Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Break 2011

"We love Spring Break!"
Favorite photos of the Wilderness buddies

Her model pose...I have no idea where she got this from!

A tribute to Uncle Tom

Starting It Out Right

Despite the fact that Chris had a four-day conference in Dallas, the kids and I headed to Wilderness in the Smokies for a couple of days of fun with the Jones clan. The boys really enjoyed their time of freedom to roam from slide to slide without parents tagging along. However, they did want their moms to join them every once in awhile...I guess so that they could laugh as Jewel and I "screamed" a bit for the effect. The girls thoroughly loved time away from their big brothers in order to splash and play as they pleased. T and M lived in the wave pool most of the time and played by the shore with their mermaid dolls and the ring floats. Tori did not mind the buzzer at all to indicate the beginning of the wave cycle. (The last two times that we went, she hated that buzzer with a passion!) While we were there, we introduced the Jones family to one of our favorite eating haunts...The Blue Moose. On Monday, after we had our last hurrah at the water park, the kids and I did some necessary shoe shopping at the outlets, and then met up with Mamaw Sandy and Paw at the Old MacDonald putt-putt. Tori was absolutely warn out from all the water fun, so she opted to go home with me...That tells you how tired she was! J.J. stayed and played a few rounds and then went home with the grandparents to spend the night. Needless to say, the first part of their break was a blast!

Dad Comes Home

When Dad's away...Our kids are certainly different little people! Even though they have Mom around, I am certainly not Dad! They seem like lost little puppies...and I guess I do to! I was so relieved when Chris walked through the door Tuesday night. We all gave him long lingering bear hugs! Wednesday was spent in recovery mode...Chris was physically and mentally tired; the kids and I were worn out emotionally (Yep, those little sprites wore my patience thin at our low points during dad's absence, and they would get frustrated at me for my lack of not being Dad, too.) By Thursday, we were rested, and we hit Chuck E' Cheeses for some fun and the mall for a bit of looking around, snacking, and shopping.

In Loving Memory

For two weeks, my great Uncle Tom had been in the hospital battling congestive heart failure among other things. He passed away early Tuesday morning, and my whole family was truly saddened by our loss. Uncle Tom (my Grandpa Barger's brother) was just one of those people that made the world a better place because of his caring and giving nature. As a young man, he served in the Marines and was commissioned as an honor guard at Arlington and worked in the White House. After leaving the military, he worked his way through Carson Newman and then through pharmacy school in Memphis. When he became a pharmacist, worked in the Midwest for many years, using his career to help many in need. He moved back to East Tennessee, in the late 1990s, and continued to help others for several years through his job at CVS, until he had to retire due to his declining health. I know that I will forever be grateful to him the day we brought Jonathan home after his birth. It was Christmas Day 1999, and I begged my doctor to let us go home. (I was suffering from pre-eclampsia, and little J.J. was a month premature.) Not thinking of all the medicine they would send me home with, I was discharged with a handful of prescriptions. Uncle Tom happened to be working at one of the only two CVS pharmacies opened in our area. We stopped by; he filled them quickly. So quickly in fact that he chose to pay for them himself instead of running them through our insurance. He wouldn't hear of anyone paying him back, so I simply told him thank you. I did find a way though, posthumously of doing something for him. Wednesday night, I went to my mom's and put together a college of pics of he and his son (who died in 1998...a crushing blow for Uncle Tom) and snapshots that showed glimpses of his life. My mom found one of his pharmacy jackets, and I incorporated that with the pics onto a show board. It was displayed at the funeral home on Friday as people signed the memorial book. "Thank you so much Uncle were certainly loved by your family. You have left the world a better place for having you in it with your generosity and love for your fellow man. I will miss you until we meet again..."

Aunt Sarah's Illness

The weekend that the kids and I left for Wilderness, my Aunt Sarah was rushed to the ER for what we thought was dehydration. In fact, she was suffering from dangerously low potassium levels and a heart condition. Finally, by mid-week, she was stable, and my mom and I made the decision to have her moved to a local nursing home (less than 5 minutes from my house; 10 minutes from my mom's) for rehab once again. She is doing well, but she is still very fragile and weak from her illnesses. Like my Uncle Tom, she is an amazing fighter. She will be 93 in June, and despite the last two years or so, she had enjoyed good health. Her body is now simply worn out...Right now there is a good chance she may not be able to go back to her assisted living facility. I am just thankful that we have her at this care facility...It's clean, attractive, and the staff seems to genuinely care for the patients. Please keep my aunt, and most certainly my mom, in your prayers. (My mom really has the gift of caring for others, but lately her gift has been wearing her quite thin.)

The Raging Weather

Just so you understand....I AM REALLY SICK OF THIS RAIN, AND NOW IT'S COLD, TOO! We had really beautiful weather at the beginning of last week, and now, well, it's rain everyday! Even all this week!!! Atmospheric pressure plays unfairly with our sinuses, and our family has suffered with sinus pressure and pain almost every day! With the spring, severe thunderstorms hit our area, too. In fact last Wednesday, we had a tornado (F-3) hit the community of Greenback, two hours south of here. Thankfully no one was hurt or killed, but several families lost their homes and businesses. In the volunteer spirit, those that were affected are quickly gaining back with the help of the surrounding areas and communities. It's really a blessing that we do have a drive to help each other, especially those communities, towns, and cities in East Tennessee.

Spending the Weekend Together

This past weekend was spent doing some need chores around the house. Chris and I finally got around to the kid's new bathroom and put up the beach treasures and decor. We reorganized J.J.'s room complete with a great bookshelf (from Uncle Tom's collection of treasures). And I began to put up my Easter decor! I just love to decorate...It does make me very happy! Yesterday, because of the icky weather, we decided to hit the bowling alley as a last goodbye to Spring Break.

Last Thoughts
This has been a very unusual break. I had so many intentions of getting more things done, like crafting some Easter gifts for my nieces and nephews and doing a bit more cleaning and organization...but, I do have several more weekends ahead to tackle those projects. I think that God had this designed for a purpose...He knew that I didn't need the added distraction of work while being a single mom for a few days, grieving our loss, and helping my aunt get though the serious part of her illnesses. I am thankful that despite the sadness and stress on my part, the kids had a good time this past week. I am sorry that I was neglectful of my blog and my blog friends this past week. It really was an unintentional blog/computer break. I hope to catch up with all of you ASAP.

Happy Spring!


Kim K. said...

Please know that I'm thinking of you and your extended family. Your spring break sounds fun, but exhausting. I loath being a single parent and am glad that it doesn't happen all that often. Extra hugs on getting through part of your spring break alone.

Darling pictures of the kiddos. I'm sorry your weather has stayed cool and rainy. I only thought the cool part happened up north.

The girls and I will be playing with your care package items next week during our spring break.


Heather said...

I just love the "model" pose! Our spring break is next week, and I can hardly wait. I am looking forward to sleeping in, no multiple school drop offs and pick ups and no packing lunches. Hip,hip hooray!

Mahmee said...

I think you need a vacation from your 'vacation'. You should go and have a spa day somewhere. Sounds like you could use a little pampering.
So sorry for the loss of your dear uncle.
We'll be thinking of your aunt.
Get some rest.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

What cute photos...the children are always so adorable and it looks like they had a very good timeon their Spring Break.

I am sorry for your loss, it is very sad. Take care.