Friday, December 19, 2014

Weekly Visit:

Chad's Birthday Barbecue:

Dwayne, Connie & Chad
Dwayne, Connie, Chad, Todd, Cash, April & Mike
Mom, Me & Dad
We celebrated Chad's birthday Sunday with a barbecue.  The day was extra special as Mom and Dad were able to come down.  Momma hasn't been able to get in my house for months.  Dwayne and Chad had a ramp for her wheelchair and she's now able to walk some on her own.  Very happy for that.
Todd barbecued and Michael, my nephew, helped set everything out.  Desmon was with Chad and happy to see Mom and Dad there.
My 90 year old Father washing dishes!
After eating, my dad started rinsing off the dishes.  Mom said he was just showing off so we would all brag on him.  I told Dwayne what she said and he said she's probably right.  Which she was, but no matter, how precious it is that your dad is helping clean the kitchen at the age of 90?
We had a nice evening visiting and I'm sorry to say, I accidentally deleted the picture of the family with Desmon in it. 

I am grateful for my son's birthday and the celebration with family.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Chad Anthony:

December 12, 1978
I have so many favorite pictures of Chad. Here is just a few of them.
First day home from the hospital.

People used to tell me I looked too young to have a baby. I would get so mad, thinking I was not young, I was 21 years old!! Now when I look at this picture of me holding Chad on the horse, I think I look around 14 years old. Funny how time changes your perception of how you look or how old you feel.

First Christmas Card:

Picture at Grandma & Grandpa Elrod's and Chad's 1st Birthday:

Chad and Dwayne.

We were so excited at the birth of our first child. Chad was due on December 12th and promptly arrived on his due date. When Chad was born his hair looked platinum instead of blonde, it was a really pretty color. I worked for Dr. Stricker at the time of Chad's birth and he came to see us in the hospital. (Quite a first for Dr. Stricker as he normally didn't remember any of his help's first names) He looked at Chad and said, "Well, Snookims you have the same color of hair as mine". Dr. Stricker had more of a silver color of hair than gray. That was probably one of the longest conversations I've had with Dr. Stricker. I feel honored that he came by to see us.
Chad was an easy baby to care for. He loved being around people and would reach out to most anyone. We joke now that that is still a trait of Chad's, never meets a stranger and is always reaching out to someone. Chad was very obedient. He minded very well and usually just a strong word or a "look" would be all it took to make him behave. Chad has always been a little grownup. We went camping at Moreland's Resort when they boys were small and Chad would go out with Dwayne at midnight to check the trot lines. He was only 3 1/2, we never thought anything about him going. He just always seemed older than his age and we treated him as such. Chad loved helping Dwayne work, anything his Dad was doing, he was right there beside him. That is one think I miss most about us having our own construction business; Chad at a young age running the backhoe, helping Dwayne with any job, big or small.
Chad is a very caring person. He still gives hugs to his grandparents and even today I never see Chad without him giving me a hug. Chad has the biggest heart, anyone in need, he is there to help them. Chad is exceedingly protective of his brother and sister and I am very proud of him for his loyalty to his siblings and family.
It is so hard to believe my first born child is now 36 years old.
Happy Birthday, Chad!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Dear Friend, Carmen:

I lost a precious friend this week.  Carmen and I used to go to Sunday School together.  There is quite an age difference and we hit it off.  Our lives were quite different also.  Carmen's daughters were grown, she had a career, and although as nice as can be, appeared to be prissy.  (Looks can be deceiving, which is why we (I) shouldn't judge by appearance) Wherefore, I was a stay at home Mom, kids not quite grown up yet and though I'm very talkative, shy at meeting people.  We were just good friends.  Sometimes I would stop to visit Carmen if I was making a trip to Jefferson City.
I called her sometime over the summer and told her next time I had an appointment I would stop by.  She said, "Oh, please do".  I stopped last Tuesday.  I was sure in a state of shock.  I didn't know Carmen had had multiple health issues and major surgery since I spoke with her last.  A girl answered the door and I said I was there to see Carmen.  She said she was in the bedroom.  I thought that was odd, so I asked if Carmen was sick.  She said she wasn't.  I thought Carmen was taking a nap and she would tell her I was there.  She said I could go on in the bedroom.  SHOCK!!  Poor Carmen was in a hospital bed and you could tell she had had a stroke.  (Remember those symptoms so well from Grandpa Andy).  I walked over and held her hand.  Her face lit up and she grasped my hand and held it the whole time I was there.  She tried to talk to me but darn it, I couldn't make out what she was saying as hard as I tried.  I'm sure she felt frustrated.  I went ahead and carried on a conversation about April and my new grandbaby, talked about Shelby's wedding, etc.  She had tears in her eyes as I was leaving and held my hand in a tight grasp.  I am SO GLAD I stopped.  There are times we are in a hurry and think, I'll stop another time.  But I had made up my mind that morning I was stopping.  Whenever you get a nudge to visit someone, that nudge is probably from God.  I have found that to be true more than once.  I will miss Carmen, but I'm glad her suffering on Earth has ended.

I am grateful for the chance friendship I developed with Carmen.

Wonderful Weekend:

We went out to eat at Sput's with our friends, Kim and Ramey.  It's nice to get out of the house and see others.  We get in a rut of just staying home and really need to get out more.
I did chores around the house and Dwayne started digging post holes to put in our new yard fence.  Made me a happy person as he started last Spring!!
Mid-afternoon, Dad called to say Mom was really upset over Wayne and he was afraid she was getting sick again for me to come up.  Judy was already there and we tried to console Mom.  As weak as Mom was, she wanted to go to the cemetery.  (It was cold and misting out)  She had never been to the cemetery yet and wanted to go put Christmas flowers on Wayne and Mark's graves.  Troy came up and helped us with safely getting Mom to the van.  When Troy was younger, he spent a lot of time with us.  Every Memorial weekend, we would go around to cemeteries and put flowers on our friends and families graves.  First thing we would do was clean all the weeks off and clean the tombstone.  Troy and I automatically went to the grave to clean off old flowers and straighten things up.  Mom did good while there.  We then went to the Davis Cemetery to put flowers on Mark's grave.  Mom can't walk very far so Dad drove right up through the cemetery to get as close to Mark's grave as possible.  Once again, Mom did well.  I think all the emotions of losing Wayne caught up with her and the crying made her weak.  We all get scared everytime she's weak she'll get pneumonia again.
It was actually a healing day for all of us.
Troy, Judy, Mom and Dad
Saturday night, we went to our friend's, Mike and Susan's for a Christmas party.  Once again, good to get out of the house and catch up with friend's.  I admit I'm a wee bit jealous over Susan's Christmas decorations.  They are beautiful and she adds to them each year.  My excuse is she works from home so she has more time.  lol
Out of the house again!!  Dwayne and I drove to St. Elizabeth.  April and I went shopping at the lake and Grandpa babysat Cash.  We had a great time shopping and eating lunch.  We used to do this all the time.  Although, we love Cash, it was nice to just shop and not juggle getting him in and out of the car seat and shopping carts.  My Christmas shopping is done.  Mike fixed supper of sloppy jos for us.  Watched TV and then headed home.
My weekend wasn't over yet.  I took my last vacation day and wrapped presents.  Took a nap and just enjoyed my day off.

I am grateful for family and friends.  I need to get out and visit more often.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Weekly Visit:

Playing with toy Uncle David got him
Grandma Nonnie and Cash
Dwayne had a cold and didn't go with me to April's.  Cash wasn't too excited when I got there.  I told him Papa didn't come over.  He kept looking around me to the door looking for his beloved Papa.
See how I rate.....   lol
April wanted Christmas pictures taken in front of their Christmas tree.  Cash was having no part of it!
We tried two different times but no luck.  I think Cash might be in the temper tantrum stage.  But then again his ear is still bothering him so he just might not be feeling well.
I remember when I was pregnant with April, a friend told me she hoped I had a girl but girls whine and cry, throw temper tantrums, etc.  I smugly thought, your does but mine won't!!  Oh, how I ate those words!!  I always though a parent could control their child when they had temper tantrums but I sure learned a valuable lesson-some kids just have temper tantrums.   I tried spanking April, sitting her in another room and walking out, holding her tight, speaking sternly to her to stop.  All to no avail.  Thankfully, that phase didn't last too long.
Be careful what you say or think, it just might come back to bite you.
Cash and I still had fun tossing balls back and forth and playing with his toy cell phone.  Can't believe how a grandchild can make you all silly and goofy.  I guess that's me, the silly goofy Nonnie.
He still gives me aws (kisses) and hugs.

I am grateful for a safe journey over to St. Elizabeth and back on dark, misty roads.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My first sister-in-law:

Pat and myself-years ago.......
Pat is my brother, Wayne's first wife.  I was only ten when they got married and I idolized Pat.  Pat and Wayne had just met each other in December and got married I think January 1st of the next year.  Then Wayne was shipped overseas to Vietnam.
Pat would come out to the house often and most times I would go home with her for the weekend.  I have such fond memories of those times.  Pat and her cousin, Patty Mae would let me tag along with them on outings.  I loved Patty Mae and in my ten year old mind, I was going to name a little girl Patty Mae one day.
Pat's Mom, Gladys was such a likeable person.  She worked as a cook at UMR and then would come home and cook up a HUGE meal for whoever happened to be at their house.  They were a big family so there was always visitors.  We used to visit on weekends sometimes and the house would be full with Pat's sisters, Joyce and Judy's families.  They both lived in St. Louis and came home for the weekend.  Now I can see all the work Gladys did with cooking so much.  I don't think I have the stamina for all that.
Our first meal at their house, we ate in the dining room with the table set all formal.  I loved it!!  I hadn't been to a house with a dining room and it made quite an impact.  Their house was a huge rock house built by slaves in the 1800's.  The rooms were huge and truly was in the plantation style.
Now, back to Pat.  She has the same big heart as her Momma.  Her house is always open to any family member and she cooks for all of them, too.  The thing about Pat is she can't use her right arm.  She had polio as a baby and it affected her right side.  The arm and leg on the right weren't quite as large as the left side.  She never let it affect her.  She could empty gravy out of a heavy iron skillet easier than I can with two hands.  Gladys said after Pat had polio she made up her mind that Pat would have to become independent and I guess as we would say today, tough love.  Her family would get mad at Gladys as she wouldn't pick Pat up every time she wanted.  She said, no, Pat needs to learn to walk and do things on her own.  I don't think Pat would be where she was today if not for the love and guidance of her Mom.  People that don't know Pat had Polio wouldn't really notice.  But as Pat has gotten older, she limps more and I really think her arm bothers her but she would never let on.
Wayne and Pat divorced in the late seventies.  I was crushed!!  Pat and I (and Wayne) have always remained good friends.  Pat's son, Tim calls me Mom and Mom and Dad have always treated Tim as their grandchild.  They are Grandma and Grandpa to Tim.  Actually, Tim went to see Mom more in the hospital than my own sons did.
Wayne married my present sister-in-law, Bobbie in 2003.  As you all know, my brother, Wayne passed away in July due to a drowning.  Bobbie has diabetes really bad and cannot drive.  She stayed a couple months with my sister, Katie and they rode to work together.  Bobbie is getting a trailer but it's not available until April.  (Their house was very primitive and no running water).  Bobbie then went to live with guess who?  Wayne's first wife, Pat!!  Now that proves what a big heart Pat has.
I love my sister-in-law, Bobbie.  She says I'm her sister from another Mother.  We have a great relationship.  I think my first sister-in-law was like a first love.  Special and always holds a part of your heart.  It didn't hurt that she spoiled me, too!!  lol

I am so grateful for both of Wayne's wives and the joy they've brought to our family.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Profile Update:

My Photo
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I love to read!! My family jokes that if I don't have anything to read I'll read a phone book. And they are right! Family, I would love to have grandkids but I guess that is not in the cards for me right now. I do enjoy my great nieces and nephews. We usually have a couple extra kids visiting every week. I do have "grandkids on loan" from friends Kenny and Shelley Allen. They're Blake and his little brother Nathan, we love having them over!
I think it's time I update my profile.  We FINALLY got a grandchild and not to brag or anything, he's the greatest!!  lol  We still have our not so little anymore "grandkids on loan" we see from time to time.  Blake is the oldest and him and I enjoyed watching Handy Mandy every morning before I left for work.  Nathan, what can I say about Nathan except he is the cutest little thing and quite a character.  They call me Nona and Shelley had a couple shirts made that says Someone Special calls me Nona.
We have also added Desmon to our life.  Chad took him in when his Mom (not Chad's girlfriend, just a neighbor) wasn't able to take care of him.  Desmon told me I'm his almost Grandma.  We refer to him as our grandson.  I am happy to say, his Mom is doing better and now has Desmon.  He's had a lot of adjustments in his short life but he's doing well.  Chad still gets him most weekends and he's always with us on holidays.
Life has a way with twists and turns throughout the years.  We finally got a grandson, Cash. Hopefully when I update in a few years we will have daughter-in-laws and more grandchildren.
I lost my brother, Wayne over the summer due to a drowning. (the sight of seeing my brother on the pond bank was almost too much to endure, but with Shelley being there with me and telling me to take deep breaths and letting me touch Wayne was so helpful.  Thank you, Shelley.)  And then almost losing my Mom the day of Wayne's funeral.  But we've endured and God gave us the strength to get through.  Mom's health is still precarious and Dad takes good care of her.
We've had our joys and our sorrows but overall great years since I started this blog in 2008.

Elrod Thanksgiving:

Elrod Thanksgiving
Loved playing in the leaves.
Cash and Braxton
Eating outside on the 30th of November.
Snow and sleet the next day.

I am grateful for the Elrod family and the love they've shown me through the years.

(Really missed Andy and Dodie this year.  I try to recreate some of the dishes she made every Thanksgiving.  Only Trevor and I ate the cranberry salad but it's a tradition so I make it each year)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving at Mom and Dad's:

Wednesday evening I made a not so smart trip to Wal-Mart.  I hadn't had time to pick up groceries for dishes to take to Mom's and also the whole Thanksgiving feast for Elrod Thanksgiving on Sunday.  The store wasn't quite as crowded as I thought it would be, but the food aisles were full of people trying to find what they needed.  I made several trips from the front to the back for items I missed.  I could have just skipped the morning treadmill routine.  (Doesn't seem to help anyway-I keep gaining more weight!!  But it keeps my heart healthier).

Dwayne made his customary sweet potatoes to take to Mom's.  I made a couple dishes and away we went.  I wanted to get there early enough to help with everything.  Fortunately, (for me anyway) Kate and Judy had gotten there even earlier and had most everything done.  Mom makes the best stuffing.  Kate helped her get it ready.  Mom has to feel she is contributing to the dinner that she has always loved doing in the past.  I feel bad for her as some of her dependence is slipping away.  Dad takes excellent care of Mom, but he loves to brag on himself for what he does.  He does go way and beyond what I ever thought he was capable of doing.  Then Mom complains about the way he does something, hurts his feelings and they start arguing.  I hate that, but I understand where Mom is coming from.  For years she has done everything in the house and there was no praise, it was just something mom's did.  Now as we all make over Dad doing these things, in Mom's mind, it diminishes her doing the same things throughout her lifetime.  It makes her feel even more dependent on others and I think her lashing out is just due to her frustration.  It's a fine line in making Mom feel better-as she has been sick so much this year and to lose her oldest child to making Dad feel special for all he does.  People ask what we're going to do since Mom keeps getting worse.  Ride it out and   Mom and Dad are perfectly able to make decisions for themselves we're just riding it out and try to help out as much as possible.  A rough time, but we're making it.
Dwayne is always the turkey carver and this year he also washed the dishes while we all visited.   Dwayne didn't use to help as I was a stay at  home Mom and I thought I was suppose to do everything-and I did.  Since I've been sick, Dwayne has slowly started helping out to where now he helps tremendously!!  I appreciate his help so much but sometimes I feel a little guilty as I used to do it all.  Life takes a lot of twists and turns.
As for Thanksgiving, we had a lot to be thankful for.  It was a beautiful day.  The kids ran and played outside.  We were all there (minus Wayne, our first holiday without him) and all the grandkids but two were there.  Chad brought Desmon.  As soon as he came in the house, he went straight to Mom to give her a hug and then on to Dad.  We feel Desmon is a part of the family and I know he feels it, too.  Desmon came home with me and Dwayne for the afternoon.  While watching TV, he laid his head on my shoulder.  He's had a lot to deal with in his young life and I'm glad we're able to give him a sense of family and traditions.  He's a special little boy.
Cash wasn't in the best of mood.  Poor little guy had an ear infection which we later learned was a bursted eardrum.  I've had that happen before and it hurts like heck.  He still had smiles for everyone.

I am so grateful to have family and especially my parents to share a wonderful day of Thanksgiving.
We lost our dear Wayne this year but we've also had joys.  My great niece, Kara, had a little girl in October, Kennedy Reece.  Our family shares our sorrows and our triumphs.  This has been a trying year, yet we're so grateful for what we do have.