My Dad

She climbed out of the front seat of my car and said, “Oh G-da let me take you with me.” Lydia grabbed his photo from the dashboard and stuffed it in her pocket as we walked into church.

Timmy what made you think of Gda that you are crying so badly? He says what! with anger. I ask him again and he says what do you mean, I think of him everyday, all the time.

It’s been 116 days since my dad died. My eyes fill up with tears every time I look at that sentence. The door to his bedroom has been locked since. It’s been 116 days but it’s really been way longer. As we enter Lent I remember last Easter was when I noticed he seemed different. He was having trouble doing everyday things. He had a terrible stomachache and didn’t eat his filet I bought him. He loved filet. He told me to put it in the freezer and he’d eat it another day. He never did eat that filet.

We did everything we could but nothing could save him. We took him to his primary doctor and they said his blood work looked good. They blamed his Parkinson’s for the neck pain. Three days later we brought him to the hospital for possible stroke. They could find nothing wrong. They kept him for observation. Except they will fail miserably in observing him.

May 10th at 6:00 I was sitting in my dads hospital room with my three kids and six months pregnant with my fourth baby. We waited an hour in the room because when I got there they needed to do an ultrasound of his heart. They asked if I wanted them to wait until I left to do it and I said no do what you need to do. I should have said yes. By the time they wheeled him back in it was time for us to go because we were on our way to see Max play baseball. He really wanted to go to Max’s game. We visited for about 10 minutes. We set him up with his dinner and put on Wheel of Fortune. He was very eager to get the show on because it was the 7,000th episode. He ate Salmon for dinner. Brandon cut it up for him. I said, “So Dad how are you doing?” And he said, “I’m fine but how are you doing?”

The nurse told us he was being discharged in the morning. That night at about 10:30 he will have a heart attack and my life will change so drastically. The pain is like no other. I could feel my heart shredding to pieces like the claw of a tiger just ripping my insides. My siblings call my phone on repeat but my phone is on silent. I get woken up by the light of a FaceTime call from my brother. He says Dad had a heart attack. And I respond oh is that what’s been causing his sickness. I didn’t understand that he meant right now dad is dying of a heart attack. Erica gets on the phone and says the dr wants to know if he has a living will. I yell no. And I fall apart.

I fall apart the whole drive to Bethesda Heart Hospital screaming to God to help me. We all pull up at the same time and a security guard brings us to a private room where we sit from 2am until 6am in silence. The doctor comes in and says he’s stable but says you do know your father has severe heart disease with 95-100% blockage in all his arteries. We were able to repair 2 and now we will freeze his body to lessen brain damage. I’ve taken care of my dad for 7 years. Never has any dr mentioned heart disease.

We walk in to see him and he is hooked up to 7 machines. He is in a coma. The dr says he won’t show any signs of recovery until they unfreeze him. It’s now May 11th. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and my moms birthday. We decide because he is still frozen that we will continue our Mother’s Day plans with my mom and take shifts sitting with Daddy. Victoria takes the first shift. I take my mom to church and home for breakfast. I’m frying bacon and the phone rings. It’s Victoria completely hysterical saying the dr just came in and said he’s not gonna make it and we need to pull off life support. I never did eat the bacon. I walked out the door and drove to see this doctor. He looked me straight in the face with his facts. And I stared right back. He asks me if I have any questions. I say no. I tell him I know what I know and he knows what he knows. I do not shake his hand. We never see that dr again. We also do not pull life support. My father still shows no sign of life. Our new address is Bethesda Heart Hospital. My parents are divorced so that leaves me decision maker. On day 7 my dad is still not awake. We see signs of life but the drs and nurses do not. Their response to any movement is that it’s just body reflexes and not purposeful.

The drs call a family meeting on day 8. I am dying inside because I’m afraid they’re going to ask me to pull life support. The meeting turns out to be all good news. They say that my father can breath on his own when they turn the machines down. Worst case scenario he will go to a nursing home. Best case he will go home and need help. And then they ask with that diagnosis do you want to keep going with treatment. I was confused. They tell me that some family members will choose not to because they don’t want to take care of them. Then they ask me to sign a DNR. They say even though his body is responding if he doesn’t wake up there’s nothing they can do. I look around the room at my siblings and my mom. I ask Tim what he thinks. No one can help me. No one knows what to do. I decline to sign the DNR and tell them we will revisit the situation on Day 10. Jessica reads some articles about how it takes some people 10 days to wake up. I avoid the hospital on Day 10. He doesn’t wake up and I’m afraid they’re gonna ask me to sign a DNR again. Hospice has been to our room. The lady tells Sam that if my dad ever wakes up he’ll have the mind of a newborn. Tim calls hospice and has her removed from our case.

On Day 11 around 6:30 I’m singing country music to my dad. I can see his eyes moving under his eyelids. I turn the music off and start talking about old times. I bring up my red mustang and he opens his eyes. I’m dying as I write this because I remember how happy I was. So full of hope and faith. I started screaming. I run down the hallways screaming praise Jesus! The nurses come running. It’s only been 11 days but these people are family now. We are all hugging. His nurse goes to his bedside and yells “Tom” and he turns his head and opens his eyes and they yell for the doctor. The doctor comes in and says his name. Tells him to open and shut his eyes. Then he looks at me and smiles. He says this is good but he has a very long hard road ahead. And he leaves. He was right. The road would be very long and very hard. I call all my siblings and I send them video. They all come to the hospital and we breath a sigh of relief.

In the next 5 months we will celebrate the birth of my son, Silas and the death of my father. We will cry tears of joy the first time my dad speaks. I will video every milestone he makes. He will get better and then as I’m shopping for my girls birthday party supplies on July 25th I will get a call that he started puking and aspirated. Later that week he gets pneumonia. He will get it 3 times. I have to tell my father who is working so hard to learn to do new things that his body is not working. He will learn to write with a marker, sing karaoke to Pretty Woman, stick out his tongue, blow kisses, shake hands, speak, raise his arms to his head and lift his feet off the bed but I will have to tell him it’s not enough.

When I tell him we both cry. He chooses to go to hospice. He sees Tim and reaches out his hand for a shake and then he cries and Tim cries. And I ask him again about hospice to be sure.

I don’t know how I survived. I have so much more to write.

Life with Grace

This is a day with Grace.

She wanted her owl to have small eyes. I said but Grace we just learned the reason owls have big eyes is so they can see better in the dark. We get in a whole thing about it. She gets sassy with me. I walk away because mmm I’m not ruining my day over owl eyes…

Timmys like oh mommm grace finished her owl… like he’s telling on her.

She’s says look my owl has sunglasses on 😎

Lortttttttttttt give me the strength

Today’s drama. How is it that she’s only 6 and we are already having these conversations.

So Timmy just comes over to me saying grace is saying that BRYNN is timmys girlfriend.


So Im not sure at this point if they know what that means but maybe bc theyve watched barbie. so I say no boyfriends or girlfriends in this house we just have friends.

“But mom Brynn told me she loves Timmy”

Well that’s nice grace but Brynns mommy and your mommy only allow for regular friends.

Grace starts crying

“Didn’t you have a boyfriend”

Yes when I was 17. When you’re 17 you can have a boyfriend.

Starts hysterics. Full on crying becauseeeee She already has a boyfriend.

I die a little. I’m like whooooo is your boyfriend.


Sweet Memories

The way Lydia screams Daddy’s home when she hears his car coming down the road.

The way she screams Mommy when I pick her up from playground coop.

Lydia who are your friends? Lydia Gracie & Mimmy.

How excited she was that I let her stand on the end of the cart. She thought it was the greatest thing. She kept laughing and saying sooo fun!

How excited Timmy and Grace get when I roll down the windows and their hair goes wild.

That Grace gets Lydia out of her crib and dresses her before they come out of their room in the morning.

How grace does her own hair now and adds a matching bow.

Timmy told me how much he’s gonna miss me on their 1 day camping trip.

How much Lydia lives school. She tells me today, “I don’t want to eat I just want to go to school!”

Sweet Memories

I told Lydia that she was so goofy and she said no I’m Minnie Mouse.

Grace made everyone lunch yesterday. Even my dad. She’s turning into such a big helper. Then she sat on the couch and said ok now the cooks can eat.

Today she made marshmallow soufflé which was crackers with banana, marshmallow and cheese. My husband actually had to eat it because she was so proud of her creation.

My girls are in a really sweet stage. Grace is Lydia’s mommy now. She dresses her and everything. Holds her silly cup for her. Lydia even fake cries for her. It’s so adorable. Timmy isn’t feeling it tho.

Timmy & Grace took Walkie Talkies to bed last night.

My brother came over and taught Timmy how to skateboard. When he left Timmy cried. “He’s just so cool mom I wish he could stay longer!”

This child 😂

Grace says mom open your mouth so I can yell a message to the baby.

Timmy wants to put me to bed real nice he says. He just brought me a blanket and tucked me in. Now he’s going to get a book to read to me.

Santa Spa Day

I saw this Santa Spa idea last year from this really over the top mom named Katherine Marie. All her ideas are pretty amazing.

Last year we had a huge spa party with all our friends but this year it was just us and next year I hope we get to include Madeline and Matilda.

It makes me so happy to make them feel special. I set their bathroom up like a real spa. Candles and all.

They were following me around trying to get a sneak peek. The boys were at a Christmas party but I did buy Timmy a gingerbread boy bath bomb so he can have a little something special too.

I cut foam sheets into Christmas shapes to stick to the tub wall and target had Rudolph bath puppets.

They stayed in for an hour and got super wrinkly. Then we used the face masks and did nails. I hope they remember this always and do it with their kids.

Now it’s time for makeup!

Sweet Memories

Gracie made Tim a birthday card and she wrote, “Daddy I love you you. Your heart is like a rainbow.”

Tonight it’s just me and Lydia. We shared some blue box Mac & cheese and popcorn while we watched Hallmark. Now she’s hanging ornaments on my toes and grabbing my face with her cheesy little hands.

At church whenever they start to sing Lydia grabs my hands and stands on the pew and we dance. For every. single. song.

These two love dancing. This was the sweetest show I e ever seen.I took a bath in the kids tub because for some reason the water gets hotter in there. Lydia thought it was the funniest thing. She was hysterical putting her little hands over her face like she could not believe I was in her tub.

Lydia is the tickle monster now. She puts her hands up to warm you that a tickle attack is coming only her attacks are more violent then tickling. But we all fake laugh anyway.

I sat outside today on a blanket and read a chapter book with the kids. It was so nice. We would take breaks between chapters to just soak up the nice weather. We actually watched the bees collect pollen and then we were quiet enough that a daddy cardinal landed in our bird feeder so we watched him eat. That’s how slow our December days have been. So slow that the highlight of our day was watching the bees. And of course Grace picked me a lovely weed bouquet. I love these days.

I’m making peanut butter cookies and I go to eat one and Timmy says heyyyy those are for St Nick. And I tell him I’m just making sure they’re not poison. And he says, “don’t be ridiculous you’re the best cook I know!”

Lydia thinks that every decoration is for Jesus. Every time she sees a house with lights or a Christmas tree or anything Christmas she yells, “ooooo baby house!”

Christmas School

We take all of December off from “formal” school work to do all things Christmas or to do nothing at all. I just want to soak it up while my kids still believe in all the magic.

I planned simple and easy themed days and the rest of our time was spent reading Christmas books. Our read aloud is Family Under the Bridge and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Christmas Tree

We read the book Who Would Like a Christmas Tree that was all about how the tree is home to many different animals all year long. Then we watched a kid video about how the evergreen tree became a symbol of Christ. I couldn’t have said it better myself it was so sweet saying that the boughs of the tree stretch out to God and the tree is like an arrow to heaven. I didn’t know the story of Boniface so I learned something too. Then we made tree ornaments.

Polar Express

We watched and read Polar Express then built trains. Lydia actually put together the train herself for the first time. Then we had hot chocolate and added our own Polar Express under the tree. Last year we went on the Polar Express train. It was magical.

The Grinch

We watched all three versions of The Grinch. Gracies favorite is the Jim Carey one because you get to see the Grinch as a baby. Timmy likes the one in the movie theatre. I’m partial to the original because it reminds me of my own childhood. We made Grinch kabobs for snack.

Then I read to them How the Grinch Stole Christmas while they painted a Grinch of their own.

Our Grinch even got in our the Elf fun.

Home Alone

I love these classic movies that bring me back to the good ole days. I like looking at how different life was like in this movie she’s talking on a corded phone with her friends or trying to use a pay phone to find her son. My kids didnt even know what it was when we saw one. I asked them what they would do if they woke up like Kevin and no one was home. Timmy said he’d eat all the candy then take all his money to the pet store and buy a snake. Grace said she’d get on her bike and go find me. Apparently Timmy has plans lol Lydia keeps putting her hands on her face and screaming 😱

Frosty the Snowman

Our elves brought us a snowman breakfast and we watched the movie.

Then we made some pretend snow. Even I played with it because it’s so cool. Then I broke out the snow cone machine and we we got our gloves and played with the closest thing we have to snow. Timmy even made a snowman.

The Elf

My favorite movie! We painted our own Buddy Elf.

And then we decorated or hallways like Buddy decorated the store. Making these snowflakes was so much fun. Each one a surprise. The kids were so amazed. We also made paper chains. It’s came out so cute!

The Gingerbread Boy

We read 3 versions of this book. They bit said their favorite was the Gingerbread Friends.

Then we made homemade gingerbread and brought some to the neighbors. They came out so delicious!

Timmy is Seven!

Seven sounds so big. He’s turning into a little man. And the sweetest one ever. Just tonight he came up to me and said, “Mom your face is so beautiful.” I don’t know where he learned to be this complimentary. It’s a part of him.

The other night we went for a car ride looking for the best Christmas lights. If the person was outside he would roll down his window and tell them what a great job they did. He just make my heart smile.

For this special big boy birthday I woke him up super early and took him to Disney just the two of us. He was so surprised. The whole car ride there he thanked me. And the whole time at the park and the whole drive home until he fell asleep. He said, “Mom I don’t care what rides we go on I’m just happy to be going and I want you to be happy too so you go ahead and pick what we ride first.” He really talks like that. Sincere and sweet.

The plan was to ride all the big kid rides that he’s never been on and that’s just what we did! We actually ride them all twice. First thunder mountain, then pirates, splash mountain and space mountain. I couldn’t believe who brave he was. Last year this would have never happened. He’s really grown up in a year.

I’m so blessed to be his mommy. I’ll never forget this day.

Thanksgiving 2018

There just isn’t anything better in my life than these little people. They are so blessed to grow up along side each other. These group photos keep growing every year and I love it!

Our newest tradition is to celebrate Thanksgiving at home and celebrating Friday with our family. I kinda love it. Thanksgiving day is slow and simple. We make a big breakfast and watch the parade. Then we just hang out and slowly start decorating for Christmas. We do this because Brandon and my mom work on Thursday and we don’t want anyone to be missing. This year I let the kids help me make the lasagna. I love cooking family recipes with them.

And just like Halloween we celebrated Thanksgiving to the max. We started with our thankful tree and decorating the house.

Then we made a place setting for Jesus and read a special thanksgiving book & prayer.

Timmy drew a picture of what he was thankful for and of course it was snakes.

We had a pilgrims and Indians party with our friends. We dressed up and the kids really got into playing the part. The boys were fighting with guns and arrows and the girls were churning butter. And we made some real butter in little baby food jars and it really worked. The kids used it on their biscuits.

I’m so thankful for these babies who are quickly turning into big kids and I’m especially thankful that they get to grow up with so much family close by.

Halloween 2018

I love this time of year. I just wish I could figure out how to slow it down. We had too much fun that’s for sure and way too much candy.

This was Lydia’s first year of understanding Trick or Treating and SHE IS A FAN. She brought her pumpkin bucket everywhere. And even after Halloween she was still dressing up.

We were the bat family this year all thanks to Daddy’s obsession with bat dad. All my kids talk like that guy.

Even Rosary got in the fun!

We went to Aunt Jessicas to trick or treat with the whole crew. It was so much fun. My kids are definitely getting older because they wanted to keep going all night.

Lydia’s bucket had to weigh 30 pounds da but she would not let anyone touch it. Poor child was walking with a limp but was not willing to surrender any candy. Her little voice saying trick or treat was the sweetest sound and then followed by her even sweeter Thank you. I just love her she has a personality that is like none other.

We probably over did our Halloween celebrations as usual but we started it off right by doing a costume parade at the nursing home.

We went to two trunk or treats. One for cub scouts and one at our church. I really didn’t want to go because who started all this million days of trunk or treating. There was no such thing when I was a kid but Daddy is all about it. I’m glad we went the kids had a blast at both!

We had a spooky party with our friends. The moms went alllllll out! Gross yummy food, dissecting owl pellets and touch & feel haunted house. It was a blast.

I made my kids a ghostly milkshake that cane out so cute I had to take a picture. We also made mummy brownies and pumpkin Mac & cheese. My kids think I am the best when their food is made special. We went to the pumpkin patch with all our cousins. It wasn’t exactly perfect weather. We were sweating like it was the middle of summer but the kids don’t care. We rode the hayride and searched for the perfect pumpkin.

Then we had a family carving competition!

I think that’s it for Halloween.