Thursday, July 28, 2011

Still finding it hard to cope....

Next Thursday marks 4 months since my brothers death and I'm still finding it hard to cope.  It is difficult to lose anyone you love, but losing a sibling is traumatic and devastating to the whole family.

Losing my brother just feels like life is out of order.  He was too young to die....a child should not die before a parent.  It simply IS NOT FAIR!

The most difficult part of the loss is that we still don't know the "cause of death".  Waiting on autopsy results is excruciatingly painful.  In order to move on with my life I need to understand what really happened.  Could the death been prevented?  Was it an accident?  Was it caused on purpose?  I am in desperate need to know the answers to these questions.

There is also the GUILT....I have often felt that I should have been the one to die instead of my brother.  He had overcome so many obstacles in his life and was just starting to "live".  There is also the guilt that comes from "if I would have just made more time to see him".  Life gets busy and sometimes it seems like such an inconvenience to plan get-togethers.  And most nights I was too tired from a long day at work to pick up the phone and call.  I hadn't seen my brother in months before he passed away and I have not forgiven myself.

It was so hard watching my parents experience the grief of losing a child.  We've all tried to move on and in doing so, we have stopped talking about it.  For me it feels like I am living a dual living in total grief and one totally ignoring it.  It's exhausting and difficult to keep up. 

My brother, Chris, and I on my wedding day last July

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It Feels like a Sucker Punch to the Gut

I've read two books the past couple weeks and they have both tugged at my heart strings.

The first was A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard 

I was moved and inspired by the raw power of her voice and most of all her strength.  It is not an easy read and you find yourself not wanting to put it down, but wishing the entire time that it wasn't a true story.  Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped on the way to school at age 11 and she recounts everything until she was rescued 18 years later (only 2 years ago in 2009).  These memories will rip you to the core. (have kleenex ready)  I'm in awe that someone could live through such dreadful events and yet still believe in happy endings.  Dugard is an inspiration!

The second book was What we Have by Amy Boesky

This was another "tear at your heartstrings" type of book.  Amy does not have one single female relative who has lived past her mid-forties.  They all died of ovarian cancer.  Amy and her sisters know what this means for them:  they need to fall in love, get married and pop out babies before the age of 35 when they will get complete hysterectomies.  Her (and her family's) story is all about love, loss and survival.  It was even more heart wrenching for me to read because Amy and her family are from Detroit, Michigan and I, too, am a Michigander.  As I was reading the book I really felt like I knew Amy.  Almost like I was experiencing everything right along with her.   This was a story about grief, tragedy and heartache...but you will continue turning the pages.  Beautifully written and inspiring!

But now that I've read two, back-to-back, heart wrenching - sucker punch to the gut - type of books, I need something more uplifting.  Anybody read any good books lately?  I'm not picky about the subject matter or even if it is fictional/non-fictional.  I just know I can't spend another few days engrossed in a book with a box of kleenex at my side.  My husband won't let me...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Life is short...

Our family had a pretty big scare a couple weeks ago.  My sister-in-law, 28 years of age and mother of a 2-year old, went in for surgery and they found a lot of cancer once they had her cut open.  It is a very rare kind that won't react to radiation or chemo.  The doctor told us that had they not found it, she wouldn't have lived another 6 months.  They had to remove her entire bile duct and stretch her small intestine in it's place.  They removed half of her liver and a third of her pancreas. 

Her scheduled surgery should have only been about 2-2 1/2 hours long and they ended up being in there for almost 8 hrs.  As family members sitting in the surgical waiting room you can imagine how anxious everyone was.  And for myself and my husband, "not" being in the waiting room seemed even more difficult.  We all knew it wasn't going to be good news when the doctor came out, but we were not prepared for the news we were told.

She was in the hospital for 11 days while she fought infection, controlled her pain, and got her liver enzymes under control.  As of this weekend though, she is finally home and recovering, with her husband and son being her biggest cheerleaders.

Needless to was scary (and still is).  But, being reminded that LIFE IS SHORT does a mind good sometimes.  We are all trying our best to make the most out of each and every day, knowing that it could be our last.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Making a house a HOME!

I was looking through some old pictures of our house today and I was amazed at the changes that have taken place in the 2.5 years that we have lived there.  It made me very emotional thinking about all the ways in which we have made our house a "home".

Here are some before/after/current pictures of some of the changes we have made. (editors note:  I apologize for some of the picture quality...some of these came from my phone camera)

Living Room:

Living Room (before)

Living Room (before)

Living Room (just after moving in)
Living Room (just after moving in)
Living Room (after 1 year)
Painted the walls, swapped some furniture from the family room,
new rug and changed curtains/wall decor

Living Room (current)
Added hardwood floors

Living Room (current)
Changed pillows/wall decor

Dining Room:

Dining Room (before)

Dining Room (just after moving in)
New Light fixture above table

Dining Room (after 1 year)
Painted, changed curtains, new wall decor, tablecloth

Dining Room (current)
added hardwood floors & new table


Kitchen (before)

Kitchen (before)

Kitchen (before)
Kitchen (just after moving in)
added stainless steel appliances
Kitchen (after 1 year)
added new floors

Kitchen (current)
painted walls & bar countertop
**Note: the blue is funky in this picture...sorry**

Kitchen (current)
new curtains

  Guest Bedroom:

Guest Bedroom (before)

Guest Bedroom (just after moving in)
Guest Bedroom (current)
painted walls, furniture & rearranged furniture
**iphone pic - very dark

Guest Bedroom (current)
painted bookcase, new bedspread
**iPhone pic - very dark

Guest Bedroom (current)
new bedspread & curtains
**Note:  wall decor has been added, but I don't have a current photo

Guest Bath:

Guest Bath (before)

Guest Bath (just after moving in)

Guest Bath (after 1 year)
added new floors

Guest Bath (past 3 months)
painted, changed shower curtain & painted cabinet under sink
Note: The green reminded me of toothpaste...didn't like it!

Guest Bath (as of 48 hrs ago)
painted (yet again) and changed shower curtain
Note:  I'm not sold on the yellow yet...and there is too much "white".  I'm thinking of
changing out the shower curtain (yet again) and maybe new rugs.  Plus, the wall decor still needs to be added.

Later this week I will show you the before/after of the outside of the house.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ME vs The Shed

When I bought my house and it only had a one car garage, I knew that a shed would become a necessity some day.  What I didn't know, is that it would become a necessity within the first few months of owning a home.  Between my husbands wheelchair ramp, the mower, the snowblower and our grill, there just isn't any room for much else. 

So last summer after 2 years of stuffing the garage full of more crap than I ever thought it could hold....we broke down and went to Lowe's to purchase a shed.

The weekend after purchasing the shed I got together our "working crew" and all of us gathered in the backyard.  Only Mother Nature had different plans.  There were 30-40 mile per hour winds that day which would have made building a "metal" near impossible.  So instead, we pushed the box aside and planned to get together the following weekend.  

That box we "pushed aside" sat there through fall and collected leaves around it.  It sat there through winter covered in a tarp to protect from the snow.  And it sat there through the spring collecting rainfall.  

Well, after two 90+ degrees days, a gazillion screws, and a handful of cuss words later.....WE HAVE A SHED!!!

Except, I don't have pictures because I was too busy cussing out the shed and handling a gazillion screws to take the time to grab my camera.  My husband did use our flip camcorder and got most of the progress on that so at least we documented the process somehow.

But, here is a picture of our shed straight from Lowe's website.

10' x 12' Arrow Highpoint Shed
 For someone with very little patience this is NOT the project for you.  And for someone who wants something done "right now", this is NOT the project for you.  It was truly a big pain in the arse...but, now that it's complete I love it and can't wait to begin filling it full of meaningless crap...LOL

All in all, I would say that in the battle of me versus the shed....I WON!!! (eventually, anyway)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

One Year

Today is my wedding anniversary! It's been a long year full of ups and downs (definitely more downs). But, we made it through and have come out on the other side happier and more in love than ever.

Happy Anniversary babe...I love you!

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Secret Obsession

If you were to ask me my favorite place to shop I would probably say Target....but to be honest, I find just as many things I "have to have" every time I go to Walgreens.

I started this annoying cough yesterday afternoon and it WILL NOT GO AWAY so I had to run to Walgreens last night for some cough drops/syrup.  While there, I also picked up some bobby pins, eyeshadow and 3 bottles of nail polish.

I'm what you call a nail-polish whore!  I have oodles and oodles of nail polish bottles.  Most of them I have never even used.  It's a weakness I have....OPI gets me every time!  I'm pretty sure I have bought some of the bottles, based solely on their name (you're a pisa work, I'm not really a waitress, the Tasmanian Devil made me do it, Pink before you leap, it's all greek to me)

The worst part of this obsession is that I only buy polishes in the pink or red categories.  Once in a blue moon I get a little crazy and will put a coral color on my nails, but 99.9% of the time it is pink/fuschia/red.  But last night...maybe it was the obsessive coughing and the lack of oxygen getting into my lungs as I was struggling for breath....I bought 3 bottles of nail polish and only 1 bottle was in the pink family.  And to be honest it was not in the "normal" pink category that I tend to favor.  It was HOT pink...Like glow in the dark hot pink.  Are you ready to know what the other 2 bottles were?

One was GREEN....and the other BLUE.  I mean for $1.99 I had to give it a try, right?

Here is the Blue I purchased....It is called Why Not by Sinful Colors

And here is a picture of my nails with it on....(disclaimer:  I didn't realize I had "man hands" and "sausages" for toes)

Here is the GREEN called Happy Ending

And here is the PINK called 24/7 (although, it looks much brighter in real life)

I'm actually loving the blue so much that I am almost sure that I'm going to stop by Walgreens after work to pick up the following:

Cloud Nine
Dream On
I'm not sure if this is the cough medicine talking or not, but stepping outside of my "pink" comfort zone is so much fun!!

Have any of you dared to try these bold colors?  If so, what is your favorite?