Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Gloom and Doom visit - or Comfort Care (you pick)

A few days ago, Tim asked me to be a guest writer on his blog, and so, after a visit with hospice and a social worker who assessed Tim's condition (terminal cancer), I bloged from his computer...

Sunday, December 23, 2007 6:35 PM CST

Hi everyone...this is Erin (Brockway) Collins writing for Tim and Beth today.

I was asked to come to the Fadel's home this afternoon while a social worker and hospice nurse visited and gave information regarding Hospice care. I took notes and so I thought I'd share them with everyone.

The first thing we all think when you hear the word "hospice" is death...unless you're a hospice nurse or someone who has dealt closely with the hospice system. But, who are we kidding? Death is the yucky connotation associated with it.

Well, they consider themselves "comfort care." A nurse visits 1-2 x weekly to give an assessment and distributed the needed medications. A nurse is also available 24 hours a day via telephone if there are questions or if an emergency arises.

The hospice 'team' is as follows: Social Worker for counseling needs for the family and patient, Chaplain, 2 doctors on call for home visits, and physical therapist for music therapy and massage (which is the only person that Tim and Beth feel excited about visiting the house), and someone to sit in and stay with the patient if the spouse needs to run errands or if she needs light housework done.

When is the best time to start hospice? Well, in Tim's case, it's odd, because he looks so good. (He loves that, by the way.) As you know from the previous entries, He had the episode of coughing up blood and someone telling him that he could die any a doctor laughing at that negative diagnosis and deciding to start an agressive round of radiation which should shrink the areas of concern; the tumors that bled during the coughing episode.

After Christmas, he begins radiation, 10 - 15 treatments in a row, minus weekends and holidays. This will give him a better quality of life. That's the focus right now.

As I sit here typing, Tim is banging out praise music on the keyboard with random drumbeats in the background. He's flipping pages and making a very long medley out of it. Singing. Not coughing. Not laboring. As the social worker and hospice nurse said today, he doesn't physically look like someone in need of immidiate care. He looks healthy.

However, they recommend coming in earlier rather than later, so the team can get to know the patient and family well. Most people hire hospice when the patient cannot express their needs. The minimum requirement of hospice, if Tim and Beth decide to go that route after the new year, is a nurse visit every 14 days. Tim and Beth would be in charge of everything. Meaning, a hospital gurney and IV pole would not be wheeled in on day one unless that is something they wanted. The decision for hospice care after the new year is not set in's a decision that Tim and Beth need time to prayfully think about.

None of us want a number hung over our estimation of the time we have left on earth. It constricts our hope. Last week it was "any day now," and another doctor proposed "1 - 2 years." Well, Tim could get hit by a car and be dead tomorrow. Any one of us could be.

We had a lot of information thrown our way today and are still reeling from it. Could it be true that someone thinks hospice is necessary right now? Is he dying? From what I am dealing with at this moment...the noise level very loud and Tim singing even louder than the keyboard he's pounding, he is very much alive!

The focus is family and the holidays and the kids and praising God for the ways He has intervened. Let's look toward praying and being specific in the ways we can help Tim and Beth. Merry Christmas everyone!

Thanks for reading...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fresh Faith

We had a neat service at church today. By church, I'm referring to Fresh Faith in Portland. I usually only attend when my daddy is preaching there, and then try to attend New Heights in Vancouver with Chris on the off weeks. This week, however, Jeffy (my brother) and Andy, (my second cousin/adopted brother) read scripture before the congregation and lit candles for advent. Then, Andy played Jingle Bells on his Cello and I didn't want to miss that.

Sadly, two days ago, a member of Fresh Faith, Felix, passed away. He was about 80 years old and had been on dialysis and had just undergone an operation to remove a baseball-sized tumor. He didn't last through recovery. But as Peter announced, he has received his reward.

Everyone made sure to hug John, Felix's son, and his wife Jody...and Felix also has 2granddaughters who attend Fresh Faith. We hugged and cried and came alongside each other for comfort. Felix was loved by everyone. He was a sweet old man who sometimes fell asleep during the sermon while leaning forward on his cane. He had a wry sense of humor and a big heart.

Fresh Faith is a small church of about 40. Offerings barely support our senior pastor, Peter Warner, who has been my mentor since I was 13 years old. (He officiated out wedding in 1998.) Every couple months or so, a new face appears and we grow in size a bit, but mainly, it's just our tight knit group. This is especially wonderful when someone passes, or if there is a tragedy in someones life. We love each other and we cry together and it's just what we do.

2 years ago, when Laurie began chemo, Fresh Faith put a basket at the front of the church for people to fill with food, toiletries and even gift cards for Laurie and her kids while she was out of work. Laurie didn't attend the church and only my parents, who attended, knew her. They didn't care. There was a need.

When our friend Amy Brown was ill with colorectal cancer, she visited Fresh Faith, where Peter and my Dad, along with others, laid hands on her, anointing her with oil as the Bible teaches and prayed over her with the congregation. No one knew her, they just felt the need and acted upon it.

All of this to say, I love this group of people and today was another reminder of how wonderful it is to gather with people who have a love for God. We might not have the numbers or the income, but we definitely have shown that we can be Christ's hands and feet to others. For this, I am so thankful.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Santa Baby

In an attempts to keep the Santa Claus dream alive for my daughter this year, I have purchased a roll of shiny gold wrapping paper, green shiny bows and green and gold foil tags that resemble nothing that I currently have in my gift wrapping station. So, the 5 gifts and the stocking gifts that appear on Christmas morning will be wrapped in gold and will obviously be from Santa. Like it or what?

Then, as I did last year, when she leaves a note for Santa with the cookies and carrots, (for the reindeer of course), the return letter has to be in Santa's writing. I write it on special paper that's decorated with swirls and glitter, and my (his) handwriting is curly...when she got his letter last year, she said, "I KNOW it's from Santa because of the fancy writing!"

With her cousins and school kids talking about him not being real, I just want to stretch it out a bit longer. When she questions it, I say, "Well, you believe in Santa. It's too bad some kids don't." And that satisfies her for now.

I like the magic of it all. It takes me back to when I was a little kid and truly believed. Of course my parents, (my dad being a Baptist preacher my whole childhood), mostly focused on Jesus and that because of Him, we celebrate Christmas -and we do that also, so don't get up on me for being a Santa freak.

I just want to keep the vicious lies alive in my daughter's heart as long as I can. ;)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree...Quiz


For you, the holidays represent a time of calm, understanding, and peace.
You avoid family fights, and you don't get too stressed out - even when things are crazy!

You like to make Christmas about making everyone's life a little bit better.
You don't get caught up in greed or commercialism. You're too sincere for that.

Your blue tree would look great with: Lots of silver tinsel

You should spend Christmas Eve watching: It's a Wonderful Life

What you should bake for Santa: Chocolate chip cookies

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I caught a bad cold...wicked bad, in Laurie's words...because she had it, then Chris had it (and is nearing the end of it) and now I have it.

I didn't sleep hardly at all last night between sneezing, coughing and going pee constantly (baby) but had promised Flannery that we'd go to "Hot Chocolate Church" aka Fresh Faith Sunday morning.

My alarm went off at 8:30 and Chris said, "Nope. Lay back down." He is so sweet. I felt like complete crap, but knew that if I didn't take her, she would be so ticked off at me for the rest of the day. Really, she just wants to see Grandpa Jeff and Grandma Janie and have that cup of hot chocolate...and the French Toast Sticks they bring her if she's coming...but I couldn't let her down. I got up.

I sneezed through my dad's sermon and blew my nose 100 times. I felt hot and then cold and wanted it to be over. When I got home, I made lunch, and fell asleep in my bed to the sound of football announcers. Two and a half hours later, I awoke, drank some water, used the bathroom and fell back asleep until 7:30 tonight. I then got up, made Flannery a late dinner, made dinner for myself and here I am, blogging, hoping that the tired thing will hit me again soon.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Back Stage Originals

We're on Etsy!!!

Back Stage Originals is Trish's die cut dream come to life. Becky Morris and I have come alongside her as co-designers, but who are we's her baby. And, since I've been prego, I've done little that merits any credit at all...I might have chalked an item or two, but this pregnancy thing zapped the creativity out of me up until a couple weeks ago!

Becky has been vigilant in helping complete sets, keeping inventory at A Joy Forever scrapbook stores in Milwaukie and Gresham, as we have a rack of the handmade beauties for sale at each store. (Sorry about the run-on sentence.)

The design team also includes Donna, Trish's mom...Jenny and Jessica, Trish's ultra creative daughters...and Crystal, a crafty dynamo, who never scrapbooked a day in her life, but makes cards, boxes and other paper crafts better than anyone I know. Meet everyone at

Anyway, I am so proud to be a part of this and hope you'll take a peek!

Friday, December 7, 2007


I got some old pictures from an old friend today. Xeandra, better known as Xea (Zee-Uh), is a photographer and had a bunch of old pics from the Sappo days. Sappo is a band that Todd and Tim Fadel fronted about 13 years ago, and I was lucky enough to see play many times at various venues and even got to sing with twice.
Todd and Tim Fadel

Anyway, figured it might be neat to make a Sappo memory book for Tim and Todd.
I'll add that to the vast list of things I want to create.

Me, singing BGVs - What is up with my hair?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Party Pictures

Who likes a little cracker with their cheeseball? Tim does!

Kissa and Bryan. Bryan always hides from the camera.

Kristen Burns and Kelli Schaffer

Joshua getting himself some cheeseball.

Kelli can make her chin disappear. Truly amazing.

Aecea Everett & Kimberly Griffith...amazement at the snowglobe white elephant gift.

Melissa and her coffee.

Kristen's white elephant steal was a picture that Chris scored at Goodwill.

"Nana...age 74 in 1984" reads the inscription on the back.

Eva, age 7, and her daddy, Tim Fadel

The stunning Beth Fadel.

My childhood buddy, Christie "Kwistie" Sims

Christie's husband and drummer for Gifty (back in the day), Ben

Casey and Laurie

Ben and Kori Jamison

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Xmas Party

We had our annual Christmas party last night and it was the perfect amount of people (21 with 7 children frolicking upstairs), the perfect group of personalities intermingling, and the best conversation I have had in a very long time.

I was most excited that Tim and Beth came. Tim looks great. Seriously. His demeanor and personality and everything is all Tim. Nothing is different from the outside. Maybe that's the hardest part of all of this. He doesn't look like the typical cancer victim. Maybe that's because he refuses to be a "victim." He's living life and wants to keep active and doing everything he has been doing because that's who he is. He makes cancer jokes (which I love to be a part of, since I haven't been able to joke about cancer since Laurie was afflicted) and he even goes as far as to make the death jokes too. It's great, it's akward and refreshing all at the same time. I love it.

Beth is a pillar of strength. Not because she's hard and stoic about the whole thing. She's an internal mess that tells the truth about it all..the pain, the struggle of losing the man she loves, the difficulty of resting in the arms of God, etc. She's amazing. I can't put it any other way. I adore her.

I will have party pics in my next post...and I am feeling better, by the way, since a great visit with Tim and Beth last night. I'm not so...emotional and weird.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


I'm having trouble breathing, so I thought I should blog it all out.

I hope this doesn't betray the friend to friend blog agreement, but I must repost his on mine, so you get what's happening. This is from Tim's blog...

Saturday, December 1, 2007 0:24 AM CST

I got tired of dealing with night after night of waking up in pain. I (with the strong encouragement of my amazing wife) decided to go get myself checked out. After all I don't think jet lag lasts for 2 weeks usually.

My symptoms were strange, like getting very winded after walking stairs or lots of aches in my chest. More pain than normal. After all my life has been full of pain but this seemed to be more.

We got to the hospital yesterday and I took some blood tests. I think I did well on them and only had to guess on some of the questions. They said it looked fine but my symptoms could be pointing to a blood clot in my lung. That is somewhat common in lung cancers. They said instead of waiting until Dec to do my scans that I should do them now.

So yesterday around 3PM I got a CT scan with contrast injected in to me and yes (for those that remember) I did throw up in the room. It was not fun but over quick. Kind of thrilling too. Not so much like skydiving but a good way to make you feel alive. If you don't believe me just think about it next time you throw up. Anyway.... they said if it was a clot they would call me back to the hospital right away and put me on blood thinners otherwise they would call me tomorrow with an update.

Tomorrow was this morning, if that makes sense. I didn't get a call so I called them. They said they would call back and they did. They said I did not have a clot but my scans were not good. It showed that from the dozens of tumors my September tests had, there was now a large number more. Like not able to be counted or numbered. They said it seemed to be going faster then they had originally thought. The doctor wants me to come in next Tuesday to talk about any remaining medical options and to consider starting Hospice care.

I thought that was incredible. I said that is really sad and hard to hear considering I was just walking 4 miles a day in Disney World a couple weeks ago. The nurse said she agreed since she just saw me yesterday and she thought I looked healthy. (She might have said I looked hot but I forget the details).

Any way now today is finally ending and we have told our children, family, and as many friends we could pass along the story to. That is what is good about this site. I can stop rehashing the last two days and just let people catch up. I hope you know I love you all and will let you know more info when I get it. I just got home from playing bass guitar at church and I had an amazing time.

Good Night, Tim

So...I am sad, overwhelmed, anxious and bordering on depressed. Not that if this happened in 9 months from now I wouldn't feel the same way. I just thought we all had more time. Plus, it's weird. I realize every cancer case is different. I just think back to Amy and she was sick all the time and super ill for 10 months, where we didn't know if she'd live one day to the next at times. Tim just jumped out of a friggin airplane, went to Disney World and the Caribbean and an Alaskan Cruise, and we made plans to go to the beach with their family too, and now...I just have a lump in my throat that won't subside. I ache.

Well, I have laundry to do and a few final touches before our annual Christmas party tonight. Tim, Beth and the kids will be there and I'm looking forward to being with them. I'llbe taking a ton of pictures.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Laurie rocks.

Laurie gave me my Christmas present early this year...a new do!
Jamie is our new stylist that we were introduced to via Kim (as in baby Sophie's mom) and we love her! I even made a future appointment with her for February before baby is born.
I call it...Jenny McCarthy Pumpkin Spice.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sophie Grace...

So, Laurie and I went to see Sophie Grace again. I know. Shut up. the effect?
Cuddling up to mama.

I can't get enough of her.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Welcome to the World Little Sophie Girl!

Doug and Kim Rickard

Kim and her mommy

Kim and her daddy

Me and Laurie

After little Sophie!

Emery (one month old) and her mommy Christi (who is Kim's sister),
Sophie and proud Grandma!

Kim, watching the birth video Doug shot, which
brought all of us to tears while in the waiting room.

November 26, 2007
10:12 pm
7 lbs.
21.5 " long

Sophie Grace is born!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Skydive Pics...

My dear friend Beth Fadel set up something amazing for her husband, Tim at Skydive, Oregon in Molalla. On October 27th, he, Beth and his brother, Todd, and a couple of his friends decided to skydive. It's something that Tim has always wanted to do, and now that his life is in "fast forward" mode, Beth arranged for it to happen. I was lucky enough to be invited, and Chris, Flannery and I went out to watch and photograph the event, along with many other friends and family members.

Todd and his dad, Gene.

I expected to be teary and moved, but instead, I was joyful, giddy and really excited for them to do something like this.'s some of my favorite photos from that day. Enjoy!

Todd and Tim Fadel...prior to the jump.

L-R: Todd, Tim and Abe Burns...and two other guys I don't know. Dangit.

This is the plane they are jumping from, any moment now. Ignore the water marks on the lens. Sorry.
Janie (Tim and Todd's mom) and Angie think they see something.

Abe landing. I mistook him for Tim and shot a lot of him.
Oh well. I should just say..."This is Tim!"
Todd and Tim, still buzzing on adrenaline.

Beth's turn!

Beth's least that's the story I'm sticking to.
(I'm like 90% sure that's Beth.)

Beth and Tim wanna go up there again!

Proof that I actually attended this function (other than my photos).
Flannery snaps a pic of me, Chris and Angie Fadel (of Todd and Angie) hanging out and watching it all happen.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Good Grief!

I was just watching was today's episode, but I DVR'd it to avoid commercials...and I may have been inspired.

The creator of SPANX was on there, sharing about her new line, and Oprah was a huge inspiration for her and gave her the seed to create her dream a couple years ago. The woman invested a mere $5,000 into the business and now the company has made over $100,000,000 - Just because she chose to go for it.

My dream job...well, besides being Mikee's assistant again which is impossible at the to help those who are grieving a loss of a loved one through journaling and scrapbooking. I have a blurred vision right now of embellishments and papers and albums dedicated to death and dying. Not something gruesome with headstones and ickiness...but calming, lovely things that reflect the person who has died or is dying.

I've done a handful of "story boards" for funerals, the most recent for a woman that Laurie knows, who's father-in-law died. I love to put these large memorials together. Most funeral homes have easels for just these types of things, to display for those attending the funeral or memorial. This woman requested that the focus was on this man's love for the beach. She gave me a stack of pictures and marked those that I 'had' to use for sure. I rummaged through my stash of beach stuff and created a board for the memorial that the woman loved.

It's something I love to do. It takes a burden off the grieving. It's hard to go through mounds of pictures and sort them just right and make something decorative while your nose and eyes are dripping all over the board. Trust me. I did 2 boards for my grandfather's funeral and also 2 for my uncle's.

Making memory boards alone, by introducing my services to a local funeral chapel, could be a starter...charging $25 a board wouldn't be too much to ask. I'd buy all the materials and need a theme from the family and a stack of at least 10 pictures. It might be a great way to introduce my "Good Grief" line of products, and save up money to get "Good Grief" off the ground.

I recently had a friend, who so believes in the Good Grief dream, want to give me the money to start this business. I'm just not sure how I want to start. First of all, I'm 6 months pregnant. I imagine I won't be feeling super-motivated until little 'what's his name' is about 2 months old.
I have an idea, and a calling, but I'm not sure what the finished product will be.

I want to do workshops and seminars on grieving through scrapbooking. I want to have a line of products and embellishments to inspire those who want to attempt to work though their grief. I want to hear the stories and give hope to those who lost or are losing a loved one.

I guess I need to make a list and sketch some stuff out. Thank you Oprah. Say a prayer for Good Grief.

Thanksgiving Complete!

Twas the night before Thanksgiving...I baked 4 pies - peeled, cubed and soaked the potatoes - and whipped up the salad. This was genius. I'm sure every woman in America does things the night before, but I felt really proud. I got a jump start on the chaos.

Dinner was good, though I don't want to do it again when I'm this pregnant. I did it all myself, and it was hard when I'm trying not to be dizzy and have to eat to keep my strength up but with no burners are available to make eggs or something good for me and baby.

I roasted a 12 lb. turkey...injected it (thanks to Emeril's tip) with melted butter, chicken broth and sage, and then rubbed it with the same mixture and poured leftover chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan. I made Sweet Potato Pudding, a recipe that my friend Karen gave me a long time ago and Chris loves and isn't allergic to...4 pumpkin pies (two with homemade gluten free crust)...a VAT of mashed potatoes "grandma style" with half and half and butter...stuffing (I skimped and made Stove Top, since Chris hates stuffing, gluten free or not)...a pound of asparagus sprinkled with olive oil and a touch of salt and baked in the oven...and then I mixed up another grandma favorite, Marshmallow/Fruit Cocktail/Cool Whip salad. Once the turkey was out of the oven, I threw in the brown and serve rolls for 8 minutes and we ate!

I can see why my mom always wanted the double oven. This was a chore, trying to time everything so nothing was cold (though the potatoes were a tad tepid once served). I do have a small convection oven that is about 10 inches wide, but don't know the rules about convection, or how to time something just right, I guessed. The asparagus cooked in there, as did the sweet potato pudding, and it worked out fine. I might want to fine the owners' manual if I ever attempt this again.

We had Kelly and Josiah over with us, since it was Kelly's 30th birthday, and added candles to a pie. Joe and Flan got along better than usual, and Kelly bought each of them a velvet coloring thing to keep them busy and it worked!

BTW - I have never liked the turkey part of Thanksgiving - in fact, other than mashed potatoes, it's my least favorite meal of the year. I usually just find some dark meat on the bird and have a few bites, because dark meat is all I can chew usually. Let me tell you. Injecting the bird made the white meat melt in your mouth. I have never eaten so much turkey on thanksgiving. It was so good. My sister said the same thing. Chris said that usually he just eats every bite of the turkey with cranberry sauce so he can choke it down, and this was the best he'd ever had too. Seriously. Leave it to Emeril.

Oh yeah - I also pulled the turkey out from the oven when the thermometer read 155 degrees - A tip I got from some chef that was on Rachael Ray last continues to cook on the counter while it sits for 20 minutes or so before carving. I don't know. I'm just glad I watched for tips since I had never done anything like this before!

Sorry to ramble, but I'm so darn proud of myself! ;)

OH! And the best part...Cowboys smashed the Jets into their own turf 34 - 3. Yippee!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

So, for the first time ever, I'm making Thanksgiving Dinner. Chris is recently gluten free, and going somewhere else with family, just means he can't eat, because he doesn't know what ingredients are being added to the food.

So, I've researched the cooking of a turkey and got a great rub recipe from Emeril, I'm using a fantastic recipe for Sweet Potato Pudding from my old BFF Karen and I found a gluten free pie crust recipe that I tested on Chris last week and he likes it, so he gets to have pumpkin pie. I'm also making two regular crust pies so the rest of us will be able to choke it down. Seriously. Terrible tasting pie crust for the gluten-allergic. I pity him.

I'm making way too many mashed potatoes, using my grandmother's recipe (that I swear I only eat once a year) with half and half and a stick of butter, salt and pepper. This is because I have invited my sister and her son to join us, and it's a tradition thing. And it's amazingly wonderful! I'm also mixing up my grandma's marshmallow salad...ha! Salad she calls it! Cool whip, fruit cocktail and mini marshmallows. Oh man. It's a classic.

I'm also taking the high road and adding a side of asparagus to the mix. I love asparagus, as does my sister, and the canned green bean casserole that I'm subjected to every year makes me want to gag. I've gotten fresh, beautiful asparagus spears that I will roast with a touch of olive oil and salt and they will be spectacular!

I've been chilling a bottle of tonic water and some fresh limes so I can feel festive even though very pregnant, and I didn't forget the egg nog either, which is one of Chris' staples at Thanksgiving. Our family never had it at Thanksgiving, but waitied until Christmas to serve it spiked. This will be a new tradition!

Well, I'm off to bake all 4 pies and mix up the salad and peel some potatoes. I need to get a head start to avoid early morning irritation. I'm just not a morning person. Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh...don't forget to tell someone something you're thankful for this year. We used to do that with my great grandma. Go around the table and let everyone share. This is especially neat for those who don't incorporate prayer into their Thanksgiving meal. And it makes everyone feel good.

Great Grandma Clara used to always get tears in her eyes as we shared.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Traditions and Anal Retentive Decorating

Yesterday, after getting Flannery off to school and then puttering on the computer for awhile doing nothing really that meaningful, I lit my Christmas candles and spruced up our already Christmas-decorated house. This meant setting everything just so...not how Flannery may have set it up...(i.e. Mary and a wise man were enjoying the birth of Jesus in a manger and Joseph was off near a cow)...and I removed a couple of ornaments lovingly made just a few days ago by my daughter with her new pack of pipe cleaners I bought her, and suggested later that she put them on her tree in her bedroom because they are so colorful and pretty.

The nice thing about Flannery is that she knows, thanks to daddy's explanation, that "Mommy is weird about the decorations in the Living Room." Chris understands this, because his mom is the same way, and even more anal than I...spacing everything apart equally on the tree and the shelves...which gives Chris and I something to do to torment, well, lovingly torment her.

Whenever we visit, just moments before she sees us out, we turn ornaments backward, magnets on the fridge upside down, shift the snowman cookie jar head to face the wall, etc... She always calls Chris that same evening, "I saw what you did," she'll say, and blame the whole act on him, because she knows that she and I share in the love of a perfectly symmetrical Christmas.

Chris' mom moved to Virginia last year, and 2 years ago, my mom moved to Coulee City (a five hour drive from Portland), and so we don't get the traditional stuff that we'd grown to love throughout the Christmas season. The thing I miss the most is the stocking from my mom.

She always gave each of us a stocking, (Me, Kelly, Jon, Tommy, Teri and Alice) and the stocking would take longer to open than the actual gift opening time, because she shopped all year for little items that we would love or find fun to have. She individually wrapped each item and stuffed it in the stocking until it was full, and then we would each have a little stuffed animal or item in the very top. When Chris and I were first married, his stocking had a stuffed snowman peeking out the top (since he's a weather man)...Teri's had a Pony one time (she loves horses, etc.) I hate missing Christmas morning with my mom.

As an adult, I suppose I should be over the little childish romantic memories and suck it up, and create new traditions for my family, but sometimes I just want my mommy at Christmastime.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Heart Attack-ack-ack-ack...

I got home this morning at 2:30am from a trip to Coulee City to visit my mom. On Tuesday morning, Kelly and I were having coffee when my stepbrother called to tell us that his dad, my mom's husband, Tom, had a heart attack, and they were currently in an ambulance on their way to a hospital in Moses Lake. We phoned my mom, who was riding along with him, to check on things and her voice cracked and she began to sob. He was stable, but my mom sure wasn't, and that wasn't like her at all. She asked us to pray and that she'd keep in touch. Kelly looked at me and at the same time, we said, "let's go."

Tom, September 2007

Chris arranged with his boss to work from the time Flannery went to school to the time she got out of school for the whole week, we also arranged with Melissa to watch Flannery if Chris needed anything. We drove to Chris' work, grabbed the debit card and headed out of town, calling our siblings on the way to let them know Tom's condition.

On our way, they had decided to life flight Tom to Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, which specializes in heart-related disease, so we stayed on I-84 a little longer and shot up to Spokane. It was a 5 1/2 hour drive with some tears and some laughter and stops to fill the gas tank (YIKES) and grab snacks along the way. It was good to be alone with my sister and just talk and be girls and cry a little too.

We arrived at 6 pm, met mom and her pastor, Pastor Allen, outside Tom's door, and then heard Tom, teasing the nurses, joking with the staff, etc...he sounded great...thanks to the nitro drip. We went in and I offered to let their pastor read him last rites and Tom laughed, as did his pastor, and really, thanks to the 5 different bags of blood thinners, etc, Tom looked fantastic.

Mom hugged us and cried. She was like I had never seen her. A weak, sad woman. It scared me a little, but I kept it together. Kelly, Pastor Allen and I went to the waiting room where we indulged on Cheetos and made jokes and kept it light, and he asked that we convince mom to get some dinner and go to a motel in town, rather than drive 90 minutes back to Coulee City and then back again in the morning. (My mom is frugal beyond belief, so this would be a tough task.) Pastor Allen went home.

After a few more hours and tests, Tom was stable and relaxed and the doctor assured us that his procedure in the morning would tell us exactly what was going on. His cardiac enzymes were highly elevated, though the CT didn't show any tearing or emergent situation.

We went to the cafe in the hospital and had sandwiches and iced tea and then found a Quality Inn down the street where we all three checked in, got some coffee and watched a little TV, while we talked and laughed and cried like 3 best friends, raided the vending machine and then finally fell asleep around 2 am.

L-R: Kelly, Me, our brother, Jonathan, and my mom, Linda 2005

The next morning, we had a yummy breakfast provided by the hotel and went to the hospital and watched as Tom went in for the "procedure." The cath up the artery in the groin area and into his heart. After 2 hours, the doctor came in with before and after pics of the damage. He has one artery 100% blocked to where the rest of the artery was deflated like a balloon. They put in a 4mm stent to open it up and they flushed out a lot of the blockage. He has another artery that is 30% blocked and they left that alone to flush on its' own, while he starts on about 4 new meds.

That evening, mom, Kelly and I went out to dinner at Perkin's Restaurant, and had a huge meal and then went back to the hospital to be with Tom until around 8pm and then back to the hotel for more vending machine fun, coffee and TV. Mom fell asleep fast that night, and Kelly and I were so glad. She was exhausted and emotionally drained beyond anything I have ever seen in her.

The next morning, after another yummy breakfast (can you tell I'm with child and can't avoid telling you about the food?) we went back to the hospital, where Kelly and I got a deck of cards and played Rummy for 3 hours while the doctors observed Tom exerting himself. He was able to be discharged at 5pm that evening.

We drove mom and Tom back to Coulee City, ate a couple sandwiches, gave out sister Alice (age 13) a hug - she had been staying at the Pastor's house while this whole thing was happening, as she refused to visit the hospital because it freaked her out - and we hit the road at 9 pm.

Flannery and her Auntie Alice March 2007

I had zero internet access there, or I would have bloged or written sooner. Anyway, I'm going to sleep for a few hours...I got up to see Flannery off to school. I missed her and Chris so much.

It's so good to be home.

Monday, October 22, 2007

How Bazzaar...

The bazzaar is in less than a month...

I went and bought little clear bags for tags...
and little rectangle pricing stickers...
and fine white glittery stuff for the mitten cuffs...
punched out all the snowflakes and placed them on tags... am beginning to assemble snowmen for tags...
am adhering the fronts of the journals to the journals themselves...
sizzixing holly and berries and also xmas bulbs for more tags...
tying little ribbon scarves on the snowmen... burning my spiced wassail candle...
making hot chocolate for me and Flannery...
and just crafting away!!! Yippee!