Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Christmas Postponed and Thoughts on Grieving


   Our Christmas was, and still is, postponed.  Uncle Bob's funeral was on the 21st of December.  I was feeling healthy going into it and had a wonderful time sharing memories of our beloved friend.  So much laughter, so many hugs, and so much good food and fellowship!  Later that night I started to cough and by the next morning I had a raging fever.  It was a rough week to say the least and I lost weight due to not eating much of anything.  It is a little over a week later and this is the first time that I am feeling semi normal again.  I know it will take me at least  another week or so to feel back to what is my "normal" though.

   I am not the only one in the family that got sick.  Isaiah, Heather, Chris, Rachel, Jaysn, Jeff and now Bradley and his Grandma Tammy have been or are now sick.  This thing is NOT fun and seems to affect everyone a bit differently.  The one thing it has in common though is that it zaps the strength right out of you.

   Gone were the family Christmas parties, going to see our hanai son Ben in concert, and having people over.  No Christmas baking was done, Steven did not come over for some special cookie making time, and no Christmas cards were sent out.  Everything same to a screeching halt.

   What it has done is given me time to rest and time to process some rather complex feelings that I have about loss.  You see, we lost Jeff's mother about 3 months ago and, given that she had cut us out of her life a few years previously, I did not grieve her loss then.  Now we have lost Uncle Bob, and his loss is one that I am feeling deeply.  There will be no more visits, no more hugs, no more sharing stories and me telling Bob that he has to apologize for blowing up at someone (which he would greatly regret after the fact).  There will be no more finding Jeff over there helping Bob with a project.  No more sitting in the shade in his front yard.  No more Bob telling us how much he prays for our boys.  Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma were there for our boys and loved them unconditionally, even when my mother-in-law turned her back on us, and in doing that, also cut us off from Jeff's father.  They, along with my parents, were the grandparents that my kids depended on, needed and were so deeply loved by.  Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma were great friends/family to Jeff and I also.  I will forever be grateful for all that they invested and poured their love into our lives.  We love and miss them beyond words.

   Jeff and I have talked about how different we feel our loss of Bob and Norma compared to the loss of his mother.  Jeff reassured me when I was feeling somewhat conflicted about why I had not grieved the loss of his mother when she passed away, that given the circumstances, that we had done our grieving when she first cut us off for good.  That cut us both to the core and it was a "death" of our relationship with them.  We would no longer be allowed in their lives.  It did not make sense then and it still does not make sense.  I will never understand how they could do that to our children and to their own son.  It was cruel, evil and twisted.  It honestly put me into therapy where both Jeff and I could hash out those feelings of betrayal, hurt, anger and sadness.  At this point I am just numb to Jeff's mother's passing.  It is what it, whereas Bob's passing is raw, and comes with a deep sense of loss of someone who was so very special to us and whom we loved with every fiber of our being.

   So today, as I am still feeling the aftermath of the flu and of all those emotions of losing Uncle Bob, I am trying to return to some sense of normalcy.  I baked 2 loaves of bread and cooked up half a package of maple flavored thick cut bacon.  I saved the grease from the bacon, just like my mother always did and still does to this day.  I can hear her in my ear saying there is so much flavor in there and not to waste a bit of it. ~Smile~  Life goes on and we take lessons learned with us.  Some were devastating, but others were amazing!  Family is not always about blood, but is formed by those amazing bonds, shared memories and love.  How blessed were we that we got to have 30 years of love and friendship with Uncle Bob and 28 with Aunt Norma.  I choose to focus on that thought and rejoice that Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma are together once more, right where they both wanted to be. And yes, at some point our family will gather together for a late Christmas celebration once everyone is feeling better.  After all, the greatest gifts are the love and being together with family for both Jeff and I.  


Friday, December 16, 2022

Uncle Bob Joined Aunt Norma on Wednesday Morning


   Our dear friend, sweet neighbor, and hanai (adopted by love) Uncle Bob passed away in the early morning hours on Wednesday.  I'm sure the heavenly reunion with his sweet Norma was beautiful and I know he was looking forward to being with her once more. 

   He and Aunt Norma were like grandparents to our boys.  They stepped up and were there for our kids throughout their lives.  The twins, Josh and Chris, turned 3 shortly after we moved here and Jaysn turned 5 a few months later.  Our Chris and Josh just could not get enough of Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma.  If I could not find them, I knew just where to look.  

   From Aunt Norma having us over for lunch of corndogs (my kids loved them and it was a real treat since I never bought them), to Uncle Bob telling the boys he had a job for them and then pulling out a watermelon to have them share with him, they quickly won over my boys' hearts.  The twins especially learned so  many things from Uncle Bob.  He taught them how to hunt, took them fishing, they helped on the farm and they helped him build a pole building.  He was Chris's best friend and he was the best man at Chris's wedding.  Aunt Norma remarked that she had never seen Bob dressed up like that before.  They both were just beaming that day as they watched Chris marry the love of his life Heather.  

    All our boys made it a point to visit Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma whenever they could.  When Josh would come home on leave from the Air Force one of the first things he would do is go over to see his beloved Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma.  As time went on, he introduced Lauren and later Tate to them.  Jaysn would go and visit when he could.  After he married Rachel, Rachel made sure to visit too, even when Jaysn was at work.  Their son Steven loved his Uncle Bob and enjoyed going to see the cool side by side vehicle and Uncle Bob's little dog. Chris, Heather, Bradley and Isaiah were regular visitors and had a special bond with Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma.  It was so wonderful to watch those precious relationships grow throughout the years.

   Jeff and Bob also had a tight bond.  They worked on building projects together and later, Jeff would do the building of things while Bob was there "supervising" and they had a good visit.  I frequently would have Jeff disappear from our driveway and find him over with Bob helping him with something.  When Norma was still alive, Jeff and I would go over and visit and help with her care.  She recognized us until about a week before she died.  Dementia is a cruel thief. 

  As for Bob and I, well we developed a really tight bond that only became stronger over the years.  There was a trust there with me and he would open up about his feelings.  Sharing feelings was not something he was very good at with others.  When Norma got sick, we were the ones he could share his fears, frustrations and deep sadness with.  We spent lots of time over there sharing fun memories with both Bob and Norma.  After she passed, that bond became even tighter.  Bob and I would share hugs, tears, and more memories.  He shared with me how he wanted to make sure that all his grandkids and great-grandkids inherited land from him, because if a person had land, they could make it in life.  He really wanted that security for them and worked hard all his life to try to make it happen.  He was not a man who was the outwardly affectionate, but inside that sometimes gruff exterior, was a soft "marshmallow" who loved his family and friends dearly.  

   One of the things that I will always hold close to my heart is how he would always pray for our boys.  He worried so much about Chris especially being a police officer.  He would get teary eyed talking about his fear of something happening to Chris with all the craziness in the world.  He was so proud of all the boys and was thrilled to see them get married and start families of their own.  He loved having the boys bring their children over to meet him as babies and then being able to watch them grow up.  It brought both him and Norma so much joy!

   Our last visit with Bob was a very special one.  Bob knew his time was short, and so did we.  Chris, Heather and their boys came over Tuesday morning and went down to visit with him at the assisted living care center.  Chris facetimed in Josh so Bob could visit with him too and see baby Peyton. They all had a really lovely time despite the fact that Bob was very weak and tired.  By that evening, when Jeff and I went down to visit, Bob had rallied and had more energy.  We found him in the living room area by the fireplace and looking at the Christmas tree.  Jeff and I sat down for a nice visit.  Bob shared some things that were again important to him, some regrets, tears, and some memories that we all cherished and brought smiles to our faces.  Bob was torn between wanting to join his beloved Norma in heaven and wanting to be here to take care of unfinished business and make sure his family was all ok.  He told us that he wanted to continue to fight to be here, but I knew he was not going to be long for this world.  I held his hand and reassured him about things that were worrying him.  I knew what the "rally" was all about because I had seen it before in others I love shortly before they passed away.  

   Uncle Bob passed away peacefully in his recliner in his room around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.  It was only hours after our visit.  His son Alan kindly came up to tell me in person later that morning.  Alan and I had a good visit and I was able to reassure him about some things that had been bothering him.  I am so glad that I could be there for him in his time of need.  One of Bob's granddaughters and I are fairly close also.  I helped her gather pictures of Bob with our boys that she wanted to include in a slideshow of Bob's life to be shown at his funeral this coming Monday.  She, more than anyone else, understood the importance of those relationships, and wanted to make sure to honor her grandfather's memory with pictures of him with the boys.

   Bob and Norma were our family, not by blood, but by love.  We chose to be a part of each other's lives.  Bob used to eagerly wait at a place in our shared driveway for the boys to get done with their homeschooling work so they could get together to work on a project, go hunting, fishing, or just visit.  It is something that I would get a huge kick out seeing him just "appear" in that same spot each day around the same time, and looking over eagerly at our house.  I always knew that our boys were safe with him.  There were times when Bob, Chris and Josh would be wanting to go fishing and we would change our homeschooling schedule to accommodate that because I knew the value of that time and the life skills the boys would learn with Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma that Jeff and I could not give them.  He would tell the boys that their daddy, my Jeff, was the hardest working man he had ever met and that he should be our boys' hero.  Bob had an amazing amount of respect and love for my Jeff.  Both Bob and I always emphasized that fact to the boys and it stuck.  To this day, our boys look up to their father.  All of them have a great respect for him and still rely on him to help them learn new things, get advice from him and they want to do things to blessed him.

   So Uncle Bob, a hui hou, until we meet again.  Thank you for all your love, guidance, friendship, being another grandparent to our boys and above all, the life lessons you taught our entire family.  We were so blessed to have had you and Norma in our lives and there are not enough words to truly express our love and gratitude to you.  Always in our hearts.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Frugal Friday 12/9/22


   We've had snow this week and I am so grateful that Jeff and I did our big shopping trip over the weekend.  We did notice some things that we use on a regular basis that were missing from the store.  We asked the guy working in the bulk food section of the had any tortellini and he said it was the weirdest thing, but they could not get it from anywhere.  Boy am I glad that I have been trying my best to pick some up every time we go.  The hot cocoa mix was also out, and they did not know when it would be back in stock.  Are you noticing any shortages or missing items in your area?


~We shopped at Goodwill for a few things and used a 20% off coupon on one item each and also got 50% off an additional item since it was their 83rd anniversary.  Jeff got some warm wool socks (new) and some kind of exercise equipment. I got a full place setting of the Winterberry pattern dishes that I love so much, a cute insulated cup, a gorgeous led crystal piece of art, a package of new underwear (again, new and never opened package), and a beautiful pewter votive candle holder.

~I spent a full day doing laundry and getting that caught up from our trip.  I do not use a full capful of laundry detergent because you really do not need that much to clean your clothing.

~Jeff and I did the Winco shopping and got stocked up on things that we needed.  I then entered a picture of my receipt at Swagbucks to get some addition points. By this time the snow was coming on hard so we headed home.

~Jeff got out the Christmas tree for me and the ornaments and wall decorations.  I wrapped additional colored lights around the tree and then worked on the wall decor.  I was really sore after all of that so I stopped decorating for the evening.

~I dehydrated 2 packaged of frozen mixed veggies.  I now have a lot to use in soups, stews, pot pies, etc..


~I finished decorating the tree.

~I found a blanket to use under the tree as a tree skirt.

~I found another Christmas themed fleece throw and got that put in the wash so we could use it.

~My father had given each of us a wreath with a candle holder.  I put mine outside near our front door.

~Jeff finished the rest of the shopping that we did not get to over the weekend.  He shopped the sale items at Safeway and then headed over to the Dollar Tree to pick up some things on my list there.

~Pizzas were on sale at Safeway so we cooked two of those up for dinner.  They were the thin crust kind (that was all they had left).  We put two away in the freezer.


~I made 2 loaves of bread.

~While the bread was baking I worked on the pork rib steaks that Jeff got at Safeway on sale.  Two of them (they were huge) went into my crockpot along with some seasonings, a can of cream of mushroom soup and 3 red potatoes that I sliced up.

~I froze 3 packages of 2 each of the rest of the pork rib steaks for future meals.  I am trying to stock my freezer with sale priced meats.  We usually get a lot of our meat from Chris and Heather, but the hunting has not been as good this year.  The deer that they were going to give to us, they gave to their friends who were going through some rough times financially. Of course we fully supported them in doing that because we have been there before ourselves and they have 4 children to feed.  I don't want anyone to ever go through what we did.

~I watched some trash TV.  LOL!  Yes I find that relaxing.


~This was mostly a day of rest for me.  I have been pushing myself way too hard trying to get the Christmas decorations up so that we can enjoy them for as long as possible.

~I was able to order 10 more free covid tests to be delivered to our home.  The flu, covid and RSV are hitting our area hard.  The city schools in Moscow, Idaho, where my grandson Steven goes to school, had 33% of their students and staff out sick.  I want us to all have access to home tests so we can tell if it is covid or something else if/when we get sick.

~We did breakfast for dinner.  I made my own version of McDonald's Egg McMuffins with cheese and served them with canned pears.  I sizzled up some shaved ham, had some sliced cheese and fried up 2 eggs for Jeff's sandwiches (I don't like eggs).  It was really good and made my hubby a very happy man!

~One of the representatives of a company that supplies products to the store Jeff works at brought in hats for everyone.  They are really cool looking too!  I may just have to steal the hat from Jeff. 😉

~My Uncle Gary and his wife April sent us a box of Esther Price candy for Christmas.  It is soooooo good!


~Apparently, I was more tired than I thought after our trip.  I took a 2 hour nap in the morning and it felt so good!

~Still dealing with the health insurance company rejecting authorization for an echocardiogram.  I will be changing health insurance again in January and we will have to start this whole process over.  The cardiologist office and I are forming a plan to hopefully get things taken care of and the right information needed onto the preauthorization paperwork this time.

~I keep Christmas music playing in the house via YouTube.  They have a lovely selection to choose from.


~I watched some YouTube videos about frugal Christmas appetizers to make.  I needed some new ideas.

~My cousin Jeremy and I had a lovely phone visit.  We all really miss him up this way.

~Heather and I are swapping the days when we each take Steven while he is on Christmas break from school.  His school actually shut down today because so much of the staff and students are out ill.

~I made a large pan of homemade Salsbury Steak and gravy.  I used some elk burger that we had in our freezer, some spices, onions, and made a quick beef gravy (from packets) to pour over it and bake in the oven.  I threw in a large acorn squash in another pan to also bake along with the steaks.  I also made a large pot of rice.  Some of the rice will be used for this meal and the rest will be used in future meals. 

   As our temperatures are expected to plumet this coming week and I trying to come up with a menu plan that is filling and comforting.  I am so glad that I have so many cookbooks here at home to browse through.  I think I many also dig out a quilt to have on the couch to cuddle under since I am not sure if just a thinnish fleece blanket will be up to the job.  It seems like it will be the perfect time to snuggle in and read.  Be blessed all!

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

A Wonderful Gift!

   Our Josh and Lauren blessed us with an early Christmas gift of paying for half of our plane tickets to come visit them and meet our new Granddaughter Peyton and spend time with our grandson Tate.   They spoiled us rotten while we were there with trips to Ethel B's Christmas Light display in the cactus garden, seeing the Christmas display at the Bellagio, Lauren took me to Ikea and Josh taking Jeff golfing.  They also took us out to eat so many times!  Best of all though was spending so much time with them cuddling our granddaughter and spend lots of time playing with Tate.  Tate and I even made Cranberry Orange Bread together!  One morning we met my friend Sheena, from high school, for breakfast.  We were so busy catching up that we forgot to take a picture.  LOL! It was a lovely week and one that built memories that will last a lifetime.  


We are home and missing them all now.  It's so hard having them so far away but we know that is what is working for them right now.  They will be moving in the Spring to Utah and hopefully we will be able to spend more time together since it will only be a long 1 day drive to see them.  Precious memories were made and we are so very thankful for this wonderful early Christmas gift!


Friday, November 18, 2022

Tragedy in Moscow, Idaho


   I know that Fridays are supposed to be my frugal Friday Wrap Up post, but this week had been a very rough one for our local area.  Over last weekend, 4 college students were brutally murdered in their home, while 2 other students living there somehow came out alive with no injuries.  Those 2 other students are fully cooperating with the police, and I am sure they are in shock.  If you have not heard about this horrible crime, as it has made the national news, here are two links to news articles on it...https://www.krem.com/article/news/crime/university-of-idaho-students-killed/autopsies-completed-university-of-idaho-students/293-cc8de95c-e92d-411c-abe9-bee2ac30b3c4


   Our hearts break for the students killed, their friends and family and the University of Idaho campus, where they all attended school together.  One of my friend's sons were friends with the girls that lost their lives.  I have no idea how they are going to begin to process this since they grew up with these girls and were then in college with them.  😭

   Moscow, Idaho is a tight knit community where people for the most part feel safe.  At first the police said they did not feel that there was a threat to the community after these gruesome murders, but later walked that back.  We now know that there is a murder(s) out there on the loose and no one is feeling safe.

   I, along with Rachel, graduated from the University of Idaho.  We have friends that work there.  Jaysn, Rachel and Steven live right outside of that town.  Steven goes to school in Moscow and both Jeff and Rachel work in Moscow.  Jeff was born and raised there.  Chris, being a Latah County Sheriff's corporal, works out of that town also and knows most of the guys doing the investigation since he also used to work for the Moscow Police Department and went to POST or taught at POST with some of the Idaho State Police officers who are also up here helping.

   Moscow, Idaho is where I do most of my shopping and where the rest of our family up here does also.  Rachel, Steven and Jaysn go to church in Moscow.  Our family is strongly tied to this beautiful community where such a horrific crime took place.  We pray they find the murder(s) soon and that they never see the light of day again.


Sunday, November 6, 2022

Peyton Andi is here!


Our little princess, Peyton Andi, is here!  She made her grand entrance into the world on Saturday Nov. 5. 2022 at 9:25 a.m..  

   She is 7 pounds and 22 inches long.  She and her Mommy are both doing great and hope to be going home today.

   As you can see, her Daddy (our son Josh) is totally in love with his little girl. 💓

   Her Daddy is already planning on getting more guns, and a shovel if needed, 😉, if anyone hurts his little girl.  LOL!

   Peyton will be joining her big brother Tate to complete their little family.  Grammie and G-pa (Jeff and I) will be flying down at the end of this month to cuddle our little princess and play with our Tater Tot. 😊  Not going to lie, every time I see our little Peyton, I get all teared up.  We finally have a girl!