Category Archives: Memories

Every day kinds of memories

As happy as I am to have the kids back in school so I can have “my time” back, I must admit I really enjoy their company when they are home. Especially as they are getting older, it seems. Today was especially memorable.

My son woke up at 5:30 this morning (in hindsight, he said that was earlier than necessary) to make homemade pancakes for the family. His intention was to surprise me, but his nosy sister spilled the beans last night at dinner. That didn’t matter though, because in the mornings I have a hard enough time remembering which button to push to snooze my alarm. So I was still surprised, and delighted, really. He makes really great pancakes! Of course he learned from the best (wink, wink). What I loved about this gesture is that it was genuine. He almost seemed to be doing it as a thank you to me, for everything he sees me doing. This is the first year he’s been entirely responsible for packing his school lunches, and I wonder if that’s sinking in with him already. I’m tempted to say it’s making him more grateful. It makes a momma proud.

That was memory #1. Memory #2 was far less significant but still worth mentioning.

My daughter loves the library. She loves reading books and loves that they are free. Also, she still loves horses. This morning she was telling me about the book she just checked out from the library. She said it had the ‘a’ word in it. I looked at the cover. Out was a horse book, and it was clearly a children’s book, so I thought a second more. Then it dawned on me: they were talking about a donkey. Ha! So I explained to her that in that context, it was just another word for a donkey, and that was ok. But when she asked if it was okay to read it out loud at school, I told her I was fine with it but that she would have to run it by her teacher, because she would have to be sure the other kids understood it was not a swear word when used that way. Maybe they could have a class discussion about double meanings and word origins. Might not be a bad idea!

So I started the day with some great moments with the kids and now I’m at the infusion center getting my monthly Tysabri treatment for MS. A typical day in the life of Mindy, you could say. 

Also, it’s Friday. Thank the good Lord that you were given the gift of another day, and go out and make it count!

Summer 2016 Festivities

In case my kids ever claim we never do fun things…

June 9 – last day of school, kids went to Grandma’s
June 14 – Dentist! (Okay, that’s a joke)
June 17 – Biked to Holt Plaza
June 17 – Lugnuts baseball game, camped out on the field with the Girl Scouts
June 18 – Selleck family cookout at Oma and Opa’s
June 21 – East Lansing Aquatic Center
July 1–3 – Dundee/Splash Universe
July 4 – Independence Day, Fireworks
July 6 – 8 – Camping with Johnsons
July 15–17 – Garden City Tournament
July 22 – Went downtown (library, Subway, The Peanut Shop)
July 23 – My class reunion, kids at Grandma’s
July 26 – Lake Lansing Park & swimming
August 2 – Ingham County Fair
August 3 – Bowling
August 6-7 – Weekend with the girls (my sister and nieces)
August 9 – Valhalla Park & swimming
August 10 – 13 – Camp Albright
August 18 – Valhalla Park & swimming
August 19 – Michigan’s Adventure
August 26 – Impression 5

Some fun things are on the list, but not in the pictures, or in the pictures but not on the list. And then others didn’t make either, but the memories were made nonetheless, and we will cherish them all. We had quite a summer. Now school starts TOMORROW and we are all so excited! What was your favorite memory from this summer?

 

Fiery Feet

Most days, usually at night, I get a burning sensation in my feet. My neurologist calls it nerve pain, and it is another common symptom of MS. It feels like what I would imagine walking on hot coals would feel like. Or say, if you burned your hand on the stove, and the pain lingers. It’s extremely painful. When it happens at night I can usually fall asleep despite the pain, but when I can’t I take the Neurontin my neurologist prescribed. Because Motrin and Tylenol won’t work for nerve pain.

It’s funny, I had this type of nerve pain seven years ago, in the months leading up to my MS diagnosis. Thing is, the pain was in my upper arm. It was so painful I couldn’t even get to sleep, because any time something touched my skin (like the blankets on my bed) it would send sharp pains all through my arm. It was excruciating. I remember my husband had the genius idea of cutting the toe off one of his socks and using that to cover my arm. It worked like a charm, and protected the skin from rubbing up against anything while I slept. So for awhile I was sleeping with a tube sock on my arm! Funny the things you remember.

This morning I was feeling the fiery feet again. I don’t know if it seemed more intense today because I wasn’t trying to go to sleep, but it was definitely worse than normal. The pain was mostly in my left foot, which I suppose is the side that usually gives me the most trouble when my nerves are acting up. I couldn’t even bear to walk, the pain was so bad. I had to have my son go get the Neurontin for me. Thankfully that helped, at least enough to get me walking again. I can still feel the burning, but it’s definitely calmed down.

So, I haven’t been running like I was, simply because summer is so busy with the kids, and the heat wears me out so much. However, I’m anxious to get back to it. This is not because I like running, so much as I like what it does for me. I’ve said all along that it helps my fatigue levels and my balance is better. So, with that in mind, I’ve been wanting to get back to regular runs, even if they are short. I think to get back in the habit, I need to do it daily. Which means I’ll have to run today with the fiery feet. Who knows, maybe the running will take my mind off the burning? I guess I won’t know until I try.

Reading

When I came to bed last night I found a note on my bedside table from my son. He was asking if we could go to the library the following day, and if so, he asked that I wake him up. That last part is laughable because he’s an early riser – no way am I getting up before him. But I was touched by the request anyway, and super proud that with one week left of summer, my kid wants to walk two miles to READ. 

We had a great time. Luke checked out some Michigan Chiller books he had been wanting to read, and Natalie perused the children’s cookbooks. Then they both put on a couple puppet shows for me, and we headed back, stopping for lunch on the way. 

Nothing super special, but we all really just enjoyed each other’s company and had a good time. These are the times I hope they will cherish and store away in their memory banks for years and years to come. 

What is on my mind

 

1. I’m type A, lists help me function. I feel discombobulated sometimes and I get confused (especially later in the day when I’m fatigued), and making lists just really seems to sort things out in my brain and help calm me down.

2. I went to my high school reunion Saturday and it was even better than I had anticipated. Most of the girls I was close with in high school were there, and it was *refreshing* to sit and catch up with them. Ha! I’m so glad I found that word, refreshing. I think I’ve been subconsciously searching for it since Saturday. Anyhoo, yes, it was refreshing. I didn’t realize it at the time of course, but it was. It was refreshing because all of these people knew me when I was young and carefree (to an extent, I guess) and they treated me that way. They remembered the old Mindy, and seemed to remember her fondly, but were also overwhelmingly accepting of the new Mindy. Everyone was sharing different memories – just the good ones, of course – and it was interesting what some of us had remembered and others had forgotten. It was nice. No expectations, no judgments. Oh, and also my husband, who had been not-so-secretly dreading the event, enjoyed talking with people throughout the evening, and as a result I never felt rushed to leave. It was a great night, and I think we all left ready for the next one 🙂

Class of 1996_20th Reunion
Class of 1996, 20 years later

This picture only represents about a fourth of our class, which was small to begin with, but in this case the old adage “quality over quantity” definitely applies. What a great group of people. Oh, and if you’re having trouble finding me in this photo, I’m in the front, fourth from the right with the ginormous tattoo on my arm.

3. Life is short. Just days after our class reunion, while everyone was still sharing photos on the private Facebook event page and discussing ideas for the next one, we were informed that one of our classmates (who was unable to attend the reunion) had passed away. On the same night of our reunion, her family’s van was struck by a drunk driver. Her husband and two children were injured as well, but her injuries were much more serious. She passed away late Monday night. Her name was Lorri, and she was literally a friend to all of us. Seriously, I don’t think there was a mean bone in her body. She was kind and caring, and always ready to share a smile. She will be missed by so many in varying degrees, but our hearts break the most for her husband and children. To lose your wife, your mother, so tragically is unimaginable. And all because some bonehead (I had to put it mildly to keep this PG, but insert R-rated insults if you wish) decided to get loaded and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Senseless, reckless, stupid, stupid, stupid.

Ok, so I know that’s a major downer, and I promise I won’t leave it at that, but I want to say some things about all this. One – never ever drink and drive. Don’t put yourself in a position where you may be tempted to drink and drive. Hand the keys over, make arrangements, whatever you must do, while you’re still sober and thinking clearly. And two – it floors me how people have been rallying together to support Lorri’s family through this tragedy. Not only has her husband lost his wife, but he was injured as well. They are going to need a lot of help going forward, and thankfully they seem to be getting it. All the good that Lorri poured into people’s lives throughout her life is coming back to her family. A sick twist on paying it forward, I suppose, but it’s still comforting to see.

4. We finally sold our house, the one we moved out of last August. The closing is scheduled for tomorrow, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. My husband grew up in that house and it was also the first home we had purchased, so there’s a twinge of bittersweet there, but our new house and neighborhood make it all okay. When we come home at the end of the day, we are among friends, and we are in the first home we chose for our family. And we have a garage, so who’s complaining? Tomorrow it will be official. No more second lawn to mow, driveway to shovel, utilities to pay. Such relief. Goodbye, South Holly Way. You were good to us, and we thank you.

Goodbye South Holly Way 2016

5. Summer. Friends. Children and their friends. We are making the most of it, for sure. Some days we play, some days we rest. Some days I clean. The screentime rules I usually set for vacations have been neglected repeatedly, but not entirely forgotten. I make the rules around here, and I say it’s okay. So there.

6. Feeding the children. That’s a thing that must be done. Now, in fact, so I’m outtie. Have a superb day, bloggy people. Embrace the moment and hug the ones you love!!!

 

On storing my children’s childhoods

Ok, so yeah, I’m feeling quite better now. Not stellar, but better. It’s after noon and I’m still in my pajamas (technically), but I’ve accomplished a lot today so far. And half the kids are fed (who knew my son liked chicken salad?), so I’m gonna call that winning.

Here’s what’s on my mind today: I get really frustrated when the house starts to become untidy, when I see things laying (lying?) around where they don’t belong (confession: that’s on my mind EVERY day). A lot of it is the kids’ stuff, but a lot of it too are areas I am intending to sort and organize. Kids bring home a lot of stuff from school. Some of it is not important, and can be pitched immediately, but then a lot of it I believe is worth hanging on to, at least for a little while. I will sometimes hang artwork on the fridge, take a picture of it for proper archiving, and then recycle it after a few weeks.

I’ve been doing pretty well at keeping up with the inflow, but those last few weeks of school were a whirlwind and I kind of gave up for a spell (yes, I said spell). So I have been wanting to get that last batch taken care of before we’re too far into the summer. And guess what? Today I did it! It’s all been archived and/or stored (some things are hard to photograph, so I keep them) and now I’m getting ready for next year!! I am abhorrently against clutter, so it may seem odd that I’m choosing to keep any of my children’s elementary school mementos, but I am sometimes a sucker for sentimental things. Also, I at one time enjoyed looking through the crap I made as a kid. I once created a watercolor painting of a giant can of Campbell’s Soup. Not exactly the kind of thing you would frame and hang in your kitchen (maybe), but even after all those years I still remembered how hard I worked on that painting, and how satisfying it was to complete. So, you know, memories. I expect my children may have some memories wrapped up in these things I’m keeping, and maybe one day they’ll want to revisit them. Or not, it will be their decision.

My only issue at this point is that the small boxes I’ve been using to keep these mementos are rather full. So I need to find the sort of boxes where I can keep these things in decent shape, but also sorted by year. Do such boxes exist? I’m sure they do. I’ll be scouring Amazon later, of course. Maybe Etsy or Pinterest will have some good ideas too. Do you have any ideas? I’ll take any suggestions you’ve got!

Happy Birthday to my baby boy

Today my son, Luke, turns 9. It feels like a lifetime ago that he was born, but I still remember the day in vivid color. He certainly made a grand entrance. Shall I share the story? Don’t mind if I do…

I was at the doctor’s office for my 39 week checkup, and they determined I was suffering from preeclampsia. I guess. I still don’t know much about that, other than it has something to do with blood pressure, and it’s rather dangerous for mom and baby. So, since I was only three days shy of my due date, we decided now was the time. They wheeled me across the tunnel to the hospital, and I made a call to let my husband know – “We’re having the baby tonight; bring dinner.”

Mike showed up with gyros from Lou & Harry’s (it was the Wednesday special), and after they had me admitted and wired up with induction drugs, we ate. I can’t believe we could eat, because we were so excited, but it was nearing dinner time and we weren’t sure when we would get another chance. Food is important to us, clearly.

The drugs took a while to kick in, but once they did, I was laboring pretty good. All. Night. By morning I was exhausted and in enough pain that I was ready for epidural. When they gave me the epidural however, they missed and hit my spine. I was numb from the neck down. When they asked me to sit up, I toppled over, unable to move. Looking back, and after all the crap I’ve been through since, this doesn’t seem all that big. But at the time, we were new to medical emergencies and we were terrified. Nurses and doctors flooded into the room, pushing Mike to the back. They pointed to a closet and told him to put on some scrubs. He was scared, but I don’t think he ever lost eye contact with me. From what I remember of course. Time changes things.

We were rushed to an operating room, which happened to be right next door. Luke’s heart rate had quickly dropped, most likely due to the stress coming from my body, and it was imperative that they get him out as soon as possible. So I ended up delivering him via emergency C-section. He was fine. I was fine. Everyone was healthy. A C-section is not what most mothers hope for, but when the result is a healthy, happy baby, you don’t complain. And especially not after seven years of infertility.

So Luke was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received, one I thought for a long time I would never get. He is growing and changing all the time, but he’ll always be my baby boy. He’s my trickster, and often thinks he’s funny when he’s not, but he has guts and you have to give him some credit for that. He is smart, energetic, thoughtful, kind, and funny, but I love his heart most of all. He is a sweet kid and he makes me proud to be his momma.

Happy birthday Luke! Mom and Dad love you immensely. Here’s to many more happy years.

Luke 9 Birthday

They were in the basement the whole time

As I was unpacking and organizing in the new house the other day, I came across all our old photo albums, pictures that have been in boxes in the basement for years and years. It’s strange, looking back at who I was. The Pre-Hearing Loss Mindy. My short-term memory took a hit two years ago when I was struggling with dementia or whatever that was, but in the stress of it all I think I also forgot a lot of the long-term stuff. Things that happened years ago. Who I was, what I loved, clothes I wore. And what’s interesting is that when I started pulling the photo albums out of the boxes Natalie asked me “are those your memories?” Yes sweetie, yes they are. I look at the pictures and it’s all coming back to me. They are not lost forever after all.

Bilateral hearing rocks!

This is exciting news. I didn’t know what to expect with the second cochlear implant, but I was told it’s different for everyone, and that quite a lot is possible. I had zero hope of ever hearing pitches normally again.
But guess what happened tonight? I was talking with my husband, telling him good night, and when I got to the bathroom to brush my teeth I looked at my reflection in the mirror and it occurred to me that I had just been hearing my own voice. MY VOICE. Which I hadn’t heard in almost two years. And you know what? I think I’ve been hearing real voices all day! It’s as if some thing in my brain just clicked. I’m so excited to hear more tomorrow, when I will actually be paying attention. To my son’s voice. To my daughter’s voice. And I’ll be hearing what they hear. Right?
I’m just in shock, I can’t find the words. I’m listening to my old ipod, with my favorite songs from before when I was a hearing person. Tool, Cibo Matto, Rusted Root, Over the Rhine, while still quite tinny, the notes are all there. The notes I remember. In my ears. And I’m not sleeping. This isn’t just in my dreams. It’s as good as real.
No words here. Just tears of joy. Indescribable joy.

Cookbooks galore

Declutter project #1 – Cookbooks!! This should be an easy one. I barely used cookbooks when I could see well, and with the loss of vision I have dropped off the cookbook wagon. There is a wagon, isn’t there?

Out of all these cookbooks shown below (list to follow for those who care), we only use one: The Mrs. Field’s Cookie Book (image #2). We use it on a regular basis, and mostly just for one recipe, chocolate chip cookies. However, my son has developed a love for baking, and he has tried a few different cookie recipes from the book on his own. Just yesterday he made peanut butter cookies. So yummy, and so worth keeping the book. As he gets older I expect him to get a bit more adventurous and try some of the fancier cookies. Because Momma loves cookies.

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These books are going bye-bye:

  1. DeWitt Community Cookbook (Girl Scout Troop 183)
  2. Favorite Recipes of Hartford United Methodist Church
  3. The Four Ingredient Cookbooks (Three Cookbooks in One!) – this has a crap-ton of simple, yet dated recipes. Who eats “company beef”? It doesn’t even sound good.
  4. Saving Dinner – This includes meal plans and shopping lists, and I actually got quite a bit of use out of it in the early years of marriage, before the kids came of course 😉 It introduced me to meal planning, which I still do, only now I use the internet with websites such as Cozi, Allrecipes, etc..
  5. The  George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine Cookbook – I don’t even think we have the grill anymore. I’ll find out soon enough when my decluttering project moves to the kitchen cupboards!
  6. The Color Book of Cheesecakes – is this mine? Where did this come from??
  7. Betty Crocker’s New Dinner for Two Cookbook (1971) – clearly an antique. Could I donate this to the historical museum?
  8. Classic Cooking with Coca-Cola – I used to be a collector of all things Coke, more on that later…
  9. Coca-Cola Cool Recipes – again, remains of the collection
  10. Campbell’s Simply Delicious Recipes – I used this a lot, and it has some great tasting, easy recipes, all of which you can find online now.
  11. Easy Cooking with Brand Names – I have no comment here. It’s pretty, but I don’t think I ever used it. It’s just a nice looking book.
  12. Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook – Everything You Need to Know to Cook (1996) – this was a wedding gift, I believe. I must have used it once or twice, because I have a post-it note flagging the page with the banana bread recipe: “stick butter, buttermilk”. Crap, now I opened it to read the note and felt an overwhelming nostalgia that’s urging me to keep it. The struggle is real, folks. Must… let… it… go!
  13. Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook – I think this one actually belongs to my sister. Yup, there’s a note just inside the cover. Definitely not mine, and definitely doesn’t fit in my kitchen. It’s huge!!

That’s my list, and I wrote far more than I anticipated. I have other things to do, like feeding the children. It’s time for lunch!!