Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Monday, September 29, 2014

Some Hard Times

First, I'd like to thank everyone for the prayers and condolences received here, on Facebook and in person.  I can't tell you how much they have all meant to me.

My Mom passed on September 19th at 7:30 am Central Time.  I left here that morning to go up and see her and she died right about the time my plane landed.  That was hard.  Neither of my sisters were with her either.  We suspect she wanted it that way.  At least that's what we've been telling ourselves.
I did see her in July and felt at that time that I was saying good bye.  But, I guess I still thought I would see here alive one more time.  I did see her on the 19th, but she was already gone.

We held a small memorial service for her the very next day and were able to pull together many people in the Chicago area that knew her to celebrate her life.  We'll be holding another family only service next Spring or Summer in California.

My older sister had to leave to go home on Sunday morning so my younger sister and I headed over to Mom's to pack up the place.  Fortunately, when we closed her house we had gotten rid of a lot.  But, there was still a lot to get rid of.  Amy and I accomplished nearly all of it in that one day just leaving a few odds and ends and the furniture for Amy to handle later.  I couldn't help but marvel that it was almost exactly two months from the day that Gini and I had packed up Mom's house.  Strange to pack the same things all over again. . .

Amy and I decided to have a day in the city on that Monday and went on an Architectural Tour on the Chicago river.  Very beautiful day, relaxing with my sister and seeing some really interesting buildings.  The only fly in the ointment was my dad telling us he wants a copy of Mom's death certificate so he can change his retirement to all come to him and that his girlfriend (for whom he left our Mom for) will be his sole beneficiary in his new will.  Nice timing. . .

I came home on Tuesday and then decided to stay home the remainder of the week.  I was emotionally and physically exhausted and I wanted to just be around my family.

The week ended with a trip into Washington DC for a Caps preseason game during which my kiddo and some friends skated for Mites on Ice during an Intermission.  Sounded like fun, but wasn't such a great idea.  They were announced as the Vipers, which was a team Aidan had been on during the Spring and Summer.  Turns out, you can't be rostered on another team when you are a member of the Xtreme.  Fortunately, the kids aren't being punished for the bad decision of the parents.  However, we do have to explain ourselves.  Some of the parents are angry.  I'm just upset that I didn't think about it being a problem.  Not a smart move on my part.

And the thing that really gets me about this is that the parent who set this up was warned that we shouldn't do it and he never told the rest of us about that warning!

Now he is trying to say it was something it really wasn't.  I've told our Coach all of what I know and will present that in our mandatory meeting with the head of the Club.  I'm not going to lie and I'm not going to change the story.  I'm just going to say it was a dumb move.

The irony on that situation is that Aidan hasn't had anything to do with that team since the end of June.  He practiced all through April, May and June--hated it due to the horrible verbal abuse of the coach and his minions--and we went to two tournaments in June.  We opted out of the July tournament due to my travels to help my Mom and had said no from the beginning to the August tournament because it was right before school started and I wanted Aidan home to get ready for that and to be fully focused on the Xtreme.  He's wanted to be on the Xtreme team since he was in Mini Mites

And so, I hate drama and here we are in the midst of it on all sides.

But wait, there's more!!

During Aidan's game yesterday, he just all of a sudden checked out and really didn't try anymore.  I should have known something was up but instead I got mad at him.  Not one of my finer Mom moments.  We went to Total Hockey after to get a couple of things, ran into his coach and talked a bit.  On the way out of the store, Aidan complained of a headache.  We headed to Wegmans and I noticed the familiar sound of him talking around his tonsils.  By the time we got home, I knew something was wrong so we took him to Urgent Care.  Yep.  Positive for Strep Throat.  And he had a fever, something he rarely gets.

We got him on the pink stuff and started him on Motrin and he seemed to get better.  But, he woke up about 11:30 with the fever back.  Really hot.  More Motrin then and some more just a bit ago.  Fortunately, Pat is off work today so hopefully Aidan can get some rest and more medicine in him to beat this thing back.

Meanwhile, I am physically and emotionally exhausted. . .I think I already said that!

But, I can't leave this post in such a down mood.  So, I'll share a picture of Aidan with his new buddy Larry Bob (Aidan named him) when he was feeling a little better yesterday.

So funny!

Hoping our hard times are on the wane now, but a few prayers thrown our way wouldn't hurt.  Have a good week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Transitions

Aidan has transitioned into Third Grade without any hiccups.  He is doing really well in school, for which I am truly grateful.

Homework started off slow, but has been picking up steam.  We found that Aidan is actually doing fourth grade math, which is awesome.  He is very smart in math.  I am very proud of him.  He is working on reading--we were very bad about not having him read more over the summer, but he seems to be doing okay with it.  And his Social Studies!!!  Whoa!!!  He is learning all kinds of things about the government.  It's pretty cool.  And I am very impressed with how he has been picking it up a little more each day.  So proud of him.

And, although the homework has been gaining steam, he has continued to do it each day as he is supposed to.  Even when he has hockey practice.

Hockey practice has picked up steam as well.  His coach has intensified the expectations for the boys and is not putting up with any goofing around on the ice.  He doesn't hesitate to punish them for things:  sitting on the bench while the rest of the team practices or doing push ups on the ice or even doing laps around the boards.  So far, Aidan has only been punished once with push ups on the ice for fighting with a team mate. . .he was actually defending himself and I was proud of him for it, but the punishment was justified as the boys were not paying attention to what they were supposed to be doing.

Aidan did complete the shoot out a couple weeks ago.  It was a lot of fun.  We knew a lot of the people there, although we're on different teams.  The benefit of having been on the Elite team over the spring and summer.



They were all very cute and had a lot of fun.  Daniel, the one above on the far right, won as Goalie.  Another boy, Brandan, won as Shooter.  But, Aidan has some really good goals against the FIVE Goalies he went up against!
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Our team had two games this past weekend in West Chester, PA.  We opted to drive up, 2 1/2 hours each way, rather than stay overnight.  The games were blow outs--the other team won.  But, our boys did not give up and it did prompt our coach to make some line and position changes that were needed as well as making some big changes in the practices.  It's going to get much more intense for them now.

We don't have any more games for a bit as our season doesn't actually start until November.  We'll probably get our full schedule soon though.  That will be good so we can plan the rest of our lives!

Our meal transition has not been without hiccups, though.  As much as I like have so many meals ready to go in the freezer, our practice schedule has actually been making it difficult to have dinner at a decent hour.  We ate last night at almost eight o'clock!  I'm going to continue doing freezer meals--which have been awesome to say the least!--but I am rethinking our dinner plans on practice nights. . .we may have to eat out more afterall.  : (

Meanwhile, the other transition that is happening is with my mom.  This is not a good transition.  She began Hospice Care last Saturday and is really slipping away quickly.  I'm going up on Friday morning.  The hospice nurse has told us that she is transitioning, which means that she is preparing to die.  The nurse expects it will likely be sometime this weekend.  I have cried and raged and cried some more.  I will likely still cry even more.  But, the one thing I am hanging on to is that she is no longer feeling the extreme pain that she had been feeling.  She is comfortable now.  Please say a prayer that she will go peacefully.

God bless and have a good weekend.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Lasts and Firsts

Last weekend saw a lot of lasts. . .last weekend of summer break.  Last unscheduled play dates.  Last chance to go to the outdoor pool.  Last stay up late because we can sleep in. . .

It was a lot of fun!

On Sunday, we met up with some friends at the top of the mountain just to our east--Blue Ridge Mountains, actually.  And we decided to take a hike up to Bears Den which is on the Appalachian Trail.  It was a tough climb for me, a novice hiker.  But, Aidan was running and jumping and really enjoying himself.  And my anxiety level climbed the higher up the path we went.  I kept seeing him fall among the rocks and tree roots and breaking something.  He didn't.  He was totally fine.  It was me.  My fear didn't allow me to really appreciate the beauty of the hike and our surroundings.  We'll have to go again.  But, here's a peak at how it was.  This is looking west toward Berryville and Winchester and the Shenandoah Valley.  You can't actually see it, but the Shenandoah River is down there hidden by the trees.


Those clouds in the distance did eventually produce a huge thunderstorm. . .and it was a doozy!!
And our two cuties on the rocks at Bears Den

I think the top one will go on my Aidan wall. . .and these pictures do not even hint at how hot it was!!!

On Monday, Aidan was going to meet up with some friends at the outdoor pool at Ida Lee Park.  We were just heading over when I got a text that there was a line of about 50 people trying to get in and the pool was at capacity.  So, we sat down to wait. . .but 15 minutes later, there was another major thunderstorm. . .pool closed.  End of pool season.  sigh. . .

So, we spent some time making a nice dinner and then packing up the back pack. . .All the supplies were in and we were now ready for the big day.

And then Tuesday finally came.  First day of Third Grade!!!  I had the day off, as usual.  And I fixed a special breakfast for Aidan, as usual.  This year it was pancake muffins.  Super easy.  Just put the pancake batter into mini muffin pan and bake at 375 for 10 or 11 minutes.  Serve it with warm syrup in a dipping cup and a side of milk and Aidan was a happy camper!

And then it was time to head up to the bus stop. . .but first we have to have our annual pictures on the porch!

 Handsome little guy, isn't he???
And the side view showing the back pack. . .

And then we were off. . .

And we waited at the bus stop. . .

And he was off to school. . .

I went home and deep cleaned the basement.  Caught up on laundry and ironing.  And then made some homemade Gingerbread cookies, which smelled heavenly, but which I can not eat.  : (

And finally, it was time to head back to the bus stop and wait for our kiddo to come home and tell us all about his day.  Pat was home by then so we took the dogs and headed up.  But, the sky was looking ominous again.  Fortunately, the kids arrived before the storm and seemed happy to be home!
Aidan said he loves school and his teacher and his new class and recess and lunch time. . .and that feeling has held all week. . .hopefully, that will stay in the weeks to come as the homework mounts!

Tuesday also saw the shift to the Regular Season practice with his Xtreme team.  Aidan was assigned a white practice jersey and so were his buddies from last year, Blake and Spencer!!  The Amigos are back!!!!  Woo Hoo!!!  These three are really hard to defend against.  They play so well together and are nearly instinctive with each other.  So excited to see them play together again!

Wednesday was the first Skills Session with Troy.  I was happy to see Aidan skate hard and keep up with the '05 team in speed.  And then, he and Blake worked together most of the rest of the session.
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Thursday was the second Regular Season practice and the boys got their new jerseys.  Wow.  They are really nice.  Gear bags and warm up suits were distributed on Tuesday and they are nice, too.  Coach Sean really pushed the boys and was really working them to become a Team.  They are not individual players, but have to be there for eachother.  Really cool to see it already happening.  Such a great group of boys!!

The storms continued through Wednesday but provided a nice rainbow. . .

And now it's Friday. . .I am off to the doctor this morning for a regular check up and blood work to check my iron and celiac disease.  Hoping to have even better numbers than last May. . .

We have  a weekend of fun coming up with a play date and the semi final round of the Shoot Out.  Next time, I'll talk a little about how the freezer meal concept is going. . .ups and downs. . .

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy St. Aidan's Day!

Yes, there really is an Irish saint named St. Aidan.  Although he is not who we named our Aidan after, he did play a part in our final selection of the name--definitely our spelling of Aidan!!  He was Irish, and is thought to be the Apostle of the English.  He lived in the 650's and is known for his kindness and patience in teaching Christianity to the pagan people in and around Lindesfarne.  Kind of a neat guy. . .Our Aidan received a St. Aidan medalian from my sisters in-laws when he was baptised.  Such a nice gift!  And he actually wears it to church.

This is our last weekend of summer break.  It's back to school as of Tuesday.  So, on this St. Aidan's Day,I thought I'd share some recent things and conversations about our Aidan that keep me smiling.
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After practice last Monday, Aidan and I were driving home and talking about this and that.  Somehow, the conversation turned to who was President when Leesburg (our town) started.  Aidan was very curious.  Well, bub, actually it was King George II of England.  "Who?"  The King of England.  We didn't have a President yet because the Revolutionary War hadn't happened yet.  We were English subjects then and our town was called Georgetown.  That, of course, changed with the war and we decided we didn't like the King (yes, an over simplification.  He's eight.)

Then we drove by our Courthouse--which is actually the third Courthouse, on the same spot.  "So, mama, when was that built (pointing at the Courthouse)."  Well, that's the third one and was built in the early 1890's.  The first was built in the 1750's and then the next was built in the 1820's or so and then this one.  "Ok.  So who was President when that was built?" That particular one, buddy?  "Yes, that one."  Hmmmm. .  .I think it would have been Benjamin Harrison.

"Harrison!!!"

then there's me chuckling. . .

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Last Wednesday night, there was entirely too much activity going on in our house during the dark hours of night.

I had been putting Aidan to bed about 8:30 when I apparently fell asleep with him.  I woke up at about 9:45 and went on to my own bed, where I fell asleep immediately.

About 1:00 or so, I woke up and immediately thought that the body next to me was entirely too small to be Pat.  Realizing it was Aidan and not having any idea of when he had gotten in bed with me, I went in search of Pat.  He was not in the guest room so I went downstairs.  I found his lunch pail on the kitchen counter so I knew he was somewhere in the house and decided he must be sleeping in the basement.  Okay then.  Back to bed.

About 3:00, Aidan sat upright and said, "Mama, where's Daddy???"  I don't know sweetie.  Do you have to go potty?  (That is a must question if he wakes up in the middle of the night)  So, off to the bathroom we went.  In the process, I stopped by Aidan's room and turned on the light where Pat sat up in Aidan's bed bleary eyed.  Oh!!!  There you are!!

After Aidan went potty, the three of us went back to our bed (notice singular bed) and went back to sleep.

My alarm went off too soon after that and I got up for the day, leaving my two boys to enjoy more sleep. . .

When I went upstairs to quietly say goodbye, I found Aidan happy and sitting up.  He had put Tigger on top of Pat and told me that Daddy and Tigger were having a staring contest.  I was pretty certain Pat would much rather be having a staring contest with the backs of his eyelids!  But, he was good natured about it. . .

Much too busy of a night!!!

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On Thursday, I went to meet Aidan's new teacher at the Open House our school has each year.  Ms. Barbee seems very very nice--very similar to Mrs. Fuller from last year.  I wrote down some names of the other students and was surprised to find that there are only 18 children in Aidan's class this year!!  Whoa!  That's awesome!!!

There were a few familiar names, but, alas, no Stella.

When we got home that evening, Aidan was anxious to go out and play.  I had already told him who I knew would be in his class.  He was upset that Stella wasn't in it, but seemed happier when I told him that Ms. Barbee had said all of Third Grade has recess together.

Pat had come by so I was surprised when Aidan came in and laid down on the couch.  He seemed a little upset, but said he was just tired.  But, then Pat came in and started getting mad at Aidan for being rude and just walking away from the kids outside playing.  He told him that being rude is not good and that Aidan needs to stop doing that.  Okay. . . .

After Pat left, I went over to Aidan, who looked very upset by now, and asked him what was going on.  I told him he could tell me anything and then pulled him onto my lap, in spite of his size.  I just kept patting his back and talking soothingly to him and finally, he shifted off my lap, looked at me with ginormous tears in his eyes and said, "Zach told me Stella is in his class!!  I'm sooo jealous!!!"

Oh!!!   My poor sweet sensitive baby!!  So, I hugged and patted him some more and again reminded him about the all third grade recess. . .and then told him I would call and see if Stella and Vivian would like to come for a play date.  I did call and left a message and then told him I had to finish some work in the basement.  He could lay there and rest for a bit and when he was ready he should go on out and play some more.  Ok. . . .

I discreetly called Pat and told him what was up, and he felt terrible.  He said he had heard Zach say that and that Aidan immediately walked away.  He said he should have realized it was something like that.  I told him my plan and all is good now.

Stella's mom did call back and the kids had a play date yesterday afternoon, with Zach joining in for some kick ball at the end.  But, first, Aidan had the girls to himself while they made some chewing gum--which wasn't too bad!!




And some green snot slime. . .which was really gross.
 Aidan was very in to it.  At first, the girls looked on amused. . .

 Then the girls were looking a little less amused because the slime was looking pretty gross. . .

And finally, Aidan was all in for touching and feeling the slime, Vivian was game for trying a little on her hands, but Stella said No Way!!!  Frankly, I didn't blame her!  It was pretty gross. . .

I think the kids had fun, though.  And it will be something they remember as a fun end of summer afternoon.

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And now, today, we just have a little grocery shopping to do and then we're off to see another friend with whom we're going on a short hike on the Appalachian Trail!!!  We also have a phone call to make to my sister Amy to wish her a happy birthday. . .Aidan plans to sing a rap version of Happy Birthday:

To the B to the i to the r to the t to the h to the d  a   y!  It's your birthday!  It's your birthday!  Hap hap happy birthday yo!

(Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the card that continues!!!  : )  )

And so, with that, I bid you adieu.  Have a great St. Aidan's Day!!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Ch. .ch. .ch. .changes

Well, here we are.  It's the last week of summer break.  One final week of Hockey Camp.  One final week of coordinating our crazy "where is Aidan going?"  "who is watching Aidan this week?"  "what clothes are appropriate?"  "what do I need to send for snack and lunch?"

Next week, he will be back to school and our schedule will be set.  So much easier!!  Love summer, but. .  .

But, meanwhile, we still have this final glorious week.  As I indicated, Aidan is at Hockey Camp this week.  He loves Hockey Camp.  Last week he had a blast at Shoot to Score Camp.  It was a half day camp, which meant a whole new level of planning and coordination.  I was exhausted by the end of the week, but not as much as Aidan!!

Yes, that's my kid with his head inside his lunch box!!  Sound asleep. . .poor kiddo. . .

And this was another day after daddy carried him in from the car and laid him down on the couch. . .two hour nap!!!  Note to self: if you want to go to bed at a decent time, don't let Aidan have a two hour nap!!!

This week is Total Skills.  And he has one final Pre-Season hockey practice tonight.  Next week we start the regular practice schedule.  Tuesday and Thursdays with a couple of Wednesdays each month thrown in for good measure!  And we get to pick up his new uniform and bag. . .he's very excited about that!!!

So, with the crazy schedule coming up, I decided to do some planning ahead.  I spent this past weekend doing a lot of cooking and freezing. . .I made some

Meatloaf

Taco Meat
Sloppy Joes

Shredded chicken for Enchiladas

And some Cilantro Lime Chicken ready for 8 hours on low in the crock pot.

And I did more!!
Some canned Bread and Butter pickles

And chopped up the jalepeno peppers which Pat later pickled and then put up in pints. . .: )

Next weekend, I'm planning to make Spaghetti Sauce, Taco soup, and a couple of casseroles.  It's all a part of my plan to NOT eat out all the time in spite of the crazy hockey schedule coming up!  With a roast here and there and a pot of chili, this should work.  I'm hoping to be able to do a cooking weekend every couple of months.  I'll let you know how this works out!

The pickles and peppers being canned remind me that this really is the end of summer.  The harvest of our garden continues and things are starting to look mellow outside.  In fact the view from our office window shows things are bit overgrown, and filling in with the late summer flowers.

And we've brought a little bit inside as well. . .


Aidan has also started to think and plan beyond summer and into the fall.  This year, we won't be home for Halloween. . .so we won't be going to our Halloween parade.  But, we'll still be having fun!!  His team has a tournament in Hershey, so the boys will trick or treat at Hershey Park!!  And Aidan has found his costume. . .
He'll be an Evil Jester!!  All we have to do is get some black gloves and he'll wear his black and white vans.  So fun!!

Mom continues to do poorly.  She has been in so much pain and is very depressed.  She hasn't been happy about her move, which adds to her depression.  So, we've decided to start some Palliative Care--it's a step below Hospice.  She'll likely need Hospice in the next couple of months, but this will help with the transition and may help her handle her current pain level a little more.

There are a few other changes in the offing, but that will have to wait for another day.

Have a great week!