Thursday, May 30, 2013

Saying Good Bye to Grandma Marci

On Monday night at around 9:15, my mom called to tell me Grandma Marci had fallen in her apartment. When they got to UNMC, they found out that she had fallen because she was having a heart attack. She had like a 90+% blockage and was not expected to make it through the night.
I rushed into the hospital to see her. When I arrived in her room on the 7th floor, Grandma told me, "I had a bad day," and continued to mutter something about seeing a picture of the kids today and her face lit up. She spent that first part of Monday night into Tuesday morning in pain. Grandma no longer wanted to fight and asked for no treatment for her heart. She was given Morphine twice, which made her sick. I asked if she had an Ativan order (for anxiety) because she was so anxious due to the overwhelming pain, "I don't know what I'm going to do." I was so sad to watch. Grandma had taken Ativan in the past without the side effect of getting nauseated. Once she received it, she calmed and was asleep. I went home at 1:30 AM leaving my Mom and Aunt Marsha with Grandma. I had worked Sunday night and slept maybe 4 hours Monday, so I was a wreck.
By Tuesday morning, I called my Mom and Grandma was still asleep and had not work up since I left. The kids and I kept busy in the morning and then went to visit Grandma around noon. I was not sure the rules on if the kids could see her or even if I should allow them to see her in such a state. So, they waited in the waiting room with Marsha. My mom had left to go take a nap at Grandma's apartment. We left at 1:30.
By 2:30, Grandma was gone. We drove back to the hospital to be with my family.
My Grandma will be laid to eternal rest in Shelby, Iowa on Friday morning. I wrote a eulogy for my Grandma with input from my family, too. I am not sure how I will ever get through it, but I am going to try. I miss my Grandma Marci, but she will forever be in my heart.

My Eulogy to Grandma Marci

I am Krista Austin, the daughter of Bette and Derald, and the youngest of Grandma Marci’s grandchildren. It has not been easy to put together something to say about Grandma, as I can never do justice for all the things she accomplished during her 100 years. We are all grieving for a very special lady, mother, grandmother, and friend.
There are so many things I will remember about Grandma Marci. Grandma always knew she was one of a kind. Growing up, she was Grandma Jones to me. As time passed, she became Marcella Jones. She even called me once and said this is Marcella Jones. I was like, Grandma, you are just Grandma to me! More recently, she went by Marci Jones. She was always a bit of a princess.
Grandma always had an amazing sense of style and kept up with the latest fashion trends. I recall on several occasions she would arrive in her leather pants and a zebra or leopard print blouse. She dressed like she was 20, okay, maybe 30 tops. Grandma never saw herself as old, and we loved that about her. She always accessorized with many bracelets, necklaces and earrings. I remember waiting in her bedroom on Happy Hollow while she primped. She had all of these mirrors, fancy make up, and always had her nails done. Oh, and her hair. As a beautician, she knew just how she liked her hair. Though, I’m not sure she ever found anyone to style her hair just so for her. She was always so glam. Her friend Marilyn Manning made an unexpected visit to Grandma and found Grandma dressed to the nines. Grandma said she always dressed like that now. Why save clothes in the closet when you are 100, right? Grandma was an inspiration for aging in style and grace.
Grandma was always photo ready. If you get a chance, check out some of the pictures we turned up of Grandma. She would get her lip stick on and be ready with her beautiful smile. She always looked radiant!
Every family member would probably say they remember Grandma’s noodles. As my cousin Dave would say, “If you don’t know what I’m talking about that’s your loss.” But, I think Dave has the recipe.
Grandma always had our backs. Dave recalls when he and Wade were 5 or 7 years old, they refused to eat their vegetables at dinner. Somehow they talked Marsha into calling Grandma who convinced Marsha to just let the boys skip their vegetables for one night. What a grandma!
On one of Grandma and Grandpa George’s last trips to the lake, Grandma told us how she came to a bridge and was about to meet a truck. She was certain she was going to hit either the bridge or the truck, so she closed her eyes! Wow, I’m glad she did not give me driving lessons! We are lucky, her, the truck and the bridge all came out unharmed. Grandma renewed her driver’s license when she was 93 and it was good for 5 more years. She stopped driving when she was maybe 95. My Dad was the only one that ever told Grandma how nice her Cadillac was. So, on her 98th Birthday, she gifted my Dad her car. What an amazing gift that he continues to drive and remember Grandma, although he took the spinner off of the steering wheel. My Dad gave her a bad time after that telling her he had high expectations for the gifts he would get from her on her future birthdays. Grandma had planned on painting my Dad a picture of the airplane he had built. In the ER on Monday night, Grandma told my Dad how sorry she was that she was not going to be able to paint a picture of his airplane for him.
Speaking of birthdays, we helped Grandma turn 100 years old last July by taking her out to eat. As the waiter chatted with us, amazed that she was 100 years old, he asked her what her secret was. Grandma said something like, “Just clean living.” Yeah, clean living and a little Vodka. I guess Grandma had her fun in her day, too! Oh, and she then flirted with the waiter.
Grandma always had a green thumb. She had a backyard full of flowers in Happy Hollow, flowers all around their home at the Lake, and her apartment now is filled with over 67 plants that she continued to tend to! She was in fabulous health, too, only having one surgery her entire life and that was to have knee replacement. That is amazing! In more recent years, she really watched what she ate, trying to eat healthy taking a liking to walnuts, blueberries and pineapple. Now I know where I get my healthy eating habits from.
As many of you know, Grandma was very strong willed. She had to do things her way. Live her life her way, where she wanted to live it, and how she wanted to live it. Grandma was sharp as a tack and remembered about everything other than if she took her pills. She lived independently with the help of 2 loyal helpers, Rose Brown and Judy Cortess, and my mom and Marsha. There were many times that my Mom questioned her on her ability to live alone, but Grandma would not have it any other way. I believe she willed herself to pull through sickness, aches and pains, so that she could continue to live in her apartment overlooking Omaha’s beautiful city skyline.
As Wade and Allison and then Chris and I started having kids giving Grandma Great Grandkids, grandma was thrilled being surrounded by all her great grandkids. She loved watching the kids open presents, show her things, and run around making noise. The smile of her face was priceless. On Easter, Grandma rode the golf cart so she could watch the kids collect the Easter eggs. My son Asher and I would visit her in her apartment. She could hear Asher’s voice but could no longer hear the pitch of my voice, so Asher interpreted. During our April visit, Asher brought her flowers. She started to cry and gave him a big hug. She then told me to make sure that her Great Grandchildren know how much she loves them when she is gone. She always gave Asher a little something she had around her apartment when we left. Last time she gave Asher a birdhouse. He was so excited…we made her day and she made ours. When I saw her on Monday night, she told me that she had a bad day. And then her face lit up, despite her pain, as she said she saw a picture of the kids earlier in the day. She loved us all so much. I feel so lucky to have been able share my wonderful Grandma with my kids.
I never thought about not having my Grandma. I mean, I have only known my life with her in it. She was 100, so why couldn’t she live to 110? She was such a smart woman, trading stocks until the last few years, learning to draw and paint, and always looking for and enjoying the positive things in life.
In Grandma Marci’s 100 years, she was a wife, mother, friend, beautician, artist, interior designer, Grandmother, and so much more to all of us. We all have so many wonderful memories of Grandma Marci, memories that we will forever keep in our hearts and minds.
I will end with a poem I found titled, “God Saw You Getting Tired.”
God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be so he put his arms around you and whispered, "Come to Me"
With tearful eyes we watched you and saw you pass away and although we love you dearly we could not make you stay.
A Golden heart stopped beating hard working hands at rest. God broke our hearts to prove to us He only takes the best

Grandma, we love and miss you!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Mother's Day is just another day in our house, with a couple exceptions.

First, I woke up to flowers on the kitchen counter. They were beautiful and my favorite, from Trader Joe's.  Chris and the kids also gave me a hand print framed piece that I love and a ring to replace my wedding ring I can not wear. Unfortunately, the ring had to go back since it only came in whole sizes and I wear a 5 1/2. Boo.

We also went and visited Chris' mom and Grandma, and my mom, grandma and aunt. They kids thought it was so fun to see so many grandmas in one day!

To top off the day, I worked. Ugh.

Happy belated Mother's Day!

Alivia's First 5K run with GOTR

Alivia has now completed her first 5K run with Girls on the Run Nebraska! The day before Mother's Day, she ran in Lincoln for the sunny 1pm start time. It was chilly leading up to the race, but it was nearly perfect running weather once we got going. Yes, we, because I ran along side Alivia and her friend Katy.

Girls on the Run is an organization that teaches girls about issues such as anti bullying, good nutrition and the importance of exercise. Alivia really got a lot out of the program and looks forward to doing it again next year.

The event itself was fun. Many of the teams dressed in fun tutus (but can you imagine running in them?!), balloons in their hair, and fun designed Girls on the Run t-shirts. It was a fun event.

The start was staggered, but that did not seem to help much. There was maybe a 2 sidewalk width for over 2000 participants to run along. And, considering these are girls 3rd through 6th grade, they did not know enough to move to the side when walking, to no just stop right in front of someone in the middle of the street, or to perhaps not hold hands while walking (or running) 6 kiddos deep blocking the entire path. Maybe you can sense my frustrations. Alivia, Katy and I found our way around the crowds and still finished until 30 minutes! Quite impressive for a couple of 8 year olds!

Now, Alivia wants to run another 5k, so she is continuing to run. Yeah for Alivia! She did an awesome job, and I am just glad she picked up one of my better habits. :)

Annual Garden Walk

A couple weeks ago, Asher and I decided to visit the Omaha Botanical Gardens. It is usually so pretty this time of year. And, they had a fun lego exhibit that I knew Asher would love.

At least I was right on one part.

Asher loved the indoor lego exhibit. They had a lawnmower, a flying bee, buffalo and more...all made out of legos! It was amazing. They had a fun little area for Asher to build with Lego's too, which he enjoyed doing for a long while.

Now, the gardens were not all that pretty. The place was honestly a total mess. I believe they said parts of the garden were closed for the sewer separation project, but don't quote me as I am not sure that was entirely the reason. Over half of the gardens, including the outdoor train exhibit, were closed! I could not see any reason why the trains had to be closed, too. I thought they entry should be cut in half considering over half of it was closed. Just saying. We were both quite disappointed.

I guess we will have to wait and see the gardens in their pretty state next year.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Asher's Last Day of Preschool

I seems like yesterday, Asher started his first day of Preschool at Sacred Heart in Papillion. He did so well adjusting to preschool life, making new friends, learning a lot, and enjoying school. I adjusted, too, in due time. Being home alone for just a few hours a few times a week was a big adjustment. The time goes fast, but I have missed having Asher at home with me.

Fast forward to today, his last day of preschool. It was still hard for me to give him that hug as he walked into preschool the last time. I snapped pictures with his wonderful teachers as they reminded me how all the kids have grown up over the preschool year. They came in little 4 year olds, with little chubby cheeks and hesitant of school. Now they have all grown up a bit and are ready for Kindergarten.

And with that, I had to go, tears flowing down my cheeks.

It is sad to see Asher move on to Kindergarten. We have had 2 years of just the 2 of us at home, bonding, playing, going places, etc. I will miss him when he goes to school. Sniff, Sniff.

Congratulations Asher for achieving one more milestone! I love you!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Visit to Grandmas

To celebrate May Day, Asher and I stopped by Trader Joe's for some flowers and made a visit to Grandma Marci. Grandma looked all dolled up for our visit. She was so happy to see us, especially Asher. She looked good for her nearly 101 years of age, but reported to me that she has not felt well. She has skin cancer on her chest and arms that they are just treating with topical creams, and she has some sort of nerve thing that causes her body to jump and spasm without warning (probably due to age). Some days are better than others.
Asher was such a sweet little boy, giving Grandma the flowers and a big hug before quietly eating his lunch. Asher helped Grandma and I communicate as Grandma can not hear the pitch of my voice at all, but it appeared she could hear Asher better.
As we said good-bye, Grandma gave Asher a birdhouse and a plague that she wanted him to have (kinda funny) and told me to make sure Asher and the kids know how much Grandma loves them and loved them when she is gone. So sad to have to think like that.

The visit made me think how lucky I am to be able to share my Grandma with my kids. We need to visit more often.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Living on the Edge

I have lost all motivation, to work, to sing (oh Thank God, right?!), to play, and to blog. I will try and do better.

Since our nice President (complete sarcasm) took his first oath of office, we have been living on the edge. Chris works as a government contractor. He has been through several lay offs and survived so far. His office space is now practically empty. He shares one big office, once held by a manger, with one other guy. His original boss and original co-workers from way back when he started (this has been Chris' only job since college!) were cut this last week. It is ugly there.
Meanwhile, Chris was working on the Florida task with a Pennsylvania management team. His management, women, were evil, back stabbing, lazy, witches. Really, you should see how they "talk" to him via email. Long story short, the one manager was railroading him, more or less forcing Chris into saying, "I QUIT!" She was putting short time lines on difficult tasks, making Chris work through the weekend and long nights to complete, would tell him to do one thing and then once he did it ask him why he did it, etc, etc. She went crazy emailing him straight for 3 hours last Friday to the point where Chris took it to the National Contract Manager who happens to be local (Chris' 2 managers are not local). This manager was shocked by the BS that Chris was contending with, dropped Chris from the Florida contract, and put him on another one starting this upcoming Monday.
This last Monday, we thought Chris would surely be cut sooner than later as he would be their first choice considering how his manager was treating him. They lead him to believe, he would be cut this week, during a meeting that was to happen on Thursday. We were scrambling, trying to decide what we would do if and when unemployment hit us. They sometimes give 2 weeks, but many times they just cut the people and walk them out. His company is evil in how they treat their employees. Now, Chris can breathe, but this is short term. Yet, he remains on the short list to be cut.
We are both scrambling to see who can get the best new job first. I'm beginning to think I have a spelling error on my resume as I do not hear back from anyone. There goes working part time while I stay at home so there would not be a hole on my resume. I thought that would help!
In the meantime, I am continuing to work every other weekend, but I have bumped up my hours to Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is a major adjustment as I went from Friday through Monday at 9:30pm with 8 hours of sleep. I was exhausted and an emotional mess by the end.

I'm actually hoping one of us will find a new job by the end of summer. Chris is applying to jobs in all over, not just here in Nebraska. He has been applying here for months without any reporting back. So, time to up the ante. In the meantime, we will continue to wonder where we will be living tomorrow, if we will be employed, can we take a vacation? Will we move (that is a never ending question)? Should we just sell our home now since it appears to be inevitable? Really, we are living day to day waiting for the next fireball to be thrown at us by Chris' company.

Living life on the edge has been fun (sarcasm), but we are really to live with a little more certainty and a little more boredom. Does that exist?

April in Review

I'm so behind! Finally getting around to April's pictures. We helped celebrate Chris' birthday, watched Asher play cold soccer and swim at the warm indoor pool. We did make it to the park a couple times even through this crazy cold spring weather!

April Pictures