Thursday, November 14, 2013

September Favorites

September was lots of fun, then lots of work, then lots more fun, then more work.  I loved it.   This is a very long post, but I had to get it all in. 

 I spent most of the month in Utah working on Mom and Dad's history and we had a mini family reunion with three of my brothers and their wives and Mom of course, but I started the month in Virginia.  I always love September because it's my birthday and Rich spoils me royally.  This year we had a  party at the house with some of the kids and grand kids. 

Andrea turns...???

Well, a girl cannot tell all of her secrets, but I will share some of the pictures from the party.  Rich catered a lunch for all of us and I separated the kids from their parents.  See that shaking finger.  I'm not sure who it was, but they had to eat at the other side of the house.  Needless to say, the kids had fun.  Hmmm.

            Here are Nathan, Jocelyn, and Audrey at the kids table getting ready to clean their plates??

                                           And here's Charlotte and Audrey!
 And here are Melanie, Andrew, Matthew and Gabe.  The Cheetos game.
the kids are at the bottom of the picture.
 And this picture has Rich.  You wonder where Nathan was, well read on.
 This crew is having a contest to see who can get the most Cheetos in the shaving cream in this picture.
Nathan was busy getting all of the Cheetos off the ground and  eating them!
This game was hilarious.  The empty kleenex box was full of ping pong balls that had to be bounced out.  It wasn't that easy either.  Melanie even did a back bend to get hers out.  Melanie and Gabe were great.  I have a video,but I think if I posted it, they would never speak to me again.   and Gabe tied Rich's box on backwards so none of the balls would fall out.  I beat him with Gabe's help.  Nice one Gabe.
We also played the potato race.  Let me tell you my daughters-in-law could show some of the Redskins some of their moves.   

 Harper just thought we were all crazy.
Melanie made this delicious cake.  She is an artist at cakery!  Thanks Melanie.
And I was only three!  Nathan always ready to help.
It was a great party.  There's nothing more fun than FAMILY!  Thanks Rich!
Three days later I left for Utah for the rest of the month.  Rich flew to CA to spend a few days with the Fresno kids before joining me in Utah.   
Margo and Kenny came from Idaho to help.  (With Mom and the history) Margo and I took a lunch break at guess where?  Five Guys.  Or this could have been a dinner break.  As you all know my youngest brother Darryl and his partners are the owners of Five Guys in Utah, Idaho, parts of CA and OK.  I have to say those French fries are the best, but the quality of the beef is unequaled at other burger joints.  Our family is especially appreciative of good beef as our dad butchered his own for his grocery store.  We were spoiled with excellent meats growing up. 
 Kenny (my oldest brother) and I at Mom's rehab facility.  My brothers are just the greatest guys.  I am one lucky girl and I know it to have these guys on my team.  They take good care of me too.  Kenny and Margo had researched some areas of Idaho Falls (Iona) where our Grandma Leona Rounds Neider grew up and found some great history for the book we are working on. 
Mom was doing a bit better in September.  I was happy to see her improvement, but she is still pretty fragile.  We moved her back to her assisted living center on October 2nd. 
Here are Kristin (my niece) and her family visiting the rehab center.  Kristin lived with us one summer and she is pretty special to us.
Here's Mom looking a little more lively, but you can tell she's been through a lot. 
Here's Donna Jr and I.  She is Mike and Rosy's youngest daughter.  She stopped by to visit her Grandma Donna.  I was so happy to see her because it doesn't happen very often.  Just adorable as you can see.
 In the mean time, Rich was in Fresno with these two handsome guys.  He saw Tanner play in his football game and Carsen run in his cross country meet.  They are fantastic athletes and straight A students I might add.
The boys needed a bar for their windows so off to Home Depot to get supplies and tools.  Grandpa showed them how to prep the dowels.  Good training from Grandpa. 
 Jeremy and family up in the mountains near Fresno showing Grandpa where they like to camp.
Chase in Grandpa's hat
 And just so you can see that this handsome guy does smile.  Here is Carsen ready for church.
 Grandma Leona Rounds Neider
 After Rich flew in from Fresno, we made a quick trip to Idaho Falls, Idaho to get some pictures of the wonderful pieces of history Kenny and Margo had found.  In compiling Grandma Leona Neider's history, we didn't have much.  Then kenny and Margo called to say they had located a book with Iona history, where she was born in 1898.  I am her namesake, Andrea Leona.  Now we have lots more to add to her history.
Here is the Lincoln Canal where Grandma was baptized a member of the LDS Church.  I can really imagine that day when Grandma was eight years old.  I'm sure the water was pretty cold.
This the Lincoln where Grandma attended school.  It was new when she was in school as a girl.  It was built in 1907
It was touching to see the places where Grandma had lived.  I didn't know that she grew up so close to Pocatello.  It makes sense,but I just didn't know it.  I had her write her life story in the '60s, but the first page is missing.  I really had one of those moments.  I wish I had asked Grandma more about her life as a girl in Idaho.  I knew my dad was born here, but most of his brothers and sisters were born in California.  He moved to CA with his family when he was two years old.  Grandma and Grandpa Neider are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.
We have lots of pictures of homes, the store where Grandma worked and the old church.  It was very exciting to find all of this history.  Then really -- a miracle happened.  I was getting ready to copy the pages of the Iona history book ( about 50 pages) when Rich stopped by Kenny and Margo's with a boy hood friend, Gene Forbes.  I told him his grandparents were in the book and he said he knew it and in fact had a couple of extra copies of the book if we would like one.  Just amazing! His mother had also grown up in Iona.  I couldn't believe it.
Mini Reunion
We planned a mini reunion with Mom, three of my brothers and their wives toward the end of the month.  We all stayed the night at Darryl's beautiful home and Anna Maria prepared an amazing dinner for all of us.  Here are some of the pictures.
The Neider Team
 See -- I told you -- I have amazing brothers.  Here we are.  From the left, Darryl, the baby,  Kenny, the smartest of the bunch, Andrea, the beautiful, nice, friendly and really smart sister, and Mark,  the favorite of all (at least everyone has a child named after him) and Mom in the middle.  These guys are my best friends.
I can't even tell you how much I love this family.   Mike, my fourth brother is serving an  LDS mission in the Las Vegas Nevada Mission as the Mission President. They are lucky to have Mike and Rosemary in Las Vegas, but we really miss them.

We brought Mother up to Darryl's for the dinner as she wasn't up to too much activity.  She loves being with her family as you can imagine.  After dinner she was resting on the couch and reached down for a kleenex she had dropped and banged her head on the coffee table.  This was the result.
 This picture was the next day, but boy did we feel badly about this.  She was a good sport though and when the guys took her back she told the nurses at her rehad center that she was never going to a bar with these guys again.

 We had lots of fun being together at Darryl's and before you could snap your fingers we had reverted to our childhood antics with each other.
Rich had sent my brothers this picture of his family when Rich was about 13-14.  He knew they would get a laugh out of it and they did.  They called it his Lurch picture and gave him a really bad time about his attire especially his argyle socks.
This is an amazing picture to say the least.  So anyway, as a joke Rich got each one of the guys a pair of argyle socks so they could be as cool as he was.
 They had lots of fun with their new socks!
Needless to say we had a fabulous time together.  We really enjoy each other's company.

Here are my darling sisters-in-law -- no really just my sisters.  Love these girls to pieces.
                                   Margo (Kenny) Renee (Mark)  Anna Marie (Darryl) and me.

 We are pretty darn lucky that this crew joined the Neider Family!  Wonderful group!
                                             Margo, Rich, Anna Marie, Renee
 Before we all split up, Darryl treated all of us to a late lunch at one of his Five Guys!  Love those burgers and fries.
Many hugs later we said goodbye and promised to get together soon.
The next day we picked up this cutie pie. 
Lauren 17 years old and look how wonderfully tall she is! 
 We ate at the Black Bear Diner
Lauren and her Grandpa Crowley
We hiked the temple quarry
 We made caramel popcorn balls.  A Neider Family FAVORITE!
Step away from those popcorn balls young man.
Just Kidding!  We all helped make this fun treat.  I don't know who was the most excited Mark, Jackson or the two Grandpas.  Rich kept saying to me, "Mark is going to be really disappointed if you don't make those popcorn balls."
Rich was able to catch up with Kirstin at Mom's rehab.  She's really partly our girl!
So my second month (almost) in Utah was filled with lots of fun memories, but it was time for Rich and I to fly home to catch up in Virginia.  I spent the last couple of days with Mom and then we moved her back to her assisted living in Draper.  She was so happy to be back to her familiar surroundings.  Working on her history has been such a labor of love.  It has been quite journey for me to see where we came from and why we are who we are.  It's fun to see Mom as a young girl, a young mother, an accomplished horse woman, a writer, an artist, a devoted wife, mother, daughter and sister.I'm astonished at all she has accomplished in her life.  She always worked outside of the home and was very ambitious.  She has seen so much in her lifetime and progressed right along with life.  Until a couple of years ago she was on her computer and very tech savvy, but her focus always leaned to her family.  We  always said once Mom made up her mind, just stand back.  The day before we moved Mom back we removed her computer.  It was a very sad moment to admit she could no longer enjoy her technology. 
My journey in the last several yeas has often been a contest of wills with Mother.  Well, we are both women.  Now we are in a quieter place.  At 90 her life is winding down and her little body has betrayed her, but her mind is as sharp as ever.  Love this little Mother.  She has taught us all so much.
Here is one of the pictures we are using for the history.  Mother and Dad were still in high school.  They married (eloped) after Dad graduated.  Mother still had a year of school to finish and they thought they could keep their marriage a secret.  Ha Ha!  Dad's mother found the bank book that said Mr and Mrs Boyd Neider.  They were found out!
We've sent this picture for repair, but aren't they just the cutest!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What happened to Summer?

 Boy oh boy !  I am so far behind, .but I am determined to get this blog caught up.  It's early November and I am just getting around to August.  I thought when I retired I would have lots more time and I do, but I love to read.  I can't help myself.  I have now promised myself I will not read anything but newspapers until this blog is caught up so here goes.

On July 31st, Hannah at Mom's assisted living,  called to tell me the nurse believed Mother had suffered a stroke. I told her to call 911 and get her to the hospital in Murray.  I later found out when Hannah told Mother she was going to the hospital in an ambulance, Mother said,  "Well, my hair doesn't look very good!"  And that is the story of Mother.  She wants to look good even in the ER.  Love this little woman.

I flew to SLC the next week and Mother was in rehab by then.  She had picked up a hospital infection and was very very ill.  The stroke left her right side barely able to move her right arm and leg and swallowing was very difficult.  She was on an  IV antobiotic and was having a very difficult time even keeping her eyes open. 
Mother was very weak and very fragile.  She didn'twant to get up, but the restorative speech therapists insisted on her coming to the dining room for her meals so they could help her with swallowing.  She told her aid, "I can't eat any more." 
He said, "Paco says when you are finished."  She loved Paco.

The PT staff were working with her in the gym helping her to strengthen her arm and leg.  She was still having a difficult time with everything and could not keep her eyes open. 

Here she is after a session of PT.  She looks much better here than she was feeling.  This picture was hours  before the staff informed us of the hospital infection which meant she was isolated to her room and could no longer go to the the dining room or to PT for two weeks.  I had previously planned a trip to Utah for three weeks in September to work on Mohter and Dad's History.  I knew I couldn't work on the History at rehab -- I needed to work on  getting Mother stronger. Mother's doctor had informed us that she had fluid in her lungs and that needed to be watched.  When I asked the rehab doctor about getting mother up more, she told me that patients had rights and if they didn't want to get up they didn't have to????? 
I kindly let her know that Mother was so ill she didn't know what she wanted and yes at 90 she could die from this infection and stroke, but I didn't think her longevity genes were going to let that happen just yet,  AND that her heart is strong and they may not have ever had such a courageous fighter as my 90 lb mother in their facility.  AND at the end of her stay in rehab she needed to be as strong as they could get her.  At the end of our discussion/mytirade the doctor agreed the staff neededet her up more.

 Thankfully I was so right about Mother.  I know -- I love it when I'm right.  During her time in isolation the restorative staff came to feed her on occasion.  I fed her lunch and dinner most days.  I tried to engage her while I was feeding her and wouldn't put the food in her mouth unless her eyes were open.  There was a routine.  Chin down -- swallow three times.  Pureed food and thickened water and liquids.  Somedays it was not great at all.  But she was working hard.  She couldn't feed herself well with her left hand and during some PT drills couldn't even raise her right hand to her nose.  I finally gave her a napkin to wipe her mouth after bites and what do you know!  she could wipe her mouth.  She even noticed and was surprised.

I took her outside for fresh air and walks most days and  the PT staff were willing to complete some PT outside. I talked to her about everything I could think of and then some.  All in all it was a pretty sweet experience  Taking care of the little Mother who cared  for me when I was little.  She really has lived an amazing life and is still going.
                                              Sometime in the 1940's!  Andrea and her mom.

I really love this picture of Mother and me.  This little girl was loved.  You can tell!  Look at that cute '40s Mom too.  She's quite the babe.

When I had to leave Margo came to be with Mom.  I felt like I was abandoning Mother and Darryl, but I had to get back to Virginia.  I knew I would be back in two weeks and Margo saved the day.  There were a couple of setbacks but Mother moved back to her assisted living center at the end of September.  (More on that in September)

Also in August
Here are some fun pictures from Utah. 

I got to spend most of a Saturday with Rich's sister Annette and her family.  Annette's grandson was married in the Salt Lake Temple.  We had a really fun day and I was so happy to be with them. 
  I had to get a picture of the sash on the wedding dress.  The grom is over by the building.  Their colors were black, pink and leopard.  Pretty wild for this conservative East coast girl.  They are a beautiful couple.
Annette, Rich's sister, Shane and Brett our newphews!

Annette and Terry with mother of the groom, Stefani!

 The Bride and Groom at the lunch.  Stefani's son Devin.

                                                                Deni and Ryan  - Brett's wife and son
Brett and daughter Sydney

 Sisters of the groom in their bridesmaid dresses.  Very cute girls and very interesting dresses.  Stefani and Garrin, the darling couple - Mom and Dad of the groom
Teresa, Shane, and Ron also at the wedding lunch.  Teresa is the sister of the groom's mother and  our cute niece.
Back to Rehab.  Here's Mother doing PT.  This was one of those days she could not keep her eyes open.
She kept trying
Before Ross (My favorite marine) left for Japan, Darryl and Anna Marie had a little birthday dinner for him.  He turned 19 the first week of August and left a few days later for Okinawa.  He truly is one of Grandma Donna's favorites. 
 Darryl got Ross some kind of super duper gadget that he loved.  Jackson (Darryl's grandson) was pretty intrigued also.
We took Mother up to the party for Ross.  She was thrilled.  A little blurry, but thrilled.

 Really Darryl?  Mom barely fits in the bed.
I couldn't resist this one last picture.  This guy is very devoted to his mother.  He takes good care of her.  Thanks brother dear.
 I flew home  to Virginia to gather my wits and get ready to return to Utah.  I have been working on Mom and Dad's history and still had lots to do.  It's been a really interesting project and hopefully will be completed by December when we have Mother's 90th birthday party.