10 Things I’ve Learned Along the Way

My mother use to say…You won’t have it all figured out until you are a grandmother …and then know one will care.

Well I am a grandmother of four and I’m not sure I’ve got it all figured out yet, but there are a few things I’ve learned along the way, so I thought I would share them…I’m assuming mom was wrong and you really do care. Heheheheee so here goes…

1. Despite what you are told, you are really pregnant for 10 months…not nine. That month after the baby, your body is changing just as much as it did during pregnancy…take it easy.

2. After that 10th month, stop wearing stretch pants…If you aren’t exercising at that moment then you shouldn’t be in workout pants. You will never get your stomach muscles back if you keep wearing maternity clothes.

3. Give yourself up to 9 months to get your body back…no more. The longer you let it go, the harder it is.

4. You ate healthy during your pregnancy for your baby…now keep it up…. for you. Your baby needs a healthy mom.

5. Sleep …then if you wake up before the baby, you can clean…not the other way around.

6. Remember, it is important that the baby knows that other people other than just you loves them…Let other people have the baby…it’s good for them…and you.

7. Get a life…your children will be grateful when they are teens and you aren’t obsessing over them.

8. Don’t just call your husband daddy…there are other woman that will see him for more than that…make sure you do too.

9. Take time as a couple…the kids will be gone all to soon…many couples split during this time because they aren’t best friends anymore..

10. Keep believing in happy endings…

This is my new grandson …George…born March 28th.

 

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Caretaker Tuesday…Finding a place for them to live

I know that my caretaker posts can be depressing for some. For that reason I keep thinking I am going to stop, then someone will contact me and tell me how much the posts have helped them. I have been given this story and an avenue to share it for a reason, so I feel compelled to do so.

Today I would like to talk to you about looking for a place for your loved one to live. Often, when a loved one is being released from the hospital we often want to try to bring them home …even if we know deep down that it’s not going to work. That’s a noble thought, but if you go to a nursing home right out of the hospital, Medicare will pay your nursing home bills for 90 days. ( I am remembering back a few years on these details so don’t sue me if my facts are a bit off) Three months is a lot of money when we are talking health care. I am not saying you should put someone in the nursing home if you have a better option…just put that into the equation.

When people are going to be released from the hospital, a case worker will come and decide what kind of help will be needed. Educate yourself before this time comes.

They will often get the wheels turning pretty quickly if you don’t already have a plan in place. Remember, your choices are not limited just because your loved one needs a Medicaid bed. Every nursing home has these beds, they look just like every other bed. The problem is they don’t have many of them.

If you have some choices, here are a few things to consider…

1. If there is a new place in town, go check it out. Wouldn’t you rather live in the nice new place?

2, Remember, you are probably going to be spending a lot of time at this place, so make sure it is handy for you. I remember thinking that I was fine driving 20 minutes to see mom and dad, but many people told me to put them closer. They were right. It was great being able to just drop by for a minute or two as I had the time.

3. If you don’t like the smell or the workers, keep looking.

4. If you can bring someone with you, it will help lighten the mood.

You will hate the first place you visit. It won’t be good enough for your loved one. It will be depressing and upsetting.

I have heard that some cities have businesses that will pick you up at the airport and take you on a tour of all the facilities in the area. I have no idea how much they charge, but if you don’t know the area I would think this would be a huge help.

If one of these businesses is not available to you, try stopping at a local church. Pastors visit many of these places. They might have some insight that they would be willing to share.

Remember that your loved one has had a life, which means they probably have people near by that care about them. A neighbor? Best friend? Bible study? If you are out of town those people could become very valuable to you.

I remember once that my parent’s phone was busy for the longest time. My imagination grew with each passing minute. Lucky for me I had their neighbor’s phone number. She quickly found out that their phone was just off the hook.

One last thought…always laugh..because the only other option is to cry.

 

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A Perfect Dessert!

I had a dessert party at my house about a month ago. I provided the space and other people brought the desserts. It was WONDERFUL! People brought the most amazing things….thank you Pinterest!

One thing that I loved came in clear plastic individual cups.

Bobbie's desert

It was light and fluffy and soooo good.

Flash forward to this week when I was having dinner guests. The people I was having are not big eaters, but they love good food. I had decided on grilled salmon with some sweet potato fries  rolls and green beans. A pretty simple and light meal.

I hardly ever make desserts but this night I wanted to have something to offer, so I decided to go grab the recipe from my desert party that I had gotten. It was once again a huge hit, so I thought I should share it with you.

Start by buying:

A package of Jello “no bake” cheesecake mix

a small tub of coolwhip

whole milk

strawberries.

Take the “no bake” cheesecake and make it with the whole milk. Fold in the coolwhip and then slice the strawberries and add them in. Place in small individual bowls. Top with some of the graham cracker crumbs that come in the package and chill for one hour.

So simple and yet so good.

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Decorating the Stairwell

I knew when I designed the house that decorating the stairwell wall would be a challenge for me. Looking at that large massive space was overwhelming, yet doing nothing with it wasn’t the answer. It made the home seem cold and bland.

stairs Hours had been spent looking at pictures of stairways when I finally came across this one

I want to do something like this on my stairway

Gallery walls often stress me out, but there was something about this one that was calming. These are the elements that I liked about this wall:

1. Everything was over-sized.

2. All the pictures were black and white or sepia.

3. The frames didn’t match .

4. The pictures were of kids playing in water.

It was time to make this happen. I grabbed my best friend and headed to Hobby Lobby. They had their frames on sale at 50% off, so what better time was there to do this.

I had no idea how many frames I needed, so I just kept sticking everything I liked in the cart figuring I could always return what I didn’t use.

I thought the next part would be the hardest…figuring out how to lay them out…WRONG.

We had laid the pictures on the floor and had friends come over. We would talk for a while, and then someone would get up and move the pictures around. I would take a photo, and then we would sit and talk until someone else got up to move them. It was actually fun. After a couple of hours,and countless designs, we came up with…floor frames

 

We decided to cut out poster board the same size as the picture frames and mark on the poster board where we needed to put the nails. Then the poster board was stuck to the wall to double check our plan.ladder

Now for the fun part ….NOT!

Finding the pictures for the frames has proven to be much harder than I ever imagined.

1. my grandkids…they look adorable in all their pictures, so how do I chose one?

2. Pictures taken when my kids were little were all taken with a crappy camera so they don’t enlarge well.

3. If you don’t have high resolution photos and you blow them up, they get very grainy.

4. “Professional” pictures from Kmart look purple when you blow them up.

5. If they look dark they will look very dark on the wall.

6. If your grandbaby has a runny nose in a picture, it will really bug you when it is blown up huge.

I am still working on my gallery, but even with the problems, I am loving what it has done for my space. I love looking up and seeing these smiles…

Photo: When you miss your grandson you blow his picture up huge and smile

 

 

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Our Salvaged Shelf

I have to show you what we made this weekend.shelf A

I was at HomeGoods looking to buy something that I didn’t know I needed…lol…isn’t that how most of us shop?

Anyway, I came across two cornices….They were on clearance for only $30 each. I hesitated for about 30 seconds because they weren’t the same color, but hey, I know how to paint.

Now came the struggle of finding a board to go across the top of them. Lucky for me the Mercato sale was this weekend. I don’t know if you remember me telling you about this place …http://www.theinspiredhousewife.com/2014/01/the-venice-mercato/….but it is the perfect place to find something like old weathered wood.

shelf2I was a bit concerned about how the edge of the board was going to look when we cut it. The one edge had a wonderful knot in it , and so much character.

shelf1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Amazing decided to cut it with his reciprocating saw. He kind of went at it as if he was doing an ice sculpture.

Once he cut it he took a blow torch to the end to darken it and to help give it that aged look.

shelf2

I love how it all turned out.

shelf with table with candles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It brings such warmth and style to my dining room…at this point I’m not even sure I’m going to paint the cornices to match…..what do you think?

shelf 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, For a Painted Brick Home

Anyone that knows me well knows that I am the queen of ideas. I thought of reusable grocery bags long before anyone was using them. If I made a list of other item ideas that I have had, I would get depressed at all the millions I have missed out on in my life.

I remember as a child learning about the industrial age and being depressed that I was born after everything had already been invented. Yes, that thought makes me chuckle too when you think about all the things that have been invented since the late 60′s when I had this thought.  Some adult…I’m not sure who it was, got upset with me and told me that it wasn’t true and that if I gave it much thought, I too could come up with new ideas.

Since that time, my brain has been working overtime with new ideas. Maybe you watch the show “Intelligence”. I will have you know that I have been saying for at least ten years that I think we should all have a computer disk that will identify people when we walk up to them and tell us how we know them.

Anyway the point of this is to tell you what someone out there needs to invent now, if it’s not already out there.

When I was building my house, my husband did not want a wood house again. I understand, it is a bit more maintenance but I liked the look. My next choice was painted brick but that was way too expensive.

Now don’t get me wrong…I like my house

DSCN5042

I will admit that my heart does still melt over the thought of painted brick.

I think there should be a way to make stucco look like painted brick. It needs to be cheap and easy for people to add to their old houses.

Now look at some painted brick houses and then tell me if you agree.

modern class @ Pin Your Home

Sooooo trying to figure out gow to mame our bla brick house look more cottagey. An entry way like this plus the color would work wonders!

White Washed Brick - entry here - but could also update an interior brick wall or fireplace.

exterior french doors with shutter & lantern and painted brick with timber inset over doors/windows

 

If you could make your house look like painted brick, would you?

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Mom Guilt

I am 55 years old, and I am here to tell you that mom guilt never goes away.  Sorry, I know that is not what you wanted to hear, but it is true.

The mom guilt started early….during pregnancy actually. Was I eating properly? What if I was doing something to harm my baby like cleaning the bathtub with something I shouldn’t?  Yep, if anything was wrong with my baby I knew it would be my fault. It was the mommy guilt that allowed me to go thru childbirth with no drugs.

Mommy guilt got no easier once the baby was here.  If I gave the baby a bottle instead of breast feeding…guilt. If I let the baby cry…guilt. If I wanted to take a long shower…guilt.

Mom’s have guilt because they choose to have another child…turning their child’s life upside down. And guilt for not having another so their child has no built in playmate.

We have guilt if we go back to work. How could we leave our babies in the arms of another? And then the guilt of not working and wondering how we are going to teach our daughters that they can reach for the stars if we are content doing the laundry.

Guilt will happen again when your child goes to school. You didn’t sign up to be room mom fast enough so someone else got it. You were secretly happy until you saw your child’s disappointed eyes…then you felt guilt for being happy…How could you?

School years are full of guilt. You kept the kids out too late last night, so they were so tired when you had to wake them. Guilt when you heard that all the other mom’s don’t just throw a sandwich in a lunch box. They make them look like dinosaurs.

When your child doesn’t get picked for a part in the school play, it’s somehow your fault. You should have taken more time to practice with her.

Guilt is at an all time high during the teen years. Guilt that your child doesn’t want to be your best friend. Guilt that you didn’t know your child snuck out of the house. Guilt for every bad choice your child makes.

As your child grows, so will your guilt. They will now think it is funny to share all the things that you didn’t know they did during their teen years. To them it is funny, to you …guilt. Why didn’t I know? If I had been a good parent, I would have known that.

I hear parents longing for their children to become adults. They think that at that point they will no longer be their problem,,,,,WRONG!  You will have guilt that they don’t have enough money for their down payment and you could help them but you don’t know if you should. Guilt that they have college loans. Guilt for what they have to pay in child care.

No….guilt never gets better we just learn to live with it.

How do we do that?

1. Realize that you are a better mom than you give yourself credit for.

2. There are no guidelines for what a perfect mom looks like.

3. Just as our fingerprints are all different, so are our lives/ You can’t compare yourself to someone else.

4. Realize that you are your toughest critic….others are not judging you nearly as much as you are judging yourself.

5. We can’t give our children all of our time or money, but we can give them all of our love…and really that is all they really want.

 

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Talking to a Dementia Patient

My father had early onset Alzheimer’s. Looking back, we all knew it was happening but we didn’t want to believe it. His father had it, so Daddy knew what this road looked like…and so did we.  No one wants to see their father getting worse and worse so we go into denial. I see so many people do this. They know that mom or dad can’t remember things like they should, but they really don’t want to believe it’s as bad as it is.

Dad came up with all kinds of little tricks to mask his memory loss…like he started calling everyone “hon”. Then my mom got into the game and started making excuses why they could no long be in small groups like Sunday School class. She was trying so hard to protect his dignity. All of us would soon be playing that game too.

Dad got so he was repeating himself all of the time. I don’t mean he told me a story I already heard earlier in the day. I’m talking about he would tell a story and then with barely a pause he would tell the same story again…and again if we would let him. When I say it was the same story I mean all the same words and inflections in his voice.

My Grandfather had done the same thing, but soon he stopped talking at all. I didn’t want that to happen to Dad. He had listened to me say my ABC’s over and over again when I was a child and so I would listen to him tell the story of how he got his job at the dairy every day over and over if I had to. Now I will admit that after about two times thru, I would try to come up with a way to change the subject.

But I am happy to say that my dad never stopped talking. It got harder for him to come up with the words he wanted to say and that was hard, but right up until the end he had things he wanted to tell me, and I’m glad I took the time to listen.

My mother got Alzheimer’s too…at the same time, just a bit behind dad. Her’s progressed differently from dad’s, so some of us wonder if that is really what she had, but that is what the doctors called it. Yes, having two parents with it makes me wonder if the advice I am giving you is really my way of teaching my children what I learned so it will be easier on them when they are taking care of me.

Mom repeated things, but not as much as dad. The problem I had with mom is if I brought up anything outside of the room, she would start to hyperventilate. If I mentioned my brother, she couldn’t bring his face to her mind. She knew she should be able to and it would stress her out. Talking only about things that are within view got boring, so at times I would bring pictures. She would like the pictures, but I had to be careful again to only talk about the picture and not the memories the picture gave me.

Hymns were both mom and dad’s voice. Songs took them to a happy place and made our visits an uplifting experience for all of us. Try to think about what your loved one liked. My mom was a seamstress so once I got her a Bride magazine. We had so much fun looking at all the pretty dresses. Dad loved the outside. Even though they don’t seem like it, in many ways they are the same people they were, you just need to look for it.

Encouraging Quotes

 

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Saying Goodbye/Caretaker Tuesday

My father died four years before my mother. I thought I was ready, He had had a long battle with health problems, on top of his Alzheimer’s.

We knew the end was near, we were holding 24 hour vigils.

My sweet husband was doing his time and he had decided to sing to dad. We have a singing family. We sing all the time, so my husband thought nothing about breaking into song.  At this point dad had not spoken in days, but now he was struggling to say something. Mr. Amazing leaned in closely to listen. Soon he asked dad, do you want me to stop singing? Dad spoke up very clearly and said…YES! lol…yep..that story still makes me giggle every time!.

Dad was in the hospital towards the end because he had fallen and had broken his hip. Now remember, mom had Alzheimer’s too. So even though I had told her that dad was in the hospital, I really saw no reason to take her to see him, until dad asked. Yep, the man that couldn’t remember anything looked at me and said…where’s mom? Mom and dad had been together since they were twelve, and now he wanted her. I had no choice but to go and get her.

I tried to prepare mom, but I knew that she had no idea what was going on. I wheeled her into his room. Neither one of them spoke. They didn’t even look at each other. Mom just sat there looking out the window. Soon she started to sing…I love you Truly…it was the song that was sung at their wedding so many years ago. I am so glad I gave them a chance to say good bye. It may not have been the good bye I imagined, but it couldn’t have been more perfect.

What I really wanted to share with you is this…I knew my father was going to die soon. If you would have asked me, I would have told you that I was ready……but I wasn’t. What no one ever told me was this. When you love someone with Alzheimer’s you lose them slowly. Day by day the person you know and love goes away. You feel sad about those changes, but what I didn’t realize was that I never grieved the loss of my dad. The man I went to when I needed him…the man I admired and loved so much. When dad died I found myself grieving two people…the man I had been caring for over the past few years, and the man that I had lost slowly over time. On top of that, I was grieving my mom and dad. I had always seen them as a unit…my parents. The ones that showed me what love truly looked like even in the midst of Alzheimer’s.

I would dream about dad and it would always be the man in the nursing home, then slowly memories of my daddy came back. Soon I could remember his words of wisdom and soon I had my dad back, in my dreams.

If you know someone about to lose their loved one with Alzheimer’s be patient with them, it may take a bit longer for them to heal.

 

 

 

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Living by Candlelight

I thought I would share with you one of my new favorite things in my house.

I love candles, always have, but the older I get the more I am afraid that I will light one and forget to blow it out. Years ago I changed over to using almost all tea lights. I figure they just burn out, so my danger level was much lower.

My daughter suggested I buy flameless candles. I had never heard of them before. Soon I found that Pottery Barn has them

PB Essential Flameless Wax Pillar Candle Set

They have ones that feel and look a bit more like real candles and then they have others that are suggested for outside use. The outside ones don’t look as real to me but at least they don’t melt in the Florida sun.

I got mine a bit cheaper at Homegoods, but I have now seen that Target carrys them too.

They can come with a timer so that they come on all by themselves and stay on up to five hours. I love sitting in my living room and all of a sudden realizing that my candle is glowing.

candle

I love that they even flicker.

Do you have any flameless candles in your house?

 

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