Monday, January 24, 2011

Goodbye, Grandma

Saturday night my beloved Grandma Schuth passed away. It still hasn't truly sunk in that I'll never be able to hug her, laugh with her or enjoy our talks again while my time in this world continues. My heart is feeling empty at that thought & I can't stop the tears when I think about it. I have dreaded this moment for a really long time. Even when my grandma was younger, I couldn't bear to think about life without her.

My faith brings me comfort during this time, knowing that I'll one day reunite with my grandma & never have to be without her again makes it feel less painful.

And knowing that she's back with my grandpa, the man she was so devoted to, also brings me happiness. My grandpa passed away when my dad was only a teenager & my grandma was left to finish raising the last of her eight children who remained at home. She never even considered the idea of ever dating another man again, saying, I met the man of my dreams & no one will ever live up to him.

She's also back in the arms of her son & my Uncle George who passed away when I was little.

And I am so thankful that my son was able to meet this amazing woman, the woman who played such a huge role in my life. I will never ever forget my grandma & all that she's done for me & all the wonderful memories I will cherish forever. The times we worked together at my mom & dad's business & laughed so hard we nearly peed in our pants. She'd push me around my parent's huge shop in the grocery cart we borrowed from the store across the street. And as I became an adult, I'd go to her house straight from work on Thursdays & take a long weekend to go shopping & have a sleep over. It was so great to relax & enjoy our evening together, watching the shows my grandma loved. Then in the morning my grandma would always tip toe in my room & wake me up & make sure I had the breakfast I wanted. She was always such a wonderful hostess when I'd spend time at her house. My favorite times were just sitting on her porch & talking. Though there was such an age difference between us, we had an unbelievable amount in common. It's just too hard to imagine never having another moment with her again. For now, anyway.

So let's all just remember to cherish the moments we have with our loved ones because we never know when there will be no more. I'm dreading the days to come & getting through Thursday & Friday. It's going to be so hard to see my grandma with no life in her. To see her yet not be able to talk to her. But I do know she'll be there in spirit & she'll realize just how many people love her & will miss her so. I'm just so thankful that Mike & Cameron are coming with me; their support will help get me through. And of course my immensely large family will all reunite & be there because of the one woman who was responsible for creating all of those lives.

Grandma, you have no idea how much you will be missed. I'll continue to talk to you in my prayers because I know you'll be listening. You are the best and I love you with all of my heart & I always will. Say hi to Grandpa for me!

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Finally, the Weekend is Here!

It's been an extremely stressful & emotionally exhausting week so I'm thankful that it's Saturday & I have the next two days to spend with my family! With all the uncertainty of what to expect with my grandma's recovery, I've been remembering all the things I do have to be thankful for. I'm up early today since Cam decided to wake up this morning, climb out of his crib & find that he was scared senseless when he found himself completely alone in the center of our living room. Mike was gone, taking his mom to the airport so I got him back to bed & have been unable to sleep since. I've been laying in bed, thinking of all the many things I have to be thankful for, some little, some big. Most of all, I'm thankful for my family. Cam & Mike are everything to me & I'm so lucky to have those two wonderful men in my life. I'm also lucky to have siblings & parents that are always there for me. It's a great feeling to know that someone has my back no matter what. I'm thankful for my friends, both near & far. Losing my grandma & having my other grandma extremely ill has made me thankful for the friends that I have. I've gotten sympathy cards in the mail as well as texts/e-mails after my grandma passed away & knowing people are keeping me & my family in their thoughts & prayers warms my heart. I've also appreciated the distraction of having my friends near, allowing me to laugh & relax for a minute, giving my brain a rest from all the stress. I'm thankful for my house & the comfort & coziness of it. And I'm loving our new flat screen TV! I don't think I'll ever take it for granted & stop appreciating just how beautiful the picture is. We'll be painting the wall behind our TV today, so I'll be thankful for the new change & fresh look.

I'm also thankful that I now live in Florida which allows us to spend our downtime outside in the middle of January. It's awesome that Cam can go to the park & run & play when it's winter. I'm thankful for my pets who give us plenty of comedic relief. I'm thankful for our dishwasher, that frees up so much of our time & for my morning coffee which eases me into the day. I'm thankful for good food & wine, whether we're cooking at home or dining out. There are so many things I have to be thankful for! I'm thankful to have had such amazing grandparents as I grew up & became an adult. And I'll continue to pray for my grandma & that no matter what ends up happening, she has no suffering. I'll also pray that as Cam transitions to a toddler bed, which will likely happen this weekend, he continues to be a good sleeper & cooperates by staying in bed. I think it's going to be a rocky start & I imagine he'll get out of a bed a gazillion times for the first few nights, at least.

So through all the stress, I'll continue to remember all of the the things that still make me happy.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Praying for Grandma

Yesterday after I finished my lunch at work, I noticed that I'd missed a call from my dad. After listening to his voice message, my heart absolutely sank as he told me it was important that I call him back right away. I immediately knew he was going to have bad news about my Grandma Schuth since she had only been discharged from the hospital a few days earlier because of pneumonia & anemia. I called him back & my fears were confirmed.

As my Uncle Keith visited my gram at her assisted living facility yesterday, she suddenly collapsed. My precious, wonderful, amazing grandma had to be resuscitated in the ambulance on the way to the ER. The rest of the day was an emotional blur as I continued to receive bits and pieces of updates from my family in Illinois.

Before going to bed last night, I fell to my knees, prayed to God & talked to my grandma. I asked God that no matter what his plan may be, that my grandma please be comfortable. I talked to my grandma & reminded her of how much I love her & that even though I may be over a thousand miles away, I was right there with her. My gram & I have always had an amazingly close & connected relationship. We've always just gotten each other.

I awoke this morning with a splitting headache, puffy eyes & a weight on my chest, unsure of what news would be coming our way. My dad flew to Chicago this morning so I knew he'd be reporting back as soon as he could. My cousin has also kept me updated which I greatly appreciate & fortunately we have been blessed with positive news thus far. My grandma is still on a ventilator, breathing on her own at times & given a rest at other times with the help of the vent. She is responding to pain & able to move around & squeeze my family member's hands, but overall, she's still unresponsive & basically in a coma. Since her heart did stop working at one point, cutting blood flow off to her brain, the doctors can't yet tell us exactly what to expect. So far things are looking positive, but only time will truly tell.

I am cautiously hopeful at this time; feeling blessed to hear positive updates while knowing that my grandma is not out of the woods. My main concern is my grandma's comfort. Of course I want nothing more in this world than to see my grandma fully recover & bounce back from this, but that's in God's hands. Whatever He decides, I just hope she'll never have to suffer. My heart is feeling heavy & broken as I type this & I have a million thoughts & emotions swirling through my head. I am confident that my grandma knows how much I adore her, but the greedy part in me just wants to be able to hug & kiss her again & to see her sweet smile. I'm praying that God keeps giving me & my family strength as we face each hour of each day & I pray that He is with my grandma. My thoughts & prayers are also with my Aunt Bernice who is mentally handicapped & has always lived with my grandma. I pray that God be with her, no matter what the outcome. I'm absolutely terrified of what the days ahead may bring, but I will continue to pray & keep my grandma close to my heart where she has always been.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

What's For Dinner?

We decided to make a special meal last night as a thank-you to all Grammy has done for us in the past two weeks she's spent with us & the week she still has until it's time for her to head back to Chicago.

We made the champagne sangria from Columbia Restaurant which is delightful. Click here if you're in the mood for a yummy-licious drink!

We always make sure to hit Wildfire when we head back to Chicago since I adore their crusted steaks. Since we don't often get back to IL, we decided to recreate their Parmesan crusted steak from the comfort of our own home! It may not be exactly as good as the real deal, but it's darn close.

To make a Parmesan crusted steak, mix freshly grated Parmesan cheese with panko breadcrumbs, dried thyme, minced garlic, salt & pepper. Gradually mix in olive oil until it's able to be compressed & hold a form. Do it gradually since you don't want an oily mess. Cook steaks to a few minutes less than you normally would for your desired doneness, transfer to a baking pan, top with Parmesan cheese mixture & broil for a few minutes until golden brown.

My favorite crusts at Wildfire are the Bearnaise, Parmesan & blue cheese! To. Die. For.

I made the English roasted potatoes from this blog post again & foil-bagged asparagus that we threw on the grill with salt, pepper & olive oil. All in all, it was a very easy yet impressive meal. Oh & did I forget to mention that we also had King Crab Legs with our meal?! Oh yeah, we were highfalutin last night!

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Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm King of the World!

This little boy gets me through any low moment I may be going through! I thank God every single day for blessing me with this nutty guy. Just the thought of him puts a massive smile on my face!

Oh & yes, suddenly you're seeing videos on our blogs since I'm getting a better hang of this whole YouTube thing... Yes, I'm a little technologically slow!

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Brightness Amongst the Gloom

I've had a rough & emotional week, but my spirits were lifted when Mike surprised me with these flowers on Wednesday.

I'm definitely not one for New Years resolutions but this year I decided I would try to work on becoming a more patient wife & mom (especially wife since I can be easily snippy & not always give Mike the credit he deserves for all the wonderful things he does for our family). But so far I have not been doing a good job of sticking to my resolution. I can blame it on the stress of losing my grandma less than a week ago or having my other grandma very sick in the hospital. I can also blame my stupid PMS hormones. Whatever it is, I've certainly not been very patient or content. I can just feel this anger bubbling within my chest & stomach & it's not fun. All in all, I'm keeping it in rather well & trying not to take it out on my innocent family, but I'm not feeling comfortable in my own skin with this negative energy I'm carrying around.

Plus, with all that I've had going on in my personal life, the last thing I want to do all day is go to work. Sometimes there is so much nonsense & pettiness that goes on at my work, as it does anywhere, and I absolutely do not have the patience for it. Since I just couldn't afford to make the trip to Chicago, I wasn't able to go to my grandma's wake or funeral. I really do feel at peace with the fact that I'm not there since I was always there for my grandma while she was living. We were extremely close & I have no regrets in thinking I didn't do enough. But, the point is, I have so much on my mind that I cannot be bothered with the crap around me. I just want to put my headphones on as I'm charting in my office & scream, just leave me alone!

Of course I'm not doing that, it's just what I'm carrying around inside. I would never take negativity to work since it's not professional nor is it fair to anyone else. I'm just overwhelmed & hoping that these horribly negative, whoa-is-me feelings pass once my hormones begin to simmer down. Tomorrow is my grandma's funeral & I know in my heart that she's in Heaven where she deserves to be, back with her family & my grandpa. And I know she's looking down on me, knowing how much I love her & miss her. I want her to be proud of the person I am. I want to be proud of the person I am. So far I'm not. Like this morning when Mike's alarm went off earlier than I felt it should have & I snapped at him. Ugh. And I immediately regret it after, knowing I'm wrong. I just need to get my head on straight, do some soul searching & have a more positive energy about myself.

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Tackle Mommy!

Cameron loves playing the Tackle Mommy game! And since he's the size of an NFL linebacker, he can really pack a punch! You'll also notice that in the beginning of the video he tries to look down my shirt... like father like son! Maddy joined in on the tackling at the end & we finished with Cam jumping on Maddy's back to make a Maddy sandwich!

Bad Santa!

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Darn Good Dips!

I'm always looking for new appetizer recipes whenever a get-together is in the works. So when it was time to host Christmas Eve as we so love to do when we're in town, I stumbled across a Greek-layered dip in my Food Network Magazine & decided to make it.

This recipe was so tasty, unique & fresh. If you're a fan of Greek food, definitely give this recipe a whirl! Click here for the recipe. And if you aren't a fan of lamb (or too skeeved out by the idea of it), ground chicken would be a good substitution.

The other recipe we've been making for at least three years is our "Good Luck Dip." Apparently black-eyed peas are good luck when eaten during the new year, so we make this each year. The actual name is Texas Caviar but we preferred the name we came up with! This recipe is healthy, tangy & utterly delightful! Click here for the recipe.

Hope you'll enjoy these recipes just has much as we do (or I should say did since they were gone in a hurry!)

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas & New Years 2010

Wow, I haven't blogged in almost two weeks!! When I finally went to edit pictures, I had nearly 500 on my card! And that is so not like me since I normally do editing each time I take a grouping a pictures. So that just goes to show that things have been rather hectic over the holidays.

But we ended up having a wonderful Christmas/New Years & it was great to have a lot of quality time with family & friends.

Here's Cam with his dinosaur, Steffan! Auntie Lauren was nice enough to give it to him! It just so happens to be an inside joke of ours relating to the movie, Clifford.

Though it was a fantastic Christmas, the new year has proven to be bittersweet thus far. Sadly, I got a call from my mom last night letting me know that my Grandma Lewandowski passed away. I say bittersweet because she lived a full 93 years & passed away peacefully in her sleep. As much as she'll be missed, I cannot be more grateful that she didn't have to be ill or suffer in any way. My grandma played a HUGE role in my life, spending nearly five days a week with us from the time I was a baby, up until I was 18 when my parents moved to Florida. As I stayed behind to go to college in Illinois, I still saw my grandma & grandpa a couple times a month until I moved to Florida after graduate school. I will always fondly remember my grandma & all the time she devoted to her grandchildren. She was so selfless in all she did for us.

So I shouldn't be selfish & dwell on the sadness I feel over the loss of my grandma since I know she's where she would truly want to be, back in the arms of the love of her life, my grandpa.


Mikayla wasn't initially thrilled to perch on Santa's lap as he visited on Christmas Eve, but she soon warmed up as she eyed the presents that he carried!

But Maddy was as pleased as punch from the get-go!

Other happenings include the fact that we finally started implementing the discipline tactics from 1,2,3 Magic. Although the book encourages that you don't start until you've finished reading, we had it with Cam's misbehavior the night before Christmas Eve, felt like we read enough to have a good grasp of things, and have been absolutely delighted with the results so far. Cam has responded so well to it & seems to be a new kid which has made our house a lot more pleasant these days.

Anyway, Christmas morning was absolutely awesome! We woke up, opened presents & enjoyed some Crockpot oatmeal that had been cooking through the night.

And Santa brought me the sunglasses I had my heart set on!

After breakfast, we headed to my brother & sister-in-law's house & had an amazingly relaxing time. We caught up with each other, watched the kids play in the yard as we sipped mimosas & ate a delicious meal.

Beyond all the presents & hoopla that are involved with Christmas & New Years, it's the time spent with family & friends & reflecting on all we have to be thankful for that mean the most. And I have so much to be thankful for.

As I hit publish on this post, I found out that my other grandma was hospitalized today. From what I know so far, she's doing a lot better now & will hopefully be discharged in a few days. Please pray that my grandma has a speedy recovery!!!

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