Life with Granny Blog

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making plans." — Allen Saunders

October Highlights

Happy November! I can’t believe we’ve wrapped up the month of October, packed away our Halloween decorations and are now getting ready for Thanksgiving! October was a very busy month for our family. Here are just some of the highlights from the unseasonably warm fall.

Granddaughter Taylor finished strong with her volleyball season. We couldn’t attend all her games but it was fun to watch her improve as the season went on. And I would be remiss if I didn’t post of picture of her fabulous purple hair she had done for her family fall break trip to Florida!

Speaking of fall break trips, Mike and I went on a Disney cruise with some of our closest friends. We cruised aboard the Fantasy, one of Disney’s largest ships. We traveled to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. And of course a Disney cruise is not complete without a stop at their private island Castaway Cay! Here are a few of the 800 plus pictures I took!

This was one of the coldest Halloween nights ever but it didn’t stop my granddaughters from braving the cold, snowy night! Emma decided to dress up as a vampire while Taylor chose to be a devil. Even Dave (on the right in the center photo) and his friend Ryan dressed up to take their daughters out.

While Mike has been busy helping his friend with the fall harvest, I’ve been busy teaching my stamping classes and working on my card ministry for church. In October I held my monthly Stamp Camp and yesterday I hosted my annual Holiday Stamp-a-Stack. I was also able to make a lot of “Prayer Squares” for our Prayer Shawl Ministry.

Mom had a great month. She has remained healthy and loves visits from family members. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone but when I visit her in the evenings I will take her a Honey Bun. It’s still her favorite snack and I figure since she’s already had her evening meal it can’t hurt for her to have a little snack before bed.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful October and like us, are looking forward to the holiday season!

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September Highlights

Our granddaughter Taylor is busy with her volleyball games and attending the Avon football games. It is so much fun to see how is growing into such a pretty young lady!

Matt recently got to attend a Purdue football game with his buddy Drew and Drew’s father. I can’t wait to see what he thought of the campus.

My cousins Anna and Helen drove up from Mogantown last week to visit my mom and Anna graciously cut and styled Mom’s hair. Because of her pelvic fracture, Mom has been unable to visit the facility’s salon so she was badly in need of a hair cut. Anna used to cut her hair when she lived with Mike and I, so she knew exactly how Mom liked her hair cut. Thank you, Anna, for doing this for Mom!

Friday evening was Glenn Valley Elementary School’s annual spaghetti supper and auction. Dave’s parents Jim and Colleen joined Kelly’s family along with Mike and I for a fun evening at Kelly’s school.

Saturday night Max and Emma spent the night with Mike and I. We always enjoy having the grand kids over — it is our chance to spoil them! It was pizza after Mass on Saturday evening, then donuts Sunday!

Mike has been busy working on his friend/mentor Gene Bennett’s house. Gene is 88 and still going strong at his age. However, while he still drives and is very active in the community, there are some things he cannot do — like climbing on ladders to fix house vents. Mike took it on himself to caulk and re-paint around all the vents even though it wasn’t bothering Gene. This particular vent was kicking Mike’s butt because he couldn’t get the ladder close because of all the bushes. He placed one end of a board across the window sill and the other across the top of the ladder. I don’t know who was more nervous — me or Gene as we watched Mike work!

I recently started a Card Ministry at my church (SS Francis & Clare) and the gals from church have been coming over to help make cards for our parishioners who are ill, or who have lost a loved one. We also make cards for our Prayer Shawl Ministry. This week were finished 145 cards!

I’ve also been busy getting ready for my September classes. I will be teaching a regular stamping class on Saturday morning and a techniques class next Tuesday. You can usually find me in my craft room designing cards!

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Birthday Week

August is always a busy time for us but this past week was especially busy with two birthdays. I was busy making birthday cards for two very special people!

We started the week off with Eric celebrating his 46th birthday. Every birthday with him is extra special since we were told by a specialist at Riley Hospital when Eric was just 10 years old he probably would never make it to his 20th birthday. He has proved the doctor wrong and continues to amaze us with the way he can bounce back after his many surgeries and illnesses!

Kelly, Dave, Max and Emma went up with us to visit Eric for his birthday last Sunday.

On Tuesday our oldest daughter Julie celebrated her 44th birthday. Shhhh, I probably wasn’t supposed to tell anyone her age but it’s okay because she doesn’t look it!

On Wednesday we went up to visit my mom. I wanted to put up some fall window clings to brighten up her room. We were there when the hospice nurse arrived to see Mom and she was pleased with how well Mom was doing, despite the fact that she tried to get out of her wheel chair on Sunday evening and fell. She didn’t hurt herself — probably just her pride. I think she gets tired of sitting and forgets that she is not supposed to walk. Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t just let her have her walker but then she’d probably just fall more often!

Wednesday was also the 15th anniversary of my dad’s death. I showed Mom his picture and asked her if she remembered when he died and she said she did. I really can’t believe he’s been gone that long, even though there is not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. He was such a great father and role model. I think I can speak for all my siblings that we all miss him!

And sadly, this week I lost a very special uncle. Uncle Floyd was Daddy’s older brother and on Monday he passed away at the age of 97. He would have been 98 in November. Up until the spring he still lived in his Greenwood home. May his soul rest in peace. Now all the Ford siblings are in heaven with Grandma and Grandpa Ford.

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Another school year!

Well, it’s official. My job of taking care of Kelly’s kids has come to an end. Usually with the start of the school year I would still be involved with the daily lives of Max and Emma, either getting them on the school bus or hanging with them after school. However, with Emma beginning middle school, she now rides the same school bus as Max. Since the bus comes early, Dave and Kelly have not left yet for their jobs. So, I’m not needed to get them up and on the bus this year. And with Max being a freshman, I’m not needed after school to hang out with them. After being such a big part of their lives ever since Max was born, this is a big adjustment for me to not be needed!

Max (freshman) and Emma (6th grade) on the 1st day of school
Where have the years gone? They are growing up too fast!

On Friday Mike and I decided to drive down to the country to get some sweet corn from the Zupancic Farms. It was fun to see my cousin’s daughter Morgan who was selling the corn from their farmer’s cart. Morgan has one more week before she heads back to college so she was helping out that day. We then drove over to see my cousin Helen, surprising her with our visit. Since it was spur of the moment, she didn’t know we were coming. We had a wonderful time sitting on her porch swing and catching up with everything. She has a lovely country home and her grand sons are doing a great job helping her keep it up.

When we got back home I fixed my famous chicken velvet soup for a dear friend of ours who had just gotten out of the hospital. I made a chocolate dump cake for dessert and took the dinner over to her. We had a nice visit and I was glad to see Bobbi feeling better. When we came back home I fixed the sweet corn in my Instant Pot to go along with the soup. If you don’t have an Instant Pot you need to get one. It made fixing corn on the cob so fast and easy. The corn was delicious! Of course because it was just picked that morning, the corn was the best ever.

Emma was excited on Friday because she got her saxophone at band class. She looked forward all week to getting to be able to bring it home this weekend to practice. Of course I’m not sure how excited Dave and Kelly were to hearing her practice but I know she’ll be a fast learner!

Emma with her Saxophone

All in all it has been a good week. We had a wonderful visit with my mom earlier in the week. She was happy to see us and loved seeing the latest pictures on my iPad of all the kids. I found a pretty planter that cousin Arleen had given her years ago (the plant had long since died) and added a pretty fall arrangement in it to take up to her. She liked how it brightened up her room. She was also excited when I asked her if I could curl her hair a little. I don’t think you are ever too old to want to look pretty! I guess she’s not able to go to the beauty salon at the nursing home yet because of her pelvic fracture so she doesn’t get her hair done like she used to. I was tired of seeing it straight so I enjoyed fixing it for her. She looked more like her old self with a little curl in her hair.

I’m looking forward to this afternoon. Kelly and Dave are going out with friends so we get to have Max and Emma over for a sleepover. We will all go to 5:30 Mass (hopefully the air conditioning will be working–sometimes it is not) and then probably head over to Chicago’s Pizza in Bargersville since it’s the kid’s favorite restaurant. I’ve got to make sure we don’t stay up too late, though, because the kids have their Religious Ed small groups tomorrow and Dave will be picking them up after breakfast. Of course they are looking forward to staying for breakfast because Sunday breakfast is usually donuts — just like when I was a kid!

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Back to School for Some!

Max and Emma hung out with us this week since they had another week off before their school district goes back on August 6th. We took advantage of this and took them up to visit their Great Grandma. Usually she is so happy to see us. However, when we visited on Monday she seemed a little out of sorts. She was happy to see Max and Emma but she kept falling asleep in her wheel chair. When she would wake up she seemed uncomfortable and a bit grumpy. The nurse said she wasn’t very cooperative when they tried to do normal things with her like take her blood pressure. I just hope she wasn’t in a lot of pain because that is unlike her.

Julie had to start back on Monday for two days of teacher meetings and getting her classroom ready for the arrival of her Avon 1st graders on Wednesday. On Monday their was a district-wide meeting and Julie was recognized as one of the district’s “Teacher of the Year.” The teachers were awarded a plaque and money for their classrooms.

On Wednesday both our Avon grand kids Matthew (freshman) and Taylor (6th grade), along with granddaughter Angela who is a junior at Brownsburg High School, started back to school. It seems like just yesterday they were all little. Now I have 3 grandchildren in high school and 2 in middle school!

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A Lot To Pack In

I always think it’s going to be a lazy week with not much to do but as usual it ended up being a very busy week. Perry Township started school this past week so Kelly had to start back for teacher meetings on Monday. I think this was the earliest they’ve ever started their school year. With her going back to work I got to hang out with her kids all week. They enjoyed sleeping in a little later and after they got up and finished their morning chores, they would text me to come over and pick them up so they could hang out with us the rest of the day.

On Monday we decided to take Max and Emma up with us again to visit my mom. Once school starts they will not be able to go up to visit “Great” as they call her (short for Great Grandma) until the holidays. They will both be busy with homework and school activities. Both grandsons are taking academic honors classes this year and I’m sure the boys at least will have a heavy homework load. Anyway, my mom was so happy to have the kids visit. Her face just lights up when she sees them. She was in good spirits and chatty in her own way.

Max heading to his freshman orientation
150+ cards for our SSFC Card Ministry

On Tuesday Max had orientation in the morning so Kelly dropped him off at the high school then brought Emma over to our house on her way to school. While Max was at orientation, I had the ladies from my card ministry over in the morning to work on cards for our church. We were able to get over 150 beautiful handmade cards finished in about 2 hours.

Emma pointing to the missing combination on her locker. I think she’ll enjoy having an end locker, though!

On Thursday Emma got to go over to her school to pick up her schedule. She was able to see where her classrooms were located and check out her locker. She has been so excited to decorate her school locker but to her disappointment there were 20 lockers which had no combinations ad wouldn’t you know she got one of them! She was told that the new combinations were ordered and would hopefully be on the lockers some time in the coming week. We will just have to call either Thursday or Friday to see if her locker has been fixed so we I can take her over to decorate the inside of it. I mean, every locker needs a locker rug, right?

Posing in front of the Eiffel Tower at Kings Island

Saturday was a fun day for the Barton Family. As a “last summer hurrah” Kelly and Dave took Max & Emma to Kings Island for a day of fun in the sun. They went with their close friends and had a great time, despite the heat.

Saturday evening Mike and I attended my 50th Class Reunion which was held at Cardinal Ritter High School. It was so much fun. Because we had such a small graduating class (I think about 108) everyone knew everyone so it was more like a gathering of family members you hadn’t seen in a long time. Unfortunately, we lost 11 of our classmates over the years.

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The Hendricks County 4-H Art Show and Dog Show

My Granddaughter entered the Hendricks County 4-H Art Show again this year. She is quite the little artist and her pictures are always awesome. This year she entered a beautiful still life painting and also a black & white sketch. Both her entries received a blue ribbon, and they both went on to win the Honor’s Award.

Taylor also entered her dog Cooper in the Hendricks County 4-H Dog Show. Cooper is a beautiful 5 year-old Golden Doodle. It was the first year for Taylor and Cooper and the training for them actually began back in April. Every Monday Taylor (and her mommy Julie) would go to the fairgrounds in Danville and learn how to work with Cooper. Cooper often has a mind of his own and he needed to learn a few commands!

Taylor entered him into 2 categories: Obedience and Showmanship. It was a long hot day because the first category (Obedience) was early and the other category (Showmanship) was later in the day.

OBEDIENCE

Here we are waiting in-between for Taylor to show Cooper in his second category. Thankfully Julie brought a fan to help keep Cooper (and us) cool while we waited.

WAITING IN THE HEAT

Finally it was time for the Showmanship category. Cooper and Taylor did a wonderful job until the end when Cooper noticed Julie in the crowd watching and then Cooper lost his focus. He just wanted to be with Julie.

SHOWMANSHIP

All in all, this was such a great experience for Taylor. She learned how to make Cooper obey her simple commands, and she learned how to show him. And Cooper learned how to obey Taylor. They now have a wonderful bond and they earned some ribbons!

DOG SHOW RIBBONS

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“Gram-cation”

Every year Max and Emma get to spend a “Gram-cation” with us while their parents go to Las Vegas for a “mommy & daddy” vacation. We always look forward to this special time and this year was no exception. And while Dave and Kelly look forward to their time in Las Vegas, it is always so hard for them to say goodbye to their kids.

But, as soon as Dave and Kelly arrived in Vegas they were ready for a fun vacation! They stayed at the beautiful Bellagio Hotel where they entered a slot tournament. Kelly actually placed 3rd in the tournament! Most of their time, though, was spent at the Bellagio’s beautiful pool.

And while they were having fun in Vegas, we were having a blast with Max and Emma -they are such fun loving kids. We loved spoiling them and we told them “What happens at Grandma’s, stays at Grandma’s!”

They especially loved going up to visit their great-grandma with us. When we walked in, my mom’s face lit up to see them. She recognized them right away. We had a wonderful visit with my mom — she was especially taken with Emma and kept laughing at her.

But now the kids are back home with their mom and dad and it is quiet around our house. We always miss them when they go back home but I’m sure we can talk their parents into taking another trip soon!

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An Afternoon With Eric

We had a wonderful visit with my very special son Eric this past week and it was one of my happiest days ever. People often ask me if he recognizes me when he sees me. I have no doubt whatsoever that he certainly does!

When we arrived he was in his bed as they put the residents down for naps after lunch. He was awake and was just looking at his wall — I’m not sure what he was seeing but he was very intent on something. When I sat down on his bed next to him and spoke to him he looked right at me (remember, he is autistic and does not usually make eye contact) and he got the biggest smile on his face. I can tell you it certainly did my heart good!

We got him up and wheeled him into the parent lounge to visit with him. After awhile we decided to take him outside. The parent room was extremely cold and we all needed to go outside just to warm up a bit! Eric loved being outside, especially as there was a light breeze and he loved the breeze hitting him.

Many years ago Vernon Manor had a fundraiser and sold engraved paving stones for their garden area. At the time my mother and my daughters and Mike and I each purchased a stone. When we visit we don’t get outside in that area much so I wanted to take pictures of the stones to share with the girls. It was fun to see our 4 family stones.

Eric will be celebrating his birthday on August 11th. He loves getting cards so if you would like to send him a birthday card, here is his address:

Eric Jaffke, c/o Vernon Health & Rehab, 1955 Vernon Street, Wabash, IN 45992

I will be making him a large padded bulletin board to display all his cards.

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Visiting With My Mom

First, let me say nothing has changed — my mom still is being well taken care of and the pain caused by her fractured pelvic bone is being managed with medication. It is only when they try to move her that she lets on that she is uncomfortable. That said, she has always had a high pain tolerance.

When we visited her yesterday she was in her bed taking an afternoon nap so we just quietly sat with her until she awoke. She seemed very happy to see us and we had the aide transfer her to her wheelchair. I asked her if she wanted me to fix her hair so I carefully curled her hair a little while I talked to her. She was very alert and somewhat talkative. When she does say something it is hard to understand what she is trying to say so I can only hope I am responding appropriately to her comments.

When we got ready to leave, we wheeled her down to the nurses’ station with the other residents so they could keep an eye on her. Activities was setting up for Bingo so I’m sure they were going to take her down to join in.

But, leaving her at the nurses’ station suddenly hit me very hard. This is NOT what I wanted for her. Even though she may or may not realize what is going on, it made me so sad that this was her quality of life. I know in my heart I cannot take care of her, but it saddens me that this is what her last days are about. She is just like my handicapped son Eric. They are both totally dependent on others to care for them. They cannot tell you when they are thirsty, hungry, need to use the bathroom, are hurting, or just need a gentle touch. While this has always been Eric’s life, it is so hard to see a once vibrant woman reduced to this. It’s the first time in a long time it was hard to keep the tears in check while kissing my mother goodbye.

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