocking, but I had a very cozy Christmas at home. I finally was able to enjoy a Christmas at home with no traveling, mainly because Jess(my daughter) is due any day and I'm the coach! We served Christmas dinner at the fairgrounds on Christmas Eve dressed for winter, but it was over 65 degrees and sunny. We felt such a Christmas spirit, generosity and gratitude in that hall. We came home for pecan pie and to watch Scrooge (Albert Finney). It's a Christmas Eve ritual I love. Dave got me an official blogging chair for Christmas. It came with a large seat (in case my butt grows from all the fudge I ate), heat, massage, rocker, lumbar and head support...I'm gonna get my blog on!

We had Pancakes and bacon for breakfast and never got out of our pj's. Jess came over at 2pm because her hubby had to work. She is 5'1" and at 9mos pregnant, miserable! After our Christmas dinner we sang karaoke and disco danced to the BeeGees, hoping she would go into labor. LOL What a sight, the little bowling ball, the crip who wiggled with her feet firmly planted on the ground and the poor guy with no rhythm. It was so much fun, but that darn baby would not budge!

Today we did the "returns" and cleaned up the house from all the "Christmas cheer" lying around. We are pooped, but I had to blog in my blogger chair before I hit the hay. I'll get back in my chair tomorrow and share my gift to Dave.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve Sunrise

I woke up this morning to this sunrise and had to capture it. When Dave is off from work I get so excited I'm up at 5:30. Dave comutes two hours each way to work, so he is up at 3:00 gone by 4:00. I love having coffee in bed with Dave, while watching the sun come up on his day's off!

I want to send a special Christmas hug out to Judi (emmapeeldallas) and Theresa Williams (Author). You have been missed! {{HUGS}}

I'm off to celebrate, but I'll leave you with a smile :)

The following are kids' interpretations of Christmas carol lyrics:

- We three kings of porridge and tar.

- On the first day of Christmas my tulip gave to me.

- Later on we'll perspire, as we dream by the fire.

- He's makin' a list, chicken and rice.

- Noel. Noel, Barney's the king of Israel.

- With the jelly toast proclaim.

- Olive, the other reindeer.

- Sleep in heavenly peas.

- You'll go down in Listerine.

- O come, froggy faithful.

- Deck the halls with Buddy Holly.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Steven's Feline Friday

This is Kitty Kitty, she was a starving stray we took in. She is so sweet and really loves having a family. My dog Nikki liked my cat's toy so much they share it. Poor Kitty Kitty has only half a tail and is scared of anyone she does not know.

Miracle # 4

I became a single, disabled stay at home mom for thirteen years totally consumed with being a mom. It was a time of adjustment, being away from the corporate rat race, moving away from old friends and giving up dating (no man, no sad goodbyes). I loved the movies, read lots of books and raised little walking bundles of hormones. Dave was a single working father who lived for his weekends with his only child, Jolene. He was the best of dads by making quality time with his daughter. For thirteen years his only passions were his daughter, fishing/hunting and gardening. He remained single for thirteen years,
dating very little.

When children get to high school they tend to have less time for parents. We as parents have to adjust and figure out what the heck to do now. I learned how to instant message and chatted with people all over the country. I was happy without a man but missed some of the parts of having one (yes, that too). I went online and tried a dating service, my thinking was "companionship" (what a cliche’). I down played the dying part, but was honest with the disabled part. They mostly ran for the hills or offered stud services. Then I came across Dave. He was a gentleman, supportive and sweet. We started talking on the phone, which was scary for me because my tongue is dying and I slur my words, but I warned him so he would not think I was sloshed! Our profile’s were a good match and on the "what would be your perfect date" we answered the very same thing, a sunset picnic.

Our first date was hysterical! It was 102 outside ( ALS can’t handle extreme temperatures) and my neighbor thought a disabled woman meeting a stranger in a strange town was insanity. I asked if he owned a chainsaw, for Pete’s sake! I dressed like a hootchie mama to camouflage the walker, brought a cell phone and put an ice pack under the pillow I sat on to drive (air conditioner was broken). We also filled an ice chest with ice, put it in the passenger seat and used the car fan as air conditioning (cold buns,but it worked great!). We had an ice cream, went to a movie and had a sunset picnic by a creek. I knew he was the real deal when he held my walker on slopes, was protective and always asked before touching me when assisting. He kissed me goodnight, but it had been so long for both of us it was awful. The second kiss was much better :)

The miracle was the next day. He sat at his computer learning all about ALS, he learned I would become paralyzed, need a feeding tube, loose my speech, need in home care and die of suffocation. Worst of all there was no cure! I never thought he would call me again, but he did. He said " I see a light in you, I want to be apart of that light and get to know your happy spirit". Ok, stick a fork in me, I’m done!

Long story short, I fell in love with this awesome creature. He proposed in a apple orchard, with a table set with my neighbor’s fine linen and china, Barbara Streisand singing "somewhere", a poem from the heart on bended knee and a ring. So much for "I’ll never marry again".

We were married at sunset, on Valentine’s Day 2004, on a deserted beach in Kauai. We were blessed by a double rainbow after the intimate ceremony and have made the most out of our gift of miracle's.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Blunders

I've made a few blunders this Christmas!

A nice lady I swim with made a baby quilt for me to give to my first grandchild. I found a beautiful Christmas thank you card, that I signed "Merry Christmas". I remembered later I'd heard she was a Jehova Witness...OOPS

My online order's for Christmas are not here yet!

I went over my Christmas budget and we agreed to tighten our budget this year...Big OOPS

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Miracle # 3

This Christmas is going to be so nice, I'm feeling 10yrs old again! My husband has spoiled me rotten, we'll be at home for Christmas and we'll be attending the community Christmas Eve dinner. We are so very blessed! I feel it's a great time of year to remember miracles.

When I finally retired I had a plan, Quality time with loved ones, a huge vacation and move the kids out of the city. Quality time was not easy, the kids were at that "mom knows squat" age, family was in denial about the ALS and my friends were busy working. The vacation happened, but was hard on the kids because we really needed an able bodied chaperone. We took a Looney Tune Cruise to the Bahamas, swam with the dolphins, toured NASA, Disneyworld and Universal Studios Florida.
I just needed to figure out how to buy my 1st house, where to buy it and how to get my ex to allow it.

The kids wanted to move, so the ex relinquished every other week custody and child support. It made things harder so I just went to court. I choose the foothills for our future home, just two hours from my ex. I picked a known real estate company and used the first person who took my call. I had a list of what I needed:
Good schools
one level
no stairs anywhere
attached garage
level driveway
enclosed backyard
central heating & air( ALS is affected by cold and heat)
3 bedrooms
Anyone who knows the foothill area's of California are probably laughing at my very unrealistic expectations.

In six months I received the call, a voice said "I have your house". I saw the address plate as I walked up the walk, it was an angel wrapped around the numbers. The house covered my whole list plus a canyon view across the backyard. It was 1240sq ft. and fit us perfectly. The realtor said it had not hit the market yet and I was the first to see it. I made an offer at asking price and prayed.
When the owners got the offer they thought maybe the price was too low and raised it quite substantially. What I did not know is that through my realtors mom, people in the community were praying for us. One church lady called another and found the owner who happened to be a member of another small church. My story got out, single mom with ALS trying to give her children a home. The owners lowered the price, lower than the original price and even fixed it up a bit. The lender added the closing into selling price and I got in with no money down because I was a first time buyer. I was on a fixed income and now I owned my own house!

I call this a miracle because I gave it to God and he blessed me with far more than a house. I met a neighbor who took me under her wing as a mother, best friend and grandma to my kids. She was a God send all by herself. I have since married and we live in my special little miracle house with a heavenly view.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Caroling Through JLand

1) Make an entry titled "Caroling Through J-Land" with these same instructions so others can play along.

2) Visit as many journals as you can and look for their entry titled "Caroling Through J-Land". Leave the title of your favorite carol, along with your name and link to your journal for other carolers.

3) Spread the word so we all can meet new friends and spread some Christmas cheer!

4) Caroling ends this Sunday night at midnight to give everyone plenty of time to make the rounds.Happy Caroling and Merry Christmas!

I love "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Friday, December 16, 2005

Photo Scavenger Hunt #54


This is not a stocking or really a sock. This was a gift from my sweet man, who was sick and tired of my cold feet in bed :) I was using his body to warm them , but now I have this. You stick your feet in the sheep skin, lined bag and use the remote to heat or massage. It snaps at mid-calf to avoid drafts and is the best sock I've ever owned. Just don't walk away too quickly, because you will fall flat on your face! Been there...Done that!


I'm getting in the spirit this year , but I'm finding you need so much more patience during Christmas.

1. Drivers who are watching for an open spot, but nothing else.

2. Crowds who have lost any manners they may have had.

3. Online shopping with no delivery dates and backorders that appear after you have crossed it off your list.

4. Bills that come in once a year, in December!

5. Buying a gift and realizing the size is different than what the hanger size says.

6. Your dog gets a booster postcard in December.

7. Cat has swiped the ornaments off the bottom of the tree.

Despite it all, I'm getting excited because I might get a grandbaby in my stocking! I told the future dad to call me first if the baby comes before Christmas so I can run to Walmart and buy up all the "baby's 1st" stuff! One great perk to being a crip, is the great parking :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Miracle #2

This is a very personal miracle, but because it changed my life I need to share it. When I retired, I had accepted my diagnosis and mapped out a to do list. (In no particular order)

-Teach my girls to be independent.
-Spend quality, loving time with my girls.
-Put my house in order.
-Find peace and live a more spiritual life.

Sounds nice and all, but easier said than done! I learned about being a stay at home mom to two hormonal crazy people. I’m sorry, make that three crazy hormonal people, don’t forget me. I was trying to spend loving, quality time with kids that resented me, an ex that used my illness at every turn and no family support. It was like pulling teeth to get them to church, and going anywhere by myself was not always an option. Everyone thought I had my act together and was handling my illness amazingly well. I just was wearing a mask of lies. I was over doing things, pushing too hard and was losing my sanity.

One night as I was laying in bed, staring at the ceiling and quietly sobbing. I realized I had not cried or grieved for the loss of my health. I was trying to do everything at once, by myself and doing it all badly. I was scared. That night I gave in and let the sorrow consume me. I screamed in my head "God help me! I can’t do this! It’s too hard, and I don’t want to do this anymore. Please, help me!". I cried myself to sleep exhausted from releasing my pain.

I started to wake up some hours later in total fear! My heart was racing and I would not open my eyes. I felt someone sit beside me on my bed, the mattress move and I instinctively knew it was not one of the girls. Suddenly I felt calm and slowly decided to open my eyes. The image before me looked just like the statue of Jesus from my childhood in the Catholic church. I looked closer and saw tears were rolling down his face. He looked so sad. When he spoke, his lips did not move yet I heard him speaking to me. He said "I feel your pain, you have never been alone and I will never leave your side." He then opened his arms and I was drawn into them, as he held me tightly, rocking me with his hand holding my head against his shoulder. That was my last memory of that night.

When I woke up that morning, I felt so good and remembered every minute of what happened. I stopped being afraid and never felt alone again. That was my miracle, call it a dream, vision or whatever you want. It changed me down to my core. I had another visit years later but that was a totally different message and a different miracle.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Halls are Decked

What a weekend! Our hall's are decked and the tree is up! The weekend started with Dave winning 2nd place in a fishing derby, that's where they swap dirty jokes, pass gas and win money for the biggest fish. He won $50 bucks which probably covered his entry fee and gas (in his truck that is, LOL). He was a happy dude which makes for a happy wifey!

The start of my weekend was in the gym, after a month long hiatus due to a chest cold. I started with the treadmill right next to a gal running like a banshee. I started slow, got cocky and hit the speed button a little too hard and off it went. The whole scene looked like Lucy Ricardo and the chocolate conveyor belt episode! I yelled "can you turn this thing off, PLEASE!". I managed to finish my workout, but I was sore the rest of the weekend and walked like I had a stick up my back side.

I also got to attend a Christmas house, tour fundraiser with my girlfriend. It's where local merchants decorate a different room in a huge house. You pay $10, buy raffle tickets and drink cider. Beautiful old house and I won the center piece shown. We had a gourmet lunch before we went on the tour and did a little shopping after. I love a good girls day out! Thanks for the treat Lynne, I love you!

Dave and I decorated together, however I can only supervise. This is called by most men as bossy, picky and controlling. My man knows I'm disabled but uses all of the above to discribe my supervision. (ALS took my pinching mechanism away but I have a strong grip. A great example is I can drive a car but I can't zip or button my breeches.) It's just too darn frustrating to watch my man decorate, he's decore challenged. LOL We did it without killing each other and we were happy with HIS work. Nikki got in the spirit by wearing her new Christmas sweater and wishing it had no hat!

I have regressed to my childhood by giving Dave too many hints about what santa is bringing. I always found my parents hiding places and would give my brother hints about what he was getting when we were kids. Surprise, surprise, they both hated and hate it! My bad! I get so excited! I even gave Dave a present already! I made a calendar with pictures of us, his mom in Kauai and his grandson's. He LOVED it!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Miracle # 1

A miracle is "an extraordinary and welcome event." We all have had miracles in our lives, but we just don’t always acknowledge them as miracles. We might say it was a coincidence or good luck. The rest of the definition is "attributed to a divine agency" or what I interpret to mean God. I believe in miracles and have been blessed by many extraordinary events in my life. This time of year there is such joy innertwined with much sorrow. We remember our loved one’s we have lost, but celebrate miracles. I feel now is the time to share our own personal miracles that may give hope and bring back joy to those who need it.

Long ago, before I was diagnosed, I was in charge of Apple Computer’s office supplies for the whole United States. I was a single mom of two babies, had an assistant, wore heels and power suits. I did not go out of town much, kept decent hours and was well compensated. One routine doctor visit and things began to change. It started with a very subtle feeling of being off balance, which turned into a diagnoses of MS. I was told to research chronic MS and call if I had any questions. I did not have any inclination to do that, went back to work and stayed in my world of denial. I did not let my bosses know in case they "changed my position" and my assistant covered for me if I needed to go home due to fatigue. I started falling down, I could tell people were talking, so one day I came in with a cane and I had to spill the news. They were great and said "whatever you need". My MS was no longer a secret, so I finally did a little research and low and behold my advancing MS was, after 3yrs, no longer resembling MS. Over the next year I saw five different doctors, all assuming the other did an EEG (muscle tester), and no one had. When I got an EEG my diagnosis went from MS to ALS, which is a 3-5yr death sentence.

When you hear this sort of news, all you can think about are your babies. I panicked and thought "how will I support my babies", "I can’t leave, their too young". Here is my first miracle! I told my bosses I needed to be with my girls and had to retire. I went to Human Resources to fill out paper work, praying Social Security would be enough to not loose the girls. The gal says "ok, with disability insurance you get 65% of your salary until age 65". I said (like a dummy) " I don’t have disability insurance". When I was hired I was asked if I wanted it and I laughed saying "no way, I’m young and need the money". A "clerical error" was made and I had been paying for it all along. Never could figure out those stupid pay stubs.

This miracle allowed me to buy a little house in the country and raise my girls. They still can’t figure out why I’m still here after 16yrs, but that’s a different miracle.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Help! Need Grandma Name

I just found out my 1st grandbaby is coming earlier than expected...Yikes! I'm one of the coaches in the delivery room and with all the REALLY good drugs I'm on at night, I might miss the big event. This was to happen after Christmas, situated between Christmas and New Years while Dave is on vacation. Sure Tammy, everything revolves around you...not!

Here is my dilema, there are lots of grandmas in this baby's life and I want a special grandma name, so I need suggestions. I don't want to be grandma Tammy! I was thinking of grammy or grams. I know there's got to be one that will fit me. Any suggestions?

We don't know if it's a girl or a boy and when you hear the names you'll hope for a girl, like me. Baby girl name is Biara (made up by Jess) and baby boy name will be Tuni...not tuni fish either, I already asked. LOL My new son in law is 1/8 Mi-Wuk Indian so he's choosing a Mi-Wuk name meaning "young blood". It's actually, Tuni Kokachawoo...Yeowsa! My daughter is even praying for a girl, now the names are chosen. I miss the old days of naming kids after beloved ancestors. I guess this will be close enough.

The most important thing is that the baby and mom come out healthy! I'm so excited to know in two weeks I'll have a new baby to love and spoil. Payback time, watch out Jess!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Tuesday Two

THIS WEEK'S TOPIC: THE FUTUREQUESTION A:You are given the chance to open one of three envelopes. The first, labelled "WHEN," will reveal the exact date and time of your death; the second, labelled "HOW," will reveal the method of your demise, and the third, marked "VALUE," would reveal how much or how little you will be remembered after you're gone. If you had to select and read the contents of one of the envelopes, which would you choose and why?
The "when" is not significant when you have lived 16yrs with a terminal illness that takes you in 3-5yrs. This is all icing on my cake!

The "how" is a good probability of ALS.

I would choose "value" because I have worked very hard to survive and hope that has inspired at least one person to hang in there!

Photo Scavenger Hunt #53

Photo Scavenger Hunt
#53 will be due Sunday, December 11, 2005 at 11:00 P.M. EST.
CATEGORY: Angels or Snowmen

When I first got sick I loved the idea of angels. It felt good to think of angels watching out for me and they were working very hard. When I fall and don't hit my head I always throw out a "thank you". I started receiving angels from friends and family for just about every occasion. Word of caution, be careful in saying you love angels because you may end up with angels everywhere! LOL This is one of my favorites, given to me by a good friend who sends me an angel every Christmas. She lives far away so she sends angels to watch over me in her stead.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Bad Karma

We are home safe and sound from our trip to Dave's mom's house. The trip went well but we had a bit of bad karma before we ever arrived. Thursday it rained all day and night and when Dave was on his awful 2hr commute home, a deer jumped out into traffic, right at Dave's car. He swerved a tad to avoid him, but the deer kept coming and tried to jump over the Ford Escape via the windshield and hood. He hit the front of the roof, flipped in the air, landing on the windshield, rolled down the hood and away he went. Dave actually got off lucky, he had a dent on the front of the roof, bent side mirror, broken head light and very high blood pressure. I'm secretly glad the deer was ok, but Dave could have been really hurt! Dave hates deer because his hobby is gardening and the deer ate all his roses this year.
We had our septic field re-done this summer. They had dug up our beautiful english garden, charged us $5000, put in three new lines and we had to re-landscape(see above)...gulp! gulp! When we got up on Friday morning, our yard had sunk from all the rain, all the way across the yard about 8-10 inches deep. Dave was white, he spent a month of weekends re-landscaping and now it looked like an earthquake hit our yard. Poor baby! We had to leave it and get on the road to see momma Ruth, but he was so deep in thought he never saw the cop. My Dave commutes four hours a day and has not had a ticket in years, he got one that day for doing 46 in a 35. I had said, in my sweetest voice, "if he didn't think he should slow down due to the cop sitting there", but he never saw it until it was too late.
To make him laugh I started flailing my arms about saying "warning...warning Will Robinson danger ahead, bad karma!" I think on top of serving the community Christmas Eve dinner, as we usually do, we need to maybe adopt a family for Christmas too! Yeowsa!

The co-ed shower for Jess was a blast, Jess was there with bells on sucking up the attention like a sponge...funny how that works! lol They had the dreaded "games" but I found that watching the guys made it fun. They melted different candy bars in little diapers and you had to smell or taste to guess what candy bar was in the diapers. (very gross looking!) The guys faces were hyterical and since Dave knows his chocolate he won the prize. All showers should be co-ed, guys are so competitive they will do anything! lol

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Over the River and Through...

I just finished reading all my favorite journals and really enjoyed it. I type with one finger so my comments might be short but my right arm is getting quite strong. We are feeling better so we decided to take this Friday thru Sunday to visit Dave's mom for Christmas. I know it's early, but I really need to stick close to home in case that new grandbaby pops out early.

Dave's mom is a neat 82yr old lady living by herself in her own go girlfriend! She raised 6 kids and had never really been on a "real vacation". This year we took her to Kauai and showed her the beach where we were married. It was so brave of her and she loved it! We even got her to take a helicopter tour of the island. The look on her face was priceless. She stayed a week and we stayed two weeks in a little two bedroom house 50ft from the ocean. She never complained, always went with the flow and was never bossy. For Dave it was so special to share paradise with his mom.

The trip to visit his mom is a 4-5 hr. drive...kill me now! I hate long drives!!! So it's over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go...I forgot the rest. I hope it does not rain on the way, Dave hates when I use the passenger side brake peddle and gasp out loud.

Jess has been shamed by her mommy dearest into attending her own baby shower tonight...waahoo! Please let there be no games to play, I really hate that at showers! A moms gotta do what a moms gotta do!

Have a great weekend!