Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Storms, Gardening, Dogs, Texas....Oh My!

I've been very quiet around here because we've been so busy.  I honestly will sit down to post and think  of all the things I should be doing so those moments just don't seem right to jot anything down here.  So here goes a little update on the last week or so....

Storms....we had a big one with straight line winds that caused almost 1/2 million power outages and lots of water damage.  My brother suffered a major flood in his apartment and is waiting for his carpet to be replaced.  We spent the good part of Saturday helping him with laundry, food, and emotional support.  This is not my picture, but we had several uprooted trees in the area as a result of the storm.

Gardening.....I've been thinning out my front beds.  My evergreen bushes were severely overgrown so I wasn't sure how to deal with them.  I found a site that was quite encouraging in just whacking them down to the stumps and starting over.  I think it looks great now, and I have room enough to possibly add two more flowering bushes to add color to that area.  Here's what's blooming in the yard....

The little path is now visible.  The arc of bushes on the right was completely overgrown to the sidewalk
and right over the path.  Now you can see the banners better!

Dogs....We are probably getting another dog.  Whatever happened to our last dog?  Well, he only stayed with us for a month.  I think I may have forgotten to update you all on that.  It just didn't work out because he became too aggressive with Lucas.  He had some background issues that we were not aware of, but that's the chance you take with a rescue.  So here we are looking for a dog again.  Maria is the driving force behind that.  She's been saving her money, taking small jobs, and researching dog breeds.  She also started taking conformation classes at Animal Inn in Lake Elmo to learn how to handle and show dogs for competition.  She's using a retired show dog, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and loves it!

I took Maria, Lucas, and Molly to the Anoka County Dog Show in Cambridge last Friday to see the different breeds.  It was a lot of fun to watch the shows, the kids, and the dogs.  We spent most of the day out there talking to breeders, owners, and looking for a dog.

One of Maria's favorite breeds, West Highland White Terrier, getting ready to get in the ring.
One of the little gals (green dress) from the Jr. Show Training class in the ring with a Corgi.  She won in her group!

Texas....I'm headed to Texas again this Saturday.  Paul and I are driving down with Nick and Jane to visit Grandma and help her out with a few things.  I love road trips so this one should be good!  The other 5 kids are super excited to spend a week with this lovely family.  They will be house guests and, hopefully, big helpers to the mother!  It will probably be a 4th of July they will not likely forget.

Here's a gratuitous pic of Jane....

Have a Happy 4th!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day: Remembrance

Mass was very hard today.  I was totally blind-sided even though I read about holiday and anniversary grief in these books...


They have been excellent books for me, and I highly recommend them.  They really take the scare out of the inevitable and help to shed light on the beauty that can be enjoyed with a loved one.  I enjoyed the last moments of my dad's life with my mom and siblings, and I will be forever grateful for that.  One of my awesome and smart sisters summarized what we experienced in an email she sent to me:
I had prayed a lot over the last 2 years for God's mercy and blessings for his suffering. His passing after Pentecost brought a lot to my mind and maybe it's because of the classes that he was so gracious to guide me through and that I was so privileged to facilitate; but, it reminded me of Christ and his apostles and how he sat, ate, drank and broke bread with them and told them I will not remain with you physically but I will never leave you. Dad, too, asked us repeatedly " have you not heeded what I have taught you" - and yet he taught us longer than just three years.
What Dad gave us was the his last greatest gift and that is, we lived as true apostles because I truly saw Christ present in him more so than I ever had because our hearts were opened and our eyes truly saw. Our faith, our love, everything was present. Dad poured out every fruit of the Holy Spirit - wisdom, counsel, understanding, knowledge, piety, fortitude and fear of the Lord and from those gifts, I saw every fruit present in all of us as we stood together as family.
Isn't that amazing?  We were so truly blessed.  We are not fatherless.  We still have a father that is of more use to us now than he ever was.  He can pray for and love us eternally.  I talk to him throughout the day and ask him for help with little things around the house.  I know he intercedes for me.  I see him in Paul because they were/are both such dedicated fathers.  The last time Paul saw my dad in April, Dad hugged him and told Paul he is a great son-in-law.  He thanked Paul for taking us to Texas and letting him see his grandkids and me one last time.  It was so special!

I found some photo negatives before I left again in May.  I had them burned onto a CD so I could do something with the photos.  I think I'll make a TX Grandpa book for the kids.  Here are my favorites....

Mom and Dad at our wedding in 1998.  We were married at U of D
and had the reception at ARA.

Monica and TX Grandpa at Joe's Coffee Shop in Irving.
We were there for Auntie Nora's graduation from Univ. of Dallas!
Grandpa was helping Monica with her eggs.  Very sweet.

Dad, Paul, and Molly at Taylor's Falls almost 9 years ago.  Mom & Dad came
up for Lucas's baptism.
I didn't want Paul's Father's Day to be so clouded in grief and crying so I did make him a nice salmon and pasta salad for lunch complete with fresh strawberries, artisan bread, and Mexican sweet bread.  He loved it!  He also graciously agreed to pitch a tent for the kids in the backyard since he will likely not get around to building them a treehouse anytime soon.

Love the boots on the shoe mat!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Very Late P,H,F,R Post: Finding Contentment

I finally downloaded my pictures that I forced myself to take over the last week so I'm linking up with Leila and her girls.

Pretty is all the flowers that have been blooming around our yard and that we planted....

I was very happy Sunday to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi.  Paul was invited to carry the canopy  for the procession, and the First Communicants were invited to walk behind the Knights of Columbus.  The weather was coolish, but sunny!

I was also very proud of Monica and happy with her violin recital last evening.  She did a great job!

I love the way she did her hair.  I think it's so cute!

Funny is how Nick wears Band-Aids most days because he STILL sucks his two middle fingers and scratches his cheeks with his nails.  Frustrating!  But it is funny to watch him sport those Band-Aids!

Real is a blueberry Bundt cake that I made for the piano recitals today.  The kids wanted something other than cookies, and Molly was desperate for blueberry anything.  I also have bird feeders out front and hummingbirds really do come to drink from the red one!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

One of Those Days

It's been one of those sun, lots of clouds, rain is holding off at intervals, and the tears are right there ready to burst if you look at me or talk to me just the right way.

These days have been both good and bad.  Some days are better than others.  I'm so tired most of the time.  I have energy for doing minimal things, but then I feel wiped out after the fact.  I actually went to my parish this afternoon to talk to our Family Life Coordinator who heads up a Grief Counseling Session a couple times a month.  She told me to come even though we might be the only ones there.  I was happy to have her to talk to.

I wonder sometimes what to talk about.  I'm getting tired of recounting all the events from May 8-23.  I'm getting tired of telling people my dad was on dialysis for 2 years and was sick before that.  I'm getting tired of telling people how amazingly beautiful the funeral was and what a beautiful, holy death I witnessed with my brother, sisters, and mom.

I think I'm just overly tired....period.

I think I'm also tired because I actually get tired of talking.  I like typing.  I like blogging because I can let my thoughts roll right out of my head, and I don't have to say them.  Problem is no one is listening.  There are a few brave souls who have faithfully followed me away from Google Reader and are continuing to check up on me here.  Others will never see me again or never know I exist.  Some people will never know all the pain I'm going through right now nor how amazing my dad was.

I think that's what hurts the most.  I actually blame myself some days.  This is why I should've followed more bloggers, built a better online presence, expanded my network, and commented more frequently.  If I would have done those things, I wouldn't feel so alone now.

Please don't be hurt by what I'm saying here.  I'm just grieving because my dad is gone.  He's really gone.

I just read something on Dwija's blog about her little baby in utero that is fighting to stay alive.  You should go read that and pray and sacrifice for her and her little one.  But it made me so sad because Dwija is so honest.  Maybe that's where I lack.  I lack the courage to be as real as others can be.  Here's what she wrote....

Do I sound calm?  When you're reading this, how do you picture me?  Do you picture me sobbing with tears running down both cheeks, barely able to see the words on the screen through the mess I'm making all over my face?  If so, then good.  Because I am not calm.  I am a wreck.

And if copying and pasting her words from her post seems like a grief/blog jacking, well so be it.  I'm going to offer my pain and sadness for her little baby because I don't know where else to send all this hurt in the great economy of salvation.
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